a lesson of faith

little babe at 6 weeks.

I have debated for weeks over sharing our story. I have examined my motives, what I would say. I have prayed for the right words. Prayed for strength in writing it out. There is nothing special about what happened, nothing that millions of women haven't experienced before me...but I feel beyond a doubt that the Lord is blessing my desire to share what I have learned.
We found out we were pregnant at the beginning of April. We were shocked, but stoked :) We didn't even wait....we started telling friends and then family pretty quickly.
I went to a MOPS retreat the first weekend in May. The day we got back, I started spotting. I know that it can be normal, so I wasn't freaking out....but I called the OB just to let them know and they had me go in to get some levels drawn. The first set was good. The second set, the numbers weren't high enough...which could suggest an impending miscarriage. That day, I let myself lose it. I cried, I secluded myself for the day. I needed not to have to be doing anything. The Lord has blessed me with amazing girlfriends out here. They were all over the prayer from the minute I started spotting. I was so comforted by that and their willingness to help if I needed it.
The following day, I spent the morning with the Lord. Praying through Psalms. Reading scripture to remind me that worrying won't solve anything (Matt 5:25-34), it doesn't hurt anything to ask God specifically what I would like the outcome of all of this to be (Phil 4:6-7), He wants me to come to him with every request, concern, worry, happiness; he wants to hear from me. I was overwhelmed by that realization during this time. I realized that for the longest time, I had been withholding talking to God about things because I felt they weren't worth it. In my mind, there are people experiencing far worse things in their life, what are my struggles and hurts compared to theirs??  But God wants me to come to him with all of it...not for His sake, but for mine. I needed to be talking to him. In this case, asking Him to spare our baby...no matter what, this time was going to be a lesson in faith and in trust.
We had an ultrasound for the following week. The day of was our last MOPS meeting. I was an emotional wreck :) I am so thankful I was there that morning because I needed to be surrounded by friends. About an hour before the US, I started bleeding. I met Nick at the OB and was just a mess. We got set up...the tech did her thing. Lo and behold. A baby. A heartbeat.
I was SHOCKED. It took me the entire day to take it in. I wanted to be happy, but because I was still bleeding, I couldn't let myself fully let go.
I spent the next week or so just praying. I didn't know how to feel. I had noticed that my "pregnancy symptoms" were lessening. I wasn't feeling sick. I wasn't as drop dead exhausted as I had been.
I had another appointment with the OB 2 weeks later. They did another US which showed baby still going strong. I still couldn't believe it. I wasn't feeling pregnant, but there she was....heart beating....just chillin' in there.
The next week, Nick and I were heading to the coast. He had to be there for work. I had this desperate urge to leave and go with him. We got a sitter for the kids. Off we went.
We had dinner that night (so yummy) and walked the pier. The next morning, I heard him leave. Not a minute later, I felt like my insides were being squeezed. That second I knew they weren't cramps...they were contractions. I was 9 weeks along.
I laid in bed for about 15 minutes, praying for it to stop. They got worse. I cried. A lot. I prayed. A lot. I prayed through Psalms (I was at a loss for words, but needed to say something). I eventually called the OB because the pain was so incredible. They said to head to an ER. Nick came back and got me. We headed out. Once there, we got settled. I got pain meds (thank you, Jesus). The ER doc did his thing. We were on our way home.
The next day, the kids and I met friends at the park (I was desperate to see them and desperate for some distraction). I started having the contractions again. We got home and I went into the bathroom. Baby passed. I was in shock for a second. I didn't know how to feel. What to do. In the Lord's mercy, He took care of it for me. Mason came in...looked in the toilet...and flushed it. I screeched from shock....but in the moment, I felt an incredible sense of relief. It was over.
I'm sharing this because every time I look back at those weeks, I am overwhelmed by God's faithfulness. We had a heads up that something might happen. When I realized I didn't feel pregnant anymore, I knew. I am so thankful for his mercy in that "heads up". Had I not had a strong desire to go with Nick (usually I stay home), I would have been at home without him when it all started. Call it coincidence....I call it mercy :)
He has been our strength through this. Both Nick and I have seen first hand our faithful and gracious He is. He has given us amazing friendships out here....friends who surrounded us with prayer. What an amazing comfort that was.
What I want people to see in our story is God's faithfulness. He was there the entire time. While things didn't turn out as we wanted....we came away with a stronger faith in Him. I came away with a huge lesson in patience and trusting Him.
I don't blame Him for losing our baby. I know that the majority of miscarriages happen because something is wrong to begin with. I find comfort in that too.
The week before we miscarried, I read the book "Heaven is for Real". I've never taken a stance on how I feel about stories like this....but it was an amazing comfort after we lost baby.
In the book....the little boy is playing with his mom a few months after his near-death illness. He makes a comment to his mom that he has two sisters. His mom is confused because he only has one sister. he says, "No....I have two sisters. You had a baby die in your tummy..." (pg 94). His parents had miscarried before he was born. They had never told him about it. The boy says that God adopted his sister in Heaven and that she looks a lot like his other sister. She didn't have a name yet because her parents had never named her. They didn't know the baby had been a girl.
I bawled when I read that after we lost our baby. People can debate all they want about whether or not miscarried/stillborn babies get to heaven. I believe they do. I laugh when I think that our little one is up there, thick as thieves with two of my friend's little ones....just like their mamas were when they were young. I love that my Grandpa Jensen gets to snuggle with her (based on conception date, I decided baby was a "she"....Adelyn named her Hailey). That she gets to hang out with her second cousin, Nash, while he shows her the ropes.
Look back at our story and tell me if you don't see the faithfulness and mercy of God. I pray that you do see it. I hope that you can praise Him through reading this. I hope that if you've lost a little one....either once or many times....that you allow the Lord to heal your heart and use your story to reach other hurting mamas. My heart breaks for the mamas who experience this for the first time, or multiple times. My heart breaks for the mamas who don't have a "heads up". It breaks for the mamas who have lost a child at any age! I'm so sorry for the pain you have had to experience. I am sorry you have to know what it feels like. But you guys, God is good; God is faithful and can ease any pain. He can use your story for His glory.
As for us, we are okay. There is still a twinge of sadness at times, but I'm not angry or bitter or depressed. I'm okay. We are okay. There is an overwhelming sense of peace knowing that God has had it in control this entire time. My faith in Him is stronger than ever. It's the kick in the pants I needed.

My heart is steadfast, O god,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reading to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
psalm 57:7-11



preschool picnic

Last week, Adelyn's class had a pinic and a little program. It was fun (albeit, hot)!
In the week or so beforehand, she wouldn't show me any of the songs because she wanted it to be a surprise. :) She did so great and I am so proud of her!

p.s. The video is hard to hear because there was a lawn mower going during almost the entire thing




Wow....let's just throw it out there that it's been way too long since I've been on here.
Honestly, I found myself starting to live my life in "blog terms". I realized that if I'm starting to categorize our days in blog form, I should stop for a while. So I did. ;)
I don't think I could catch up on what's been happening the last 4 months, so we'll just say that we are loving California. We have some amazing friends who have become our family out here. Adelyn is loving preschool (next week is her last week before summer break!). Mason is as ornery and loveable as ever. Both are growing like weeds! Nick only has 2 classes--one year--of grad school left and then he is D.O.N.E. Yay!!! His first class was the day after Adelyn was born. So that puts it into perspective :) I am so proud of how hard he has been working, both in school and his career, he has had alot of his plate. I got lucky, people. ;)
I'll leave you with some photos from Adelyn's and my trip to Iowa in March.
It was fun :)
p.s....I'm posting a video next week from Adelyn's school picnic. :)



adelyn's birthday

So our baby girl turned 4 at the beginning of January! Every single day, she does or says something that reminds me she's growing up. It freaks me out. She's a little girl now...not a toddler...or in the in-between stage of the 3's....she's 4.
{her birthday crown they made her at preschool....very papal like ;)}
{birthday morning balloon}
Nick and I took her out for dinner for her birthday. She wanted spaghetti, so she got her first Olive Garden experience. She loved it :) Afterwards, we had ice cream cake with our dear friends, Matt and Kendra, who were watching Mason for us :) They have a little boy who is the same age as Mason and just as obsessed with CARS, so it works out well ;)
She had been begging for a big girl princess bike, so that was her gift from us ;)
She is so fast on that thing! She loves it. When we take walks, she wants to ride her bike....makes it a little easy on me too ;)
We had a (princess) birthday party the weekend after her birthday. I invited her entire preschool class. It was so much fun! 7 out of 20 kids came...it was great getting to know the moms and put faces with names of friends she talks about! Between her school friends and friends from church/MOPS...there was about 14  kids who came. It was so fun!
We had a bounce house outside (would not have survived without it!). Opening gifts was an interesting experience....15 kids freaking out about each one and ripping through them....it was crazy.
Thank you so much to everyone who came to celebrate with us!
We are so thankful for the friendships she has made. :)
Adelyn had a blast and is already discussing next year's birthday party. It will not be as big as this one....maybe we'll do a low-key sleepover or something ;)



adelyn's christmas program

First of all::

We hope you are having a wonderful Christmas :)

Adelyn had her preschool christmas program at the beginning of this month.
{the little boy next to her is one of her BFFs :) he is the sweetest}
It surprised me how hard it hit me that she's old enough to be in a Christmas program and how awesome she was!
I was laughing/crying through the entire thing. It was just so cute.
I may be a little biased...
Just a heads up, I recorded the entire thing, so the video is about 6 minutes long.



homemade moisturizer

Okay, so stick with me here.
For YEARS, I have been using different moisturizers for my face. For YEARS I haven't found ONE that I liked enough to purchase multiple times.
In college, I developed issues with breakouts and I have sebborhic dermatitis that flares up by my nose sometimes. It's annoying.
During nursing school, one of my classes had a discussion about ingredients that are put into moisturizers and cosmetics that can actually speed up aging and dry out your skin (isn't that counterproductive with moisturizers?)....and parabens, which mimic the estrogen hormone and can reek havoc on your body....among other things.
I started using Arbonne last year and it reallyhelped my dermatitis, my face wasn't breaking out as much. I liked the lack of "ick" ingredients....
but the stuff is expensive and I felt like I was constantly applying lotion to my face. It was always so dry.
Then I started using Jenuinely Pure based out of Ames, IA....loved it, but the shipping made it ridiculous.
It clicked one day....why couldn't I try to make it myself without all the extra stuff and cost??
I started researching...mostly blogs is what I could find.
I decided to try oils for day and then blend and oil mix with raw shea butter at night.
Love. It.
I know, you would think isn't the oil greasy?
If you're using the right oils, it absorbs into your skin...leaving it soft, not greasy or oily.
There are different oils you can use for different skin types.
People, my skin tone is better. My skin looks brighter. My skin is soft. I put on the oil mix (about dime-sized) after I shower or wash my face....I don't feel like I need lotion the rest of the day. It's awesome.
My mom even commented when she was out here that my skin looked great. :) That was wonderful. thanks, mom :)
I have had hardly any breakouts and I haven't fought the dermatitis battle in a long time :)
The shea butter at night is okay...I think, when it's gone, I might just do oil at night too because it definitely takes longer for my skin to absorb than just the oil.
SO....for daytime, here's what I've been using (I didn't measure, I just mixed into a little squeeze bottle I had)
sweet almond oil for the base
a few drops of Vitamin E
jojoba oil (it's also a carrier oil, so helps my skin absorb the oil mix faster)
2 drops lavender essential oil
That's it! No icky fillers or chemicals.
Plus, it takes forever to use up! I've been using the same mix for 2.5 months and am barely halfway through the bottle :)
 For night time I used the same oil mix, with a little coconut oil and some raw shea butter. I stuck it in the food processor and blend blend blend :)
That's it.
Okay, so my resources::
The best breakdown I could find was this blog post.
She did a great job summing things up....which was great because I was starting to get a little overwhelmed.
Then I found this blog post by Crunchy Betty.
She is one I started following and going back to as another resource.
I found my ingredients mostly on amazon and Mountain Rose Herbs.
Let me know if you wind up trying it...
happy experimenting ;)
PS::I do still use Arbonne cleanser because that's what I had left....but I'm looking for a cleanser like it (or Cetaphil) that cleanses without stripping my face.



a party and a visit

Earlier this month, my mom and Grandma came out for a long weekend and for Mason's birthday party. Since his birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, we had it the Saturday before :)
It was so much fun. We had a mixed CARS and Toy Story theme going on..
The cake was from Super Target's bakery...it was yummy :)
I made car and cowboy hat sugar cookies for favors.
Mason was overwhelmed between the people and gifts....the poor kid didn't know what to do! :)
On a more important topic...my mom and Grandma came for a quick visit. It was so amazing to see them and it was so incredibly sad to say goodbye.
I miss our families so much everyday, but having them come visit and then having to say goodbye again is like itching off a scab and having it hurt all over again.
(graphic, I know, but it's the only way I can describe it!)
We had a wonderful time with them while they were here...
thank you both for coming!
we love and miss you!



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