Saturday, February 15, 2014

eva at one month.

Sweet baby girl was 9lb 4oz and 22 inches at her one month (5 week) appt. She is still the sweetest, most laid back baby. Justus adores her! He asks for her and gets so excited to go to her room when she wakes up. He loves to give hugs and kisses and I have rarely seen him jealous so far which is a huge blessing! Eva nurses every 2-3 hours and sleeps in her Rock and Play at night and usually the swing or Solly Baby wrap during the day. During week 5 she really started smiling and actually rolled over front to back twice (especially impressive since I rarely make her do tummy time :) Smitten with this sweet pea!

evangeline joy.

Eva's birth day was one I will never forget! God orchestrated it so perfectly.

Just like with Justus, I was 6cm dilated at my routine appointment the day before (2.5 years to the day after he was born!) I had been 4+cm for a month by that point, and was really hoping to induce later that week when my mom could be there. Our doctor was wonderful and totally fine with whatever decision we made, but it was clear she did not think I would make it until Friday. Considering how fast my labor went with Justus, Cole was also concerned about us making it to the hospital in time if I went into labor naturally, so we talked and prayed and decided to induce the next morning.

That evening found us getting the house cleaned/ready and our things packed. Cole's parents decided to drive up late that night and keep Justus the next morning (thank you!!) I made it to bed around midnight and was up early to finish packing and leave the house at 6:15.

I remember lying in bed about 4:50 and noticing some contractions that seemed slightly stronger than typical Braxton Hicks, but still nothing painful. By 6:00, just before we walked out of the door, I told Cole, "I think I might be in labor."

Cole's parents came over to keep Justus and we headed to the hospital. My contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart on the way. Still not really painful but strong enough that I preferred not to talk during them. We arrived at the hospital about 6:45 and checked in. I changed clothes and the nurse came in to check me about 7:30. At that point, the game changed!

Turned out I was 10 cm dilated and completely effaced! Couldn't believe it! I overheard our nurse walk out of the room and tell someone, "She's complete!" When they asked who, she said, "The induction." "And she's just sitting there?" She responded, "It's a miracle!" Haha!

They hooked me up to an IV for fluids and at that point I learned I couldn't have any medication - eep! There was a flurry of activity getting things set up. We signed one piece of paper and were told we would do the rest later. My sweet doctor showed up with wet hair and no makeup because she had been in the shower when they called :) Three pushes later and she was here!

Evangeline Joy was born on Wednesday, January 8th at 8:17 am weighing 7 lbs 15 oz (the same as big brother!) and 20.5 inches long. It was such a whirlwind but absolutely perfect. I'm a "planner" so I love that we were all ready to go that morning, yet God also allowed it to happen naturally. With Justus I had a late epidural and couldn't feel anything. With Eva I felt everything! The last 10-15 minutes were excruciating but I wouldn't change it.

I'm also so thankful that our nurse Paula thought to ask if I was interested in having the baby put on my chest directly after birth and have some time just to ourselves to nurse. I hadn't thought much about it but knew the first hour after birth is really important for bonding so I'm so glad we agreed. Those two hours with just the three of us will always be precious to me.

Our families got to come in and meet baby girl at that point. Justus was so sweet with her! He leaned over the rail where she was bathed and sang, "Jesus Loves Me" over and over. Our nurse said in over 30 years she has never seen a big brother sing to the baby. He held her and didn't want anyone else to - ha!

She is now a month old and such a laid back baby. So far, she is almost always content and rarely cries - I am so thankful! Justus is still really sweet with her as well. So blessed!



Saturday, January 4, 2014

fall 2013.

We had a much busier fall than normal! Hunting season began the weekend after wrapping up the expos, and we had hunters staying at the ranch almost every weekend until Christmas season. God once again worked His amazing networking skills and one of those weeks was spent with Hank Parker, a legend in the outdoor television industry. Both he and Cole harvested bucks on film to be used on his tv show which means exposure for Surrendered Sportsmen in millions of homes - unbelievable!

Cole once again made a trip to Kansas and my sweet grandparents came to the ranch to help with Justus and it was so nice having them. They braved coming up (as did my mom) right after we finished potty training - eep! We also moved Justus to his own room and big boy bed in preparation for baby sister.

Thanksgiving was our last trip to Palestine for the year, and the following weekend Katie, Trey and the girls came to the ranch for hunting and fellowship. Little did we know "Icepocalypse" would hit north Texas and we would be homebound for 4 days! I was a little nervous about three kiddos (age 3 and under) stuck in the house so much but really they did great. It was so slick and freezing but absolutely beautiful outside, and at one point the big boys (Trey and Cole :) actually went sledding down the hill behind our house all by themselves. Ha!

Both of our families came up over the next month to celebrate Christmas here so we wouldn't have to travel so far from my doctor. It was really great having them and they spoiled us by doing all the cooking/babysitting! Cole and I got both a dinner and movie date which was a special treat.

Christmas day was different this year in that it was just the three of us. We got Justus several small things (play doh, Mr. Potato Head, etc) plus a little hunting backpack like daddy's with tiny rattling horns, a plastic gun, etc. I didn't pull the gifts our until after he went to bed on Christmas Eve and I so wish I had recorded his reaction the next morning. He first spotted his new pjs hanging on the door (a tradition passed from my grandmother to mom to me) and then rounded the corner to the tree and gifts: "God's birthday!!" (He associates all gifts with birthdays right now :) I said that's right  - God lets us have gifts on His birthday! He scooped up a big stuffed moose and squeezed his neck and said, "I love it!!" Precious. We then had a low-key morning and watched a movie, made Jesus a birthday cake after naptime and Cole went out a shot a duck for dinner before watching an old Billy Graham "Family Christmas Special" on tv.

Now baby girl is due in less than 10 days and it's just a waiting game! I have been 4+ cm for the last few weeks so it appears she's following in big brother's footsteps and will come when she's good and ready. Cole had some days to take off before the New Year or he would lose them, so we have enjoyed just spending time together as a family of three. It really has been a precious last couple of weeks that I'm so thankful to have had.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

summer updates.

It feels a little funny to start blogging after almost 5 months, but I love having a space to look back on so here goes!

For the big news...we found out in May we're expecting again! Baby girl (can hardly believe it!) will be here around January 13. We're naming her Evangeline ("good news messenger"), and will call her Eva (Justus says "Ebie" :)

Cole also got his real estate license in May and had his first sale right off the bat - a blessing!

Our 4th anniversary was in June and then Justus turned two in July! We celebrated with a fish fry at Lynn and Grandpa's ("Wom-paw") the weekend before, and a low-key day at the ranch complete with a cookie cake, trip down to the river and a Disney movie.

Cole and I were able to take a trip to Florida in August which was wonderful (thank you grandparents for babysitter a teething toddler!) We attended a Sportsman's Night Out, did some shopping downtown and around Pensacola Beach, drove down to Johnson's Beach just before sunset, ate delicious food, watched lots of Shark Week and were put up in a beautiful hotel by the church. We also made some wonderful connections for Surrendered Sportsmen.

September found us in a whirlwind with two outdoor expos. Our best estimates are that about 75 people raised their hands to accept Christ in Palestine and 50 in Stephenville - praise God! We are also grateful for all the wonderful friends and family who drove several hours to help us put on the event in this area.

(All of these photos were taken from my instagram, but I'm hoping to start getting my camera out more!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

the zoo.

A couple of weekends ago we took Justus over to the Fort Worth Zoo. Cole's birthday was the day before and he said he wanted to spend the weekend with us. I have been wanting to take Justus to the zoo so we decided to go ahead and make it happen. It was a beautiful day, but super crowded. They do have a little caged-in area where you can buy birdseed on a stick and feed the birds which he loved. I'm so glad I decided to wait in line for the $1 stick because it was well worth it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

surrendered sportsmen update.

I haven't updated about the ministry in awhile, but there are some exciting things happening!

First, we officially received 501(c)3 status from the IRS (woohoo!) and set up a board of directors. Cole has been so blessed with godly relationships and each man on the board brings unique perspective and strengths.

Second, we have two expos planned this year. The first will again be in Palestine on September 7. The second will be in Stephenville, TX (just a half hour from the ranch) on September 21. We had a wonderful experience in Palestine last year and are excited about another event there. We were also in agreement that Stephenville was the logical next choice for a second location.

I had an entire post typed up about the amazing experience when we met with the director of the Lone Star Arena in Stephenville. It never made it to the blog but let's just say God's hand was all over that meeting. I know I shouldn't be surprised at God's provision but I was blown away by His confirmation that day. We are so pumped!!

Last but not least, we are working on a hunting television show! After prayer and consideration, we realize this is a ideal extension of the ministry. For a similar cost of putting on one expo, a show can be on air for a season and reach hundreds of thousands of people with the gospel! Cole and many others spent last hunting season filming and now we are working with Lane ( on a pilot episode to be submitted to the Sportsman Channel next month. If approved, we will enter the post-production stage, begin approaching sponsors, and aim to be on air next spring. Craziness! You definitely wouldn't waste prayers that everything will go smoothly and that we will be sensitive to God's leading on the direction for each episode. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

dear justus,

Pictures from the weekend after his surgery. 
A big thanks to Grandpa and Lynn for coming to help!

In about 3 hours your cast comes off - yay! You have no idea what's coming but daddy and I are so excited for you and know you will love it. It really has gone so quickly and you adjusted amazingly. Definitely an answered prayer. One of the things I'm most happy for is that you finally get to take a "real" bath. No more sponge baths in front of the tv! :)

Well sweet boy you turned 19 months old a few days ago. I couldn't begin to document all the things you say and do, but some our favorites are:

running to me to have your boo-boos kissed
hearing the "choos choos" in the distance when I haven't noticed (you have amazing hearing!)
asking for daddy all.the.time
when you put your hand over your mouth and bend over to laugh because you are SO excited/happy
when you so sweetly say, "Mommy?"
that you could happily spend hours upon hours outside
that you like throwing things away (i think mostly getting to shut the trashcan lid
how you say "ahh" when you give us hugs
picking up after mommy - you are actually pretty tidy, definitely not from me!
when you sing along with the radio in the car
knowing just the right moment to say "bye-bye" (checking out at the store, getting off the phone)
that you know all of your animals sounds well except ducks - you continure to growl and say "mama" (no idea!?)
bird-watching outside the window

I shared with daddy recently that often when I pray for you I feel led to pray that you will always have an undivided heart and bold spirit. You have a strong personality and I think will continue to be our little "brave heart." I pray you will be confident in the Truth and lead others to it. Love you punkin and excited to see what God does through your life! He loves you so much.