Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell to 2013!

This has been a FULL year.

A beautiful year. 

An eventful year.

So many challenges that come and so many blessings and joys experienced! 

I've been saying just about everyday since my last post that I need to do an update but it hasn't happened until tonight…and what a perfect night to wrap up the year with a crazy long post and a photo dump. ;)

Our home-

We love our home. We love being home. We love living in our home. We came home from the hospital this year to our very own home and have already made so many memories and created a cozy little place to rest in. We recently had the youth group from church over for the first part of their progressive dinner. I whipped up a whole bunch of appetizers and quickly found out the max limit to how many can fit in our home! There was about 40…and well…it was very tight! It's a home we love…but a very tiny cute little home for sure! 


The end of October I flew to NY all by my lonesome. We decided to limit trips for Cale this year, but I still wanted to make sure we were able to visit all of our good friends in NY before we had a baby to travel with! At one point I decided I wasn't going to go, thinking about how hard it was going to be on Mama since she would be taking care of Cale. I was quickly reminded that my time to travel alone and rest with friends was quickly going to come to an end…so I purchased my ticket. 

I LOVE all of our friends there. It always feels like we're home in a different way when we go back. I was able to visit a good amount of people, but as always the time goes too quickly and I leave wishing for more time to see everyone. I'm not so great with keeping in touch with phone calls, email, or even Facebook (as I'm sure many of you have discovered…) I just happen to be a face-to-face-sit-and-have-a coffee-and-visit-kind-of-girl. :)

One of the ways I was able to see a lot of beautiful faces that I had been trying to figure out how to fit in the week, was some of the girlies planned a surprise baby shower! I hadn't really talked that much about me coming until last minute, so it was a last minute shower they put together-and it was perfect. 

 Towards the end of the shower I was asked if I had any questions for anyone. Almost everyone gathered is a mom and they all have tons of advice…but instead of asking a specific question about parenting, I was able to open up about a struggle I was having with a baby on the way. After I opened up, all the ladies took turns speaking truth and encouragement into me. I only wish I could have recorded all that they said so in hard days ahead I could replay and be so encouraged again! 

I also enjoyed every single minute with this family. Love them.

I left NY and flew to SC to visit another friend and her husband. It was such a restful time. At one point I actually said that I had never been so lazy in my life! It was wonderful! Haha! I truly treasured the days I spent with them! 

(Paula Deen's restaurant! We didn't eat there…but I felt cool driving by!)

While I was on my trip, Cale went and stayed with Mike and Rachel for a good chunk of while I was gone which was so good for him. They had some fun adventures and hang out time. For Halloween Cale dressed up as…

a pregnant woman. :) Apparently everyone loved it as he handed out candy. 

We together took a trip to Leavenworth, WA and met up with Cale's brother and his family before Christmas. It was a quick trip and lots of fun! It was a nice little getaway for us to enjoy and be with family. 

These three went on a little road trip…

We were surprised when our room came with a huge tub and fireplace! I know there are many of you that have these tubs in your house-know that I'm jealous. Just saying. 

Enjoyed walking around the town…

We walked into one of the shops and in the back it was full of candy. Cale immediately said, "We're home. Lets set up camp."

Our pretty hotel! :)

Look at his face! Such a ham! 

(The sign he almost bought…)

(…and the sign he ended up buying.) 



Pregnancy is going well!

Baby bump finally showed up at 17 weeks!

Bump at 18 weeks…

At 19 weeks…





and then 24…

Lots of belly pictures! Haha! I thought I'd just go ahead and post them all :) My belly is growing and I think my bum is in a race with the belly to see which will grow the most! ;)

On December 6th we had our first ultrasound! Oh my word. I could have stayed on the bed and stared at the screen all day long. Amazing. Seriously.

Our baby may look like a little duck now…but hopefully a human will come out!

Rachel came to the ultrasound with us and was handed a yellow envelope that contained the results of this baby being a girl or a boy. We had to make sure Mama didn't peek at the screen!

Rachel opened the envelope later that day and did a little shopping. She wrapped the gift and the package went under the Christmas tree.  The wait was on.

Finally Christmas morning came and we fought to stay in bed until 5am. Cale and I ran into Mama's room singing, White Christmas to wake her up. We were excited!

Once all three of us were set up, we opened the gift! Mama recorded to save for memories and we decided to share with all of you!

We're going to be welcoming Baby Nora in April! :)


Veterans Day came and Cale received a card. Along with the card came a blizzard from DQ but Cale said the card was "the best ever." He was so thankful!

I also thought a lot this year about how my husband joined the military to provide for his family. And, because of that decision, he has continued to provide for his family. Praising the Lord for such a husband.

Cale has been helping as much as he can around the house since I'm pregnant. I often have to walk him step by step through whatever he's doing, but he's doing it. Love.

Cale continues to do archery and love it :)

We go on little dates with cutie girls :)

We did Christmas things…

Nora made lots of chocolates with Mama and I :)

and we had a very merry Christmas and hope you did too!

As 2013 comes to a close, we look back and are both so thankful for all that took place. I ran a half marathon, we left the hospital, moved into our own home, I ran a marathon, and we found out a baby is on the way!! That's just a few highlights!

I know we're both going into 2014 with excitement along with being slightly terrified with whats to come…but it's all covered with grace and smiles!

Happy New Year!!!! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

a heart of thankfulness…in the middle of a mess.

Around this time of year, it's basically culture to be thankful. Isn't it? Lists are made and shared of everything in life we're thankful for. Fall comes, yummy food is eaten, family is around, decorations go up, gifts are given, life is full and good-and we are all thankful. 

About the week and a half leading up to Thanksgiving, life around our home was difficult. Cale was having some hard days that may have been handled with a little more grace and patience if hormones within me weren't all over the place. I tell you what. NO control with these hormone-things. None. Tears come and everything can seem so helpless when reality says otherwise. 

I even had an evening that I was just done. I left to the store alone needing a break, needing to breathe. Needing to just surround myself with cans of vegetables and bags of dried pasta. I had one single item left on my list and for some reason, the grocery store employees had hidden it from me as if I was in the mood to play a game…while strolling down one aisle, I just about sat in the middle of it and cried my eyes out. Frustration and fatigue had hit. I was done. Tears were forming and I know my face had to have been fire red.

I left the store huffy and puffy without the relief I had left the house looking for. As I drove home, I started to voice all that I'm thankful for. The hard stuff-like brain injury? I'm thankful Cale's still with me. I'm thankful we're having a baby and starting a family. I voiced my list all the way home while at the same time covering those difficult things in life with prayer. 

By the time I walked in the door, I was exhausted but ready to be home and ready to see Cale and Mama. I talked with Cale about how the last week had gone, and he vowed to try harder to be gentle and more patient with me and to not get so upset over little things. 

The next morning started with a BAM! Cale was upset. I was then upset and all the while I was trying to get ready for church. I felt a desperate need to try and fix whatever was broken in our home, but God has chosen not to give me the tools to just "fix" everything. Thankfully.

I've learned early on that there's no need for me to put on a smile just for church and to pretend everything is just dandy. Hard days are hard days and struggles are real. I was blow drying my hair that morning with red puffy eyes and had really considered just not going at all. Mama had already said she would let Cale cool down and try to get him to join me at church when she came for the second service.  The person that was starring at me in the mirror looked pitiful. 

I started reading one of the devotional apps I have on my phone and part of it said if we give Him thanks regardless of our feelings, He will give us joy regardless of our circumstances

In that moment of a hard week built up and in the middle of the mess I was in that morning, I needed that reminder.

Two days before Thanksgiving I had posted on Facebook that brain injury and hormones don't mix…please pray for us. 

The next day things had turned around for Cale and we came up from the hard place he was in. These times will happen with his injury, but oh what a blessing to know people are praying us through them! 

Overall things are back to being just dandy in our home again…but I don't want to forget to keep a thankful heart-not just now but during the rest of the 12 months as well! Not just while we're all happy chappy but while we're trudging through each day feeling the weight of it all.

Thankfulness is not just part of the holiday festivities. It's a heart condition. Are we thankful in the middle of a mess or just when everything seems to be shiny and neat? 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Alaska...North Carolina...and life at HOME!


I have a ton more than a ton to share...so I'm just going to dive in. I'll have to skim the surface on most of it but hopefully it still ends up a good update! :)


In July we hopped a plane and went to Port Alsworth, Alaska for a week. It was iiiiiiincreeeedible! I just sang that out loud as I typed the word. It was no joke the most awesome experience for us. Not only did we get to meet some new friends whom we treasure, it was also a week of focusing on being husband and wife and our marriage without focusing on Cale's injury. 

Samaritan's Purse has a ministry set up that is topnotch. In fact, I would say if you know of a wounded veteran and spouse that would benefit from a week at a marriage conference in one of the most beautiful places on earth...TELL them about it! Beautiful. 

The view from our room... iiiiiiincreeeedible! 
(Yep...just sang that again)

We kayaked. Not our first go at this but we did come to realize we're more of a foot paddle couple and not so much the arm paddles...Cale's coordination and Kathleen's squeaks...yeah...no. 

a form of transportation

the first full day in Alaska we signed up to hike. It was quite the um...experience! Cale did amazing! He grumbled on the way up but never gave up! It was a challenge for almost everyone at different times and for Cale it was triple the work because he had to focus on so much going on, deal with his balance issues along with battling fatigue! Thankfully there were manly muscles to help out! 

We made it to the top of the falls and ate a lunch. While we prayed together, I specifically asked that the Lord would carry Cale back down the mountain. I knew with his legs already so tired and the struggle going up was, it meant down was going to be even worse. 

There was a bit more of a hike to the bottom of the falls to fish before heading back down the mountain. We both caught a couple fish and celebrated! It ended up being a blast but it ended with knowing the hike back was going to be miserable...

Except that the only thing I can claim is that the Lord blessed us by carrying Cale down the mountain. It was amazing! He still needed lots of help and it was still a challenge but he went so quickly and didn't have near as much trouble as before! He was exhausted but it didn't show until we were back in our room and done with the hike! 

He was so proud of himself and was able to tell everyone about it back at the lodge during dinner :)

If you look closely...in the back leftish part of the picture you can see a bear...yep! We spent an afternoon watching bears play and live! 

Do you see them all behind us?! 

A few times there were bears that ended up a lot closer than expected...

There were times that Cale needed quite a bit of help to do something...and there were always willing muscles to help! It was great for me to watch Cale and watch some of the other veterans that would help him, they never made him feel less...and he never felt less...

whaaaat up?

We took a little boat plane to visit Richard Proenekke National Historic Site.
Really great opportunity! Cale was a giant in the tiny little cabin :)

He also got to be the copilot on the way back! Ask him about it sometime...he LOVES to talk about it and show pictures! Before taking off he turned to everyone and said, "I hope you all can swim!" Haha! Uh...

Have I told you yet that it was beautiful?!

Fun hat...

Another boat trip and more fishing. Only enjoyable for Cale when the fish are on the hook :)

And then it was time to go home...

Check out Operation Heal Our Patriots


We had a short time home...found out we were pregnant...and then we were off again!


We try to visit my brother every year in NC along with our friends that are more like family :)

We had a GREAT visit! It started off with us announcing our baby! They were not expecting us to share that news...so everyone was surprised! The reactions were priceless!

"For real for real?"

Oh yes...for real for real.

Cale had a little buddy :)
just a bunch of crazies!

love her.

love them.



We had a blast at the beach! We were able to go twice and enjoy salt and sun! My brother pretty much held onto Cale the whole time and they were both pounded with waves! I tried to help at the beginning but I was getting thrown off so much that I wasn't much help!

I also went to Cary for a couple days while Cale stayed with the rest of the family. It was great to get some good visiting in! My time in Cary was shortened so I wasn't able to visit and see as many as I would have liked, but it was still great to go! Love these two ladies in my life...feels like family when I'm with them and nothing short of that!

Before leaving for home, we also went to see the tree that changed our lives. I had gone to see it with Rachel in 2010 about 6 months after the accident or so but Mama and Cale had never seen it. We loaded in the van and my brother drove us over, not far from his house.

While we were walking around looking and taking in the sight, the father of the boy that caused the accident drove up. Not much was said but he did give us permission to take as long as we needed since we were on his property.

Still emotional. Still so much longing to go back to that day, passing the tree and making it safely to my brothers. No rewind button. Mama and my brother stopped me at one point as a desperation to find something of ours in the creek came over me. I'm not sure what I would have done if I would have found something or what good it would have done...but with almost 4 years of growth and weather...not a thing to be found.


The joy of being home the last couple months even with the two trips we've taken has been wonderful. It's been a true joy to just experience life together here especially once we became aware of the new life taking place in my tummy!

At home we...

watch the Red Wings play...

spend morning's on the patio with Jesus...

go to family BBQ's...

we be crazy and get to visit with family...

we drive to a tiny little town and visit with our friends at the rodeo...

we go on date nights...

we enjoy fall...a lot...

we get Cale's haircut and make silly faces...

we visit our friends newest addition...

we do a 2 mile walk to raise money and awareness for a beautiful ministry here at home...

(Cale did awesome with this walk! 2 miles is a loooong ways and very difficult for him but he did it and didn't even take a break! I'm so proud of him!!)

we decorate pumpkins with family and eat lots of yummy food...

and we watch our local AHL hockey team play with friends and cheering loudly.

Home is good.


Cale is his own breed.


He tends to make everyone around him laugh...and he loves that. He's super excited to be a daddy and takes time at some point during the day to talk with the baby. He is really happy when he gets to spend time in his man cave. He's been running a lot of errands with me lately and is always helpful...well, almost always. ;)

We've had three bad days in a row but aside from them, we've had a lot of good days in the last couple months. Everyone has bad days so those come...but nothing like they were before. Cale loves archery. In the last few weeks he hasn't done it near as much as he would like but when he does I'm continually impressed with how good his shot is!

Since we've been home from Walter Reed, investing at home has been pressing on my heart. We as a couple have been praying about the different areas we can serve in our church as one of the ways to invest at home. This September our church started Wednesday night meals up again. We've tried to go eat before, but it was just too much for Cale, but...serving the food to everyone has been a way that he can help serve in our church and it's not too much for him! We get to the church right before the meal starts and whatever the meal looks like we find a good spot for Cale to serve! He sometimes gets corn or Macaroni and Cheese everywhere but he does it with a smile! :) One of the nights we had breakfast for dinner, I was serving the breakfast casseroles and Cale was passing out the pancakes. When we left he said, "this is so much fun!" He loves getting to see everyone and be focused on giving them the food they want. He usually picks on a few different people and has a blast doing it!

Thankful for a small way that we can serve in our church as a couple... :)


Yeah Baby! Heehee! Us having a baby...makes me smile every single time I think about it!

Update as of today:
I'm 15 weeks.
I posted this picture on FB at 12 weeks and 6 days

with the full excitement that I had "popped" but...my "popping" would still go away. Haha.
At 15 weeks, there's still nothing. Well, nothing for most of the time except for when I eat too much food ;)

I can't eat meat. Or eggs. Or fish.

I'm still really tired but at this point I'm not having to nap every day as I was for a few weeks.

I feel like a tub of lard that's kept in my grandmas pantry. Everything just feels large even without the tummy. Awkward stage where I'm just more pudgy and uncomfortable.

I can eat bean and cheese burritos every single day and I'd be super happy.

Our baby is the size of an apple and can now hear voices. I like to play worship music so the baby can already be worshipping Jesus :)

Mama captured this picture yesterday of Cale having one of his chats with the baby. It was so sweet! I'm so thankful she took the picture! We had no idea she was taking one and now it's one we'll cherish for years to come!

We've heard the heartbeat twice! The first time Cale's mom, Mama, and Cale all came. It was perfect. There's always the question about whether or not the sound we hope for will be there. It was! We've chosen, if everything during the pregnancy allows, to do a home birth. Cale hates hospitals and doctors...and well, I'm not going to be in a place to be able to calm him down when I'm pushing out a watermelon...so somewhere that's comfortable and safe for him is the best option for us both...and we're both really excited about it! We love our midwife. We had met with her February 2012 so I already new she was great with Cale which was a huge factor.

At the first appointment she was looking for my uterus and afterwards Cale asked to feel it. You'll see in the video that she takes the time to help him find it! I love that!

This second video was from earlier this week. If you listen carefully you can hear the baby kicking! So very exciting! It's happening! We're really having a baby!


That about sums it up! Haha!

I hate when I lose my patients with him. I hate it. I feel like it's been a little too frequent lately...hello hormones?

Rachel and I went for a 3.5 mile walk the other day...that's quite the change from our weekend long runs with each other :) With the pregnancy, running has not been an option like I hoped that it would have been. I do miss it...but I also have a baby in me and if that's a sacrifice that needs to be made, I'm ok with that!

I've had to back out of some things that I love because I know God is asking for my attention and focus in other areas. Although this is exciting, it's not always easy.

Am I enjoying pumpkin everything? Well, yes I am!

I'm getting ready to take a trip...it'll be just me and most likely the last trip I take for a long time with out either a Cale, a baby, or both with me. I'm excited. I am so so so thankful for this time that I get to go away and just be a girl. Hoping between now and next week I do get some kind of pooch! :)

That's all for now folks! Hopefully I get another update on here before a month has passed!