Wednesday, August 23, 2017

15 randoms.

I have just a few random thoughts for you...and a few pictures (as always!) to share...

1. To start it off because it happened this morning, Nora started preschool. I feel like we were just celebrating her last day of her 2's class in May. Yikes. Time. Time. Time. It passes by way too quickly. Excited for her and this new year! E and I met Mimi at the coffee shop for a date while we waited to pick up sissy!

2. Ok, I know it's not wise to get a puppy when you have a baby-especially a baby who thinks sleeping at night is a joke but I'm in a war every day because I feel like the time I spend wiping down Nora and Easton, the table, the chairs and the floor-yikes. Having a dog would give me the gift of time. Right?! 

3. You know the stories on Instagram and Facebook? Yeah, I don't get them. I don't get the point. Some of them are just pictures. So why not just post a picture? And then the videos...why not post a video? I just don't get it. Cale agrees. We've had deep and lengthy conversations about how we aren't cool enough to understand them. 

4. I love going on walks with this guy and our kiddos. 

5. Mama is home! We picked her up from the airport late this afternoon. We are thankful, oh so very thankful to have her hooooome! 

6. June 3rd I was running in a half marathon and fell. I was running down a rocky hill and my foot hit a rock in just the right way. My knee popped and down I went. It was awful. My knee swelled up quickly and although I kept trying to start running again, I couldn't. I was about 5.5 miles in and at that point it had been going so well. I was on track to PR which wasn't even planned. Anyways, I realize it's just a race and there are a lot of other things in the world that matter a whole lot more but I felt defeated. I had trained and trained and it was gone. Well, after a summer break and some healing, I've registered for another half in November! 

7. I also don't understand math. I just don't. 

8. These snuggles with this boy. I don't ever ever want them to stop. He gives the best snuggles.

9. I don't get our culture right now. I could go on and on but I won't.

10. We also were slightly confused with the eclipse. I honestly didn't know that much about what was going on. I mean, I did and didn't. The kids were napping so Cale and I had our weekly date to watch it. I brought out a picnic blanket and a  nice plate of food. We put on our cool glasses and watched. I think we both kind of expected something dramatic. I know some of you witnessed a really amazing thing happen-and it was pretty cool. But I am so thankful no one was filming us while we were trying to figure out if we had seen all that was to be seen or not. Ha. 

11. I am all for eating healthy but I'm just not sure we can be friends if you will only eat healthy and never ever have a treat with me. 

12. Nora starts soccer soon. She did dance last year and well, I definitely think mommy loved it more than Nora loved it. We may try again later but we're giving soccer a try. She is SO excited about it! We'll see how it actually goes when it starts but watching these guys play soccer last night, was so fascinating to her. 

13. Four. Four is good. And sweet. And exhausting. And wonderful. 
Four has grown me and strengthened me. Four has rounded my edges. Four has pointed me to Jesus. I love our little family of four. 

14. What is up with turning 30 and waking up with different pains and sore places? Could just be having second baby? Who knows. Either way, I feel my body getting older. Just a tiny bit...haha. 

15. Did you know some people do not believe in using soap? I heard a guy in an interview last week talking about how he never-NEVER uses soap. Not in the shower. Not after using the bathroom. Not on his dishes. Never. My brain can't get over this. 

What do you think? 
Do you like math?
Do you use soap?!?!?!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

...all the children of the world.

Hey guys! 

Before I say anything else, I want to say thank you SO much for all of your sweet words the last couple of weeks. Many of you have reached out to let me know you're so excited that I'm posting again...and I'm thankful for each word! You've also let me know that you've been reading with coffee (or tea!) in hand :)

This week we've had some fun with friends visiting! My friend Hannah came down with her two boys. We had two full days together and I loved every single minute. 

Hannah and I use the app voxer and talk quite a bit with each other about all of our random life doings but for a little while now we've been planning for her to come visit, we just weren't sure exactly when it was going to happen. There were several topics that we both kept saying we'd wait to talk about it until we could sit together in person and visit-while all of the kiddos slept. Those moments are so wonderful. Like really super wonderful.

We went for a walk around one of the lakes here. Nora went over to this tree and asked me to take her picture with it. She said something about it being her friend... :)

This picture captures the walk well. We stopped for one of the kids every couple of minutes. Enjoyed it but whew. Haha. 

The last time Lincoln and Nora played, Nora was 9 months and Lincoln was about a year and a half when I flew with her to NY. They grow up SO quickly! 

Do you see the way Easton is looking at her?? Heart melter! 

These two were buddies :)

For Christmas this last year, instead of getting Nora a bunch of toys that I knew would just eventually be given away or sit unplayed with, we purchased membership to the Museum of Life and Science. It's this huge place with so much to do. It's something that I knew we could do often and as a family. She loves going and so do the rest of us :) We were able to take Hannah and the boys and had a blast! There's an area with mist and the kids just ran and ran and ended up soaked. I sat of a bench in that area to feed Easton and it was incredibly hot that day but there was a slight breeze that covered me with just enough mist to feel comfortable while watching all the kids run wild. :)

Before they left us, there was a pretty great dress up photo shoot. Haha. 

("Mommy! It looks like a real dinosaur egg! Can we keep it to show Grammy?")

I don't know if you guys remember me talking about Susan and Gordon. They are the couple who adopted us while Cale was inpatient at the hospital here in Cary. It was the second hospital he was in and the first time I was alone. I just don't even know how to put into words how special it is that all these years later, Nora now calls them Mimi and Papa and adores both of them. Can you even believe it? They met us when Cale was in a coma. Our relationship started when I was told some of the hardest news, yet now we get to bake Mimi a cake for her birthday. Just so so so sweet. 

When we were at the store I told Nora we needed to pick something out for Mimi. She very quickly let me know that she could do it all by herself. She picked out this brown dinosaur. I told her it was pretty cool but did she think Mimi was going to like it? She said, "Yeah, Mimi loves dinosaurs!!" She planned to paint it and picked out the stuff to decorate it including pink glittery glue. When it was all done she said "Mimi is going to love this!"

This is Owen, Mike and Rachel's sweet boy. Isn't he the cuuuuuutest?! I hate living so far from him. Ugh. Hurts my heart to think about it...


Time to end but I don't want to ignore all that is taking place in our country. It is hard stuff. Heartbreaking stuff. I don't understand. I struggle with even knowing what to say except, as a family, the Darling's do not in any way support the hate that is taking place. 

That may not be super deep and lengthy but I just don't know how to put words to it. 

I am praying that as I raise these two humans, that they would grow up learning to love God passionately and with their whole hearts and they would love people the same. I pray that they would see people as God sees them not as the world sees them, putting labels on people as if they can be purchased in a grocery store. I pray that no matter the color, race, disability, size or sex-my kids would love. I pray that their daddy & mommy would be their biggest examples. 

One of the first songs that I remember learning was:

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world
red and yellow, black and white 
they are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I Will Yet Praise You


I'm not going to lie. I'm sitting here getting ready to write and there's an inner battle inside about whether or not I should skip posting and take a nap while both kids are down...

I've decided to post :)

This last week has flown by. Mama is back in Washington for a couple weeks so it's just us here. Last time she went, we had just moved here and I remember being so nervous. Cale's schedule was changing pretty drastically as well...which added to the mess of emotions. This time I feel a lot more confident. This is home and I know my people and their needs. I know our normal routine and goodness I know I can pray all day and night. ;) 

(it's funny how blogging with out emojis just doesn't feel as fun as it could be. haha.)

 My SIL and niece came Wednesday evening and then left yesterday, which was fun and a good distraction. Nora loves her Grammy and said last night that she doesn't like even a little bit that Grammy is not here. I absolutely love the bond those two have. 

I have to share this picture-last week when I was trying to get the blog post finished, I stuck E in the bath to play...without water. It worked! He loved it! 

He also has decided he enjoys riding in the cart his own way-

It literally took him 20 seconds while I was turned around looking at something. The next time we went to the store, he of course knew exactly what to do. We spent the entire trip having mommy turn him around the right way and he would whip right back around. He also attempted to master climbing all the way out that trip. Yikes! 

(I need the emojis! Seriously!)

Cale and I started back in February making it priority to have a date once a week. It doesn't matter if it's during the day or at night. It doesn't matter if we go out or stay in. It's just us, my focus on him where we can connect and enjoy each other. This has been sooooooo good for us. After Nora was born, we went through some adjustments that I didn't expect at all. I felt blindsided. I didn't see some of what we went through coming and it was hard. 

When I was pregnant with Easton, I was very intentional about putting things in place and really trying to set our life up to help combat some of the challenge of adjusting. Weeeeeell, E decided not to sleep at night and make mommy lose her mind. 

By February I was really struggling. Like, a lot. 

One of the ways was for the first time since the accident, I was really starting to feel like Cale was just there for me to take care of. He felt like extra work. I know that probably sounds harsh and maybe doesn't translate from my brain to your eyes well, but it's the best way I can put it. It was such a difficult time for me. And because of his brain injury, he didn't get it. 

That's when we made the commitment to do these dates every week. There have been days that I didn't want to go. Whether we had an awful brain injury moment in our home or I was just simply exhausted, this time with him allowed for me to step out of my flesh and love my husband as I'm called to. It truly has been a gift-for both of us. 

Easton wearing his shirt from Uncle Mike & Aunt Rae! :)

I've been able to go kayaking with Nora several times this summer. It's been so fun! She loves it. Her first time going all she wanted to do was reach out and touch the buoys. She said they were so cute and friendly. Ha! Since that time, she really enjoys the whole experience and looking for the birds and whatever else we can find. This last week when we went, I finally let her have her very own paddle. I never let her before because I knew it would just end up overboard but she has wanted to help paddle so badly, so I just went for it. 

Multiple times she would say, "Mommy, thank you for letting me have a paddle!" 

Nora give me a good smile. 

"I am. See!"

oh man.

We went to a place nearby that had a lot of different animals. Ciera was so excited to get close and also a little nervous. I was going to snap a picture of her getting really close to it when Nora comes storming in with no worry in the world. She just wanted to feed the pretty bird. Haha! 

Easton was very confused why the giraffe was eating the carrot. He wanted it! 

We build a lot of forts around here. They're so much fun. Well, of course while Nora had someone here to give her all of the attention imaginable, she had a fort built. 

This picture cracks me up. We were getting ready to pose for one but hadn't quite gotten ourselves together yet. My SIL snapped this one and it's definitely our favorite!


I just wanted to say that with me posting again, it doesn't mean that life is going amazingly well and I've got everything figured out or that it's all a big mess and I'm falling a part. 

A few days ago one of my friends asked me something about how to get to the beginning of the blog. A friend of hers is going through something difficult and she wanted to share my blog with her. I actually wasn't quite sure so I got on and found my way to the beginning. I didn't spend much time reading but I did skim a few posts and started to think about those early days in the ICU. 

The first few years after the accident everything was so sweet. Cale was continually changing. There were lots of really difficult times as well, but at the time, I didn't realize that after almost eight years of life with a brain injury things were going to be a completely different kind of challenge for us. It's not that it's end of the world terrible. It's just not what I imagined in the slightest-in many ways, and that's ok.

Not to mention we added a couple kiddos 
...and moved across the country!

I can share more later- I know that I will but for now, to give you a clearer picture of where I'm at as I write to you I wanted to share a song I heard three weeks ago. 

My friend Jenny in NY wrote it and it's incredible. INCREDIBLE. She was doing a concert and it was on Facebook. As I listened to the words, I was giving Nora and Easton a bath and I felt the words heavy. They were exactly what my heart had been praying.

I sent Jenny a text and asked for the lyrics and later asked if she had recorded it yet. She did send my the lyrics and I've read and then reread them. She also sent me a rough practice of her singing and I've played that over and over. As soon as I have some kind of something with her singing that I can post, I'll post it for you but for now, here are the lyrics...

I Will Yet Praise You
(words and music by Jennifer Hopper)

Forgive me for my fears and doubts
Surround them with your love
For years and years they've brought me down
I know I just need to trust, your love
I know I need to trust, your love

In the valley on the mountaintop my praise will be the same
'Cause I trust you I believe in your love and the power of your name

I will yet praise you no matter what may come
I will yet praise you when all is said when all is done
I lift my hands, raise my voice its you I adore
I will yet praise Lord

Forevermore, I'll worship and adore
Forevermore I'll praise you Lord