Last week the kids attended VBS at church and absolutely loved it. They were so sad on Friday when it was over. At church on Sunday, they performed the songs that they had learned during the week. Of course Grace had to be front and center on the stage, while Taylor went straight to the back! Taylor loves to sing but doing all the movements and such are not his thing, as you will be able to see from the pictures!
Honestly, where does the time go? I can not believe Grace is already turning 5! Her actual birthday is tomorrow, so we had her party yesterday at the pool! She chose the swim party and the cake idea! I must say this was probably one of the easiest parties I have ever done. And as Grace said last night, "this was the best birthday party ever!" So, I guess she liked it!
I found the top design for the cake, but Grace wanted a seahorse also. So Lillian (amazing at cakes), made it look like the seahorse from the Littlest Pet Shop. Grace need immediately what it was and LOVED it!!!
For some reason I didn't get these up back at the end of May but I still wanted to so that I would have them for this year. Taylor has always loved to read and be read to. In the first grade, he read a ton of books and received a trophy at the end of the year for being a Star Reader. So, naturally I assumed he would do it again as a second grader. About half way through the year, I noticed he was only reading one or two books a week. Granted the books were harder, but I know at this pace he was not going to make it to 100 books in order to receive the trophy. So I asked him he he wanted to try for the trophy again this year and he said "Nah!" I was shocked, I wanted to try for the trophy! I still wanted him to challenge himself so I told him he had to read three weeks a week no matter what! So he did, sometimes four. In April I checked his AR points to see where he was and he had 78. I knew this was close to the 100 he needed but if he didn't want it, I wasn't going to push. Well, guess who decided a week into May that he really wanted that trophy!!!! So, what does any good mom do, we buckled down and really started reading and bringing home the books. Three mornings in a row, I went with him into school and he sat down and tested on several books and then we would search for the books that would get him the most points. Well, he did it! The day before the deadline he reached 101 points. He was happy, I was exhausted! But, I am glad I helped him accomplish his goal. I just told him next time, don't wait until the last minute to decide you want something!!!
Waiting for the awards assembly to begin!
Receiving his Star Reader trophy.
Taylor with his favorite teacher, Mrs. McCombs!
This past Thursday, we attempted to have our end of the season baseball party at the water park but the weather had a different plan for us. We were able to eat our pizza, cookie cake, and hand out trophies before the rain hit. Thankfully we were able to reschedule so hopefully we can enjoy the park on another day!
Ugh! I don't remember the other two pregnancies being like this. I know I was sick with Taylor until around 16 weeks and until around 12 or 13 with Grace, but I don't remember being constantly sick. I guess I can rephrase that, feeling constantly sick. Last week about four days and this week only one, have I gotten actually sick. But, the constant feeling of feeling like I am about to hurl is really wearing me down. And trust me I have tried everything - medicine from the doctor, Seabands, Vitamin B6, ginger ale, crackers, you name it I have tried it. I know one thing that does make me feel better is when I am outside but with this heat, who can stay out there long. The kids and I have gone to the pool a couple of times, and while we are there I feel fine, but as soon as I step back into the house, it hits me like a ton of bricks. The feeling is so bad it will even wake me up in the middle of the night. I have had some people tell me they had this their entire pregnancy, oh Lord help me if that is the case. Because of being sick so much I have yet to gain weight, which I guess can be good or bad.
On a more positive note, the kids are so excited about the baby. They talk about it every day. If it is a girl, Taylor wants to name it Hope and Grace wants to name it Sparkle Shivers or Charlie (yes for a girl). She gets upset when Taylor tells her those are not good names. I told her she can call it whatever she wants, but we would probably give it different name. Everyone can come up with girl names while no one has even mentioned boy names. I wonder if that is a sign. The heart beat has been super fast like a girl, but my cravings when I am wanting something to eat, is for salty and sour which would lean more towards boy. So who knows. I do know that I have not touched ice cream or cake or anything sweet in a long time. And if you know me very well, you know that is huge!!!
In a couple of weeks we hope to find out what we are having. My friend told me to come back around 16 weeks and we would start trying to see if we can tell. My doctor will not do another ultrasound until 20 or 21 weeks so it will be fun to know a little earlier. I have got to start planning and buying stuff!
For some reason, this Father's Day is hitting me harder than others. I don't know if it is the hormones or what. I feel so blessed to have or have had three men in my life that have been excellent role models, heroes, and loving men. But, on the other hand, I have a heavy heart today for my brother. I know his heart is hurting today as he longs for his sons, Dustin and Hunter. I hope he is able to celebrate today the love of his other children, and feel the love of his sons in Heaven. I know God is giving him extra attention today, carrying him as he goes about his day.
My brother's family
But, as I celebrate today, I have to start with my own Dad. Daddy for so many years, my dad has been and will always be my hero. We definitely had that special "father-daughter" relationship. I am not afraid, at the age of thirty five, to admit that I am still a full fledged "Daddy's Girl!" There was never an event or a time in my life that my dad was not there for me. I can recall so many times my dad would take me to a sporting event even when he didn't know a single person on the team. If I wanted to do it, he would make sure I was able to. Some would call me spoiled, but I call me loved. My dad has an unconditional love for his children that can not be matched. He was always there to guide us, but he was not afraid to let us fail, to learn a lesson. But, he would also then be there to help us figure out how to do it right. As I grew up and had a family of my own, my love for my dad has only deepened. As I watch him with my children and see the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face everytime he sees my kids, my heart becomes overwhelmed. He is the best PaPa a grandkid could ask for! He is not afraid to get down on the floor and give that horsey ride, even when I know his knees really can't take it, and he is not afraid to get out in the yard and play a game of baseball and run the bases, even when he too tired to do it. He is that kind of man, he will scrafice himself to make others happy. Dad, on this Father's Day, I want you to know how much I love you, how much I appreciate you, and how much you mean to me. You are my hero and always will be!
JD - for the past 17 years, I have grown to love you even more. I never understood what it meant to truly love your husband until we had children. But as I watch you as a dad, the way you interact with our children, my heart feels like it could explode. And now as we await the birth of another child, I can only wait to see how my love will continue to grow for you. Our kids are so lucky to have you in their lives. You are not afraid to get out there and play, coach or just be with them. They will not completely understand what kind of dad they have until they are older. But, I promise you, they will look at you and know that they had the best dad in the world. You are leading them and showing them what kind of person they can become and guiding them as they go about life. Thank you for always being there for them and for me!
And finally, to one other man in my life who has meant the world to me, my Grandpa Binz. It doesn't seem possible that you have been gone for three years. I will always remember you as a strong man who loved to tell a story, especially a fishing story. You had a passion for fishing like no one I have ever met. I know you are smiling down on us each time we take the kids fishing, and I know you especially love to watch Grace as she reels in the "Big" one. I swear she has a little bit of you in her. She loves to fish! I so wish my children could have had more time with you. Taylor would love to hear your stories. But I cherish the thought that you were able to meet them and be a small part of their lives. And I know you are always with us and I will see you again some day. I recall so many summers I would spend on your farm. I loved to play in your barn and climb on your tractor. Do you remember your crows that would call the cows? I laugh today as I think about how you taught them to do that. You loved animals, but boy would you pester them! I remember your hands and how strong they were. You were and always will be a big part of my life. I hope you are catching a "Big" one today in Heaven!
Lord, I thank you for all the amazing men in my life. I celebrate them today on Father's Day and every day! You have blessed me beyond words!
"How can we thank God enough for you and for the joy
and delight you have given us?" 1 Thessalonians 3:9
Well, the disc has still not turned up. I have no idea where it could have gone! Oh well, I will just have to go to my in-laws again and burn another. Sooner or later I will post the pictures from Taylor's karate meet.
Today was an exciting day! A good friend of mine is an ultrasound tech and she offered to do an ultrasound for me. I had one at 8 weeks but at my 12 week visit we only heard the heartbeat, so I was excitied at the thought of getting to see Baby Surprise again! I decide to take the kids with us and also my mom. For some reason, I did not take here to either of Taylor's or Grace's ultrasounds. For the life of me I don't know why! But, I thought it might help her some to see the new baby. She really enjoyed it and so did the kids. They were really intrigued by the whole thing. And I must say it was one active little thing too. Grace jumped the first time it moved. It would stretch out and at one point looked like it was waving at us. I cannot thank my friend enough for doing this for us. And she said in about 3 to 4 weeks we can do another one and try to get an early peak at whether it is a boy or girl! No I won't wait! I hate surprises! I was the child that one Christmas opened all my presents and re-wrapped them (yes, I did get caught!). I can't stand to wait for anything. Also, since we have sold EVERYTHING baby related that we owned, I need to get a head start on buying everything again.
So many people have asked me what I want, and I really don't care. I already have one of each. My prayers are that it is healthy and that we have a strong full term baby. On the other hand, for my sanity, deep down I hope it is a boy. I have one diva, I don't know that I can take another one!
Well, here is our sneak peak! Just a few of the pictures she gave to us. We have a ton though!
I have a disc of pictures floating around this house somewhere that I was going to post today, but can not find it anywhere right now. So hopefully it will turn up where I least expect it and I will post Taylor's karate seminar from Saturday and the kids playing with their cousins at my in-laws. While we were out of town this weekend, my in-laws kept the kids and they had a ball. Also, thanks to my friend KK, Grace went to her first skate party and had a great time playing with Riley Belle. Grace also had a fun Sunday afternoon at a tea party hosted by Riley Belle's grandma. The pictures were stolen off of Facebook so the quality is a little low.
Grace skating for the first time!
Playing dress up with Riley Belle
The girls striking a pose at the tea party.
Thanks to my family and friends for helping out this weekend with the kids. I am so glad they had a good time! Hopefully the disc will turn up and I can post Taylor's weekend and all the water fun the kids had on Friday!
Today was bittersweet. I have only been to one other child's funeral and after that one, I said I never wanted to go again. Little did I know that God would need two more angels in heaven. The events that have transpired over the past week don't even seem real. It is hard to believe that I sat down at this computer one week ago to do some work, and little did I know that just before 10 p.m. our lives would be forever changed. When a tragedy like this happens, time almost seems to stand still. But I guess part of it has. From that moment on, Dustin will always be 11 (almost 12) and Hunter will be 8. They will be forever young, in our minds, in our hearts, for eternity. Seems hard to imagine or believe. We never think about it that way. We always assume that our kids, our nieces and nephews, they will grow up, experience the milestones that come with childhood, with being a teenager, with becoming an adult. But as of last weekend, Dustin and Hunter will forever in time be children. Again, I am finding nothing but peace through this tragedy. The questions come but they soon fade because I know that there is a purpose, there is a reason, we do not know it now, but we will, some day. The preacher today told of God giving his only begotten son for our sins and for us. He also talked about how out of this tragedy if one person was moved or touched to become closer to God, then that was part of his plan. He told many beautiful stories, shared wonderful scripture, and truly honored my nephews. We must all stay strong in knowing that one day we will see them again. My thoughts keep going back to one thing about heaven...I know they are fishing with my grandpa, their great Grandpa Binz and there are some amazing stories being told about "the one that got away."
The outpouring of love over the last week has been overwhelming. So many people, so much compassion, it has been so amazing. I want you to know that we have felt your prayers, we know that God has heard them, and he is helping us heal during this time. There is no time table for healing from something like this. I don't think anyone expects there to be. How could there be? But because of my faith and trust in the Lord, I know that it will come, maybe not completely because there will always be a missing part to our family now, two missing parts.
I looked up today at the cemetery as we were all waiting to leave, and there was a lone bird flying overhead. The boys are buried in a beautiful cemetery in Kingston. It sits up on a hill with the Ozark Mountains surrounding it. Absolutely beautiful. But, as we were all sitting there trying to find the courage to leave, I looked up and a bird, I don't know what type, but a beautiful bird was flying high in the gorgeous blue sky. And I thought to myself, this is a sign. Dustin and Hunter have their wings and they are soaring high.
As I posted on Facebook, even during such sadness, God reminds us of hope. Hope in the promise of new life. JD and I found out back in April that we were expecting our third child - much to our surprise! At first we were shocked, completely and totally shocked. But, now at three months, and with the events of the past week, God is reminding us that life is precious. Maybe God knew we would need some hope to look forward to.
Sorry for the rambling, I don't even know if this makes much sense. I will re-read it to check but like so many of you, I started doing this to capture our lives and document the events and occurrences in it. I had to get down my thoughts and feelings. Thank you to anyone who has prayed, called, sent messages, etc. There is no way to personally thank so many of you. But, I do appreciate all of you.
RIP ~ Dustin James Taylor and Hunter Jacob Taylor ~ Forever Loved, Forever Missed, Forever In Our Hearts ( I love you both! Aunt Kristin)
I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day. But once again, I say amen and it's still raining as the thunder rolls. I barely hear You whisper through the rain, "I'm with you" and as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.
And I'll praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands for You are who You are no matter where I am and every tear I've cried You hold in your hand You never left my side and though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm. I remember when I stumbled in the wind You heard my cry to You and raised me up again my strength is almost gone how can I carry on if I can't find You and as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain "I'm with you" and as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.
I lift my eyes onto the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth I lift my eyes onto the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
Words can not even begin to explain the tragedy that has fallen on my family. I sit here and can't not even begin to know the pain that my brother is going through. I have watched and read about so many people who have lost children and can not understand how they can still have such a strong faith and trust in the Lord. But through our own tragedy, I now know what they are drawing on.
So many times people want to ask "Why?" and "How could God do this?" But through all of this I have not asked that. Over the last year, my faith and relationship with God has grown leaps and bounds. Before I would have been angry and questioning. I was during both of my miscarriages. I was so angry with God, I struggled with the "Whys" and wonder what I had done to deserve this. But, not this time. I am finding peace in God's power and strength.
Over the past couple of days I have listened to numerous songs that I have a listened to before and would feel something, but they now mean so much more. "Praise you in this Storm" is one. Even during this storm that we are going through, I have this strong desire and need to be closer to the Lord. Yesterday morning, after being up most of the night waiting for more news, I still wanted to go to church. I know some people probably questioned why we were there but I told JD that I just felt I needed to be there. I cried through most of the service, but it felt so good to be in the presence of the Lord and to hear prays and be surrounded by God.
I know that God did not do this, our God is not an evil God. I know that he is holding us now and in the coming days, weeks, and months. Just like the poem "Footprints" says:
So I said to the Lord, "You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?"
The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you."
I know that the Lord is carrying my brother and my parents now. I know that he is carrying our whole family. He is always with us. He will never leave us. It is not the same as having my nephews here with us. And I know it hurts my brother when people say they are in heaven. He probably really doesn't care right now, he wants his sons back. Anyone would want their children back. I pray that over the coming days and months he too will find peace and not become more angry with our Lord. But, his anger will be understandable. I just have to trust in the Lord that he has a plan and a purpose for all of this. Though we don't know what it is, why it is, or really like it, we must always trust in Him.
There is another song that has been weighing heavily with me over the past couple of days. I have listened to this song before, on other's blogs that have lost children. It is called "Held" by Natalie Grant. It has so much meaning right now. I listened to the song before, read blog after blog of women who had lost children and until this weekend, the song was just a sad song for them, but now the song means the world to mean. We are held right now. Here is the chorus from that song:
"This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was when everything fell we’d be held."
I often wondered why I was so drawn to the blogs of women who had lost children. I would read and re-read their posts and never truly comprehend how they could be so trusting and faithful after something like this had happened to them. I am wondering if God put these blogs in my path to provide me with comfort now. God works in mysterious ways.
My family and I feel so much love right now. We know that so many people are out there supporting us and wanting to help. The biggest help that anyone can give right now is prayer. Prayer for comfort, Prayer for peace, Prayer for hope. We will survive, broken and changed, but we will survive. God will carry us and then when he feels we are ready he will walk with us again.