December 11, 2009

Two months

Our little Sylvia is over two months old now - wait, make that 9 weeks. At some point I guess I'll have to start referring to her age in months, or even years. On the other hand, it gives me some comfort to know that she won't move out until she's about 970 weeks old. She's growing very fast, and I hate it now when my weeks at work fly by, because I feel like I'm missing watching her grow. The other night Maggie was holding her, and for the first time I thought "wow, she looks a lot bigger than she used to" It's a tough realization as a parent. Maggie has spent some time this week going through Sylvia's clothes and putting the clothes she's already outgrown in storage to make room for new ones. This afternoon we were mentioning our favorite outfits that she's outgrown. It's a good reminder to soak in every moment.

****

Last night Maggie got to go spend time with friends, and left me home alone with both of the kids for the first time. I know, 'what was she thinking?!' Sylvia clearly missed her mommy, but reluctantly took the bottle. After fussing for almost an hour, she finally fell asleep, and we snuggled. There's nothing quite like the feeling of having your two month old baby soundly sleeping on your chest. And at that moment I thought "I'm not sure I can ever love a person more than I love this little girl right now". Then today we were getting ready to leave the house to fetch a Christmas tree, and she was all strapped in her car seat bundled up with her strawberry hat on and she looked up at her daddy and smmiiiilled. And at that moment I thought "I'm not sure I can ever love a person more than I love this little girl right now".

I love being a daddy.

November 10, 2009

My Ugly Heart.

Isn't it beautiful how God gives us small reminders of our ugly hearts just when we need them, only to fill them with beauty for his glory? I need them so often. I hate the ugliness that creeps up in my heart when I'm not paying close enough attention. This morning I was reminded by a devotion out of My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

After sanctification, it is difficult to state what you purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, "God has called me for this and for that," you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God's interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world. Your understanding of your ways must also be surrendered, because they are now the ways of the Lord.
I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all he asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say "Lord, this causes me such heartache." To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. Doing this creates for me my own cozy "world within the world," and God will not be allowed to move me from it because of my fear of being "frost-bitten."

November 9, 2009

The X-man, the Sylvie girl, and the Popp home.

Our home is so full of joy. I can't really imagine anything else I'd rather be doing that being a mama to these two. Motherhood was something I had to grow into with Mena and Cassandra. It wasn't something that felt so natural, or completely fulfilling to begin with. But as God has worked in my heart, and opened my eyes, I can see there is nothing else more important than loving these kids. And I love it.
The X- man had court at the end of last week. The boys will start having visits with their mom (not a huge fan of this...) and dad is still out of the picture (thank goodness.). The state brought out pictures of X when they first picked him up from his home. Our caseworker said that they were so disturbing that she refused to look at them. I'm so glad we didn't have to see. Several things happened at court, but most importantly the court ordered that X-man be moved into his brother's foster home as quickly as possible. They stated that with the progress he's made that there is no reason for them not to be living together anymore. This is such a huge blessing for him. With that said, we are severely going to miss this little guy. He has brought light and joy to our home, and we love him so very much. We're hoping that we will be able to provide respite for his new foster home occasionally, so we will still get to see him. He has such a beautiful soul, and I know God has something huge planned for his life, his life that really only started a couple of months ago.
Sylvia had her one month doctor's appointment. She is a whopping 9 pounds and is 22 1/4 inches long! She's growing so fast! She's smiling a lot now, and has just started making noises other than crying - which always earns an 'awww' or an 'ooooh' around here. We're pretty much in love with her.
With X-man getting ready to leave, we are in prayer about what God would have for us next. We are considering only doing respite and emergency placements for a couple of months before taking another long term placement. However, I also want us to search our hearts on our motivation to do so. It would be nice to have a little bit of a quiet break, some more time for just Brian and I....but with the wrong motivation, these are very selfish reasons to take a break. I don't want to place our own wants before what God has put before us. So, we will keep praying - and if I have any guesses on God's plan for our family, we will have another little one shortly.

Prayer would be greatly appreciated right now.
-For X-man, his heart, the move, his transition, the case, and the wisdom of the caseworkers involved.
-For God to continue to refresh mine and Brian's hearts even when it hurts to say goodbye to our kids. That we would be prepared to love the next little one that will come to us just as much as we have loved before.
-For wisdom to know where to go from here - what is best for our family, but more importantly what is best for God's family.





Esther

The name Esther suits her well. :)

October 31, 2009

Moms should all automatically be prescribed muscle relaxers.

What. a. day.

For those of you who don't know, the X-man started daycare on Monday as a kind of respite until our little family is back on their feet. He did so well - on Monday and Tuesday. Apparently someone at daycare was carrying a virus though, and he managed to catch it his very first day. Wednesday morning Brian came in and asked if I thought he was running a fever. I really thought he must be joking. What was I going to do with a sick Xavier and a 3 week old Sylvia???
This is what I would do....

In general, the last three days either Xavier has been unattended and getting into whatever he could, or Sylvia has been in her crib screaming. This was due to my attempt to keep them in completely separate rooms at all times to keep Sylvia from catching this Swine-ish kind of virus. Yesterday afternoon Sylvia was, as she had been for the last two days, crying in her crib. So I went upstairs, took off my outer layer of clothing (I had grown accustomed to wearing two layers - the Xavier layer, and the Sylvia layer.), and scrubbed my hands and arms up to my elbows so that I could pick up my baby girl. I had just gotten her quieted down when Xavier crawled into the room. I put Sylvia down and got Xavier out before he could wipe his snot covered face all over the room. I went halfway down the stairs and called for Xavier, trying to get him convinced that it was more exciting downstairs. Well, he sure did get excited, so excited that he crawled toward me and right off the top stair. Luckily I caught him, but not in time to avoid the fat lip that came next. With Sylvia screaming in the next room again, I rocked Xavier until he calmed down. He was getting hungry, so I put him in his high chair and buckled him in with his pediasure and some snacks, changed my clothes (back to my Sylvia clothes), scrubbed down again, and went to calm Sylvia again.
Deep breath, but it only gets better!
She was hungry, so I fed her, thinking Xavier was safe and strapped in his chair. About three quarters of the way through the feeding though, I hear the ceramic bowls that we keep on the kitchen table clanging together. So I prematurely end the feeding and put Sylvia back in her crib (that made her very happy. I'm pretty sure I would have been disowned as a mother yesterday if she could talk.). I went downstairs to find Xavier laying on his belly on the table, with UNO cards strewn across the dining room, playing with all the fun little trinkets that had gathered in the bowls on the table. I walked in, and he just smiled a cute little smile that said, "I know this is not what you want me to be doing, but I sure am cute doing it." I went over to assess the damage and was bombarded by the smell of his diaper. ughhh. So I decided to ignore the mess all over the kitchen, and just to change his diaper and put him down for a nap. Then I'd have some time to comfort Sylvia, who was still screaming in her crib. I took him up and unbuttoned his pajamas to change his diaper, but upon pulling his foot out of the pj's, I found it covered in, what is that?, oh, that's POOP! Somehow, his diaper had come halfway off, he had pooped, and both the feet of his pj's were full of his previous two meals. In the feet of the pj's he had been walking around in, and crawling across the kitchen table in. Not knowing what to do, I took him down to the kitchen and laid him on the floor, while singing loudly across the house to Sylvia. I cleaned off his feet and threw away the pj's, and took him to the bathroom. I ran his bath and got him in, when I heard a THUMP from the room where Sylvia was. Minor heart attack in play, I scrubbed myself down and ran into the room. She was fine (screaming, but fine), but just as I got into her room, Xavier slipped and fell in the tub. So I run back into the bathroom to an inconsolable, poop covered little boy in the bath. I finished his bath in a hurry, got him dressed, and put him down for a nap - at which time I got Sylvia and was able to calm her to sleep.


AAAHHHHH, quiet.

All I could do was sit on the couch and laugh. Hilarious. I love being a mom.

October 27, 2009

Support




I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to my wonderful husband and my beautiful mom. They were most definitely the best labor coaches I could have ever asked for, and I would not have made it through my labor naturally without them. (And I wasn't even nice to them the whole time, but they've forgiven me.) With that said, I so look forward to the day that I get to help coach my baby girl through her own labor experience.
Love you Bri.
Love you mom.




October 18, 2009

Can't believe you're here now...

Tiny dream come true...

Sylvia Esther Popp joined our family on October 6 at 9:26 p.m. She was 7lbs. 12oz. and 19 3/4 inches long. Her daddy and I could not be more in love with this wonderful little baby that was formed inside of me. After a long wait, and a long labor, she's here and (in my unbiased opinion) she's perfect. :)
I still find myself saying to Brian, "I can't believe she's really here.", "I can't believe she's OUR daughter.", "I can't believe she grew inside of me.", or "I can't believe she came out of me, check out the size of her head!". It's a pretty surreal experience, but definitely the most exciting and blessed thing I have ever experienced.
At 4:30 in the morning on October 6, I woke up to contractions that seemed stronger than those I had previously had. However, for anyone who read my two previous blogs (which I deleted, due to the nonsense I was spouting!), you know that I had previously had around 60 hours of contractions already that lead no where. I wasn't going to get too excited. However, at 5:30 after a trip to the bathroom and realizing that the contractions were in fact getting stronger, I woke Brian up just to give him a heads up. It was not long after that when I told Brian to go ahead and call his mom and my mom, that this was the real thing. I got up and took a shower, and by the time I got out the contractions were strong. They were consistently 4-5 minutes apart and at least 1 minute long from the very beginning. Brian called the midwife just to let them know, and to get some advice as to when to come in. She said to give it a while and to call her back. Brian coached me through contraction after contraction, and made sure I was eating as much as I could, while I could. Our friend Amber came down and got Xzavier and watched him until Brian's mom got to our house around 10:00 and took over with Xzavier, so that we could really focus on the labor. My mom ran into three accidents on her way here, so she showed up rather anxious at around 1:30. At that point the contractions were very strong, and some were even reaching 2 minutes in length. We called our midwife, and she said to go ahead and come in. We got to the birthing center (which I would recommend to ANYONE!) around 2:15 and I was 7 centimeters dialated. I used their bathtub, and their expertise on labor positions, and by 5:00 I was fully dialated. This is when the fun began.
I started pushing at 5:30, and by 7:30, had not really made much progress on her grand entrance. I was getting very discouraged, and VERY worn out. I kept pushing and pushing, changing positions and the whole deal - and while she did come down some, she wasn't even crowning by 8:30. At this point I was exhausted. Completely. I've never worked so hard in my life as I did in labor. A call had to be made, she wasn't coming down, and she couldn't stay in there forever. To the hospital we went.
Unfortunately I opted for the ambulance instead of taking our car. The EMT in the ambulance had obviously never seen a woman in labor or something, because he just sat there and stared at me. And two or three times in the middle of contractions (that I was still pushing through) he asked if he could check to "make sure I wasn't having the baby." Wow. That was not the right thing for him to ask me in the middle of third stage, un-coached contractions.
In the back of my mind, I was thinking, I'll get to the hospital, and they'll make it stop! They'll make it go away!! Now! But, to my surprise, I got to the hospital, and they told me to push. I tried to explain to them that I was done, there was no more pushing in me - this baby was coming out without my assistance at this point. They didn't listen. And I'm glad now. I ended up with an episiotomy and she needed a little help coming down, but then there she was. Perfect.
Brian imediately took off his shirt so that she could be skin on skin when they handed her to him, and he brought her to me and laid her on my chest. That was the best, most relieving moment of my entire life. They stiched me up and got me taken care of - which I didn't even notice, because I was holding my baby girl! At that point I asked what I could take for pain, since she was out, and I hadn't had any medication for the labor.
It was the best day of my life. And while I haven't forgotten the labor, as some women say you do, I would do it all over again. She's incredible. And I can't believe she's here now.


Can’t believe you’re here now
Tiny dream come true
The answer to a prayer now
I’m so in love with you
Couldn’t wait to meet you
Hope you like your name
I get the funny feeling
Life will never be the same

Safe and sound
You’re here with me now
Like I hoped you’d be
Safe and sound
You’re here with me now
And that’s all I’ll ever need

The world’s a scary place here
But baby it’s alright
I’ll make sure the coast is clear
So you can just sleep tight
But if you’re afraid of monsters
Like everybody is
I’ll be right beside you
Closer than a kiss

Safe and sound
I’m here with you now
And you will always be
Safe and sound
I’m here with you now
And that’s all you’ll ever need

Someday I’m gonna teach you
The reason why we pray
So that heaven’s love may reach you
Every single day
So, baby close your eyes now
And say a prayer with me
Lord, I lay me down to sleep now
But I know I will be

Safe and sound
You’re here with us now
And we will always be
Safe and sound You’re here with us now
And that’s all we’ll ever, all we’ll ever need
You’re all we’ll ever need

-Matthew West

September 20, 2009

38 weeks, and the little old man

Just a quick update...  as promised we've got a belly pic from 38 weeks, and - as a bonus - a video of our little old man sleeping.


September 16, 2009

Long...sorry!

Ahhhh....where to start? Blogging has been few and far between because things have been so crazy, and we're gearing up for them to get even crazier!
Our sweet boy came to stay with us on September 3, and we've been kept on our toes ever since. I won't use his name in the blog due to some safety issues in this case - don't want anyone to be able to search out our blog! Anyway, he is so, so sweet and God has given us such an abundance of love for him. And God is absolutely blessing him to heal and grow! He came into the state's custody just three weeks ago, and at that time they placed him at a 4 month developmental level. (He's 15 months old) He had never rolled over, sat up, or interacted very much with any other people, and he weighed about 12 pounds. After three weeks of devoted love and attention, he is now 17 pounds 10 ounces, and I am watching him cruise around our coffee table! He has had a complete change in nutrition, but also I think that having love, attention, touch, and nurturing has aided his growth even more so.
Right now my head is spinning from all the appointments. Between meetings about the case, physical therapy, occupational therapy, weekly doctor's appointments, and the dentist we are on the run! (Secretly hoping the baby doesn't come until we get through all these initial evaluations!)
He has come so far, but also has so far to go. Physically he is catching up at an alarming rate. However, cognitively it is going to take more time. Overall I'd put him at about 7 months or so. He's not yet making distinct sounds, or playing with toys the way that most babies his age do - but we're hoping in time to get him more caught up in those areas too. Right now he has a ridiculous aversion to anything going into his mouth but his thumb or a bottle nipple. He's not ever had food before, and it's going to be a long road to get him to eat anything but Pediasure.
I know that in time, God is going to get him squared away. What a blessing it is that he was moved when he was - God surely has big plans for this little guy. It has been such a joy to be his parents, whatever God has in store, and to see him growing and changing so quickly!

Speaking of growing and changing quickly... enter ginormous belly. At my last appointment my midwife let us know that the baby has dropped, and is in perfect position for her soon to be grand entrance. I'm 38 weeks now...so any time! A belly picture will be soon to follow.

I have a few prayer requests, and we so appreciate any prayers - what a blessing they have been in our journey so far!
- Our baby boy's continued growth and development and wisdom to know how to help him.
- Wisdom and discernment for the workers on his case.
- God's peace, endurance, and strength as we enter into having two very small babies.
- And for our baby girl's introduction to this world!

September 5, 2009

Crazy

As some of you may already know, we accepted another foster placement this week.  To be honest, neither of us were really confident about it at first.  But all of the reasons that we would say "no" were of the comfort and convenience kind.  So here we are with a 15-month old boy... and he is precious!  It's been a great reminder that when God asks you to follow him, he doesn't expect (or desire) you to use your own strength.  Thank you to all of you have kept us in your prayers, it has been a great blessing.

                                                                                     

September 1, 2009

fun times.

On Saturday Mena, Cassandra, Jose, and Alondra came to visit and we had so much fun! Mena is getting so big, and has broadened her vocabulary - although half of it is in Spanish, so I can't tell when she is really talking.... They all seem to be doing well. I think that their relatives are pretty overwhelmed, and I know that they appreciate knowing they can call us. I feel so blessed that they are as receptive of us as they are. We were worn out by the end of the day. Mena wanted to be held the entire day, primarily by me, and at 36 weeks pregnant, I was exhausted! Anyway, I thought I'd post some pictures of the weekend!


Cassandra is VERY excited for the baby to come...36 weeks, not too long now!




Cassandra and Lauren at Kaleidescope

So Big!



Chutes and Ladders

August 24, 2009

Sold.

Today I went grocery shopping for this week (Through Sunday) after my first experience really putting forth some effort on coupon clipping and deal finding. In total, I saved almost $13.00, lowering our weekly grocery bill to just over $30.00. (And that was including deodorant and tissues!) I know for all the skilled couponers out there, this is pocket change compared to what you save on a weekly basis...but I feel so proud! :) So I'm sold on couponing ...Hopefully I'll get better as I go. Having spent some time looking into it, I've found that couponing is quite the science. (How many words can I make up with the word coupon? ...At least one more.)

Anyway...I was very excited. So I thought I'd post.



Pics of the nursery to come...veryy soon.

August 17, 2009

Nice to meet you, let me introduce you to THE BELLY.

I'm finally getting around to a belly update... These were taken at about 33 weeks. Brian took me out for my birthday to a dinner theatre. We had a great time - the food was good and the show was done really well. Majority of people I talk to are astounded that I could possibly have several more weeks for my belly to keep getting bigger...but alas, it's true.
This weekend we went on a float trip with my family. People are also surprised when they find out I floated that big belly down a river. It was so much fun, and great time with the family. We won't be seeing them again until we're having a baby! Camping isn't the most relaxing vacation, and it definitely wore me out more than I was expecting, but definitely worth it. It was the last vacation Brian and I will ever have without kids!
We had an appointment with my midwife last week and she said that everything appears to be going perfectly. The baby is head down and appears to be on track as far as her size goes. My size however is getting ahead of itself...measuring 35 weeks when I was really 33. She said that my measurement does not necessarily have any correlation with whether the baby will be large or not. It is however giving me (probably false) hope that maybe she'll at least be on time and not late!
Anyway, everything is going really well here...the countdown is on...6 more weeks till my due date! Hopefully I'll have pictures of a COMPLETED nursery for you soon, but no promises, we're a little behind schedule.



July 28, 2009

Long Lost Sonagram Pics...

These are from over a month ago...but better late than never! Enjoy!
Her little hand against the side of her face - I definitely think
that her pinkie looks crooked. ;) (That would be a Brian trait)

The bottoms of her feet!

Showing off her flexibility - her leg is starting
to get a little pudge!

And the generic profile....most look the same
on ultrasound pictures....

With only 9 weeks to go until my due date...I'm really getting anxious to meet our baby girl. I can't wait to see what she looks like, I can't wait to see her daddy holding her, and I can't wait to be her mommy. I'm sure it will go by quickly...but not quickly enough! I'm feeling great, and getting rather large - I'll try to get a new belly picture up soon!

July 20, 2009

Blessed are those who are worn out.....for they'll get a nap?

Our house has been a whirlwind the last few days. We had a 4 year old little boy placed with us for respite Thursday through Sunday. We had some significant challenges with him due to lots of severe developmental delays. He is not verbal at all, not even able to give yes or no answers. It made it very difficult to figure out mealtimes, discipline, and what was bothering him when he was upset. Cognitively he is also very behind. I would guess that overall he is at about the level of an 18 month old. In most ways, it was much easier for me to communicate with Mena than is was with him. All that being said, he was very sweet and we really enjoyed having him stay with us. He's just come into care recently, and hopefully with a lot of intense services in place, he'll make a lot of progress. Right now it's really impossible to tell what of his delays are due to disability, and what are due to all of the things he's been through.
Alan, the four year old, left on Sunday evening. My sister and my three nieces and nephews are coming to visit on Tuesday, and I was really thinking that I would have today (Monday) to get the house recovered from Alan before their visit....... best laid plans.....
At 5:00 this morning we got a phone call asking if we could take an emergency placement of a little boy who was just picked up at 11:30 last night. We didn't know anything except for why he was picked up, and that he was a 2 year old African American male. He was at our home at 6:00 in bad need of a bath. Brian helped me get him bathed and set up before he went to work. Thank goodness... This kid looks like he could be 31/2. He is a TANK! I can't lift him due to the largeness of my stomach. He's adorable, but it is abundantly clear that he has never had any structure in his life. We'll work with him for the time that he's here...and then someone is going to have quite the challenge! He's a lot of fun though - praise God for this opportunity to love him. I put up a couple pics from this afternoon - you can see the mischief in his eyes! :)


July 13, 2009

Summer Fun

This weekend was a little chaotic, but also one of the best in so long. Mena, Cassandra, Alondra, and Jose came to visit us for the weekend. I can't really express how good it was to see the kids again, and to know we will get to be a part of their lives in the future. I posted some pictures below of their visit - we had so much fun!

Brian having fun with the kids on our swing....


Our whipped cream fight! We bought each of the kids their own container of whipped cream and let them loose in the front yard! They had a blast. Mena wasn't sure what she thought about it, and then she tasted it - after that she was licking it off her arms and legs and trying to find big globs of it on the ground to eat.


Alondra and Cassandra with the cat....


video

Love these kids. Can't wait for them to visit again.

July 9, 2009

Stuff...

It's been a while....where to start....
I've posted some belly update pictures below...it's getting large now, only 12 weeks to go! I'm feeling great. We can't wait to meet her, the count down seems to be dragging now!! We have some more ultrasound pictures - I'm having trouble locating them at the moment, but I'll try to post them later. The doc says she looks great, and there are no worries about me having the same issues that my sister had. Brian and I have actually chosen to switch providers. We'll be having the baby at a birthing center in KC, KS with a midwife instead of at the hospital. We both feel a lot more comfortable there, and we feel like we're much more likely to have the birth experience for both us and the baby that we would prefer.

Brian and I got to call and talk with Mena and Cassandra on Monday! Cassandra was so excited. Initially she was convinced that we must be calling because we had already had the baby (she's a little anxious to meet baby Popp as well). When we talked to Mena she started saying "mommy? daddy?" into the phone. It was so good to hear their voices. Cassandra insisted that she come visit SOON, so we planned a visit for this weekend! She, Mena, Jose, AND Alondra will be coming over on Saturday and will stay until Sunday after church. We are soooo excited to get to see them, and feel so blessed to get to continue to be a part of their lives.

We have another little boy coming to stay with us next week for 5 days. If you could keep him in your prayers and pray for his time with us, it would be greatly appreciated. 5 days is long enough to really show someone you love them!


27 Weeks - I could tell that she's a Cardinals fan already...
a girl after my own heart. ; )


25 weeks...starting to feel very pregnant

June 11, 2009

Thoughts from a healing heart.

Getting used to a new normal seems to be a pretty constant state of being for us - and really there's not much of an end in sight! It does keep us on our toes though, and keeps us looking for how God is going to choose to use us next.
The girls have been gone for almost two weeks now. It's getting a little easier, but I still miss them from somewhere so deep in my heart. God has taught us so much through this, and continues to do so. One thing He has reminded me of so many times, and really one of the things that has pulled us through this trial, is the knowledge that this is all so temporary. Pain, no matter how deep it may be, is always such a brief moment in our existence - nothing at all when we think of the eternity He has for us. And it is always worth it to use our brief time here on earth for whatever it is he asks us to do. So we just have to keep our gaze on Him, only glancing at the world, and know everything we experience here is only temporary.
He has also taken this trial and used it to show that He is the only thing we need to have joy. He has proven that He is our refuge, and WILL provide in our times of need. My heart has been comforted by verses in the bible like John 16:33, Psalm 55:22, and Nahum 1:7 where God reminds us that there is nothing on this earth that we can face that he does not already know, and that he longs to be our comforter. He has been just that, carrying us when we are weak.

2 Corinthians 1:5 says, "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." How incredible to know that when we suffer for the kingdom that we are sharing in Christ's suffering. This also means that anything that we experience is only an overflow of what Christ has already taken for us - he already knows and understands our suffering.
What really struck me about all of these verses though, is the pre-requisite to recieving what is promised in them. Christ promises to comfort us in our suffering, to be our refuge, and to walk with us through our trials. However, these verses all assume that we are sacrificing for the kingdom. We cannot experience the overflowing comfort that 2 Corinthians 1:5 refers to, if we are not already experiencing the suffering of Christ for the kingdom.
So as difficult as this has all been, it is what is expected of His children - to suffer with him to advance the kingdom. And as Christ carries us through this experience, there is nothing else for us to do but to beg Him for another opportunity to serve Him - another opportunity to join with him in suffering. And it is all worth it. It is all so temporary.

None of these are new ideas - but they are comforting in trial. I pray we all suffer for the kingdom!

A couple of prayer requests - we have two boys staying with us right now (just for a few days). If you could pray that their short time with us is meaningful. And for patience (5 and 7 year old boys, I believe, have more energy than any other population on earth :) ).

June 3, 2009

My Precious Girls.

Cassandra and Mena,
You, my two beauties, moved on Saturday, and I miss you so, so much. There haven't been many things harder in my life than saying goodbye to you. I know that all of this transition has likely been much harder for you than for us even - I can't imagine. As you would say Cassandra, my heart hurts. God has given us so much peace about this move, but that doesn't change that you're not here.
You left us many signs of your love here at our home - Brian's work shoe was mysteriously in the extra bedroom filled with little toys, Cassandra, your notes of love are all over the house, bittersweet every time I find them.
I don't know that I'll ever really stop missing you - but I will continue to find comfort in knowing that we miss each other because we loved each other so well. As my friend Kristen reminded me, God brings things to an end for a purpose. Neither of us left without being changed by Him for the better, and hopefully for the glory of His kingdom. You, my precious girls, are in His hands - and I can assure you that there is no greater place to be.
So while I cry writing this, I REJOICE in knowing that God used your time here to ensure that I will be reunited with you again in Him, in his beautiful time. I pray for you that God continues to open your little eyes to His love, and that you grow more in Him everyday that you are away. I pray that you not forget your time here, but that He allows your hearts to heal, and that what you remember from our nine months together is His love that filled our home while you were here.

I will ALWAYS love you more than you know.

Love you, love you, love you,

Mamma


May 17, 2009

Big Belly, Big Belly, Big Belly

Thought I'd give another belly update...
  She's growing fast now...no more comparing her to oranges or bananas.....head to toe she's about 10 inches long these days.   She's moving like crazy, and starting to make an appearance from the outside as well.  We'll try to keep you updated!

16 Weeks in Hawaii!


18 Weeks....




20 Weeks...halfway there!




May 5, 2009

Let your will be done.

You're the God of this City 
You're the King of these people 

You're the Lord of this nation 
You are 

You're the
Light in this darkness 
You're the
Hope to the hopeless 
You're the
Peace to the restless 
You are 

There is no one like our God 
There is no one like our God 

For greater things have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this City 
Greater thing have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this City 

There is no one like our God 
There is no one like our God 

For greater things have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this City 
Greater things have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done here 



We recently were told that the girls will be leaving at the end of this month.  They will be moving in with relatives, and we are not at all comfortable with the risk involved with this placement.  There have been a lot of emotions involved in processing this.  It will be very, very difficult to see them leave.  Even more so because of where they are going.  We've taken the avenues that they give foster parents to voice concern and opinions (which are pitifully few), and now there is not anything left for us to do but to pray, and to 

trust.

This has been a hard thing, to let this go.  I've trusted God in many big situations - where to work, where to live, in marriage, and even in our decision to foster.  But this is different.
Praise God that he has started to fill us with a peace.  Not a peace that everything will always be alright for our girls, or a peace that we can let go knowing that they will not just stumble upon harder times.  He is offering us a peace in the fact that HE is the light in this darkness, that HE is the hope for the hopeless, and that HE is the peace for our restless hearts.
Our pastor helped in reminding us of the story of Job.  Job asked so many questions, not understanding the suffering of his family, or himself.  After offering God his list of questions, God did respond.  However, he did not answer a single one of his questions.  He did not comfort him in where his situation would end up, or that his suffering was even over.  God responded by reminding Job who he is.  There is so much comfort in knowing that the creator of the earth and the redeemer of our hearts promises that he will work out all things for the good of those who love him, that what he has for us is always best, and that he loves us eternally more than we could ever comprehend.  He is always reminding us that he sees the big picture, while we see such a very small glimpse, and that in Christ, greater things are yet to come here.

Please keep our girls in your prayers.  For transition, understanding, love, safety, and for peace as we keep our gaze on Him.



April 23, 2009

Already in love....

We had a doctor's appointment today and had an ultrasound. Because of my family history I get extra ultrasounds! yeah! It was by far one of the coolest things I've ever experienced - seeing this little baby inside of me moving around, fully formed. When the baby moved during the ultrasound I could see the baby move, and feel it, it was pretty cool. Anyway, we wanted to post a couple of the pictures from the ultrasound.



This is a good one of the profile - the dark mark in the center is the heart!


Legs and feet - the line coming off the belly is the placenta.


And last, but not least, our little one already doing some thumb sucking. :)




Oh, and we also thought that we'd let you know....

It's a GIRL!!!! :)

April 6, 2009

Only by request....

At the request of my Edwardsville girls....I will post belly pictures.  Only for you would I make a pictoral history of myself going from small, to immense.  Love you girls.



 
                             Just under 12 weeks....the teeniest of pooches.


Just under 15 weeks....definitely growing.


To be honest...it took the better part of my first trimester to get used to the idea of being pregnant.  It might have had something to do with the fact that I didn't feel normal for 11 or 12 weeks....But now I love it.  I could do 15 weeks pregnant forever.  It's really incredible knowing that God is forming a baby inside of me, and that he is placing a soul in that little body that he already knows.  We have another appointment this week, and in just over 4 weeks we will almost definitely be finding out if we're having a little boy or a little girl.  Very, very excited.  I definitely feel like my belly is a little on the large side for 15 weeks - but I guess it could just be my build.  Last night I had a dream that my stomach got so huge it exploded.  It was painful.  I'm really kind of aiming for like....labor at 37 weeks with a baby just over six pounds.  That would be fabulous.
In other news, the girls are doing great!  Cassandra only has about a month and a half of school left.  I'm feeling a little bit timid about having both the girls home all day every day.  Mena is growing like crazy, and her personality (attitude?) is showing more all the time.  She is going to be a VERY strong willed child.  She tries to copy most of what we say, and now prefers to run instead of walk.  She's exhausting, but a ton of fun....most of the time.  :)  The temper tantrums I could do without...but we're working through that.  
Brian and I just found out that their case is essentially making no progress, and that there is still no timeline.  This is incredibly frustrating.  The girls need permanency.  Cassandra has started calling me mommy - and Mena doesn't know anyone but us as her parents.  They are not helping these girls.  It sounds like there is a possibility that they could still be with us when the baby comes.  (Insert prayer here.  LOTS of prayer.)  Needless to say I'm a little stressed out at this notion.  I've already told my mom that she may just need to get a Kansas drivers license....cause she could be here a while.  
On a much more relaxed note, we are leaving in 5 days with the girls to go to Hawaii for a week!!!!!   SO EXCITED!  Cassandra has a count down going on her chalk board and talks about it non stop.  She's a little concerned that there are sharks....but other than that really looking forward to the trip.  I can't wait for her to get to see everything.  She will never have another opportunity like this.  And a couple days on the sand could be nothing but good for this ever-growing mama too.

Anyway...just wanted to give a little update, since I've been horrible at that as of late.  There will of course be Hawaii pictures of our two beauties surrounded by flowers and sand.  :)  


P.S.  Prayer would be GREATLY appreciated for the girls case plan.  Prayer that there is progress and, finally, some closure for these girls.  Also that Brian and I would trust in the Lord regardless of what happens, and that we would be given strength in what may be more difficult times than anticipated.  Thanks so much.

February 23, 2009

Are you sure that test is error proof?



Well, since I'm pretty sure that most people have been called, or will soon be told by someone else, I thought we'd make an announcement....


We're pregnant!  I'm about 9 weeks along, and due sometime around October 1st.  Brian and I have already been to my first appointment where we got to see the baby, and we even got to see the heartbeat!   It was a little bit of an 'oh my goodness!' moment, as prior to that it hardly seemed real.  Of course, it very real now in the form of nausea and exhaustion.  The nausea seems to be getting better already, though, after only two weeks of being sick, so I feel very blessed.  Pretty soon we'll have a baby Popp...I'm sure there will be more updates between now and then...

February 21, 2009

A Preview of Goodbye

Tonight, Mena is spending the night somewhere else.  So is Cassandra, but she's done this several times, and she's older.  This will be Mena's first time in the over five months that she has been with us.  They are going to spend the night with their siblings at their foster home.  It is a great opportunity, because the family is interested in adopting all four of them and it gives the girls time to get to know them.  But there have definitely been mixed feelings about Mena being away.  Not being taken care of by me, or Brian, or my mom, or anyone really familiar.
This of course has led me to think about the time when they leave.  This is, I'm sure, just a fraction of what I will feel when they go.  After being their parents for - who knows how long at that point - trusting someone else to care for them completely.  To know that Mena won't eat green beans unless they're warm, but not hot.  That when Cassandra says see (si) she really means 'if'.  That Mena always cries at night, but that if you go back in the room you'll just make it worse.  I'm sure that their adoptive parents will figure all of this out, but it is still difficult.  It is the transition for the girls, the time it will take for the new family to know these special things about them, that makes my heart cringe.
The worst thing, though, that really brings me to tears, is the thought of Mena thinking I have left her.  It makes me nervous about this weekend, and makes me hurt for when they leave.  We can explain the move to Cassandra, and she will understand enough to know that we love her and always will.  There is no way to tell Mena.  I will be there one day, and the next she will be somewhere new, and there will be no way to explain to her that it is because I love her that she is going.  It breaks my heart.
However, as I think about all of this, it is a wonderful reminder that these children are not mine.  Not in the sense that I am not their biological parent, or in the sense that fostering is temporary.  These children are not mine, or their parents', or their adoptive family's - they are God's.  And I will let go with the knowledge that He has them in palm of His hand.  Only He holds their future.  In my knowledge of Him, I will trust that there is no greater security.

February 12, 2009

Never a dull moment here - the girls make sure of that!
Mena is walking all over the place now.  She took off full speed about three weeks ago and hasn't stopped since.  She's into everything, and it's rare that anything is where is should be, because she seems to have her own places for things.  She's started communicating quite a bit more too.  She can tell me when she wants up (Pup!), when she is hungry (nomnom!), and she has absolutely perfected letting me know when she is not happy.  She's become quite the drama queen, and throws fits when things aren't just so.  I feel like this is a challenging stage mostly because I can tell she knows when she is doing something she shouldn't be, but there doesn't seem to be any way for me to discipline that at this point.  Which mostly leads to me pulling my hair out on the 500th, "No, no, Mena."  and feeling completely ineffective.  She is a joy when she is happy though, with big smiles and giggles.
Cassandra is doing really well, also.  She is now completely caught up to her class in reading, and is on the higher end of where they ask that she be.  This is really exciting.  She's enjoying reading more now that she is doing so well, and I love that she is starting to like reading.  I'm finding that Cassandra also seems to be ahead in her social skills - I thought that pre-teenhood didn't start until 12 or so - but apparently seven is close enough.  We get lots of eye rolls, and stomping off to her bedroom - it's the cuddles in between that remind me that she's still just a little girl.
As far as how long the girls will be with us........at this point I'm going to say that your guess is as good as mine.  There have been more issues involving the Mexican Consulate that are far over my head, and it doesn't sound like anyone's in a hurry.  Frustrating, but we're dealing with the state here, probably could have been expected.  My generic answer when people ask how much longer has been, "A couple months..." but I think people have started to get suspicious, since I've been saying that since November.  All in God's time I suppose.

Anyway, just wanted to give a quick update on the girls, since I've been AWFUL about posting.  Hope all is well!

January 22, 2009

Espanol

I'm learning Spanish right now - something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've also been more motivated now that we will probably be getting a lot of Hispanic kiddos in our home. I've ordered a program called "Rocket Spanish" to help me learn, and have been using the very few free helpers on the internet. Although I have definitely made progress, I'm feeling pretty frustrated at this point.
Anybody have any pointers??

January 10, 2009

Baby Steps

So we had a big moment yesterday, Mena took her first steps! Enjoy the little video below. Camerawork compliments of Cassandra. We were so excited we all took a celebratory trip to...McDonalds.

video

And an oldie but a goodie (taken a couple months ago, but trapped on the camera until now. Yes, that's right, this is never-before-seen footage):


video

January 6, 2009

Marriage at Its Best

...not that we haven't had our hiccups, or that we're particularly good at this - just to say that marriage, this marriage that God has blessed us with, is fabulous.  Today is our second anniversary and it's been a great journey so far.  We have grown so much, and changed so much in the last two years through all of our transitions.  We graduated from college, moved to Kansas City, started our first jobs, bought our first car, bought and moved into our first house, became members at Covenant Chapel, became licensed foster parents, I quit my job, and are now the parents of two beautiful girls.  No wonder it's gone by so fast!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us for the next year.  I thank Him everyday (though not as much as I should) for the blessing that Brian has been in my life.

And to Brian,  thank you for being an amazing example of a Godly husband.  Thank you for making me take time to look at the sky, for being my optimist at the end of the day, and for leading our family to know God more.  I love you.        more.

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