Traylor Family Life Update

4.17.2014

*I started this blog post 12 days before I delivered Judah, and never got around to finishing it! Blogging takes time, and so do my children, they win almost every day right now! That and naps for mama!*

Judah Eastman Traylor (JET) is set to "jet on out" as we have been saying on March 20th, 2014! I will be having my 2nd c-section, and 5th surgery, on this date! We are so excited to welcome our 2nd son, and gift from God, in just 12 more days! I will be exactly 39 weeks pregnant. In our last ultrasound, Judah was very content to sleep with one arm right over his face, so we couldn't get a good 4D photo of him! No matter how much giggling the technician did to my stomach, he wouldn't move that arm! haha!

This pregnancy, especially the last 10 weeks, has just seemed to stretch on like a thousand years. I have had cold & congestion, upon cold, constantly this winter. My body just has seemed to give up on fighting it and I've stayed sick. It's made chasing 2 children and being pregnant even harder! I think I am finally on the verge of it clearing out! Praying I can get healthy, before my c-section!

Update on B: I'm sorry that I sort of left the "blog readers" hanging when it comes to our last court date, regarding B! Basically, no final decisions were made. We found out that we would have B for another 6 months, until the next court date, and I have yet to meet with B's worker (happening next week), to find out how things are looking with the case overall. On one hand, it was difficult to see the court appoint such a long wait time between. Six months seems such a long time in a baby's little world, and yet such a short time in the scheme of things.

We just continue to do our own thing, loving and taking care of this sweet girl that has stolen our hearts. Truly, in the last few weeks, it's felt as if B has become a part of our family in a unique way! They say it takes close to 6 months for any major change to finally feel like you are hitting your stride. I am sure it's the same with a child!

B is doing GREAT as far as milestones and development!

-She is walking everywhere.
-Talking up a storm saying "Dad-dee" "Da-Da" "ma-ma" "ai" (Cai) "moo" "wack-wack" (quack) "duck" "Abe" "dog" and "dog-gee" "night-night" "all-done" among lots of other rambly stuff. She will talk, talk, talk, and laugh, and laugh.
-She loves looking at books, but loves to TALK through them, like she is reading them herself! I will start reading the story and she just starts laughing at the pictures, and pretty much takes over reading time.  
-She is everywhere, all the time, getting into everything she can, especially big brother's things! We finally installed cabinet locks on the rest of our kitchen cabinets! Phew! We call her "wild woman" sometimes, because she loves to pull everything out.
-She still sticks/puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, even at 15 months! It drives this mama crazy, in a good way, of course! She is slowly getting better, but even last night, after stuffing herself with dinner, we put her down for a minute and she picked something up off the restaurant floor and went to put it in her mouth! YUCK! (Now, she will go put things in the trash! We are getting there!)
-She can be a bit of a "drama-mama". It's so funny to me and Hart how different girls are than boys. She will throw herself down, having the biggest tears you've ever seen in your life, over the tiniest of things, sometimes.
-She HATES to be left out of things. If Cai goes in his room and shuts the door and she is in the hall... a BIG CRY will happen!
-She loves her MiMi! We had a doctor's appointment yesterday and she asked for her MiMi to come over by saying "MiMiiii MiMiiii" between big tears. MiMi has been caring for her a lot these last new weeks with baby and she and MiMi have really bonded in a sweet way! I love that she has wonderful grandparents that are willing to love beyond blood lines! It's such a blessing and all of them are giving her a deep heritage from the Lord!


 Micaiah: He is pretty much LOVING being a big brother to Judah! His little 3.5 year old self LOVES being a big helper! I am so grateful for his heart that adores him! (More on Judah next post!) Micaiah is just blossoming into such a big kid! At 3.5 years old, he loves his power rangers (still!) and loves order and structure and will make sure everyone is doing "their job" just right! We call him our little CEO and are trying to teach him how to be a leader vs. being bossy! I love his desire to create and be creative! He loves puzzles, board games (or closet games as we call them), and his friends (Israel, Thatcher, Parker).

Judah: He is here!!!! Born 3/20/14 at 7lbs 2oz, 20 1/4'' long, beautiful, healthy, sweet baby boy!
We are so in love! Thank you, Jesus for this little one! His birth story and more photos to come!


Today. It's all We Have.

2.01.2014

Today.

It's all that we are promised.

Today. We drove in the sprinkling rain to Finlay park, praying together as a family for God to grant us favor to get family photos as a family of 4+ without rain.

What if it's the last time? It rang through my heart as a foster mom. It could be. What if it ends the hard way after all this time. What if all our hearts break?

I didn't quite plan through everything like I normally would. They say "forgetfulness" is part of pregnancy brain. Outfits were chosen last minute, clothes strewn across the bed, nothing really matching. Hurrying up in the attic to try to find something for B. Doing gel, and hair oils, and combs while the kids sat in their carseats at the park.

I remember when I had actual energy to think these things through. At the bottom of it, though, I didn't care how we looked; that Cai somehow ended up in kelly green socks that matched Hart's kelly green bowtie. All that mattered was that we had just one picture of all of us, with how far we had come, with our (foster) daughter in the last 6 months. 

As we pulled into the parking lot. Sunshine gleamed through the cloudy sky.

Praises were sent up to God, the maker of Heaven and Earth. The One that holds back the oceans with his command. To the One who Hears and Answers, "YES!"

As the kids ran through the park chasing balloons, and cheesy smiles were given. We came up with "Cheese for Chocolate". The reward for taking happy pictures. 

In my mind, seeing Cai, a big brother, chase his little (foster) sister around with balloons, I just see love. Pure and simple, bursting forth love. Having B has been the hardest, most beautiful thing ever. For all of us. And we would never go back.

There have been days that have been incredibly rough. Hard to want to love a baby that isn't from my flesh. Hard to get down and dirty in the trenches and deal with extreme brokenness of a baby that carries too much baggage, and yet, I look and see the beauty of God at work. Not just in her, but in me. Without her, I wouldn't see my sin and need for my Savior to daily wash over me. I need her to remind me to go to Jesus for my everything.

This Thursday anything could happen as we enter into a courtroom 6 months later. Yet again. I rest in the sovereignty of God. And the prayers of His people. In the plan that He set forth before the foundation of the Earth.

But in my flesh, I am weak, and I am worried. Because I don't know how this will end.

But God, does.

And we choose to follow Him. 

35 Dates in 2014! Dates 1 and 2!

1.25.2014

Last March, Hart and I realized that our marriage had to become a better priority. We were living too much in passing and caring for our son, Cai, that we weren't putting the emphasis on each other the way we knew God wanted us to, the way our marriage needed in order to survive and thrive.

We went through some counseling and one thing our counselor was adamant about was at least bi-weekly date nights together and quarterly getaways (if even for 1 night).

It was a wake-up call we knew we needed and we immediately started putting it into practice.

It was hard at first. We really didn't think we could afford date nights out of the house on our tight budget, and even harder to set that time aside when we weren't used to it. However, for the rest of the year, we did so. We also made some getaways happen.

The first was over Mother's Day, which was kind of hard, because it was my first Mother's Day without my baby, and then kind of amazing, because I was able to truly get some needed rest and recharge AS A MOTHER! Then, we went on a family vacation altogether sort of in place of our quarterly time together (that doesn't actually count, but we weren't able to afford both family vacation AND marriage getaway in the same quarter and we very much needed some family time since we had JUST gotten our first foster baby placement and needed time to re-group as a family for a few days!)

The next getaway was for our anniversary in December to celebrate 5 years! We went to Asheville, NC! 

We went from 1 a year (usually just our anniversary) to 2 a year, which was progress, but not exactly quarterly! Even with frugality, getaways tend to cost us around $400 - $500 if we leave our house, so we have to really budget wisely in order to accomplish them! They do usually include at least 1 fancier dinner, if we can! And we tend to find different deals online through deal websites that are offering random lower costs for accommodations!

As we closed out 2013, we thanked God for such great marital progress together!

I know that sounds completely nerdy. "great marital progress"... oh gosh. 

Dating each other was truly FUN and we loved the deeper relationship we experienced together! We also could see how setting that time aside did grow us together more, made us face each other more, and talk to each other like normal people (not just parents) better! We also became better friends and listeners.

As we headed into 2014, we discussed setting some goals for ourselves! (More like, I wanted to see how many we could accomplish in 2014!) So, I told Hart I wanted us to go on 60 dates... he laughed at me....

We realized we were having our 2nd baby in just a few short months... maybe 60 was on the high side given these circumstances?!?!

So, we came up with 35 dates in 2014.

How exactly did we come up with 35 dates in 2014?!

I don't really know how we got to this number, but we knew there would be at least 24 (2 x 12), so that would be 2 a month, then add on those "random" dates like concerts or grabbing coffee together, and we came up with 35!

I hope we blow right through it, but again... we will have a newborn baby this year, so maybe NOT?!

I thought it would be fun to post our dates on the blog as we try to meet our goal together (all in good fun and accountability, of course!)

Date 1/35: Our first date of 2014 was to Outback Steakhouse. We had a $25 gift card my brother and his wife had given us for Christmas, so logically, that sounded great!
We had a special time together here, because with our $75/month date night budget, going to Outback isn't really always feasible! All I really remember though, besides that our waiter thought I was his college professor (and laughing that with a beard Hart really does kind of look like a professor) was that we decided to give a friend I went to high school with our dessert, who I ran into there! Hart and I had talked over dinner how we really want to be known as being more generous people with whatever God has given us, so that seemed like a small way to start :) Believe me... that chocloate fudge brownie looked amazing to this pregnant lady, BUT... I have all the blessing I need with my sweet husband. That was enough! Oh, and I think we bought some Blue Bell ice cream at the grocery store before heading home... don't feel too bad for me! haha!

Date 2/35:
We decided to have a nice dinner (again) because our sweet neighbor's gave us a $25 gift card to Longhorn's for Christmas! We have some pretty amazing neighbors! They also watched our kids some when we would go to our counseling sessions early before Hart went to work, so no grandparent would have to drive over just for that (although I think they did sometimes). I decided that I liked Longhorns a lot better than Outback! I actually got the salmon, but Hart got a filet (which I'd had at Outback) and his was SO much better, more flavorful, and delicious! I also feel like you get so much more food since they give you a salad WITH your meal... just thoughts! Hart's parents watched our kids for us and it took us almost 40 minutes to get a table! I was getting "hangry" - (hungry + ANGRY) Hart got up and down letting little old ladies have his seat in the packed restaurant during our wait and we laughed, because Hart wore a tie and a coat up top, but jeans and his crocs on the bottom! When he ran out to the van to load up kids, he threw his crocs on real fast as he put B in the van! He forgot to change shoes, so we kept saying this was the "party up top - casual on the bottom" kind of date night! I realize no one probably cares about these details, but I love looking back on this sort of thing!

We had a great conversation which included the probing question "How did you feel loved today?" Cheesy... maybe, but you actually learn a lot about each other by asking it. You should try it!

We are learning that regardless of what you do, whether your date nights consist of setting time together at home or out of the house, the point is that you do it, together, and with the intent of growing together as a couple... I would add "for God's glory!" because I truly believe that when you do set your marriage apart seeking God, and loving each other the way he designs, you do glorify Him more fully!

So, there's the story, the premise, and our fun! I'll keep you posted as we continue dating each other! haha!

I leave you with a little blog poster... in case you, too, get inspired to set some marriage dating goals! Go for 35 and see what happens!




Pregnancy Update: 3rd Trimester with Judah

1.15.2014

I hit my 3rd trimester 2 weeks ago, and boy was it a change from the "golden" stage of pregnancy! Everything makes me tired now. My energy only lasts into the afternoon and by 5pm, I'm counting down the minutes for Hart to walk through the door and take over, so I can just put my feet up!

Judah is moving a lot and I thank God for his little life.  Cai felt him move for the first time and he LAUGHED OUT LOUD HYSTERICALLY! He gets so excited about Judah! I don't remember being so paranoid about Cai and if something were to happen to him, like I am with Judah, though. Please pray for my unnecessary anxiety! Seeing his little face for the first time is going to be such a joy, and I just keep praying God keeps him safe "in there!"

I have less than 9 weeks to go now until his scheduled c-section arrival. We have yet to set a date, but I am hoping they let me soon! He's due March 27th, but most likely they will deliver him 1 week early. I'm really not looking forward to the c-section part of things again, especially because I cannot tolerate hardly any pain medications, but I know he will be worth it all!

This semester I cut back on teaching a little. I was teaching Spanish to K5, 1st, and 2nd graders at my school, but after figuring out that I would not be able to return after March to teach that portion of my subjects, God provided my long term sub to step in early! It's already been such a blessing since I have noticed such a dramatic decrease in my energy level! I still continue to teach my 5th graders, and love every minute of them! I will return several weeks after having Judah, but since I only teach 2 mornings, and will only have 4 weeks of school left before summer (plus they will allow me to have an assistant to help with the baby, go nurse when I need, or even if he is sleeping sweetly, he can be in my classroom with me!) I believe we will all make it through those last few weeks by God's grace!

It's interesting how much less creative I am throughout this pregnancy! I've slowed WAY down on my sewing time, my blogging time, and have instead focused on the more quiet things that no one would notice, but me and the Lord, and my family. I've focused more on maintaining a smoothly run house, and keeping up with laundry, finding beauty in the everyday, and praising God for allowing me to be home like I am able to be.

Some friends gave us another crib. We spent 2 Saturdays ago switching cribs and furniture around. The new crib has a sleigh shape, and our current crib was more boxy, so we moved it to Cai's room. Both children's rooms have a crib and a twin bed in them now!
 Rough photos from my phone, but here's the current kid set up! Cai & Judah's room. It's not "done", but for now okay!
B's room (above).

I guess I like little tents above cribs!? It just kind of worked out that way, actually! I'm planning on putting a pacnplay at the end of our hall outside of our bedroom for Judah at first. Our room is too small and I sleep terribly with a baby in the room, so I am hoping that will work for the first few weeks, then I can move him with whichever kid (hopefully Cai) when he/I are sleeping a little better. 

Lastly, God gave me the brilliant idea of making my hall coat closet a baby changing area! In our little house, I've always put our changing table in my kid's closets to allow room for other furniture in the room, and by moving it to the hall closet, I can change any baby without disrupting my sleeping children. This will also work well if we keep Judah in the pacnplay and I can store some of his clothing here when we get them down from the attic!
 Maximize 1300 square feet, baby!

Please keep praying for a healthy pregnancy with NO complications for me! I am walking in faith that as God has expanded all the extra little people and blessings in my life, he will continue to make me able to care for them! 

Thanks friends! Come on Judah "Jet".

Bedtime Stuffed Animal Overload

12.27.2013

I interrupt the string of Foster Care posts I've been writing lately to post our bedtime fun tonight! Cai got a GIANT stuffed dog for Christmas from Hart's parents. It's taken up permanent residence in his bed along with all other 20 stuffed animals. Tonight, Cai piled "Diggity Dog" on top of daddy along with all his other animals and daddy "fell asleep".
His work was done!
Cai is so fun at 3! Love him!
Oh no... Daddy woke up!
Diggity dog is HUGE! Cai thought it was funny I took pictures of his "booty". Cute little booty!
Yes, this is definitely a part of our bedtime routine! We call it "eating heads" what!?!?
And more pure Cai silliness!
Throw in some mommy silly!
Bedtime tickles!
Night!