Five years ago, John and Caroline and I headed into the ultrasound room together to take a look at our baby-to-be who wasn’t-meant-to-be. I spent the next few months so sad. So sad that for some reason (did I do something) that baby-to-be suffocated inside of me. (When I think that, I regret that I ever read the autopsy report, but the doctor needed to know what happened, and I wanted to know.) So disappointed that my plan didn’t work out. And I’m reminded of that plan whenever I think that my kids are three-and-a-half years apart instead of three, as I had planned.

I don’t understand God’s plans, but I do believe He has one. And, even when our wills or the world impact the day-to-day flow (though God’s plan, ultimately, is victorious), I believe God can turn evil for good. We talked about that in our Bible Study this week. And, with His grace, we can see the positive in situations if we are open to it.

I like to count my blessings. I have trouble, though, and worry sometimes that counting my blessings becomes too “Thank you God that I am not like so-and-so.” But, I can find the blessings in my miscarriage.

I have memories of the pregnancy. I got to experience the joys of sharing the news and the nausea of a full first-trimester of morning sickness. But the doomed pregnancy did not continue longer so I was able to get pregnant again within a few months. We now have Mary Elizabeth — a joy and a pain, sometimes at the same time. But I love having two daughters. I love their relationship. Elizabeth amazes me. She asked me the other day if I miss my sister, and I told her I do. And she hugged her big sister and told Caroline she loves her and that she’ll miss her when they’re grown up. (aw!!)  And on our anniversary, when the babysitter arrived and we were chatting about her college studies, Elizabeth piped in that when she’s a mommy, she’s going to take care of her babies. But when they’re kids, she’s going to be a swimming teacher. I love that she has absorbed (or maybe I’ve hammered it in to her) that it is important for mommies to be with their babies and that mommies have plenty of time to have careers outside of those baby years.

So today, I remember our loss, but I rejoice in the gifts I was given instead.

On the twelfth day of Christmas

I breath a sigh of relief that I can take down the decorations now and get the house clean and organized. I am excited to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday with a party today, and I’m excited to present the girls with Epiphany gifts tomorrow — a doll sewing kit for Caroline and a unicorn in a purse for Elizabeth. I’m excited to celebrate Epiphany at church, too. Pretty fun when it falls on a Sunday. The girls will get one last wear out of their smocked magi dresses that they’ve worn for three years before, and Caroline and a couple of other kids will get to reprise their roles as Magi as we sing “We Three Kings,” one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Merry Christmas to all!

On the eleventh day of Christmas

This cold weather is lingering a bit too long for my Texan tastes. It is COLD! It’s nice to have a couple of days here and there of cold weather, but wintery weather to me is misty rain with temps in the fifties for a few days. Then regular, perfect weather is sunny and sixties. These freezing nights and daytime highs in the forties is just too cold. Come back Central Texas winter, come back.

on the tenth day of Christmas

I reflect on my recent discovery of the importance of brow grooming. I’ll admit that there was an ugly learning curve when I first started using a brow razor (about 1.50 for a pack of three at the grocery store.) But I visited the lovely ladies (and I write that a  bit for reasons I’ll explain in a moment) at Sephora and they showed me what to do send sold me the Brow Whiz by Anastacia. Sephora is my new favorite store, even though it feels like a nightclub at times with the loud music and women dressed up as drag queens. A variety of department store cosmetics and make-up artist instruction right then and there. And samples. Yup, they work on me! I ran in recently to exchange something and sampled some Philosophy Living Grace in line. Then I stopped at Target, in a wild rush. As I stood in line, the guy in front of me smelled so good, so clean and fresh. I use unscented detergent and almost asked him what detergent he used because I was so enamored with his clean feminine smell. But, sometimes I actually don’t say out load exactly what I’m thinking, thank goodness. Because, when I got back in my far, I could still smell the guy. Then I sniffed my own wrist and realized it was my own smell. Bought it!

I do need a before and after brow pic…will add that.

On the ninth day of Christmas

I reflect on the idea of NATURE VERSUS NURTURE. My girls get along wonderfully and play beautifully together, but when they play alone, they have very different interests. They both enjoy playing dress-up and playing outside. Elizabeth, though, loves people — live ones, yes, but little plastic and cloth ones, too. Dolls, Polly Pockets, Strawberry Shortcake, and Barbies. When someone gave Caroline a Barbie one year for her birthday, she asked me, “What am I supposed to do with it?”

We reorganized Elizabeth’s room between Christmas and her birthday, and I couldn’t help notice how different her toys are than her sister’s were at this age. Now, the craft closet and the dress-up trunk is frequented by them both. But their room toys are quite different. As we were fixing Elizabeth’s room, Caroline got dressed, picking out her own clothes. All black. She even turned her t-shirt inside out so she could be in all black. And their Christmas gifts from Poppy and Nana, straight off their wish lists? Night-Vision goggles for Caroline and Polly Pockets for Elizabeth. Night and day.

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On the eighth day of Christmas…

I set my goals for the new year.

— eat less, exercise more. Same old same old. But really, this year it feel more urgent. I don’t want to be forty and fat — thirty-nine and fat was passable, but forty and fat is not.

— make some money. I have three super freelance clients right now. I want to continue steady work with them and actually be able to contribute to our family financially again. I’m hoping for vacation money, housekeeper funding, and girls’ activities funding. John is hoping for saving’s replenishment, so that has to come first.

— achieve and maintain balance. Perhaps I need to define that first. Balance would be getting it all done (exercise, Bible study/prayer, time with my husband, at-home time with my kids and time for their activities, time for work, time with friends, time for the volunteer stuff at church and school, time to keep the house clean and organized) and still have time alone for books and bubble baths.