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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dear is 11months

    Dear Caroline,

  Happy 11 months in Heaven my sweet girl. I miss you so much today, and every day in between.  My heart has been heavy, and my arms desperately ache for you. There is an emptiness that just never goes away.  I cannot believe you have been gone for 11 months. 

     This whole week I have truthfully been dreading this day. I have been an emotional mess leading up to today. It scares me so deeply to realize you have been gone for 11 months, and that we are nearing what should have been your much celebrated first birthday. 
     Yet tonight as I took a walk down the dimly lit street, I thought about you. I realized that this weekend has been filled with joy, despite the heartbreaking pain. One year ago today, I had no idea of what was to come in the future. There was so much uncertainty regarding your birth, and what was going to happen afterward. We were so out of control. I remember how afraid I was for the future ahead, and how I hated being out of control.  Yet it also challenged me as well. I learned that since I had no control,  I could only focus on the moment. I had no way of knowing that exactly one month later, you would be born. I had no way of knowing what was even going to happen at your birth, and even though it was incredibly difficult not knowing, I am so thankful. I now know that on this day one year ago, we only had four more precious weeks with you. Before we had to say goodbye. 
     But there will never be any regrets in my heart for the precious time we had together. I remember sitting in the sand one year ago, with the cool breeze on my face, telling you all about the beauty surrounding us. I remember singing to you, as we heard the waves crash onto the beach. I remember smiling at the birds flying above us, and enjoying the peaceful moment together with you. There was such beauty in that moment, cherishing the joy of having you inside of me. Knowing that even though I could not guarantee what was to come in the future, I could be thankful for that moment. 
     God gave us so many special moments. They were not always filled with such joy and peace and happiness, but they were always special, because they were with you. There is something about being completely out of control that allows you to stop, and to refocus. Because of you my precious girl, you mommy has learned the importance of slowing down. I have learned that I need to be thankful for each moment, and take the time to cherish all of the blessings that God has placed in my life. Before I was always rushing, keeping myself busy, busy, busy. Now that I have learned about the joy and the peace that comes from a quiet heart, I know that I will always be thankful. I will always be thankful for what you have taught me Caroline, and for all of the precious moments we shared. I will always hold them deep in my heart, and I know they will bring a smile to my face, even in the dark moments. 
     Now as we await the arrival of your little brother, your mommy once again has so many fears. Each day brings new anxiety and worry. It is a constant reminder that I am once again completely out of control. But because of you my sweet girl, I choose to embrace every moment. I choose to look for the little blessings, and to focus my eyes on the beauty of the world surrounding us. I choose to thank God for the joy that comes from a quiet heart. Even though it is so scary to once again be entrusting everything into God's hands, I know He is faithful.  He will never leave us alone. 
     Today I sat with my feet in the same sand that I did last year. My memory of the time I spent with you was so vivid in my mind.  In so many ways, I wished that I could have been back to that moment once again. Feeling your tiny body moving inside. But today I told your brother Noah all about you as we sat on that beach. It was so beautiful, just as it was a year ago! It made me miss you deeply, but it made me feel closer to you at the same time. 
     So today as I think about you, remember you, miss you, and love you, I am also so thankful for you. I am so proud to be your mommy,and know that I always will be. You will forever be my heart sweet girl. Thank you for teaching me about embracing each moment, and finding joy in the little blessings. I will always be grateful. 
     It is with tears that I sweetly whisper "I love you" tonight,  as I wish I was holding you in my arms. But know that your mommy will always love you, more deeply with each passing day.  I miss you precious Caroline, more than words will ever say.
            Until we meet again.... 

          Holding you close in my heart forever. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Big Reveal

Pink or Blue?
We had the big gender reveal party on Monday night! It was a fun celebration
for our sweet little baby! Our family and close friends were all there to enjoy the very special night with us! I wanted to share the night in pictures with all of you.

Our sweet Caroline is going to be a Big Sister!

Everything was decorated so beautifully!

Our amazing friend Emily made us this beautiful cake!

40 Black Balloons ready to be popped! Pink or Blue Confetti
was hiding inside!

Everyone was asked to come wearing either a Pink shirt or a Blue shirt. Depending on their guess!
Representing Team Blue!

Representing Team Pink!
And Team Blue overwhelmingly outnumbered Team Pink!
Now to find out... Is our baby a Boy or a Girl?

Our Baby is a BOY!!!!!!!!!
We could not be more excited!!!

We are so in love with our little Boy already!

Thank you to everyone who already loves our little boy, and for all of the many prayers on behalf of him and us. We are so incredibly blessed to have such love and support from so many amazing people. We are so thankful! Monday was a special day of rejoicing and celebration, a day to thank God for the new life that He has brought into our lives, and for the good news that everything is growing "normally". We still walk a very difficult road in the months ahead, and we know that there are never any guarantees. It is still with very cautious hearts that we continue to move forward one step at a time. Yet today was a huge milestone for us, and for our little baby. We are praising God for all of the good news! Each step we walk is only through the power and strength of our mighty God, who is holding us close in the palm of His hand. We continue to choose to put our hope, our trust, and our fears in His capable hands, knowing that He is faithful.

And Now For More Big News....

     We are also so excited to announce that we have decided to name our little boy William Noah Mulder. We will be calling him Noah. The name William is very special to both Josh and I. It is a name that has been passed down in his family for many generations. In fact, for those of you who do not know, Josh's first name is William. We know that it is very special that we can pass on this name to our son. So it is with great honor that we will be giving our little boy the name William.
     The name Noah has been on my heart since the very beginning of this pregnancy. Something that I have not shared openly is that I truly believe that God told me we were going to have a boy. Even before I found out that I was pregnant, I was sitting one evening at Bible Study, and this thought suddenly popped into my mind. It was very clear to me in that moment, "You are pregnant, and you will be having a boy". Now at the time, I wondered if it was my own selfishness just wanting so desperately to be pregnant, after all, when we want something badly we can often trick our minds and hearts into thinking whatever it is we would like to hear. But that night, when I got home, I happened to turn to the story of Noah in my Bible. It is a story that has been so close to my heart during the past year, as we walked down our journey with Caroline. In this story, we hear of a man who trusted in God. In the midst of so much sin and wickedness in the world, the Lord found favor with Noah. The Bible says that "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of that time" and then my favorite part..."and he walked with God." Even though I am sure Noah was tempted, and he was discouraged by all of the wickedness that was going on around him, he continued to stay close to God. Then God decided to put an end to the corruption that was happening on the earth, and He was going to destroy the people. Yet the Lord found favor with Noah, and amidst what I am sure was the most difficult time of Noah's life, he obeyed God. Noah trusted in God that it was not crazy to build a huge boat, and he lived on that boat with just his family, and the animals for many days and nights. It probably felt like forever to Noah at times. I am sure it was scary, uncomfortable, and discouraging on that boat as the storm surged around them. I often wonder what thoughts went through Noah's head, as they had to trust in God for their very lives. But at the end of the story, when they were finally able to leave the boat and walk safely on the dry ground once again, God placed a beautiful rainbow in the sky as a covenant, a promise, to Noah and his family. What an amazing sight that rainbow must have been to weary Noah!
  Last year we went through our own storm. It was a rough and scary storm. There were times when we felt so trapped, almost as though we were stuck on a boat with no dry land in sight. Noah chose to follow God, and obeyed His commands, even though he did not know how it was all going to turn out in the end. The only thing he could do was trust that God was in control. As I read this story again that night, I was reminded of how God has led us through the storm. We were never in control of what was happening with our daughter, no matter how much we wanted to be. The only thing we could do was trust that God was in control. It was not easy, and it has taken so much time, but I feel like we are finally taking some of those first tiny steps on dry ground once again. Looming brightly ahead of us is the beautiful rainbow, God's promise to us. We know that no matter what happens, we can trust that God is never going to let us go. Even though there is great darkness and pain in the world, we can choose to walk close beside Him, just as Noah did. We are choosing to find our hope in the Lord, and we are completely trusting Him with the life our sweet little boy. As we cautiously take those first steps on dry ground, we are walking slowly towards the rainbow of hope that God has placed before us.
     Once I finished reading this story, I just knew that the name Noah was going to be perfect if we ever had a little boy. The name Noah holds such significance and meaning to us, and it is a perfect reminder of God's promises to us, His precious children. So every time I call my son by his name, Noah, not only do I think of that beautiful rainbow of hope, but I also thank God for the storm, and how He has safely guided us through, and continues to guide us each and every moment. I thank God for the joy that He brought to us in midst of the storm, through our beautiful daughter Caroline Joy. I thank God that Caroline now has a little brother, who brings hope into our lives. I thank God for the promise of a rainbow!
     So Caroline's little brother will be named William Noah, two very special names to us. Whenever we look at him in the future, we will forever remember God's faithfulness to us.

On the same night, we were having an open house at our house. The past four weeks we have been working almost nonstop on getting our house ready to be put up for sale. It was the first night of people being able to view our house, it has only been listed since Friday night. We got a phone call shortly after the balloons popped, letting us know that we had an amazing offer on our house! We are so excited to say that we signed the offer acceptance papers at 9:30 Monday night, and are now in the process of getting that SOLD sign up soon! It was such a huge day for us. At the end of the night I was completely speechless. God is so good!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Baby's Big Ultrasound

     On Monday morning we had our 20 week ultrasound for our little baby. We were filled with peace and eager anticipation! It was such a blessing to know we had so many people who were covering us in prayer. I cannot even begin to describe the peace that filled my heart yesterday. Inside my stomach was turning, and outside my hands were shaking. But my heart was so calm. I felt as though God was holding my hand, guiding me into that all too familiar ultrasound room.
     When we heard that strong heartbeat, I felt so overwhelmed. It meant our baby was alive! Throughout the next half hour, we were able to see each and every part of our little baby! Everything was perfect! Our baby is strong, heathy, and super active. Each time we saw another body part, in the correct place, our hearts were flooded with joy, pure joy! 

The profile of our sweet little baby!
5 perfect fingers!

Just look at that tiny little foot so perfectly formed!

     The baby had a strong heart rate of 154, and already weighs 12 oz. The morning was filled with such excitement and amazement as we watched our active little baby wiggle and kick and move all over. It is amazing at how perfectly formed the baby is at only 20 weeks! I just had to stop and marvel at our amazing God, who can so beautifully knit together such delicate details. It reminded me once again of how much He is in control. As much as I would love to take the credit for this little one's growth and development, the truth is that our mighty and powerful God is even now forming this little one in His image. It is such a humbling thought. Each tiny and precious detail, such as those five fingers, five toes, and all the bones that make up the hands and feet, are so intricately placed together. I just stand in awe of our Almighty God!
     We are praising God for such a wonderful morning, and the great blessing of knowing that our baby is still doing okay. We know that this is such a gift, and we will never be able to adequately express the joy and the gratitude that fills our hearts.  Each day we fall more and more in love with our little baby!                                           Praise the Lord! 

For those of you who can discern ultrasound pictures, you
should be able to see the wide open mouth, our baby was yawning! Must
be the busy morning tired out baby too!