Last time I wrote, Gracie was nearing her first birthday and we were preparing for family to visit.... and a few other things were in the works that took up my time, thoughts, emotions, and well, life happened. There will be a post of photos coming soon.... right now, just words.
In February & March:
Danny celebrated his 33rd Birthday (on the 7th)! He is perfect--for me. I try to make sure he knows how much I appreciate him, love him, and respect him. I fall short many times.
Gracie celebrated her 1st Birthday (on the 15th)!!! God's timing is always perfect and though I could sit here and try to analyze the why's and what if's of losing 2 babies in years past.... It is not in my power to change anything. There were/are days that seem easier than others to accept His will, but I really can say.... I trust Him and am thankful for what He does entrust to me.
Ok, that was a bit deeper than I planned... so, we celebrated as a family on the 15th. Then on the 19th (with family here) we had a little party and made memories. Gracie is such a joy, she has a sense of humor, has been sleeping thru the night since she was about a month old, takes 2 naps a day after sleeping 12 hrs. thru the night (I know those of you whose children don't sleep well hated reading that and I'm sorry. I don't have a secret--my kids just like to sleep I guess), adores her brothers, is sadly turning into a bit of a drama queen, thinks her Daddy is the only one that can make it all better (seriously, she's tripped/fallen and cried and allowed me to soothe her, then if Daddy walks past or into the room the tears and wailing begin as if it just happened till he reaches out for her and she will melt into his arms and stop.), likes to chatter non-stop (no clue where that comes from!), and has a gorgeous mullet hair style. I've decided to just be thankful she has hair.... and try to ignore the way it reminds me of Danny's high school photos. She had absolutely NO desire to walk till about 4 days after her birthday and even then it was only if coaxed and if she was also in the mood. We thank Aunt Bekah for the encouragement and time spent with a bowl on her head sitting on the kitchen floor just to get Gracie interested :) Not till about 2 weeks ago ( 13 1/2 months old) did she start walking from room to room on her own accord. She would still take a few steps, but when that got tiring, boring, or she lost her balance the crawling option worked for her. This has been weird for me because the boys both walked early. Nate at 9 1/2 months and Micah at about 10 months (but then we flew to the US and family met him for the first time and so he was held a lot.... slowed him down, then took off a few weeks into our visit).
Otherwise, I thank our Heavenly Father for 3 wonderful, healthy kiddos!
Two days after Gracie's birthday, we welcomed family for a nearly 2 week visit! Danny's brother, David, his wife, Britney and their son, Trace (who just happens to be 4 days younger than Gracie) and Danny's sister, Bekah and her hubby, Joey came to see us!
We had a wonderful time together! It was David & Britney's 2nd visit and the first time for Bekah & Joey. Oh my goodness we laughed till we cried, took pictures, kids got to know Uncles & Aunts and a cousin better, drove to Slovenia, Italy, and other parts of Austria, and introduced them to friends that have become like family to us here in Graz, and they were able to attend a church service with us. I can't begin to fully write out all that it meant to us to have them visit. To take time out of their busy schedules and use their vacation time for us (not to mention the months of saving $$). We love you all.
Five days after they left, I flew to the US for a short visit with my best friend, Melanie. I wrote about Bryan in November. Melanie gave birth to their son, Grayson Bryan on February 28th. He is truly a gift from God. Abbi & Ella are wonderful sisters too! Hugs, tears--sorrow and joyful, laughter, reminiscing, girl time, late night feedings with a newborn, board games with the girls, and giggling at the silliest stuff, prayer for comfort, the comfortable silence.... all added up to what Danny & I felt a strong desire to do for a dear friend. A desire to be an encouragement and for ourselves... a time to mourn. Being in our "bubble" over here is hard enough... but especially when our family or sweet friends are hurting. Mel, Abbs, Ella-bella, & Grayson.... we love you and consistently pray for God's guidance, comfort and wisdom for your family.
Danny went above and beyond as a huge supporter of my going on this trip--sans kids. It all started as his idea. He wanted me to be a help.... not a burden with a one year old (it also gave him somebody to care for while boys were in school and Grace kept him busy! haha). I love you, Danny.
On my journey to get back home.... I was able to spend a night with my 80 & 81 yr. old grandparents. They are awesome and it was great to see them again. Thanks to my mother-in-law and 2 sis-in-laws, and a niece for driving me to see them (always good to spend time with you girls and to do a little shopping on the way--love you guys!). Thanks to Terry & Stacy for the ride to the airport too! Part of my frequent flyer miles trip allowed me to stop and spend 2 nights with my parents in New York too. It was fun to see where they are living and the church in which God is using them. I love you, Dad & Mom!
When I got back from my quick, yet long trip, there was jet lag (!), kids to love on, suitcases with little surprises to be given away, laundry, Dr. appointments, school activities, Danny's office work waiting for him to return, church stuff to do, friends waiting to catch up, and oh yes... we all got sick for a week or two. I'm still trying to get rid of mine. It was hard to be away from my peeps
, but I am thankful for the opportunity to hopefully encourage a friend... and like I expected... I was encouraged as well by Melanie and at the hand of God on the life of my friend.
There is so much more on my heart... but that's all for now. It's late and I barely got the "umph" to write this tonight. When I get so far behind I get that "ohhhh, where do I begin?!?!" feeling and it's hard to want to write.
Please continue to pray for us. Lots going on-- family & ministry. Some of it is stretching us and some is just exciting at the potential for growth in our Bible study and in personal lives.