Sunday, April 30, 2017

{iPhone Rewind} :: April

This little miss has started hanging her feet out of her crib when she wakes up from her naps :)

I stole this from Laura, but I love this photo of meeting sweet Cooper!

She loves when her daddy plays the guitar for her!

Grocery shopping with twins...success! 

Sibling rivalry

Miss Independent :)

Loving his apples!

The twins wore Grandpa out :)

We actually {finally} made it to church! Despite Maddie's expression, she actually loved the music and all the people. They did pretty well for their first visit to church :)

Eli was excited to see Uncle Bryan and Aunt Lindsay at church!

Eli loves hanging out with Granny

Maddie loved her Easter bunny from Granny

She has started showing more independence while she plays, often babbling to herself in her own happy place.

We had our annual Sushi making day at the Chengs!

That cheesy smile!

Moments like this...all the tears #grateful

So glad he asked me out 7 years ago :)

This little lady decided that she doesn't like me to be out of her sight and prefers to be held nonstop.

Babies and Board Packages...because sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do #workingmama

Nailed it.

She's so patient when I clip her nails!

We celebrated Granny's birthday with all the cousins and cake :)

Sometimes you just have to do things yourself...

Cutie Pie :)

I LOVE Sharpie Pens...probably a little too much.

A little reading on a rainy day :)

Flowers from the executives for Administrative Professionals Day!

Brother and Sister :)

Daddies are the best!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Listen Up! An Ongoing Journey

I think one thing that people may forget is that infertility doesn't just go away when you have a baby. Whether you are able to conceive {on your own or with medical assistance} or you adopt a child and bring them home, the scars and affects of infertility still linger. There will always be glimpses of the struggle that creep up, and there can often still be difficult roads to face. 

For us, this is still the case because we lost babies and we still have babies waiting for us. Does holding Eli and Maddie make it easier? Yes. Absolutely. But infertility is a part of our story, and we cannot just put it behind us and "move on." In our specific case, there is still an element of sadness knowing that we will not have a little Mike or a little Erin running around. We still grieve sometimes the loss of having our own genetic children. We also still grieve the loss of our 6 babies. It's still hard to process that we won't get to hold and parent them this side of heaven. 

Because of our losses, it's scary to face future pregnancies, knowing that there are no guarantees. We know that in choosing the road we have, we could still face more heartache and loss. While we want to add to our family, we are also 100% committed to adding to our family; there is no changing our minds. And the whole process can be daunting at times. It's something we can't just say, "let's go for it!" and then "hello, baby!" We have to prepare both physically and financially in order to add to our family. There are doctor appointments, tests, medications, follow ups, etc. 

Please understand, I love my babies fiercely, and I will forever be grateful for the beautiful gift of Embryo Adoption. And I am beyond excited at the prospect of adding the 2 little ones who are still waiting for us. I am constantly amazed at how the Lord has chosen to grow our family, and I cannot imagine it any other way. But the process for it all is just different for us. And it's just a constant reminder of our infertility and brokenness. It's easy to get caught in thinking about the "what if's" and "could have beens." 

Unlike many of my friends, I will never have the fun of seeing 2 pink lines on a test without a medicated process and scheduled procedure. I will always struggle to fully enjoy a pregnancy, free of fear and worry, because of our losses. And I won't be able to look into the face of my children and see my husband. 

But I praise God that I have the opportunity to see 2 pink lines on a test because of medicated processes and scheduled procedures. I praise God for the gifts of life that only He can provide; even if He chooses not to give us 2 more children, I praise Him for the gift of pregnancy with Eli and Maddie. Something I wasn't supposed to experience, but, by His grace, did. And I love that Mike and I get to daily discover together who our kids will be and what they will look like. These are incredible blessings that should not be mine, and yet the Lord has made a way in the midst of all the "can'ts." 

And so we commit to walk this ongoing journey with Him. He is our Sustainer, our Provider, our Strength.

Friday, April 28, 2017

{Flashback Friday} :: College Junior

Junior year officially started my enrollment in the business school. Even though I had been taking business classes the past 2 years, I was officially able to apply to the business school and declare my major. I chose to double major in Management and International Business. My last 2 years at Baylor were FULL of studying and working, but I still found some time for fun :)

I returned to Resident Life as a Community Leader for a second year, and ended up back in North Russell. So the 3 years I lived on campus, I called North Russell home. And I loved it. This second year as a CL brought a whole new set of challenges, but I was thankful for the opportunity to love and serve another set of residents. And of course, it was a whole new {and fun} staff :)

Sarah was the first resident that I met. I was thankful for her sweet spirit on our hall throughout the year.

North Russell Staff 2005-2006

My residents for the year :)

Baylor football still hadn't reached the fun RGIII days, and we were terrible. But it was still fun to go to the games. I loved that I got to continue hanging out with former residents, and I love these sweet girls. Sarah and Regan lived on my hall the year before, but we still found time to enjoy football games and hang out.

Just like the year before, I spent a lot of time with my CL staff. Staff development, training, and just having fun together was a big part of my junior year. We also spent a lot of time with other hall staffs, which was also really fun. I got really close with my hall director Shannon; I was so thankful for her sweet friendship.

Staff development

We loved the other hall directors!

Another CL dinner...we had a lot of them :)

With sweet Shannon; she was such a blessing to me!

With Tonya and April

Our hall directors decided to have us camp out in the middle of the quad while the residents were gone for a break. So we set up tents and made a fun night of it! 

It was SUPER cold, but it was fun to be "camping" with fun friends.

Fun birthday dinner with sweet friends

With my sweet friend April

Yes, that's me playing Rock Paper Scissors. My Strategy and Negotiations class hosted a full Rock Paper Scissors tournament, and I made it to the semi-finals. Ha!

One of my favorite traditions at Baylor is Diadeloso, or Day of the Bear. We get a day off from classes and the campus turns into a fun flurry of activities, games, and entertainment. This year, the theme was Snow Dia, so they hauled in a bunch of "snow" and had all kinds of cold activities. 

Starting my junior year and leading into my senior year, I got involved with the World Hunger Relief Farm in Waco. Their mission is to help alleviate hunger around the world, so they help train missionaries on the best ways to help communities build sustainable farming techniques. Since we got involved as a class project, we were there from a business side to help the ministry grow and market, but we also had ample opportunities to volunteer. There was no shortage of farm animals, and I did a lot of sowing of seeds, and even cut grass with a sickle :)

For our staff end of year party, our chosen theme was "Soccer Moms." Our outfits were complete with fanny packs, pearls, and kid buttons. It was definitely a fun way to wrap up another great year!

Our minivan :)

With Ginnie :)

And I can't believe that the end of my junior year is when I started blogging! It's crazy to look back over 10 years of writing, but I am thankful to have this record in my little corner of the internet.

Something fun to note is that I actually stayed in Waco the summer between my Junior and Senior year. I don't know why I don't have a single photo because it was the BEST summer. I stayed behind to take classes at the McLennan Community College. I worked at the front desk at the North Village, the new apartments on Baylor's campus at the time, so I got to live there for free. I also worked in the dean's office. The campus/city clears out during the summer, so it was definitely a change of pace, but one I loved! I grew to love Waco and its unique charm!