Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's official... we are 6!

I had every intention of blogging the night before baby #4 was born.  It would have been interesting for me to read now what I was feeling then.  My emotions were literally ALL OVER THE PLACE!  I was terrified.  I was anxious.  I was nervous.  I was excited.  I was ready.  I was most definitely NOT ready.  I was happy.  I was sad.

My OB, who I absolutely adore is in SF and with all my babies, with the exception of Pierce, I have had scheduled inductions.  I think she doesn't want to risk me going into labor in Healdsburg and having to make the 1.5 hour drive into the city.  Uh, me neither!  I love my husband and have all the faith in the world in him but the thought of him helping me to deliver a baby on the highway… let's not even go there!  Back to the morning of April 7.  Mark and I left the house around 7 and got to OB reception at 8:15 and got checked in.  Mark took off shortly after that and headed to the airport to pick up my dad.  I was so thankful that he could be in town for the delivery of this baby!  Not to go into many details but a few things that I want to remember… let's face it… with FOUR children now, chances of me remembering anything are slim to none.  So… pitocin started at 9:30 and my water was broken at 10.  Cue contractions.  Mark and dad came back and sat for a little while and watched nascar.  Lovely.  Then they left again for lunch.  I was actually thankful for a little quiet.  I needed to be still and pray and have the Lord quiet my heart.  I needed Him and His reassurance that He's got this handled.  He's with me and He's in control.  About 1:15 I was done with pain.  Y'all, it was bad and I couldn't push that call button fast enough to get that glorious needle in my back.  It was in at 1:30 and around 2 pm I was finally pain free.  Oh, and at 1:45 I was dilated to an 8.  I made it to an EIGHT.  I'm a rockstar.  Kidding.  Well, actually I totally am.  I seriously do not know how people have babies without drugs.  Drugs are there for a reason.  Free for the taking (not literally, I wish!).  Anyways, at 2:20 I was ready to push and about 4 contractions later I was helping to pull out my baby… GIRL!!!!!

A couple things about that.  Yes, I reached down and helped pull her out.  Kinda.  Back story.  I did it with Macie and it was the greatest thing I ever did.  There are no words to describe that incredible moment.  I'll remember it for always.  So with baby #4, I wanted to do the same.  Baby girl came out with the cord around her neck and as blue as a smurf.  My OB had to bring her back down and literally yank that cord.  For about 7 seconds I was terrified.  Once she got it unwrapped, I was able to take her and lift her up and see with my own eyes that this baby was actually a GIRL.  I had another baby girl.  Jesus had heard my silent prayers for Macie to have a little sister.  I couldn't believe it (still can't!) and I have never been more thankful!

Several minutes later my dad walks in and with tears in my eyes AND in his eyes, I was able to introduce him to his new granddaughter!  My parents have 3 granddaughters 14 months apart.  Will we have fun or what?!  Mercy, that actually kinda scares me :)  About 25 minutes later, in walks my mom and Mark's mom.  It was so fun being able to see their faces when we told them in person she was a she.

Margaret 'Maggie' Mae McWilliams.  Born April 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm.  7.2 pounds.  20 inches long.  A perfect teeny little gift straight from Heaven.

A few thoughts.  Oh how the Lord is so good to us!  How He provides in every way possible.  How He takes care of our needs.  How He whispers encouragement.  How He pours out His love to us.  How He dances over us.  How He removed every ounce of anxiety the moment Maggie was put on my chest.  It's hard to look back knowing I was so nervous about having this baby.  But then again it's not.  I just HAD a baby… 14 months ago.  It's perfectly NORMAL to be nervous about how we are going to make this work.  How I am going to be a mother to 4 kids.  Thankfully, we have some amazing family and friends who have stepped up and helped tremendously these last 3 weeks.

So where are we TODAY?  Today, miss Maggie is THREE weeks old.  She is adored by ALL of us.  Big brothers can't get enough of her.  Big sister can't kiss her enough (in fact, she's the only one Macie will give kisses to).  None of us can even imagine our life without her.  We are in love with Maggie Mae and are treasuring every moment with her.  Me personally, I'm holding her a little too much (which is impossible!) and at moments I can't take my eyes off of her.  I'm honestly just enjoying every single second with her.

Whew!  That's it for now.  I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family, 
Miss Maggie Mae McWilliams!

moments before meeting her

moments after

her big brother and her big sister

these pictures didn't upload in order- 3 weeks old here

biggest brother holding her for the first time

one week new

3 days new- wearing the same dress that I wore home from the hospital as well as big sister Macie!

sweetest dreams

2 week checkup- 6.8 pounds!

first official picture as a family of SIX!

the first of many girl talks!

so alert!

As you can tell, we are madly in love with this teeny tiny little love!  I'm a blessed momma.


Thursday, February 27, 2014


Wow!  How on earth do I even begin to recap the past year and a half in one blog post and why start now???  With the world of Facebook and Instagram, I'm wondering why even start blogging again and then who will ever read this?  It's not like I have the time OR the energy but I suppose it would be nice to be able to look back at our journey.  Because, let me tell you, Mark and I are about to embark on a journey!  It'll be a wild one for sure.  It's a journey we both did not plan on or see coming.  It'll be messy but beautiful (hence the new blog description)!  It's a journey called, "We are about to become a family of 6!"

Yes, you read that right!  My last post was about my miscarriage.  Well, fast forward to today, we have a 3rd baby AND another baby (MAJOR SURPRISE) on the way!!!  Baby #3 was a GIRL!!!  Macie Jane McWilliams was born on January 31, 2013.  I can't even begin to talk about how big of a blessing she is to our family!  Her big brothers ADORE her!  We adore her!  And, I know I'm her mother but she's a cute as can be!  She was the perfect person to conclude our family.  I got my girl and was extremely thankful for a bundle of pink!

When Macie was 6 months old, I found myself staring at a pregnancy test.  It was positive.  I'm about to admit something that I'm not proud of.  I cried.  And those tears were not happy tears.  I was shocked.  My baby was 6 months old.  I had just quit nursing (hello, statistic!).  I was finally sleeping.  I was back to my pre-baby weight.  I got my girl and we were a happy family of 5.  4 children were never part of the plan.  What on earth would people say.  Yes, I was scared what people would think of us.  I still kinda am after seeing their reaction when I tell them this is my 4th baby.  I'm sitting here reading what my fingers are typing and actually I feel ashamed for the first time.  I'm super sad that I was so sad about this baby.  It's a baby.  A perfect, precious little life growing inside of me.  God chose ME to be this person's mommy.  No, it wasn't part of MY plan but it sure was part of God's plan.  It would have been nice knowing that ahead of time though :)  So, in a mere 6 weeks I will get to meet this person and I know that within seconds of meeting him or her (another story, not finding out the sex...!) I won't be able to imagine that little person NOT being a part of our family.

We are almost a family of 6!  When I finally got the nerve told Mark, he said, "Well, at least I won't have to figure out the tip at restaurants anymore.  It'll always be included since we'll now be a party of 6 or more."    I'll go with it :)  Gotta find the humor in life, right?!  Not that we will ever go out to a restaurant again - ha!

Back to a recap!
Our oldest, Jake is now 6!  He's in Kindergarten and loving school.  He attends a small private Catholic school here and has just the best group of buddies.  Jake loves playing golf and watching football with daddy and riding his bike.  He and his little sister have the sweetest friendship and I adore watching them play together.  He is so sensitive and loving towards her.  Jake and Pierce play so well together.  They are BEST friends and I couldn't be more thankful for their relationship.

Pierce, is 4.  He's in his 2nd year of preschool and will start Pre-K in the fall at the same school Jake attends.  He's one of the funniest people I know, next to his daddy.  He loves building his own creations with Legos, loves anything Star Wars, loves being outside playing right alongside his brother.  He loves puzzles too, will sit for an hour and work them.  I describe his love for his sister as being 'fierce.'  It's strong and intense. He hugs and kisses a little too hard while at the same time his voice goes up a few octaves telling her how sweet she is and how much he loves her.  It will be fun watching their relationship.

My sweet little girl, Macie Jane who just turned one.  She is a JOY in our home.  She smiles all the time.  She loves her 2 little lovie bunnies.  She loves her pacifier (which her brothers never did).  She is obsessed with books. She loves shoes and my chapstick and my jewelry.  It has been SO fun having something totally new in our house... pink!  We have a pink purse, we have pink clothes, we have pink balls, we have a pink tea set.  I LOVE it all!

There have been some memorable trips.  I was able to visit one of my best friends in Doha in February 2012.  Never thought I'd have a reason to visit the Middle East until she moved there.  We took a little side trip to Dubai.  I had a wonderful wonderful trip and was thankful for everyone at home who helped make it possible to leave the boys for 10 days.
You canNOT go to the Middle East and not get on a camel!

The whole McWilliams family took a trip to Maui in the summer of 2012.  We were there for a week and had a ball!  Boys were in heaven.  I was in Heaven.  We played on the beach, took a submarine and helicopter ride, snorkled, ate delicious meals, drank even better tropical drinks and just soaked up some precious family time.  So thankful for my in-laws treating us to an amazing vacation!

Mark and I get to go to New Orleans every November for Emeril's huge charity wine auction.  It's one of our favorite trips.  Great people, great food, great wine and it's all for a great cause.  The past two years I've been pregnant.  Definitely looking forward to this year NOT being pregnant!
It's also such a treat to hang out with this guy!  Jonathan Cain from Journey (favorite band!)

We took the boys to Disneyland for the first time this past fall.  It was a first for all of us and as you can imagine, we had an absolute ball!

And of course, we've made countless trips to Dallas to see family and friends and to get my fair share of tex-mex!

OH!  I finally became an aunt!!!  Bethany had her first baby, miss Holland Rebekah, in early December.  We are all smitten and I cannot wait to spoil her rotten and watch her and Macie (10 months apart) grow up and become best friends, just like her mommy and me!

And finally, I have to mention my rock and constant through this whole journey.  He makes me smile and laugh, he makes me feel safe, he makes me feel like I can handle having 4 kids, and he makes me feel loved.  He's a wonderful daddy and a wonderful husband.  I can't imagine life without him in it!

So there you have it!  You should be caught up.  Whew!  I look forward to sharing our beautiful mess with you!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

A return!

Considering making a return into the blogging world!  Just trying to see if I remember how to do this!  Stay tuned...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Heaven is for Real

Who has read the book, Heaven is for Real?  I read this book over Christmas when my brother-in-law brought it over one night.  It changed the way I think about Heaven.  Let me go back to December 1.  

My morning started with this...

so these were greeting Mark on the porch when he came home from Arista...

and then a few days later, we were driving and happened to see this sign and jumped out real quick to take a picture with it...

We told our families and a few close friends and then hopped on a plane to Dallas for Christmas looking forward with much anticipation to another 'harvest baby' :)

A couple weeks later, on December 21, Mark and I went to see his cousin, an OB/GYN in Dallas to get the first glimpse of baby #3.  Although we didn't get to see anything.  I had miscarried.  I was devastated.  After talking to Richard, Mark's cousin, we decided that he would do a D&C a few days after Christmas.  So on December 28, I checked into the surgery center and had my operation.

I don't want to dwell on this post any longer than I have to but there are a few things I want to remember and most of all, be THANKFUL for during this difficult time.

-   I'm so thankful I was in Dallas and with my family.  Only God could have known what was going to happen and He timed it perfectly.

-  I'm incredibly thankful for Richard.  He walked through the whole process with me.  He and his family are so special to Mark and me and I knew that I was in great hands.

-  I decided to let people know about my miscarriage, so I posted it on FB.  Mark thought I was nuts but I realized that the more people that know, the more people that would pray.  After all, this is now who I am.  It's part of my story.  I want to be able to encourage friends the way my friends encouraged me.  Within seconds of posting on FB, wall notes, private messages, texts and phone calls started showing up.  I was BEYOND blessed by each person who shared with me scripture, personal stories, and prayers.  It was amazing to me how many people I know who had also experienced a loss, sometimes losses like mine. 

- There is so much more to write but I'll end with this.  I'm changed because of the book, my brother-in-law, Luke, gave me the night I realized we had lost the baby.  Heaven is for Real.  I had known about the book but had never read it.  I read it in 2 days.  If you haven't read the book, please read it.  It's about a little 4 year old boy who meets Jesus while he is having an emergency surgery.  There is one part in the book where the little boy meets his sister in Heaven.  It was his sister who had never been born because of a miscarriage.  And that right there makes me even more excited about Heaven.  One day, I will get to meet this little person that God chose to have with Him instead of me for a time.

One more thing, really, and then I'll sign off.  If anything was made perfectly clear to me, it was this. 

God's plan is perfect and who am I to argue or disagree with His plan?  Yes, I was sad, yes, I was angry and yes, I was confused but I never questioned His plan.  His plan is perfect.  His timing is perfect.  Regardless of life's disappointments and challenges in the past and regardless of life's challenges in the future, one thing is certain, Jesus is my God and I will choose to praise Him.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Christmas decor

Before I move on into January :), I thought I'd just put a few pictures of my Christmas decorations.  It was our first Christmas in our house and I want to remember where I put things!

I'm most proud of my front door!  I had so many fun comments on it!

this is my most special nativity.  it is carved from an olive tree and my parents bought it in Jerusalem this past year.

just picture a big red candle in my lantern :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here we go...

Oh my word!  I'm Jennifer, remember me?!?  It's sorta ridiculous that it has been 6 months since I posted last.  I'm basically almost closer to Christmas 2012 than Christmas 2011.  It's sad, really.  I've debated just giving up on this blog but I'm going to give it another try.  It's daunting knowing that I have so much to catch up my 2 readers on- ha!  :)  And the fact that Blogger has TOTALLY changed does not help!

OK, Christmas.  I think I'm going to make this a big post and throw some of the highlights of the month.  

We went with some of our favorite friends on the Santa train again.  This year, we didn't do the Skunk Train but did the Napa Valley Wine Train and loved it way better.  Maybe because we had some wine to drink :)

We celebrated with the McWilliams family before we headed to Dallas.

We took a limo to the airport, major fun with the boys :)

Met Santa!

Christmas Eve

 Waited for Santa

Our matching flip flops from Luke with a picture he had taken.  CUTE :)

Went and visited a friend of my dad's who gave us the 'royal tour' of his fire station, including a trip around the block and a ride in the bucket!!!

Habecker/McWilliams/Edmonson family (not sure why this picture showed up here...)

Pierce on a Pierce firetruck :)

We did about a thousand other things but I think I'll quit while I'm ahead :)  I had a bittersweet Christmas season (more on the bitter part later) but I'm so blessed to have been in Dallas with my family.  Christmas is getting more and more fun with Jake and Pierce.  I love experiencing it all through their eyes.  I'm thankful for the gift of Jesus and for the real reason we celebrate December.

(Whew, I did it!  Let's see if I can keep it up- ha!)