Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tappin' Away

Lily had a great first tap class and she loved it. Loud stomping is definitely her thing. She hasn't learned yet that the shoes can do some of the work for her, and she doesn't need to stomp so hard to make the noise. I say, who cares, this is great for her.

Sabine said Lily was the longest girl in the class. I love the English / German translation! :)

Perfect Birthday gift Grandma Lanie, thank you!!

Edit: Sabine read this and corrected me, she said that Lily was the LOUDEST girl in class not the longest! HAHA. Now that, my friends, does not shock me one bit. She is her mother's daughter...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

God filling me with Hope

On Sunday night our family said our nightly prayer. We thanked God for all of the things that he provides for us, we thanked Him for giving us each other, we thanked Him for our baby brother. We thanked him for the sunshine and the park and for Sabine. We meant it. In the peace of the moment, we knew that everything we needed was in that room, where we put our daughters to sleep together. No matter what happens with jobs, or money, or houses, or unemployment-we have it all in this family. I wasn't just saying the words of thanks, I was feeling them, and I know Lawrence was too.

It is so easy to worry about "the plan" to focus on the "how" and to fret about the future. We do need the love and support of our friends and family to remind us that it is going to be okay. I realized that a few weeks ago. I've been spending so much time and energy telling my husband and my mom and my mother in law and Sabine and even our friends that it is going to be okay, that it is going to work out. And I realized, I need someone to tell ME it is going to be okay. And in 5 weeks, no one had said that to me. While I don't always share how much, I get so much of my strength from my faith. When you all ask me, how I do it? It is because I believe that God is working in our lives and has a plan for us and that is how I know we'll be okay.

Yesterday I felt very scared because Lawrence's unemployment benefits got denied - so no more unemployment coming in. And things don't work on paper. I sent an email to a few other faithful friends who I knew would pray for us, and who would understand the kind of support and understanding I would need. Those that would help to encourage my faith and my soul. And the response I got was overwhelming. I'm so blessed by ALL the relationships in our life. By the ones we have right here in this house, by the ones with our parents, and our siblings...our family. By the ones with our friends. Even by strangers who read this blog.

So today, I opened my daily devotional, which is emailed to me each morning. It felt like this was written to me and for me. I couldn't better describe how and why God is helping me through this, and so I decided to post it. To help explain me, but also to have it somewhere to reread so that when I feel like I need someone to encourage me, I can remember that God is always there, and that my trust in Him will always strengthen me.


by Gail Rodgers

God tells us that our joy will increase as our trust in Him increases. This is something beyond the happiness and delight or pleasure found in a particular circumstance.

True joy is a deep and abiding assurance rooted in hope. If worry, fear, nagging, or feeling overwhelmed is what characterizes you on a daily basis, you know your trust in God has probably faded and your hope begins to feel slim.

Listen to God’s promise to you…

“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” ( Romans 15:13, NIV).

When hope has disappeared off your horizon, check honestly to see where your trust in God is at. Ask Him to increase your faith. Ask Him to grow your faith to believe that…

• He will act on your behalf.

• He will give you strength and wisdom where you are weak and confused.

• He will supernaturally fill you with the power of His Holy Spirit.

• He will increase your hope in Him in every circumstance of your life.

The hope you have in God increases as your trust deepens. This hope becomes an anchor for your soul. It will bring with it a deep source of victory and joy as God works in you and through you to bring His hope to you in your day-to-day world. Depend on His Holy Spirit to fill you with increased faith today.

Father God, I ask today that You will increase my faith in You. I want to trust You with every aspect of my life. I need the power of Your Holy Spirit to work in me to trust You fully for the hope of my future. Help me to move from worry and fret to hope and joy. Fill me today so that I can actually overflow with hope by the power of Your Spirit. Thank you for Your amazing grace in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen

Thursday, September 24, 2009

27 weeks!

I know for those of you that read my pregnancy blog, this is a duplicate for you...with only a few modifications. I figured the rest of my blog world would like an occasional pregnancy update as well.

My due date is 3 months from today!

I'm having Braxton Hicks. Starting yesterday. This is the first time EVER in 106 weeks of pregnancy that I've had Braxton Hicks. It's exciting. I thought I had them before but no, those were just "false contractions", they felt painful . These are just a very weird hard stomach! I don't know why I'm excited about it, but I am because it's something new and different and these last few weeks, things are feeling same old same old and I'm STILL not in my 3rd trimester yet, and so this is very COOL for me. And they are weird and my belly stays very hard for long periods of time but it doesn't hurt or isn't uncomfortable at all. It's awesome!

Plus I got a round(ish) veggie for 27 weeks (rather than a friggin carrot stick, come on, what was that!), so you know me, it's the little things that make me happy.

AND - I got the birthday thank yous from Addie's JULY SECOND birthday sent today, if you know me, you know this has been weighing heavily on my mind, so I feel very good about getting those sent out, and getting the invites for Lily's party sent too, you know, with only 3 weeks to go, but they are OUT. And yes, for some families (who wouldn't hate me or judge me) I put them in the same envelope knowing it was tacky, but sometimes a girl's gotta save $.41, okay? So if you are one of those who got both, know that it is because of how secure I feel in our friendship, that you will not judge! I know it might not feel like it, but really, it's a compliment. No really! :)

In other news, I finally had a bit of a melt down last Friday afternoon. It was a long time coming. I haven't had a good cry since Lawrence lost his job 6 weeks ago, and I'm pregnant, and the two of those things together add up to a-storms-a-brewin'. It didn't feel quite as good as I hoped it would. Not cleansing or anything, just mostly empty and numb. But I'm still glad I got it out. I needed that. Who goes 6 weeks in a pregnancy without a good cry? Certainly not me!

Baby boy is getting closer to being named though we aren't settled for sure yet. It's not that we don't want to "tell", we will tell once we are sure, but we're finding that we've always had our babies named for sure before we tell, and we don't really like other people's input on what they think of the names we are considering. Which we have not been secretive about, and we have gotten feedback on. Both positive and negative. We'll still go with what we like. So we will tell you when we know.

I'll see if I can twist someone around here's arm to get them to take a 27 week belly shot of me, until then, you just get this cauliflower/quarter comparison of approximately how big my baby is. I know Sabine would gladly do it but she is going to the Killer's concert tonight! Her first US concert, hope she has a great time.

Well gang that's it for this update. I was really excited to announce the BH contractions and then it all went down hill from there. One more week till my Glucose test and another weigh in, then I start with appts every 2 weeks and the 3rd trimester. I'm finally going swimming (prenatal water fitness) again tonight which should be very good!

See ya next week!

Happy Happy Birthday Shawna Pace-Powers. I love you dearly and can't imagine my life without you as a friend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oktoberfest in Oregon with 3 Germans + 4.5 Americans

We have always wanted to go to the Oktoberfest celebration in Mount Angel, but have never gotten around to it. This year seemed like the perfect year since we have a new German member to our family. Why not take her to show her the best German festival that Oregon can put on. Well come to find out, this is the biggest Oktoberfest this side of the Mississippi.

It was fun...

We went on Sunday morning and hour before it opened. You know, that's the best time for a party. There were tents set up from people who likely couldn't drive home the raging night before and who were likely at 10am still in there sleeping it off. Ahh, that might have been us in the good old days.

But this year we are pregnant and had our two little ones with us and are on a tight budget. So we splurged for a beer sausage for Lawrence and the girls and some apple fritters for me + lots of browsing and free exhibits and a whole free Kintergaten for the kids. The got to do jumpy houses and ride a pony. The whole day for only $6 + a packed lunch and some snacks! We promised to come back again some day and do it right with the beer garden and more food!

We also brought Sabine's best new friend Hanna (also an au pair from Germany) who has been to the REAL Oktoberfest, as well as another German girl. They were laughing a bit, surprised by the Lederhosen in America. It was Hanna's 20th birthday and so I hope it was nice for her to get a small taste of home, if there really was any taste of home in it! :) If not, she got a great laugh, and some beautiful weather!!

We told Sabine that some day we will come to Germany and she will have to meet us for Oktoberfest. Then we decided it would have to be 10 years from now because the thought of the flight to Germany from Portland with 3 little kids made us want to barf. She said in 10 years, she hoped she had kids of her own. We said, perfect, Lily would babysit! :)

Jumpy house 1/3 for the day
Addie was so cute, she saw two girls dressed up like German's holding hands like this and skipping to the side back and forth to polka music, so she got out of the stroller and held her two hands out to Lily to do the same. They danced all around.
Beer sausage. YUM! Daddy is teaching them that any thing on a stick "just tastes better!"
Watching the coo-coo clock at the Glokenspeil

Hanna, Sabine, & Stephy
Again, our Germans.
Addie REALLY loved the ponies. No fear and just squealing and laughing the whole time. They went fast too, I could barely keep up!

Pony ride. Addie was very excited over the fact that her pony had a TAIL, and couldn't stop turning around to look at it. I tried desperately to show her that the pony in front of her had a tail too. "YiYi pony tail????" looking back at Lily's pony!
Don't let the smile fool you, she was terrified and oh so jealous that I was standing with my hand on Addie's back. As soon as she got off she asked if we could go again. I guess she did like it somewhat! Again? Uh, no, while you were off jumpy housing, mama waited in line for one hour! :)
Almost our turn!

It really was a magnificent fun family day! We want to enjoy every last minute of this sunshine we are getting!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth

On Saturday my Aunt Caroline got us 5 box seat tickets to see the circus. It meant cutting the Buckeye game a little short to make it...but the good news is they were WAY ahead, so Lawrence was alright with it.

We had a very fun time and the girls loved playing Hide and Seek in the Suite during intermission and after the show. Shane's (my 10 year old cousin) first place to hide was in this cabinet so of course the girls didn't hide anywhere else the whole time. That's how we roll with H&S!

The circus was amazing, there are some parts that are very Cirque du Soleil now and of COURSE Lily loved that. The pictures I took of the Tigers weren't very good but the show was impressive. And of course box seats with our own bathroom, complete with TVs was the perfect way to brave an event with a 2 year old and a pg mama. We really enjoyed it. Thanks Caroline. We TRIED to convince Shane to want to see Disney on Ice with the Princesses + Others. If he wants to go, we might get to go too. I told him it could be his bday gift to Lily. Otherwise I think Lily might get to go with just one parent, because no way do I feel like spending money to contain Addie for 2+ hrs with other PAYING guests.

On a more serious note, many of you have asked what's happening with a job for Lawrence. The truth is, our family could really use your prayers for strength as Lawrence continues his job hunt. We are also now in a battle with Unemployment over keeping benefits that we thought were a sure thing for the next few months. (Apparently taking a one day temp job that isn't suited for you is NOT a good idea when receiving unemployment-they'd rather you sit home and do nothing! Errr) I know that God has a plan for us, and our needs will be met. I believe that 100%. Our biggest need right now is that we both can continue to have a positive outlook and stay in a good mental place for our kids and for each other. We have been doing a great job of that, but this is a stressful situation and it is wearing on us both. We know that we will make it through this, and we appreciate all your support and prayers through our struggles.

As always, our family continues to enjoy each other, our beautiful city, have fun, and make due despite things being tight. We are so lucky to live in a wonderful area where there are so many free activities to enjoy. Every weekend we are amazed by our great friends and by the community of the Pacific Northwest! Next post, Oktoberfest in Oregon with three Germans! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blanchet Family Reunion Pics - August 8th

I wrote a little about the family reunion at Red Bridge State Park August 7-9 here. But I didn't post any pictures, like I thought I did. This is the LAST of my catching up. Hooray, I am caught up with something. What a great feeling! After this camping trip we were going to plan one more (and it was going to be this weekend) but I felt so run down and exhausted that we didn't and can I tell you how GLAD I am that we are not camping this weekend. Oh so so so glad. We have a busy enough weekend ahead, but no packing, no crouching, no decampfiring, and not crawling out of a tent in the freezing cold at 4am to go PEE!

Lily and daddy making dinner over the campfire

Addie and Marley (my cousin Amy's son) - Addie is almost a year older but you'd never know it!
Addie and Rosy - my best cousin friend! :)
Addie having "dinner" on the first night. What, they are whole wheat and we are camping, who cares if she was eating them straight out of the pan?
Lily and Addie so happy after getting Grandma Lanie's tent set up for her. They were big helpers and made the process SO much quicker.

COOOOOOOOOLD. Getting Addie bundled for the night. With a lot of laughing.
Play Doh table. Yeah, I'll admit it, we are always the cool and prepared parents at these things. Maybe it is my obsessiveness in not wanting to be the one with bored kids, or maybe it is needing validation from older family members of how well behaved my children are, or maybe it is shear laziness that if I bring enough for them to do, I don't have to entertain them myself. In any case, the kids are always excited to see what Lawrence and I have in our trunk of fun (aka the Trailblazer) and this year we picked up a brand new pack of Play Doh for the occassion. Allowing ME to sit for almost an hour in one shot. Heh!
The camping spot of the reunion this year was perfect for bike riding. There was a large parking lot without much traffic right next to our tent, so the girls rode bikes a lot. Addie doesn't ride as much as she waits to be pushed, but she is getting the art of pedaling down slightly. Even if she refuses to actually do it as a method to make herself go.
Brushing your teeth outside. AWE-some!
Me and Kristen (my cousin John's wife) comparing bellies! We are both having boys, Kristen and John are expecting their first child, John Hunter Blanchet on Oct 28. We are excited for next year to see our two little guys playing together at the family reunion.

My brother was in LaGrande for his National Guard drill, so he got to come for a few hours one night. Of course this made the 3 ladies of my family (mom, Lily, & Addie) MORE than thrilled. I thought this was a very good picture of he and mom.
Riding your bike in your PJs...priceless.
Susannah and Lily
Lily on her favorite seat - Uncle Matt's shoulder
Me and Addie with my cousins Petra and Clemy - The last day I was trying to get things ready to go and Addie just wanted to be held. My back was killing me after 3 days of holding Addie and crawling in and out of the tent. So I said "mommy can't hold you, who can't hold you?" She said "Pet-Pet". So sweet, then Petra did hold her for the whole morning. We love you Petra! :) We were so happy to see Petra, who is back in Mexico working at the mission-based deaf school. We always miss her so much, what a wonderful young lady.

Grandma Lanie and Addie having "MILK TIME" and snuggles with bear-bear by the breakfast campfire.

Uncle Matt doin' what Uncle Matt does best...I think their faces pretty much say it all.
Aunt Caroline holding the Birthday gift that Addie and Lily made for Grandma Lanie

21 weeks pregnant! Posted only 5 weeks late! :)

Great Aunt Cressie (one of two of my Grandpa's sisters we have left) and me and Addie being shy.
Cousin Amy and her new baby Shelby Rayne.
The girls and Uncle Matt. Neither will leave his side.

Our family playing in the river. It was SO cold but we had a great time.

What a wonderful family reunion. I'm so glad that my family does this every year. Lily now remembers and looks forward to it. When I was a kid our family had a campground near Ukiah that my Grandpa's family (and his cousin, I think, owned). Anyway, I remember the reunions with such fun and fondness. I can remember the exactly places I slept, and the swing, and the little swimming hole in the nearby creek. My mom did a great job of keeping me in touch with so much of the extended family over the years. Her cousins, her aunts and uncles, their kids and (now) grandkids. I'm so close to so many of them, and I realize that some of my other cousins are just now meeting them for the first time that they would remember. It feels so special to have a deep relationship with the older generation.

It's really awesome. One other special person that I don't have a picture of here (though I'm sure my mom will dig one up and email it to me pronto after reading this) is Opal. She is my mom's cousin's (Herb) wife. Before my mom had kids, she didn't think she really wanted kids. Opal DESPERATELY wanted kids but was never able to conceive. My mom told Opal if she ever had kids she would give them to Opal. So when I was born and Opal met me for the first time, she said, "Thanks, hand her over...". By that point my mom had already grown very attached to me and decided she'd go ahead and keep me. Over the years it has always been a joke that Opal was "almost" my mommy. I even told Lily that if Grandma Lanie wouldn't have been my mommy, Opal would be my first pick. I don't know if it is because of this, but Opal and I have always had a strong connection. Herb and Opal tried several times to adopt a baby, ending in heartbreaking story after story (many of which I'm sure I don't know). They were foster parents to 100s of kids. At some points I remember their modest home being filled with over 10 foster kids. Opal's loving heart and need to parent was almost filled by helping these kids. There was one boy who she tried to adopt for his full 18 years, David. He was Native American, and there were issues related to that that made it impossible for the adoption to go through. When I think of Opal's story, I think it is an example of lives being touched because things don't go our way. God has plans for us in this life that are so much bigger than our own. Hundred's of kids (including the awful ones, like small boys with sexual abuse issues) were taken in and cared for and shown love (some for the first time) by Herb and Opal. They made a difference in more lives in more ways that is even fathomable. The made more of an impact that some of us will ever make during their fostering years. All because their hopes and dreams and prayers were not answered. They are a reminder that we have a choice of what to do with our dissapointments and life long pains of wishing and wondering what if.

My family is a little bit redneck, a little bit country folk, and a lot of bit wonderful people with really big hearts that I am so proud to call MY family.