Beautiful Moments: Born In Rain

Standard

IMG_7766

There was something about the rain in Scotland that sent a primitive, magical like, energy into my poncho draped body as the lone bag piper stood perching over a stoop atop Edinburgh Castle. The piercing sound of the pipes from a far distance was somehow accompanied by a stillness and quietness. The rain infused with years of history, culture, victory and loss pattered across the cobblestones in reflection of time passed.

When people ask me about the favorite part of my trip to Scotland its too hard to process, but often I’ll remember that moment just mentioned above and smile to myself knowing I could never fully explain it or do it justice with words. Scotland felt like a dream. A dream where I had returned to somewhere I felt I belonged. I jokingly state that if it wasn’t for my husband and daughter I would have never come back to the States. So yes, I’d say that I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to it’s fullest intent.

IMG_6944

It would take ages to recount to you the memories made and the adventures taken. Therefore, I’ll hope you’ll settle for a few highlights instead.

Highlight #1: Military Tattoo

IMG_7001IMG_7051IMG_6945

This spectacular event holds place every year in the stadium attached to Edinburgh Castle every August. Different branches of military from a variety of countries come to perform several different tunes iconic to their region (Scotland of course being the highlight). This remains my favorite highlight and I’m sure this will not be my last Tattoo event. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Highlight #2: The Culloden Battlefield

IMG_7402

This was incredibly special as I had been brushing up on Scottish history prior to my trip. Not to mention, HUGE fan of Outlander book series here (historical fiction). This battle was fought in the most beautiful field scattered with masses of wild heather and foxglove among the grasses. This was the last stand for Scotlands clansmen in the Jacobite rising. Unfortunately, the red coats utterly slaughtered them in droves. Therefore, the disbanding of the clans. To walk on History is always a privilege and it gives the mind room to imagine all kinds of things the more you discover the surrounding environment.

IMG_7403IMG_7412IMG_7397IMG_7398IMG_7391

Highlight #3: Edinburgh Castle, Blair Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, & Stirling Castle. IMG_6848

IMG_7224IMG_7451IMG_7772

The historian in me was near feint getting to openly explore these four beautiful castles.   Two of the most monumental figures in Scottish history, Mary Queen of Scotts and her son James, lived in Edinburgh castle. Mary gave birth to her son in a small room in this castle who would later grow up to change the fate of nations and unite both (Catholic) Scotland and (Protestant) England under one crown! It was also by his consent that his mother Mary Queen of Scotts be beheaded. Talk about your family issues.

Blair Castle was removed from society way up in the Highlands. The heather clads hilltops created the most serene backdrop I have ever seen in my life. It reminded me of scene in The Sound of Music when Maria is on her way back to the Abbey late for mass.

In my personal opinion, Eilean Donan Castle was by far the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen. This was a castle dead center in a body of water with a gorgeously crafted stone bridge with several arches that gave it a remote and secluded feel. Likewise, the mountain ranges behind it made it appear cinematic to the eye. Fun fact by my sister: This castle has been featured in several movies but the most known being Made of Honor starring Patrick Dempsey.

Last but not least, Stirling Castle. One of the most important castles in Scotland. Several Kings and Queens, including Mary Queen of Scotts, were crowned in this very castle! In the War for Scottish Independence, Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to seize the castle. This too, like Culloden, was unsuccessful. However, not everyone that tried to advance the castle failed. William Wallace lead many Scottish men to victory in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. I guess you could say He’s kind of a BIG deal in Scottish history. Haha! Braveheart will never be the same for me now (in a good way).

IMG_7824

To experience culture on this level is such a blessing and a gift. To reflect on ages past and how they shaped the present for both visiting country and home country is eye opening and brilliant! I hope your path crosses with Scotland and if it doesn’t then make it happen!

This post was sponsored by: Carter Clan Grandparents of whom I am most grateful to for allowing me to accompany them on this trip along with several other lovely family members. I will never forget this memory we all made together on foreign soil.

IMG_7716IMG_6721

 

All Is Grace,

The Mrs.

IMG_6742

 

Advertisements

3 Years

Standard

IMG_5892Many things can happen in three years time. Today I was pleasantly reminded that I created this blog 3 years ago today. Flashing back to that exact moment, I can remember my exact thoughts…”I want to remember everything.”

How strangely fascinating it is now three years ahead to look back at all the things I recorded to remember. If I look close enough I can see the chisel in God’s hand chipping away at areas to prepare me for what he had in store and the vallies and hilltops it took me to get to present day.

One of these revelations was my journey into motherhood. For those closest to me or those who decided to spend some free time reading my blog entries,  know that a great many trials came with the birth to the love of my life.

It was out of what felt like the clear blue sky that a strong thought entered my mind as I sat in my bed reliving the day in my mind. I had a moment of thanking God for getting me through my troubles because my body and mind had been at peace and I was basking in the blessings of the day.

“Someone right now is suffering. Someone right now isn’t through their troubles. Someone right now is going through it.”

“How true”, I remember thinking and the thought burdened my heart to the point of tears. I prayed for the great many nameless and unknown women suffering from something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. That wasn’t enough to squelch the burning burden placed on my heart.

“What can I do?”, I asked God. Immediately He showed me. “Give your suffering purpose and give it a voice”. I took a scrap of paper and a pen and he Lord provided everything else.

He gave me the “skeleton” for my story AKA the table of contents and the name for the book I believe He wants me to write. He brings me back to the moment where the thought initially entered my mind.

“Someone right now is suffering. Someone right now isn’t through their troubles. Someone right now is going through it.”

This book, this story, this tool is a means to point others to the source of hope and joy (Yes, joy) through long suffering. He reminds me to write to that “someone” out there. It drives the purpose behind each and every word I pray for God to give me.

Many things happen in three years time, but not every trial we bare is something we share. So I urge you to share your burden or triumph of one with someone or anyone and give glory to God at whatever phase you find yourself in. Bare testimony! We weren’t meant to keep silent when God’s power has freed us!

This story doesn’t have a deadline but it will be what I’m working on mostly over the summer. I ask that you pray for those who will eventually receive this through whatever means the Lord delivers it to them.  Let the truth break through the darkness and the disgusting stigma of Post Partum Depression. I look forward to sharing my story and so many other elements from family and friends in “The Healers Hand: Hope for Hurting Mothers.”

IMG_5908

(Chubs the horse at Wildwood Hills Ranch)

I suppose that an update on our little family is well overdue! Our little Kimberlee Joy continues to amaze us and delight us with her indeed joyful personality. She is discovering so many things and I covet the moments that I get to introduce her to my favorite things in this life.

I’m so blessed to be staying home in the summer due to my occupation. I have loved every moment I get to spend with my baby. It’s hard work being a stay at home mom, but it’s also incredibly fun and rewarding. Those two factors alone topple any cons on the scale plus I still get to tutor a student a few days a week to break things up for an hour.

IMG_5852IMG_5739

Thomas and I have finally found our home church at New Hope Assembly! We are so fed and blessed by the staff and congregation there and see the Lords anointing hand over it. It’s been interesting to see our journey to plant roots down in a church unfold. It has been one of the most stressful things about moving to a different state and leaving the church you love.

Though our journey was long and included many church searches and meeting other awesome bodies of believers, He lead us to our wellspring! We are looking forward to our membership class and plugging in for the long haul. Praise God.

Another wonderful blessing has been seeing Thomas use his God given talents and compassionate heart in the temporary change of his profession all thanks to our friends at Wildwood Hills Ranch offering him the team building director position for the summer. Those of you who know my husband know that God did not make him to sit behind a desk all day, but he gladly sacrifices for his family in doing so until the Lord provides him with another opportunity to do what he knows he is called to do. Wildwood has been a huge stepping stone in his life since he started working there as a teenager all those years ago. It’s incredible and awe inspiring to see him in his element and loving on kids that so many deem “broken” or “unreachable”.

IMG_5872IMG_5866IMG_5837IMG_5846IMG_5848

Bandit and Diesel are loving life and pick on each other 24/7 in brotherly love. They had one of their first days apart when Thomas took Diesel to the ranch for the day. Bandit cried by the door for ten minutes but eventually got over being the only fur baby in the house realizing he didn’t have to share Kimberlee or I.

In other life news, we recently went on our first family vacation to Lewes, Delaware. It’s safe to say that we won’t be flying in a plane with Kimberlee anytime soon. It was a bit stressful on the way back and the first couple days of actually being there because I was so ill from what we think was my thyroid adjusting to the medicine. I went to the ER when I felt like a couldn’t handle myself anymore. Sure enough the next day, my body leveled out or stopped stripping me of feeling well. Nothing beats the feeling of being in your own bed after 2 weeks of staying in different places!

IMG_6446

I’m making sure to not take this week for granted because by the end of it I’ll be bound for Scotland. I’ve never traveled or did so much in one summer! Once I return, (with several millions of pictures) I only have a week before Kimber baby’s first birthday party (which will also accrue another million photos to edit)! Not sure how I’ll sift through them with school (work for me) starting in the middle of those two big events. In September we are finally getting some family photos done by someone other than me! I’m so freaking excited because doing our own is always so time consuming and stressful. I look forward to sharing the details of our photoshoot plans with you! For now, it’s back to the grind of travel recovery and travel prep. Hopefully I won’t wait so long between posts to write. They always end up in a giant outpouring of random things, events, and thoughts instead of a streamline idea or message. For that, I apologize. At least you are all up to date now!

All Is Grace,

The Mrs.

IMG_6316

 

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Giving

Standard

img_4125

Some people are stitched into the quilt of your family in the most unexpected ways. The Mr. and I have been blessed with “adopting” (housing) two of our friends for the time being. Most people would think that after just having a baby that this would be a burden on a new family unit. However, I entirely disagree! I’ll expound.

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that stickers closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

When God gives you much. When you have something to give in return. When there is a need in someones life that you can meet in an honorable way. Do it as unto the Lord. My husband has the gift of a huge heart. When it comes to family, friends, or even complete strangers. I find myself usually being more of the icy, pessimistic, and “let me think about it” type of person in our marriage. Thomas is the ying to my yang and he balances out my lack luster personality traits wonderfully as God has revealed to me over our time together.

img_4128

I am continually and unashamedly humbled by this wonderfully habitual nature of his. So much so, that I decided I wanted to host a Friends-giving dinner for those friends who are stitched into our daily family routine now. This was a way to honor my husband by honoring his friends who in turn have become mine as well. I look fondly at these pictures because it feels like our family has expanded beyond the baby if only for a short time, and that is something to indeed celebrate! I enjoy the company, the conversations, and ultimately knowing that this home of ours is being used for more purpose than just housing an occasional visitor and my own, but helping friends get a leg up in life for whatever reason they need.

img_4131

So before December takes the stage and November thankfulness is speedily overshadowed, I wanted to say Happy Friendsgiving! May you always find comfort in this home and wherever your journeys lead you. Till next post!

All is Grace,

~The Mrs.

photo-on-12-7-16-at-4-45-pm

Ankeny Centennial Senior Session

Standard

img_3864

I was over the moon to shoot my first Ankeny senior session since moving to Iowa and re-rooting DDP. This strapping young gentleman is a senior at Ankeny Centennial and a member of the football team. I was delighted to be contacted by his mother via our neighborhood website where I had dropped a line to my fellow neighbors about the services I provide. It’s always great to connect with someone in your own hood and both Riley and his mom made the experience shooting in the bitter cold a heartwarming experience!

img_3840

Riley is the Senior every photographer covets because he was willing to try anything, understood posing instructions, implemented his own creative posing and image ideas, and was absolutely natural in front of the camera! It was fun seeing his own vision for his photos reveal itself through humorous banter with his mother. He mentioned why he selected certain articles of clothing to give off that authentic Iowan country boy aesthetic “Not redneck though…” he elaborated.

img_3888

The first thing that came to my mind through his description of the look he was going for just blared “Smallville” in my mind. For those of you who aren’t up to speed with awesome superhero tv shows, Smallville depicts a high-school aged, football playing, farm boy, Clark Kent. The All- American guy vibe. This was especially a treat for DDP because most of our senior session clientele leans heavily on the female side. I enjoyed the simplicity of this session and hope to do more like it in the future.

img_3832

What really gets my goat is that Riley’s mom mentioned that he was seeming apathetic about getting senior portraits done in general, but come his session date, he was like a professionally polished senior rep. model with so many ideas and such a cheerful and jovial spirit! That is something I so greatly appreciate during any session because it’s something to feed off of and the energy is infectious. We certainly rolled with the punches for location options. The original Ankeny field for actual game play is located at what is now the middle school and Riley’s mom requested the gate be left unlocked for his senior session. Unfortunately, the location of choice ended up being locked out, but they both kept an amazingly good attitude about it and used the Ankeny practice field instead. It’s not often that location issues pop up, but when they do, we make dew.

img_3834

Some things just become blessings in disguise. I wouldn’t have been able to capture Riley’s alma mater in the background for some of his images (An awesome request of him) if we hadn’t been locked out of the game field across town. Those shots made my top ten for the client gallery. Another interesting gamble was the weather which turned out in our favor. Some of the more dynamic images I’ve captured come from a rather mundane colored sky. It worked wonderfully for the shot that Riley was wanting because I believe it pushed attention on the two subjects I wanted the spotlight on. First a foremost, my senior. Secondly, his school building. I’m sure a blue sky with puffy white clouds would have been nice also, but the feel would also be different. I wasn’t too worried about a gray sky as much I was about possible rain. A muted sky usually makes for very soft lighting and easier to edit if need be in my humble opinion. Although, in the back of my mind I thought if a torrential downpour occurred, some of the field shots would have an amped up drama to them.

img_3874

All in all, I was very proud of my senior and very delighted with the outcome of his session images. I’m greatly looking forward to capturing more images of local Ankeny high school seniors! Till next post.

All is grace,

~The Mrs.

img_3978

 

Something Old Something New

Standard

img_3385

By the title, you are probably assuming this is a wedding related post….fooled you! After now having my feet placed back under me by the Lord, I have decided to commit myself to one of my hobbies in addition to being a substitute teacher. I’ve decided to reopen myself to photography. I’ve always loved it and loved making people happy with my style of shooting and editing. I’ve gone through a kind of metamorphous with business names through those noncommittal years. You might remember my first one being “Kellyphotographics”. I wanted to sound “cool” and “techy”…embarrassing.  Eventually that name died away because I felt it didn’t represent or mesh well with my style of images. Then came the nice thing that almost everyone does now (which is NOT bad and I’m NOT putting down those who do it because it makes things brand specific) which is the first and middle name of yours truly, “Kelly Christina Photography.” I really liked this but to be honest, I just copied the smarter people who did it before me. I thought to myself, “Well, I am behind the camera taking the shots and they are MY images. So it makes sense and it sounds better….copycat. I just did it because everyone else was doing it.

IMG_3402.jpg

After taking a good look into my motives, I thought to myself “What drives me? I want that to be incorporated into my brand name.” The answer was so simple and as soon as I thought of it I performed a well deserved face-palm. Delightfully Downin Photography. My motive is my family pictured perfectly right above. They keep me going. They make me want to capture moments and they are the reason I want to pursue this again. The name just seemed right after thinking about it. To me our new brand name says, “We are simply who we are and we love to capture it.”  Having the blog already set up was just the icing on top of the cake.  Those old names are long gone and the new name is here to stay permanently!

img_3428

However, I’m still currently in the process of designing our website. It’s not ready to be released yet but it will be soon! It’s just a bit hard to design your own site when your newborn’s needs are so many and so frequent. I’ve allowed myself a month to finish and to finish it authentically and not just something spun together last minute because I’m rushed with Kimber. This blog will remain the window into our personal lives but with some added professional life posts.

img_3377

So keep your eyes peeled for the big website reveal! I’ll be tugging at social media once It’s ready so there’s no way to miss it! I hope you have a most blessed Thursday! Remember to thank God for something/anything today. One way we do this is through our family thankfulness jar & journal. We write something down when we think of it and either put it in the jar or in the journal. At the end of the year, we’ll look back at all the things we gave thanks for!

img_3516

All Is Grace,

~The Mrs.

img_3285

Motherhood: The Slow Embrace

Standard

(WARNING: This post is extremely honest and blunt and intended to encourage those who have been or are going through something similar)

img_2894

“I couldn’t leave my baby’s side for more than five minutes…”

“I fell in love with my baby as soon as I laid eyes on her…”

“There was an immediate bond between us…”

“I just couldn’t get enough of her!…”

These are all things I had been told before I gave birth to our Kimberlee Joy from several friends who were regaling me with their birth stories. I remember them so clearly because I struggled for those statements to come true for me. The later half of my pregnancy had me excited and fantasizing about my precious little girl. I had nested to my fullest capacity and was ready to have her in my arms. When my OB told me I was showing signs of preeclampsia and might have to deliver early, part of me was happy because I wanted to meet her. Though the news was worrisome to some degree, it was like being told I could open a Christmas present early or something.

img_2897

Kimberlee had plans of her own and decided she wanted to join the world on her own terms and in her own time without the help of induction. I had been battling some major contractions for two days and lost two nights worth of sleep before Thomas said enough is enough and drove me to the hospital. I had only dilated to 2 cm when my contractions escalated even more. I laid there howling in pain on the triage hospital bed waiting to hear the heavenly words, “Time for you to be admitted.” That did not happen until three hours later.

img_2916

By the time I had gotten to 4 cm dilation, I was begging to know when I could have my epidural. They finally whisked me away to the birthing unit where I was given a pain medication through my IV to help me sleep so I would have energy for delivery. Soon the anesthesiologist came to perform my epidural. During the process, I fell asleep and while the Dr. was still exploring my spine, a nerve sent a shock through my leg that woke me up in a fright and I jolted suddenly with a scream. Everything seemed fine at the moment but I paid for it later.

img_2915

The epidural was like a dream come true. I could feel pressure but I wasn’t in agony anymore. I could actually get sleep! I slept for about 2 more hours before I had dilated to 10cm and the Dr. came to break my water. Once that was done, I felt ready to push and take on my birth warrior title with a vaginal delivery. I pushed for 2 hours with little progress except a fever spike. Thomas could just see the top of her head when Kimberlee started showing signs of distress from the monitor attached to my stomach. I had to make the call I thought was best for her and was soon wheeled down to the OR for an emergency C-section. I was numbed to the point where I couldn’t move or even tell when they had started cutting into me. I remember feeling dizzy and nauseous halfway through and staring into the blue cover they put in front of my face while Thomas watched them taking out organs and placing them back.

img_2918

I remember feeling tugs back and forth and eventually a weak little cry broke through the fog of my weary mind and body. Thomas came around the blue veil with our daughter tightly wrapped up. I could only see a bundle in his arms from my angle on the operating table. I hadn’t even seen her face completely or long enough to remember when she was rushed up to the NICU and I was left to be stitched up and transported. Thomas sent pictures to my phone from the NICU and I remember thinking “She’s so cute!” I studied the picture looking for similarities between Thomas and I.

img_2911

I slept like the dead that night after all the events that had transpired. I learned the next morning from Thomas that Kimberlee wasn’t breathing right after she came out. I was eager to hold her and get things rolling when a problem developed. When it was finally time for me to get up and walk for the first time to see her in the NICU, I arose and immediately my head was filled with splitting pain. It would only present itself when sitting up. When laying flat, I would be relieved of the pain in my head. I relayed my concerns to my nurse and she suspected it was spine related. She contacted the anesthesiologist immediately to perform a “blood patch”. This entailed the implementation of yet another epidural in which the Dr. would inject a vile of my blood into my spine to clot the spinal leakage that was causing my head to split. He said that once the blood is injected that the relief would be immediate. Praise God it was, but I was ordered to lay flat for another 2 hours before getting up again.

img_2919

I was discharged in the usual 3 day fashion of a C-section patient. Kimberlee remained in the NICU for five days before we took her home. The first night was as expected….Complete Overwhelm. The second night wasn’t as bad but the lack of sleep and  anxious thoughts of “This is what my life is going to be like now”, “I’m never going to get good sleep”, “I’m going to be all alone during the day”, “I can’t do this”, and etc. finally broke me and in entered post partum depression like a giant wave that had taken my breath away in one second. I felt immediately trapped and panicked by my circumstances and slowly the lies that one oppressed by depression is afflicted with started screaming loudly in my mind…”I don’t want her”, “I didn’t want this”, “I miss life being just me my dog and Thomas”, “I don’t want to wake up”, “I want to sleep forever”, “I can’t take care of her”, “I want to die”.

img_2924

I remember being terrified of waking up because when I did the depression washed over me as soon as I came back from dreaming into reality. I would look at my sweet Kimberlee and feel nothing. I was so detached from her and felt detached from everyone around me. During a visit to my in-laws house I had a mental breakdown and finally revealed what I was feeling. My husband and my in-laws told me to go downstairs and get some rest. I woke up the next morning with all of my clothes, medications, baby stuff, and bassinet all at my in-laws house. During my deep sleep, my husband moved our things over and we ended up living with my dear in-laws for almost a month. I don’t know what I would have done without them helping take care of Kimberlee. They were able to smile at her, play with her, and care for her when I felt I could not. The devil decided he wanted to steal this blessing away from me by putting guilt in my head. “You shouldn’t have to have help”, “You’re a lazy mother..a bad mother”, “You’ll fail when you move back into your house”, “You’re depression is making others sad and uncomfortable”, “No-one wants to be around you”, “You are the biggest burden”.

img_2926

I believed these things even though no-one helping me was even voicing anything of the sort. I felt like a horrible person for not being “happy” about being a mother and for not gushing over my daughter like so many others were. I wanted to be that person, but the haze was thick and I needed help. I always knew I was pre-disposed to this type of mental illness because some of my family members struggled with it also. I found comfort in seeing how God gave them victory over it because I so desperately wanted victory in my story. I talked to my doctor about what I had been feeling and more importantly what I had been thinking. At one point I was so low I wanted to drive myself off the bridge I was going over. These thoughts were NOT me. They were not of God. They were symptoms of the depression. I told my doctor that I fought negative thoughts constantly and was feeling weary of it. I ended up being prescribed Zoloft.

img_2920

The medicine takes a while to build up and I could not feel a change for many weeks. My sister, who had overcome PPD referred me to a Christian counseling service to help determine thoughts that are true and of God as opposed to those being spun by the enemy through my mental illness. Sometimes I needed people to tell me things I needed to declare out loud. “God chose you for Kimberlee”, “You are not alone”, “This too shall pass”, “You are a good mother”. I began taking every thought captive and asked God for the strength to do mind battle and take care of Kimberlee at the same time. I prayed strength for my family members and gave thanks for their help instead of letting their help make me feel guilty. I thanked God for my husband Thomas for keeping a jovial spirit in the midst of my sorrowful state. Lastly, I thanked God for Kimberlee. Even though I did not feel like I was thankful for her I did it anyway. I sought and still seek the Lord every morning and throughout the day and night.

img_2929

Slowly but surely, the fog began to lift little by little. I would feel warmth in my heart when I saw Kimberlee smile. I would hear her cry and actually want to comfort her. I slowly began to embrace motherhood and let thoughts of my past life before being a mother go. I remember actually laughing genuinely at something till I cried and thinking “This is me…Praise God”. Now I feel like the proud momma. The one that wants to dress her daughter up with pretty bows and brag about how perfectly adorable I think she is in every way. I kiss and nibble her little cheeks and feel like sometimes my heart will burst because I love her so much.

img_2931

God has taught me so much through this transition into motherhood. First and foremost I learned that I cannot be a mother without God. I literally do not have the strength, the patience, the selflessness, and the endurance apart from the Lord. I was foolish to ever believe I could and I believe quite differently now. The Lord allowed everything I thought I had control of in my life to be stripped away. My sleep, my mental health, my physical health, my appearance, my overall day and what I chose to do with it. I believe he allowed this to happen so that I would learn how to truly rely on him for each and every moment both good and bad wether I felt like it or not. Feelings are manipulated by depression but I was told that feelings should not dictate our actions. I felt hopeless, but I knew God would give me hope. I felt sad and sorrowful, but I chose to sing about how amazing and faithful God is.

img_3000

I am still getting used to my role and still occasionally fighting thoughts I know are not true, but God is healing me and teaching me along the way. I just wanted to put this out there because I know that social media and other avenues paint a picture for us about pregnancy, parenthood, and life that is glistening and perfect. Most people will not upload a photo of their screaming child or their swollen feet. I’m not saying that we need to be complaining or being little rainclouds. Rather, I think we need to be REAL. The reality for me is that my first month as a mother was so incredibly dark and I felt incredible pressure to be “normal” by standards set by others and by myself. Well people, this is incredibly normal and if you are going through the same thing I pray this encourages you to hold on, let God be God, and to see victories in your day no matter how small you think they are.

img_2995

img_3005

Thank you for your prayers and please keep them coming. I know I have half of Florida praying for us right now and that boosts my spirit incredibly. Here’s to finding joy in all circumstances wether we feel up or down.

img_3022

Till Next Post,

~The Mrs. & Kimberlee Joy

 

 

 

 

Nursery Peek & Baby Updates

Standard

IMG_2821

As promised, I am finally delivering the nursery peek post along with some new developments in the journey with our little girl. Before we dive into the nursery pictures, I need to recognize another event that recently happened in which my Iowan family members got together to bless baby girl Downin with another baby shower! Time with family I rarely get to see is special enough, but all the teamwork that went into making this shower fun, beautiful, and delicious was extra special! From the front of the door to the dinning room table, everything was bright and welcoming.

IMG_2822IMG_2827

My dear family member Melissa worked her magic here with this festive fruit display! Not only could I not stop looking at it, but I also believe I ate my weight in fruit that afternoon. Baby girl was thoroughly pleased with my fruit binge as I could feel her happy little kicks after bites of pineapple, watermelon, blueberries, and strawberries. The fruit display however, was not the only beautiful thing to grace the dinning room table.

IMG_2825

My dear Momma-In-Law adorned her silver party tree with decorative baby trinkets like rattles, pacifiers, and other things that welcomed party guests to the table for a bite. While looking at the tree, your eyes would slowly descend to the bottom where little moist masterpieces covered in patterns and edible sparkles just waited to be devoured.

IMG_2826

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have two. I also regret NOTHING! These cupcakes were absolutely delicious and I ended up encouraging others to eat more with the secret intent of, “The less that are there, the less I will eat”. You also wouldn’t have to look far for something delectable to wash down all the fruit and cake you just ate.

IMG_2824

I’m not sure if anyone knows this, (because when would it really come up in a conversation?) but I absolutely adore party punch with sorbet! It’s my favorite and if I didn’t have a shred of dignity and self control left in my body, I would have taken the whole bowl with a Jumbo straw and spoon and gone to town. Future goals. . .

IMG_2830

I was delighted by all the gifts for our little girl and the fun games my sister in law planned for the party. It was just plain fun and good fellowship and I appreciated every minute of it. Migraine and all. This little one is definitely going to be loved and supported by many and that in itself is a gift to know and bank on. Out of all the gifts we received, Thomas indeed had his favorite, as he should, because it was specifically meant for him!

IMG_2047

His Momma put this together for him and he was so proud of it! It was filled with all the diaper changing essentials and then some for other occasions. I think this gift actually made him excited to change a diaper which is really impressive considering The Mr. here sometimes gets the willies when it comes to cleaning up baby fluids of any kind. He’s going to be great though! It’s definitely fun to see him getting more and more excited as the weeks move along. Now, on to the nursery!

IMG_2878

Many of you already know that we’ve had baby girl Downin’s name picked out since we found out she was indeed a little lady. However, many of you might not know the story behind the reason we picked this name. I can remember way back when Thomas and I were in our 2nd or 3rd month of dating when my Momma-In-Law to be came up to me one night in her house in Port Charlotte, Florida and handed me an old white Farm Bureau mailer that felt heavy from all the papers inside. She told me that this was her story and she wanted to share it with me. I pulled out the individual papers that were neatly stacked and all in order. It was a indeed a story. A book without a cover, but soon covered with tears as I read through it. My In-Laws to be had been through so much together. Their first born Kimberlee was taken up to Heaven at only eight years of age tragically and suddenly, their second born, (My sister-in-law Amy) developed cerebral palsy and had to undergo surgeries and procedures since she was born, and then my Momma-In-Law fought a battle with cancer. Throughout the stream of words was the consistent theme of dependance on God to walk them through each of these valleys. This story was a testament to Faith and Trust in the Lord. I learned so much about Sue and Jerry that night, but also about little Kimberlee. The way Sue described her in writing was poetic. She was full of sparks with a love for others and life in general. A sweet and playful spirit was in her. I knew that if I had a daughter, I’d want her to embody those same characteristics. Therefore, the name fled to the back burner of my mind until the foreseeable future presented itself the event to bring it back to the forefront.

IMG_2857

When Thomas and I found out we were pregnant we discussed with each other the topic of names. We immediately started with what we wanted for a girl’s name. We had been thinking the same thing all throughout our dating years but never voiced it! Kimberlee. We wanted to honor her memory and bring the name back to the Downin family. After our little discussion and cluelessness on boy’s names, I had a feeling that God just might be giving us a Kimberlee. He delivered on my suspicion!

IMG_2876

For the feel of the nursery, I really wanted something whimsical, floral, and woodsy in a nature sense. Most folklore and fairy tales revolve around the setting of woods or a forest and we had the most perfect corner to decal the forest and woodland creatures you would see in those types of stories. We kept the nursery very muted in color other than pops of accent color here and there. The wall color is actually what we have throughout the house and it served as the perfect base for the creams and whites throughout the nursery. It also goes with ANYTHING. Some of the colors you will see working in tandem are pink, green, teal, gray, and coral. Major plus. Featured here, we have a teal colored glider from my In Law’s storage unit and a homemade fleece blanket from Momma-In-Law.

IMG_2872IMG_2873

One of my favorite wall decorations is from two of my dearest friends! My friend of now 11 years, Amanda, purchased this beautiful digital print with one of my favorite Biblical references which is perfect regarding the topic of pregnancy. It hangs from a chrome deer head hook from my friend Valerie that I got to pick out on one of our outings together. It adds to the forest theme of the nursery.

IMG_2855IMG_2862

We ended up getting this mobile not knowing how incredibly awesome the variety of music is! It plays at least 30 different songs and has a Christmas section and some old hymns! When the first set it up, Thomas and I just sat and listened to it for like ten minutes. It was like being at a mini concert. We would try to guess what the songs were. Something tells me we will probably end up getting sick of those songs the more and more we use it. Anything with noise will probably never leave our minds ever again. Anyways, here are some other shots. I forgot to take one of her closet which I am the most proud of because its an organizational masterpiece, but maybe you’ll just have to visit us to see it 😉

IMG_2867IMG_2870

(The Quilt Was A Homemade Gift From Family Members!)

IMG_2859

IMG_2854IMG_2869IMG_2868IMG_2875

(Not My Actual Diaper Bag. This Is A Stunt Double)

IMG_2881IMG_2882IMG_2883IMG_2847IMG_2885

Well, last but not least comes the new updates on our journey towards parenthood. Only a handful of people had been informed initially but we’d really like to stick this information out there for some extra prayer seeing as we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or when or how to navigate through these decisions yet. Many of you know that I had been looking for a short term project (month long) to help out financially till Kimberlee came. I was put on assignment at Iowa Reality in West Des Moines as an agent assistant until labor day in September and my first day of training was on Friday of last week. It was the perfect setup and I saw the relief pour over Thomas’ face when I told him how much they were going to pay me. I also had my weekly OB appointment that Friday and Iowa Reality so graciously allowed me time to go to my appointment during my training. It was at this appointment that my OB became concerned about the amount of protein in my urine sample and my current blood pressure. I also had been losing vision two weeks prior from daily headaches or migraines every other day. He asked me, “Do you need to be anywhere after this?”

I told him about how I literally just started my training two hours ago for a month long project in West Des Moines and was planning on going back to being trained after the appointment. He replied sincerely, “Well, I need to send you to the hospital and you should probably punt that project to someone else….This is more important. I think you might have Preeclampsia due to all your symptoms and we need to get you tested right away. If it’s full blown, the only way to get rid of it is early delivery.” I completely agreed with him no doubt! Kimberlee’s safety comes first. It was just the utter shock and irony of this all happening on that day and clearly the Lord saying, “DO NOT WORK.” It was hard to delivery the message to Thomas because I was so proud of myself for hooking this job and he told me how proud he was and I kind of felt like a failure both to my baby and to him after talking to my OB. I sobbed for a bit and called my mom and then Thomas who immediately told me to stay where I was and that he’d come take me to the hospital. He couldn’t care less about me having to quit. I had forgotten how understanding my husband was and relished in his words. “No more worrying about work right now. You and Kimberlee are the most important thing and that’s that!”

Before I knew it, we were there walking into the hospital to be tested. A migraine had set in upon check-in. The sweet nurse I had gave me a cold compress for my head and darkened the room after hooking me up to a baby monitor and blood pressure machine that would go off every ten minutes to make sure it wasn’t going too high. Vials of blood were taken to the lab as a fell asleep to the humming of the hospital machines. When the nurse came back an hour later, she said the results in my blood were negative for preeclampsia but they would still have to monitor the situation via a 24 hour urine collection that I could do from home. I was pleased to hear my results were okay and agreed to 24 urine collection.

On Monday, I met with another one of my OB staff and handed in my urine sample and had my blood pressure taken. He said “It’s not a matter of if you have Preeclampsia, but when your symptoms are going to worsen.” Apparently I’m in the beginning stages but the more time that passes the worse the symptoms will get which means the safety of Kimberlee and myself is at risk. Thankfully, the OB mentioned that Kimberlee is only 13 days away from being considered “full-term” (37 weeks). He suggested that we wait out the 13 days till she has developed a little more and then discuss what to do in terms of early delivery. In other words, I don’t believe Kimmy will make it to her due date of September  18th.

In the meantime, I’ve been ordered to “house arrest”. Just kidding. However, I am housebound and have been instructed to not do anything other than relax. My next appointment is this Friday on the 19th. I believe that’s when some more important decisions will be made. So now that you are up to date with the latest, please keep us in prayer. Specifically for safety for Kimberlee and I and wisdom to navigate these unknown waters as first time parents. Thanks for tuning in! I will most likely post 1-2 more times before things get crazy but you never know. Keep an eye out!

All Is Grace,

~The Mrs.

IMG_2052

IMG_2592IMG_2595