Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ari James Hillebrand

Praise the Lord!! Eleven days later and he finally decides to make an appearance. Thank you to everyone who was praying for the labor and delivery! God is so wonderful and has truly blessed us. If you haven't noticed yet, there is a slideshow set up to see some pictures. Here is his birth information.

Born at 1:08 am on 10-29-08
7 lbs 15.8 oz and 22'' long

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sweet Cari

I have been pondering all week on what to write about next...and I can not bring myself to write on anything else until I open up to Cari (per her request). I like to tell myself that I would do anything for my friends, and if I truly mean it, the least I can do (besides pray) is let her know how Caden's life and death has affected me.

There are too many thoughts and feelings that I have regarding the loss of your sweet baby girl. Where does one begin to describe the impact that a life (and death) could have on another person? I am not someone to openly talk about my feelings, especially ones that are filled with grief and pain, so I want you to know this is not easy for me to simplify into words and sentences.

When I think of Caden, I picture her in your arms walking around church with her facing out to see everyone...with a huge smile. Every time I saw Caden I had to look for that cute little roll she had on one arm! I don't have one memory of her even crying. She was so happy and content and the only thing I saw her bring to people's lives was joy. Simply joy.

I find it hard to believe that I will soon experience the same joy and excitement you did after Caden was born. I can't help but to feel guilty that I will be bringing a baby into this world, when yours has already come and gone so quickly. She was so precious. I know you are happy for me but it just doesn't seem fair. I have to admit that I don't like to use that word, but it comes to mind for two reasons. The first reason I already mentioned and that is because I am going to experience the joy of a baby. Secondly, it isn't fair because I see how God is working in your life and I am jealous for the relationship you are growing with Him. Let me further's not fair that you have to suffer in pain for your daughter so others will wake up and realize the relationship they are lacking with Him. I am grateful I have been given the chance to realize I need to make some life changes. I would like to think that when my life is all said and done, that it actually had an impact on others lives the way Caden's did. And to think she was only here for 8 months and I have been here for 23 years...

You are so caring to others that you came to tell me you were praying for me, as I come nearer to the end of pregnancy. One never realizes how short life really is, until one is taken away so unexpectantly. That scares me. I'm responsible for bringing another life into this world, not knowing how much time we will have together. Time is much more precious than I think. This past month I have been reevaluating what I spend my time on. If anything, I have come to the realization that I need to reprioritize my life with what really matters in the short time we are here on earth.

I am blessed and thankful to have such a caring and supportive friend, even when you are going through the roughest time. Thank you for letting God work through your life so others could witness such a wonderful miracle. I hurt for you and cry for you. My heart is heavy and filled with sadness that Caden did not get to spend more time with such wonderful parents. But I keep having to remind myself what you said at her funeral: She did not experience pain, or sadness, or anything of the like (except for maybe hunger), and now she is in Heaven and getting to experience what it's like to be with Jesus. I'm sorry for your loss and can't even fathom what you are truly going through.

AJ and I love you and want to be there for you. We love to hear stories about Caden so please don't stop telling them! Thanks for being an inspiration to so many people. I know God is working in many people's lives because of the example you and Andy have set.

Here are a few verses that I have been dwelling on lately.
John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
Matthew 6:33-34
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Munchkin Nut"

Don't ask me why, but somehow our dog deemed the nickname Munchkin Nut. I absolutely had to write about her as she is our first "child". Annie Duke is a mix between a min pin and chihuahua. (Despite what you might think, she is actually an intelligent dog!) She was 2.5 lbs when we got her and is now 13 lbs full grown at 2 1/2 years old. We used to call her munchkin dog referring to her size, but also used to call her a nut when she acted goofy. Somehow those ended up combined. Back in college when AJ and I were just dating, we thought it would be fun to get a dog. We would spend many date nights researching dogs that would best suit us. Well, finally we came to our senses that it just wasn't the right time. I was working and going to school and he was working full time. Low and behold I received a phone call from my cousin a week or so later telling me that she came across a 9 week old puppy that needed a home...for free! This puppy was not taken care of and had been neglected in a house full of other large dogs. Of course I couldn't let that go on so I said I would take her. (I'm such a sucker for rescue animals--besides, she really is that cute all the time and loves to sleep like a human!)

Annie has been with us through lots of life changes: our engagement (she was a witness!), college graduation, our wedding, our first house, and now a new baby. She has always been there to comfort us when we are sick and to cuddle us when we are cold. She definitely has a personality of her own. For those of you who don't know her, she is very protective of us at first, and also very jealous. She does like to bark but really keeps that at a minimum nowadays. (It helps now that we actually have blinds up on our windows.) Her favorite past time is sitting up in her room and watching out the window. (Yes, she does have her own room and she knows it.) She also has her own water cups that sit on the end table in the living room as well as one next to our bed for when she gets thirsty at night. So some people might think that is ridiculous but I figure if she is going to be spoiled, it might as well be on something harmless rather than feeding her table food.

Well enough rambling for now (cause I could go on and on) are some pics!

These two pics of us holding her are when she was really little with floppy ears!

Annie was being chased by AJ so she is in her "ready to move" stance. These last two are from last night.

Here she is trying to reach her ball that rolled under the couch. I'm pretty sure she would sit there and stare at the ball until someone got it out for her. She was like a little kid at Christmas when we got it out from under there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Past Due

Being two days past my due date, I still don't see an end in sight. Although I have had a wonderful pregnancy and have loved carrying my husbands child, I'm ready for him to be here! Ok so I know that is being impatient, but in reality he will arrive all in God's timing. I guess I think back to my childhood days when people used to ask the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?". Well I always wanted to be a mom. Plain and simple. With reality being right around the corner, I guess I get more anxious as the days go by just waiting for him to be here. I know how much joy my friends children bring into our lives, I just can't begin to imagine what it will be like to have one of my own.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Blog or Not To Blog

So after weeks of contemplating whether or not I wanted to give blogging a try...I finally convinced myself. I've had the blog set up for a while, just never posted anything on it. Usually when I try new things I am very dedicated for a short while and then tend to not mess with it anymore (either because I'm bored or find a better use of my time). However, it is very difficult to keep up on everyone's lives, so I figured I would at least try and make it easier for friends and family to keep up on our lives (especially with a new addition coming soon)!