A Look Back

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. As I sit here about 2 hours away from the start of 2010, the events that happened this year are all racing through my head. It started out great when we learned just a few days into the New Year that I was pregnant. We had been wanting another baby so we were thrilled and surprised to learn I was expecting. Unfortunately, that excitement was short lived when I miscarried a few weeks later. Not really the way I thought 2009 would start off. Once again the Lord was there to walk us through the journey of loss. It was the second miscarriage for me in 6 months. I always try to find the positive in situations like these because it helps me to keep going and to heal. The positive this time was that the Dr. discovered I had a gene mutation that causes blood clots (called MTHFR) and that I am more susceptible in pregnancy and outside of it, to have a blood clot. So I take a daily aspirin to prevent one from happening. I might have never known this condition existed had it not been for the miscarriages. Thankfully, the rest of the year was pretty uneventful.

My sweet Sydney Kate turned 2 in March. We had a great time of celebration with our family. She is such a spunky and sweet little girl who constantly makes me laugh. She loves to read and play with her sissy.

In April Brian and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. I am blessed beyond measure with the man God sent me. There were times I never thought I would get married. I was just 2 weeks shy of my 29th birthday. I thought I would be married by 25 so I was well past my goal. You are doing the math in your head aren't ya? He is everything I could have hoped and prayed for and more. He pushes me, in a loving way of course, to strive to be a better mom, wife and woman. I count it an honor to be your wife Brian. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and thank you for being such an amazing daddy.
May brought a trip out to California, where I was born and raised, to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday. All the Darin family was there. It was so much fun to be home and to be able to celebrate with my extended family that I don't get to see often. We had a great time at Disneyland too. It was so fun to be able to take my girls to a place that I went to so many times as a little girl. We all had a great time.

Brooklyn turned 4 in August. My baby is growing up so fast. It seems like yesterday I was holding her in the hospital and now she's this smart, creative and witty little girl. She loves Jesus and loves to sing. She is a joy to be around and there are still moments when I can't believe she's mine.
In September, my 3 sisters and I flew back home to Southern California to sing for our high school performing arts center. It was so much fun to be back on stage with them. I miss singing with them and doing ministry together. I hope one day soon we can reunite and perform again. I have a couple of ideas in the works for 2010 that might make that happen. I'll keep you all posted.

November was a busy month for us. My youngest sister got married on the 7th and then Brian and I got to take our first cruise ever. We were spoiled and got to go on the inaugural cruise of Oasis of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. Amazing doesn't quite begin to describe the ship. You can read about it our trip here.
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Hilliard. Congratulations Heather. You were a beautiful bride. Love you.
It has been a crazy year full of ups and downs. I am thankful that I am still here, still breathing and doing life with my family. I am thankful for our health, although it seems like this year we endured some tough times in that department. I am thankful that He has used my trials to help other people. I am thankful that I decided to blog just a year ago. It's allowed me to meet new people in ways I would have never thought possible. I am thankful for my amazing family. My parents who never tire of helping and watching the girls. They are awesome and my girls are so blessed to have them so close. I am thankful that even in a down economy, Brian still has a job. Most importantly, I am thankful that Jesus loves me. I know that sounds so Sunday School, but it is so true. He loves me when I at times don't love him back. He is always there. He never leaves me. Never gives up on me.
I wanted to share a song with you that we recorded for our third album, which unfortunately, never came to fruition. It's one of my favorites. It's called "This is Why". The words are so powerful. It makes me cry every time I hear it. It was written by Ginny Owens whom we had the priviledge of doing a few concerts with her years ago. She is so talented and truly amazing. It's just piano and voices. It was never finished, but I love the simplicity of it. I don't know why bad things happen. I don't know why babies have to die, why there is war, or poverty. What I do know is that God is real. He created ALL things. He still performs miracles. I have two walking around everyday. When I look at my beautiful girls, I believe. That is all I need to know.

Thanks to my hubby for putting this video together. Love you babe.

Snow Angels

Christmas afternoon we drove to Indiana to celebrate with Brian's family. The girls did fabulous on the 6 hour drive. I couldn't believe it. They didn't have a nap either. The snow had melted by the time we arrived which the girls were bummed by. Have no fear however because snow was in the forecast for the next 3 days while we were there. It really came down on Sunday and Monday. The girls were thrilled. Sunday morning we went to church where Brian grew up going.
I love this picture of the girls with their Grandma Sara (Brian's mom). Brooklyn ran out of church and plopped herself down in the snow and made a snow angel. She could care less that she was in her pretty dress.

The girls knew as long as it wasn't yellow snow than it was ok to eat. Can I dress my kids for snow or what? Seriously, what was I thinking? No hat, gloves or boots. Remember y'all I am from Southern California, I'm not used to cold weather.
I took some video of the girls playing in the snow. I was too cold to go outside so I shot it from inside Brian's grandmother's house. She lives on a farm and I have to say it was the most beautiful thing to see the snow falling and to look out the windows and just see white across the corn fields. The ending is a little shaky. I was trying to take video and pictures at the same time. ( video coming in the morning. Too tired to wait for it to download)

Tuesday's Tip-Window Markers

If you have a child that is 3 or older this tip is for you. This was hands down the best gift I could have given Brooklyn and it only cost $3.87 at Walmart. They are Washable Window Markers by Crayola.
This has kept her busy for days. We even took them to Indiana with us and she made grandma's windows very pretty and colorful. They literally wipe off with your finger. I love it because we're not going through a ton of paper so it's earth friendly too.

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve Service at Brentwood Baptist with my family.

After the service we went back to Bill and Stacy's for dinner and to open presents.

Christmas morning at the house. The girls are always so excited to rush down the stairs to see what Santa has left them.

Then it was off to Indiana to spend time with daddy's family.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night!

Hearing the Angels sing

I have a blogger friend who sent me the sweetest poem and ornament that I wanted to share with you all. Even though I have never met Natalie in person, I feel like we've been friends forever. She lost her sweet baby boy Branson last year, the same way I lost Zoe, to cord death in the womb. I felt a connection with her the first time I read her blog. I love how God can use a blog to mold a friendship. Thankfully her story as a happy ending and she's spending Christmas this year with her new baby girl Brooklyn. I love her daughters name. :) I can't wait to meet her and her Brooklyn some day. Thank you again Natalie. I will cherish it forever.

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
with tiny lights like Heaven stars, reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tears,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you,
the joy the voices bring,
For it is beyond description,
to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away,
We really aren't apart.

So be happy for me, dear ones,
You know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift,
from my Heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory
of my undying love.

After all, love is a gift
more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important
in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other,
as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessings
or love He has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas
and wipe away that tear,
Remember I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

-Author Unknown


Ok it's 1 am and I am completely fried. Why did I think editing a book during the Christmas season was a good idea? Needless to say, there will be no Switcheroo Sunday today. I just couldn't do it. I had to do some shopping today because I was way behind, but I knew the book had to be finished too so staying up late was my only option. I can't wait for y'all to read the stories in the book. I know over the last few weeks as I have gone over them with a fine tooth comb, I have been encouraged and inspired all over again. I am excited to see how this book will impact the people that will read it.

I am submitting it tomorrow to the publisher and I would appreciate your prayers. Thank you all so much for your support. Blessings.

The many faces of Sydney Kate

Sydney has many nicknames, Syd, Sydo, Sydelish each one has their own personality. Months after we named Sydney Kate, we realized that her name matched two of our favorite t.v. characters, Sydney Bristow from "Alias" and Kate from "Lost". I love both of these characters because they were such strong women. Sydney is definitely living up to these names. She's cute as a button, but boy don't cross her. She's a feisty 2 1/2 year old going on 20. She believes she is in charge, not mommy. In fact she goes around talking just like me. It's hilarious just to watch her. She will put her dollies in time out one minute and then turn around the next and say, "Don't worry honey, I'll take care of you". She is incredibly sensitive and compassionate. The other night, I was laying in bed with her and we were saying our prayers. I was thanking the Lord for she and Brooklyn when I also thanked Him for Zoe. I said, "Thank you Lord for Zoe. Thank you for using her story and short life to touch others and thank you that she lives in Heaven with you". All of sudden Sydney just started to cry. I was taken back. Of course then that made me cry too. She's still really young to understand what happened, but I guess when she hears her sisters name, she knows it makes mommy cry sometimes. If anyone is crying, she will cry too. She hates to see anyone sad or in pain.

I blogged about Brooklyn the other day and she saw pictures of her sissy and said, "Mommy, where are my pictures?" Sydney Kate this one is for you sweet girl. These pictures come courtesy of her Little School teacher Ms. Michaele. Thank you so much.

This is my, "I'm up to something face." This is when mommy starts to get a little nervous.

This is my favorite picture of them all. This just sums of Sydney's personality so well. Sweet and caring Sydney Kate. I love you my sweet daughter.

Engineer in the Making

The other day, I noticed Brooklyn was playing with a pink sponge roller. She asked me for some tape and I was curious as to what she was going to do with it. I actually forgot about it until last night when I went into her room and saw what she had done with it. She had realized that her bedroom door was hitting the back of the wall (not sure why the door stopper wasn't working) and it was making a whole in her wall. So she created a solution for her problem.

Pretty ingenious, don't ya think?

Tuesday's Tip-Faith and Love

I usually have some kind of tip to keep your house organized or a way to keep your bodies healthier, but my heart wasn't in that today. I felt the Lord leading me a different way. If you look forward to my Tuesday's Tip I hope I don't disappoint you with this one, but if you read on, you will know why I posted it. My Tuesday's tip is to hug and love on your children as much as possible. Something that sounds so simple, but often one that's hard to act out. I am speaking from experience. My girls sometimes get my second best because I am so busy doing. I'm sure some of you can relate. I have been very thankful for my children the last few days. Maybe it's the holiday's, but this time of year I am all to aware of people who are hurting. (The recent comments on my last blog have made my heart ache. Thank you to those that posted. I read them and I am praying for you.) I always thought of Christmas as a joyous time of the year. A time filled with laughter, love, Christmas music, good food and of course the birth of our Lord and Savior. It didn't hit me until we lost our daughter Zoe two months prior to Christmas in 2004. I remember it so vividly. I didn't want to put up a tree or buy gifts. I just didn't care. Nothing mattered without her in it. I was supposed to be enjoying that Christmas hugely pregnant with just 2 months until her arrival. Instead I was sad, depressed and filled with anxiety. I wondered if I would ever be able to get pregnant again. My husband was incredible during this time. I knew he was in pain too, but he remained strong for me. That year I was given the most meaningful gift I have ever been given and I wanted to share it with you. At the time my husband was drawing a comic strip called Kick Irrational. It was about a husband named Kick and his wife Kricket. We were The Irrational's. Brian wrote about things that happened in our lives and until that time they were mostly upbeat and humorous about the life of a married couple. This time his comic was much different and he wrote it just for me. (It was later published in a few different publications and we got emails from people that were touched by it's honesty). I opened it and bawled like a baby. You can see why.

A closer look so you can read the comic. I love my sweet and talented husband. I am so blessed.
The leaf in the picture came from our October Glory maple tree that we planted in our backyard during the memorial service for her. It's extra special to me now because the tree didn't survive. I never would have imagined how he would allow me to experience that tree again. (you can read the story here) He never ceases to amaze me.

Back to my tip. Today when Brooklyn woke up early from her nap I was not too thrilled. I needed to get some stuff done with the book and I wanted her to go back to bed. That's when it hit me. I can tell her she needs to go back to bed, she already had an hour nap so I knew that wouldn't work, or I can choose to put my stuff on hold and hang with her. So we crawled into bed and I asked her about her day. We just sat and talked. It was priceless. I was convicted that I need to do more of that with my girls. They grow up so fast and I don't want to miss any of it. You see I got another miracle that Christmas back in 2004. Just 4 days after, on the 29th, I found out I was pregnant with another baby. That miracle is sitting next to me playing on daddy's computer. Her name is Brooklyn Sophia and she is 4 years old. My sorrow turned into joy. I never would have imagined how my story would have unfolded, but God knew. He knew every detail and He knows every detail of yours. For those of you who are waiting on a baby, know that God knows your pain. The tears you shed are part of the bigger story, your story, and it will be revealed. Have faith that you will be a mother. I know it's hard. Some days you may not have any faith and that's ok. God knows that, but I pray there will be more days that you do. I believe He will give you the desires of your heart. I have seen it countless times in the women that I have had the opportunity to minister to in my support group that I lead. I can tell you story after story. Stories that are nothing more than miraculous and I pray for that story for you.

If your miracle has already come, hug on those sweet children tonight. Spend sometime just being present with them. We never get those moments back. Praise God for the blessings He has given you and pray for those that are still waiting for theirs.

Hope in the Waiting Book-Coming Soon

Those of you who know my story, know that we battled infertility for almost 4 years. We went through one failed IVF and then 3 months later discovered we were pregnant. The doctors told us it couldn't happen naturally, but God had other plans. My pregnancy went great until 21 weeks, when I found out the baby had died. I delivered our precious daughter Zoe Renae stillborn (due to cord death) on Oct. 8, 2004. Thankfully, the Lord blessed us with 2 more daughters, Brooklyn (4) and Sydney (2 1/2.) Through this difficult time in my life the Lord led me to write a book about my journey and the journey of other women who have overcome infertility to become mothers. I am honored that these women would entrust me with their story and can't wait for you to read about them. If you've happened upon my blog from Kelly's Korner, I am glad you stopped by. I am thrilled her story will be a part of my book. The book will chronicle women who have become mothers through adoption, IVF, embryo adoption and healing. My prayer is that it will provide hope to those that are struggling with infertility.

I will keep you all updated with a release date. Thanks for stopping by.

My little Picasso

Brooklyn loves to draw. She is always asking me for a pen and some paper. She would rather do that than anything else. The girls also like to paint. Sydney's idea of painting is sticking her hands in the paint and smears it all over her paper. She's done in about 5 mintutes and then she's off to play. Brooklyn on the other hand, really takes her time to make just the perfect painting. I was pleasantly surprised with her paintings a couple of days ago. I thought they turned out great. I had to take a picture of them and email them to daddy at work so he could see it. Brian had a great idea to make them into thank you cards. So we will be working on that.

She immediately told me this was a picture of her Auntie RoRo. Auntie RoRo is my sister Rachelle who stayed with us while Brian was in Canada. (Notice that she is anatomically correct.) The girls love their auntie RoRo because she has a cute little dog named Milo who comes to visit everytime she stays the night with us when daddy is out of town.
And of course this is a picture of Milo. I loved this picture.

Thursday Brooklyn made gingerbread houses at school. The moms were invited to come help their kids out. This was so much fun. Brooklyn loved making her house. I think she ate more frosting and candy then she put on her house, but I guess that's half the fun. It was so neat for me to see her in a classroom setting. We had a great time.

Tuesday's Tip- Dishwasher care

Today's tip is how to keep your dishwasher running in tip top shape. You should do this a few times a year. I just did it last week. Pour white vinegar in the detergent tray and the hole where you would keep your rinse aid and run EMPTY on pots and pans cycle. This will clear out any junk you may have in the lines.

Another tip is before starting any new load, always run hot water in the drain and turn your disposal on and run it for 30 seconds. This will flush the lines so that the food in your drain doesn't end up running through the lines in your dishwasher.

That's my short, but sweet tip to keep your dishwasher happy.

The 3 letter word

I know every mom is proud of their kids and I guess today is just one of those days that I am reflecting on how blessed I am to be called mom. For so many years I didn't know if I would ever hear that 3 letter word be uttered from the mouths of babes. Yet, here I am 4 years later hearing those sweet words. So thankful indeed. As Brian pointed out at dinner tonight, "You know, Sydney is a little you. You realize that don't you"? I guess I really hadn't stopped to think about it. Tonight at dinner she said, "Mommy, I am done". "Oh yeah", I said. "Well no I guess not. I have to clean my plate first". Cracked me up. She really does watch me and repeat everything I say. It's the cutest thing. She will walk around the house and talk to her baby dolls and say, "It's o.k. honey". "Sweetie you want something to drink". I smile as I think about her cute little voice saying those words. Then come the ones I cringe hearing. "I'm gonna spank your bottom", she'll say to her stuffed animal. "Time out right now young lady". Oh I wish I didn't have to say those things to her, but I know it's necessary right now, especially since we are in the terrible twos stage. She is learning and growing so fast and she loves to sing. Her favorite song right now is, "I am a C. I am a C. H., I am a C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N., and I have C.H.R.I.S.T. in my H.E.A.R.T. and I will L.I.V.E.E.T.E.R.N.A.L.L.Y."

I swear she doesn't miss a letter. I love hearing my babies sing the songs that I grew up singing as a little girl. It just warms my heart that they love Jesus so much. Sydney also loves to read. She could probably read for hours if I could. Sydney's favorite book to read at night is this one.
I love this book. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for a little one, this is a great one. My friend Jen sent this to Brooklyn for her first Christmas. Thanks Jen. I found out that there are more in the series. I am going to get Syd some this year for Christmas.

Brooklyn is turning into such a big girl. It's hard to believe my baby is 4. She is growing and learning so much. She loves to draw. It's her favorite thing to do. I can tell she's a lot like her daddy. She certainly didn't get any art skills from me that's for sure. Daddy used to draw a comic strip years ago and I think it's rubbed off on her. She also likes to write her name and write words out too. Last night she was writing the different states on her dry erase board. She also loves maps and globes. We have a giant wall map in our classroom in the basement. You know the one from the SkyMall magazine they keep in the airplane seat pockets. It takes up the whole wall. (Another one of daddy's passions, maps and history. Again, not from me) Well today I showed her where Hawaii was and how far it was from Tennessee. She had a bad dream last night about volcanoes and I told her the closest volcano, that I knew of, was in Hawaii and so I showed her how far away it really was. Plus I told her the volcano wasn't really working and there was no fear of it getting her. I think that did the trick. I guess we'll see tonight.
The things she says sometimes just cracks me up. Today she said, out of the blue, "Mommy, Butt with two T's is a bad word, but But, with one T is not". "Really, I said". "Yeah, Papa told me that". Well thanks dad for the clarification. Saves me a talk down the road.

Yep, I love my girls and I am one proud mama.


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