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Monday, November 28, 2011

Much to be Thankful For

This Thanksgiving was either our 3rd or 4th time to host at our house.  Usually, we split up the meal between our mom's and Ryan & I.  Unfortunately this year Susan came down with a pretty nasty cold that had her out for the count.  We even decided to push back the festivities until Saturday in hopes that she would feel good enough to come.  That left Ryan & I to do most of the cooking which we probably needed to learn how to do anyway.  Fortunately my mom was still able to make a few of her signature dishes that helped out a lot.  It ended up being pretty fun, and we enjoyed learning a few of the family's traditional Thanksgiving recipes.  And I think Susan enjoyed her well deserved cooking break.  ;)
The dining table before getting it set to eat.

Little bit of fall decor

Mmmm...

Whenever all of us get together I try to get it on film.  It seems pretty rare that we are all in the same place now a days.
My first attempt at a group shot with a timer.

Much better
We missed Emily's husband, Sean, this year because of work.  :(  Maybe next time!

I had to include this pictures of Harlan trying to do a yoga pose I taught him.

Good job Harlan!  Not bad at all!  
He later admitted that his wrists were pretty sore.  Ha!


Also this past weekend Ryan & I were the Advent family at our church and read the below message.  I found it fitting that we were asked to be apart of the first Sunday representing Hope.  That is exactly what Ryan & I are feeling right now after everything that has happened.  I know a lot of people talk about having a word to represent the coming year instead of resolutions.  Hope is going to be mine because 2012 promises so much of it.

***

Advent Liturgy

During Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas Eve, the traditional Call to Worship is replaced with the lighting of the four candles of the Advent wreath. These are the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
At Leawood Pres, members of the congregation, the church staff, and their families take part in the candle lighting ceremony.
This is the liturgy that accompanies the candle lighting:
First Sunday of Advent
Today we light the first candle of the Advent wreath. This is the candle of HOPE. 
With Christians around the world, we use this light to help us prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. 
May we receive God’s light as we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah:
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness -- on them light has shined." 
-- Isaiah 9:2Let us pray: 
Lord as we look to the birth of Jesus, grant that the light of your love for us will help us to become lights in the lives of those around us. Prepare our hearts for the joy and gladness of your coming, for Jesus is our hope. Amen.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Belated Birthday Post

I am so late on posting about my hubby's birthday bash.  Well, it was more like several smaller bashes.  The weekend of his birthday we went to dinner at one of his favorite pizza places (of course) with his Papa, my mom and I on Friday.  Then on Saturday we met up with some friends to watch the KSU football game as kind of an unofficial birthday gathering.  Unfortunately, I was hoping the cats would pull out a win in honor of Ryan's birthday but they didn't come through for us.  Oh well, we are still very proud of them this season!

The next weekend we made a quick trip to his home town to visit family and celebrate some more. (Like we needed an excuse.)
The birthday boy enjoying his homemade chocolate pie and admired the family heirloom clock that was gifted to him.  It was made from a tree that was cut down in his grandmother's yard.  His grandma felt bad for cutting it down so she let her son's class make clocks out of it back in the day.

Family love.
Harlan, Ryan, Susan, Sally, Emily & Sean

K-State game with friends.
Michelle (which her sassy new hair cut!), Moi & Emily

David, Ryan & Mark

The whole gang minus Jim & Jon who ducked out right before this pic.

I had to get my picture made with the birthday boy!

Ryan had a great birthday and got some really neat stuff in my opinion.  :)
We've talked a lot about how we needed art for our walls that meant something to us.  So I thought about it  awhile and decided to make it part of his birthday gift.  We love to travel so it was an easy decision to incorporate that into the art.  I bought a cork board, painted the trim white and bought a really cool map to stick pins in.

It's serving dual purpose in Ryan's office by giving him a map to use for work and also a personal touch by sticking pins in where we have traveled together as a couple.  The red pins are where we've been together and the black pins mark where we have lived.  It was a hit with the hubs.

Sorry for the poor lighting in the next several photos!
I also found some gocco art from this etsy site that represented several places that we've been together that meant something to us.  
From left to right: New York City, Rome, New Orleans and Chicago


Close up shot of the art.

I think Ryan's favorite gift of all was from his family.  They all made a collaborate effort to make him his very own chicken.  Actually, it was The City Girl Farm's first rooster that we lovingly named Romeo.

He was so excited to have his very own!  It's already a part of the family here in our household.

Another very successful celebration of Ryan's life has come and gone.  Can't wait to start planning his big 3-0 next year!  :o)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Story

**I wrote this post awhile ago but just couldn't press the "publish" button.  A friend of mine just recently went through the same thing and was strong enough to write about it.  She in turn gave me the strength to post something extremely personal in the hopes that it might help others out there that have gone through the same thing.**

I'm not really sure how to begin this post.  I know I've been pretty quiet on here lately and it's because I just don't know what to write about.  It's hard to post happy, exciting blogs when you don't feel that way.  I guess the best way to begin is to just start at the beginning.  Bare with me through this long rambling post.

Back in May Ryan & I decided that it was the right time to start trying for a baby.  We were over the moon with excitement.  We couldn't stop talking about names, plans and who they would look like.  In the back of my mind I was pretty worried about even getting pregnant.  Just about a year ago I was diagnosed with PCOS- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. (it's pretty common)  Some of my symptoms were rapid weight gain, extreme fatigue, and high cholesterol.  That coupled with the fact that it took my mom 4 to 5 years to get pregnant with me had me pretty worried.  I had read entirely too much information on how PCOS can effect getting pregnant, and I was trying to push that away.  In the mean time I was focusing on getting healthy by taking medicines to help, excising and eating healthier.

Well, to our surprise we found out that I was pregnant in July!  I remember reading the pregnancy test and just breaking out in sobs.  We were in complete shock that it actually happened for us.  I know how difficult it can be to get pregnant, and I just never thought it was going to be easy for me.  We were singing praises to the Man above.  It was actually the same day that our friends moved in with us temporarily until they could find a house of their own.  It was so hard for us not to just go out and immediately tell everyone.  It was the first time I can ever remember that I was looking forward to a Monday so I could call my OBGYN to get an appointment.

A very long story short, the last couple of months have been such an emotional roller coaster that has whipped and jerked us around until we couldn't see straight.  We found out on August 12th that we had lost the baby.  I would have been due March 15th according to the doctor.  I can't even begin to try and express the feelings Ryan & I have been wading through.  The best way to describe it is just broken.  I felt like all my fears and worries had been realized, and I couldn't believe that we were actually walking this road.  It just didn't feel real.  All I've been able to do is cry, sleep and pray.  I haven't felt like being around people.  I've needed to retreat to be able to sort through all these emotions.  It didn't help that I had all those pregnancy hormones surging through me either as my husband would attest to.

We prayed so hard that God would spare this pregnancy and allow us to meet our baby here on earth.  We really believe that God is all powerful and should it had been His will he could have change things in one breath.  It was very hard to except the fact that we were not meant to meet this baby on this side of heaven.  But our God is the same God regardless of our outcome.  I have been clinging to this song "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns.  I believe every word of it.

I am so thankful for our family, friends and community who have surrounded us with incredible support.
I am thankful for my loving husband who, while broken himself, was able to encourage and support me through it all.
I am so thankful to have been able to even get pregnant in the first place.
I am thankful to have been able to see the heartbeat of our baby on my birthday.  The best birthday present ever.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to try again in the future.
And I am so thankful to already be a parent to a beautiful girl or boy in heaven.

I can't imagine getting through this without the love and support of our family and friends.  This is something that almost everyone has experienced, will experience or knows someone who has gone through this.  I feel like it is not talked about enough and has been a silent burden that many women have carried by themselves.  I wanted to share this with you all because we are not meant to carry our burdens alone.  The community of people that have experienced the same thing as me have been such an
encouragement that it is worth sharing.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has great plans for Ryan & I and our testimony.  This is part of our story and we will use it to God's glory.

**Update:  I ended up having to have a minor surgery two weeks ago to complete the miscarriage.  It has been a very long road that we are now finally reaching the end of.  God has granted us such peace and we are in a much better place now.**

Our little Angel



Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Wedding Love!

As I promised before, here are more pictures of Emily & Sean's wedding.  I can't wait to get my hands on the reception pictures too!
The married couple with their bridesmaids.  :)

Ryan & I
I loved my funky shoes except for the fact that they were at least 4 inches high.  Killer!

Father of the bride (Harlan) and I hiding behind some trees with Emily before she walked down the isle.

I have no idea what I was doing here.  I guess I was just so excited for Sean & Emily!  I kind of look possessed!

Sally & I displaying the gorgeous homemade programs.

New family photo!  So happy to add Sean to the group pic now.  He's an awesome addition if I do say so myself. :)

(Check out Emily's shoes!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kersten's Oktoberfest

Ryan & I's good friends, Matt & Kara, host an annual Oktoberfest over the weekend of Halloween.  This was their third year and in my opinion the best yet!  For whatever reason I had a hankering for Popcorn Balls and wanted to take them to the party.  It's a family tradition to make them around the holidays.  So I bribed my mom to come over and make them for me help me make them.

It requires a lot of delicious molasses.  My mom likes to get a specific kind from southern Missouri where she's from.

Then you cook it with sugar until it becomes like a candy consistency.

Pour over freshly popped popcorn.

Butter your hands and start forming those balls (without burning your hands)!  I forgot to take any "after" pictures.

Then it was time to get ready for the party and throw on our costumes that we got very last minute.

Here's a quick hint of what we were.  Can you guess why we spray painted Ryan's hair white?

He was Papa Smurf and I was Smurfette

This was my favorite party of the costume besides the sweet beard.

Matt & Kara went all out on Oktoberfest decorations.  There was no detail left out.

Even the twins, Brighton & Violet, came to party... Well sort of...

I think Kara's mom, Vicky, is ready for some grandchildren!

Smurf couple.  Not the cutest costumes but they were comfy!

Kara & I

The hosts Matt & Kara

The party was actually on Ryan's 29th birthday and our good friends, Dave & Michelle, were so sweet to bring him a chocolate cake with candles to blow out.  Love those guys!

Yum!

Jon & Greg
Kara totally out did herself with this!  It's supposed to be Matt, Kara and their little dog.  It was so funny to see everyone getting pictures with it.

Ryan & Mark

Greg and baby Annie

I think Cynthia and Brandon's costumes were the best. (see below)

Got to love Slash's midriff!

Hopefully next year we can get more people to dress up!