God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,

a new dream that
when realized will release a new song, sung with tears,

till God wipes them away
and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts

--Larry Crabb

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I'm going to brag about my husband for a bit. Last September, Craig submitted a resume for consideration to appointed to a competative developement fellow position. We patiently waited for months as the applications were reviewed, and got excited when he was awarded an interview with a panel of "uppity ups" in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago. The interview went very well despite the fact that he literally had to run across a field to make it there on time after his rental car wouldn't start that morning. A week later, we learned that he had been selected! This is truly an honor and we are so excited that his career is taking this direction .

There are lots of unknowns yet about how this will all play out and that causes me a little anxiety, but we do know that the new position starts with orientation in Huntsville, Alabama on February 19. Initially, Lauren and I were going to go with him to Alabama, but decided against. Lauren does not transition well to travel/changes in sleeping habits, and Craig will not likely have much down time that we can spend with him anyway, so L and I are going to stay home. Craig has to phase out of his current position, which is bittersweet. His team is truly like a family to us...they have been wonderful for him to work for and so, so, so kind to us when we were having complications with our pregnancy. It is hard to leave such great people, but the the opportunties that await are amazing.

We also know that the program itsself is 3 years in length, divided into two 15 month segments in the Detroit area and a 6 month stint in DC working either at the Pentagon or the Taylor Building. After completion, the type of jobs he will be qualified for will be again in the Detroit area, so we won't be moving (aside from the temporary relo to DC)--which is a h.u.g.e. relief!

Even though I am super excited for Craig (and me, too!) I am not liking the unknown of when we'll be where. I'm tinkering with returning to work casually, but that is off of the table until more information is available. I want to enroll Lauren in an infant swim course, but can't commit to the time frame at this point. So hard to be in a little limbo.

In the meantime, we're praising the Lord for the opportunity and trying to turn the anxiety over to Him, too. It's all good...just a little scary!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I never intended to let my blog go for so long. Days are filled with meals, diaper changes, Story Time (library), MOPS, playing, clean-up, and naps. Evenings are family time, and by the time the little one drifts off to sleep there is nothing left in me. Except tonight...Craig was off today and we had a quiet day around the house tag-teaming for the care of our sweet girl.

The last few months have been very good. We made a quick trip back to Iowa when our plans fell through to have Maddie come here for Thanksgiving. It was nice to be with family, but not so great to spend 10 hours in the car each way to get there and back. Lauren is a fantastic traveler and we only had to stop ONCE on the way home--can I get an AMEN!?!?! Still, it is a brutal drive. By the time we got home we hand 1.5 weeks before returning to Iowa for Christmas...just enough time to get my girl a little less clingy and unspoiled after constant attention was paid to her over Thanksgiving. Lauren and I flew there for Christmas and Craig drove out to meet us a little later. Flying was...well...interesting, but I care not to do a solo flight with her until she is a little older (and can sit still). I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of baggage we had for 3 weeks away from home. A very large checked suitcase, a car seat, medium stroller, stuffed-to-the-brim carry-on, and a diaper bag. It was a little tricky to make sure I had the right things in places where I could get to them, but overall people were very helpful. It is amazing how nice people are to a baby. And to the mom of a baby. Delta gave me....um, her...an extra package of cookies, people offered to stow and retrieve my carry-on for me, the lady behind and to the right on the plane made faces to entertain Lauren, and best of all my fam was waiting on the other end to relieve my burdened arms of their contents (namely, the girl).

A week before we left I caught a massive head cold, which was miserable. I took Sudafed religiously but I can't say it really helped. When I arrived on "vacation" I was really worn down. The combination of the stress and cold settling in my ears caused me to be sick with Meniere's type symptoms for about a week. Not.fun. My "bad" ear is still ringing louder than usual and I feel forced to watch my sodium intake closer than ever. =(

All in all, it was a good time, though. We got to go to my cousin's wedding and see a ton of extended family there. 6/7ths of the new Nieuwsma babies were there so it was especially fun to meet them. We also had a great time in Omaha the week between Christmas and New Years with Craig's family. We spent NYE in the Quad Cities with our good friends Tim and Molly, which was wonderful. The trip back was delayed by a snow storm near Kalamazoo that slowed us down by about 3 hours. :(

It is so nice to be home in Michigan again. It made me realize how much this house and area really feels like home now to me. As after any trip it took us about a week to get back in our routine with Lauren. She really misses having her entourage of people at her disposal!

Lauren is changing so much right now. She started crawling just after Christmas and is unstoppable. The four teeth that she has are 2 bottom center and 2 outside top. It makes for a funny smile but we love it! She is really into books, music, and blocks and loves to cuddle with Mommy! Nothing, though, is more precious to her than food. She will eat ANYTHING...which is a relief to me. There is not room in this house for more than one picky eater and Craig has informed me that he has little intention of changing! She is starting to look more and more like a little girl and less like a baby, which is bittersweet. Such a sweet girl.

Craig and I were just talking tonight about how a year ago things were so uncertain. I was on week 4 of strict bedrest and scared that I would either go crazy (I did, it's true), or bring our little miracle into the world too soon (I did not). In retrospect it is amazing to see how everything worked out so perfectly, although at the time it was not felt. We are so grateful that God allowed us to carry to term. That experience as well as our short time with CJ, have taught me to appreciate every moment because each truly is a gift. My motto in all things is to be thankful. I never in a million years thought I would be nearly laughing outloud as I scrubbed sweet potatoes off of the fabric blinds this week, but I am so happy to be a mom that it was almost a joy. Almost. The journey to get here was brutal at times, but it has made this place in our lives even sweeter.

Well, I need to get some sleep. Even though I am spoiled with a 9 month old that sleeps between 12-13 hours per night, she has already been down for 3 and I'm looking forward to a little extra snooze and going to Church in the morning.

Thanks for checking in!