Well ya’ll, in 20 days, we will be truckin ourselves all the way down south to Birmingham, AL.

Alabama!!!…??  This is usually the response I get when I tell people where we will be moving.  The contrast of Alabama to Colorado is obviously apparent.  But well, we are in the mood for an adventure, and I’m pretty darn sure that’s what we are gonna get.

My brother and his family have lived in Bham for 10 years, and my parents moved there 2 years ago.  It’s been 8 years since I’ve lived less than 2 hours away from my parents, and since they moved right when Zephyr was born, we want to be nearby for a little bit for him to get to know his Nana and Pa.  My sweet dad is also undergoing chemotherapy to fight off leukemia that he has had for 10 years and which has come out of remission this year.  Our hearts feel like it will be so good to be close and to support and love my parents through this season.

This move is definitely bittersweet.  We will be saying sad goodbyes to Jonathan’s family and my 2 sisters who also live in Colorado.  Not to mention our wonderful community and friends.  Fort Collins has been so good to us.  This will forever be the land where my bud and I first met and fell in love, where I first held my sweet baby boy, and where I have experienced so much growth and blessing.  We are filled with such expectant hope and purpose as we take this new step on the path in our journey as a family.  We will learn more of what it means to cleave to the Lord and to each other.  One friend told us that he feels that this move is going to be so “rich” for our family.  And that resounds inside of me.  Even though we face many uncertainties with no job, and no place to live as of yet, I know God has great and rich things in store for us.  We are jumping off of this wonderful and mighty cliff and believing that God’s hands will not only catch us, but set our feet on a rock and give us a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2!).

We leave feeling such love and warmth embracing us.  And we have you to thank for that.  We can’t wait to come back and visit the mountains and snow.  We won’t be getting much of that in hot and humid Bama! I keep saying that living in Alabama will definitely prepare us for living in Africa someday!! : ) baby steps.

Love to you all..thanks for the memories : )

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My sweet Zephyr,

At this exact moment, 2 years ago, I felt you squirming around in my tummy anxious to come into this world.

Bringing you into this world was better than anything I have ever experienced.

And having you in this world is like constantly seeing a glimpse of heaven.  Looking at you makes me feel whole.  Like God gave me this secret treasure that had been hidden just waiting for me to discover.

Zephyr, everyday, I try to remember to tell you these things:

You are my joy.

You are my blessing.

You are my favorite.

I love who you are.

Zephyr, you show me God’s perfect love everyday.  Because in the midst of my moments of such imperfection or frustration, you just keep looking at me with such love.  You just want me to hug you and love on you, even when I feel like the most rottenest of mamas.  And I know that I will most likely be your best example of what it looks like to be humble and to ask for forgiveness.  Yet, I also hope to be your greatest example of what it looks like to love unconditionally, to love life, and to persevere and run like mad and DANCING to the very end.

Zephyr, you are 2 today!! 2!!!

You are so sweet and loving.  Right now you call me Nana because you can’t quite say your “m’s” yet : ) I love it so much! For a long time you called both me and daddy, “daddy”.  So I feel pretty special that I have my own name now : )

Zephyr, you are so brave and so tough! I love how you live so boldly (even though you give me several mini heart attacks each day).  But in the midst of your adventuring you are doing such a great job listening to mommy and daddy when we tell you to be careful or to stop doing something so that you will be safe.

Zephyr, you are so like your daddy.  You LOVE cars! And trucks, and bulldozers, and fire engines, and tractors.  You love being outside and exploring – you are such an adventurer!  You really love riding your Stryder bike right now.  I bet you’ll skip training wheels and go straight to a big boy bike!! We are going to have lots and lots of adventures together, that’s for sure!!

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You are such a good lil eater, bo bos! You love eating your veggies, like broccoli and carrots.  And you loooove fruit!! You could eat a whole bowl of blueberries and raspberries : )  It is so funny because you’d rather have fruit than candy or chocolate right now! I’m sure that may change one day : ) You eat everything mommy and daddy eat.  I always say, “the more gourmet it is, the more Zephyr likes it!” You have a very sophisticated palette : )

You love having little tasks and chores to do.  You are a GREAT helper when mama does laundry or unloads the dishwasher.  You are so bright and curious and always love learning and discovering new places.

You say some really big words right now like “helicopter” and “screwdriver” and “Lamborghini”.  You love reading books so much! You always bring me books and sit in my lap so we can read together.  This is one of my favorite times that I have with you.  You love picture books and point to everything! You also know a lot of your colors and you are learning to count! Smarty!

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Zephyr, what I love so much about your little personality is how sweet and loving you are.  You can be so full of energy and also be so gentle.  You are so polite, bubby! You say “please” out loud and also in sigh language which is so cute! And you are very good at saying thank you also.  You give hugs to all of your stuffed animals and love taking naps and sleeping with all of your animal friends.

Oh my goodness, bagoshee, you have the most amazing face.  You are so handsome and so expressive! You make crazy, silly faces and make me and your daddy laugh so so much! And you love music + dancin.  Are you gonna be my lil break dancer someday?? ; )

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My dear love.  You are truly “a calm and gentle breeze” that washes over my life.  The first time I heard your name was in a book that said this:  “The presence of the Lord is like a sweet Zephyr”.  And that is what you are sweet love.  You bring me closer to the love of Jesus.  Because when I think of hooooow much I love you, I remember that God loves me and YOU a bajillion quadrillion times more than that!!!

Thank you for being my boy, Zephyr.  You make me smile and laugh and dance.  You remind me to have fun and dwell in the here and now.  You show me what really matters.

Thank you Lord, for bestowing this gift and responsibility upon me.  Give me wisdom and great love and patience as I raise this boy.  May he love You and love others with everything he is.

I love you Zephyr Saint!!!! Happy Happy Birthday!!!!!!

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Thursday, May 26th 2011

I woke up at 4am, and all I could think of was how bad I needed some chocolate ovaltine milk.  It was my nightly ritual to have my glass of chocolate milk, and unfortunately we had run out of milk the night before.  My silly pregnant mind seriously thought  I would be okay without it. How wrong I was.

So Jonathan and I made a Walmart run to grab my beloved Organic Horizon Whole Milk.

I was having flashbacks to our last 4am Walmart run, 9 months earlier, when our lives were forever changed by that tiny little + sign on a stick.   I had no idea that an early morning trip to Walmart was yet the beginning of another day that would forever change my life.

At the beginning of the week, I had an inkling that our babyboy just might make his arrival that coming weekend.  My due date wasn’t for another 10 days, but I could tell my body was in warm up mode for the big event. I kept saying little things to Jonathan, who in turn, told me that we had tons of time.  I just told him he was in denial : )

After not getting much sleep, I spent the entire day on my feet running errands to get last minute baby stuff.  They sure are right about that nesting fever you get.  I wish I could nest all the time, I would get so much done!!  As the day went on,  even though I was distracted with all of my errands, I started noticing that I was feeling quite achy and waddling more than usual.

By the time I got home around 6:30pm, I barely had time to eat some food and head to a church rehearsal where I was filling in for a pianist that coming Sunday.  I struggled through the rehearsal feeling more consistent aches.  At the end of the rehearsal, I told the band that I just might not make it to church that Sunday.

I got home at 8pm and knew that for the last few hours something had been going on.  I hadn’t felt these kind of contractions before.  I wasn’t even sure if they were contractions. So as soon as I got home, Jonathan and I broke out the stopwatch and started timing them.  At first they were 10-18 minutes apart.  Then after an hour they went to under 10 minutes.  By 11pm, the contractions were coming every 5 minutes.  Before we knew it, my contractions were 2 minutes apart, and Jonathan was moving faster than I’d ever seen him to get our bag and everything ready to go.  We got to the hospital at midnight expecting to be sent home and be told  “Oh, it’s just false labor”  “You’re only one centimeter dilated, get out of here”.

Nope, that was definitely not the case.  After the nurse checked me, she told us that I was 5cm dilated!! Already halfway there.  After she left I just cried because of the overwhelming reality of what was happening.   My babyboy was coming.  Tonight.

The labor went beautifully, so much better than I could have ever imagined.  I had the most amazing coach and supporter by my side the whole time.   My incredible husband.  My mom and doula were out of town.  But it’s like God knew that this would be the most special time Jonathan and I would ever experience together.  I will forever cherish the memory of bringing our baby into the world together.

I dilated one centimeter every hour, so by about 5am I was 9.5 cm.  At that time, the doctor broke my water and about 10 minutes later I felt like I needed to push.  After pushing for just 25 minutes Zephyr Saint Splittgerber entered the world!  He came in at 6lbs 7oz and 19.5 inches.  Born on the best day ever,  Friday, May 27th at 5:58am.  I couldn’t believe how good he looked! Jonathan and I had prepared ourselves for him to look kinda weird at first.  But man, he was absolutely incredible.  I will never forget being able to hold him right away.   He was so alert with such bright eyes.

My desire was to have a drug free delivery and I am so thankful to the Lord that there were no complications.  It was incredible to be so present and in tune with my body.  I am astounded by what the woman’s body is capable of! Whoa.  I remember thinking quite often while I was pregnant that I was never going to be ready to push that baby out! But when the time came, I was filled with this other worldly strength, determination, and joy.

A year later, I continue to see what a miracle God has given me.

Zephyr, my son.  You are my greatest joy and the love of my heart.

Thank you Lord, for giving me this gift. Please continue to give me the grace and wisdom to raise this child in your wisdom, love, and abundant goodness.

It was the day after we had a fundraiser for Grace Orphanage when everything would change.  We had been preparing all summer to make Togo, Africa our home for the next 6 months.  Exhausted and overwhelmed by the amazing support raised at the fundraiser, we lay in bed trying to wind down after the exciting night.  Neither of us could sleep.  We decided to get up and pop in a movie until we could drift off.  But FIRST, a trip to Walmart was in order.  It was 4 in the am so where else would we go? Plus, if you want some interesting sights, it is definitely the place to be.

After watching part of a forgettable movie, I took that long walk to the bathroom to pee on the infamous stick.  And then we waited.  In that 2 minutes, I thought that nothing would change.  It was just to ease my mind. To give us the go ahead to buy our tickets the following week.  Jonathan held me back saying it hadn’t been 2 minutes yet – he already knew.  I ran to check.  I tried to not see the second faint line that made that other little line a big fat +. But it was there nonetheless.  Today, I’d like to say that my first reaction was different, but I’m not going to sugarcoat it.  There were many tears, mind you, not tears of joy.  I wasn’t ready for this.  What were we going to do? We were on the 2 year plan NOT the 5 month plan.  After a week of shock, it finally started to sink in.  This is for real.  And this is OKAY.

Now, three months later, I have cried many more tears.  But these tears have been different then the first ones.  They have been filled with understanding, joy, and gratitude.  It hasn’t been easy.  I’ve been preggo overloaded at times with nauseousness (vomiting came to be a common activity) and interesting body changes (more to come on that).

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Jonathan still went as planned to Togo in November for 2 weeks to oversee the money getting to the right places in order to finish the first building!

Grace Orphanage ~ Togo, Africa

Children of Grace Orphanage (aka our African family)

I decided to stay behind for now to take good care of the lil peanut growing in my belly  But someday, we hope to go over as a little family to see our African family.

Our lil' peanut at 9 wks

Even though our plans changed a bit, I have no doubt that this is THE plan.  I have been overwhelmed by God’s goodness and humbled that He has chosen to give us this gift.  This timing, these circumstances, THIS baby.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5.  I love knowing that every one of us was chosen and known by God before we were even conceived.  The when, where, why, how…all planned out before the foundations of the world were formed.  In God’s eyes, there are no mistakes, no accidents.  And I like that.