Author Archives: haleyjo

Recap on 2 years… oh what????

Dearest Libby Ann,

Well hello there daughter. You are number four in a great bunch of little ladies. You were born about 3 months ago and I am finally (once again, I think I always say this on here), finally writing about it. You have captured my heart with your sweet gummy grins and your oh so perfect sleeping and how you hardly ever cry. Needless to say little lady I am in love with you! It’s far too late for me to write about your entry into the world, so we will save that for another day. But you are such a blessing to this mama.

With you being 3 months we embark on the fact that we are coming up quickly to year #2 of living in this house of ours. How have 2 years past by so quickly and nothing was documented? Well here is the short version on bullet points on what has happened in the past 2 years:

  • bought our first home! yay! – total provision from the Lord
  • the day we were supposed to close the government froze and our loan was on hold for another month…
  • have had 6 international students live with us at different points of time in the last 2 years… China, Vietnam, and Japan.
  • had our first ambulance experience with a child in 2014. (do not want to try that one again)
  • got a dog. Coco she was 5 when we got her. She is part german shepherd and something else.
  • took Hannah to OHSU 4 times due to bladder reflux and kidney issue. This stressed me out every time. One day the Lord healed her and we did not have to return,… (many ultra sounds and catheters were involved… gag me but Praise the Lord, there was much rejoicing)
  • Somewhere in there Hannah walked at 13 months.
  • got pregnant with baby #4
  • Did not find out what she was…
  • bought chickens who lived in our basement for a reeeeeeallllly long time.
  • Ava has now lost 3 teeth and is 6 years old… ohhhh whattt????
  • Had baby girl #4 on 7/11/2015! (we have 4 girls)
  • started 10th year with CRU at WOU as staff…
  • Baby #4 also paid a visit to OHSU due to weird overlapping skull pieces but again saw how faithful our God is and it disappeared.

and I am sure there is more, but that is the brief recap…

next up… Liberty comes into the world!

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perspective from 2011

So have you ever been on google earth? Well if you have not, google earth is pretty cool and in my mind kind of freaky too. But anyhow, we will stick to the pretty cool side of things. How it works is you plug in an address and hit enter. All of a sudden you go from looking at the earth to the picture zeroing in on your location. In my crazy mind, while looking at this visual happening I also envision a zooming noise taking place. Woooooosh! One that starts slowly and picks ups speed until I am zeroed in (like I said before) on what ever the address/object is you would like to see.

My life is a lot like that at times. I’m looking at what I think is the big picture, but then all of a sudden when I hit the enter button my perspective changes and I am zoomed into the actual thing I needed to see all along. God gives us people to help us at times to point  us to that perspective. This is why having friends who love Jesus is so very important. They help us see the actual location on the world map when all we can see is the big globe. They are able to see the address we have been searching for.

So with all of that said, tonight I had a conversation with a friend I treasure a ton and am so thankful God has blessed me with. She currently lives as a missionary, somewhere in the world. (A lot of detail eh? It’s just to keep her cute self safe). In our conversation we talked about the things we are struggling with and the ways we see the Lord at work. We got on the topic of comparisons. Oh man do I compare. Ugh. So in so has a house and I, well don’t. So in so gets to buy new clothing all of the time and I well don’t. Those folks get to eat out so much. They have a dishwasher. Their parents live close and can watch the kids. It gets so bad at times that I try and find ways to fix my dissatisfied heart. Well I’ll buy this thing. Or I deserve a Starbucks right now because I feel this way. Or if I play my cards just right, then I may be satisfied.  blah blah blah. Oh my heart is so weak and ugly.

It’s so funny that I do this as I am sure other adults do this as well. I am always telling Ava, my three year old, not to worry about what her sister has or doesn’t have and to be concerned with her own actions. I myself need to be concerned with what the Lord has given me and be satisfied in the gifts that I have been freely given. I need not be concerned with what others have or don’t have and what I have in comparison or don’t have. So getting back to speaking with my friend, she shared with me this lovely little nugget of a verse:

 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. – Romans 12:14-16

 So much easier to just Rejoice with those who rejoice. Rejoice with the fact that the Lord has given them certain things and

 

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26   24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.


well hello

Well hello there. After my 365 plus day hyatus I am back! I’m not sure where to start. Should I start with the fact that I am ecstatic that I have eggs in the fridge again, the fact that I am 33 weeks pregnant with baby #4, my other 3 kiddos are 6, 4, and almost 2? So Much has happened and I have been horrible at recording any of it. So we shall start small…

Today. It was a pretty great day! I do not feel like I have been able to say this for sometime, but today was great! We had new friends come over (which I am also reading a plethora of books right now, one of which is called “women are scary”. true title, I kid you not). In this book it talks about mom dates… so I pretty much suck at those. But today, it happened and it was good and it filled some of my tank, sooooo yay for mom dates! I also was able to accomplish the crazy, how fast can you clean your house and make it look decent before said friend comes over mode. I was able to make the kitchen look humane and vacuum the floors. Hey I consider those huge accomplishments.

Then I was able to go sing some songs, which does any heart good, and then finished with some zumba action. I have been attending zumba for the past few months due to some anxiety that crept its way back into my life. SO far Jesus and zumba are helping me out a ton! Now its off to kiss little heads and whisper “I love you’s” into their ears, do my stretches and fall asleep to reading one of my books… Peace out!


my mess of a dream

So I have this serious issue with floors. I cannot handle stuff on the floors. Toys and that sort of stuff is just fine, but hairs, dirt, food, it just grosses me out. If it touches the bottom of my foot I cannot go about my business. I sort of freak out. Now if this is your house, that is fine, I’ll keep my shoes on, but in my house I feel restless and am completely unable to focus if my floors are in that state. I feel out of control, and on top of that I have crawler, and the thought of her putting some crusty piece of old food in her mouth, well it makes my stomach turn. With that said, we recently got a dog. Oh yes, a dog. She is sweet, the girls love her, and she barks at anyone who comes to the door. mmmhmmm, do you sense my love? She really is sweet.  But the one thing that I absolutely loathe about her is the small amount of hair she sheds each and every moment of each and every day. I vacuum at least once a day. Oh and Im not a fan of weird scents, and she has that too, but we will just stick to the hair for now. So tonight after a very long day, I couldn’t take it any longer and I needed to vacuum. 9:45pm vacuum sesh, I think yes! We party hard around here.

So since I am a bit neurotic about my floors, I find it soothing to vacuum, are you sensing my weirdness? Go ahead, judge. I get lost in my thoughts while I vacuum, its almost therapeutic for me really. Its probably because it, the vacuum, produces some sort of white noise which drowns out the sound of small voices, barking dogs, and anyone else who might be trying to get my attention at the moment. So anyhow, I have a moment to think, in somewhat silence. So tonight as I was vacuuming away I started a conversation with the Lord. I started to think about the many things that frustrated me about today (its been one of those days where everything annoys you, is that just me? or do others get this way too?) I think about the many dog hairs that are being sucked up into the vacuum. I think about the Chinese student, whom I love dearly, but sometimes is hard to live with. I think about how my 3 year old has peed on the carpet twice three times in the last two three days, and I wish I had only wood throughout my house. I think about all of the many things that I am ungrateful for, the many things that I do not posses but so badly want…. uggggggggly ugly. I finally say in the stillness of my heart, “well this is definitely not my dream life”  (I can really be a sass to the Lord, sometimes.) And the Lord said, “your right.”

What??? I’m right? I was expecting the Lord to say something like, “yes, but you have this to be thankful for…and this… and this…”  but I’m right??? This isn’t my dream life?

Then this verse:

“in heaven I’ll have only you, and on this earth you are all that I want”

Psalm 73:25

 

popped into my head. Thank you, Holy Spirit! Then my thoughts start going…. Is He really all that I want? Is He really all that I strive after???? Right then as I am vacuumed  hundreds of hairs over the tattered rug that we’ve had for 8 years, which I purchased at Target with wedding gift cards, thinking about how I would sooooo love an updated rug. One that is “in style”, one that would really “put” my living room together. Is Christ all that I want, right now as I vacuum? As I go about my day? As I rest my weary head on my pillow at night? I know He is my deepest desire and I really honestly want Him to be all that I want. But my strongest desire is to have it all. To live the “American Dream” or at least my idea of what that means. But for what gain? I will have none of this when I get to heaven. Am I storing up treasures in heaven? Or am I creating a palace for me to find rest in while I live my life on this earth? Am I seeking comfort in stuff and my surroundings? Am I just seeking comfort in general? All things that will just burn away someday. Christ did not promise me a comfortable life. Actually the very opposite.

“take up your cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

To take up a cross means you are headed towards hardships, pain, loss, and definitely not comfort. There will probably be suffering of some kind if you choose to follow Christ. Sometimes, most times, I don’t like that idea if we are going to be honest. Who wants pain???? suffering??? But in that you become more like Christ in His sufferings. When we are weak we become strong, because we get Christ’s strength and no longer our piddly strength. This is actually really good news. Christ in His complete strength conquered death. He took on all of the pain, suffering, and all encompassing everything awful onto Himself. He experienced the deepest pain, sadness, and all things awful because what we experience as pain, Christ experienced everyones pain, everyones suffering, everyones sin, everyones all encompassing awfulness all at once. It makes my stomach get all uneasy to think about it. If you really take a brief moment and think about how gut wrenching awful that was, and how it felt…. oof. But then He not only took that pain, died, but He literally rose from the dead. Like His whole body was not there! whhhhhat???? Unbelievable strength! So even though taking up your cross sounds hard, painful, and sometimes completely unbearable, Christ’s unbelievable strength makes it possible to endure and press on. His strength makes it possible for me to get out of the rut of ungratefulness and onto the path of Holy Cow, God is great! This life that God has given me is good and what Ive been given is good. The dog hairs, the children screaming, the messy student, the tattered rug, all of this is good and is Gods grace to me in this season of life. And I am so thankful that there is more to look forward to instead of just this life and what it has to offer.

And I am thankful for a God who took all of my crap and everyone else’s junk and nailed it to a cross with himself so that I might have life and hope and joy and goodness in this really hard life that we sometimes live. In this temporary moment of struggle and strife I can take up my cross and I can look forward to the day where all I will have in heaven is Jesus and that is all that I need now and always!

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Hannah Ruth’s “Birth”day

Let me start off by saying how much I have come to love birth, babies, pregnancy and all that comes with these topics. I know it sounds strange that I say love. I think that I love these topics because The Lord brought me through the shadow of death and up the mountain where I was able to breathe fresh air about the subject. I love these topics as well because for me birth has been an utter dependence upon my God to get me through to the bitter end, which always ends so sweetly. I love pregnancy because I honestly love watching my body change and knowing that God is doing something amazing inside, knitting together something so special you have to wait 9 whole months to find out the surprise.

I understand that pregnancy is not always fun nor is it always easy and birth is the same way. Not every day of my 9 months plus 3 days (I might add) was smooth sailing but every moment of waiting, feeling queasy, growing larger, was worth it.

On May 20th, 2013 I held a sweet, amazing, beautiful little girl in my arms.

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(fresh baby on the boob…. sorry if this is too much, but its raw life)

And her story starts like this…

The month of May started with anticipation of a tiny baby to be born 3rd in line at the Munson household.  We had no idea what to expect. Boy? Girl? I honestly thought this time around was a boy. It felt different inside this time. Much more aggressive than the last two babes. Major jabbing and rolling all.of.the.time. As the days flew off the calendar many people around me were having babies. I’d see their photos shoot up on technology left and right. Facebook newborn: 6lbs. Instagram newborn: 7lbs. I would get so excited seeing fresh babies and was eager to hold my own flesh and blood. I was due on May 17th, but as most of you know this is called an EDD (estimated due date). In the world of birth you can’t tell God when He’s done, you can share your wants and desires but when the baby is ready, it’s ready. I had started to have Braxton hicks contractions weeks before and to be honest this was incredibly different from the last two times around. The start of these contractions would have me questioning if this was the start of the real thing. In prior births my tummy would tighten up but nothing would take my breath away or cause me to sit and rest for a second. But this time was more intense. So you can see why I thought this might be it.

May 13th was our 7 year anniversary and we celebrated as a family by going to Bauman’s Farm and buying some hanging flower baskets. (I know I know it was an anniversary but I was low on energy and those pesky contractions… I just wanted to hang with the whole clan). I had contractions the entire time we were there and thought this was it, but to tell you the truth I was not ready. I was not ready to endure contraction after contraction. I was not ready for my two little girls to share their spot on my lap with someone new. I was not ready to become a mom of 3. I was just not ready. And the Lord knew that I was not quite ready….

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Day after day for the next week came and went… a few contractions here and there… I would go to bed each night and ask the Lord if I could have just one more night to rest up. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for who knows how many hours of labor was to come.

Finally May 17th, (the EDD) came and went. No baby.

May 18th, no baby.

May 19th, I was ready. The house was spotless, my bags were packed, and I had started to get stretch marks! I had never seen these before, so I was like baby come out! I was now starting to become tired from the size I had become (all 30 extra pounds of me). That night Steve made me dinner. He said I needed something super healthy just in case the baby decided to come that night and who knows how long labor would be. He made: spinach salad with avocado, apples, and sweet peppers. Some chicken with sated onions and black beans with rice and cilantro. Best.meal.ever!

Went to sleep that night with a belly full of goodness. As I laid my head on my pillow I pleaded with the Lord that I wouldn’t start labor until the morning. This was not my M.O. I usually was woken up in the middle of the night with contractions. Because of my crazy type A personality I had been putting together scenarios over and over again on how my children would be watched and taken care of in this whole labor/birth shindig. The first baby is easy because it is still in you… 2nd baby not as easy READ HERE, because you must find someone to watch the first… and 3rd baby… well who wants to come to your house in the middle of the night to watch your kids???? So I prayed that everything would start in the morning because it would be more convenient for EVERYONE!

May 20th hit and around 7:45am I hear the girls. I seriously don’t want to get out of bed and have assumed that I wont go into labor now until that night. I feel sick to my stomach and really don’t want to do anything. I roll out of bed. Get the girls juice and a bowl of cereal. Now this is odd for me, because cereal in our house is usually not a common breakfast food. It’s usually cheesy eggs or blueberry oatmeal. But cereal was easy. I also threw on some Netflix cartoon which is way out of the norm for me as well. I felt so sick and thought to myself,  “well crapppppp am I getting sick???”  Not “ohhhh maybe I’m starting labor”. So I went back to my bed and laid down for a bit.

About an hour later I get out of bed and make some eggs for myself… and started to fold some laundry. My stomach feels crampy and sick. I text a few friends… “could I be in labor??? I am able to do stuff around my house and be in labor?” I get a phone call from my doula friend, Whitney. We chat. She tells me to lay down and if things don’t go away after 30 minutes then I’m probably in labor… and I’m probably in labor because I am already 3 days late!” I decide maybe I’ll call Steve and let him know that I feel sick.

We chat… He finally asks after I have informed him of my “sickness” if I have been timing my tummy aches. “well no, and why would I do that?” in a rather annoyed voice. “Well do that and I’ll call you back.” Rolling my eyes, I say “fine”. So I start to time my “sick” feeling… ehhh 5 minutes apart… interesting. Now you would think I would understand how this all goes by now… but apparently I was in denial.

Steve calls back… “they are 5 minutes apart but it’s no big deal and blah blah blah…”

Steve: “um I’m coming home right now and why you’re at it you need to contact Michelle to let her know.” Michelle was our on-call friend who was coming to watch the girls.

So I text Michelle… “so I think I’m in labor. contractions are about 3-5 minutes apart. You can come this way… if you want…” If you have never had a baby, 3-5 minutes apart is when you should be driving yourself to the hospital especially if you live 25 minutes away like myself. shake.my.head.

Steve gets home. And to be honest I was just annoyed that I felt sick and was in somewhat of denial that I was even having contractions. Michelle shows up with her daughter Grace. My girls eat lunch and go down for naps. I try to come hang out in the living room for a few, because I for some reason feel the need to be hospitable to my “guests” who have come to watch my girls so I can go have a baby…. Stubborn woman I am.

I go and lay down with Ava for a few, (she naps in our bed). She starts to kick me in the back (thanks kid). I, being in labor, ignore the kicks from my 4-year-old and decide, maybe, just maybe, Steve should drive me to the hospital.

He calls the OB to let them know we are on our way, and they ask if I would like to come in and get checked first, Steve somewhat annoyed on the phone states: this is our 3rd baby, my wifes contractions are 3 minutes apart and…. “Steve I can go to the OB, I don’t even care….”… “Ok apparently we can come get checked.” 5 minutes later I decide that was a stupid idea and make him call them back and have them meet us at the hospital. (When you’re in labor, husbands tend not to argue with the craziness that overtakes ones mind).

We get to the hospital. Get registered. Go upstairs to the labor and delivery wing and I get shoved into a closet with a bed. First all rooms are full. Second they don’t think I am as far into labor as I am. Nurses come and nurses go. At this point I could care less where I am at and am fine staying in the closet. I finally get checked and whoaaaaaaa. “This girl is ready to deliver”! They roll me down the hall. At this point we are thinking of having this baby in a birthing tub. We get in the room, I tell them I’m ready to push, they check the heart rate and people start yelling. “Haley you need to push now!” I’m like whhhat??? Steve responds “she can push when she wants.” But people are yelling, and the quiet that had once been there is gone. It felt like the TV shows which I despise because of the yelling. Now in my first two births there was no yelling. Things seemed much calmer. Yelling is not relaxing. Apparently one reason for the yelling was there were about 5 too many people in the room trying to fill up the birthing tub, then they realized baby’s heart rate had dropped. So to get things over with and to stop the yelling, I decided to shoot that baby out. I pushed and pushed and pushed. No stopping to breathe. (Now if you are about to have a baby, this is not the best way to push a baby out. It causes you to tear. Pushing when you feel like pushing is best, slow and gradual). So out shot the baby. Wrapped up in her cord. Did I tear? Yup. And at that moment, I could care less.

I ask well what is it????

“it’s a girl!” Steve says, as if I’m supposed to know this.

My immediate response was “im sorry Steve.” (inside I was not, but had to at least let the guy think I was sorry for overtaking the house with 4 women strong).

The next thing that happens when you have a baby is this sweet scent that fills your nose. I inhaled the sweet scent of fresh newborn skin and squeezed her close. I was in love all over again.

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The next thing that I heard out of my husbands mouth was, “can we leave here in 24 hours?” Oh what did you say??? I mean yes I want to go home but sheesh. So the next 24 hours went fast.

Hannah Ruth Munson was 8lbs. 14oz. and 21 inches long. 2nd largest baby born to this family. And so for the next 24 hours we settled into our room and drank in the sweetness of the new baby.

By the way we had no name for a week, but it didn’t matter because God knew who she was and all we needed to do was soak in every ounce of baby freshness. So we did. Hardly any pictures were taken and the only visitors we had in the hospital were Ava, Charis, my mom & dad, and one friend. I know that seems like a lot for 24 hours but it wasn’t and it was quiet. And like I said we soaked in our new baby girl and fell in love with her sweet little, tiny self.

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Ava’s in love.

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So is Charis.

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Hannah Ruth, you have forever changed our lives and our lives are better because you are here. We love having a house full of girls.

(Hannah Ruth: Gift & Friend)


love, love, love…

A quick note… 

Everyday I do not go without hearing the words; “I love you mommy” or  “I love you so so much mommy”. Every time I hear these sweet words,  they melt my heart and place a small grin upon my face. Ava Joy is full of life and full of joy! Her name, Ava, actually means Life and well we all know what Joy means. I am astounded that her name breathes the very essence of who she is. 

It is a constant encouragement to me when I hear that someone loves me and genuinely loves me. I know she says it because she means it. It is amazing how many ways I see the Lord at work in this small child’s heart. 

 

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It is amazing how the Lord would use someone so small to works wonders in a heart such as mine. Thankful today for his kindness towards me as He uses a child to constantly bless my heart.


4 months…. and Ballet

It’s never a good thing when you log into your blog site and it has an updated look and you can’t remember what the last thing was you posted. I don’t even know if I could do a brief synopsis of what has gone down with the Munsons for the past 4 months. Epic blogging fail here. I’d like to tell you it’s because I have been über tired because we are preggers with Munson little #3 or that we have just been busy…. but to be completely honest the blog just has not made it on the To Do list therefore it gets left undone. So with that explanation may I present to you one thing we have been up to:

Ballet

IMG_1212We (I mean Ava) started taking Ballet this year. It is something I did from age 5 well into my mid twenties. I love love love dance and wish I could take up a class here in the near future as well… but for now we will chat about Ava. Ava is pretty much the tiniest person in her class and she couldn’t be more excited each week when we pull on her tights and leotard and drive off to Dallas for class. It’s been fun to watch her body develop in class. If you don’t know my daughter well, you may not realize that she does not have the strongest legs… she walked on her knees until she was 18 months! But this class has improved her strength and I love watching her rise up onto her toes.

IMG_1387Her studio recently put on the Nutcracker and Ava loved every minute of it. I am pretty sure she found performing quite exciting because of all of the people and she is incredibly extroverted which fueled the energy.

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We were very proud of our sweet ballerina. I love watching her do her best. It makes a momma proud.