Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Trust Me."

7ish in the morning, I wake with a sense of purpose for the day. I have a dentist appointment and some other errands to run, so I'm up and at 'em early so that I can get on the road on time.

Jeff lay sprawled out on our bed, breathing deeply and soundly. Jak is in his room, and I tiptoe around the bedroom into the hallway so as not to wake him.

My heart beats fast because I don't know what the next few minutes will bring.

I am nervous. Excited. Impatient.

My cycles were normal up to this point. Now I'm late. I have to take this test, this test that I've put out of my mind for over a week because I couldn't believe that we could be at this point already. I scramble around for it in the drawer, again trying not to wake my boys. I do not want Jeff to know until I know. I can't believe I've even kept it from him thus far.

I pee. I sit. I wait. I watch.

Two lines.


Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?! I smile at the wall, now knowing that there is another life inside of me, knowing that my inkling has become a reality, knowing that God has blessed us again without us even asking. Then, the tears come.

Am I really doing this? I am crying because I'm pregnant? What is wrong with me? I have dreamed all my life for these moments, moments in the stillness knowing that I am going to be a Mother. I can't believe I am crying!

These are not tears of joy. They are tears of fear.

What are we going to do? We aren't even sure where we are going to live, what Jeff is going to do with his job, what our goals are for next year! I haven't lost weight yet, I still want to get healthier before another baby.

And yet, I am excited in the midst of the fear tears.

I hear Jak stirring in the next room. Still in shock, I glance at the test and hide it away before Jeff sees it. I have to figure out how I'm going to tell him.

Jak is up, talking away, ready for me to greet him.

I leave the shade closed, the light off. I pick him up, my sweet, smiling boy. Mmm, you smell so good. Ok, I can do this again. He smiles at me. I whisper to him that he is going to be a big brother. The first to know after me. He smiles again. I hold him tight. My sweet baby boy.

We begin our routine: down the stairs and into the kitchen for milk, then into his seat for breakfast. I wander around aimlessly. It is over half an hour before I actually get him something to eat. I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. This thought consumes me.

7:36 am I call my friend. I tell her through the fear tears, and she reassures me that God has ordained this moment, and He is in control. All I need to know is that there is a baby being created in my womb. He'll work out the details of all of my questions.

Jeff comes downstairs, greets us and sits for breakfast. I am quiet. Too quiet, I think, but he doesn't notice. Maybe he just thinks that I'm tired.

Still uncertain of how I will tell him, I decide that I will wait until Sunday to tell him, once he is back from his trip. That will give me a few days to let it sink in, and come up with a thoughtful way to share the news. I can do this. I can wait. And if I wait, then I can also pray that he'll be delighted and not scared like me. I can pray for God to prepare his heart in these next few days.

10ish am I am pregnant. I am pregnant. I am pregnant. It's the only thought running through my head. I smile and nod when spoken to, and I offer Jak some toys so that I don't look completely out of it in front of Jeff. I must not tell him yet. What if he's upset? Not ready? Afraid of the uncertainty surrounding us, like I am?

He speaks of his upcoming trip and asks me a question. Silence. He asks again. "What, honey?, I say." He asks again. "I'm pregnant."

I stand and wait. He looks at me from his seat, glances at my belly, looks up at me again and smiles one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen. He jumps from his seat, takes 2 steps to where I am, and says, "Really?!" "Yes."

I wait.

He takes me quickly in his arms and gives me a tight hug. I cry. I am relieved. I am overwhelmed. I am elated. The fear tears are gone and have been replaced with tears of pure joy, because we are having another child, because my husband is exactly the man that I need, exactly the man that I want. We are blessed. I am blessed.

I ask him my questions. I tell him my fears. He assures me that everything will be fine, it will all work out. I believe him. I trust him. I am so happy that I couldn't hold it in, because his reaction was exactly what I needed, and God knew that. He had prepared Jeff's heart before I could even pray about it, but He also prepared mine, if only I'd have stopped fretting.

"Trust Me, Kelly. Trust Me.", He echoed in my soul.

My sweet baby boy is 4 months old today. It was 1 year ago today that I found out he was coming.

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." -Psalm 28:7

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This week's tip is sure to help when you've got yucky, stuck-on food all over your microwave and you have finally made up your mind to clean it up no matter how long it takes.

Lucky for you, it'll only take a few minutes if you follow my instructions:

Fill a small to medium sized glass bowl with water and add some fresh cut lemon (a half or less will do). If you want to be sassy, you can even squeeze it into the water first, but it's not necessary. If you're out of fresh lemons, then just add some lemon juice, but it might not be as fragrant as the fresh one.

Put prepared bowl into the microwave and run it for about 5 minutes.

Once finished, carefully remove the very hot bowl and wipe down the microwave with paper towels or a washcloth to remove all the gunk. The steam softens the mess and removal is super easy! No scrubbing, scraping or screaming need be involved!

That always works for me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My "Hometown Hero"

I had planned on posting this first thing this morning but our day was terribly chaotic. Though no longer the 19th of September over in Afghanistan, the sentiments are still the same.
We met Steve when we moved into the house across the street from where he lived. It was a new neighborhood for us, and we were certain to make friends with the many kids our age there. Little did we know, moving onto that street was just a tiny piece of the puzzle that was to become our lives.

Stephen was the redheaded kid on the block. The middle child of a family of six, Steve was friendly, polite, and even somewhat shy when he was in my sister's presence. He was a typical boy, outside doing chores or playing whatever game of the day in the street, not to mention teasing people (me!) constantly. Yet, he'd be the first to stand up to a bully if there happened to be one around. Even though I knew that the tables could turn on me and I could soon be his object of torture, I felt safe when he was around.

I'm not sure exactly when it all happened, but he fast fell in love with my sister. He was 13.

I remember him bringing her flowers all the time, and the beautiful jewelry gifts she'd get for birthdays and holidays. Precious Moments were "in" back then and Tracy had at least 20 from him alone, all cutely displayed in her room as a testament of his love for her. While they dated, I learned a lot about the kind of man that I wanted to find by the way Stephen treated my sister: one that would fight for me, romance me, love me with total and utter abandon.

We all knew they'd get married, it was just a matter of time. It took almost 2 years to plan the wedding and in May of 1996, Tracy and Steve said their vows to love, honor and cherish one another no matter what.

12 years of marriage, 5 houses, 4 kids and 2 dogs later, they are still going strong.

This picture was taken 3 years ago at our wedding.

Here are a few stories about Steve that I cherish.

While nannying in CT, I decided to take a trip to visit he and my sister where they were stationed in MD. After the funniest of travel stories (of which I will spare you during this post), Steve picked me up at the Baltimore train station. It was around 6am and he took a wrong turn. So, here we are, driving around in the purple minivan dubbed the "Plumvee" (Humvee, get it?) in the middle of the ghetto. And I mean the ghett-0. I could sense Steve was a bit lost--and nervous, when I spotted him out of the corner of my eye looking frantically around for some familiar route. I asked him, "Do you know where you're going?" "Kel, we're lost. We're in the ghetto. We gotta get out NOW." Did I feel safe then? Not so much. But, the the feeling returned once we arrived safely home.

Fast forward a few years. I'm living back in NY in my own home, pre-marriage days. I just cooked a scrumptious meal and had leftovers to take care of. Wait, did I say scrumptious? OK, not this story. This story's meal consisted of meat that was eaten (because, perhaps it was scrumptious),and a side dish of cabbage completely raw after hours of cooking. I'm not quite sure what I did wrong, but it doesn't matter. I put the cabbage, raw cabbage, down the toilet, because I remember my Mom sending us to the toilet with leftovers to flush down when I was young. Don't ask me why we did this, because it's not a practice that I'd recommend. Ah, I digress... So I flushed down my lousy meal's leftovers and ended up clogging the toilet. I mean, really clogging the toilet. Jeff and I both tried to fix it and it. wouldn't. budge. I called Steve, the master fixer upper of all things screwy, and he reluctantly came over after about 10 minutes of phone coaching to get the darn cabbage down! I can't quite put into words the looks that I got when he arrived--or when he left, but I can say that he and Jeff were able to help the cabbage along and the toilet was in working order again, less a few scratches from the 30 minute snaking. I am laughing just writing this.

Then there are the countless times he threw me into the swimming pool, fully clothed from my nicely styled hair down to my shoes...

But my favorite memory of my brother-in-law is this one:

After quite possibly the most crushing time in my family's life, Stephen offered me a sense of protection that still lingers to this day. I was sitting in my brother's living room, and the day was nearing an end. My Mom and siblings were present and red-eyed from crying, and Stephen walked into the room. He walked right up to me, whose head was down because I was afraid and embarrassed and stunned, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. He cried and told me that he was sorry for what had happened, and that it would never, ever happen again. I believed him. I felt safe again. I felt as if my fears were gone because there was this man holding on to me so tightly, who loved my sister more than life and loved me just by association, and he wouldn't let anything happen to us ever again. By his simple gesture of a strong embrace, I felt so loved and cared for despite the turmoil surrounding us.

And today, I can say that I continue to feel loved and cared for by him despite the turmoil surrounding us all.

Steve is at war, in Afghanistan, right now. Today is his 35th birthday. And though I'd rather he be here in the states enjoying normalcy with his wife, boys and newborn daughter, I know that he is over there serving his country with honor and pride.

I look forward to seeing him soon, to introducing his namesake and my son, John Stephen, and to knowing that he is far from battle in the Middle East. But until then, I pray that God will keep him safe and keep him strong.

Happy Birthday, Steve. We miss you and we love you. Jeff reminds you to "Keep it between the ditches!"

Monday, September 15, 2008

The State of Maryland

So what began as a quick trip to MD to visit while Jeff headed on to NC has been a wonderful reuniting with family and friends.

We are into our third day and although we are busy, things are going very smoothly, especially with the two little ones.

We arrived late Friday evening/very early Saturday morning. We didn't exactly intend on leaving so late but it actually worked out much better that way because the boys slept most of the way. There was some fog along the way but I chose to shut my eyes and trust Jeff to get us through it intact. (I hate fog while driving at night. Or maybe I just hate that when there is fog at night, my husband just plows right through it. Eek!) Good choice for me because instead of getting a stomach full of knots, I was able to catch some zzz's.

On Saturday we played with Grandma (Grandpa has been in LA) and got settled in before heading out at night to visit our dear friends, the Phipp's. We went to their house for dinner, and as usual, Belle made us feel like Royalty with her spread. Who knew that 7 layer salad and rigatoni could be so fancy? Love that girl. We share the same affection for hospitality and all things pretty, monogrammed and matching so we became fast friends. :) She was actually one of my only friends here in MD. I often talk about "my 3 friends" when I reference living in MD and she is one of them. In fact, I believe she may have been the first!

Sunday was a full day spent greeting acquaintances at our old church, and then heading out to Queenstown to see our old neighbors. That was fun! We hung out with neighbors Vance and Gina, and the kids played together. I met Gina shortly after she found out she was pregnant with her second child, Emma. Three short months later, I was telling her that I was pregnant with my second child! Since our boys are only 3 weeks apart it was very easy for us to become friends and relate to life with a baby-turned-toddler while being pregnant. Gina was also wonderful in helping me to get out for a bit here and there by lending me her sweet new Honda minivan and taking Jak for a few hours here and there. I am still so thankful to her for her willingness to ease the burden of loneliness while we lived here. I really believe the second year spent here was so much better in part by having a friend in such close proximity. You can't get too much closer than 3 houses down!

It was neat to go over the bridge (without summer traffic!) and to see all the sailboats in the Bay. The scenery is so beautiful and though I always thought it was beautiful when we lived here, knowing that we are where we belong, I now was able to see the beauty and enjoy it rather than wishing ourselves to be somewhere else. I have a lot to process about this trip and we're only a few days in!

Today we met up with another couple that is very special to us, the Lumley's. We cared for Abigayle quite a bit last year and she and Jak got to be good toddler friends. ;) We affectionately call them each others' boyfriend and girlfriend. The now 7 of us met at The Breakfast Shoppe and enjoyed some mostly adult conversation while the little ones played with their food. Alysia became my 3rd friend here in MD and I'm happy to say that although I had few friendships here, the ones that I was blessed with are ones that I believe will follow me for many years.

The rest of the day was spent playing with Grandma and napping. Yes, napping! I actually got a 2 hour nap! Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have live in help? JoAnn has been wonderful with the kiddos. It's great to have a constant set of hands that aren't yours! Don't get me wrong, Jeff does his share, but it is quite different with a woman, another mother. Quite wonderful!

The rest of our days here will be spent with Belle, Alysia, and Gina, and spending time with Aunt Jenn before she leaves for CA. Grandma and Grandpa get first dibs on everything, of course, but luckily for me they go to work so I'm able to see some people while they are busy. We'll also be getting Jak out to play. I think we're going to the zoo once Daddy gets back! If so, I'll be sure to post some good pics. I do hope to stop in and surprise my awesome friend and midwife, Evelyn, so that she can see Jak and now little John-boy. I suppose it's not going to be much of a surprise if she happens to read this. Oh well.

As you can see, I'm not much in the mood for story telling tonight, and this post is more of an update on our trip than anything, but I am pondering a lot and hope to post about it as I am able to process it more.

Until then, life is good. It's good to be back. It's good to know that we aren't staying. It's good to have healing. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

We love you more than life and are so thankful for you!

Kelly, Tiny 1 and Tiny 2

(Four generations of Knapp men: Jak, Jeff, Bruce (Jeff's Dad) and Floyd (Jeff's Grandfather; February 2007).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary, My Love!

Three years ago today I spoke these words before God and our loved ones:

"I Kelly, take thee Jeffery, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do us part. This is my solemn vow."

And it still is.

You are my rock.
You are my lover.
You are silent strength.
You are my dreaming partner.
You are my moving buddy. ;)
You are my secret keeper.
You are my strongest supporter.
You are my happiness sharer.
You are my devoted and prayerful husband.
You are the knowing glance from across the room.
You are the king of the grill.
You are the scrubber of the pots.
You are the rubber of my shoulders.
You are the kiss on my forehead.
You are the fingers intertwined with mine.
You are the strong arms around me.
You are the soft touch that caresses me.
You are the voice that cheers me on.
You are the mind that believes in me.
You are the stability that I crave.
You are the silliness when no one else is around.
You are the daddy who snuggles.
You are the laughter in our home.
You are the thrower of the ball.
You are the hero of my sons.
You are the provider for our family.
You are the whisper in my ear.
You are the chills down my back.
You are the warmth on a cold day.
You are the knowledge that I seek.
You are the comfort I love coming home to.
You are the shoulder that I cry on.
You are the unconditional love that I cherish.
You are the man of my dreams.
You are the knight of my heart.

You are the love of my life.
You are God's gift to me.

Jeffery, there is no one else I'd rather be with on this adventure. Thank you for your steadfast patience and unconditional love.
I Love You and am ever Thankful that God knew exactly what I needed when He gave me you.
Proverbs 3:3

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Today's WFMW is backwards style. Instead of me posting a tip that works for me, I want to hear from you on how to put together (and execute!) a family budget!  

Do you do weekly or monthly budgeting?  Do you balance the budget and accounts alone, does your husband do it all, or do you do it with your husband as a team?  Do you do paper or online statements?  What works for you

If you need some background, we are a budding family of 4:  my husband--the breadwinner, myself--the homemaker and our two little boys.  Modest house, one car (soon to be two), no pets. We try to live debt free and don't really spend a lot on outside entertainment except outings with the kids or the occasional splurge for us.

Have at it, Ladies!


Here's another one:  Meal Planning.

Farmer's Market?
Small grocery stores?
Club stores like BJ's, Costo, Sam's?
All of the above or wherever the price is right?
Do you have a chart or list that you write it all on?

What works for you?

Monday, September 1, 2008

*Labor* Day

Playing along with Shannon and sharing the hardest work I've ever done! Here's a meme about the kind of labor you don't get a day off for!

How long were your labors?

Kid #1 about 14 hours
Kid #2 about 4 hours (I get satisfaction just writing that)

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1 mild contractions (textbook labor)
Kid #2 I thought maybe I could be starting labor when I woke up with very mild contractions, but then they came and went throughout the day. They came a bit more forcefully around 4pm but were still quite infrequent, sometimes spaced out a few hours. I figured the real deal would start at night when the barometric pressure dropped, and I was right. At around 8pm, they were quite strong although still sporadic. They became regular at around10pm. My Mom, who came over for dinner with her dog, kept telling me to call my midwife but I insisted on waiting a bit longer just to make sure. I finally called at 11ish. And yes, my Mom ended up staying and the dog watched the entire thing from the couch.

Where did you deliver?

Kid #1 at home in Maryland, on the bed
Kid #2 at home in New York, in the birthing pool

(I had always hoped to be able to deliver my babies in the peace and intimacy of my home, and am so blessed to be able to say that I did and each experience was more than I ever dreamed of!)


No, drugs scare me.



Who delivered?

I delivered my babies!!! My midwife in MD caught Jak, and I caught John here in NY with my midwife verbally coaching me. John's entire birth was unassisted and it was amazing!

These are quite possibly the worst pictures of me and my hubby ever (and I cannot believe I am posting them!!), but the feeling I get from looking at them makes my heart surge. Aren't our boys precious? I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I hope to write thier entire birth stories soon, so check back!