She Wants a Baby

Early in our marriage, Candice and I used to take long walks in our neighborhood to discuss the week ahead. Sometimes we talked about the future, but there was always a clear line between immediate tasks, like “get the oil changed in the car,” and future plans, like “get rich and build our dream home on five acres.”

One day in the middle of a walk, Candice said, “I want to have a baby.” I thought, in this particular instance, that she meant a hypothetical baby set somewhere in the future. So I agreed that it was a good idea. Then she clarified that she wanted a baby now.

Helen Hunt Falls

At that point, I suspected she was just having an emotional flare-up. There was simply no logic in what she was saying. She knew the status of our bills; she knew we couldn’t afford to have a baby. Besides, we had only been married a little more than a year and still had a lot of exploring to do as new residents of Colorado.

I realized I had to play the role of crisis manager. I had to talk her back from the ledge and encourage her to abandon the dangerous leap she was contemplating. Reasoning from logic, I talked about our finances not adding up. I reminded her of the dramatic adjustments a baby would require to our social lives, our living arrangements, and our concept of free time.

She nodded her head a lot, but I didn’t seem to be getting through. My reasons weren’t working. She wasn’t taking no for an answer. But I knew I wasn’t ready to say yes. The impact of this decision just seemed too significant to be made during a casual walk around the neighborhood. I wasn’t against having kids—I just didn’t think this was the best time. I had to find a compromise. Knowing she wouldn’t accept no, I said, “Yes … but … let’s just wait a little longer. Let’s pay off some bills, squeeze in some more adventures. Why hurry? We still have plenty of time.”

I waited for her response. She seemed to be considering my counteroffer. As she nodded her head in consent, I knew I had done it—I got her to hit snooze on her biological clock.

That is, until we went on another walk—this time with an older couple that had mentored us when we were dating.

Hubert and Mary Morken are action people. They like their walks brisk and over rough terrain if it’s available. My breath ran short several times as we climbed hills and dodged rocks with this couple the age of our parents. A sign along the path we hiked read, “Beware of rattlesnakes,” but I was more afraid of the conversation taking place between the women in front of me. Mary and Candice were talking as intensely as we were hiking. I couldn’t hear everything they were saying, just an occasional word—fertilitybaby and money—among them. I knew the issue of having kids was, once again, front and center.

(From the prologue of Start Your Family)

From There to Here

Textures collage It's hard to summarize the past four weeks of packing, driving, visiting, driving, apple picking, flying, speaking, birthday celebrating, packing, flying, packing, cleaning, flying, sleeping, packing, and finally, settling. But there you have it: the summary of our journey from our home of 13 years in Colorado to our new home in Louisville, KY.

Here it is in pictures.

The Gateway Arch on our drive east from Colorado.

Arch and tree

Alongside the tree outside our apartment window in Kentucky.

Here's a bit of the view out my window heading north from Kentucky to Ohio.

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And the view behind my seat.

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Ohio provided lots of cousin time. We raked the leaves and jumped in them.

Throwing leaves-collage

This guy turned four.

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And this one nearly touched the sky. Or at least the tops of the trees.

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Teddy in the leaves-2

Mid-way through our trip, Steve and I headed even further north to Minnesota for a long-planned speaking engagement at Northwestern College. While there, we toured a well-known ministry.

DG color

Visited a well-known friend.

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And spent two days ministering alongside MJ and Julie, founders of Future Marriage University, as well as Brittany, the chapel coordinator for NWC.

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We found some quiet family time at a little lake in Michigan.

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And even found a way to get a group shot (thanks to an old lawn chair and my camera's timer).

Family pics

In Ohio, the girls went to a fund raising tea for my sister's adoption from Ethiopia.

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Then Steve and I headed back to Colorado to finish packing and, thanks to some amazing friends, spent our last few hours in our old hometown at our favorite place: The Braodmoor.

Broadmoor moving day-3

I've been tempted to great discouragement these past few months of transition as we've relocated to a new home after 13 years in Colorado. It's far too easy to focus on what I'm waiting for -- our house to sell, the new job to come through, the move to begin, the boxes to arrive, the move to end, etc. Waiting can be, and is, wearying. It's at times frustrating, depressing, discouraging, and more. I was reading Isaiah 40:30-31 and was struck by these verses:

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
 they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)

Whether you're single and waiting for a spouse, married and waiting for a baby, or, like us, waiting for things related to a change of job or move, waiting is wearying. Whatever it is you're waiting for. Unless what you're waiting on is the Lord. And that's the lesson I'm learning as we've been moving from there to here.

Hiking with Kids

Once upon a time, I wrote an article about family hikes. In it I said, "We figured if we raised two kids in Colorado and never got out in nature, they'd never let us live it down. So we bought some hiking boots and a guide to the Pikes Peak region and started walking." That was five years ago. Since then, we've had two more kids and out of necessity, slowed down our pace. Recently we dusted off our trail book, laced up our hiking boots, and headed back to nature.

Turns out my advice back then still holds. Even with twice the number of kids (maybe more so). Things like:

Don't be afraid to try something new.

Sign-to-falls

Do it for the kids.

Kids-on-trail

Make it fun.

Traversing-the-water

Five years ago I wrote, "Encouraging a four year old to keep going to the end of a 2-mile hike can be a chore. But when he knows there's a root beer float waiting for him at the end of the trail he's more likely to embrace the challenge. And when his little legs get tired and he starts begging for someone to carry him, we often divert his attention by singing songs or practicing his letters ('What does apple start with?', 'How about baseball?', etc.)"

Maybe I should have actually read that old article before we went hiking. Confession: I remembered it after the hike, while editing these photos. And so instead of having a clever game ready to distract our three-year-old, and certainly no plan in place for root beer floats post-hike, Steve carried our 20 month old in the back pack and the three year old in his arms. (Ibuprofen anyone?)

But even being less-than-prepared, we made lots of memories in a beautiful place.

Diffuse-light

Light-through-trees

Back then I wrote about the joys of guilt-free chocolate on the trail. "Who wouldn't love a reason to eat some favorite high-energy snacks, knowing the exercise involved will burn those calories?!" For this hike I forgot to buy snacks before we left.

And so, we stopped here.

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For snacks.

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Very salty snacks. We should have brought more water than we did.

Instead, we shared our one water bottle and focused on some more of that advice: The thrill of discovery.

Pointing-to-moss

There's something new and innocent about a child discovering God's creation for the first time. A new bird, a bubbling stream -- or in this case, our state flower.

Columbine

All these and more provide lots of oohs and ahhs on the trail while instilling a respect for nature.

Sea-of-moss

Pointing-to-pines

Realizing "they can do it" is a big deal for little ones. Each step taken over rough terrain, each trail completed, even the occasional scraped knee can build self-esteem in kids. And even if they don't self-actualize, they'll be glad for some undistracted time with their favorite toys: Mom and Dad.

Group-shot