Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Erwins

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My little brother is getting old

Happy birthday to my handsome, adorable, amazing brother Joel Daniel!!  To be honest I couldn't remember how old he was until I logged on to Facebook today.  Sad, since he's only 17 months younger than Charys and me...when you get old, the numbers don't seem to matter anymore. ;)

Joel and Charity are quite possibly the most gorgeous couple on earth...inside and out.
While I was stealing photos from his Facebook page, I thought I should include a couple of his favorite things as well.  After all, it IS his birthday. :)

Oh, and she happens to be one of my favorite things too.

Happy birthday bro.  We love you!!

But take diligent heed to do the commandments and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Joshua 22:5

Our little princess

We got another glimpse of our little princess at an ultrasound yesterday.  Most importantly, she is very healthy (THANK YOU JESUS), had heart rate in the 150's, growing well (about a week+ ahead of schedule) --- and we think quite cute if we must admit.  Chet said she is beautiful; I agree.

The little stinker decided to be shy about showing her face again.  I literally looked through our ultrasound photos from 13 weeks on, and in every.single.set. she is covering her face with her arms.  I carry all the u/s photos with me, so we had a good laugh that even when she resembled a teeny gummy bear, those two arms were over her face.  I went through my iPhone photos and found many of Holden doing the same thing.  It made my heart leap see and remember that.

Now I know she does not always have her arms covering her face.  As I type this, I feel her whole body stretching out, feet on one side and hands on the other.  I think she senses the u/s wand and quickly covers up!  We suppose she wants us to be a little surprised about something upon her arrival.

This was the best photo we got of her face (profile), and the few people I sent it to could barely make it out.  Her eyes are covered with an arm, but you can see her nose, lips and chin if you are a sleuth.  When we changed to 3D, both of those arms shot straight up to her face. 

I love you my little princess.

Nothing makes me happier at an appointment than to see our healthy baby.  Her Creator takes my breath away.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.  And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything.  Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  Acts 17:24-25

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy "Anniversary" HUF!!

Since I am definitely not going to be able to describe the past year in mere words on a blog, I just want to say THANK YOU to our amazing Christ Jesus for allowing us to be given an opportunity to experience such hope.  Never in my life would I have pictured being a part of anything like this, yet God has redeemed our hearts and replaced brokenness with joy.

Thank you Lord!  Thank you Lord!  Thank you Lord!

Holden Uganda's 1st Year:
Founded in December 2010
Goal to build nine wells in nine months completed in 6 weeks
55 wells completed, 60 wells funded
1 orphanage clean water and sanitation project (ongoing)
1 primary school water project completed
Hope and life given to thousands of people

We know the Lord is just getting started with Holden Uganda...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Friday, December 16, 2011


I am beginning to get a little self-conscious/worried about comments that my belly isn't as "round" as it should be.  I think she is growing sideways in my stomach, so it looks different than last time.  With Holden I felt like I always had a protruding stomach.  Now I have to eat a large breakfast and lunch to get photos like these.

I really dislike 'cell phone in mirror photos'.  Excuse me for this please.  And the fact that I am taking my time off work seriously by wearing sweats and house shoes nearly all day.  Really, this is simply just for my daughter to see one day:

As you can see, the nursery colors are the same still.  We haven't done anything to the room just yet.

This is us at conservatively 22.5 weeks.  (We are possibly a couple weeks further along than that, but I am being conservative.)

I just found this photo on my phone I snapped while I was staying in Oklahoma for a work trip.  I originally was not going to share on my blog, but I want to show how much I've grown in the last month.  This was about 17 weeks.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  1 John 4:9

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pregnancy - over halfway there

I am going to attempt to document this pregnancy better for our daughter to read one day.  I know I have not done near as much this time around in terms of documenting and photographing, and I want our girl to know she has been loved more than words.  My goal is to do this every four weeks or so from here on out.

My sweet friend Megan gave me a book called Love Letters to My Baby.  It has been tremendously helpful to have a way to track the pregnancy and I would recommend it to any expectant mom, especially Hope Mommies.

Size and development of baby:
Just like her older brother, this little one has always been on the larger side at her ultrasounds.  I am always relieved when I see that she is growing on track!  Baby Center says she weighs over a pound now.  We will find out exactly how big she is at next Monday's ultrasound, but I am guessing she is going to be 19-20 ounces next week (I always like to guess). says she is about the size of a papaya.  Since papayas are not readily available in West Texas during the winter, I was not able to buy one this week to feel the weight.  Instead I am posting a photo I took off their website:
I am feeling her movements every day, my favorite part of being pregnant.  She dances most in the early morning hours, from about 5am-7am.  I adore feeling her precious choreography while I get ready for the day, although I am able to feel her randomly throughout the rest of the day as well.

If I were to guess, I would think she is laying sideways where her feet are on my right side.  I know she is moving around and doing circles and flips all day, but I feel most "kicks" low on my right side.  Chet can feel her move too...such a sweet moment of our evenings!

According to what I have read, she has all facial features formed that she will be born with.  I love imagining what she looks like!

How I am feeling and changing:
As each day passes I am more at ease.  It would be a lie to say I was completely "okay" and peaceful about this pregnancy, but I am grateful that when I do get worried, it is usually quickly replaced with a genuine peace from the Lord.  I know she is being formed perfectly by her Heavenly Father, and that He has already planned each minute of her life from the beginning.  For me to stress about it only makes me miserable, so I daily "hand her over" to God.  The battle of faithlessness is something I fight with daily, struggling to place all my confidence in our Creator.  If I go a a long time without feeling her move, I am learning to pray more instead of freak out.  This pregnancy has taught me a lot about my walk with the Lord, and He is already using my daughter's life to mold me.

Physically I feel good.  The second trimester is much kinder than the first.  As with any pregnancy, I get tired more easily than usual.  I was far greener this time around than my pregnancy with Holden, although I have nearly no nausea anymore with food...a wonderful feeling!  (Some smells still make me sick.)  I am even drinking my one cup of coffee a day.  I was beginning to wonder if I would ever enjoy my favorite beverage again.  :)

...Actually, I think all pregnancy symptoms have been stronger with our daughter, than with our son.  They say every pregnancy is different, and it's definitely held true!

My nails are growing faster.  This is just plain miraculous to me since I have never, ever had strong nails.  This has even motivated me to get a monthly manicure.  I wouldn't want to waste the fact that my nails are prettier after all. ;)  My hair is not growing any faster, and my face is still breaking out...but it is all extremely worth it!

I have a definite bump, though not as defined as before.  My weight gain seems to be more spread out this time, but I still love that I have do have a bump.  I am gaining about the same that I did with Holden, even though Chet says I am gaining less.  He knows what to tell his pregnant wife. :)

Being pregnant in the winter is great!  My hands and feet have not swollen at all yet, and I can sleep without being miserably hot.  I am probably speaking immaturely on these topics, so I will have to re-visit this in February.

I view this pregnancy 180 degrees different than I viewed my first.  I am trying to enjoy every single moment, even when I am fearful and stressed.  Weight gain has not bothered me at all.  Using a hefty portion of my paycheck on gasoline to drive to my very-often appointments has not bothered me.  Even being more "restful" is something I am learning to appreciate.

Amazing the love mommies can have for their babies when they haven't even held them yet.

I LOVE that you already know your little sister and know exactly what she looks like.  I imagine you and Jesus talking about her and how much you love her.  You probably even know exactly when she will take her first breath on earth.  I dream that her eye color is your eye color, and I look forward to seeing her eyes every day.  
Your life has made her life so much more special to us.  
One day soon we will be repainting and decorating the room we had planned for you.  It is difficult to imagine your handsome little nursery being a girlie nursery, even though I know if you could say something to me about it you would probably tell me to be happy because of where you live now.  
Our love for you never ceases to grow.
Hugs and Kisses,

I will listen to what God the LORD says; He promises peace to His people.  Psalm 85:8a

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stinky without a shower

The town of Snyder has lost water due to the extreme cold weather causing a main water line break.  We have been without water for the last day and a half...but not without warm houses, electricity and the ability to buy as many bottles of water as we would like.  So maybe I should say we have only been without unlimited running water.

This circumstance has made it even more clear to me how blessed we are to be given the stewardship over Holden Uganda.  I am whiny after just 24 hours of not being able to get my daily long, hot shower, even though I am still drinking unlimited amounts of clean bottled water.

It hurts to think of one billion people not having any access ever to clean water.  That is a large number:  1,000,000,000

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:40 was on my heart the second I woke up today.  Whether or not we want to face the fact that those around the world are our brothers and sisters, doesn't make it any less true.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Santa is coming

Santa Jesus is coming!

Wouldn't it be cool if we could get our kids as excited about Jesus coming (or just Jesus in general) as they are about Santa?!  Elf on a Shelf would be unnecessary if they knew Jesus always cares about their actions. :) :) 

Don't get me wrong...I love seeing kids excited about the Christmas season...and I am happily amused by the cute Elf on a Shelf idea.  Furthermore, this is obviously coming from someone who isn't parenting a child on earth (I admit don't hate!), but I do wish they were more excited about the meaning behind it all, and not all the presents they will soon put aside.

I know the pressures of parenting are extremely tough - to say the least - even without walking in those shoes yet.  So this blog is not to judge anyone.  Rather it is my own thoughts typed out for the day, and something I hope that Chet and I will personally be able to emphasize in our home with our children.  Hopefully starting next year.   

 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  Matthew 16:27

Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome WINTER

We woke up to bright white snow this morning!  Henri begged to go outside, so we gave her a look first.

 Then we let her outside.  She wasn't so thrilled once she actually got out there.  :)
 For some reason I can't get these pictures to rotate, but I am still posting.  I love icicles!
 Especially icicles on lights!
 Rusty was very UNhappy we made him go outside this morning.  He sat shivering under the heat lamp, giving us sad "Why Mom?!" looks. 
Luke was enjoying the snow too much to sit still for a photo.  I feel a little bad only having photos of 2 out of 3 of our fur babies; it feels like choosing favorites. ;)

Since the snow is still falling, I will try to get some more pics this evening.  Welcome winter to West Texas!

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18