(Home) School Is Now In Session

(Home) School Is Now In Session

My little ladies are now official homeschool kids! I’ve been trying to come up with the words on this post for weeks so here goes. As many of our friends are getting their kiddos ready for their first day Thursday, so are we. Ours just looks differently this year and hopefully from now on. I will say, it’s the most liberating feeling to take complete ownership of your children’s lives from inside the home to their education. I’ve learned so much over the last year of researching all things homeschool until my eyes would glaze over.

I want to preface this by saying we were beyond blessed by our rural school district. It’s where me and the last four generations of my family attended and then enrolled our own there. The girls have had a wonderful education thus far and the most amazing educators. Our decision to homeschool was not because of where they were currently going. Then why leave? Let me start here…..

Over the last year I’ve felt a tug on my heart and a twinge of sadness with how quickly time has passed. I’m still in disbelief that we now have a fourth AND first grader. My babies are no longer babies and it really has taken a toll on me in thinking that we have already had paisley for 1/2 the time most kids live inside the home. In 9 more years, she could quite possibly be on her own. As cliche as it sounds, it’s as if I blinked and both of them have grown up. I can’t slow time, but I can change the time we do have. I miss my kids. So much. I shared in this post last week about a book I recently read that changed my life. And it was the final push I needed to go all the way with it. I know this might seem “weird” to some or “what’s the big deal about having them in school?” but I’ve never been normal and I don’t want them to be like everyone else.

I am in no way saying that public school screws us up or that I’m trying to be self righteous about homeschool. Matter of fact, I’m eating my words because I used to be complete opposite and anti-homeschool. This is a personal family choice that we have taken a lot of time to think and pray on. I’m floored by all I’ve learned in the last year of researching all of the ways to do this. It’s limitless.

Another reason is, well, the world. I know we can’t shelter our kids from everything, but I can raise them the best I can and in our home so they can be better equipped to handle what the world will inevitably throw at them. I have control of what they can and can’t be exposed to unlike school. I’ve heard everything from “I can’t keep them in a bubble” to “they won’t be well socialized” or “they will miss out on so much” that it’s become white noise. I also believe that kids should get to be kids and not be conditioned to the ways of the world. Every time you turn around it’s something on TV with gender rolls or sexualized adolescence and unfortunately, that seeps into school systems. (again, not our school or state even-but just in general) Raising them best we can is our top priority and we fail often but this was something we truly knew in our hearts that was time and we wanted to make changes in how we parent. Changing where they spend the majority of their day was part of that. We might be that “weird family” and are totally ok with it and are also under no obligation to make sense to anyone, albeit family, friends, or strangers on the internet.

Growing up is hard enough without having your surroundings telling you that you aren’t or might not be who God made you. He doesn’t make mistakes and it makes me sad that they have become targets, especially at an impressionable age. NOTHING like this has happened with our kids, yet. However, I know what all went on when I was in school (also pre-social media age) and I can’t imagine what all is being exposed, discussed, experimented, etc. And before someone says that’s why you have to be a present parent, I fully agree. However, you can’t control their classmates or those they have befriended on what they talk to your child about. It’s pushed on them through social media, peers, books, entertainment, etc. Of course they are getting confused! If you think its not, there are tiny rabbit holes you can go down and when you come up someone will crown you with a tin hat because that’s crazy conspiracy talk if you use any sort of critical thinking, disagree, and question the “norm.” I don’t mind being the overprotective mom and taking initiative because that’s what we feel is best for us-it may not be for you. Again, totally fine.

I want the medical decisions we make for us as well as our children private and not be the cause of eventual segregation if we opt out of something we don’t feel like they should have. We will never know the repercussions of what 2020 did to our kids with face covering mandates among other things. I know for one it caused a lot of anxiety in our oldest. She has allergies and this summer at ranch camp was teased by another child (because she coughed and sneezed) that she had the v i r u s and made subject to chatter from other girls which led to embarrassment and then worry that “maybe I do have it?” It’s sad it’s come to kids saying these things. It’s also learned behavior. Meanness and an ugly heart is a virus and can spread to the company you keep. Thankfully that situation led to good conversation between us but I know how she’s felt. I think most of us have felt belittled or made fun of for something beyond our control or even just because it’s how we view things. The sting of being the butt of someone’s joke or center of gossip hurts. They need to know how to best handle these things when it happens, we aren’t trying to keep them from that. It’s still going to occur with all of the other activities we participate in.

I read something on Facebook the other day and it was a great analogy to how I see this-and not just related to values but also relationships:

“People often say to me, “you can’t keep your children in a bubble”. And I reply, “it’s not a bubble, it’s a greenhouse.” A bubble stifles growth and blocks out nutrients. A greenhouse provides an environment for cultivation. Children’s hearts need to be “greenhoused” before they’re ready to be transplanted out into the world. We release when their roots are deep and they are mature enough to withstand the storms, not beforehand. While they’re still under our protection, we take the responsibility for engaging them in learning about different cultures, ideologies and values. They should only know worldly teachings enough that they will be inoculated against them. It’s neither parenting out of fear or legalism, nor going to the opposite extreme of being too permissive.No, our kids shouldn’t grow up in a bubble. But they shouldn’t be left exposed to the harsh outside elements, either. The greenhouse of our home has all the right conditions for those young seeds to grow and flourish.” -Called to Mothering

My greatest calling, responsibility, and blessing He will ever give me is to be the wife and mom of this home. I’ve grown and changed so much over the last year that the way I view being a homeschool family has shifted into an absolute honor. He’s equipped me to be their mom. He’s equipped me to raise them. He’s also equipped me to teach them. I have the choice in how that is going to go. He truly has opened so many doors for us over the last year to get to where we have the availability to do this with moving our store and I’m blown away once again by his faithfulness.

I don’t want to regret not doing this when I have the chance. I want to provide them with a rich education that goes beyond four walls. An education that not only teaches them reading, writing, math, science, and so on but gardening, sewing, farming, cooking, how to change a tire and balance a checkbook, and more. I want to cater to their individual learning styles and watch them flourish more than they could in a classroom of 20. I want to do field trips again. I want to take school outside, on the ranch, to my store, or on a road trip. I want freedom and flexibility. Education isn’t a one size fits all and we’ve (myself included) been brought up to think that it is. My girls have several friends that they plan to do this with. They plan to rodeo and will be around kids often with family, friends, basketball, 4-H, and church. I still find the unsocialized comments silly. If anything, this entire last year has pushed isolation. That’s the exact opposite of what I want or plan to do.

I realize this just isn’t an option for everyone and it’s not lost on me what a unique privilege this is. I know some absolutely can’t even if they wanted to. So I’m taking my opportunity seriously and shooting my shot. I also realize this isn’t for everyone. And that’s ok. It wasn’t for us at one point either but it is now. I feel it’s more important than ever, especially for the four of us. We need this. We need each other and maybe it’s because we are a first responder family-we see the fragility of life on the daily and witness how quickly it can end. Time is something you can’t make more of or get back but you can change how you prioritize and use it. I’ve even been teased about being Laura Ingalls, and you know, that’s exactly what I’d love to be like.

Speaking of, I’m going to start sharing our journey at The Little Prairie Schoolhouse on Instagram as well as here on the blog. You’ll be able to find all related posts on The Homeschool Tab.

I’ve had so many friends help me and encourage me along the way and I’d love to do the same over there.

I hope they know how much I love them. I know that this will be really hard but the harvest will be bountiful. I know that I’ll be able to connect with them more than I ever have and am sure they will be teaching me a thing or too as well. I want to steward my time and motherhood well. I want to take this seriously and honor God with these gifts he’s given our family and as parents.

Here’s to homeschool and a new chapter. Welcome to 4th and 1st grade, girls!

The Life You Long For

The Life You Long For

If there was ever a book that I needed for such a season as this one I’m in (other than the Bible, of course) it is what I’m holding. I don’t say this lightly but it truly changed my life and also took a lot of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having for months, maybe even years, seemingly making sense of them as I began to read the words on these pages. I’ll share a little more of what I’m personally talking about in a post next week as well as a major life change that’s happening for our family, but I’m so grateful I read this and by His grace, at the right time.

I’ve been a huge fan girl of Christy Knockles for years. Her Watermark days are some of my favorite music by her, I’ve listened to every episode of her podcast that got me through a lot of tough nights home alone taking care of two little ones while my husband was starting out as a fireman. She’s one of the few I trust when it comes to Christian influence anymore. I’ve had a really hard time over the last few years with teachers, pastors, worship leaders, and those that claim to know His Word but do not solely seek scripture and lead people with false doctrine and unsound theology. So as I’m sharing this, please know I highly respect her. I believe she truly sits in His word, listens, and rests in Him.

To be completely transparent but also without going into much detail as I’m saving this for next week, but I’m tired of running on the hamster wheel. I miss my kids. I feel like the world is crumbling quite literally around all of us. There’s so much going on, and as a small business owner, I’m having to hustle 50X harder than ever before just to survive, especially after the last year and a half. All of this amping up my anxiety and making it impossible to rest. Impossible to slow down. Impossible to savor the most important things He’s placed in my care. And I’ve known this for awhile, but was having a really hard time trying to make it a reality.

I think every single page of this text is either highlighted, underlined, dogeared, or has notes in the margins in some form or fashion. I continually felt like she was pulling the words right out of my heart. I shared this passage I had underlined from page 25 on social media about a month ago but wanted to post here so you can kind of grasp where I’ve been for some time:

“The to-do list took precedence over my soul needs as I focused tenaciously on doing everything I thought I was supposed to be doing for God and even for myself so life would go as planned. My spirit grieved as I realized that I had assumed I couldn’t afford the luxury of spending time with God. I had believed the lie that I had far too many important responsibilities to spend time being still before Him. When I did make time for Him, in exhaustion, my priority was to ask Him to help make everything that I had spinning: motherhood, home keeping, career building. With a twinge of shame always lingering in my gut, I’d ask his forgiveness for failing to give Him more. Yet I had no more to give because my own strength was gone. Don’t get me wrong. I longed to simply be still. I craved margin and rest and the capacity to put my family first. But I felt trapped in this outer ring, fearful that if I said no to anything, I might miss out on the Next. Big. Thing. Because I would yes myself into more than I could handle, I didn’t have the capacity to truly see others around me. I was usually in such a frazzled state that I valued community primarily for what it could do for me. For lack of a better word, this is hustling, and I’ve learned that God doesn’t always intervene right away when we strive at this kind of pace. Sometimes He gives us what we think we want so that we will finally discover what we truly need. Eventually, though, because He loves us, He will let us feel the weight of trying to call all the shots and do all the things. “

This has been me too. Don’t take me wrong, my store is such a blessing and I believe from Him. It’s paved opportunities, friendships, and time with my kids I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise from a 9-5 or 12 hour shift. But I haven’t always stewarded it well and constantly made it #1 above Him and my family. Unfortunately, it also took me 6 years to realize that. I thought I wanted to be at the top of my game as a “Boss Babe” (now that makes me cringe) until I took a hard blow from those I thought were friends in my community a few years ago. That was my first red flag that I was investing in the wrong things and people and eventually got hurt. It was a really painful lesson for me and one that I have had to continually seek Him and forgiveness when I didn’t want to hand that out either. I also didn’t steward what I was doing time wise or with what I was carrying that led to lots of heavy burdens that add more unwanted financial stress. I see things differently now. I was relying on my own strength and what I could do instead of letting go of control and seeking Him to show me the way I needed to take Farm Girl. My vision with what I want to do and how I want to run my shop has drastically changed. Of course I want to do well! Of course I want to be comfortable and not live month to month hoping we can make it while also worrying about the payments we have to make. But I also want to serve my customers by giving them the best version of myself and that comes from resting in Him and loving and serving my home first. I want my store to be what I originally intended and not a place I resent because things are so tough. I’ve had to learn things the hard way because I was hustling but really just running in circles and living for the temporary.

I think we all do that, don’t we? Live for what feels good in the here and now. Always looking for what’s ahead and never resting in contentment. That behavior has lead me to poor stewardship and a big mess to clean. It’s led me to ditch my calling as His beloved. It’s left me with sadness and the feeling of what I missed at home because my priorities were out of line. I needed that “control” instead of handing what HE had already given me palms open back to Him. My shop has still beheld many blessings and unique things. It’s been an open door to connect with people I probably would never have otherwise and I’m in no way saying has been a complete fail. But I truly want to be more kingdom minded and in that I know it will do far greater in His will than what I could ever do on my own. I wonder now what it would look like or what better of a situation I might be in if I could have released my grip and done that from the start. Why do we sometimes fear trusting God? As Christy says on page 28, “our own self sufficiency has a shelf life.” Nevertheless, He is still good. He is refining me and teaching me so many things and I’m thankful for His grace and mercy to open the eyes of my heart. It’s lead me to long for rest. To long for home. To long more for my calling in motherhood and as a wife more than ever before.

I’ll touch more on that next week. But I needed to read these words from Christy. I needed to know that I wasn’t feeling alone in the thoughts I was having. I needed to realize I too was living outside the bullseye. On page 35 she says “This call was to come and experience how valuing Him and prioritizing His promises and principles-and my own in the process-could produce something unexpectedly life changing.” And I truly have experienced a complete shift. Some of that shift has been small changes, others large like I’ll share soon, but all simultaneously together. If you follow me on instagram, you know I’ve been doing a mental toughness challenge the last 43 days (with 32 to go) and I think it’s no coincidence that a lot of this growing and learning to prioritize in different areas spiritually and physically have come at once.

At one point, I wanted my shop to be up with the big ones, flourishing and making money hand over fist. Albeit I’d love to never worry financially, but I also know that level of “game” will come with great sacrifices. If there was a sweet spot in the middle I’d be ok with that too but now, I seek “The glorious in the mundane.” I want slow and the seemingly small moments in my home more than I want anything outside of these four walls. On page 36 she says “One option was to just keep clinging to the world and its ways of getting things done, which we knew would be at the expense of our family. Or we could choose to step into the mystery of trusting that God would make a way for us if we obeyed what He was pressing into our hearts…….pg 37 God’s invitation to the bullseye marked the start of my learning how to be surrendered.”

At the end of the day, this is what I really want. Clinging to Him and not the world. Surrendering to my Father, knowing He has me and all He’s given me. It’s not easy because we are sinners. We need to continuously seek and press into Him. But it’s easy to miss the mark and lose sight of what truly matters when there’s so much noise and so much hustling.

Page 43 “Why would He want your whole heart? Because He knows what can be entrusted to a fully surrendered heart. This is why we’re called to prioritize.” – This. I must be fully surrendered, look what I’ve already been entrusted with!? The most important – my family. This made my heart yearn for home even more. We often joke that Zack and I aren’t from this time. We belong with Ma and Pa Ingalls when life was “tough” to our generation standards but it was full, rich, and enough.

I don’t want to overshare the whole book and ruin anything for you but there were so many amazing nuggets. Page 44 “We strive for fulfillment and pine for contentment. But what if our striving and pining are preventing the supernatural work of God in our lives? What if our hustling is actually holding us back?” For me, I believe it has. I love to dabble in lots of things because that is my creative side, however when it becomes priority over what’s truly important, I start to drift. Something that truly struck a cord on page 46 was “The most beautiful part of trusting in God as your provider and your promoter is that, not only do you walk into dreams that He’s already prepared in advance for you, but you also begin to experience a satisfaction in His love that none of your previous wants and desires or dreams could ever come close to fulfilling. You become transformed from the inside out.” – page 64 “Jesus faithfully meets us on the other side of all our hustling and striving and bids us to come home in repentance and therefore rest.”

I’ve learned so much and wish I could share all of my “ah ha moments” and underlingings from these pages but I truly want you to read it and sit in it. I plan to read this again, it’s that good. I’ve had to posture my heart this last year and learn to surrender. I’m still working on it. But I want to tell you, I’m thankful for the conviction. I’m thankful for His call to take a look inside and see where I’ve missed the mark.

Friends, we are in a battle. The enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy more than ever before. We keep chasing the carrot of our contemporary culture that never seems to quite satisfy when we have a bite. We are so distracted, divided, and depressed. Our hearts long for something nothing on this Earth can provide because we weren’t meant for this. This world is upside down and I often have to remind myself to let go and shift my mind to His Kingdom. It’s a choice we have to make daily.

Page 83 “Sometimes choosing a heart of rest involves being honest with ourselves and honest about our agendas, recognizing that we actually can’t and don’t have to do it all. When we invite Jesus to live His life through us, we find ourselves on His grace-paved path where His way of doing life is easy and His burden is light.” This is more intended to next week’s post but what my mama heart needed to read “As we fully trust in God, redirecting the eyes of our hearts toward Him, quite often the things we’re juggling fall into rhythm as they were meant to, freeing our hands to receive all that God has for us today. The most treasured gift that He has for us – besides Himself – is the people He has entrusted to us. Chances are, God even now is moving people into the general vicinity of you. He knows when you live out from His love, no one can better love them than you. The most beautiful and effective way to change lives around you is to let God change you. The best way you can love others is to let God love you.”

I hope you can grab a copy and look inward. I’ll add a few more thoughts from this book next week.

I doubt she will ever read this, but Christy-thank you. Thank you for pouring into so many women that you don’t even know. Thank you for living from a heart of rest so you can serve and reach others who are worn out and exhausted, missing their calling as His beloved. Thank you for being faithful and for surrendering. Thank you for showing me what living from the bullseye is like. By Him and through Him, you woke me up and I’ll forever be grateful.

I’ve linked the book for you here.

A Letter To My Girls on Their Childhood

A Letter To My Girls on Their Childhood

To my little girls of the prairie,

When you are grown, I hope you remember how rich your childhood was unplugged. I hope you remember long summer days playing in pastures, riding your cowponies, picking paintbrush, and letting your imagination determine afternoon plans. ⁣

I hope you remember exploring in the creek, hunting for arrowheads, witnessing new life come into this world as you watched a new calf being born, and fishing at the pond. ⁣

I hope when you’re grown, you never forget to look up at night to see the bright stars, the magic of an Oklahoma sunset, or the memories that resurface of riding with your Dad in the tractor when you smell fresh cut hay. ⁣

I hope you drive with your windows down and play our favorite songs that were on repeat when you were little. I hope you read the same books we’d get lost in and relive the stories with your own kids. ⁣

I hope when you’re grown, you’ll realize that sometimes what we did wasn’t popular, but your childhood wasn’t cut short, wasn’t desensitized, and we hid you away from the things we could control so you could experience what life was intended to be like for a kid.⁣

I hope you look back and are proud of our brand, what it stands for, your family it represents, and the way we try to live different. I hope you loved your childhood so much, you try to mimic it within your own fences for our grandkids one day. ⁣

And when you’re grown, I hope you know how much your dad and I loved you. That we did the best we could and fought for you. For your freedom, for your morality, your faith, and your education. We prayed hard, we loved hard, we messed up too, but we tried to give you a childhood that’s becoming unheard of. The things we don’t allow that might seem silly to you now, I hope are your saving grace later in life. ⁣

I hope you’re always proud of being raised on the prairie, living different, and that when the world seemed like it was in shambles, our little corner still felt special and wonderful to you. ⁣

-Mom 

The Messy in Motherhood

The Messy in Motherhood

When I was little girl I dreamed about being a mom and what my little family would someday be like. Would I have all girls, boys, two kids, or three? Would we live in this cookie cutter home with a white picket fence? Would I make large home cooked meals in heels, pearls, and perfectly placed hair, always having it together? All of these childhood pre-conceived notions of what making a house a home and being a mom was like changed when I had Paisley. Ashcraft-web-5Motherhood is the toughest job you will ever have. But, by far the most rewarding. It’s messy. Really messy. And I think also an area where we as women are very vulnerable to the enemy. Thoughts of inadequacy often creep in and the visions we had growing up of what motherhood was supposed to be like can get us down. I can count on one hand of all the days I’ve had it completely together in the last four years of being a mom. And that’s ok.scout-lifestyle-home-web-30My days do not consist of staying home, cleaning house, and having a homemade pie for my husband to come home to. Instead, I work and own a business, we are usually running 5 minutes (or more) late everywhere we go, I’m kissing a lot of boo boos and applying band-aids.

There are many late nights, little sleep, and a lot of tears. I don’t cook as often as I should and our house is messy 90% of the week. I step on a lot of doll house toys and barbie shoes and usually don’t shower in peace. My hair is constantly in a top knot and I wear more dark circles under my eyes than I do makeup.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-105But that’s the beauty of it all. The little moments when your oldest looks at you after she’s spilled her entire bowl of cereal on the floor, waiting for you to lose it but instead you choose to just go with it. You laugh, tell her accidents happen, and make a game out of cleaning it all up. Then she grabs your face, tells you she loves you and says “mommy, you’re beautiful” as she plants a sweet kiss on your cheek. With tears in your eyes you silently thank the Lord for giving you this messy, precious life. Thankful that instead of letting frustration take over, you chose to give grace and have a moment you will hold onto forever. That’s what real motherhood is. FullSizeRender (1)The days can be long but the years are short. Life can be overwhelming but I know that I only have so much time and they won’t be little forever. Sometimes I have to change my mindset when I don’t feel like what I’m doing is enough. The messy moments now remind me to keep going because I know one day I will give anything to have this stage of life back.

In the world we live in today, I think there is so much pressure on moms to do all of the things for our kids when what they want most is time and attention. To just spend the small moments with them. To take time to truly enjoy and listen. We don’t have to have this Pinterest worthy home or meal to get the best mom award. Speaking life and showing love to them will go further than you can imagine. I am constantly amazed at how much Paisley loves, how sweet her words and thoughts are.scout-lifestyle-home-web-96My girls have taught me so much about patience, sacrifice, strength, grace, love, and true happiness.
IMG_1290No, our life isn’t put together. It’s crazy and a lot to handle at times. I’m far from perfect but our girls know that they are loved deeply by their mom. That I’m always there to dry tears, give bear hugs, and play cowgirls on the spot. We have fun together and I delight in every moment playing pretend, going on snow cone dates, cleaning sticky kitchen tables, having heartfelt conversations, and saying prayers before bed. I am blessed and so thankful for this life God has given me.

I hope this mother’s day you take time to slow down and enjoy the messy, embrace the crazy, and squeeze your babies a little tighter.

Scout’s Birth Story

Scout’s Birth Story

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three weeks tomorrow since Sawyer Scout joined our family. Time has been so precious and we have been soaking up all of our moments as a tribe of four. I am excited to finally share her birth story. It was such a hard but beautiful day that I will forever have embedded into my memory. I love that I have this space to record these sweet moments for us to look back on. Pregnancy and childbirth is truly a miracle. I am constantly in awe of how amazing our God is. What a privilege it is for us to be able to give life.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-1We had our 39 week appointment and I was at a 3 and contracting. I really wanted to go into labor on my own because I was induced with Paisley and it was a long 26 hour labor. However, we went ahead and chose a date just in case she didn’t want to come on her own. It just so happens I’m a champ at carrying children that would love to be in the womb forever-so June 16th came-the night before our induction and my nerves were going crazy. I kept thinking about our last night as a family of three, how nervous I was to do this again, and how much our life was about to change. We got everything ready to go for the next morning and of course I couldn’t get any rest because I was so excited to meet her. We left our house at 5 AM so we could get there for our 6 AM induction, dropped Paisley off with my parents, shed a few tears as I kissed her bye, and went on our way.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-3When we arrived the staff checked us into a room, I changed into a gown, and the nurses started to hook me up to the fetal monitor. Once they took my blood work and got the IV going, the RN started me on pitocin at 6:00 AM. Labor had begun. My midwife came in to break my water about an hour later and the contractions began to get more intense.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-6 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-7Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-8My mom brought Paisley to the hospital around 9:00 and we had a “big sister Bag” waiting for her when she walked into the room. She was so excited to meet her sister but worried about mommy’s “owies.” You can see the post about her bag here.
Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-9Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-10 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-12 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-15 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-16 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-19 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-20She was such a good girl while she was with us. She kept saying that she need her “listening heart” (stethoscope) so she could check mommy out and make sure I was ok.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-21 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-22Around noon, the contractions were really strong and started to make me anxious. I was at a 5 but felt like I had a long way to go. I got an epidural with Paisley but it didn’t help when I needed it. I was going to try to go through labor this round without it but the pain was getting a little unbearable. The nurse came in and gave me some pain medication through IV and that was some of the craziest stuff ever. I felt like the room was spinning and it made me really drousy but helped take the edge off of the contractions a little bit. I decided that I would go ahead and try the epidural but wanted to wait until I progressed a little more.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-23 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-29 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-30 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-33I can’t imagine going through childbirth without my husband. He was so kind and encouraging and never left my side. He prayed over me constantly and I know that prayers and going to the Lord is what got me through this labor. I am so blessed to have him.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-34 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-36I got the epidural around 2:00 when I was at a 7 and it was more painful than I remember. I was hoping that it would take away the excruciating pain but it didn’t much at all. I don’t react to medication well and honestly believe I got it too late because after it was in we progressed fast. I could still roll over, move my legs, and everything. It wasn’t until after I delivered that I started going numb.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-38 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-44Before I knew it I was at a 10 and it was time to push. I don’t remember how long I pushed but it seemed like an eternity. I tried to focus more on the count down than the pain but it started to be too much. I literally felt like my pelvis was breaking and then both Scout and I’s oxygen started to drop. They put my mask on and I just remember feeling like I was going into shock. I saw Zack’s face come over me and hearing him say that we were so close-just two more pushes and we could meet her. Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-47 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-48 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-50I will always remember the feeling of that last push. The instantaneous relief and adrenaline of meeting your child makes the pain literally cease. Tears started to flow as I heard her first cry and Zack whisper that I had done it-our baby girl was with us.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-53June 17th, 2015 at 5:02 in the afternoon, our lives changed forever. God blessed us with another daughter-a beautiful 9 pound 20 inch baby girl with a head full of hair. Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-54 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-55After 39 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy, Sawyer Scout Ashcraft had finally arrived. And, she was so worth the wait.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-59 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-61 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-62 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-63 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-64Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-66 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-70Immediately after delivery, we had an hour of skin to skin before the family came in. I loved this time of just us getting to know our sweet girl. Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-73 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-74 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-75 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-76 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-77 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-78 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-79 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-80 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-82 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-83 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-84 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-85Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-86 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-88Her daddy is pretty smitten by his girls.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-89 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-91 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-94Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-97Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-100Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-99 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-102Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-103I am so glad that other than us and our parents, we didn’t let anyone come in until Paisley got to meet Scout and have her special time. I will never forget the look on her face when she walked into the room and Zack placed Scout on her lap. The face of pure joy and love for her sister brought me to tears. One of the sweetest moments I’ve experienced.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-106 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-108 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-110 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-112 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-115 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-117 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-118 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-119 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-120Then after a long 11 hour day of patiently waiting, we opened the flood gates and let the family come in. Paisley had us all laughing with her “shooshing” everyone for them to be quite. She was all about making sure baby sis stayed asleep.Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-121 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-122 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-123 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-125 Sawyer-Scout-Birth-web-126I am so thankful for this little miracle. Zack and I are still in shock that we have two girls. She has been the best baby and we couldn’t ask for better. Thank you to all of our friends and family that were praying for us. We are loving life as a family of four and are so excited to watch her grow alongside her sister. God is good.