Germany, Days 3 & 4.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A day trip to Meersburg, which started with a gorgeous ferry ride through Lake Konstanz
Lunch on the water, looking at the coast of Switzerland
The best ice cream I think I've ever tasted, walking along the lakefront
Some alone time (thank you, Mama & Papa) to explore the quaint town of Meersburg
A trip to Shawn's hometown, Königsfeld, where we ran into several people who knew him - so fun!
Picking wild blueberries in the Black Forest

It's been a packed, wonderful couple of days. More to come, of course.

Germany, Days 1 & 2.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

As Shawn and I walked through the gorgeous countryside last night, we commented how life passes at a slower pace - at least here in the quaint villages and towns of the Black Forest. Sitting on the patio with my tea this morning, I heard a man walking down the road whistling. Others ride their horses or bikes through covered bridges or stop in town for ice cream in the afternoons. It's incredibly refreshing, especially after the moving craziness we've experienced these last few weeks and months in Raleigh. 

I'm finding that it's a huge privilege to stay with locals (Shawn's parents) who know the landscape and the best spots. And with Shawn being fluent in German, it makes me feel more like a native and less like a tourist. Traveling Europe this way is spoiling me already.

Thanks for indulging me in all these family photos. I know that even just a few years from now, it will be so, so special for Liam to see that he got to experience Germany at such a young age. And I think it will be encouraging for us to see that we actually brought our toddler across the ocean. The travel day(s) getting here were brutal with delay after delay, but as you can probably tell from the photos, worth every second.

January joy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On a sweltering May 13, when Liam and I headed to Pullen Park, we hopped on the carousel right away. As soon as it started spinning, my stomach did flips. I went pale, trying to breathe deeply to stave off an overwhelming nausea. About halfway through the ride, the thought popped in my head: "Could I be pregnant?"

That pesky thought wouldn't leave. I quickly started remembering other symptoms and trying to count the days to see if I'd be able to take a test and find out. I figured I would be five weeks along, so on our way home, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things and I grabbed a pregnancy test. But just like when I tested with Liam, I knew what it would read before I even opened the package. Or at least I hoped, mightily.

That beautiful, bold blue line appeared immediately. Shawn was on his way home soon, and instead of impatiently calling him in the car like the last time (tempting!), I wrapped up the positive test in a gift bag and set it on the table. I'm pretty sure his first reaction was, "Really? You?" Yes, me! US! followed by happy hugs and, later, a celebratory bouquet of white roses.

This pregnancy feels entirely different from the pregnancy that ended in December. The nausea and sheer exhaustion have been brutal - especially with a move and a trip to Europe thrown in - and "pregnancy brain" took over almost immediately (poor Shawn). But it's all a specific and merciful answer to prayer. This baby has surely made himself/herself known.

I'm 14 weeks along now and it felt natural to keep this a secret for a bit longer this time around. We were able to see our tiny baby a couple times via ultrasound, most recently to make sure all was well after my minor car accident last week. "That's one strong heart, you guys. Really strong," our doctor said at 7 weeks, and we felt the fear melting away. We waited to tell Shawn's parents in person - and now that we're in Germany with them and they're well aware of their newest grandbaby, we're able to joyfully share the news with all of you.

A January baby. Just enough time to enjoy one more Christmas as a family before unwrapping our greatest gift. What could be more wonderful?

PS - We're definitely planning to find out the gender in just a few more weeks. Any guesses?

Leavin' on a jet plane.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our passport photos, via Instagram @whitneynewby
Today, the three of us are boarding a 9-hour flight to Germany! Shawn's parents live in the Black Forest and I've yet to get to see where Shawn was born and raised. We had the goal of visiting before Liam turns two - plus, Shawn hasn't been back in nearly 7 years. 

We planned this trip a few months ago, long before we knew we'd be selling one house and buying another, all in the same month. The timing has been challenging, but by God's grace and the help of many friends and neighbors while we're gone, doable. The week we get back will be moving week. Whew.

So we're off! We can't wait. And especially getting to be there one day after Germany won the World Cup - the excitement and national pride will be palpable, I'm sure. 

We'll be gone for a very full, very wonderful 10 days. I've set up a few blog posts while I'm gone, but the blog will be much quieter. If you'd like to keep up with our trip, follow me on Instagram @whitneynewby

Auf Wiedersehen!

Only Him.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This week turned a major corner when Shawn came back in town earlier than expected. Whew. You single moms and moms with husbands who are deployed - I wish I could give you a big hug and a few hours of free childcare. Making big life decisions alone just isn't easy. 

This morning, we had a chance to see the house we just purchased - which we had only seen for about 15 minutes up until now - and we fell in love with it all over again. God has already answered so many of our spoken and unspoken prayers when He brought us to this house: tons of natural light, all new hardwood floors, extra space for Liam to play, a guest room, a fenced back yard, a partially finished basement with a wood burning stove and so much potential, a brand new kitchen with a gas stove, and oh... cutting our mortgage in half

When we decided to move, our #1 criteria was that we cut our mortgage in half. But the Lord was sweet to provide an even better-built house (so said our inspector!) that has more space, has been completely renovated, and is in a safe neighborhood. All of those things feel like huge bonuses when we expected something smaller and not as nice for as much as we were willing to spend.

We met one of our neighbors today who said, "We love this neighborhood because it's so diverse. A Vietnamese family lives over there, a Mexican family on the other side, black people, white people - we've got it all!" It sent shivers down my spine. God just knows the desires of our hearts and fulfills them without us even asking.

This lousy photo from my phone is all I've got to show you so far, but it's one of my favorite parts of the house: a kitchen with lots of windows and all white cabinets. I cannot wait. 
Yesterday, I spent some time meditating on one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture: Titus 3. It's basically the truth of the gospel in a nutshell. 

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." - Titus 3:3-7, emphases mine

So what does this have to do with a house? 

This passage is such a clear-cut reminder that anything good that comes in my life didn't come because I was so righteous. Because I made good decisions or behaved well. This house wasn't given to us because we saved our money and made wise choices. He gave us the house because He is kind. He is merciful. He loved us and saved our souls even when we were dead in our sin and completely worthless to Him. 

That kind of love just astounds me - and when I hear that our neighborhood is super diverse and I see a backyard that's perfect for our son and I learn a hundred more things that just fit our family so well - I can only see His fingerprints all over it.
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