I've been meaning to start posting again for... oh, about a year now, but it seemed every time I'd think about it the list of things to update and write about had grown longer. But since most readers would probably be the same people who keep updated on Facebook, there's probably not a need to do a huge explanation. Here's the whirlwind rundown of what's happened in my life since Nov 2008 (has it really been THAT long?? Wow - I'm embarrassed.):

*Jan 2009 - Karl and I started the process to become foster parents, looking at eventual adoption as a possible way to expand our family. We joined a new church with a heart for adoption and immediately felt at home, and started making some great friends. Then... I'd been feeling especially tired and a little, well, strange. Just to rule it out, took a pregnancy test - surprise!! We were thrilled beyond words to have those years of prayers answered. We decided adoption would wait, but that it was definitely in our plans for the future.

*Summer 2009 - I LOVED being pregnant. I felt great, better than I had in years. It all felt so right, somehow, like everything physically was exactly as it should be. Sharing my days with this little person, feeling kicks and movement and reading every week about how big the baby was and what was happening developmentally... it was a magical time.

 *Late summer - My mom's cancer gets worse. She doesn't ever give up hope or lose heart, and continues to try all the treatment options out there. I decided to head to Colorado to visit before it's too late in the pregnancy to fly. It's such a sweet time with her, and she loves feeling the baby kicking. Two days after I got home from the visit, I got a call - they're putting my mom on hospice at home, and she's not expected to last too long. My sweet husband suggested that we have the baby in Colorado so that I can be with my mom, so with three weeks to go to our due date I pack up, kiss Karl goodbye and fly across the country. My dear friend Gayleen helped me find and get an appointment with a great midwife, we got everything worked out with insurance and the new hospital, and I was able to spend my time with my mother, praying, singing songs, telling stories, laughing, crying, making her comfortable, telling her we love her.

*2 Sept 2009 - My sweet, wonderful mother is finally freed from the pain of her cancer and got to go home to be with Jesus. She was at home, surrounded by family and those who love her.

*22 Sept 2009 - I go into labor, a week past my due date.

*24 Sept 2009 - After 30 hours of labor, Cashel Joseph is born - he has a head full of dark brown hair and blue eyes, and weighs 8 lbs 14 oz. We fall immediately head over heels in love with him. He gives us a little scare when he isn't breathing well at first, so after a few seconds on my chest they rushed him off to the NICU with Karl close behind. Twelve hours, several chest x-rays, an IV and many prayers later, he's released back to us, a perfectly healthy baby.  (You can see the little splint on his right hand for the IV tubes in the first picture - it makes me so sad!  He was such a trooper about everything.)

The past few months have been a mixture of grief and joy, tears and laughter, happiness and pain. The wonder of a new life, following so soon on the heels of a dear life ending. Cashel keeps me firmly planted in the present, and makes sure that I give thanks for each new day. He is a joy and a gift. I feel like I've been changed in some elemental, indefinable ways this past year, and I'm still learning who this new Kristin is. I'm learning to be a mother without my mom, best friend and confidante, but with this precious, sweet little boy who loves to grab my neck for a hug and giggle when I tickle him or make a funny face. I have so many memories of exactly the kind of mother I want to be.

I'm hoping to post more often, both as a way of keeping family and friends updated on what's going on with Cashel and as a way for me to process things - I always think better on paper. So. Here we are... it's a wild ride.

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