Thursday, July 19, 2012

And now for something completely different...

This is a much more serious post than what I am used to writing about. Usually it's something uplifting about my kids or my husband or my vocation. Honestly, I'm not even sure why I am writing about it. About half of you will think this is too personal to share online, forty percent will not get it and think it's not "that bad", and then ten percent of you will cover me in prayer. That's why I writing. I need those "ten percent" prayers. And also, to be honest, I want to be honest. I think I'm just tired about writing around the thing consuming 75 percent of my thoughts. Writing is also healing for me, conquering my fears by putting them in words. And since many of you have asked if I am pregnant again yet...

As most of you know, I lost my first baby four years ago in an ectopic pregnancy. That I have shared before. And many of you have commented on my luck with fertility since then. It's true, to lose a tube and achieve two successful pregnancies essentially back to back is a miracle and I thank God for those miracles every day and then some. Through everything I have not lost sight of how blessed I am.

Still, the ectopic pregnancy has left me with some scars, both physical and emotional, that have been hard to recover from. It has become clear to me at this point that the large family I always dreamed of may not be within my grasp.

To those of you who know the pain of infertility on a much deeper level than myself, you have my deepest sympathy. So many of you carry a much heavier cross than I and I weep with you. I've been able to have two healthy daughters and I in no way take them for granted or believe that I can compare my situation to the pain of never being able to conceive. All I know is the struggle that I have faced in the past twelve months and will continue to face in the years ahead will constantly remind me to keep you in my prayers.

To those of you who take your fertility for granted, please remember that nothing is certain. You may complain about avoiding for now and tomorrow look back with regret. Maybe, maybe not. But please remember that there are people who would love to be in your shoes so please offer up your nausea and sleep deprivation for them.

Infertility if one of those things that people don't want to hear about. Sometimes I wonder if it's because it goes on for so long. In the beginning people just dismiss it and tell you that "everything will be alright" and by the time months and months have passed people are just tired of hearing about it. They think you "talk about it too much" and maybe even judge your faith. You hear "offer it up" and "look on the bright side". Talks of God's will and what else you can accomplish with those nine months it would take you to bear a child. It's not helpful. None of it is. Those of us who struggle generally know that God has a higher purpose and that if we do not understand it in this life, we will finally get it in the next. That doesn't make our heartbreak any less real or our faith any less strong. If anything, those I have witnessed suffer the most tend to be the holiest. Where else do you go when you are lost except to God? I can't pretend to speak for everyone, not even close, but I can speak for myself when I say is that what we need is for someone to say, "Yes. That sucks. I will pray for you." Someone to listen when we call and be with us when we weep.

I don't particularly think my situation is as serious as most, as evidenced by my two beautiful daughters, but after wanting to be pregnant again for almost a year now (a year doesn't that long until you go through it and then it feels like an eternity) and knowing that it has not happened and that I am only 26, I realize that it may also be a much more bumpy road ahead than I had originally thought.

And praise God, right? Because in my suffering I can be more united with him and with Our Lady. Still, it hurts. It hurts so badly that sometimes I can barely breathe. And there are some ladies I know of who have it so much harder than I do. For them I have no words.

If you are uncomfortable with what to say to someone struggling with infertility, I am sure we all know someone, please do not say the following:

"Well isn't pregnancy so hard?"
"Kids are really expensive anyway."
"It will happen. Just have faith."
"Wow it would be crazy if I got pregnant again before you."
"Maybe you should have more sex."
"At least you are able to be there for the kids you already have instead of dealing with another newborn."
"Look on the bright side..."
"I'm sure nothing is wrong."
"Just go have a drink and enjoy not being pregnant."
"Maybe it's a good thing because...."
"If you stop worrying it will just happen."
"At least you already have some kids."

And yes, those are all things that people, with probably the best of intentions, have said to me. And to someone who isn't hurting, most of those sound like legitimate responses. To me it feels more like salt on a wound rather than a band aid or stitches.

Also, please do not complain about your pregnancies or fertility to someone struggling. I know that personally I am always joyful for new life even if it takes me a second to get over my grief for myself. And I would love to hear about your babies and pray for your struggles. Just don't call me to complain.

Just try to be respectful of feelings and when in doubt, offer your prayers and sympathies. You can never go wrong with that. And listening helps too. I figure stuff out by talking it out. In fact, I'm pretty sure that listening to me blab in this blog entry has already shaved some time off of purgatory for you. Congrats. Thank me later. ;)

For all I know I could end up pregnant next month, or in a year, or never. Only God knows. I'm trying to take this all one day at a time and seek councel from a strong, Catholic doctor that understands fertility and respects my faith.

I am filled with joy at God's goodness to me. I have more than I ever dreamed or will ever deserve. I have more than many. But I'm still allowed to say, "Yes. My heart is broken." It's full and broken all at the same time. I'm going to strive to continue to exude joy no matter what happens in the future because God is still good. I hope you will understand my moments of weakness.

So do what you want with this post. I'm expecting the spectrum from eye rolling to sympathy. I just wanted to be honest. We all have our crosses, our struggles, this is mine. I cannot complain but instead want to share my struggle and in humility ask for prayer because I will be much stronger covered in prayer.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I have girls... not ladies

First of all, a big shout out goes to my friend Lisa who gave birth to her daughter on my anniversary. She is such a dedicated reader that she waiting until my series about my wedding was over to give birth! I also believe that since she gave birth on my anniversary that her baby girl is a gift for me and I am therefore allowed to eat her toes.

But congrats to Lisa! YAY!

At the Behr house we have been having a lot of fun with weddings because mommy had spent a good portion of last week showing Madeleine her wedding photos, listening to my wedding song, and watching my wedding videos. This has led to some very interesting "weddings" around the Behr house. So far Madeleine has married myself, her sister, a dress, a basket, and the table. I'm not sure she "gets" what a wedding is but boy does she love having them. She s my little Elizabeth Taylor.

Meanwhile Juliette has taking to streaking. While she is currently in clothing, I am not expecting this to last long. And then there is her big sister who farts and then says, "Excuse me! My butt burped!" and the laughs hysterically. The doctor did say, "It's a girl!" not "It's a lady!"

The whole "Juliette stripping" thing is apparently taking it's toll on Madeleine's mental health. Yesterday they were in their room cuddling and I could hear Madeleine saying to her sister, "Oh I love you! You are so cute! Let me rub you back! Thank you for your hugs!" So I went into the room and smiled at them and took their picture. I left and only a few minutes later I hear Madeleine saying, "I am losing my mind! Why are you taking your diaper off?" I went back into the room and sure enough, Juliette was diaper-less. 

Cuddling with her fully clothed sister

As many of you know, Saturday was our anniversary. To celebrate, I made Kyle a meal fit for a Texan. There was chicken fried chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, gravy... it was glorious. He bragged that it was some of the best he had ever had which just made me so happy because I wanted it to be perfect for him. I even broke out the fancy china for the occasion.

Every bit as good as it looked!

Today Kyle and I are dropping the girls off at my mom's and heading into New York City for two nights all on our own. We are super excited about it. The girls are too because they know that this means they are going to get spoiled. Madeleine even let me put her hair up this morning and Juliette is giving Saint Joseph a checkup before we leave.

My little doll
Oh no! She can't find his heartbeat!

And that is my short, little update. Hope you liked it! I'm sure I will have lots of pictures from New York.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sarah and Kyle Part 6- The Life

Fairy tales, romantic comedies, they are all about the story of how the couple comes to fall in love, the trials they face during their relationship, and how they eventually decide that they want to be together. At least in the past these stories and movies have ended with a couple getting married, but too often today they just end with the couple hopping into bed together. Then the picture comes to a close and we are supposed to assume that they have lived happily ever after.

I think that is why we have this attitude that the wedding day is the finish line, the goal. When I was engaged a friend of more told another friend of mine, right in front of me, that at least she still had her "surprise to look forward to"... as if once you know who you are marrying then that is just it for you. No surprises for the married woman.

I was surprised just yesterday. My husband wanted to get my anniversary present a day early and decided to tease his impatient wife by leaving clues and making phone calls saying, "Guess where I am now. I'm in _____ area of Boston. Do you know what stores are there." And, because he knows me, he knew that I would fly to my computer and look up all the stores in that area. By the time he got home I was bouncing off the wall and he had me cover my eyes while he got my present ready. When I opened them he was holding the box that had held my engagement ring and when I opened it there was a ring with my birth stone, which because it is pink also symbolizes the two daughters that I have given him in these five years.

The story of how Kyle and I met and fell in love is a good one. The story of how we grow that love is even better. To say "and they all lived happily ever after" would be to do away with the best part of the story. It's watching Star Wars episodes 1-3 and leaving out the original 4-6.

If you want a good story, something that happens after marriage, let me tell you about the time I found out that I was pregnant with Madeleine. I could write a five part series about that too. Or when I gave birth and saw her little face for the first time and realized how much I loved her. Maybe I could write about when I found out I was pregnant with Juliette and I almost passed out in a Jack in the Box parking lot. Or the little surprises in life, they make great tales too. I could talk about when Kyle brings me home flowers after he knows I have had a hard day. Or when my kids said their first words, took their first steps, the first time Kyle actually managed to put his laundry away.

"They" tell you that planning a wedding is like a marathon, but honestly, it doesn't need to be. Relax and focus your energy into making sure that you are as strong as possible as a couple because LIFE, what happens after the wedding day, makes planning a wedding seem like a leisurly stroll. Life moves fast and you'll want to freeze time and hold onto those moments you will never get back, the days that it's just "you" before kids come, the days you only have one kid to chase after, because the future seems daunting and uncertain. But then your first child is born, the second and you wonder what you were so scared about. It keeps getting better. Why did you ever want to stop time in the first place?

Then, eventually, you learn to sit back and enjoy it because, yes there is stress but there is far more love and joy and if you are blinded by your fears and your ambitions then you won't be able to see the beauty of God's plan unfolding before you.

A real love story looks and sounds like a newlywed's first fight, staying up until three in the morning to talk just because they can, the first time the wife buys plane tickets under her new last name, being gathered around a stick you just peed on to see how many lines are there, calling family to share the good news, the newborn's first screams, the insescant talking of the toddler, the school bus, the sound of the dishwasher running all day every day, finding an old apple inside the play kitchen, the first time your child is rejected and you consider beating up whoever hurt them, being concerned about money, buying a house, losing a job, illness, finding out if the puddle on the carpet is pee or water, finally finding a baby sitter so you can go out, and way too many pictures uploaded on facebook... and those are only the early years. There is still so much more to come.

Five years later I am happier and my life is filled with more love than I ever imagined. There have been struggles along the way before, loss, sickness, and our vows have endured it with the bond between us growing stronger. We know each other better, have learned how to help each other better, understand each other, and give the other person what they need and not what we think they need. We've learned to communicate better. We've gone on some amazing adventures together, birthed two children and lost one other. We have lived an amazing life and it's only been five years.

So what is it to this thought that marriage is the end of the road, that once you get married you are stuck and boring and bored? I honestly have no idea. I haven't had a chance to accomplish and experience even a fourth of what my parents have in their 31 years of marriage but seeing them, the joy of their children getting married and having their grandchildren, I know that there is still so much more to come and none of it would have been possible if five years ago today I hadn't said, "I do."

Kyle, thank you for understanding me and taking the time to look beyond the walls I put up to see the person underneath. Thank you for finding me interesting and listening to my stories. Thank you for putting a ring on it. Thank you for putting another ring on it five years ago today. Thank you for the incredible honeymoon. Thank you for staying at my bedside and praying with me the night we lost our child, for being there when I woke up, for taking care of me in the months that followed with you endless patience. Thank you for moving up to Massachusetts and for being as protective of my sisters as you are of yours. Thank you for always taking my side in public but for talking me down in private and challenging me to grow. Thank you for protecting me from angry secretary lady. Thank you for your joy when we found out that Madeleine was on the way and for cleaning up the floor that time I puked all over it. Thank you for flying out to California when I found out I was pregnat with Juliette to help me on my flights because I felt sick. Thank you for going to McDonald's at midnight that time I was craving chicken. Thank you for being there at both births and just backing off so I could do my thing. Thank you for touching our girls after they came out even though they looked super gross. Thank you for helping me on the late nights. Thank you for working long hours. Thank you for coming home and still playing with the girls and doing the dinner dishes and not just expecting me to serve you because I "stay home all day" but respecting that my job is hard too. Thank you for always telling me what a great job you think I am doing and not picking apart the little things. Thank you for being such an amazing daddy to our girls and not complaining because you want boys. Thank you for being open to life. Thank you for always encouraging me in my faith and for your strong example. Thank you for being the head of our family so I can live in my role as the heart. Thank you for always stepping up, even if it means talking to the people shouting outside our girl's window at midnight. Thank you for waking up at 2:20 every day to go to bed. Thank you for telling me that the hardest part of that is not being able to tuck the girls in at night. Thank you for understanding that sometimes a girl just needs a new pair of shoes. Thank you for taking away the debit card when I'm talking about buying five pairs. Thank you for being the most amazing husband I could ever have imagined.

I couldn't be happier.

Or so I think...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sarah and Kyle Part 5- The Wedding

A page is turned in this life, he's making her his wife
And there is no secret to the source of this much life
When the grace that falls like rain is washing them again
Just a chance to somehow rise above this land
Where the God of second chance
Will pick them up and he'll let them dance
Through a world that is not kind
And all this time, they're sharing with the one
That holds them up when they come undone
Beneath the storm, beneath the sun
And once again, here you stand
And once again, here you stand
Your day has come
Bebo Norman- "A Page is Turned"

I've been wondering all day how I was going to write this post. I cannot tell the story of my wedding like I did all the others. Some things are just so perfect that words cannot express them. A scent, a sound, a fluttering of emotion, a profound peace, overwhelming joy, love, light... when I remember my wedding day it doesn't come to me in the form of a story, it's more of a joyful melody that plays in my soul. What was two has now been made one. The heavens are telling the glory of God!

All my life I had dreamed of my wedding day and had tried to imagine what it would be like, what it would feel like, who would be my bridesmaids, what flowers I would carry, and how I would look in my dress and my veil. Same as any young girl I would try as well to picture the groom as well. I wondered who he was, where he was, and how we would find each other. What our story would be.

Since I did not know "our story" already, I would get on my family's computer and write one out, a fairy tale about a beautiful blonde princess and her handsome prince.

Before I got married I was packing up boxes in my parent's attic to take with me to Texas and I found one. The beautiful princess had been in distress, under attack, when the handsome prince swooped in and fell in love with her and married her. In this story I had written, way back when I was only twelve years old, the prince was named Kyle. In fact, in every story I had ever written, the prince was named Kyle.

You could probably say that I picked that name just because I liked it. I had heard it around my neighborhood and fell in love. I like to think that the God who knew me and loved me before time had written that name on my heart so I could know and love Kyle before I ever even knew he existed.

There are no dragons or evil witches in my tale for me to be saved from. Still Kyle saved me from a life of selfishness. His love for me inspires me to cast out sin from my life and love more ardently, selflessly, and completely. By choosing to marry him I was able to learn to put others before myself and to love until it hurts. As Mother Theresa says, "I have found the paradox. That if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." Opening yourself up completely to someone can be frightening, it can make you feel vulnerable, but when you find someone who loves you, respects you, would die for you, it only opens you up to more joy than you ever thought possible.

I am no helpless little princess, I am strong because I am able to open myself up to love. I could have a mediocre life on my own, I would be fine, but I instead have a great and wonderful life with my husband at my side.

And so on July 14th, 2007 I chose to spend the rest of my life with Kyle. When the bridesmaids had processed down the isle and the Ave Maria wafted down from the choir loft, I held the arm of my father and walked with the sunlight streaming in behind me towards a future that I was confident would bring me happiness and holiness... would bring me to God. At the end of the isle, my father placed my hand into the hand of my fiancee. It symbolized that he, my father, had brought me this close to God, but, as we would soon take the next steps towards the altar together, Kyle would bring me further, closer.

Standing behind us, filling the pews of the church that had held the wedding of my parents and where I had receive all of my Sacraments, were many of the people who had shaped us and formed us into the two, strong individuals we were right then. They had loved us and led us, held us in our suffering and rejoiced with us in our triumph. Now they were there to witness the beginning of our new life as one person. Before these people and before God we promised true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health and to love and honor each other all the days of our lives. Then we placed rings on each other in a sign of our love and fidelity, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

And with those vows were were transformed, as Father Michael said in his homily, uniquely and completely, from two individuals into one union before Him, before the Church, and before the world. And then Kyle kissed his bride.

The celebration that followed was, in a word, epic... although I feel like most of us feel that was about the celebration following our weddings. After months of planning it was perfect to be able to kick back and dance and sing and rejoice. As our wedding song said, the God of second chance did indeed allow us to dance... boy did we dance. And life couldn't get any better.

Or so I thought...

And now a whole lot of wedding footage!!!!!!!!!!

Bachelorette Party- bride and MOH

The girls!

Why yes I am wearing a tiara!

Not sure why I am posed like that but everyone else looked awesome

Some love from my favorite girls

Crying already, dad trying to calm me down. It's only the rehearsal

My awesome hat

Coming into the church on the arm of my father
Looking so joyful!
Our vows

Kissy, kissy

My Life, my Lord, my Love, my heart's desire.

Leaving as husband and wife

We are so, so in love.
The whole bridal party
The Groomsmen

With my parents
My daddy's side of the family

I'm like, "HOWDY!" and Kyle is probably laughing at me.

Not sure what this is all about, I'm either dancing or leading the wedding guests to revolt

Scary, I know... I wanted cake.

Dancing with my daddy <3

The Apprentices... serenading me?

They all danced around us like a tribal circle with techno music
Love of the Lamb

Leaving the reception


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sarah and Kyle Part 4- The Engagement

Beneath the air of autumn, she took him by his hand
And warm within the ardor, she took his heart instead
And high upon the mountain, he asked her for her hand
Just for her hand 
Bebo Norman- "A Page is Turned"

 It was the fall of my junior year and Kyle and I had discussed and prayed about marriage and had reached the conclusion that this was, in fact, our vocation. Kyle had taken my dad aside during Parent's Weekend in early fall and gotten his blessing again, this time to ask me to be his wife. During a trip to Houston to visit Kyle's family together we had visited Kyle's family jeweler and worked together to design a ring. It was perfect. Now I just had to wait for it to be ready and for Kyle to pick a time to propose.

All around me people we getting engaged. I would call my mom to talk about when my turn would be and she would say, "Just be patient. God and Kyle have your perfect moment planned." Then one fine fall day in November Kyle showed up at my dorm to pick me up for an off campus mass. He was on the phone and as I tried to approach the door he waved me away. Immediately I went around the corner to where he could not see me and began bouncing around, "I'm getting engaged! I'm getting engaged!" I figured that it MUST be the jeweler on the phone telling him the ring was ready. After all, household date night was the next day and we were, once again, headed to Light It Up night in Pittsburgh.

The next day I watched to see if he left campus for any extended period of time. He didn't. Or so I thought. Turns out he had skipped class without my noticing and had gone while I was in mine. Sneaky, sneaky man.

He picked me up that night and I could tell he was a bit... off? I started to get my hopes up again and I excitedly skipped off to his car. We were going to dinner in downtown Pittsburgh by ourselves and meeting up with the rest of my household and their dates later.

When we got to the restaurant Kyle was acting REALLY WEIRD. For instance, he refused to give the hostess his coat. He also took his coat with him every time he went to the bathroom. And that night he went to the bathroom at least three times (which I learned later was when he was calling his household brothers, but more about that later.) During one trip to the bathroom I pulled out my cell phone and called my sister. I told her, "Lauren... I THINK IT'S TONIGHT." She started squeeling and went off to pray for me.

After the meal was over, Kyle told me he thought it would be nice if we stopped off at Saint Mary's on the Mount first. It was a little Catholic church on top of a cliff overlooking the city of Pittsburgh. We had gone their often to pray when our dates had taken us into the city. Besides being beautiful, there was a specific reason he had chosen this church in particular.

When we had started dating I had bought him The Jeweler's Shop by Karol Wvotilja (later known as John Paul II). It was, as described in the intoduction, a meditation on marriage in the form of a play, and it was one of my favorite books. "Study this." I had told him, "if you even think you might want to marry me someday." Flash forward months later and we were praying in the St Marys on the MOunt. At night they kept the church opened but only the back foyer which was seperated from the main part of the church by a big glass wall and a door. The kneelers were behind the glass wall so people could pray there at night and see the Tabernacle. That night I had commented to him, "This reminds me of the Jeweler's Shop, the part when Theresa and Andrew had approached the jeweler's shop together to pick out their rings and they had paused at the window and noticed that while they could see their own reflections in the window they could also look through and see the jeweler, who represented God, as well. Here we are and I can see our reflection in this glass wall but I can also see the Tabernacle which holds the True Presence of Christ." He told me later than he knew then and there that this would be where he proposed.

As we pulled up to the church there was magically a spot right in front but what I noticed were the candles lining the stairs to the church and the statues of Mary and Joseph on either side of the door. I started to shake like a leaf as he took my hand and led me up the stairs. Inside the room was filled with more candles and rose petals were everywhere covering the entire floor. He took a small box out of his pocket and dropped to his knee.

Sarah, I pledge my life to you. Will you be my life's companion?

He had even used part of the proposal from the book because I had talked about how perfect those word's expressed marriage to my heart.

I ripped the glove off my hand and said, "YES!" And then started to grab the ring. Then I said, "No you do it!" and he slipped the ring on my finger and stood up to kiss me.

The joy and the love!


We walked out of the church hand in hand and there were fireworks and crowds of creaming and clapping people. I'm not even kidding. There were fireworks going off and an entire youth group of hundreds of teenagers were outside cheering. Kyle's household brothers were waiting around the corner because they had been there to set the entire room up and I hugged and thanked each of them. We then took off to find my household sisters and slow off my new BLING!

The Ice Skating Rink where it all began

When we got back that night Kyle dropped me off at my sister's dorm (she was a college freshman) and I dropped to my knee and asked her to be my Maid of Honor. Kyle took off for bed as the two of us girls started to plan the wedding.

Celebrating with my little sister, my maid of honor!

We set a date nine months away and began to plan, not as much for the wedding for our life together. A wedding is one day but a marriage is a lifetime and we realized that preparing for this should be our top priority. We took Natural Family Planning classes, Marriage Prep, and made plans for the future. We grew in our relationships and individually as God used this time to shape and mold us into people who could share in a journey that will hopefully lead each of us to heaven someday. We fell deeper in love. Still it seemed like our wedding day would never come.

Or so I thought...

A little less boring update about the Behr Cave

So the past few days have been amazingly fun!

First of all, thank you to all of you who are reading my "mini series" about Kyle and I. I am so glad so many of you are enjoying it! I am overwhelmed by how many people have reached out to me to express how much they are enjoying it! Such a blessing!

Anyway, this week has been awesome so far and it will only get better! My little sister (who just celebrated her first anniversary!) flew into Boston yesterday and despite being exhausted from working without a single day off, my darling husband offered to watch the girls so we could have some sister time. It was so wonderful to be able to go out and talk and laugh and be adults together. I tried to explain to Madeleine that her Auntie Lauren is my little sister just like Juliette is her's and she seemed utterly amazed by it all.

While we were out getting groceries this morning (yes I make my sister run errands with me! My back hurts and she helped me lift stuff!) Kyle decided to take the girls to the park. He gathered them up and said, "Okay girls, we are going someplace special! Can you guess where?" Madeleine replied, "We are going SHOPPING!" Kyle said, "No. No we are not going shopping." Madeleine paused and then carefully offered, "Sometimes we go to Starbucks." Kyle said after that conversation he made a mental note to scold me for corrupting our children later.

We do go to Starbucks though! This is Hipster Madeleine.
This is Hipster Juliette.

At the park a little girl around the age of five ran up to Madeleine and excitedly asked her if she wanted to play. Kyle says Madeleine looked at her, and then at him, and then at her, and then at him, and then pointed to her and said, "LOOK DADDY A FRIEND!" and ran off after her. Juliette tried to chase them down but couldn't keep up, stopped in her tracks, and screamed pathetically, "MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!" Poor little baby!

Juliette is such a different person then her calm, quiet older sister. She walks around the house all day singing, "HAPPY BABY! HAPPY BABY!" While Madeleine is literally scared of ants, Juliette tries to ride dogs no matter the size. Juliette's first sentence was, "Happy baby pooped!" which she said while lying butt naked on the floor of the kitchen with her legs in the air, ready for a change. The kid lives for naked time. They are both so different but so amazingly sweet and wonderful and bring so much LIFE into my life.

We dropped Lauren off with my mom today and headed back for home. We were supposed to bring the super, cool birthday presents they had made for Auntie Lauren and Grandmom but we forgot them. However, I did remember to take pictures!

Green for Grandmom

Red for Auntie Lauren

Tomorrow my good friend from high school is coming up for a visit and my anniversary is Saturday! Great times to come and stay tuned for part four which will post at midnight!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kyle and Sarah Part 3- The Dating

My household was holding it's first ever "date night" the fall of my junior year. As soon as it was announced I knew that I wanted to invite Kyle "as a friend". I asked him if he wanted to come to "not a date night" and gave him a yellow carnation, the color of friendship. He accepted and we made plans to have dinner on campus, I would cook, and then drive together to the ice skating rink where we would meet up with the rest of my household sisters and their dates.

To understand this next part, how completely random it was, you have to understand a thing or two about Kyle. He never gets lost. Ever. In fact I am relatively certain that in the entire time we have been together that he only has gotten lost once, that first night when we went on date night.

The ice skating rink was a little past Pittsburgh. We drove, and looked, and drove, and looked. We called people and no one picked up. We think we even landed in the parking lot of the place we were supposed to be but we couldn't find anyone's car. We got discouraged and Kyle suggested we try an ice skating rink that he had heard of in the city.

Our first picture together
We ended up in the middle of the city, just the two of us. It was gorgeous there. Pittsburgh was celebrating it's annual "Light it Up" night and there were even fireworks scheduled to go off later. I had no idea how to ice skate so Kyle had to hold my hand the entire time. For a "not a date night" it was incredibly romantic. After we went to a little diner and talked until two in the morning.

We decided to go to mass off campus together the next day and so in the morning Kyle picked me up at my dorm and we went to Saint Peter's. During the mass that verse that I had been meditating on for the past nine months kept coming up. The responsorial psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd I Shall Not Want." The homily, "The Lord is my Shepherd I Shall Not Want." The communion hymn, "The Lord is my Shepherd I Shall Not Want." By the end of mass I was sure God was trying to tell me something.

After mass was over we decided to go out to breakfast and on the way there we started talking about Canada and how I had never been before. Kyle said, "Well, it's like four hours from here. We could go sometime." I said, "What are you doing today?"

We turned the car around at Lovers Lane (I'm not kidding, an actual street in Steubenville), headed back to campus for our passports, and took off for Niagra Falls. At that point both of our roommates, a future best man and bridesmaid, were convinced that we would get married.

Over the course of the day and the long car ride we discussed our relationship and decided to discern whether or not we were called to date while we worked on growing our friendship. I was sure of one thing though, no matter what happened I had never felt as much myself as when I was around Kyle and I had never felt like that self was so appreciated, all of its different aspects.

I gave it over to God and over Thanksgiving break Kyle showed his friends back home pictures of the girl he liked from Connecticut. We spent a lot of time together when we got back from Thanksgiving and decided that he should drive me home to Connecticut before Christmas break, ya know... on his way to Texas, and spend some time with me and my family. I also strongly suggested that he should ask my dad permission to pursue me. I'm traditional that way.

My family loved Kyle. My mom, who had known all my previous crushes were not right within the first few minutes of meeting them, told me how much she thought he liked me (and of course reminded me about her comment to me the semester before Austria). He talked to my dad about wanting to pursue a relationship and discern a future with me and my dad gave us his blessing and then bragged to his collegues about the young man who showed him so much respect the next day.

Our first "official" date was to New York City where we went ice skating again, dined at a fancy restaurant, and went to mass together. He headed back to Texas as my boyfriend, although even at that point I was pretty positive that he was also my future husband.

Over the next eleven months our relationship progressed steadily. We spent time with each other's friends and families, talked about our dreams, prayed about our future, encouraged each others independent growth, and he took me flying in those tiny, little planes. Kyle took me out on sweet dates and always made sure that those dates included at least a little time in prayer, usually at our favorite church in Pittsburgh.

He showed me respect and love and selflessness that I had never experienced in a relationship before. He protected my purity. I had also never experienced so much growth before. I was able to love him and still keep God as the center of my world and my highest priority. Our friendship was natural and we talked and laughed effortlessly. We shared many interests and what we didn't already share we learned about out of love for the other. I didn't look for him to complete me, I was already a whole and confident person, but he made me a better person without changing who I was.

By the time we went back to school for the fall of my senior year we were both positive that we would be engaged by the end of the year. Our relationship couldn't get any better.

Or so I thought....

Kyle and Sarah Part 2- The Friendship

A year later I arrived at Franciscan a bright eyed, bright haired, exuberant college freshman. I was excited about everything, all the possibilities that lay ahead for me. My future. God's plan. I would study Theology and Catechetics, find a household, meet life long friends, and maybe even find a husband. I moved into my room in Marian Hall and set out to meet as many people as humanly possible.

I had just gotten out of a three year relationship in high school and wasn't actually interested in dating right away (more just perfecting my eyelash batting) when my parents showed up for Parent's Weekend in the fall. I took them around, introduced them to my friends, dragged them to a Lord's Day, and worshiped with them at a Festival of Praise. After the FOP was over and we were walking around campus my mom said, "I feel like God told me something about your future. He told me that your future husband was in attendance at the FOP and that it was someone you had already met but someone you would never guess." My mind started reeling. "BUT I HAVE A CRUSH ON EVERY BOY!!!"  I said in my best teen girl squad voice. I thought back to all the guys I had met and never once did the nice guy from my college visit cross my mind. I learned later that he was, in fact, at that FOP.

I wasn't exactly one for studying first semester freshman year and therefore I found myself spending a lot of time across the courtyard at Trinity Hall. From what I could tell, boys studied far less than girls and they also ate more pizza. Plus if you were a girl they would generally give you this pizza for free. I became friends with many of Kyle's friends. I did remember him from my visit a year prior but since I doubted he remembered me I kept my mouth shut.

Over the course of many months we because friends. I helped him bake a cake for his girl friend's birthday and he talked to me about my crush and encouraged me to "go for it". Over the summer I went to a retreat in San Antonio, Texas and he drove from Houston, just for the day, to visit with me. Still, no where in my mind did I think that we would ever date.

Kyle went to Austria in the fall of my sophomore year and during that semester I began my plans to study there in the spring. I thought about him occasionally but nothing more than I thought about anyone else who was studying abroad that semester too. During the winter, after he had gotten back from his semester, I had a complete nervous breakdown about traveling. I had never left my family for that long before and was scared out of my mind. I sent him a message online and he immediately called me and talked me down. Then he spent a good half hour talking my mom down too. After my mom hung up the phone she turned to me and said, "Who was he and can you date him?" I laughed at her and said, "Oh that's Kyle. We are just friends."

Over my semester in Austria I remember vaguely feeling a little, tiny bit disappointed to learn he had started dating someone but was confused as to why that was and pushed it out of my head. Really, what was going on back on campus was the furthest thing from my mind. When I got back from that semester I had changed a lot. I had seen the world, spent so much time before Our Lord in prayer, been there for a wake of John Paul the II and the installation mass of Benedict the XVI, made new friends, hitchhiked an 18 wheeler, and gone through my first ever heartbreak.

I would go to adoration every day and had spent every moment praying to understand the verse, "The Lord in my Shepherd, I shall not want." I had realized that there was so much in my life that I had desired that I had lost sight of the only One who could truly fill my heart. I prayed every day to love God above all else to the point where I would want nothing else except Him. I prayed that I wouldn't want to have a husband but to have Jesus, to not want to be a nun but to want Jesus, to not want friends but to want Jesus, to not want people to admire me but to want Jesus. I had never focused on something so hard for so long in my entire life. The ADD girl who couldn't focus a thought was gone, I was focused on becoming God's and God's alone.

As soon as my plane touched down in Connecticut I began making plans to visit campus before everyone left for the summer, as our semester had ended a couple of weeks before theirs. While I was visiting Franciscan before summer break I met up with Kyle and we decided to get lunch. I told him all about my semester and my heartbreak and how God was changing me. He told me how glad he was that I was doing so well and said, "You'll find someone. I mean, I'm not sure if I could ever date you because you are crazy but I'd marry you." And then I cracked up, because I am crazy, and he knew it.

The next semester Kyle broke up with his girlfriend and I tried to be there for him as best I could as a friend. After I visited my family over a long weekend he picked me up from the airport and we hung out, got ice cream, and just talked. Kyle told me later that he remembered thinking, "I just need to find someone like Sarah" but that he didn't think that would lead to dating me. And I was happy being his friend but I figured that I was God's now so I didn't want to be in a relationship.

Or so I thought....

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Rather Boring Update About Current Events at the Behr Cave Before I Post Part Two Tomorrow

This week has been a little better for me. I was able to get to physical therapy and learn some exercises to get my back healing. I'm still not able to do too much, but of course I over exert myself and pay for it later. Such is the life of a mother.

I tried to make it to mass yesterday for the first time in three weeks today and majorly failed. I was in so much pain only ten minutes in that I had to leave. Of course it's probably because earlier in the day I had convinced myself that it was a good idea to run errands with the girls and yesterday I had gotten sick of the clutter and cleaned. However, even if I hadn't done those things I have a feeling the hard wooden pews would have gotten me. Still, it was nice to even get those precious ten minutes in the presence of Our Lord. I have a feeling that He will really get to healing me this week. I am very peaceful at the idea of being able to attend mass with Kyle next weekend for our five year anniversary.

This week we are finding out when Kyle will officially go from being an employee of Air Tran Airways to one of Southwest Airlines. I am trying to bribe Kyle's boss for a promotion by baking her my special "chocolate and mint three layer brownies". Mostly though we have teased each other back and forth through Kyle about our sports allegeinces. I thoroughly appreciate that Kyle has a female boss, especially one who is also a Republican.

The girls have been restless being cooped up inside for so long. I try to get them out for a little each day but there is only so much I can handle and since Kyle has been working long hours and extra days he isn't able to help too much (although he wants to because he is an awesome husband and father). Today I took them out and we sat at the little local airport and watched the planes and helicopters take off and land. The girls were fascinated by that. I also tried to take them to the library but Madeleine threw a tantrum two minutes in and we had to leave.

My sister Lauren is coming in for a visit tomorrow and Kyle is going to watch the little ones so we can get some sister time. She told Madeleine that she was bringing her birthday present with her which Madeleine someone decided was a puppy. I had to talk her down off of that one. If it were up to me we would never get any pets ever.

Anyway, that the little update about our life. I'm still going to be posting the five part series about how Kyle and I met through when we got married. I can't wait for my kids to read it someday and realize that their parents really love each other a lot. Sorry this post is so boring, I've been taking it slow but it should perk up soon!

Keep praying for my back and keep reading the series about my husband!!

Kyle and Sarah Part One- The Meeting

As our five year anniversary approaches this coming Saturday I have decided to write about my husband in the five days leading up to it. Some people may roll their eyes and wonder why. I've seen comments on facebook before about people being uncomfortable by public displays of affection in social media between a husband and a wife. They seem to think that this means they do not say "I love you" in private. Let me assure you, I tell my husband that I love him as often as I can and I try to show him even more than that.

I don't really have any special talents (unless you count having an uncanny ability to recall 90s pop lyrics at the drop of a hat). I cook as well as most, I'm terrible at sports, I can't sing, I can't play any instruments, I have no artistic talents whatsoever, and I am no good at crafts. The thing that I am the best at and that I am the most proud of is how I love my family. I have a holy, loving, and wonderful marriage. All the glory for that goes to God, not myself, who is the source of Love and Goodness... He is Love and Goodness.

This series of posts is for Kyle and it is for God. God gave me my husband and I hope that in this world our love for each other can be an witness of the love of Christ and His Church. My witness is how I can thank God for all of my blessings, most especially my husband on this special occasion.

Anyway, with that said this is Part One of that Story of Sarah and Kyle. This is how we met.


I met Kyle when I was a senior in high school. I had known that I wanted to attend Franciscan University basically since I was a freshman and the time for my college visit was finally upon us. I was beyond excited. My dad and I traveled to campus on September 10, 2002. Apparently since it was almost the one year anniversary of September 11th tickets weren't as expensive as normal. Originally I was supposed to stay with a random host but at the last minute a friend of mine had called and said that I should stay with someone he knew. Plans were changed and I unloaded my bags in a tiny room in Marian Hall not even thinking for a second that a year from now I would be living just down the hall.

My hostess took my around campus the next day after my tour was over, we went to two different masses and a prayer service for the victims of 9/11. I was so touched by the outpouring of prayer shown by each person in attendance and that most of the student body had showed up. After the prayer service we went back to the dorms and she introduced me to her friends. To be honest I don't entirely remember meeting Kyle. (Kyle, however, remembers that I was very blond and very pretty). I was bubbly and excited to be there and just wanted to be friends with absolutely everyone I met.  Plus, I had a boyfriend at the time.

As the weekend went on I fell in love with the school. I knew that this school was a place where I would be able to figure out who I was and who I wanted to become and grow in my relationship with God. The students were kind and generous, open and loving. They all encouraged me to attend next year and said they would look forward to seeing me. I could feel God pulling at my heart, really reaffirming that THIS was the place I was meant to be.

On my last day there I really wanted to do something nice for my hostess as she had been so generous to me. Her tall, dark haired friend named Kyle offered me a ride to Walmart. I specifically remember being impressed by his car, not many students drove Audi A4s and the dark green color was particularly pleasant.

When we got to Walmart I grabbed supplies to make chocolate covered strawberries and we hopped back in the car to head towards campus.  Of course, this was Kyle driving and with Kyle driving no trip out is that simple. He asked me if I wanted a tour of the town and I said, "yes" so we drove around the city of Steubenville and he showed me all of the major landmarks... not that there are many. It's Steubenville after all. It was fun driving around with him and despite his being shy I thought we got along nicely.

He dropped me off and I thanked him for the tour and that was the end of that.

Or so I thought...