Monday, May 27, 2013

What's in a Name?

How we Came up with
Nolan Gerard and Judah Matthew 
As you are probably all aware, Josh and I did not find out the gender or our twins.  One piece of the fun in that was knowing we would need to be armed and ready with two boys names, two girls names, and four middle names.  We have been talking about what to name our future children since before we were even dating so we did have some ideas before getting serious.  However, in January, we were trying to decide how to go about figuring out the possible names our our babies.  Because Josh and I both have a love for games and competition, we decided to make it fun. 

Using our own smart brains and a book of names, we decided to do a bracket of sorts to narrow down names.  Josh picked a group of names, boy and girl, and so did I.

Throughout the weeks, we would do 'matchups.'  Names would move on because of the powers of persuasion, because of rankings, or because we both happened to like the same name so that name would get a bi to the next round. 

Eventually we were left with 2 girls names (which I will not share...we may have girls in the future after all) and 2 boys names: Nolan and Judah.  People have asked us many times where we got the names or how we decided so I thought I would share.

I need to start by saying that neither boy name are ones we had ever discussed in the past.  They were both new choices.

Nolan as a name choice I think came as a surprise to both of us...

First, Nolan has NOTHING to do with Nolan Ryan or baseball what-so-ever (we've been asked that because of Josh being a baseball player).  He came out of the book of names.  As I was looking through it, Nolan was one a couple of top ten lists that made me flag that name.  Nolan was on the top ten over-achiever names and also the top-ten CEO names.  What a great name to come from two extremely determined and hardworking parents.  I happened to say the name to Josh and he liked it too.  Throughout the weeks, I knew it was growing on both of us as it continued to smash any competition.  It fairly easily became our number one choice and our first boys' name. 

Judah has quite a powerful story to his name....

When I was about ten weeks pregnant and scared out of my absolute mind at the thought of miscarrying again, Josh and I were visiting at my parents' house.  I am sure we spent some of the time talking about how scared I was and how I didn't want to share with anyone about the pregnancy yet.  I was not in a good place mentally.  I literally wasn't even sleeping because of fear.  My dad asked me to come downstairs with him to watch something he had DVRed that he thought I might benefit from hearing.  He played me a talk from Joel Osteen called "Thank God in Advance." 

The gist of his sermon was that we often times ask God for things we want and then we continue to ask and ask and ask.  Instead, we should be thanking God in advance for the answer to prayer.  Instead of asking, praise.  Praising gives you strength in faith.   Often we think we will thank God AFTER the prayer is answered, after the solution is given.  What truly keeps us strong as we wait for answered prayers is to thank God in advance.  When people want to worry, we should be praising instead.  He went on to give many examples in the Bible of people who did this: Abraham as he waited 24 years for the baby that was promised to him, Elijah who knew the drought would eventually be over, and finally, he talked about the tribe of Judah and the fact that his name literally does mean praise.  Even though the Israelites were in a valley and were the underdogs in most situations, they continued to be a people of praise.  I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear exactly that at exactly that time.  It was as if that sermon was written for me.  On the drive home, I shared with Josh what I had watched and planted the seed for Judah as a name as I began the change in the way I prayed about these babies and this pregnancy.  Again, over time, the name and the powerful story continued to grow and grow.  And there it was: our second boy name. 

To watch "Thank God in Advance" click here: 

The middle names ended up being fairly easy to choose. 

Nolan's middle name, Gerard, is after the Patron Saint of motherhood, fertility, pregnancy, and miscarriage.  My family and Josh's family have been saying prayers to that saint for the last three years for us to be blessed with a healthy pregnancy, birth, and children.  Many of us have cards with a St. Gerard prayer on them in fact.  We both felt these prayers were key to blessing us with two healthy baby boys.

Judah's middle name, Matthew, was my brother's middle name.  There was no question we wanted to honor Eric somehow in our future children's names.  I know he has been taking care of the two babies we lost and I know he had been watching over this pregnancy as well. 

Nolan Gerard

Judah Matthew


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


1. March 16th~ Friend Shower (30 weeks, 4 days)
In December, as my friend Corey was chatting with my mom as her very strong adorable baby was in the NICU, she brought the idea up to me about when I might want to have a baby shower.  My initial reaction was neither kind nor excited, but one of pure terror.  I CAN'T PLAN THAT FAR IN ADVANCE I told her.  I was appreciative for the offer yes, and it meant a lot to me, but I am going day by day.  I can't conceive of the idea of planning ahead for these babies; too risky, too scary. 

She continued to bring it up, nicely, throughout the coming weeks.  She threw out a date to me, March 16th, that worked for her, my family, and other friends (Eileen and Tasha) who were going to help throw the shower.  Again, my reaction was not socially appropriate for normal pregnant people.  I would only be 30 weeks then...I can't be having people buy things for these twins that early!!!  How about June, after they're born, or May, or end of April?!?!  I was desperate with my tone. 

In February, I finally gave in to this date however, I made them put on the invitations that people could not shop for gifts until after March 1st (I would be 28 weeks then). 

As the shower day grew closer, I realized what a blessing this particular shower truly was.  This would be a shower in which my closets friends and co-workers would be in attendance.  They, more than anyone else, know me and what I've gone through over the last almost three years.  They know about the miscarriages, the fear, the doubt, the ups and downs because they went through it with me.  What a gift to be surrounded by those people at my first shower.  People who would completely understand when I would no doubt cry as I opened gifts for these wanted miracles, people who probably laughed when they saw they couldn't shop for the babies until March 1st, people who were not surprised when I showed up 30 minutes early just so I could gather myself before others arrived. 

This shower was exactly what needed to happen at that exact time.  I continue to look upon that day so fondly and am so thankful for people who traveled in bad weather and gave up some of their time in their busy schedules to come and support me and shower these babies.

Did I cry the entire .8 mile drive to Eileen's house? YES
Did I cry when seeing little onesies hanging up for me to take home? YES
Did I cry while making a speech before opening gifts?  YES
Did I cry while opening up gifts? YES

But in a room full of amazingly strong and supportive women, I felt comfortable and safe.  Thank you :)

2. March 22nd~ Team 61 Shower (31 weeks, 3 days)
My sixth graders and teaching partner never cease to amaze me.  The students have been truly supportive during this time and I think have taken better care of me than I could take of myself during the school day. 

On this particular Friday, kids were doing some presenting in my room when the phone rang.  My principal told me that I needed to come down to her office right away and that another teacher would be covering my room.  You can imagine how much I freaked out wondering what news my boss might deliver to me.  As I left the room, a student was out at the same time using the bathroom and asked me some questions as we walked down towards the office together.  I sat in the conference room sweating awaiting what I thought to be some bad news.  Thankfully, my boss popped in and assured me that it was nothing bad and she would be with me in a minute after escorting a student back to class.  When she walked in, she delivered a onesie that said "I'm the favorite" and a clue to go back to my classroom.  Now I finally knew something was up.  When returning to my classroom, everyone was gone except for a few students who gave me another clue telling me to head down to the library.  When I walked in, I saw all 60 students, some parents, and some baby shower decorations.  They had gotten me!  I was officially stunned, surprised, and of course, started to cry :)

The students donated what little money they have to buy us one of our swing/bouncy seat combos.  It was beyond generous and kind. 

3. March 28th~ Hope School Shower (32 weeks, 2 days)
On my last day of work, I walked into the library expecting a normal delicious breakfast only to be surprised, yet again, to a baby shower my co-workers had thrown me.  I was not prepared with any camera so unfortunately, I don't have pictures to show of the celebration, but it was phenomenal.  My old teaching partner and current one outdid themselves with treats and two homemade cakes.  As a gift, the teachers pooled money together to start my reusable diaper collection.  My teaching partner is officially our diaper consultant as she used these with her son.  She even went so far as to have my sixth graders do a math problem to show how many disposable diapers we would need for these twins and how much  money it would cost us versus the reusable diapers.  She presented the math problem to me as I was opening these up.  We are excited to use these and were so grateful to have the collection started for us! 

I also received a few other gifts including a handmade pillow made by our librarian that says "After every rainstorm is a rainbow of we are."  Yes, I cried! 

4. April 13th~ Hundt
Josh has an enormously awesome family who you can see below went all out for these twins.  I would never have guessed that I would be showing up for a shower on April 13th with snow falling on the ground :) 

As I opened present after present, card after card, people's kind words and encouragement were amazing.  It continues to be surreal for me to open up presents for my own children as there were many times I never thought that would be for me.  I soaked up every moment, every gift.  The best part was seeing these accomplished and amazing moms pick out things for me that I hadn't even thought of myself.  They showed the twins so much love and Hundts from all around the country sent gifts when they themselves couldn't be in attendance.  It was really great! 

I look so forward to the two showers (Pavona and Buffington) we will have after the babies are born :)
I cannot thank all of you enough for your generous gifts.  These babies are truly loved by so many already.  I am grateful, thankful, and extremely appreciative. I can't wait to watch the babies play with the toys, wear these precious outfits, and have all the great books be read to them. THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Keep hoping... keep praying...