Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Drumroll please...

The baby was positioned frank breech when we took the money shots...meaning baby was folded in half with its head between its legs...that may have thrown some of you for a loop! Below is a much clearer shot (also from the bum looking up between the legs), which would have given it away immediately & stolen all the fun!

We put everyone who guessed "boy" into a drawing for a $10 Starbucks giftcard. Our lovely Isabelle Rose drew the name, and the winner is... The CAULLAY'S!!! [Who suggested the names Captain (Kevin's suggestion) and Aidan (Bernadette's suggestion)].

"Oh, that's definitely a boy, there's no mistaking it," our tech said. You should have seen the look on Aron's face! He was totally expecting them to pronounce girl. When she said, "Look there's his penis.." Aron's jaw hit the floor, but at the same time, he had the hugest grin. Then he started pumping his fist in the air exclaiming, "Its a boy, its a boy!" I am so excited to have a son, but scared to death! What will I do with a little boy?!?! You all will have to show me the ropes!

Well, what can I say. Despite the fact that my brother says I have all girly sperm, looks like this little guy made it through (he's not even born yet and I'm proud of him!). I have to say I am super excited to be having a boy. I don't know why, but I had pretty much conceded to the fact that I'd be one of those dads with six girls going on seven trying for a boy! But, it looks like the Lord had mercy on me and decided to balance the scales around here (and He knows we need it--between Isabelle and her mommy there is way too much estrogen and drama around here!). I'm with Grandma Jean, too: out with the Barbies and pink and in with trucks and blue (and flying V guitars/loud rock music, of course)! Hooray!

Thanks to all for participating. We had as much fun reading your comments as you all did writing them. IT'S A BOY!

Ready, Set, GUESS!!!

We're home & armed with lots of pictures. Our ultrasound tech thought our baby was so cute she just kept printing more and more pictures. She kept saying how photogenic little baby is! Plus we actually got 2 sessions because baby wasn't postioned right to be able to see the heart. So after our first session was over, she sent Aron down to get me a Starbucks...hoping baby would repostion with a little sugar and caffiene. Then we got a whole 'nother session about 30 minutes later. Meet the newest little Kirk! Look at how sweet those lips are!

I love this one because if you look closely, you can see two hands!
Okay, here it is: the money shot. Now I've included NO anatomical markers at all. You are on your own!!

The coolest part of the ultrasound was when the baby was rubbing its eyes and then it started opening and closely its mouth like it was yawning or singing or something. I wish we could have had that on video!

Okay, so submit your guesses NOW!! And remember to include a name for double entry into the drawing. The contest will end at 9:00 pm tommorrow night (WEDNESDAY), April 1. No joke. At which time, we will identify the sex of the baby & the winner of the contest!

We love you. Thanks for sharing in this with us!

aron, erica, & belle

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Adventures of PlaidMan & PaisleyGirl

Belle has been begging Aron to play SuperHero's as a nightly activity. She says, "I fly, daddy, way up der." So with a little help from PlaidMan (self named superhero because he always don's a plaid cape), PaisleyGirl (she always chooses a Paisley towel for her cape) saves the world night after night.They make "swooshing" noises and soar around the sky... and for some reason, Paisley girl seems to loose her spandex tights mid-flight. A girl cannot be restricted while saving the world.
And a quick pic from Sunday...Belle wanted to be dressed like mommy for church, so we snapped a picture of our matching outfits.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

all in a name

With the ultrasound just around the corner...we are baby name central this morning. And the best part? We are agreeing on just about every name. We've got about 5 0r 6 names for each sex that we are loving...

We are quite picky (as is any parent) when it comes to naming our children, because the name needs to have significance. If you watch the way children were named in the Bible and even in Native American cultures, the name of a child spoke a certain characteristic or blessing over the child.

example: Jesus: Jehovah is generous, Jehovah saves "because he will save their people from their sins".

example: from Genesis 38:27-30: "When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, "This one came out first." 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, "So this is how you have broken out!" And he was named Perez. [a] 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah. [b]"
Perez means breaking out .
Zerah can mean scarlet or brightness .

Abraham & Sarah named their son Isaac, which means "laughter"...remember their reaction when God told them they would have a son in their advanced years? Sarah laughed!

example: Hannah, who was barren, named her long awaited son Samuel, which means, 'heard by God' "Because I asked the LORD for him." 1 Samuel 1:20"

Its strange how often a person's name coincides with their personality or life circumstance.
Aron Paul Kirk: "exalted little churchdweller". I doubt his parents realized how true this name would be when they named him March 4, 1984.
Erica Jean: "honorable ruler, the lord is gracious". My hubby might agree with the ruler part...sometimes!!
Isabelle Rose: "consecrated to the lord, beautiful flower"

We didn't decide Isabelle's name until we were in the delivery room. I think we'll have this one figured out much sooner.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Put on your best doctor face...

Cause you're going to need to act like one to win this contest!

So here's the deal:
Tuesday we are having our ultrasound to find out the sex of the newest little Kirk. But we're going to have a little fun with it before we let the cat of the bag as to what gender our baby will be.
Tuesday evening, March 31st, we'll post the ultrasound pictures here on the blog. You will then have the opportunity to analyze the evidence & submit your guess in the comment section. If you're right, your name goes in the hat for a $10.00 Starbucks gift card (hey, we like Starbucks around here...plus, its the most universal gift we can think of!)

Now you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, so don't be too intimidated. And to up the ante, if you suggest a baby name (must be of the gender you've chosen) along with your correct guess, we'll put your name in the drawing twice!!

So keep your eyes peeled on Tuesday, and happy guessing!
*the small print: spouses/members of the same household may enter seperately. who's to say you both interpret the ultrasound the same way...or that you want to share your starbucks goodness with your spouse?!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

feelin the love

Do you ever notice it is sometimes very difficult to allow yourself to be loved?
Somewhere deep inside you feel undeserving and humbled that someone would go out of their way to invest in you.

God must really be wanting us to believe His love for us this week, because He has literally sent us someone daily to pour into us in specific, intentional ways that have spoken so deeply to our hearts.

This weekend our cousins, Josh & Kim, visited. Kim wanted to bring me something special that would show her love & share a piece of home with me. She walked through the door with a mason jar full of daffodils she and her momma had picked just for me. I couldn't hold back the tears because the gift couldn't have been more perfect! A piece of home full of sunshine and promise to enjoy just because. The intention behind the gift made it so dear to me. And I could feel whispers of God's love through Kim's thoughtfulness. Then, Saturday night, Josh informed Aron he had a gift for him, but he had to close his eyes. Aron reluctantly agreed to cover his face as Josh told him a story about a long lost beloved treasure. You see, when Aron was a little boy, his dad took him to an Indian PowWow - a festival of sorts - in which he purchased Aron a tomahawk. As he grew older & stronger, he loved to throw this tomahawk, which he affectionately named, "Tommy Toma-hawk". Infact, he threw it so often at a particularly large tree in the front yard at Josh's house, the tree dried up, died, and had to be cut down before it fell on the house.

In the summer of 2003, one of Aron's cousins, Kalub, accidentally overthrew Tommy, and the beloved weapon sailed pass the tree and over the hill into the brush & woods. Aron & about 4 other boys spread out across the hillside wacking down the brush with machetes searching high and low for Tommy - but Tommy remained lost. Infact, every summer since 2003 Aron has taken to that hillside with a machete in hand faithfully looking for his tomahawk - including this past summer during our brief time visiting home.

During a break in the weather a few weeks ago, Josh decided to go hunting for Aron's Tomahawk. He knew what it meant to Aron. By an act of God, Josh miraculously found Tommy's head buried in the dirt - (Aron had found the broken handle a few summers back, but no head. I laugh as I remember Aron's report when he found the lonely, broken handle, "There were definate signs of trauma!"). Josh then fashioned a brand new handle out of solid Mahogany and restored Tommy Toma-hawk to his former glory, and then carted him up to Michigan to return him to his rightful place at Aron's side.

Tommy was wrapped in a note reminding Aron that God is a Warrior, and that Aron was fashioned in this Mighty Warrior's image and after His heart. He quoted from Exodus 15:3, "The Lord is a Warrior. The Lord is His name." He wanted the tomahawk to always remind Aron of the battle he has been called to fight and that, "You are a warrior." Aron was moved beyond words; he wants to frame the note and Tommy to hang in his office as a reminder. Wow. If that isn't love straight from God through his children, I don't know what is!

Monday night Miss Becky Jo sent some rockin cookies home with Belle for us all to enjoy - so delicious and so thoughtful - especially since I worked 3 12's in a row with NO time to cook.

And Ms. Bernie took Belle shopping to pick out mommy something to soothe her aching feet after a very exhausting 3 days. Belle was sooooo excited to give me the gift. I could hear her talking about a present when I called on the way home. Can you believe the way God loves us in the details?But can I say that in every instance He used His children to love on us. So now I'm asking, "God, who do you want me to love on this week? And what can I do that will speak directly to a place in their heart that they'll know its from you?"

And a few random shots...I cropped off my head because I am making a terribly weird face, but I wanted to show the fam back home that I'm finally popping a little after 18 weeks!And a few of Belle in her carseat on the way to meet Josh & Kim in Lansing. She could not wait to "go see Josh & Kimmy!!" She had just awoke Saturday morning, but was all smiles knowing where we were going.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ridiculous Guitar

I got sick watching this video of Monte Montgomery playing Hendrix's "Little Wing" on an ACOUSTIC guitar. Make sure you watch until he kicks in the Ibanez TUBE SCREAMER about 1:52 (did I mention on an ACOUSTIC!) Enjoy!


Here's the kicker: he's a great singer as well. Check out his cover of Fleetwood Mac's "World Turning":

The groove starts at about 1:40 and it gets ridiculous when he starts playing in a slap bass technique at about 3:30. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

my babies

Upon waking this morning, Belle ran to the sink to brush her teeth...apparently, I need to feed her some extra cinnamon rolls so she can keep her britches up. She's getting sooooo big. When she finishes she shouts, "ALL CLEAN!!!" and makes this face to show me what a good job she did.
Speaking of sooooo big, little brother or sister is also getting soooo big - 17 weeks now! Reaching 5 inches long and 5 ounces, baby's cartilage bones are turning to mineralized bone and fat deposits are now forming under the skin. We are weeks away from knowing what sex little baby is. Mommy is feeling baby quite often now, and every time she does she is falling more in love with him/her!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So went spent the majority of last night in the Emergency Room at Beaumont. Belle had sudden symptoms of a severe UTI with a high fever, so we took her to Urgent Care about 8:30 Tuesday night. The urgent care doc worried the infection might be in her kidneys and decided she needed to be treated at a higher level care facility with possible inpatient admission.

So, needless to say, when we returned home at 3:00 am Wednesday morning, we all were depleted. I let my sick one sleep in until about 11:30, and decided we would just skip nap time today so she would be able to go to bed at a decent time tonight.

By 3:00 this afternoon, she was begging for a nap, but I was doing my best to keep her awake. Finally, while I was distracted cutting veggies for our veggie soup (which was soooo good, by the way), she took matters into her own hands. I heard her door shut, but continued chopping thinking that if she was quietly distracted, I could get supper finished.

About 15 minutes later, I realized it had been quiet too long & went to discover why. This is what I saw:
She's not yet strong enough to crawl into her crib, so she placed her favorite 'sos' blanket into her baby doll's crib and climbed in to take a nap. If mommy wasn't going to help a sick girl out, that girl just has to take care of herself the best she can! I let her sleep till Aron got home & here she is climbing out of bed after a satisfying siesta.

Quiet Contentment

"My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore."
Psalm 131

This Psalm of David spoke greatly to me this past week. David, the greatest king in Israel's history (not counting Jesus, of course), writes that he does not concern himself with "great matters". When I am not content with my role in life, my pride often drives me to be concerned with "great matters", and when I fail to play a significant role in them, it only leads to more discontent.

This Psalm is a beautiful portrayal of surrender. David's soul was crying out to be "important" and "influencial", but he stilled his soul and resolved to be content with his lot in life. Are you crying out for God to feed the desires of your heart, only to find him silent? This is the weaning process; we must learn to trust. A newborn gets hungry, cries, and eats. But with maturity comes contentment. The child is weaned, and even though it is still side-by-side with its mother, who could very possibly feed it at any time, it must learn to trust quietly that nourishment will come. David is the "mother" and he weans his soul to be content and trust in God.

Let us not concern ourselves with things too wonderful for us. Let us still and quiet our souls, and know that He is God.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We interrupt your web-surfing for this very important message:

Yes its true!!!
After 10 months of busting it and sacrificing...
10 months of no cable television
10 months of driving a beater car
10 months of rare date nights and cheap entertainment
10 months of denying immediate gratification for long term gain...
(This is what they scream on 'The Dave Ramsey Show'...followed by a soundbite of Braveheart's "FREEDOM" bellowing battlecry). His financial teaching is what motivated us to start this journey 10 months ago.

A little over $53,000.00 of college loan debt PAID IN FULL.
Booyah, baby.

Ramsey says "Debt is normal...be weird." We must confess, weird never felt so good.

He also quite frequently quotes the scripture that states, "The borrower is slave to the lender." So true. It feels much different going to work knowing your hard work is directly benefiting your family and not instantly owed to someone else.

Romans 13:8 says, "Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another."
We are now free to walk in this truth.
And a word of encouragement:
A year ago, this was just a glimmer of hope...an impossibility, really. But if you find yourself longing to be rid of your own debt, you can do it! With some sound teaching, a plan, and the will to sacrifice knowing that "if you live like no one else...one day you will live like no one else"...you too can shout, "WE'RE DEBT FREE" & change your family tree!
apk & ejk

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Domestic Front

This video is for the grandparents - nothing special, just a little conversation I captured.

Additionally, we are now 16 weeks...4 months! I don't know how its happening so quickly. I'm finally getting a little bump - proof below!
And one more highlight. Last night Belle slept in the big girl bed in her room. I went in this morning to greet her and layed down next to her to chat. She kept snuggling into her 'sos' and grinning, while I just rubbed her back. She turned over, so I started rubbing her belly. Without missing a beat she said,
"I got a baby in my belly."
"You do?" I asked.
"Yep, there's a baby in der."
"Ohhh, I see."
"Daddy has a baby in her belly too."
"You mean his belly?"
"Yes. Daddy has a baby in her belly too."
"He's gonna be thrilled to hear this."
She's beginning to be enchanted by the idea. This is my 'pregnant' toddler.
a cantaloupe!
I just can't fathom another baby. - what they will look like or act like. Today I was looking at a few picts from when Belle was a little baby, and my heart just ached cause she is growing up so fast!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Monday Morning nugget of goodness

I've been raving about this site since I found it. In case you've missed my accolades, I want to share it with you this March Monday morning:


Here's the deal. It's customized, free, Internet radio. You type in the name of an artist or song you like, and the site creates a station that hand chooses artists that mirror that style based on the music genome project. Each song that plays you can give a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". The ones you like, it will adjust and find more songs like it. The ones you don't, you'll never hear them again! Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

You can create as many stations as you want, and if you don't want to hear a particular song, you can skip to the next one. Another cool benefit is you get to hear tons of new/up & coming artists you may never have heard of & that aren't played in the cliquely, watered down garbage you hear on mainstream stations.

So spice up your Monday & give it a listen.

And just in case you're curious, here are a few of our stations:
1. Phil Wickham
2. Damien Rice
3. Rufus Wainwright
4. Amos Lee
5. Taking Back Sunday
6. The Fray
Just to name a few.
Try it out and drop us a comment to tell us how you like it...also let us know if you find any great artists/or stations to share!
much love

Ordination Review

One week ago on March 1, 2009 I was set apart for the ministry of Christ at Macomb Christian Church. It was such a special time, Erica said it was the #3 best day of our lives together after our Wedding and Belle being born. I agree, although I can't help but wonder once our next kid is born if the Ordination will drop to #4 or if we're just going by chronological order. I digress... here are some highlights of the evening:

The worship band led by Denise led us in some songs, including one of my all-time favorite worship songs "Take My Life" by Chris Tomlin (this is the hymn remake from the Passion "Hymns" album; we also had it played at our wedding).
I shared the journey God has led me on to bring me to this point. I came to the same conclusion as John the Baptist in John 3: "he must become greater. I must become less". That's really what this whole night was about; me becoming less and submitting myself so fully to Christ that everything I am and do glorify him. Even Jesus did not come to glorify himself, but to glorify the Father (Phillipians 2:1-8).

The elders, Andy, and Mike Edmisten laying their hands on me and praying. Why no one went for the prime real estate of my head I'll never know, but this was a special time none-the-less.

Me and my better half/partner in crime, oops, I mean ministry :) . She makes me look so good!

The fam came up to share in this special occasion (we celebrated my birthday, too!). My parents, Erica's parents w/Chloe, and the Woollard clan came up for the weekend.

So that's the basic gist. It was so special, but as I shared with everyone that night, it is a little bittersweet as well. To know that I'm completely laying aside all of my ambitions, hopes, and plans has been hard. John Eldredge writes in his book "Walking With God" (which I highly recommend):
"I want two things that are mutually opposed-- I want to live a nice little life, and I want to play an important role in God's kingdom."

To consider the cost of following Christ, let alone being a minister, leaves no room for us to want things our way--to have our cake and eat it too. We must submit completely, wholly, whole-heartedly to the will of God. As Job said "though he slay me, yet will I hope in him." So we must be willing to stake our very lives on following him. This is true for the "common" believer as well, not just the "minister".

This is taking up your cross to follow Christ (as Jesus instructed all followers must do), and just as Jesus struggled with his journey to the cross when he was in the garden, so I have struggled with this calling. As Jesus asked the Father, "if there's any other way, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done"; so I have struggled with committing my life to ministry in the Church. But God has shown me this is his will, and I will gladly lay down my life, but, as Christ also said, "only to take it up again."

I praise the Living God for his grace to me, and I hope that I might walk daily in obedience to him as I lead his people and administer the gospel of grace. Amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday - a day late!

In honor of Aron's 25th birthday, here are 25 random facts about the birthday boy. Enjoy!

25. At our cousins, Josh & Kim's wedding, Aron & the other groomsmen came parading out as the village people & led the whole party in "YMCA". It was pretty hysterical.24. As a child (and dare I say grown-up) Aron & his brother, Ben, would wait until everyone went to bed and slit the tape to peek at their Christmas gifts. Then they'd carefully tape the packages back together so mom & dad wouldn't know they'd been naughty.23. He craves the outdoors. Given the choice between a night on the town & a 5 star dinner or a night around the campfire sleeping between the hard ground and the vast starry sky, he'd choose the latter - hands down.22. He's quite the daredevil (that's him in the orange jumping & then flipping off a cliff in a cenote in a Mexican jungle). As a child he & his cousins would cut vines that were entangled in treetops in the woods and make vine-swings. He broke his nose participating in this activity.(this is him cutting down a vine to make a swing)21. Yet this daredevil seemed to have lost his nerve when it came time to deliver our first baby. When the discussion arose, he vehemently refused to cut the umbilical cord as this was repulsive to him. However, in the heat of the moment, Dr. Rojas handed the scissors to Aron & said, "Cut. Here". He caved under the pressure!
20. To Aron, there is no food like chocolate food. And his momma's Texas Sheet Cake tops his list of favorites. He has been known to eat half the cake in one sitting.
19. Aron excels at any sport he tries and can play any instrument within 1 hr of picking it up. I know, very frustrating for the rest of us.18. As a fifteen year old, Aron told me "One day, I'm gonna marry you." Turns out he was right.17. When Belle was a newborn, Aron's favorite time was "skin to skin" time. They'd cuddle under a blanket just her soft skin against his bare chest. They say this is great for newborns, but judging from Aron's reaction, I think its even better for daddies.
16. To my humiliation, Aron sported a "Fu Manchu" for a few weeks in college.
15. And was so sweet as to sport it to my nursing pinning.
14. He also sported a lip ring, which he still wears now & then to feel tough.
13. Now, however, nothing makes him feel tougher than his newly acquired title of "Reverend". 12. He & his college roommate, Jeremiah, found a dead raccoon that they strategically tied behind their prankster friend's car.
11. He loves to hike, and this is one of his favorite spots where we're from in Southern Ohio: Buzzards Roost.10. A man of many talents: every once in a while he'll trim my hair for me to save me the hassle of going to the salon.
9. Whenever he ventures into nature, you can bet he's got a hatchet or a knife or multiple weapons around his waist. His cousin Josh is the same way. These boys are wild at heart...pardon the pun.

8. He has written over 5o songs. A few of which he's had the privilege of playing at friends' weddings.
7. From what I've been told, Aron was quite the entertainer as a child. I'm sure you can figure out which one is him, but in case you're having trouble, bottom row, 4th child from the left.

6. The summer before we married, he traveled in a worship band all over the country. This is in Maryland; after boating on Chesapeake Bay, they pulled the boat up to a bayside restaurant and enjoyed freshly caught crab.5. If its Halloween & Aron's dressing up, you can bet he'll be sporting man-tights in some fashion.
4. His favorite time of day is in the cool of the evening when the sun begins to forfeit its light. He loves to take his guitar outside and sing at the top of his lungs into the amber sky.
3. His ideal vacation is anywhere on the beach where he can boogie-board and play football in the waves.2. He's a very lucky guy at Cincinnati Reds games. He once caught a homerun ball & made it on the ESPN highlights of the game. Another time he & his buddies Ben & Jerod were featured on the big screen during an inning change. 1. Aron used to love to play a game in college & high school called, "Imagine If...". We would dream up circumstances and scenarios our lives together might bring...someday. We would talk of normal things like a home together and what our children might look like. And we would dream of impossible things like owning a huge farm which we would name "Kirk Haven" or being on tour. Our life may not look exactly like the perfect future we envisioned, but I can't imagine a more perfect reality than our life together just as it is. Happy 25th birthday, baby! I can't wait to live life along side of you another year!