Our Favorite Announcement

Our hearts grew a little bit bigger this winter as Peter and I learned we are expecting a precious addition to our family. It’s true! WE ARE PREGNANT! And we are so excited to share our happy news with you all!

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I’m not sure Peter and I know how to truly express the immense joy, crazy love, or gratitude we have felt already at this point in our pregnancy. The depth of our emotions just can’t be translated to a screen because they are much too big and mighty. At the start of our attempt to expand our family, I think we both expected there to be some disappointment and heartache, a lot of patience, and more faith than we were ready to give, instead the Lord simply decided our time was now. His perfect timing and His certain decision to make us parents of this special baby will always humble me. I still can’t believe we have been so blessed.

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Truthfully, the past three months have sort of felt like a whirlwind; like we are stuck in a long anticipated dream with no desire to get out. My belly is growing by the day, I cruised through the first trimester as healthy as could be with little discomfort, and I am rejoicing in the weird and lovely terms of pregnancy. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every single day of this new adventure so far and cannot wait to meet our sweet little dream all wrapped up baby-burrito style. This time has been so very special to us. Telling our friends and family have been some of the happiest moments in our lives, and we can’t wait to further share our unique journey of pregnancy and parenthood with cystic fibrosis.

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Our special little babe is due to make their arrival on September 9th, 2017, but until then please join us in praying for an enjoyable, healthy, and stable pregnancy. Specifically, pray that my lungs stay clear and unchanging, I can maintain good blood sugar control, and that I am able to gain the necessary weight to keep our babe and I strong and growing. Please keep in mind our physicians who have the difficult task of managing a complex, high-risk pregnancy. We ask that you pray for wisdom, knowledge, and skill while they care for the both of us (Oh, goodness—“both us of” feels so weird to say!). Also, pray for the dad-to-be who will inevitably pick up the slack as I get more and more pregnant, and we experience a bit of transition from just two kids with a furbaby to eager parents with a human baby (+ furbaby). I know we are in for a crazy ride, but as always I appreciate your kindness, love, and support you have given our family.

Overall, we are uncontainably excited, deeply humbled; and most importantly, growing a human. We just couldn’t be happier!

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Stay tuned for more love and more baby,

J + P

(A big thank you to my cousin-in-law, Dave Blakeslee, at David Blakeslee Photography for capturing this special moment for us to have and to share. We are thankful for your talent!)

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Cotton Anniversary 

Two wonderful people tied the knot this weekend surrounded by their friends and family making it a happy and treasured past few days. I absolutely got caught up in the beautiful flowers, happy tears, and nervous smiles of the betrothed as they met each other at the end of aisle; but my observation of the vows has morphed into a deeper and greater experience following my own bridal march. What used to be a grand tradition of hopelessly romantic daydreams is now a more solid and applicable knowledge of what it truly means to promise your life to someone for all eternity.

This ceremony was no different- a fragrant and beautiful dream of devotion and spoken promises fueled by love said through eager smiling faces. Amidst my own silly permanent grin as an audience member, it dawned on me that of the two standing on the altar, it was very unlikely that one squeezed the other’s hand a little harder on “. . . in sickness and in health” as I did two years ago today.

Entering into marriage, I like to believe Peter and I were prepared for all the special obstacles that would come our way due to my health; but honestly, I’m not sure I believe anyone in my generation is slightly prepared for marriage. Marriage is tough business, folks. A happy and meaningful relationship is intentional, flexible, and progressive— adjectives unthinkable in a society saturated with instant gratification.

What didn’t occur to me back then was that most couples entering into marriage are healthy and vibrant twentysomethings and the realities of those vows “in sickness and in health” are far faded away by a murky trajectory of life. But for Peter and I, “in sickness and in health” was our now. It would always be our now and a significant feature of our marriage. It made our relationship special.

Has marriage with a chronic illness been easy? Absolutely, not. My disease has been felt deeply by both of us, in different ways I am sure. Moreover, just as in every other part of my life, the influence of CF has highlighted the very depth of my understanding of love. It’s given me a unique lens to view our marriage through, which is why gushing over my hunky husband right now is as easy as pie. When I think about the reasons I love Peter most though, his fearlessness and willingness to love me- my uncertainty, my burden, my lifestyle, my expectancy, my perspective- tops the list.

Peter took on a new life that would require him to work harder and love deeper with the knowledge of the possibility of losing it sooner. He has always been calm and encouraging when faced with our reality. That’s why at the end of each day, I fall asleep undeniably knowing I am wildly and fiercely loved by my husband.

And that is my dream come true.


Am I going to say Peter is an expert on everything CF? Heck no. Dude, doesn’t know the difference between albuterol and hypertonic saline. But, he’s always willing to learn in an effort to become a better caregiver- something I appreciate so very much. I might have once giggled as my mom instructed him on the how-tos of hospital sheet changing upon admission, or teased him when he learned to access my port while adorned in gloves and a mask, but what I realize now is the loving force of his intentional devotion.

Our young marriage is different. Our lives will always be slightly different than our peers in similar stages of life. Our priorities and goals have to be focused and planned in an effort to experience it all despite CF, and sometimes, our goals will be rewritten. Daily, I am reminded of the promise he made to me because I see him fulfilling those agreements through his actions- every time he moves my plethora of machines from one side of the house to the other, every dinner he has ever cooked because I have been in bed, and every extra hour he works so that I have more hours to care for myself. He has done it all out of love- just as he promised.

These past two years have been so much sweeter and far more superior because of that sunny Friday afternoon when Peter held my hands and vowed to love all of me- every last mutated cell.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Peter! We made it to Cotton. I love you so very much!

(Congratulations, Katie and Steven!)

CFF Community Blog Post

Yay! Hooray!

I have been given the wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Community Blog! I chose to write about a topic so very dear to my heart– the prospect of becoming a parent one day and the challenges set before us when mixing family planning and CF.

Read my post here.

Thanks for joining me in this life and providing immense encouragement and love!

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Why am I always wearing this sweater?

What Could Have Been

Today is the day Peter and I got engaged two years ago. Normally, we don’t celebrate this day, let alone remember with ease the actual date we got engaged. Peter and I both have never been very good at remembering dates like that or trivial dating anniversaries, probably because our brains are more wired to remember experiences rather than numbers and facts. Thank goodness we have a dear friend who reminds me of how long we have been married on the 11th of each month, so I can pretend like I am keeping track and save face in my relationship.

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I was recently scrolling through the photos on my computer to recall the actual date and stumbled upon the photo of the Christmas tree at the end of the dock that was taken the day we were engaged. I love this photo not only because of its obvious beauty and connection  to Christmas, but more so because of the significance behind it. This one photo, taken on an iPhone by Peter, holds more meaning to me than every picture captured in our short but complete relationship. In order to understand the importance of this photo, you need to know how Peter asked me to be his bride. So, I will tell the short version, the one I mastered two years ago when every friend and family member was eager to hear this very tale:

Peter and I were driving up to see his brother in Rochester, NY right before Christmas to visit and see some Christmas lights displayed in downtown Rochester. Why we were visiting his brother when he was coming home for Christmas in a couple days? I don’t know. Were there actual lights displayed downtown? According to the Internet, yes but I would never see them. Didn’t you notice during the drive when you passed the Rochester exit and were heading to a different town called Skaneateles? A big, fat no.

When we arrived in Skaneateles, we pulled up to the little, historic town nestled alongside one of the Finger Lakes and got out to see the Charles Dickens’ Christmas decorations that they display every year. I wasn’t in the best spirits and almost told Peter that we should just get back on the road to Rochester because I didn’t want to see the Christmas town. It was pouring down rain, very cold, and I was the worst kind of HANGRY (angry + hungry). He promised we could eat lunch and I agreed to continue wading through the puddles in hopes of food.

After we had lunch (turkey dinner, if you care) in the loveliest historic inn, my blood sugar and I were restored to our normal selves and we pranced down the street to see the Christmas town. First, Peter said he wanted to go look at the Christmas tree on the dock that was lit up before we headed down the street to the tiny shops. I agreed, but when we got to the lake the dock was closed off due to the rain. I am sure in Peter’s mind, this was a moment of pure panic. He had searched the Internet for the perfect spot to get down on one knee in this quiet little town, and now, it was closed off because the dock was too slippery. Really?!

We walked down the path to the edge of the lake and he asked me to hold the umbrella. I didn’t care at this point because I was too interested in looking at the huge ice chunks floating in the lake reminiscent of the arctic to notice why he was acting so weird. This is when he began his little speech, bent down on one soaking knee, and asked if I would be his wife as the rain rolled off his nose. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was just as it should have been.

Why is the picture of the tree on the dock my favorite photo? The photo reminds me of a lesson I need to be mindful of every single day. That lesson is the notion that we can plan or dream of the way we want our lives, our time, or our energy to be spent, but in reality sometimes, our ideas will never come to fruition despite our efforts. If you asked me five years ago what I would be doing in December 2015, my answer would have been incredibly different than my reality today. I thought I would be working a full time job, finishing my masters, having children, adopting more cats (Please, Peter?), buying a house, and being a much healthier version of myself. I thought I would be living a life exceptionally different than the one I live today.

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The photo of the tree at the end of the dock, the one meant to be the backdrop of that special moment, shows me that even at the very start of our union, the Lord was preparing Peter and I for a journey as a married couple that would not reflect our plan. The details that we once dreamed for the future wouldn’t match the experiences and the timing of today. Obviously, we didn’t know this at that time, but we would grow to be ok with it. The uncertainty, dashed dreams, and vacant plans initiated by malady would be replaced with dissimilar ticks in time just as joyous and enjoyable.

We have been immensely taken care of since that proposal and each smile, celebration, trial, and tear has been just as scenic as the image we had for our lives on December 21, 2013. Do I still want the house, the garden, and the chubby babies that once filled my dreams? Of course, I do- deeply, in fact. However, I know these desires may come in a timetable that is not of my own, but of some grander and greater timekeeper. I have found a sense of cosmic peace in that.

The tree on the dock that was meant to be the scene of our proposal is now a just a fond memory of what could have been. Yet, I am so very pleased it is our what-could-have-been.

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Congratulations to my cousin Heidi and her fiancé, Doug, who did get engaged this weekend! We love you two!