Frankie’s Gender Reveal

It’s my 100th post here at The Realization of Good!  I couldn’t have planned better content for this milestone if I’d tried. 🙂

This past Thursday evening we invited our families + a handful of friends to join us for one last bash in the Old Castle + a celebration of the good news we received at our 22-week ultrasound last Wednesday morning. Special thanks to the sweet Rebekah of Rebekah Viola Photography for these pictures, and also to each one of our loved ones who decided to spend their evening sharing our excitement!

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^ Our little miracle rainbow baby…a bit camera-shy, but alive + well!

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^ Gifted by Auntie Krista a few months ago 🙂

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^ Sweet Little Cupcake or Handsome Little Stud Muffin?

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^ Thank you, Pinterest, for your witty ideas. 😉

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^ A present for Frankie from his creative Aunt Rosina + Cousin Arie

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^ So is “Frankie” short for Franklin, or Francesca?
(Don’t worry, the real name won’t be revealed until after the birth.)

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^ The big reveal: via explosives + colored chalk

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^ It’s a boy! And we couldn’t be more thrilled. (You should have seen his Pa party-dance out of the doctor’s office.) 😉

We’re so thankful for the beautiful gift the Father is working out for us in this little miracle of new life that He’s entrusted to our care. And hurry up, July — we can hardly wait to meet our little man!

Did You Hear Our Happy News?

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If you’re not following me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have missed our little “future potential blacksmith in the making” announcement last week. Caleb and I were overjoyed to get to see and hear a tiny heartbeat at just 5 weeks + 5 days gestation. To say that the first few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster would be putting it mildly! But the morning sickness and fatigue have now hit in full force and I rejoice upon waking each day at the physical reminder that our little blueberry is alive and well and growing as he or she should be. (I have a strong inclination that it’s a “he,” so I’ll be calling him such, but we don’t actually know for sure yet.)

So yes, the initial excitement of this precious, longed-for, God-given pregnancy has been quite the distraction for the last month or so. However, July 8 (give or take) feels quite far away at this point, and I have lots I want to accomplish before the care of a newborn takes over my life, and the mommy life takes over the blog. 😉 Exciting things are in store for the next few weeks, including a bunch of readers’ capsule wardrobe features and a guest post from Natural Wellness Mama.

Pregnancy has a way of making the world seem so much bigger, brighter, more beautiful, and full of possibility. Come along for the ride; it’s bound to be a joyous one!

Loss, Perspective, & Hope

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These little shoes were the first item we purchased for our firstborn. The hand-crocheted blanket, selected with love by Freddie’s daddy, was a memento gift from the kind people at the Lancaster Garden of Hope.

Those of you who also have experienced the complicated grief of losing a child’s life during pregnancy know too well the tousling, tossing succession of emotions that plague childless parents. Others who have known the sorrow of infertility identify with much of this as well. There is a cultural shift taking place in our generation, moving to an unprecedented place of openness with regards to the topics of miscarriage, infertility, and childbirth, that I believe is healthy and helpful, though still harrowing and hard.

I miss my baby. We miss our baby. Our “Freddie” (his or her in-the-womb name) would likely be just about four months old today. We feel sure we’d be three of the happiest people on the planet. The antique cradle that stands empty in our guest room would be at our bedside, likely smelling of fresh sheets and that unmistakable newborn scent, sporting a few more paint chips and maybe some stray drops of regurgitated milk. The desk I’m sitting at right now would be in a different spot to allow room for the changing table that’s upstairs holding extra linens right now instead of diapers and burp cloths. There might be a pile of baby laundry waiting for me in the dryer instead of the beach towels I used last week. I could be staring at this screen through bleary, teary eyes because I got a total of three hours of sleep last night, and only in 45-minute increments. And what’s more, I could have a cooing, or gurgling, or even screaming, bundle of joy making my arms feel like they’re going to fall off at any moment.

Instead, my arms ache with emptiness. I am fairly well-rested. My house is in order. I brought a paycheck home from work today. Caleb will come home soon to a quiet house and be kissed by a calm, unharried wife. We will eat dinner in peace, uninterrupted by the sounds coming from a baby monitor or the need to tend to a diaper blow-out. But oh, what we wouldn’t give for any of that.


Last week dear friends of ours who had sailed high on the wings of hope for a long-awaited healthy pregnancy were suddenly, cruelly forced to say goodbye to a tiny growing son or daughter…for the sixth time. SIX precious babies await them in Heaven. Caleb and I feel at times overwhelmed with anticipation for our one.


But, hope.

H o p e  :   a virtue.  Hope, associated with joy, peace, fulfilled longing. And this: When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:4-58).

Our Jesus carries us, and He goes even further — giving us hope. He has promised to not cause pain without allowing something new to be born (Isaiah 66:9, NCV). And learning trust, with the reward of hope, is an understatedly beautiful thing.

Garden of Hope Memorial Service

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In early August of last year, Caleb and I were overjoyed to learn that a tiny little son or daughter of our very own was growing inside me. We immediately began addressing him or her as “Freddie,” though neither of us remembers exactly why or how. We were some of the most excited parents we’d ever met.

In September, just a few short weeks after we announced our delight to the rest of the world, we discovered that our little Freddie had opened her eyes for the first time to see Jesus’ face, instead of one of ours. (I say “her” because I just feel it was a baby girl, not because we actually know for sure.)

Though it was a devastating loss, we found solace in knowing that He is caring for her better than we could have here on earth, until we get to join them in Heaven.

There are kind, benevolent folks here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who, softened by the grief of infant losses of their own, built a memorial garden as a ministry for families who’ve had to say goodbye to children before they really got to live. (Check out their Facebook page for more information.)

Today we attended the Lancaster Garden of Hope’s annual memorial service, which included special music, a reading of the babies’ names who have gone on before us, and releasing of balloons in their memory.

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Pregnancy loss is a complicated sorrow, one that is hard to understand unless you’ve experienced it personally. Caleb and I have been blessed to have been surrounded by compassionate, caring friends and family who have made the journey to healing much less arduous.

This afternoon’s service was a special time for us to remember the little one who made us parents, and to reflect on how her presence changed our lives forever, even though she’s not in our arms right now.

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