Monthly Archives: June 2013

Little Miss 3 year old…

Our sweet Mylin Hadassah is 3, today 🙂

To read all about her birth story, check yesterday’s post

001 She loves to give us cheesey grins 🙂

Her sensitive spirit is balanced well by a daredevil curiosity that we LOVE watching play out.  She is pretty independent most of the day, caring for her babies (Shelby and Rudy), coloring, playing games, helping me in the kitchen, and running circles around her little brother.  We deal with tantrums and fiestiness on a more-than-daily basis, but are confident that our consistent rules and attitudes with her will pay off!  As we prepare to merge her into the nursery with her brother (not for a few more months) we are reminded that many milestones cannot be forced, but must be prepared for – like moving to a big bed (we forced it and none of us were prepared).

We have gotten SO MUCH MORE LAID BACK as parents than when she first arrived on the scene (yay, us!), but probably still appear uptight or controlling to some.   Hey, what we do works for us and we’re confident in it!  We’re always game for suggestions or ideas, though!

We love how much Mylin has grown to love reading and how she now will sit quietly and listen as long as we are willing to read another book (or just one book, again and again and again…).  We’re in awe of her communication which lately has elevated to some pretty elaborate story-telling (thanks to daddy) and days or weeks of overuse of a word, ‘that is hilarious, mom,’ ‘dad, you guys are hilarious’.

She is a mother to everyone (Sullivan, Eme, her dolls, her friends, and even kids at the store), and I KNOW she will be an amazing help (again!) when the new baby comes in 6 months.

Mylin isn’t super cuddly, but does love to crawl into bed with me in the morning or after naps; she likes to have her back, legs, and feet rubbed, and she thinks it is so funny when I give her kisses and she wipes them off.

Mylin, you are more of a blessing to us than you’ll ever realize!  God uses you to do some deep, difficult work within Mommy’s and Daddy’s hearts.  We are so thankful for the tool He uses 🙂  You are an absolute treasure and we’re so thankful you are ours for this short time.

We love you!065


Becoming a mother began 3 years ago…

3 years ago today, I began my journey into motherhood!

While Mylin wouldn’t be born until June 25th, it was precisely in the 2 o’clock hour of June 24th that I was admitted to the hospital in active labor…

Since I haven’t written this story on the blog yet, I’m going to write out Mylin’s birth story today!

So, for those of you that don’t care – come back tomorrow for some cute pictures of the 3 year old 🙂

And for anyone who loves nostalgic memories like I do…indulge me while I write this out (more for me, than you) to remember one of my favorite days of our lives!

My doctor’s appt was at 12:30 on June 24th, 2010.  Joel and I came to the appointment WITHOUT our overnight bags – even though everyone said, ‘Take your bags to those last few appointments…you never know what could happen!’  They were right…we should have!  In fact, the only thing we DID bring with us was a list of boys names (we had a girl name picked out).  A list of NINE boys names…we would have been in some serious decision-trouble!  I was 3 1/2 centimeters dilated, but only having contractions about every 20 minutes.  Our dr. stripped my membranes and let me choose whether I wanted to go home and come back later (if I was in labor) or stay, be monitored and checked again shortly.  We stayed!  We found out nearly an hour later that I was 5 centimeters dilated with closer contractions and we were officially admitted to labor and delivery!

baby Mylin 001 baby Mylin 002

So we called our moms and together they got our bags packed and brought up to us.  We felt some urgency because my dr. was pretty positive I’d have the baby by the time she left for home – 5pm that evening! (only a few hours away…).  We were so excited!

Well, that didn’t happen…and at 6:15 pm we got convinced to have my water broken (in hindsight, this is regret #1) – and for all of you moms out there that have experienced your water breaking…what an interesting feeling/experience, am I right?! Throughout the evening they gave me small doses of Pitocin to speed up my contractions (regret #2) because they weren’t progressing as expected.  Now, we were full on-board to do this whole thing naturally.  And I honestly, REALLY enjoyed labor.  Honestly.  I loved the concentration, the hard work, and the building excitement – not to mention my stellar birth-coach 🙂  But at 5am on June 25th, we were both absolutely exhausted.  Joel may or may not have labeled my labor moaning a ‘death cry’…At this point I told Joel I was done and I wanted to go home.  He was pretty firm in not letting that happen (jerk…just kidding) 🙂

When I looked up at him in the wee hours of the morning and noticed how much he was crying…I realized how difficult this was on him as well.  So since I was adamantly against an epidural, I thought I’d try pain meds (MAJOR regret #3) to see if I could relax enough to finish dilating (I was 9 1/2 by this point – and gals, getting checked at that stage pretty much feels exactly like having the baby come out – not my favorite memory of this story).  This is definitely one of the worst experiences I’ve had.  I hardly remember much of that hour, which I HATE, but I know that Joel wouldn’t tell me what I said during that time…yikes.  I just remember being in and out of consciousness and by the end of it all – STILL NO PROGRESSION!  So, the doctor on call at 6 am insisted I get an epidural, or he was going to do a c-section (he actually told him I’d end up having one either way…he was the real jerk), so I could finish dilating.  It was literally within minutes after that I was a full 10 centimeters (I guess I really did need to relax!).  I remember telling the guy who gave me the epidural how much I loved him 🙂

Later in the morning we began pushing…for THREE HOURS.  During this time we (probably Joel) sent out a few texts to some friends to pray pray pray that I could deliver and not have a c-section – it seemed as though everyone was telling me I’d have to have one.  A huge blessing at this point was that it was Friday morning…a normal business day…which meant my dr. was back!  I was so thankful to have her to make these decisions with me and not the overnight guy who seemed mad I was keeping him awake…

She came in at noon on June 25th (about 24 hours after my appointment with her where this all started!) and told me that they baby was not moving down far enough even though had pushed for so long.  She was turned slightly and my pelvic bones didn’t move out of the way like they needed for her to fit.  A c-section was inevitable.

My heart stopped.

The tears started.

She let Joel and be alone for a few minutes while we cried and prayed and focused on what we were thankful for:

1. Dr. Thomas was back and would do the surgery

2. God created minds that came up with alternative ways for babies to be born

3. This was not an emergency, just the way it had to be for us

We callled our parents and they came up right away.  After I was prepped and heading down the hall to surgery, my parents happened to just check it and were able to hug and kiss and love on us.  Joel got to stay by my side, comfort me, and watch them pull our firstborn out and see and hear, “It’s a GIRL!”  We were so excited, grinning, and sighing with relief that it really WAS Mylin this whole time…like we were hoping 🙂

Joel got to take pictures of her right away and bring them over to me so I could see her

baby Mylin 013 baby Mylin 016


June 25th, 2010 2:03 pm

7lbs 8oz, 19 inches long

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her 🙂  Joel brought her over to me and just held her next to me so I could see her – I will never forget the way he looked at her – I’ve never seen him look at anyone like that before (except me!).  I couldn’t have been more full of love!

Our parent’s were so excited and thrilled that we had a baby girl and LOVED her name (Mylin is my mom’s maiden name – she was quite surprised!).

While recovery after being in labor so long and then an intense surgery was very difficult, Joel was my knight-in-shining armor, helping me do everything (literally, folks) for those first few days.  I am so thankful for that man!

And while we did have regrets on how this whole experience played out, I am realizing that I have to give those up to God, and seek healing from them and the repercussions they have on any future children we have had and will have.  God is sovereign and we are not to live in fear, but to trust Him.

He gave us this precious gift after all:

Mylin and friends 036 Mylin and friends 037We are so undeserving and striving to do our best to take care of her, for Him!

Thank you, God!

Quite a celebration

Finally, I’ve had enough energy and time (at the same time ) to post the pictures from Sullivan’s birthday!

First, our announcement as our guests arrived:

(disclaimer: this was really cute in person – it’s hard to capture in pictures…but this was the message and art – courtesy of Joel – on our sidewalk as our family walked up to the front door!) 053  057



(notice my inflated stick-belly and the words BABY! with an arrow – needless-to-say – all my siblings were shocked! And excited)

On w/Mr. One Year Old:

006 019

Aunt Roni did an A-MA-ZING job with this cake! We are so thankful that she shares her talents with us!

 025 026

It wouldn’t be a family picture if someone wasn’t posing at the right time with the right expression


Out of the 10 (soon to be 11) Merkle grandkids – the 6 bigs were having a hilarious time playing on the hammock


And our sweet, sweet, Virginia – she got Sullivan the CUTEST stuffed kitten – he went crazy when he opened it, grabbing it and throwing himself on top of it and rubbing his face against the fur 🙂

Plus, I got some great shots of them together on this special day

 037 038 043

Yay! Slightly better family picture…


Bushie (Grandma Kari) made this one-of-a-kind onesie to celebrate Sul’s big day!  Check out her Etsy shop HERE to order something of your own 🙂 047 051And to end the Sullivan post……..a picture he isn’t even in……just all the gals – we’re usually only all together 2 times a year – what a special treat that the Alabama family could swing by on their way to Illinois for our big event!

We love you, little one-year-old!

Since that big day you’ve gotten 3 more teeth, starting standing, AND started walking!  What else do you have in store for us?!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to my favorite man in the whole wide world: we love love love you, Joel!

Since it’s birthday month at the Draper’s (Sully – June 2, and Mylin – June 25) here are some birthday reasons that I love him so much…


FLASHBACK: This was the picture we used on Mylin’s 1st birthday card:

birthday postcard picture

And this is the one we used on Sully’s!:

The news 015

Aren’t they just the cutest?!?!

Can’t tell they’re related, can ya?! 🙂

We’re so lucky to have such a great daddy to take care of all of us!


It won’t be too long until we have another ‘birth’ day announcement!!!!!!!

Little Miss and Little Mister will be joined with Baby Draper #3 in early January 🙂

We can’t wait!

Captured in time

Although I’m not too stellar at capturing moments in my kids’ lives on my own camera – I make it a priority to have Christina from Connelly Photography capture precious moments, like these, a couple times a year

Enjoy 🙂



(You don’t see me confiscating the red balloon – that is how we got that expression on Sully’s face!)





(flashback to Mylin’s 1 year old pictures and you’ll see this same picture!)

700_9375-Edit 700_9324-Edit-Edit  700_9335-Edit-Edit


Little Mister ONE year old

Today we celebrate this sweet little blessing’s addition to our family:
487380_10151567714306708_1691856299_nThank you, Connelly Photography, AGAIN, for amazing pictures of our kids!

Sully’s story began with a scary and anxiety-filled first trimester

Everything progressed well from that point and we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our second child – will it be another little girl or a little boy?!?! (irregardless, we had names narrowed down to like 3 each, with no idea on a middle name…)

With an unexpected emergency at the hospital when my water broke, our calm and exciting birth-day turned into an overwhelming and frightening day filled with lots of information and void of much contact with our brand new son, Sullivan Joel (his birth story)

Thankfully, everything went uphill fast and it wasn’t long before he was in our arms

ND baby 003 ND baby 004 ND baby 005

And safe and sound at home, joining our family 🙂

getting out! 020

This past year has been filled with more growth then I could have ever imagined or anticipated

I wasn’t prepared to mother 2 children, be exhausted, be in daily battle with an aggressive sin-problem with anger, have my 2 year old fight sleeping (note to future self: NEVER elect to move a young child out of crib into a toddler bed.  It will never be worth more than the price to just buy another crib…), and learn that in order for God to flourish in my life, and in my children’s lives, I needed to hurry up and die to myself – getting out of the way so that God could fill in those gaps

I am so glad that God gave Sullivan Joel to us so that we could grow closer to Him – what a neat way for God to work in my life!

Sully fits right in to the groove we’ve got going on – adding constant smiles and pretty chill attitude to the every day drama of his big sister and his mommy 🙂

He loves to laugh at Daddy, Mommy, Mylin, Eme, and himself

His favorite toys right now are little cars, plastic balls that he can bang together, and making toys go down the slide on their little zoo, and his sister’s puzzle pieces

He will occasionally say ‘uh-oh’, ‘mama’, and ‘dada’, and is working on getting his 8th tooth through

While he knows how to climb the stairs – he prefers not to and just sits at the bottom, placing toys up on them

We cannot wait to look back on another year with him, God-willing, and see just how many more changes will take place

We are so thankful and grateful for this much undeserved blessing

April showers 006

Who still, on occasion, falls asleep in my arms 🙂

Up North '13 031

Happy Birthday little Buddy/Buster!  We love you more than we could ever explain