If you haven’t heard our big news yet, the Shoup family of 5 is growing! In January, I found out that I was expecting baby number 4. Since that day, I believe I have heard every response in the book. Fortunately, I am a “go with the flow” kinda girl. The realization that God has blessed us yet again, is SO exciting. I honestly believe a child is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Lets back up to the beginning of the year. In January, I started a weight loss challenge. I wasn’t in it to start a few days and then fall off the band wagon. I was in it to WIN it!!! I had my mind set (which is huge for me). I was exercising daily, eating healthy organic foods, and using my Slique products. By week 3 I had already lost 8 lbs, and was feeling great. I remember going out on a date with my husband at the end of that week. We ate at a new upscale Italian restaurant. Every. Single. Thing. I. Ate. Was Amazing!!! I mean, like the best food of my life—AMAZING. It was that night that I recalled my second pregnancy with Eliza. I loved the way food tasted and I could smell everything before I even got close to it. I knew that night—something was different. I was one week away from AF and I already knew. I took a test and didn’t tell a soul. It was positive!

I knew about this pregnancy for 3 weeks before I told anyone- even Jonathan. I was super excited on the outside but a bit nervous on the inside. Not many people know this, but Jonathan and I miscarried a child in the fall of 2016. We were not very far along, but nevertheless, I was pregnant and had a baby inside of me. I now understand the depth of pain that families undergo after miscarriage. I only carried that child for 6 weeks but the pain was still excruciating. I will forever love that baby and I am so thankful for the assurance to know that I will get to meet it one day in heaven… So with this child, although the test was positive I kept waiting, out of fear, to tell anyone. I told my mom first, because I needed her to pray for the Lord to prepare Jonathan’s heart for this. A week later, I told Jonathan. After the initial shock, he was super excited.

I understand that in 2018, it is not typical for families to have loads of children. I however, have always dreamed of a big family, just like the one I had. I have been asked all the usual stuff: “Do you not know what causes that?”, “Did you mean for this to happen?”, “Was it planned?”, “I’m guessing this one was a surprise?”, “Are you okay?” etc etc.. All I see this baby as, is the BEST GIFT EVER! We are all super excited to meet this little toot.

What have we learned so far from this pregnancy? God’s timing is always perfect! Weight loss challenges can always start again. I definitely feel like the “older” pregnant mom in the game. I always start showing faster than anyone else (pretty soon the “your due date must be wrong this time” will start). God’s plans are always ALWAYS greater than our plans. Food is delicious! Deep relief and Ningxia Red are a MUST. People will always have opinions. We need a bigger house.. and a bigger car… Life is so much fun and I am spending it with the greatest people in the world!

SIDE NOTE: Baby Shoup number 4’s gender will be revealed at birth. We were surprised with our last child’s gender and it was well worth the wait. Eliza and Sam want a girl, Jack wants a boy. Jonathan and I will be happy with either; although he is almost certain it’s a girl 😉 Go ahead and start casting your votes..

fearfully and wonderfully made