Life updates

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I have this desire to write and blog (and even sleep) but I never have time with two little ones under two. My house still has boxes scattered about, and likely will for quite a long time at this rate. Our house is partially furnished and the only decorating that has been accomplished is by my toddler. 

The job we moved here for clearly wasn’t where God wanted us very long. The signs started showing themselves rather quickly. We opted for a temporary and better solution, one where patient care was more important than anything. Joe is now filling a critical need at one of the local children’s hospitals. He’s getting to know a lot of people in pediatrics, a lot of people that are important and make a difference- both in the lives of their patients and in the field of peds. The hours are tough some days, but will get much better after St. Patrick’s Day. While he loves the challenge this position brings, I think we both long for him to be back in the outpatient setting. Hopefully that will take place later this year. 

My family has been a huge lifesaver to us on so many occasions. They’ve watched Jonathan so we could focus on James, and try to get a little more sleep. They’ve dropped everything when we’ve needed them- like when we had to rush James to the ER. I’ve even managed to get a hair cut. I honestly don’t know how we’d survive this without them. 

I registered my oldest little monkey for preschool. He’s growing up, which makes me a little sad, but I’m loving this age/stage for the most part. His mind is full of wonder, and he is like a sponge. Every day I feel like he’s telling me new things. He can identify and say the letters of the alphabet, can count to 10, knows a lot of his colors, and is great with shape identifying/sorting. I can only imagine how preschool is going to only increase that knowledge bank.

My little monkey is fighting off some bug. However, he’s finally starting to get past the intestinal issues that has caused him so much pain (huge praise). I need to transition him to his crib, but that’s such a dreadful thought. Maybe it’s because we had so much stress with Jonathan’s transition??? 

As for me, I’m trying to survive this stage. I know a lot of people around here, friends from high school, friends from college, friends from the church I grew up in. I’m longing for warmer days, healthy babies, and more sleep so I can get out of the house and enjoy the company of others a little more! 

 

James Andrew

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It is hard to believe that our baby boy is three weeks old already! Time is passing us by quickly, though we’re feeling quite sleep deprived. James, like Jonathan, is having some serious sleep issues. His days and nights are reversed, he has reflux that we’re trying to get controlled, newborn gas issues, and he hates to sleep in his bed. I know we’ll get everything under control at some point, but while we’re trying to function on little sleep, we also have a toddler to contend with!

I want to take a few moments to document James’s arrival here in the world so I don’t forget the quick little details (he was a speedy one!), and of course for all the birth story junkies out there who love to read this stuff.

On Saturday evening, November 16, our kitchen house was a mess, but that is (and was) the norm around here since we’ve still not settled in to our new house. I was sitting on the couch when I noticed Joe cleaning the kitchen. I jokingly asked him if we were going to be having a baby soon since he appeared to be nesting! We laughed it off and later went to bed.

Around 1:30 am I woke up, having to go to the bathroom, when I felt a fairly decent contraction. I laughed because the same thing happened at 1:30 am with Jonathan. I decided to grab my phone to time things if there was another contraction, before waking Joe. After the third or fourth contraction, we were about 3 1/2 minutes apart, and they were lasting about 35 seconds in length. Knowing I had a fast labor with Jonathan, I didn’t want to wait around this time, so I woke Joe up and texted my sister.

I REALLY wanted to take a shower, but the contractions were coming faster and more intense. So we packed our bags, I organized my fridge a little (didn’t want to let the meat I just bought go bad!), and waited for my sister & niece to come over. The hospital was much closer this time around, and being the middle of the night, we didn’t have much traffic to contend with.

We arrived in the maternity area right at 3:00. My nurse took us to the L&D room and got us set up. I am pretty certain she was a new nurse, who didn’t have her feet fully grounded. She made me lie in the bed. First she checked to find that I was only dilated to 4cm. I wanted to cry. With Jonathan I arrived at the hospital and was 9.5cm, so I feared it would be a long labor, in a very uncomfortable environment. The nurse made me continue to lie in bed, which  that didn’t work too well since I have a lot of (pregnancy related) back problems. Joe finally told her I had to stand up. Between contractions she tried her hardest to find the fetal heart rate, but struggled. Each time she’d find it and need to put the monitor on, I’d have an intense contraction, have to bend further over, and she’d lose it. This became annoying.

Eventually the nurse gave up (temporarily) on getting the fetal heart rate monitor on. The doctor arrived and checked me. I was 6cm.  He offered to break my water, but we declined. We wanted my body to do things naturally, and not risk potentially slowing things down or getting infection. I got back out of bed to deal with my contractions, and the nurse attempted to get an IV started in my hands. This was the only time I cried. She struggled with both hands and I eventually told her she had to stop. My only other option was to get a shot of Pitocin after delivery. Bring on the shot! I would rather have a shot any day than to be hooked up to an IV!

We then had to resume getting the fetal heart rate monitor attached. Ugh! Thankfully Joe was able to deeply massage my back during the contractions. They were rapid and PAINFUL! Eventually the nurse figured things out, but barely. I needed to push! The doctor checked me again and I was at 9cm. From a 4 to a 9 in less than an hour. Praise the Lord, it was another fast labor without needing drug intervention!

TMI alert… if you don’t want the details, skip to this next paragraph.

My water had not broken at this point. The doctor offered to let me go ahead and start pushing, attempting to break my water in the process. I did a set or two of pushes when, out of my squinted eyes, I saw my bag of waters shoot out and explode everywhere. The doctor jumped out of the way. Joe said he never saw or heard anything like it. Definitely the funniest, most memorable part of this labor.

After a few more sets of pushes, James Andrew arrived at 4:04 am on Sunday, November 17. I heard him cry instantly, which was a relief since Jonathan had not. I held him right away and quickly realized how much your heart does grow with each child. Joe stayed with him while the doctor took care of me. I did tear again, but I feel like this doctor did a much better job suturing, as the pain didn’t last long after.

Getting ready to go home!

Getting ready to go home!

As for post partum, I definitely can say I recovered fairly well. I was up walking around as soon as the nurse finally left and we came home the next day.

James is doing great minus the sleeping at night issues we’re still having three weeks later. He is named after my grandfather on my mom’s side. Jonathan is handling things pretty well, and loves to kiss his baby brother. We’re trying to figure out our daily routine, but I know that may not really happen right away.

James's first bath

James’s first bath

 

 

Brothers

Brothers

I’m Dreaming of a Carb Loaded Meal

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Having Gestational Diabetes and being diagnosed with it at 17 weeks has really taken some excitement out of eating. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure this little boy is taken care of, but I look forward to post birth carbo-loading. I will likely put marathon runners to shame.

Breads, fruits, dairy, sugar, potatoes…it will all be MINE!!! Sweet Jesus, I’m getting ready!

My freezer cooking menu planning is in full force. My fridge and pantry are slowly being stocked with ingredients and the days of cooking & baking are nearing!

I’m planning on making a Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake again this time, which was mouth watering delicious after Jonathan was born. Joe took it out of the freezer when he went home after J was born so that it was thawed out and ready! I’m also thinking of doing a Cookie Dough Cheesecake as well, if not one other kind. We’ll see!

I’m planning on making up a number of breakfast burritos to have on hand, as it was quite helpful when trying to manage nursing or constantly holding a newborn.

There will be some pasta dishes such as baked spaghetti and possibly stuffed shells.

I will have chicken breasts trimmed and ready to throw into the crockpot for easier meals.

My mouth is watering thinking of all the things I’ll be allowed to eat again. Because lets be honest, the peanut butter is getting a little old.

 

Baby Blues & PPD, it’s real

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I know I’ve been MIA a lot lately, but I’ve had good reasons. I always hope to be able to post more, but then I look over and see the boxes piled high, the nursery that needs putting together, the laundry needing to be done, the guest room that toys have over taken, dinner that needs to be prepared, or, more importantly, the little boy who needs his momma’s attention. So blogging takes a back seat to real life. A lot has been going on recently, and I want to get back into the swing of posting. Or at least brain dumping.

Yesterday I received a notification on my phone of a shooting at the Capitol. I didn’t think too much of it because, well, people are crazy, DC is in a state of unrest, and well, I’ve just got a lot going on. This morning I turned the tv on so J could watch Mickey, but we had CBS on from last night. The news stated that it was a woman who was trying to run through the barricades and was eventually shot & killed. It’s not like women to go on a tirade to that extreme. Opening up my browser, I saw an article on it, and realized that lady was suffering from post partum depression.

PPD is real. Baby blues, it’s real. And so many women, myself including, don’t do anything about it. This time, I hope things will be different. If not with having PPD, my response to it. Lack of sleep will do crazy things to you. A baby who doesn’t sleep, has colic, and nothing will calm him/her, can drive you mad. I remember waking up in other parts of my house, apparently having walked in my sleep. I saw snakes slithering around the room and up the walls. I would get so frustrated at a seven pound little boy that I didn’t know what to do but put him down and walk away.  I didn’t seek help, and I was crazy for not. But hindsight is so much more clear.

And just so you know, PPD doesn’t have to happen right away. It can rear it’s ugly head months after you have had a baby.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to seek out a friend who has been there, even if you just want to talk through it. Getting medical help, be it in the form of medication or counseling, is NOT something to be ashamed of. Your body and brain are going through so many emotional and physical roller-coaster changes, and you really have little control over them.

Life in the Crazy House

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To say our lives are crazy right now would be the understatement of the year.  SO much is going on and some days its hard to find time to process everything. I’ve found myself on Pinterest a lot lately, trying to block out some of the crazy…it’s my way of “zoning”.

We clearly see God at work in everything that is going on around us. We had a contract on our house in 10 days. Within 48 hours, we had a contract on a house in Charlotte.  The amount of repairs we needed to do on our house, according to the inspector? Five. I don’t even count three of them (moving two strike plates and  taking care of a pipe that was not clogged).  The seller of the house we’re buying has agreed to all of our requests to fix things in the house. Simple enough. Right?

Wrong.

I never realized how crazy I would feel trying to sell and buy a house. Everything on the buying end has gone swimmingly thus far. The problem is, we have have a set in stone closing date. By set in stone, I mean, Joe has to do work things two of the three days that follow, our movers are dropping our stuff off that day (if not, we’re charged), and I have to meet with my new OB. After that, Joe starts work full time!  Where I’m running into a little anxiety is on our selling end of things. I don’t think our buyer’s agent is really good at communication. Our agent is pestering him to make sure things are being done (my gut says that they aren’t!) so that all the financing and appropriate paperwork is set to close 24 hours before we close in Charlotte.

Oh yeah, I’m also 25 weeks pregnant. And I have a miserable toddler who is getting his molars in.   Trying to find an OB that will take me at 30 weeks has been…fun? NOT! I never imagined the process would leave me bald! I called a few different practices, based on referrals from friends. I had to be pre-approved by everyone. My records had to be sent, their doctors would review, and if they wanted, they could deny me into their practice at the same time I’m moving and need to have a doctor. One practice stood out though. Their sincerity in wanting me to have a smooth transition was a game changer. So I went to work trying to get my records sent to them ASAP.

Easier said than done.

Thankfully the practice in Charlotte has graciously welcomed me into their practice without reviewing my records (because who knows if they’ll ever make it from my current OB). I have a doctor and an appointment. Hallelujah, I can have a baby! Just not yet.

Shoot, if it’s anything like Jonathan, I may end up having to have any OB available deliver this little guy!

Joe’s new job promises to be incredible, but there has been a forest killed off by the amount of paperwork he’s had to do. I’m very thankful they are paying to have someone pack our stuff and move it for us. It does lessen the load, but mentally, it’s driving me crazy. By now, about 2/3 of my house would have been packed. I’m a control freak when it comes to things like this. Waiting until the day before our truck is loaded to have things packed is a bit overwhelming. But I’m sure I’ll get over it.

 

Less than 25 days to go.

 

For Our Anniversary, We’re Letting You In On Some Secrets!

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Today we celebrate five years of wonderful, wedded bliss! We knew from very early on that God had a great plan for our lives together. It was a beautiful sunset on the island of Maui when Joe asked me to be his wife, and hot summer evening when we said “I Do!”.
Though our journey may be short up to this point, we’ve battled through some tough things together, as a team. The Lord led us through those – from finding a new church home where the Word is not only preached, but lived out each day, to providing a support system for us through the battle of years of infertility, and providing friends when we lost our baby.
We trust the Lord has great things in store for us, not only in the next five years, but the next twenty-five. He’s provided for us each step of the way, and we couldn’t be more thankful.
His blessings continue to pour out on us! We’re humbled to announce that, once again, God has provided the blessing of another baby! We’re looking forward to the addition coming to our family later this year. Our due date is quite indicative of how we feel – Thanksgiving. The mental and emotional battle of infertility and loss changes people. I ask that you join us in prayer that God will continue to provide life for this little one, and that (s)he continue to grow healthier and stronger each and every day.
We’re also excited that God has provided an amazing opportunity for us to serve in Charlotte. We will be relocating in September, and with the transition comes so many blessings. We’re thankful to be moving closer to family, especially with a new baby on the way. Joe’s new job comes with the blessing of more time for family. No evenings/nights, weekends only in emergencies, more vacation time. No more getting up at 5:30 to head to the hospital to do rounds.
I cannot begin to tell you how God moved in this situation. It was mind-blowing. From the time we started looking and the interviews began, offers we’re given from places across the state. But our heart was always closer to family, even though there were no positions that we could find. But God knew our hearts and God provided!
So, we’re moving and we’re having a baby in a very short span of time! Over the course of the next two weeks our house will be partially emptied and then will hopefully be going on the market! I’ll also be posting pictures of Jonathan’s big brother announcement once our anniversary vacation is concluded!

Captive in Iran

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Captive

 

 

I hope to be able to put into words the incredible story you’ll find if you read Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph Amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. Living in America, we find such freedoms as sharing the name and love of Jesus Christ as a given. We’re not persecuted by our government for going to church or sharing our faith with someone we encounter. Even though we don’t face this difficulty, we often don’t seize the opportunities to share our faith on a regular basis.

Rostampour and Amirizadeh knew they were risking their lives in Iran though. But their love for Christ outweighed all the danger. Until the day sharing became difficult and a trip to get paperwork straightened out turned their lives upside down… or so they thought. The two young ladies were thrown into jail for an extended period of time, facing difficult situations and deplorable living conditions. Wanting to live their faith out loud, the girls made the most of their time in jail, serving the guards and encouraging those being held for any reason the government felt like.

But Rostampour and Amirizadeh’s journey didn’t end in jail. The corrupt Iranian government sent them to the notorious Evin prison, where the worst of worst criminals were sent. When given the chance to escape the horrors of prison by denying Christ, the two held strong to their faith and chose to stay locked up instead! 259 days of questioning, torment (mild compared to others), and horrible living conditions were worth it to them. Inside the prison walls, the girls had more opportunities and a wider audience to share their faith. They were able to change even the hardest of hearts, to show prostitutes, drug users, and murderers the unyielding love found in Jesus Christ!

This is a must read book! Captive in Iran will open your eyes to the injustices and corruption that plague our world. It will also encourage you to be more willing and more open to share your faith, even in the toughest of situations!

 

 

I received complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House

A Dream So Big

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Dream

 

 

A Dream So Big by Steve Peifer is definitely one of the best books I’ve had a chance to read lately! Such an incredible story of how one family turned a tragic loss of their infant son into an unforgettable lifetime journey. Life hit the Peifer family pretty hard when they learned that their unborn child would likely not survive, and if so, it wouldn’t be for long. Despite the odds placed against his little life, Steve and Nancy went forward with the birth of little Stephen. A short time later they would have to bury their baby boy (bring tissues, you’re going to need them as you read through this section!). When they were offered a rare chance to escape their grief, the Peifer family moved to Kenya to be dorm parents at a school for missionary kids for a year. That year was studded with events that changed their life forever. Their year turned into a lifetime of service, not only to the missionary school, but to the children all over Kenya. Steve Peifer, along with help from people around the globe, have made it their mission to provide children in Kenya a hot meal each day. Along with that, they’ve made it their mission to give Kenyan children the opportunity to make more of their life by providing them better educations, in hopes that they can change the corruption in their country and give hope to their fellow countrymen.

Don’t read this book if you don’t want to be encouraged and motivated to do something to make a difference in this world, because it’s not going to happen! Steve Peifer is/was an average man, looking to escape the pain of losing a child. What his cynical self didn’t expect was to be empowered to change his little portion of the world, one child at a time. A Dream So Big will change your life! You will want to make a difference, some way, some how, in someone’s life.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

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unstoppable

I’ll be honest with you, when I first started reading Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic, I was pretty hesitant. I had just forced myself to stop reading Nick’s first book Life Without Limits because of the poor editing job that was done. The book had no flow to it, so I was bracing for the worst case scenario with Unstoppable. Thankfully though, I found myself wanting to know more and more of Nick’s story with each page I read. I wanted to hear all of the great things he’s accomplished. Not only did I feel like I was getting to know him as a person, but I felt like we were on an incredible journey throughout the entire book.

Nick doesn’t just share the stories of his life and the battles that he’s fought and won, but he shares the stories of those he has encountered throughout his ministry. He captures your attention and leaves you wanting to know more. You celebrate with some and mourn with others. And then there is a love story that you’re taken on as well. You can easily find yourself cheering him on throughout each scene!

Nick’s message isn’t just to tell you his story and the stories of people around the world. The purpose is to show you that no matter what your circumstances may be, that no matter what life has given you, putting your trust in the Lord can move mountains. You may not grow arms and legs, as Nick always dreamed about, but through the power of the Lord working in you, you too can be unstoppable!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

This Week’s Highlight Reel

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Aside from the nights where sleep has been a struggle and never-ending snotty noses, we’ve had a great week! It constantly amazes me how fast Jonathan is growing up. I’m loving the little personality that keeps growing.

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The weather was nice on Sunday so we walked down to the playground and let Jonathan swing for the first time. I’m pretty sure he had a blast! We’ve gone back a few times since then, but the weather has gotten fairly cold so we’re limiting time outside.

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Jonathan’s love for books at such a young age really impresses me! He is constantly picking up books, walking across them room and handing them to us so that we can read to him. If we’re not paying attention or taking to long, he’ll start throwing the book to us! Then we will sit and read…and read…and read. I think I’ve read one book close to 15 times in a row. But I love every moment of it!

He also has a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night, grab his book and flip through it instead of sleeping. Nap time also gets delayed because he likes to sit in his bed and read now! Thanks to his grandma, he has a bunch of new books to keep him occupied!

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Our little monster is also walking like crazy. In fact, I think if he could steady himself enough, he’d run!  We were sitting by the front door on Wednesday when his daddy pulled into the driveway. I stood up and said “lets go get daddy!” He walked down the hall, through the living room and made it to the kitchen before falling down. But at that point he could see “da-da”, so he was happy!

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Everything has become a drum too! Cabinets, chairs, the floor,piano bench, and the upside-down bucket, the toilet lid…

The highlight of my week came yesterday when Jonathan pushed his (formerly my) rocking chair across the room next to where I was sitting. He wanted to sit in the chair beside me! I sat him in it and turned on a cartoon for him to watch for a few minutes. He loved it and sat there trying to rock (the bottom of the chair has been worn down from use since my sister was a baby, through me and my three nieces). SO adorable!

rocking chair

 

Our little baby is growing up! I can’t believe that I’m already gathering things for his first birthday in less than a month and a half. Where has time gone?