Monday, December 29, 2008

Still Here



We're still around... I've got a mountain of pictures and heaps of things to say, but in order to do that I need to get out from under all of the piles at the house. I'm hoping to get caught up soon!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

This Christmas

It's been a different Christmas, especially for me. I think I've spent the entire Christmas season coping with this, trying to figure out what exactly that means for me.

Having Little People in the house made me really want to recreate some of the Christmas magic I so fondly remember. I mean, Christmas has always been really magical for me. I have these grand memories of idyllic Christmas mornings around the tree, Christmas Eve services, time with family, baking in the kitchen...the whole package, really. And even though Christmas really was wonderful in years past, I know the memories are a little bit inflated: we never have been a Norman Rockwell family, even if we are one in my mind.

But these memories led to some warped expectations for me. I wanted to burst forth into the Season with beautiful decorations, tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen, smiling children, perfectly wrapped gifts, et cetera, ad nauseum. Frankly, I've been battling my expectations since Thanksgiving... all the way on through Christmas. And it's made me a pretty miserable person.

These inflated expectations led to major disappointments. I "failed" when only nine ornaments made it on the tree, and the gifts didn't even have bows or tags on them. I was a "disappointment" when Christmas Eve supper was hastily warmed up while the baby screamed. I was a "terrible mother" when I failed to produce engaging Christmas crafts and activities for my toddler. I'm sure you can see why I was pretty miserable this season?

I wanted to create all this magic... and in it, I managed to forget the real Magic of God, with us. Emmanuel. A tiny baby came, to die, to reconcile us to our God. He was born of a virgin, bore the sins of the whole world. God is with us.

Now that is something to celebrate.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are Any Words Necessary?



For the record...this is a Costco-size box of Honey Nut Cheerios...so she's not totally tiny!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Things

I'm watching Top Chef and they're having to create dishes based on "The Twelve Days of Christmas". And since I lack brain cells right now, I thought I'd list twelve things that are, right now, making me happy.

So here they are:
  • 12 Christmas gifts (give or take), purchased and ready to wrap. And the shopping is done.
  • In 11 days, Michael and I will be here. Alone. Without children.
  • 10 candy canes hung in the lower quarter of our Christmas tree... by sweet small hands.
  • 9:00 and Nora's actually settled in her bed
  • 8 days until Christmas, which we will be spending here, at home, just us, for the first time.
  • We'll have 7 Ham children in January... but we had a blast spending time with the other six this past weekend in Mississippi.
  • Nora went for a 6 hour stretch last night... we're getting closer to sleeping through the night!
  • 5 little ladybugs all in a row.
  • It's our first Christmas as a family of 4...and I love seeing four beautiful stockings on the mantle.
  • I'm reading 3 pretty great books right now... about 3 pages at a time. I'll take what I can get these days, right?
  • 2 sweet, sweet little girls...and I get to spend my days with them. What a great job!
  • 1 wonderful husband, who organized our computer desk after a long day at work. And he washed bottles, for the second night in a row. Am I lucky or what?
...okay, that was harder than I thought. But fun!

Count your many blessings, name them one by one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

21 Months Old

This little delight turned 21 months old on Sunday. We celebrated with our dear Hams, although we didn't actually celebrate Phoebe's month day; but a birthday celebration was in order, since Elle turned 11! What fun!

I have about nineteen other things on my list that are a higher priority than this, but I can't bear the thought of not recording some of the things that Phoebe is doing these days. So here goes!

Phoebe is...
- talking up a storm, and becoming more articulate. Most of her words are words that only we understand, but she uses a lot! Some of my favorite new words are milk, marker, and Clifford (cuh-cuh)... though there are many more, too!
- fascinated with print, of all kinds. Anytime she sees environmental, she says "A-C" (as in, "ABC's") and wants to know the letters. She also still loves to see numbers, too. On that note, Phoebe will occasionally sing "A-C" when we sing the ABC song. Yay!
- singing along to Jesus Loves Me, too!
- pretending, which is totally fun. Today, she pretended to cook a meal with clothespins for at least half an hour. She insisted that George (the Curious one) and I take "pies" (bites). She even blew on her hot pans to cool it down for us!
- loving paint and markers... which has opened a whole new world of fun to us
- finally done cutting her canines! We had a nightmare month with that, but the fourth one is finally through the gums. Praise the Lord!
- testing boundaries, but we see the fruit of discipline...even though discipline is never easy

Phoebs is our sweet, sweet blessing... we love her big! But now I'm up way past my bedtime, and I've got to crash... I'll probably add to this list later!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Announcing...

2 Months Old - Nora

I'm done apologizing for my lack of updates/pictures/etc... I'm realizing that this is just my season of life right now. Have two months really already gone by? What a whirlwind! I feel like I can hardly catch my breath these days; however, as each day passes, things get a little bit better.

I am going to try to keep up with these month day posts, though; I'm convinced I won't remember a thing about my kids if I don't! Nora turned two months old yesterday... wow! We also had her two month checkup yesterday. Here are her vital statistics:
  • 10 pounds, 4 ounces (50%ile)
  • 22 1/4 inches long (50%ile)
Nora also got four shots and an oral vaccine... yuck! She hasn't seemed to have any nasty reactions, other than some increased fussiness yesterday. (Tylenol helped.) She's such a sweet little trooper!

At two months old, Nora is:
  • eating every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, on a fairly predictable schedule. She also usually will go down for her nap fairly easily, about an hour and fifteen minutes after she wakes up.
  • taking Zantac twice a day to manage her reflux. This has been a miracle drug for her feeding issues!
  • sleeping well at night, but not yet through the night. We typically feed her at our bedtime (10ish) and then she will make it until around 3:30. Last night, she was able to stretch to 4:15, but every night is a little different. She also goes down for the night sometime between 7 and 9. She's still having a few fussy nights a week.
  • smiling! She's always been a happy baby, but she delights us with her sweet smiles. They are huge, but hard to capture on film. She also has a sweet little dimple pretty far back on her cheek, which is super cute.
  • loving bathtime. She's always loved the water; we think she's enjoying a spa experience every time she gets in the tub.
  • Nora also really enjoys looking at her reflection, "dancing" and kicking, watching her mobile, and being held. She's generally a very easy-going baby, and I'm so thankful for that!
We love, love, love having our two little girls. Last night, Michael and I just giggled about the blessings sleeping under our roof. We have our hard days and nights, but I'm so thankful for the blessing of two little girls so close in age. Praise the Lord!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Labor of Love

Last year, Michael and I went to the Behold the Lamb of God tour at our church. Of all the things we did during the Advent season, this event was the one that most helped me prepare my heart for Christmas. Behold the Lamb (subtitled "The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ") tells the story of the coming of Christ, beginning in the Old Testament. If the tour comes near you, I would highly recommend going; it will be worth your money and your time.

Anyway, I haven't been much in the Christmas spirit this year. The Advent season sort of snuck up on me, and I still sort of feel like I'm in "survival mode" with the girls. But while I was doing some chores the other day, I started listening to the Behold the Lamb album; it really helped me focus my heart on His coming.

One of my favorite songs on the album is called "Labor of Love". It's about the literal birth of Christ, Mary's labor of love; it's absolutely beautiful. I can't listen to it without crying. Anyway, I just wanted to share it here... I know you'll love it. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Delight

My girls have been utterly delightful these past couple of days. Or maybe it's just me? I'm not sure. I do know that my specific prayer each morning has been that the Lord would give me eyes to see the sweetness of my "everyday"; He has done just that.

Phoebe has been especially fun. She's been quite the chatterbox (although I'm not quite sure what she's saying), and she's doing new things at a rapid clip. Just today, she surprised me by doing adorable little hand motions to a song about David and Goliath on our Wee Sing CD... I have no idea where she got them from, either! (They were totally appropriate for the song, too.) Also, finger painting was a smashing success -- especially considering the last time I tried to get her to finger paint it sent her into a panic. We've had so many sweet moments that I, like Mary, am treasuring up in my heart.

Nora, too, has been a delight. She's just started smiling (although not very often), and she seems to be more settled these days. We're loving getting to know her; she is such a sweet, sweet little girl!

Anyway, I'm behind on so many things right now... but I just felt like I needed to get it down on "paper" that things have been good here lately. I'm so thankful that the Lord has allowed us a couple of good days in a row; it has been like medicine for my weary heart!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving

I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted! We managed to make it out of the house on Tuesday afternoon for our Thanksgiving at the lake, and we were "unplugged" from the Internet until Sunday. Needless to say, I've been recovering since then.

I'm going to try to do a recap without getting too verbose... perhaps the pictures will speak for themselves?

Like I said, we managed to get out of the house on Tuesday. Michael was starting to feel better, but I felt like my cold was turning into a sinus infection... my fever lingered until Wednesday night. Anyway, we arrived at the lake just in time for supper Tuesday night, and just before my cousin Danielle, her husband, and her two children made it in from New Hampshire. The kids loved getting to run around and explore the house, and we settled in early. Phoebe slept better than she'd slept in weeks. It was good to just be there!

Wednesday, the rest of the family drove in from Florida, and Michael's parents and brother also arrived for the fun. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the kids had a great time playing together. I loved seeing Phoebe play with her cousins John and Madi...they really had a blast together! The atmosphere in the house was lively and loud; of course, that's to be expected when you throw a bunch of Italians in a house together!

Thursday, Thanksgiving, was a wonderful day of...well...thankfulness and food. The women spent most of the morning in the kitchen, the kids played outside in gorgeous weather, and we all enjoyed spending time together. We were also all feeling better by Thursday -- something to certainly be thankful for! We feasted in the late afternoon, but Nora couldn't be bothered to wake up for the dining experience. Phoebe, who doesn't usually eat meat, gobbled up some turkey and macaroni and cheese. After dinner, we squeezed into our matching Thanksgiving t-shirts for a family photo.

Friday, we shopped -- but not the typical Black Friday shopping. We went to the little main street downtown, and went in a variety store and some specialty shops. In the variety store, Michael snagged a balloon-animal making kit, which turned out to be the best purchase of the day; he entertained the kids all weekend with dogs, swords, hats, and more! However, the weather quickly turned sour, and we spent the rest of the weekend indoors. No pictures of Friday; I think our memory card needed a break.

On Saturday, the Italian contingency decided we needed more food...so again, the morning was spent cooking. The afternoon? Well, let's just say there was an important game on that most of us wanted to watch. Michael and I also spent a fair amount of time playing with the crew of kids in the house -- there were eight kids under nine, cooped up indoors thanks to the weather. Michael got to brush up on his balloon animal skills, schooled some kids in Wii Mario Brothers, and earned himself the title of Coolest Grownup Ever. And can I get a hearty Roll Tide, anyone?

Sunday, it was time to bid the lake farewell. The house feels a bit like home, since we also rented this house during the summer... but it was good to return home to our little (quiet) house. We were so thankful to spend time with family from so far away, and I'm especially thrilled that they got to meet Nora while she was still small. It was a happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Optimism

Well, when I last came around these parts I was optimistic for a full return to normal. And the optimism is still there, but let's just say we've hit a speedbump.

Thursday afternoon, I started feeling that tell-tale scratchy throat and sinus headache. Things stayed pretty much the same until Saturday, when I was sure I was coming down with something. And then, by Saturday afternoon, Michael was sure he was coming down with something, too.

And come down we did.

Michael and I are both hopped up on Mucinex and Advil, and we're burning through some Disney Princess and Wall-E kleenexes. Yesterday (Sunday) was pretty much awful, but today we wised up and called in the grandparents. Thanks to Nan and Boom, Phoebs is out of the house and we can recover in relative peace.

I've got a low-grade temp this afternoon, but Michael did yesterday -- and then felt a little better when it was gone. I'm hoping for the same results, especially since our Thanksgiving is supposed to begin tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.

Do say a little prayer for our girls, that they don't get this nastiness. That would be a Thanksgiving miracle!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tummy Time

Sorry to be so scarce around here... it's been a trying few days.

Last week, Nora's feedings had gotten awful. As in, she would scream through them. And it took forever to get her to eat. Not my idea of a good time! I finally took her to the pediatrician, who informed she had an "unbelievable" amount of gas in her stomach, visible on x-ray. She'd also had diarrhea for over a week. The pediatrician suspected a possible stomach bug, but we're also treating her for reflux -- something her sister dealt with as well. She's been doing a lot better since then, but our preferred position?

Let's just say she gets plenty of tummy time, day or night.

Phoebe's teeth are also doing something nightmarish for us. She's not sleeping well, and no matter how exhausted she is at night... it seems she can't fall asleep. The other night, it took her until 9:00 to finally settle down (her usual bedtime is 7:00). I believe I will be throwing a major party when these teeth finally come in.

I'm also hoping that Hand, Foot, and Mouth can only be contracted once... because Phoebe won't leave her hands or her feet alone. I noticed a few little raw spots on both her hands and her feet, but they don't seem to look like what she had last year. Let's just say I don't want to go through that again!

Anyway, we're hoping that things quiet down a little more these next few days. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Song for Today

"Hungry"

Hungry, I come to you

For I know You satisfy
I am empty, but I know
Your love does not run dry

So I wait for you
So I wait for You
I’m falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for

Broken, I run to You
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary, but I know
Your touch restores my life

So I wait for you
So I wait for You
I’m falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for

- Kathryn Scott

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lessons from the Laundry Room

This weekend I started a miscellaneous load of laundry. In it were a few towels, some of Michael's jeans, a few baby blankets, onesies with spit-up... basically, anything I could jam together into the washing machine to make a full load. I started the load Friday night, just after Phoebe went to bed. I had good intentions, and I was going to send them to the dryer before I crashed for the night. But there were clothes in the dryer, and I really couldn't muster the energy to fold them at that moment. So the clothes were forgotten.

Saturday morning, I realized I'd forgotten the clothes. The telltale aroma wafted from behind the laundry closet doors, mingled with my percolating coffee. Gross. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I washed them again.

This time, I didn't forget the clothes. I sucked it up, folded the dry clothes, and then tossed in my wet load of laundry. I knew I probably wouldn't fold them right away, but that was okay; a few wrinkles never hurt a towel, right?

Unfortunately, my dryer only half completed the job. Evidently my Mom knows what she's doing when she splits up a load of wash to dry in two separate loads. This afternoon, I pulled out the clothes to fold them...only to find that they were still damp. Evidently I had overloaded my poor little dryer, and it just couldn't finished the job. Mildew grew and the odor returned. In the thirty-six hours since they entered the dryer, they experienced a brief period of activity (tumbling in the dryer)...and then they sat, growing nothing but mildew and foul smells. The entire load would have to be washed and dried again.

I realize that laundry is one of those never-done chores, but this was too much. As I tearfully loaded the clothes back into the wash (for the third time), I realized that I am that load of laundry.

I find myself sitting in the "dampness" of my own sin and selfishness. When I ignore it or just plain forget about it, it festers. When I fail to do something about it -- fail to run to the Word, or to Christ in prayer -- a foul smelling film of mildew grows over my heart. The only way to get rid of it is by allowing myself to be cleansed by my Savior. Just as the clothes can't clean themselves, I am powerless to cleanse myself of my own filth. But if I submit myself to His grace, He will make me fresh again.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me! Psalm 51:1-2, 10

So often I wonder why I have a wrong spirit -- why I'm frustrated, discouraged, or despairing. I wonder why my heart smells like mildew. I need Christ to give me a clean heart; then my spirit will be right! I need to allow Him to send my heart through the hot water spin cycle, and then tumble dry until I am clean and new...even if my heart laundry needs to be washed seventeen times a day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

When Daddies Are In Charge, Part 2

I took Nora to the doctor this morning, and Michael ended up getting to play Mr. Mom until lunchtime. Phoebe desperately needed a bath, so Daddy was thrilled to take care of that responsibility. They may have had a little too much fun with the bath crayons.


Michael thinks she looks like one of the Lost Boys from the movie Hook. I think she just looks adorable, in a strange sort of way.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

20 Months Old

I'll spare you the whole bit about how I can't believe a whole month has passed again... because I just did that the other day with Nora. But seriously.

Also, a disclaimer: I'm sleep deprived and I'm working on this after 10:30pm, trying to determine whether or not Nora's going to stay put in the crib. So typos and incomplete/run on sentences are completely forgivable, right? Right.

Okay. My big girl is 20 months old. And I think this is the month that she went from baby to little girl. Examine my evidence:


Phoebe is...
  • talking more everyday. She uses mama, dada, help, up, shoes, cookie (as in, cookie monster), socks, nay-nay (paci), wuh-wuh (puppy) and bye-bye independently just about every day. We can coax her into saying several more words (grandparent names, animal sounds, animal names), and she is much more eager to try to repeat words. I've cried (shocker) over the progress she's making. She seems most confident with b, c, and s sounds -- most of her words sound pretty much the same.
  • really into counting things. She loves to point while I count out loud. Phoebe also has taken an interest in printed numbers -- we love to walk down the street and point out the numbers on mailboxes and painted on the street.
  • reading longer books, and a greater variety. Her favorite books have illustrations that can be easily identified, and she can tolerate larger amounts of text on a page. She's also more receptive to books that I suggest, although she just plain likes what she likes right now.
  • hilarious. She makes me laugh all the time. She injects joy into my days when all I want to do is sleep or cry. And then I get over it, because she really is a delight.
  • taking more of an interest in structured activities. Can I get a hearty praise the Lord here? If you have spent any time with my exuberant, energetic little girl... you know that she does not sit still well, and that she pretty much likes to do her own thing. So for her to sit at the table with me and work on a craft for twenty minutes is huge.
  • aware of when she needs a time out. While we don't use time-outs for discipline, Phoebe responds really well to taking some quiet time in her crib a couple of times a day. Sometimes she needs five minutes, sometimes she needs thirty-five. I think it is so cool that she can tell me that she needs a break, and that she can communicate when she's ready to come out and play again.
  • cutting teeth. And it's a nightmare right now. Pray that we can get these three teeth in and have a little teething break before her two year molars...and Nora will start teething about that time, too.
  • Some of Phoebe's favorite things: Lamby, her cardboard box house, telephones, Sesame Street, puppies, singing with Mommy, coloring (and she's now big enough for markers, with supervision!), stickers, looking at pictures, her sister, Daddy (she asks for him about every fifteen minutes, every day), raisins, feeding Jake, animal sounds, sip stealing, books, dips, and being outside. (And of course there's more, but...)
I can't really even describe how wonderful it is having Phoebe in my world. The Lord surprised me with her pregnancy, and He continues to use Phoebe to surprise me (and challenge me) every day. I tell her all the time that I love her more than she loves her Lamby... if only she knew how much more I love her!

Note: Phoebe's month-day is the 14th; I really don't feel like figuring out how to post this in an hour, though, so... the 13th it is!

I Think I'll Move to Australia

Moving to Australia wouldn't have worked for Alexander, and I don't think it'll work for me, either. But honestly, yesterday felt like a no good, horrible, very bad day. And at the end of it, I just wanted to move to Australia. This morning, Australia still doesn't seem like that bad of an idea.

Our week started off innocently enough. In fact, I think Tuesday was our best day yet. It was Tuesday evening that I went to bed dog tired, but feeling like we were finally getting it. Nora had kept a predictable routine two days in a row, Phoebe and I had some really good "learning" time together... I was starting to feel like I was sufficient.

Which is exactly when the Lord likes to humble us a little bit.

If Tuesday was the best day yet, then yesterday was... well... maybe not the worst. But close to it. Neither of the girls was content. Ever, really. Phoebs has been working on her canine teeth for forever, and I think the pain peaked yesterday. Actually, let's just say that I hope the pain peaked yesterday. And Nora is beginning to have a lot of trouble eating. My good little eater and content little baby is starting to shriek at meals, and is having a lot more trouble resting. Add that to a very tired Mama, and you have the makings of a hard day.

The night wasn't much better. And by "not much better" I mean, "was worse than the day". Phoebs literally was up and down all night in major amounts of pain; our Motrin/Tylenol/Hyland's/Orajel cocktail did little to relieve it. And Nora struggled to sleep, too. Michael and I were in the same bed at the same time for no more than an hour and a half throughout the entire night. We're hitting up the coffee this morning, obviously.

Neither girl is showing marked improvement today, but Phoebe at least seems to be responding to her pain medicine this morning (and Lamby, and Sesame Street). And Nora is resting, but don't tell my pediatrician that the only way she'll sleep is on her tummy. And since Michael took Nora instead of Phoebe last night, I actually got a few hours more sleep than he did.

I'm trying to dwell on hope today. Hope that this will pass soon (these teeth can't stay underground forever, right?). Hope that Nora's doctor's appointment tomorrow will reveal why she's having so much trouble with meals and sleep all of a sudden. Hope that Michael and I can stay awake through dinner tonight, our first date in... a really long time. But most of all, hope that God's going to make good out of all of this yuck.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (ESV)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nora's One Month Day

It's so hard to believe Nora has already been with us a whole month! If things are fast with one, it seems like time flies exponentially fast with two. I feel like we're all adjusting to one another very well; it honestly feels like Nora has been with us all along. And it's been awfully fun having an Itty Bitty in the house again!

Although Nora's day mainly consists of eating and sleeping, here are a few things I want to remember about her at one month old. Nora is:
  • a total cuddlebug. She loves being held, but is content out of arms, too.
  • starting to settle into a more predictable routine. She eats on a 2 1/2 - 3 hour cycle (most of the time), and naps for the last hour to hour and a half of that cycle. Nora's a great eater (2-4 ounces at a meal), and does a pretty good job falling asleep on her own in the crib. She is generally a pretty content little girl.
  • beginning to "stretch" at night. We've had a couple of nights in the past week where she'll go for a 5 hour stretch. We feed her at our bedtime, and then she'll generally wake once in the middle of the night, then again around 4:30-5:30ish. Most of the time, she goes back to sleep right after she eats -- which is such a blessing! She also loves to be swaddled and snug.
  • more alert and bright-eyed for more of the time. She loves bathtime, and especially having her hair washed. She also doesn't mind tummy time, when I remember to make her have it.
  • having some of the same digestive issues as her sister did at this age, but we seem to be making progress. (I don't think she would appreciate me discussing that any further!)
  • still wearing newborn diapers and clothes. She will probably graduate her diaper size in the next couple of weeks, but her clothes are still pretty big!
We are continuing with our tradition of mini-cakes for month day celebrations... so here is our family with Nora's first cake!


Happy One Month Day, Nora!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Have More to Say Than This

But Wishbone is on PBS right now... and it's totally all about David. As in, King David, in the Bible. He's talking to King Saul right now about taking on Goliath.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Reason to Vote

I should do something better with my time when I'm holding my breath hoping that Nora stays asleep in the middle of the night.

As it is, I've stumbled on some election day freebies...and if you're lucky, you might live somewhere Chick-fil-A is giving away free sandwiches. (We are not so lucky.) But we are lucky enough to have free Krispy Kreme!

So go vote! We're bringing the whole family, which might be an act of patriotic sacrifice.

(Scroll down for a real post, by the way.)

Good Medicine

These past few weeks have been unbelievably hard. As in, these have been the hardest few weeks of my life. In less than a month, our roller coaster ride has included two hospitalizations, one new family member, a two thousand dollar furnace, two new teeth, and a stomach virus. Add to that sleep deprivation, and you have an award winning recipe for despair.

The days have started to blur together. Between Phoebe and Nora, there is seldom a moment in the day when I'm not with one of them. Which is truly a wonderful thing, but I often find myself wondering: will I ever settle into a routine? Will this ever become normal?

I do a lot of wondering about our days to come. I look at the (clean) laundry covering every inch of the dining room table, and I wonder if I'll manage to put it away before we wear it all. As I consider suppertime, I wonder if I'll be able to get something that wasn't delivered or previously frozen on the table at a decent hour. As I watch Phoebe entertain herself with a basket of books, I wonder if I will ever be able to plan some "just us" time into the day. A lot of days, I wonder if I'll make it through the day without a lengthy, ugly cry.

If I look at these days to come, it is so easy for me despair. I don't easily see the hope for "normal" in these coming days. It honestly feels like we'll be in this survival, just-getting-by mode for, well, ever. My head knows that's not true, but it just doesn't feel that way, most of the time.

Friday (the 31st), I was reading Proverbs 31. I almost skipped it, because I really did not want to think about the Proverbs 31 woman that I so am not right now. (Okay, I don't resemble her when things are normal, either.) But as I read it, I was drawn to verse twenty-five:

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25

The days to come don't always look good. Not for me, not for you... not for anybody, really. But the thought that I can -- and should -- be strong and take a lighthearted approach to what's to come. Instead of dwelling on the frustrating things about what's to come, I'm trying to remember to look for reasons to laugh.

Have you laughed today?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Last Few Days

I had forgotten that having a newborn baby in the house puts you in some sort of time-sucking black hole. Time literally disappears during the day (and night) with one of these sweet little ones under your roof. And when you have an adventurous toddler in the house... let's just say that time disappears at an exponentially fast rate. Trust me, it's true!

We've been up to plenty of fun these past few days, though, and I wanted to go ahead and record that here with a few pictures. Besides, I feel like it's required that I post our pictures of our Fairy Princess, right?

Wednesday was a regular day, as far as I can remember. The days are literally all blurred together, but I'm sure we did something fun. Oh yes! We did! Phoebe had her first adventure with sticker art! This is significant, because I'm pretty sure that Phoebe has never ever sat still working on any kind of project for more than fifteen minutes. Sticking stickers to a paper for Mops and Pops? Totally took almost an hour. We will be doing this again. (I do not have photographic evidence of this, but it was cute. Trust me.)

Wednesday night, we dressed up Phoebe and bundled up Nora for Nandy and Boompah's fall festival at their church. Our Fairy Princess loved having a wand to use, and she also had a blast prancing about in the great outdoors. Nora enjoyed being bundled... I think the fall festival was a little too advanced for her? Anyway, also notable is that Phoebe willingly ate her first hot dog. Anyway, a fun time was had by all.

Nora's night Wednesday was pretty rough. As in, she didn't sleep. So neither did I. Nandy rescued us on Thursday morning by taking Phoebe for a morning of playtime while I rested with Nora. Thank heavens for grandparents! Thursday progressed in a blur.

Friday morning, we met up with Carolynn and Callahan at the park for our first trip since Nora joined the family. It was wonderful. Phoebe had a blast; she started squealing as soon we got there. She was also fearless, tackling slides by herself. She also took it upon herself to use her body to dry off the slides for her friend Callahan. We had a good time, and it was really, really good to get out.

Friday night, we joined some of our LIFE group friends for dinner. Our little ones played while we enjoyed some sweet fellowship with some friends we hadn't seen since our group multiplied. Phoebe loved seeing her friends, we loved getting to introduce Nora, and we were thankful we decided to blow off bedtime for the festivities. Besides... who goes to bed on time on Halloween?

Mops and Pops also arrived Friday night so that we could head to Tuscaloosa on Saturday. It was Homecoming, and I really wanted to go... and also wanted to take Phoebe to her first game. It was so much fun to be on campus again, especially since I didn't think we would make it to a game this year. I also loved bringing Phoebe there. It helped that we won big!

Unfortunately, Phoebe's experience was not as wonderful as I'd hoped. She had been acting funny when we got to the stadium; I assumed it was the atmosphere. She slept in Michael's arms, even through the noisy pregame festivities... and then when she woke up, she seemed a little off. At the beginning of the third quarter, we figured out what was wrong after she vomited her apple juice all over her Pops.

We thought Phoebe was better when we got out of the stadium, but as soon as she put something in her tummy... let's just say we all got to see it again. She's still running a fever today, but we haven't had any more vomiting. We're just praying that Nora stays well; if she catches this, we're headed back to Children's for two days.

Anyway, I told you it had been an eventful couple of days!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seriously?

I feel like I'm wasting a miracle here.

Phoebe and Nora have both been asleep for two hours. At the same time. Peacefully. As in, there have been no noises in this house for two whole hours. Nobody needed to be fed, held, or read to.

As soon as I realized that Nora was down, and that Phoebe would be for at least another hour or so, I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and hit the couch.

Y'all.

I couldn't fall asleep.

How is this possible? I am exhausted. I am up at least twice a night for at least thirty minutes (but usually closer to forty-five) at each stretch. I go, nonstop, from about 6:30am to 8:00pm. Seriously, if anybody could nap, it would be me. But I laid (lay? lain?) on the couch for thirty full minutes before throwing in the towel. What a bummer!

Fortunately, I have still remained snuggled up in my blanket for the duration. That's gotta count, right?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Emerging

First, let me say that my intentions are good here. I keep having these thoughts that I want to write down, pictures I want to post, and all of that... but there are bottles to be washed (multiple times a day), children to feed, laundry to clean, and all kinds of other responsibilities that I'm starting to add back in to my life.


This weekend was one of emerging. As in, getting out. Of the house. It was important to me that I start doing this. The cabin fever was really beginning to set in, and I was feeling myself on the verge of total breakdown. Another important thing to me was getting back to doing normal things with Phoebe, and that does include the occasional trip out of the house.

So we started with the pumpkin patch. In spite of some middle-of-the-night festivities Friday night, we downed some coffee early Saturday morning and hit the road. We weren't sure how much fun Phoebs would have, and we just hoped that Nora would be content in the wrap for a couple of hours; we shouldn't have worried. Everyone had a blast! Phoebe loved the wide open spaces, and had a blast helping pick out a pumpkin. And Nora was content to snuggle Mommy for a couple of hours. Daddy was thrilled to dine on a funnel cake, and I was beside myself just doing something normal.


Sunday morning, we emerged again -- this time, to church. We're being more careful with Nora than we were with Phoebe, since it's flu season and we don't want to head back to Children's. Still, we were able to find a spot in the balcony and enjoy worship and fellowship. It was so good to be back in church. We also had LIFE group at our house again last night, and it was really wonderful to connect again. I think one of the most frustrating things these past few weeks has been the isolation I've felt.

And then today, we emerged... this time without the help of Michael. I had tried last week to take the girls to the grocery store, and we didn't get out of the parking lot. Today, the grocery trip was non-negotiable. Determined to get back to normal and to just do it, we survived our first grocery trip. I struggled with the wrap, so I meandered the aisles with one hand on Nora's bottom and one hand on the cart... but we made it. I totally bought Phoebe a grocery store board book as a treat. It felt good just to get through that first time.

We're continuing to adjust, and every day is bringing new challenges. But I'm hoping that sooner or later, we'll emerge into a state of "normal". It gets a little easier every day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Updates on the Girls

I am still amazed that I have girls. As in, more than one. What miraculous little blessings they are! (They are even more miraculous when they are both sleeping, as they are now.) I have so many thoughts rattling around in my brain about all of this... but I have got to get down some updates on these girls, lest I totally forget them.

Phoebe's 19-month day was last week (the 14th). This is belated, but I wanted to post a few things that she's up to these days. Now that there are two, it'll be even easier for me to forget! Phoebe is...
  • saying a few more words, irregularly, but at least occasionally. Some highlights for this month include "Reeces" (oh yes, the most practical word we can think of these days) and "butterfly". Phoebs is often frustrated, not able to express herself verbally; we are trusting God's perfect timing for her words to come. We are also still praying for 20 consistent words by 21 months.
  • loving to count things by pointing (Mommy does the counting). She loves to count pictures, snacks, etc.
  • signing the answers to questions #1 and 2 in the Catechism for Young Children.
  • testing boundaries all over the place, learning what is acceptable and what is not.
  • outside as much as we'll let her be... the second she gets shoes on, she wants to head out the door.
  • dipping her food (ranch dressing, ketchup, and sweet and sour sauce) and becoming more adventurous with what she will eat. Her appetite seems to be decreasing, but she continues to try more and more foods. Just today, she ate a banana dunked in sweet and sour sauce. Nice.
  • getting used to her little sister. She loves to check Nora's crib, say "shh!" with a finger up to her mouth, and touch her blankies. She is still uncertain about kissing her, or touching her... but she's certainly interested in her! (We've only been home from Children's a week... I imagine she'll fall more and more in love the longer we're home.)
  • loving Little Critter books, Clifford, and more... she's becoming less particular about the books that we read, and is tolerating longer stories more frequently. She loves to cuddle during story time.
Nora also went to the doctor today for her two week checkup. (This was a well baby check-up.) Here are her stats:
  • 6 pounds, 11 ounces (hooray! That's a gain of 13 ounces since last Friday!)
  • 20 1/4 inches long
  • 14 inches head circumference
The doctor was pleased with her growth, and says that we're in the clear until her two month checkup. We are praying that we stay illness free in this cold and flu season. My plan is to keep her under wraps (literally) when we have to go out. A few more things about Nora...
  • she eats every 2-3 hours, and switched to soy formula on Sunday. She is eating much better with much less discomfort now.
  • She is beginning to focus on faces
  • She seems to be a very content baby, but she particularly likes to cuddle. (We don't mind!)
  • She is beginning to have a few more periods of "awake" during the day where she is very happy and alert, sometimes for an hour at a time.
Finally, we've had fun comparing the "looks" of the two girls. Although Nora has a head full of dark hair, she and Phoebe still look a lot alike. We think they have the same mouth and nose; we'll just have to see as they get bigger!
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When All Else Fails

The original plan had been to nap right now, but Nora seems to want to snuggle. Actually, I should say that she wanted to snuggle. But now she's content to nap on the couch right here next to me. How the couch is better than the crib is beyond me, but at this point, the nap is the goal... right? Right? Anyway, I'm afraid that I'd squash her if I snuggled up next to her. So obviously, writing on here is the next best option.

Today has been a better day. I haven't cried yet, and both Phoebe and Nora have seemed more settled. We also slept better last night -- Nora woke at 1:00 and 4:30 to eat, and then conked right back out. I am so thankful for that particular blessing!

Yesterday, I had taken some time to write out some encouraging scriptures on index cards. The idea was that I'd tape them up in the kitchen/bathroom/bedroom/everywhere so that I could talk to myself instead of listening to myself when I started to get frustrated. They hadn't made it up yet today, and Phoebe had found them on the coffee table. She scattered them on the floor... and then fed one to Jake. I think he ate a Psalm. Perhaps he needed some fresh mercy this morning? I'm also thankful for that particular giggle today.

Right now, Nora's face is smooshed up against the side of the couch. I think I had forgotten how cute newborns are. I'm absolutely going to get myself a picture of this; here's to hoping she doesn't budge the second I cause some couch turbulence.

And since my brain hurts, I'm closing the lid of this laptop. I might snuggle this little cuddlebug after all...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brief Notes

Today was our first day without any help... and nobody died. When I was teaching, our goal for the first day of school was always to just send the kids home alive; my goal for today was for me to make it to bedtime alive. And here we are.

I'm too tired to be eloquent or to go to the desktop to pull up some cute pictures of Nora. Here are a few notes on today, for posterity's sake:
  • Nora likes to be held. A lot. She had a pretty fussy period from 9 to 12:30 this morning, but Mama's arms did the trick.
  • I've eaten all kinds of crow with this second child. (More on that one another time.)
  • I cried more than either of the girls today, and that's saying a lot. However, my crying was limited to the hours of 9 to 1:00.
  • The afternoon was a lot better than the morning.
  • Both girls miraculously napped at the same time for about an hour and a half.
  • My MobyWrap came in the mail today, and Nora loves it. I think that I will love it too. (Remember that crow that I ate? This is some of it.)
I'd like to journal more, but I'm amazed that I'm still awake. So goodnight!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It dawned on me today that I never updated this to tell you guys we were home. (We're home, by the way!) We were discharged from the hospital at around 2 on Thursday as we had hoped. It really is wonderful to be home together as a family; it has been quite the month! As I told Michael's mom a little bit ago -- we've been admitted to the hospital every week in October. We're trying to break that streak this week.

Being home has been an adjustment, though; in the hospital, you have this strange, surreal life and it always takes a few days to get out of that mode of operation. So add that to adjusting to life as a family of four, and it makes for quite the growing weekend!

We have been so blessed to have Mops here this week (and Pops since Saturday morning). Mom is the reason any of us have eaten, had clean clothes, or slept in the past few days. BIG thanks to her for taking the night shift with Nora for two nights so that we could get caught up on some of the extra sleep we lost in the hospital. My heart ached to see them go today, but I am so thankful for the time they were able to spend at our little house getting us back to "normal".

Right now, things are just plain quiet. Michael took Phoebe with him to run a few errands that just couldn't wait, and Nora is sleeping peacefully in her crib. I'm trying to relish this quiet while it lasts! Tomorrow will be my first day alone with the girls, so I'm sure that quiet will be at a premium!

I'm going to take advantage of this time while I've got it, so I'll close with a few pictures of both girls from the past few days. Coming soon -- a belated 19 month update on Phoebs and more about life with two!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Evening

I'm trying to multitask while watching the debate... and it's a little more interesting than I thought it would be. Since I'm watching the debate and not Nora's vital signs, you can assume that things are going well. And you'd be right to assume so!

In the panel of tests run, an enterovirus was found in Nora's spinal fluid. Because I have had an enterovirus (hand, foot, and mouth), I have likely passed on my immunity to Nora. These viruses can be really, really dangerous in little ones; we are praising our gracious and sovereign God for her immunity! It's amazing to see how something so yucky to go through (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease) can really be a measure of God's goodness. We are praising Him for His mercy in this situation.

Nora has remained fever-free throughout the day. She has also eaten fairly well, and has been more perky than she has ever been, having three distinct periods of awake time this afternoon. She's also shown a bit of feistiness when nurses poke her for vital signs, and we like her little bit of added pep.

The doctor has said that if she remains fever free tonight, no new symptoms show, and all of the bacterial cultures remain negative, we will get to go home tomorrow! Hooray! Hopefully our next post will not be from the hospital!

Wednesday, Early Afternoon

We're sort of bored, and that's a good thing.

Nora has been fever-free since last night, and she seems to be a little less lethargic. She woke us up a couple of times last night to eat, and she had almost an hour of alert time this afternoon. The only thing that seems strange about her sleeping in her bed right now is the little IV tube coming out of her swaddle. Right now she's stretching like a little kitten in her little pink blanket, and I could just eat her up.

We'll be talking to the doctor this afternoon, and we're anxious to see what she has to say. We're hopeful that we might get to go home tomorrow, but nobody has indicated that will happen as of yet.

I myself took a great dose of medicine today, administered by my husband. He sent me home for a couple of hours. I got to spend some time playing with Phoebe, having lunch, hunting for rocks, reading books, and doing some typical morning activities. I also retrieved some fresh clothes and hot cookies, but the whole experience of leaving the hospital and spending some time with my big girl was refreshing and wonderful. I'm so thankful for my husband's wisdom to kick me out of the hospital, and that Nora was stable enough that I didn't worry about her while I was gone.

It's time for Nora to eat, so I'm going to sign off... I'll update later this afternoon when I've had a chance to talk to our doctor. Thank you for all of the sweet prayers sent up on behalf of our littlest!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update from Sarah, Tuesday AM

Good morning, Friends;

The last few days have been such a roller coaster ride for us. In five days we have welcomed a new baby, gone home, and then returned to the hospital. And can I tell you that the first hospital visit this week was a whole lot more fun than this one? I am having to remind myself that God loves me, and my family, more than I can imagine...and that above all, He is good, even if I don't understand what He's doing.

Michael gave a quick update last night, but here are the pertinent details:
  • Nora spiked a fever yesterday afternoon, and the pediatrician sent us straight to Children's.
  • In the ER, they tested her blood, urine, and spinal fluid. They also swabbed her eyes, nose, and mouth. They are culturing all of these, but early tests reveal no serious infections.
  • Nora is being treated with broad spectrum antibiotics, just in case this is a yucky bacterial infection. We won't know for sure for a couple of days, and chances are this is a virus; still, we'd rather be cautious and over-treat her.
  • Nora still has a fever as of right now (100.5), and that is with doses of Tylenol every four hours.
  • Michael and I both are staying at the hospital; Mops is at home with Phoebe. (She was already here trying to help us get adjusted to family-of-four life.)
  • I think Nora is the biggest trooper of us all, rarely complaining and sleeping better than either Michael or me.
Please pray for us. I know that there are many more seriously ill children here at the hospital, but this is scary for us. Michael is trying to be strong for all of us, and I imagine his stores are pretty low. I'm an emotional mess, thanks to postpartum hormones. I can't imagine that much of this is easy for Phoebe, either; I wish she was big enough to understand even a little bit of what is going on. And we're all exhausted, and came into the hospital that way. We are praying that this fever (and whatever is causing it) gets out of Nora's body as soon as it possibly can so that we all can get home and get back to normal.

I'll update more as I know more. I imagine we'll be seeing a doctor sometime this morning.

Monday, October 13, 2008

BLAAAAAHHHH!!!!

By Michael

That's right friends.

We're in the hospital, again. But I thought you went home? We did! But why are you back? I don't know!!!

Actually, we do know. Our sweet Nora somehow stumbled upon a fever, to which the on-call nurse for our Pediatrician said we're going to the E.R. - end of story.

Except it wasn't the end of the story, no! That's just the prologue, we get to the E.R. expecting another terrible six-hour night like our last visit with Phoebe. We were wrong, but not for the better.

Early estimates are that we'll be here for at least 48 hours. Initial blood and spinal tests were clean, but more forthcoming.

I love bulleted lists. Please be in prayer for us not to:
  1. lose it.
  2. go completely ape s%@# nuts about being back in the hospital for the third time in six weeks.
  3. go at each others throats due to sleeplessness and fatigue
  4. suffer soul-death upon sleeping on these human-rights violating converta-chairs the hospital pretends are beds
  5. lose sight and focus on Christ our Savior, Protector, Deliverer, and Healer
More later, I hope.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adjusting

We've been home a full day now, and I feel like our adjustments are going better than we expected. We're tired, of course. And Phoebe is still getting a hold of the idea that there is another little person in the house. But really, I think we're doing quite well. Honestly, it's just great to be back home!



I think Nora is adjusting better than everyone. She is so mellow and easygoing; I pray that it sticks! She is such a tiny little delight to have around.

A few things:
  • Nora has a touch of jaundice, but her levels were good today. Nothing to worry about, according to the doctor. So we're not. (Worrying, that is.)
  • As of this morning, Nora weighs 5 pounds, 12.5 ounces... she is just as tiny as her sister was!
  • Phoebe is still a little standoffish with Nora. She isn't sure about giving kisses, but she was eager this morning to help her get dressed (holding Nora's shirt, gown, etc.) and brush her hair. She also loves to point at her and say, "baby" -- a new word since Nora has come home.

Right now, it's particularly incredible that both girls are napping. I mean, it's eerie how quiet it is in the house. I'm trying to be really good about taking down time while they're both down, so hopefully my updates won't lapse. But while I've still got time, I'm going to try and nap for a few minutes too!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Birthday Reflections

It's so peaceful in our hospital room this morning, and honestly, it was this way twenty-four hours ago, too. The major difference, of course, is that twenty-four hours ago the baby dreaming in the crib across the room was still inside my tummy. It's hard to believe it's almost been a full day since we met her!

I wanted to journal yesterday while it was still fresh... so here goes!

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 yesterday morning, and we were greeted by our sweet nurse Teri. She ushered us into our room, and we got things started right away. Teri expertly got my IV going (it was the worst thing about labor for Phoebs), and before we knew it, the pitocin had started dripping and labor had begun.

Because I came in dilated almost 4cm, we didn't want to waste time on the epidural. As in, I knew I wanted one. And I didn't want to miss my opportunity, since I tend to progress fairly quickly. We joked that they would greet us at the door with the epidural cart, and that wasn't far from the truth. By 6:30 labor had started; by 7:30 I was "recovering" from the epidural. I told Michael that it felt a little bit like I was cheating!

I progressed quickly, and our nurse was pretty convinced that Nora would be here before 10:00. I wasn't so sure! As things got moving, I had a couple of blood pressure dips, and we ended up taking me of the pitocin for a few minutes. I have normally low-ish blood pressure, and the epidural caused it to dip a bit lower. A shot of ephedrin brought my blood pressure and Nora's heart rate back up to where they needed to be for the rest of the day.

After we resumed the pitocin, I had progressed to 8cm. I felt good enough to blog about it, so Michael got the computer up and going. I dictated some thoughts at about 9:45, but he didn't have the chance to post them. I'd felt a "hot spot" of burning when I contracted and my nurse was ready to give me an epidural boost. As she did, she checked me for progress. We were all surprised to find out that in about 15 minutes, I had gone from 8 to...about to have a baby. I was told not to cough, sneeze, or move until the doctor got there.

At 10:10, Dr. D got there and we were ready to go. Two quick pushes later, our beautiful Nora Mae was born! Immediately I was struck by how tiny she looked... even tinier than I remember her sister looking. Her cry was music to our ears! I am amazed at the tiny little miracle God has blessed us with.

And she is indeed tiny! I'm pretty sure Michael posted her stats here, but she is six pounds, one ounce, and is nineteen inches long. She has sweet, dark hair and darker eyes than her sister. She seems to be very mellow, and is easily comforted; she also has started eating well.

My recovery has gone very differently than my recovery with Phoebe. The Lord blessed us with an incision (and tear) free delivery, so the only discomfort I am feeling today is some periodic crampiness. I am really enjoying having some quiet time in the hospital with just Michael and Nora; I know that our arrival home tomorrow will bring a great deal of excitement!

And speaking of excitement, Phoebe's on her way up here... so I'm going to wrap this up! I'll try and add some more pictures this afternoon, once we've had a chance to visit with our big girl!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nora Pictures



Larger Album




Eleanor Mae Thomas

Born at 10:16

6 Pounds 01 ounces

19 Inches long

Mama and baby are both GREAT

Live from the Hospital

It is 9:45 am.  We are currently 'waiting'.
We arrived on time this morning, had a successful (on the first try!) IV.  Was reacquainted with our dear friend Mr. Epidural at around 7:15.
Currently, I'm feeling "good".  We are getting close, as we've progressed to 8cm. 
We've again been blessed with a sweet nurse and nursing student.
Both Michael and Teri (our nurse) have lost the "Time of Delivery" pool.  And since we're progressing so quickly, our next update will likely be with baby pictures.
That's all for now!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

39 Weeks and Counting


Well, today was our final appointment before our due date (October 13). Michael was totally convinced I would not make it to my appointment today... and although I tried to help him be right by eating an incredibly spicy dinner last night, we did indeed make it to the appointment.

Here are the important stats:
  • no weight gain this week
  • blood pressure low to normal -- 100/60
  • baby's heart rate was in the 130 range
  • measuring 38 weeks, which is normal for me -- and for this stage in pregnancy (as she continues to "drop")
  • Michael and I both got a flu shot today... and it was the first time I said, "no big deal" to a shot!
  • and the most fun stat of all? I'm already dilated 3-4cm! Which means...
We'll be going to the hospital tomorrow (Thursday) morning to get this party started! Dr. D completely surprised me by offering to put me on the schedule; we readily accepted his offer. We'll be arriving at the hospital at 5:30 tomorrow morning to get hooked up to my good friend pitocin, assuming I don't go into labor on my own before then.

I'm still hoping to live-blog at least some of the labor... especially after I become reacquainted with my other good friend the epidural. This is all pending sufficient internet access in our room. Michael will update as he can, too. In the meantime, here are some specific things you can pray for us over the next few days:
  • Complication-free labor, delivery, and recovery
  • Peace (especially for me) throughout the entire process
  • Kind-hearted nurses, anesthesiologists, and doctors
  • Phoebe's adjustment to being a big sister, and our transition to a family of four
  • That above all, God would be glorified and that we would stay focused on Him -- that there would be an atmosphere of worship in our hospital room tomorrow (and throughout our stay there)
I can't wait to share good news tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Still Pregnant

...and still enjoying time with this sweet little bug. I have more to say, but I'm too tired right now to say it all. I just wanted to make sure I got a post up so that nobody got excited and thought I'd gone to the hospital or anything. (By the way, the plan right now is to live-blog our labor.)

We do, however, have an appointment tomorrow morning. I'll post a full report -- and belly pictures -- tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekend Lovelies

In spite of feeling more-than-ready to have a baby, we really had a lovely weekend. Mops came down Thursday, and then Pops joined her on Friday night. We were able to spend time hanging out and relaxing, as well as getting some nesting done.

Nora's crib (Michael's crib from when he was a little one) is now set up in the guest room. Clothes are washed, folded, and put away. Some sweet, soft touches are now in the guest room to make it a little more welcoming for a little one. Mops has even taken some burp cloths home to embellish with fabric, ribbons, and monograms.

Right now, I don't have any pictures of her space... but I will soon! There are a few more touches I'd like to add before posting it on the Internet for all to see.

We did take pictures of some time at the park Saturday morning. Phoebe and I went with Mops and Pops, while Michael worked hard at hanging drywall in the bathroom. We enjoyed some lovely weather, and some sweet time spent with each other.

Getting across the steps as best she can... with a little help, of course!

Phoebs particularly loved sliding with Mops and Pops

Too little to climb, but not too little to try!

Roll Tide! (Thank you Mops and Pops for our sweet Bama dress!)

We had so much fun with Mops and Pops, and hated to see them go. But they'll be back before we know it to celebrate Nora's arrival!

And yes, we're still pregnant. I'm feeling better than I did this weekend, but I ended up scrapping the afternoon's to do list in favor of some rest. Right now, I'm just trying to enjoy these last few days of "normal" before sweet Nora makes her debut!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

System Shutdown

Even if I didn't know that my due date was in a week, I'd be pretty sure that the end was near. I vaguely remember something like this when I was pregnant with Phoebe, but I can't help but believe it's worse this time around. I feel like my body has gone into total system shutdown.

The final days of pregnancy are just that: the shutting down time. I am full body tired. As in, can hardly keep upright by the end of the afternoon. I'm taking naps again, and I really hate to nap. And let's just say that my tummy isn't as agreeable as it used to be. My appetite is way down again, and I'm craving really simple foods in small quantities, such as Cheerios and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In general, I just feel weird. Add that to some mighty painful contractions, and I can tell that the end is near.

I have an appointment on Wednesday, and Michael doesn't think I'll make it that long. I'm not as convinced that Nora's going to make an early debut, but I have to say... I'm pretty thankful that, early or not, she'll be here soon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Proof

For those of you who have yet to see the belly...

Michael took this yesterday morning. Phoebe was especially sensitive, and wouldn't let go of my hand for a while. I was struck by how giant the belly has gotten! (Please excuse the delightful jammy pants...they're the only thing that fits!)

We're planning to take some more "formal" belly and family pictures tomorrow; I'll be sure to post some then!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nesting

My due date is in eleven days, so I suppose now is as good a time as any to get some nesting done. Mops has arrived in town, so we're tackling some nesting items on my to do list. No pictures yet, but I'll be sure to get them up as soon as we have them.

We do finally have a crib set up, with sheets. It's hard to believe that in such a short time, we'll be having a sleeping baby in there!

Anyway, I just didn't want any one to worry that we'd gone into labor. Nora is content to hang tight just a little bit longer!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

38 Weeks and Counting

I had my weekly doctor's appointment today. I'm thankful to report that everything is moving along just as it should... but really, there's nothing exciting to share.

I've been having unusual cramping in my upper legs and belly, so I mentioned that to the doctor. He suspected that I was beginning to efface, and that those cramps were caused by pressure from Nora. After being checked, that was confirmed... basically, Nora's just getting into position like a good little girl! The only downside is that as I continue to progress, the cramps are just going to get worse -- more frequent and more painful. Better than labor, I suppose?

Here are the important details:
  • 1 pound weight gain
  • normal blood pressure (I didn't ask what it was today)
  • 1.5 cm dilated (+0.5cm)
  • 50 percent effaced (+50%; I had not yet begun to efface last week)
The other fun detail is that I have the distinct privilege of getting my flu shot next week at my appointment. Which would be my first shot since my epidural, 18 months ago, while I was in labor with Phoebe. They offered it today, and I put it off. The nurse totally gave me a hard time when I asked if I could "come in prepared for a needle". She reminded me that I was about to give birth, that a needle was really no big deal; needless to say, I'm still waiting for next week's appointment.

Anyway, I could go into labor tonight... or after my due date. So the anticipation continues to grow! We're excited that Mops will be coming tomorrow to help get some nesting done, which might make me a little more ready for Nora to make her debut!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big Pretender

The other day I came in to get Phoebe from her nap, and she had some magnificent bed head. She sweetly agreed to hang out in her crib while I went to go get the camera. She was delighted to model her hair for me for the pictures.

And then she did this:
No, she's not ready to go back to bed. But she was playing at being sleepy. I'd ask her if she was ready to go night-night, and she nodded with a big grin before flopping herself down in the middle of nineteen different soft things.

Oh and, the bed hair? Totally didn't look as wild in pictures, but here it is:

For the record, my absolute favorite time with Phoebe is when she is just getting up from a sleep -- either first thing in the morning, or right after nap. The best.