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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Loving Well

With two weeks to go (give or take), the discomfort of late pregnancy has really set in. And nesting energy? Yeah right. I'm taking naps again, which is...a huge deal, since I hate to nap. Honestly, instead of nesting I'm having to let certain chores slide for the time being. It kills me, but I like being able to move after 2pm.

Enter my greatest blessing:
my husband. (The little girl is cute, too, but this one's all about him.)

A little background: Michael is not a lover of housework. Nor is he someone that has a natural bent toward orderliness. But I know he loves me. A lot. Let me tell you some of the things he has done, just in the last week or so:
  • mopped the kitchen
  • vacuumed, at least twice...and he moves the furniture
  • washed dishes while I napped or picked up Phoebe from church
  • given me naptime when he really did have other things to do
  • dusted with impressive fervor
  • and not to be forgotten, he also washed my dirty, stinky, black feet one night when I was too tired to get in the shower
Here's some proof:
He did have some help from a little vacuum surfer.

And it's not like I've done anything to warrant this kind of treatment. I've been grouchy, volatile, and downright hormonal. And yet, here is my husband... loving me as Christ loves the church. Undeserved. Sacrificial. Not often reciprocated. His love is teaching so much about the love of Christ. What a blessing it is to have a husband like this, who shepherds me with his words and his actions!

"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:25-27

Friday, September 26, 2008

Some More Happy

There is something in the air. Seriously. I want to call it fall, but I'm afraid of jinxing it. So I didn't call it that. But whatever it is, it sure does up the happy for me. I'm getting to dig out some long sleeved shirts, and Michael is putting up with the yoga pants... at least for now. Whatever it is, I'm not hot all the time. Which is great, when you're almost 38 weeks pregnant.

Along with the weather, there are some more things that are making me happy right now. And I feel like I need to list them, because right now I'm on this manic mood swing thing... I can shift from delight to despair in about 3.2 seconds. So here's for keeping on the delight side of things:
  • Phoebe's tummy problems have been absent for 36 hours. I think we can call that gone?
  • Our new stove was delivered yesterday, and connected this morning. Now that I've gotten over the cost of everything, I'm totally excited about being able to use an oven for the first time in three weeks. And we're cooking with gas, y'all!
  • I've mentioned the weather, haven't I?
  • Nora's sheets were delivered today, which means I am, in theory, mostly prepared to bring a baby home from the hospital. At least in my head I am!
  • USC lost last night.
  • Jim and Pam! Finally! And we were able to enjoy it with our good friends, the Woodalls.
  • Phoebe's bedhead, which will totally get a picture when she's officially awake. She had a bad dream a few minutes ago, and the whole side of her head is spiked up.
  • Chick-fil-A for lunch today
  • Chatting with my husband on Google Chat this afternoon while he works
  • Oreo cookies
  • it's Friday...which means Michael is home for the weekend in just a few short hours!
There's more. Of course. But honestly, just making that short little list made my already pretty good mood even better. I'd highly recommend some happy-list making as part of your Friday agenda!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some Happy

The last several days have been pretty hard for me. God's grace has really been abundant, and He has really helped me to seek joy. He has provided for me appropriate rest, adequate encouragement, and abundant love.

But the truth is, as a Mommy, it is awful to see your child suffer in any way. Phoebs got sick last Wednesday, and that wasn't fun. But then the diarrhea set in. And although it hasn't been accompanied by fever or any other symptoms... I think it's the worst thing I've had to watch Phoebe suffer through. I am not understating when I say that diaper changes have been miserable. I think she's been as strong as her little body would allow; often, it was more than she could handle.

One of Phoebe's happiest times these past few days has been the bath. Nothing hurts when she's in it, and in fact, she is getting some gentle relief. Daddy used these opportunities to style her hair.

See how much hair she has! She was utterly delighted by the giggles her hair elicited from Mommy and Daddy. I hope that these 'dos can bring you a little delight today, too!

So far today, we've not had any visits from our unwelcome guest, the diarrhea. I'm hoping it stays far, far away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

37 Weeks

I had my weekly chat with Dr. D today downtown, and so far, everything's looking good!

Here are the vital statistics:
  • normal blood pressure, iron, and sugars
  • no weight gain this week; holding steady at 14 pounds
  • I have finally dilated to 1cm... glad those more painful contractions are doing something!
  • baby is still head down
I'll go back next week (October 1) for another check... it's hard to believe we're almost to the October benchmark! We are so thankful for another normal and complication-free pregnancy up to this point. I'm starting to get more uncomfortable, but knowing that this discomfort is time limited makes it a whole lot more manageable!

In other exciting Nora news, we can set up her room now that the new carpet is in! Michael is bringing his old crib home tonight, and I imagine we'll put that together sometime in the next week. Right now, the plan is to house her in the guest bedroom until she is sleeping through the night. Then, she'll make the move to Phoebe's room. We'll be having two cribs since there is no way Phoebe is ready for a big girl bed!

One way or another, ready or not... Nora's coming soon!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Randomly Collected

The new carpet is in. And wow. I'm amazed at what a difference it makes! It's something we've wanted to do for a long time; we are so thankful that the Lord provided a generous tax return for 2007. The carpets are already bringing us great delight, and we also know that they will be a worthwhile investment in our home.

Here are a few before and afters:
Yes, Phoebe's carpets were that gross. I told you we'd wanted carpets for a long time!

Much better, don't you think? I'm pooped, but the carpets look great!

Also, I found out about a great new home remedy for Phoebe's...upset tummy. I already knew about the BRAT diet, and we've been trying to follow that as best we can. But after talking to the nurse today, she informed me that Chick-fil-A waffle fries (or french fries in general) are also helpful in alleviating diarrhea. No really. I would seriously not make this up! We are so going through the drive-thru later today for some lemonade and fries.

And that, my friends, is about all I can muster for today. Impressive, no? A more exciting update to come tomorrow... it's my weekly visit with Dr. D!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chaos Theory

Life has, for the past month, been rather chaotic. Since the middle of August, we've had a staph infection, hospitalization, sick Critters, bathroom demolition, a broken oven, a broken grill, and a hormonal, pregnant wife. I'm sure there's more; let's just say it's been quite the ride.

We decided to add to the chaos.

This, by the way, was planned before most of the other chaos started... just so you don't think we're off in the head (although we probably are). We are finally replacing the carpet in our remaining carpeted rooms. Today. We inherited some nasty carpet when we moved in, with stains that were not removed with professional cleaning. Since we've decided to hang out in this house as long as we can, we're replacing them for good.

Here are a few preliminary pictures:

The dining room...aka, the holding room

Guest Bedroom (before)

Guest Bedroom (in progress)

I'm already thrilled with it! More pictures to come, as this process continues. I'm amazed at hos fast everything's moving!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

So Much Better

Phoebe's fever broke yesterday afternoon, and since then she's been feeling progressively better. Her appetite is still small; I think we've probably dropped back below the twenty pound mark again! Her teeth are also causing her frustration right now, and interrupting her sleep both at naptime and at night. But how does Phoebe really feel?

So much better!

It also helps that Phoebe's favorite football team clobbered their opponents today! Roll Tide!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not a Doctor's Update

Yes, it's true that Michael and Jake both have a doctor's appointment today. But this is not a doctor's update.

It's a sick day update.

Our Little caught some kind of yucky bug... probably while playing with those germy balls and legos at the doctor's office? (I am still not questioning my decision to allow it, by the way!) She spiked a fever at bedtime last night, and it shot up in the middle of the night. It broke around 3:30, but when she woke back up at 8:00 this morning... fever and vomitting were present.

So it's a sick day over here... and after the busyness of the past few days, I'm thankful that I was looking forward to a day at home. I imagine we'll have lots of cuddles, books, and PBS today... and of course, Lamby and our "nay-nay" have a free pass out of the crib.

And though I hate she's feeling yucky, is there anything sweeter than a sick, cuddly little girl?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Doctor's Update #2

We are swimming in copays for the month of September, friends. Seriously. Every family member, including Jake, has a doctor's appointment this week. Today, it was my turn.

I have now officially reached the 36 week mark, which means I have the delight of hanging out with Dr. D, downtown, every single week. Today was also my first...exam. Here are the results:
  • Nora is growing, and will probably be bigger than her sister. For the first time in my pregnancy (either pregnancy, actually), I am measuring right on, and not small. I grew 3 cm in two weeks (average is 1cm/week), and gained another 2 pounds.
  • Blood pressure is good
  • Nora's heart rate was 156, higher than it has been in weeks. She's been a sleepyhead at her appointments, and evidently she was enjoying her breakfast today.
  • Nora is being a good little girl, and is currently head down. I've suspected as much the past few days, as I am no longer having to move body parts out from under my rib cage. Dr. D thinks she'll stay that way, and I'm thankful.
  • The contractions I've been having for the past four months have done nothing to dilate me. Hopefully they'll start working on something soon!
I promise I'll blog about more than the doctor soon; but honestly, I'm wiped out from waiting rooms and tests and all that. But I promise this is the last doctor update (from me, anyway) for one full week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Doctor's Update

What a blessing today's doctor's visit was! I mentioned yesterday that we were a little nervous about her checkup, and we had some very specific prayers about it this morning. We specifically prayed that
  • the doctor and nurses would be especially compassionate and loving (they usually are, by the way -- we love our pediatrician!)
  • procedures (shots and other labs) would be few and the pain would be minimal
  • Phoebe would be brave and free of "irrational" fears (the scale was very frightening to her at our last visit, for example; she was also nervous to even walk on her own)
I am learning that when you pray specifically, you can see specific answers to those prayers. And we did today!

Warning: this is going to be long!

In spite of our best efforts to get out of the house on time, we still arrived a few minutes late (thanks to 8:00 traffic on Valleydale). This delayed just about everything, which was actually a wonderful thing for us today. Phoebe had plenty of time to get accustomed to the waiting room, and allowed me to put her down just a few minutes after we arrived. By the time we were ready for the exam room, Phoebe was ready to walk the whole way!

When we got in our room, Phoebe was very excited when I told her that she was going to get naked (for her weight). She was nervous about sitting on the scale again, but Phoebe calmed enough to stop holding onto me and to actually sit on the scale to get her weight. Lamby helped her lay down still for her length and head measurements. Amazingly enough, this whole harmless nurse bit was one of the most frightening things about the whole appointment for Phoebe. In retrospect, I'm thinking we may have moved too quickly for her -- a lot happened to her really fast!

We then had to wait for the doctor. Y'all, there was a true blessing from heaven in that exam room. Balls and legos. I have never seen toys in one of the exam rooms, and since we were in that room for a grand total of an hour and a half... let's just say this Mama forgot all her rules about doctor's office toys and let Phoebe have at it. (We did clean our hands several times!) Phoebe was entertained, and in a great mood by the time the doctor arrived.

Dr. B showed Phoebe everything she was going to do (listen to her heart, look in her ears, etc.) on Lamby first. She was also able to sit in my lap, and she sat very still and calmly while she was examined. What a delight! (Lamby, by the way, was a model patient.)

Phoebe also was able to play while I talked to the doctor about some concerns I had. (More on that in a minute.) She was such a big girl that she was able to choose a sticker from the basket -- a Clifford sticker! Another short wait, and then we were ready for shots. One major blessing here is that we were also able to get her flu shot today, rather than having to come back -- I am all for minimizing our appointments, especially with Nora's arrival at "any day now". The nurse was delightful, and worked quicklyl; by the time I picked Phoebe up, she had stopped crying.

We also had to have another nurse check Phoebe's iron with a finger stick. This was the worst part of the visit, really, for both of us. Phoebs was unafraid, but by the time the nurse started squeezing... let's just say that it didn't feel too good, and it took a rather long time to get the sample that the nurse needed. It took Phoebe several minutes to calm down from the experience, but fortunately -- we were finished!

As a special treat, we stopped by Daddy's office on the way home for hugs and kisses. Phoebe had all but forgotten the doctor's visit, and Daddy had a few minutes for a break -- so he hopped in the van and we went to the park for a short (but wonderful!) trip. Phoebe particularly loved the slides this time, and went by herself over and over. Did I mention that it was only 70 degrees and breezy at 10, when we went to the park? Michael and I think it feels that way in heaven.

Phoebe is now sleeping soundly, dosed with some Tylenol and a Lamby.

Here are the important statistics for her 18 month visit:
  • 20 pounds, 4 ounces -- 7th percentile (we are no longer concerned about this; the doctor has conceded that she's just going to be a peanut!)
  • 31.5 inches tall -- 50th percentile
  • 18 inches for head circumference
We are currently on "watch" for Phoebe's verbal development. In all other areas, she seems to be developing normally. However, she's a fair bit behind the benchmark for verbal development at 18 months. Since we're doing all the right things (lots of reading, talking with and to her, etc.), we're going to continue to watch her development until Christmas. If she's still significantly behind the benchmark at that point, the doctor can order an evaluation for us. That said, the doctor thinks that we will probably see a word "explosion" in the next month or so. We can only wait and trust the Lord to develop Phoebe's speech in his perfect timing!

No matter what, though... we think our little girl is wonderfully made, and just the way He intended her to be!

Monday, September 15, 2008

18 Month Old Ballerina

My last post has all the information on our budding toddler, but I wanted to add as a post script some pictures that we snapped tonight after Michael got home. Nandy had picked up some fun dress-up clothes after last Halloween, and we thought we'd try some on for size. The result was a pint-sized ballerina in a slightly too-big tutu.

One and a Half

Yesterday, Phoebe turned eighteen months old. We are halfway to two, if you can believe it; also, the eighteen month milestone means we are literally days away from having another little one in the house.

Phoebe is so much a toddler now, and yet she is still so much a baby. What a delightful time of development this is! On one hand, it makes me sad to see her leaving behind some of her "baby" traits; on the other, I am so ready to have her as a "big girl" to help out with her little sister. Here are some of the big girl things we see in our Phoebs:

Phoebe is...
  • still adding words to her vocabulary, and I've learned to chill out about the fact that she's just not as verbal as some of her friends. Some of our new words for this month are "ice", "bow", "dip", and "thank you".
  • signing the answer to question #1 in the Catechism for Young Children
  • loving books more than ever! She is particular about what she wants to read, and when. She also helped me choose books at the library for the first time this past month. We have been especially enjoying some Kevin Henkes and Lois Ehlert, as well as our favorite Eric Carle and Clifford.
  • climbing all over everything. She says something that sounds like "shcheese" whenever she wants to sit in a chair ("sit please"?), and often she'll try to get there herself. She can climb into her rocking chair in her room, as well as the loveseat in the living room. She's adventurous still, and not afraid to fall a few times in the trying.
  • becoming more and more helpful with her "chores". She loves to sweep, put things in the dirty clothes, set the table (napkins, and her utensils), and put things back in the refrigerator, among other things.
  • loving on a baby doll, although she is totally clueless about her sister coming soon! She particularly loves to give her a "nay-nay" (paci), and kisses her often.
  • taking one nap in the afternoon. Although I fought the great nap dropping of 2008, we've both adjusted well.
  • interested in dipping foods, especially in Ranch dressing. I can now get her to eat "bunny food" (raw carrots, celery) when offered with some dip!
  • still waiting on her canine teeth to come on in, although they're causing her a fair amount of discomfort. We're anxious for them to arrive, just as I'm sure she is!
  • loving more and more crafts; we especially love to color and play with homemade play-doh. She also loves the Magna-Doodle we "borrowed" from Mops's house!
And, as usual, I could list ad nauseum. But I'll spare you! We go tomorrow for Phoebe's 18-month checkup at the pediatrician, and the dreaded shots. Our last doctor's visit (a couple of weeks ago for a false staph alarm) did not go well, and Phoebe was really nervous about the nurses, doctor, and instruments. We're praying for a big brave girl tomorrow!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Recommended Listening - Elisabeth Elliot

As this pregnancy winds down, I'm trying to be very particular about protecting "down time" for myself in the afternoon while Phoebe naps. I'm trying to limit my "on the feet" chores to an hour, reminding myself that it is indeed okay to let the mopping wait another day or two. For the remainder of that time, I'm working on other chores -- folding laundry, paying bills, journaling, organizing -- or just taking some rest time with a magazine or a book.

Often during this time, I'll load up iTunes or Pandora for some uplifting music. Sometimes, though, I'll pull up a podcast or other teaching on the computer. Today, I chose some teaching.

In my Bible study this morning, I was really convicted about my attitude towards prayer. So as I began my dusting in the living room, I pulled up an Elisabeth Elliot mp3 on the topic.


By the end of it, I had stopped dusting, stopped folding laundry, and was just trying to absorb every little morsel from this teaching. I know that I'll be listening to it again, just so I can listen with focused attention. Ladies, if you'd like to hear some wonderful teaching on the topic of prayer, I would strongly encourage you to check out this great message.

You can click this link to go directly to the mp3: Elisabeth Elliot -- Prayer

This Elisabeth Elliot site is where I frequently go when I want to listen to some good, solid teaching. There are several talks available for download, listed by topic. I've always been encouraged and challenged by her teaching.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When Daddies Are In Charge

My absolute favorite time of day with Phoebe is the first hour she is awake. She's a delight throughout the whole day, generally, but this first hour is her happiest, most playful time. It's also a time when Daddy is still home...and, well, he's easily her favorite.

Phoebe loves to help Daddy get dressed. Occasionally, she'll help herself to whatever Daddy's got so that she can, well, accessorize. Let's just say her Daddy indulges her just a little bit.

See what I mean?

(That's his belt and socks, by the way, over her jammies.)

Doesn't she look like a little Robin Hood? She was totally into her outfit, and cheesed all around the house as we snapped pictures. I think Phoebs was a little disappointed when we told her she had to give back her accessories so Daddy could finish getting dressed.

When Daddy is in charge, I can always count on a great laugh and a happy little girl!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Next Good Thing

Y'all, I am tired. We haven't even crossed the three o'clock threshold, and I've found myself wondering if it's too early to go to bed.

It's been a long week. On our trip to visit Mops and Pops, I brilliantly forgot Lamby. The first day and a half we were there was spent sleepless, and looking to purchase a new one (the third Lamby, for those who are counting). (We found one, by the way.) On returning home, I faced an extremely busy weekend, an unfinished bathroom, and the realization that Nora's coming really soon.

Let's just say I spiraled into a bit of despair. That might be an understatement.

My sweet, sweet husband prayed with me (and for me) an awful lot. He encouraged me. And after I decided that I would actually listen to his sweet words, he gave me some really good advice. And friends, I'd like to share it here with you.

Instead of getting overwhelmed at the "everything" that needed my attention, he told me to simply focus on doing only the next good thing.

Meaning, I didn't need a plan. I just needed to tackle that next thing. If the thing most frustrating to me was the sink full of dirty dishes, then that sink was the next thing I needed to do. I didn't need a list or an itinerary. I just needed to do the next thing. And sometimes, that next good thing means putting my feet up for an hour.

This thinking (and an awful lot of prayer) has done wonders for my outlook! Although my list helps keep me organized, knowing I only have to worry about one thing at a time keeps me from getting completely overwhelmed.

And right now? The next good thing is a Dr. Pepper and some pita chips.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

There's More

So, the absence from blogging was unexpected. In a surprising fit of spontaneity, Phoebe and I hopped out of town for a few days. And then I did this really wonderful spiraling-into-despair thing that really delighted all those around me, let me tell you. More on this later. But I feel like I had to break the blogging "break" with a sweet picture, first.

We bid farewell to our dear friends, the Jordans, last night... God has led them back home to Virginia, and although we can't stand to see them go, we're excited about an excuse to go visit them in Virginia Beach! I think Phoebe will miss little Caedmon almost as much as we miss Dan and Kimberly!

More to come, after I've finished this cup of coffee and my trip to Costco.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Backwards Edition

So, I have a baby on the way. Really soon. Sooner than I'd care to admit, judging from the nothing I have done to prepare for her arrival. And I also have a toddler. A delightful, busy, and highly energetic eighteen-month-old.

Isn't she cute?

Anyway, one of the things I've at least thought about is Phoebe's transition to big sister. And y'all. I need help.

Here's what I need:
I need some fun activities that would be entertaining enough to keep Phoebe still and engaged for an extended period of time (15 minutes?). They've got to be easy to put together, easy to clean up, and independent enough for Phoebe to do while I tend to the baby. Please, leave me your tried and true tips! In a perfect world, I'd have several at my fingertips by the time Nora makes her debut!

If you feel like helping other folks out with your sage wisdom, check out Works for Me Wednesday: Backwards Edition at Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Quick Nora Update

I have less than six weeks until my due date.

The fact that, if she arrives on schedule, I will have two little girls next month... well, that's downright overwhelming. Next month! Carolynn gave me quite a fright this morning, telling me about her friend that went into labor a month early. However, the doctor informed me that no, a previous induction does not indicate an inclination towards premature labor... even if I'm hearing lots of stories that indicate it might.

Since our bathroom is still in the process of being gutted (and experienced a week's delay), and we're planning on putting in new carpet in the next couple of weeks... let's just say I'm hoping that Nora bakes all the way up to her due date.

For my own record (since my mom is really the only other person who cares about this stuff), here's what I found out today at my 34 week checkup:
  • Heartbeat 135-140 (she was totally asleep, again, during this appointment)
  • Measuring 33cm, a week small, just like Phoebe
  • Weight gain of 1 pound (since August 14), which I was glad to see... since at my last checkup I had gained four pounds in two weeks. (Total gain: 12 pounds)
  • Normal blood pressure (109/67)
I'll go back again in two weeks, which is when the weekly exams get all cranked up. I'm hoping all of these contractions that I'm having are actually doing something to get me ready for the big birthday... which, hopefully, will not be for another five or six weeks.