Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The labor of a lifetime :)

Our sweet little Micah James is here! Born 8/16 7:43 am 7lbs 6oz 20.5 inches, and so far he is doing great!

Though this labor was shorter than Miya's (36 hours vs 48 hours) it was different is SO many ways and so much more intense. I can't even describe how I saw God's hand at work through this labor and delivery and so here I am about 12 hours after delivery documenting my "story" because I don't want to forget all the fun details :)

So buckle your seat belt and prepare for a LONG story (more like a book):

Things really started last Tuesday the 11th, I had been having regular strong contractions on and off for days but they finally picked up this day so I was told to head into L&D. Because of my history of a c-section and my desire for a VBAC they pretty much wanted me to come in if I had regular contractions lasting more than a couple hours. After 8 hours in triage being monitored and making no progress we had to choose whether we would stay and be admitted most likely needing to use pitocin to pick things up, or to go home and just wait things out. Since we were hoping for a natural birth I really wanted to avoid pitocin if possible so we decided to go home, slightly disappointed, but really at peace with the decision. Pretty much off and on the entire week I had strong regular contractions that would pick up and slow down. The midwives kept saying "this is just prodromal labor...and unfortunately some women have this for weeks before they deliver" yikes not what I wanted to hear! So we just kept waiting for things to pick up and were told to call when things contractions were stronger, longer, and closer together.

So we waited and waited, it was truly agonizing. I wasn't in a rush to get him out, but I was having such a hard time discerning when I was really in labor with all the contractions I was having! So night after night I would be awakened by strong painful contractions that would go on for a few hours then like switch would just turn off. By my due date (8/14) I felt weary and exhausted. I shed a few tears and I think I had started to convince myself that he was never going to come! In the meantime we are at church that day and I notice I am having contractions throughout the day that are definitely painful and at times regular, but with my track record I just disregarded them and tried to get on with the day. By about 5 pm they were coming 3 minutes apart consistently. Now I know you are thinking: "wow 3 minutes apart you better get to the hospital!" but apparently this is just what my body does, at some points I could have them 2-3 minutes apart yet they wouldn't really pick up in intensity and eventually would taper off. So, with that in mind I just decided to wait it out. We decided to drop Miya off at my parents so that we could at least have the freedom to walk etc.. to see if things picked up. A dear friend Ana who had been a doula for many woman came to stay with me so Lew could rest. Having her there was priceless. We spent the night walking, bouncing on the ball, and trying to relax. My biggest enemy seemed to be my nerves, things would pick up I would get frantic and that anxiety would slow things down. By 2am that is just what happened. I was exhausted, my contractions were spacing out and I just started to panic. I couldn't see things just tapering off again, I was tired and just wanted to have this baby! I was knew I needed sleep but I was so afraid if I tried to sleep that things would stop progressing and it would be just like starting over again. But thanks to the persistence of Lew and Ana I decided to go to sleep and try to rest for a few hours. I even decided to sleep sitting up so at least it would make it easier for things to progress if they were going to. At 530 am I woke up to a really strong contraction, and from that point on they kept coming 3-4 minutes apart (and even closer when I was walking) and more intense than they had been. By 9 I had talked to my midwife and we were on our way in to the hospital.

When we get there we get into triage. I was hopeful that with all these contractions I had been having that maybe I would see some progress past the 2cm I had been the past week. Well much to my surprise I was still the same old 2cm I had been, the midwife tried to be encouraging by saying "it's a good 2 cm", but to me it was still no progress. I was once again given the choice of staying and possibly having to help my contractions out with pitocin, or going home. Lew and I both felt like the best decision was to stay since it really seemed like my body was ready. I laughed and looked at the midwife and said "We aren't leaving without a baby" :). So, we were admitted and amazingly the "no turning back" feeling was SO calming to me and I was finally able to relax and just let labor pick up. But much to my dismay after about 6 hours of regular contractions I still was stuck at a 2cm. The midwives were about to switch over at 7pm and they basically presented the option of doing a small dose of pitocin to help my contractions to get stronger and closer together. At this point I was already having to be monitored the entire time, so without being able to walk etc... they didn't think things would pick up. Not only that but the OB who was back up on call for the midwives that night was one of the only ones who would approve pitocin for a VBAC so this was really my only chance. So, we went for it. I was kind of hesitant because I had really wanted to go natural (no pain meds). Why? Because I'm crazy :) But I knew we had tried everything to get things to pick up and if getting pitocin meant needing an epidural that still was much better than having to get another c-section in my opinion. So we started pitocin at 6:30pm.

At first it really freaked me out because the pitocin had started and I just completely stopped having contractions for about a 1/2 hour. I called the midwife Dusty in and she explained that pitocin works on a negative feedback loop so it takes a while for it to get into a good rhythm with your body's natural oxytocin. Thankful within the hour they were coming on at about 4 minutes apart and picking up in intensity. By about 11 if I remember correctly I was having to breath through them and really feeling a lot more pain by this point, but I remember still being really happy and talkative between contractions (Ana and Lew will have to verify that for me :)) Dusty came in to check for progress, and I knew from previous experience to set my expectations low. Thankful that I did because I was only 3cm and while I was 100% effaced baby boy still hadn't dropped very far. Dusty wasn't comfortable breaking my water because He wasn't low enough and I hadn't progressed enough. So we just kept going up on the pitocin and trying to encourage things along. At this point the "bomb" was dropped that the back up OB coming on in the morning at 7am was not supportive of pitocin in VBAC's so I was down to about 9 hours of having the pitocin and hopefully making progress. We all chuckled and looked at each other like "no way I'll still be in labor at that point". If only I knew :)

This is where I lose track of time some. I think by about 3am the pitocin was really in full swing contractions were coming about 2 minutes apart and all the sudden out of the blue I started to have the most wicked back pain I had ever felt in my entire life...actually I would say worst pain in general that I have ever felt. When the contractions would come on it would feel like my back was just going to break under the pressure. The weirdest thing was the pain was right under my rib cage, it made no sense and no one had ever seen that kind of pain in labor. They were thinking it was just referred pain. The only way I could survive a contraction was to have Ana or Lew put a lot of pressure right over the spot where it was hurting. Even still with that I was barely coping with contractions. And by 4am I was shaking, crying, and probably doing a lot of yelling/groaning. Amazing how quickly I lost my composure :) The nurse came in and saw me and said "uh-oh, let me get the midwife to check your progress" I thought for sure this intense pain would mean I was making some descent progress, at least I hoped!

Dusty came in and checked me...and boy was I shocked to hear I was only 4cm. At this point Dusty said "I think you are fighting against yourself at this point, I really think some pain control would help you relax enough to progress" That's all I needed to hear. Through tears I shouted "get me that epidural" :) The anesthesiologist came in and I have to say this was one of the hardest parts for me. I have a terrible fear of needles, and trying to stay still through not only the fear but the terrible contractions was very hard. Poor Lew had his hands squeezed to death, I am so glad I didn't break any of his fingers. Once it was in I only felt really numb on one side. But for the most part the back pain was gone and I was finally relaxed. Dusty broke my water at this point and said she would come back to check me again within the hour. The only bad part at was another nurse had temporarily taken over for my nurse and she didn't seem totally competent, or very nice at that. She wouldn't explain anything she was doing and just mumbled everything under breath. At this point I was so tired so I almost didn't care. I had sent Lew and Ana to sleep for a little bit, and had planned to try to rest myself. But at 430ish that same fill in nurse came in and just started flipping me around in the bed and I saw her turn off the pitocin and at this point she is still mumbling under her breath. I guess my feisty side came out as I asked her what on earth she was doing and she said "oh the baby". I'm like "the baby what!?" To which she said "baby's not liking this, we need to turn you." And at this point I say "Ummm, shouldn't you turn me on my left side and put some oxygen on me?" Never good when you are having to tell a nurse what to do, and I always try not to do that, but really? Anyways she turned me over and I just laid there crying. With my labor with Miya she had started to not tolerate the pitocin at the end and soon after I was getting a c-section. I was so afraid that we were heading in that direction after all this hard work. Plus we were losing precious time on the pitocin as I had only 2 hours left to be on it.

By 5am Dusty came in and checked me, I was only a 5. She started the pitocin again at a really low dose since Micah's heart rate had been stable again. While she was still hopeful she had to drop the bomb again...but only this time she had to mention the possibility of another c-section. She said I know you don't want to hear this, and I don't want to say it, but really by 7am we will need to keep the pitocin off. And if there is little to no progress by that point the on call OB will probably start to push towards a c-section. At this point I became totally determined and focused. I knew it seemed impossible that I would show enough progress in 2 hours especially since it had taken me almost 34 hours to get 2 cm. But I knew God was bigger and so Lew and I started calling/emailing people to pray.

By 530 am I was feeling some crazy intense pain and pressure despite the epidural. Contractions were no longer spaced out at all but coming right on top of each other. I started to feel really out of it and was shaking uncontrollably and gripping as tightly to the side rail as I could. They called the anesthesiologist in to give me a re-dose of the epidural. He came in and saw me and said "how far along did they say you had progressed at the last check?" I said "5cm" he said "I think you are further than that now!" Music to my ears. But I was too much "in the zone" to process anything. The epidural was working again but the shaking and pressure I was feeling was so intense. The nurse just looked at me and said "I think you are in transition, and I think you are in the home stretch." I was too afraid to admit that was true, because of the little progress over the past 34 hours, but I also knew I had never felt this way before. Plus from what I had read on transition this pretty much looked just as it was described. I started to tell Lew and Ana "I feel something, I think it's his head, but I don't know." I think they thought I was crazy at that point, I don't think any of us could believe I had progressed that far in less than an hour.

Dusty came in at 6am and looked at me and said "oh boy let's check you". She didn't have to do much checking because she immediately said "ummm yup you're feeling all this because his head is right here." We all just laughed and celebrated. I had just progressed 5-10cm in less than an hour and was ready to push. I don't think any of us had expected to actually make the 7am deadline, but we did, and I was practically giddy at this point. Dusty laughed and said "I did what always works to get a woman to progress: mention a c-section, and go take a nap!" They got the room geared up and it was time to push.

Amazingly this was the the part I feared the most, yet it ended up being by far the easiest part. Poor Lew had the job of holding my leg which was pretty much dead weight at this point. I think the funniest part of the labor was when he accidentally let go to get a drink of water and my leg fell on the midwife, thankfully she was paying attention and caught it, I think otherwise it would have knocked it out. Another funny part was just how giddy and happy I was while pushing. I think I was just so relieved to be almost done, and so thankful for my epidural :) A half hour through the pushing I was almost there and was even offering Lew sips of water between contractions. It was pretty funny. Almost an hour in I just knew this was going to be my last push, and it was, our little guy was born at 7:43am and it was seriously one of the most amazing joy filled moment of my life. To actually be an active part of the birth was so much different than my c-section with Miya, I was just so thankful to be able to see him and hold him right away. Not to have blue curtains separating me from him, and to have no one snatching him out of my arms after only 5 minutes. I got to hold him for a good 45 minutes after the birth and the room just was full of happiness. The nurses were great, the midwives were great, Ana and Lew were the best supports I could have asked for. It truly was one of the hardest and most amazing experiences of my entire life. And yet even in that moment I'm pretty sure I looked at Lew and said "I could do this 10 more times" and Lew got a nervous look on his face and said "umm maybe" The amnesia that follows birth is probably one of the most miraculous parts of it all.

After the deliver was just so peaceful. I felt like I was surrounded by friends and it was really just a great experience. I was full of energy which was incredible because I had only slept 3 hours in 48 hours. But I felt so good, and so proud :)

That's the story! So far the recovery has been great. I feel good, and have to keep being reminded to rest because I feel so "normal" it's almost hard to remember it's just been over a week. I am so thankful for the gift these 2 kiddos are. I know big adjustments are ahead, especially for Miya. But all in all I couldn't be more thankful.

Blogger isn't letting me post pictures, so you can check out the facebook album here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

36 week update...

Had my 36 week appointment this week, seriously having a hard time believing we are really that close (I will actually be 37 weeks the day after tomorrow, yikes!). So far Micah is head down (yay!) I am 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. About what I expected at this point. The midwife said he is in a "good" position, I'll take her word for it :) Our goal is to go for a VBAC (avoid another c-section) and so far the midwives are very hopeful that I will be able to do that, Lord willing. So what's on my agenda the next 3 weeks? Well I decided to schedule myself up until my due date, it helps keep me moving and so far I am still feeling really good physically so I figure why not? Sleep hasn't been great, but that isn't a surprise, and amazingly my body has gotten used to sleeping in 3 hour increments and somehow I still make it through the day without feeling too bad.

The common question I have been asked lately: (I guess it's twofold :)) "Are you ready?" and "is the nursery ready?" I just have to chuckle about the nursery question because my answer is a resounding.... No :) I have been totally unmotivated this time to work on his room. I have some things to hang and a few ideas, but I just keep thinking that he will be in our room for a little while and I'm sure I will have time while on my maternity leave to work on his room. And hopefully we will be have miya out of the toddler bed by then so we can turn it back into a crib for Micah. Until then, little man will just room in with us, and if that doesn't work then he can sleep in his pack-n-play. We still need to get some furniture for his room and I am so caught up in just keeping up with the day to day that this hasn't been high on my list....but eventually it will get done, and little man will be none the wiser :)

Hard to believe he could come any time now. Miya is getting excited and keeps asking "when we going to da hospital to get baby micah?"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Motherhood is a Calling

If you haven't read this yet, I suggest you hop over to desiring God to check it out, you won't regret it!!

Motherhood is a Calling

It's an article written by the woman who wrote "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches" one of my newest favorite books. A huge plus is you can read the book in one sitting if you want.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big girl.

Something about being in the last month of this pregnancy is making me nostalgic, probably the awareness that time will only speed up with the addition of another child. It hit me this past week that when people ask how old Miya is, we no longer refer to her age in "months" as we have pretty much her whole life. It was always natural to respond with oh she's __ months. Now we just say...."oh she turned 2 in March" or she'll be 2 1/2 soon, or in the especially frazzled moments "she's 2". I just have such a hard time believing how big she is getting and I just keep feeling that I not only want to soak up every moment with her, but also realizing how much I want to document so I can remember all this fun stuff!

What she is saying: (or should we say what is she NOT saying...the talking seems to never stop :))

- "Make baby Micah dance!" She somehow finds some amusement in me moving my belly so she can see micah "dance"

- "Oh I love lemolade, I will have mommy's lemolade!" Referring to my water with lemon in it :)

- "Hug Mommy...I NEED to hug Mommy" usually said with urgency, and usually during a time where she is being asked to do something she doesn't want to.

- "Jesus pweas help Miya...I'm pwaying!!" Bless her heart Miya has been saying these little short prayers on her own these days and the funniest part is she realizes she is saying them and all the sudden stops praying and yells "oh I'm pwaying!!" as if it catches her by surprise, or she wants to make sure Mommy and Daddy know.

- "I need to go poo poo!" (repeated over and over and usually with tears and holding on to mommy and or daddy with a death grip) not to be confused with the casual "i need to go to potty", in this instance this is her "catch phrase" when she is terrified of something and wants one of us to save her. She will repeat this over and over and over usually followed by "I need to go home". A few of her BIG fears/dislikes lately:
  • airshow and any loud airplanes
  • any sudden loud noises
  • fireworks
  • parades
  • clowns
I feel like there is more but those are the major ones for now. Why she chooses this phrase when she is afraid? We think she believes that if she says it we will remove her from the situation or person that is scary to her.

- "Papa you want to go to a baseball game? yeah yets go to a baseball game" a girl after her daddy's heart.

- When I put her down in her big girl bed she has learned to say "don't get out until mommy comes to get you!" amazingly she also tells on herself when she doesn't obey this rule by immediately saying when I come in to get her "Miya get out."

- "Chawge!" she is in love with the "charge" cheer at baseball games, in fact she sometimes wants us to cheer it while she is on the potty.

- "I wuv baby Micah, can I hug him?" followed by hugs and kisses to my belly.

- "I'm fwimming!" still love how she still sometimes replaces her "s" with a "f" sound. She is referring to swimming here, her favorite summer activity thus far.

- She understands consequences at this point. When we ask her what happens when she disobeys she replies with " Miya gets an ipapwin" pronounced just like dicipline but missing the d and with the "w" sound replacing the "l" sound. Silly girl.

She has been so affectionate and silly. I love this age so much, even in though it truly is the most exhausting stage of motherhood so far. She says so many funny things and does so many funny things. Trying to soak up all this 1 on 1 time we have before Micah comes.

A few other quirks I want to remember:
  • She insists on sleeping with 15+ stuffed animals and dolls. She is literally surrounded by them all
  • She loves fruit and many times will choose fruit over other forms of dessert
  • She has just started to name her stuffed animals and dolls and carry them around like they are her babies
  • She likes to carry funny little random toys and place them at funny places all over the house, bathroom, steps, foyer, underneath furniture. It makes for a fun treasure hunt at the end of the day after she goes to bed.

She is also 90% potty trained. Basically completely trained during the day (woohoo!) and still working on nighttime. But truthfully, having her trained during the day has been awesome now that she finally gets it! But getting there was quite the challenge. Figuring out the right routine and helping to work through her fears of public bathrooms. But I am happy to report on Wednesday for the first time EVER Miya actually went potty in a public restroom! It was such a triumph, after MONTHS and MONTHS of her refusing to even want to sit on a public toilet, let alone even enter a public bathroom, she not only sat on the potty but actually went. We made a huge deal and she got ice cream afterwards. It makes it so much easier when we are out and about now.

That's it for now. I will do a pregnancy update after my 36 week appointment on Wednesday. Hard to believe I am that close!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My weakness...

If your thinking "blogging is sure a weakness" considering it's been, I dunno 6 months or more since I blogged. Yep I would say I've been pretty "weak" in blogging, but that's not what I am referring to :)

God has been opening my eyes to my weakness lately and as I was journaling/praying some this morning I realized this is a snapshot that I want to capture and keep for years ahead when I need encouragement. Here is a little tidbit from my journal this morning to clue you in on what life has been like lately. Maybe some of you Mom's can relate...

"Last night was a LONG restless sort of night. Miya was up crying several times for no real reason. I had a hard time sleeping and getting comfortable and just when I would fall asleep she was cry again. In the midst of the restlessness my mind started to race and I was filled with anxiety about baby Micah's arrival and the sleepless nights that await me. Then it hit me that these are opportunities for me to turn to you and trust You. Times where you are preparing me for what is to come. Not so I can fret over the days ahead, bu so I can press into you and sow seeds of faith in my heart now to prepare me for what is to come. This is, in many senses, Your kindness to me. I don't want to go into this next season naive to the challenges. Yes having a newborn will be exhausting at times, yes Miya has entered a very challenging stage requiring much time, patience, and training, yes balancing life with 2 kids will mean less time and energy for my wants and desires, yes sleepless nights and days are in my future--BUT God promises grace for all of these things, He promises to have gone before me and promises to know all my weakness. He promises his grace is sufficient and his strength is made perfect in weakness. So I don't have to look ahead in fear, but I can have eyes of faith for what God is doing and will do in the future!"

This is just a glimpse into where my heart was this morning, the word "weakness" sums up how I have felt the last few weeks. Physical weakness as I enter the last 2 months of my pregnancy and chase a busy toddler. Emotional weakness as I parent a toddler who many times has a mind of her own and a will that seems so insurmountable; at times I can feel like giving up is the easier bet. Sometimes it's laughable how God is using Miya to show me my weakness. She pinpoints just about every trigger I have to the point where my nerves feel shot by the end of the day. Don't get me wrong about how much I love our girl, and how thankful I am to be her mommy. None of that has changed. But we have entered what has become the most difficult stage so far, and there have been days where I cry out "ummm God I can't do this!" After a challenging few days where I feel like everything has been a battle with her and I have been so tempted to be angry towards her disobedience, even tempted to think that somehow working full time would be easier; God has opened my eyes to his purposes in all this. He is using Miya to show me how dependent I am on Him. He has perfectly tailored this girl to point me to grace and show me my complete helplessness. Of course Miya has no clue at this point the role she plays in this, she is just a sinful toddler who wants her way and will fight for it, but God is using her in big ways to humble me. All this to say it's nights like last night that I am so aware of what God is doing, and so aware of my need to cry out constantly. I can't go a day or hour without crying out because I am aware of my weakness on so many levels.

I have been reading one of my favorite parenting books by Elyse Fitzpatrick lately called "Give them Grace", I couldn't recommend more highly. Here are a few portions that have stuck out to me:

"It is a kindness when he strips us of self-reliance, because it is there, in our emptiness and brokenness, that we experience the privilege of his sustaining grace. It is only when we arrive at that dreaded place of weakness that we discover the surpassing power of Christ. It is only when we are finally freed from the oh-so-constricting straighjackets of self-righteousness that we are able to experience that true comfort and warmth of the robes of righteousness."

"The compliant child's life lies to us, assuring us that she is good because we're such good parents. Difficult children tell us the truth: God loves his enemies, and he can infuse us with a grace that will make us lay down their lives for them too. Their rebellion is a verification of the gospel: we produce sinful children because we are sinners. God's power is displayed through our failures when we tether ourselves to the gospel message of sin and forgiveness, no matter how how desperate the situation becomes."

So all in all I am feeling very humbled right now, but also very blessed. Blessed by the gift of motherhood and how God is using it to strip away life's comforts to allow me to grow in perseverance and grace. Stripping away the layers of "ease" that I can idolize so much and showing me a better way in laying down my life.

I can look ahead in excitement for how God will meet me as we welcome our boy in less than 2 months. I don't have to look ahead with fears of "how will I do it!?" But I can rest assured that on my own I can't do it, but thankfully Christ lived the perfect life for me so I can claim this promise:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)


Friday, April 08, 2011


We had the joy of having the Lewis family visiting this past week, and took advantage of the one beautiful day we had with temps into the 80's! Who knew how precious a little sunshine could be when we have had such a dreary spring so far. So we went to the zoo. My original thought was: this is perfect we will go around 10 (metro down) walk around, grab lunch, walk around some more looking at animals, take our time...and head home around 3ish to beat rush hour. Yes that meant skipping naptime, but come on we're talking about the zoo here! Well we all know things never go how we "imagine" them with a toddler.

So our day looked more like: leave the house closer to 11, get down to DC closer to 12, try to convince a hungry tired toddler that she'd rather look at animals in the distance than eat lunch (didn't win that one) then to cave after only being there for 20 or so minutes by standing in line for 30 minutes at the only open place to buy lunch (after snacks didn't suffice) walk around for about another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes...then to have our toddler convince us she was ready to go home around 1:30. Def. not as I expected, BUT if you ask Miya about her zoo experience she will say it was SO FUN! She thought it was awesome. I think toddlers are just that fickle :) And truly I am convinced 2 hours feels like 5 to a child. So in her eyes she was there all day!

Either way it was a fun memory and Miya did have lot's of highlights that she is still talking about today. Her favorite? The panda! The funniest thing was this was the furthest away animal she saw. You can see in the pic below the panda sitting in tree eating a branch. As miya describes: "panda pull down da bwanch and eat it!" she will say it over and over again laughing every time. It was definitely her highlight, and I now think panda's are her "favowite" animal.

Miya's fav spot to be perched: "papas showdas"

engrossed in her panda viewing.

sunny sunglasses day :)

she really was that enthralled by the panda!

These orangutangs were the cutest. The were so lovey dovey and just kinda snuggled together every once and a while posing for a picture

Hanging with Nana and Dedad

Miya loves her dedad!

mmm "pwum" miya is obsessed with them lately.

the "zebwas" another miya highlight

All in all Miya was satisfied with her trip, and mommy got some mango gelato (for a whopping 5 bucks for a small....gotta love those zoo prices :)) so I'd say it was a win.

We are having...

So I feel like most people know by now....but I'm sure some don't:


We had our ultrasound 2 weeks ago and baby boy appears nice and healthy, praise God! And I am measuring right on time at just about 22 weeks for our due date of August 14th. I am feeling good now, the nausea finally passed around 17 weeks and my energy (though it isn't close to what I had in my 2nd trimester w/ Miya) has improved much form the 1st trimester. I blame the lesser energy on my busy toddler :) Miya is very excited about her baby "bwotha" and we have already decided on a name: Micah James Lewis.

We picked Micah for the meaning: "who resembles God", and James after James in the bible (Jesus' brother). The book of James has been extremely influential in my life since finding out we are expecting this baby, so we knew we wanted to have it in there.

We are getting more excited as we anticipate welcoming sweet Micah into our family.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dear Miya...

Dearest Miya,

I have so poorly captured this past year, and I will never be able to catch up now, but I have to pause now to remember you just as you are right now, since I can't hit pause (though I wish I could often) I don't want to forget these fun memories!

In a few short weeks you will be 2, and I can barely stand how quickly you are growing. In about 22 weeks you will become a big sister, and I know you will be a wonderful big sister! You already show so much interest in "the baby" as you talk to and kiss my belly on a daily basis. You call "it" baby boy and we will find out soon if you are right! I can't help but think that you might get along better with a little brother than a sister, we will see!

You are talking up a storm, and you keep daddy and I in stitches when you open your mouth! A few of your latest phrases are:
"what dats?" you are so curious and want to know what everything is!
"what you doing mommy" another frequently asked question, you always want to know what I am up to :) Sometimes you will ask 20 times in a row
You have begun to ask me questions only to answer with the same thing you think I am going to say. Mommy has discovered that she needs to come up with some new responses to your questions: "mommy yet's go outside? nope we're done. Watch leapfrog? nope we're done. Play choo choo train? nope we're done."
"mommy tiss!" you sometimes mix up your "K" sounds with t's so when you mean to ask for a kiss you tend to say tiss instead.

You are doing well with going on the potty. You generally go poo poo on the potty every day, Mommy just needs to get more consistent about putting you on for pee pee too. But you are so good about telling me when you need to go!

You have been so snuggly with me lately, I think you might be able to sense a big change coming. But I don't mind one bit. One thing I have learned this past year is time flies way too fast, and I know it won't be long before you will no longer want snuggles and won't even fit in my lap because my belly will be too big. So I am soaking it all in. Daddy thinks I am crazy, but occasionally you will wake up crying late at night, normally we would let you fuss for a few minutes and you would go right back to sleep, but now I jump right up and run in to rock you for a few minutes. I just can't miss a moment with you, I know you won't be my littlest for long and I can't fathom missing any chances I have to spend those quiet moments with you.

Spring is coming and you love playing outside! Every chance you get you want to go out for walks, and the whole time you point out anything and everything. Birds! Airplanes! Trees! Flowers! People! I love your excitement over every little thing, it's absolutely contagious.

You looove to sing, many times we catch you sitting on the floor playing while you sing "amazing grace" or "holy God" or "twinkle twinkle" and our favorite "God bless america" you amaze us with your ability to remember the lyrics to songs and we love to hear your joyful heart as you sing.

You have also become quite mischievous these days. You have discovered how to remove your clothes and diaper during naps or bedtime, several times mommy has come in to find you completely naked, and thankfully we can solve it at nighttime by putting your pj's on backwards. Still trying to figure out a naptime solution. You also have discovered a new fun trick: climbing out of your crib! I never thought I would see the day, but boy was I surprised when I heard that first boom from your room during naptime. I came running up to find you, little "houdini" out of her crib and apparently unscathed. We have now figured out that we can turn you crib around so the shorter side is against the wall, and you haven't quite figured out how to climb out from the side....and I am hoping that you don't figure it out either :)

You are still a good eater, but starting to get more picky. You love fruit, and especially Boobooberries (blueberries) as you refer to them. You ask for them every single meal, and if I say they are all gone you want proof! In fact if I tell you anything is all gone you demand to "see all gone" meaning you want to see the empty container. Silly girl. You also still love beans and rice, but aren't a huge fan of meat. You will eat meant however if we give you something to "dip" it in. Typical toddler.

I have been praying for a tender heart for you lately, praying that God would give me wisdom in how to show you grace. I have seen God working in many ways. We have been trying to teach you to pray and it has many times melted my heart to hear you say "jesus pwease help" on your own initiative. Baby steps, but thankful to see God at work nonetheless.

I love you sweet girl, being your Mommy has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I can't wait to see what the year ahead holds, and all that God has in store.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let's talk food...

I'm thrilled to be able to talk (let alone think) about food again without getting sick. I have finally gotten into a groove again with dinners, but I have been wanting to do more baking than anything, which has kept my family very happy :)

I have a load of recipes to share that have been on our favorite list lately. Here goes:

Vegetarian: I am beginning to think we breed vegetarian babies. This pregnancy, what are the first things I want once I am feeling well enough to stomach normal food? Beans and lentils. Strange. And not only that, but after 4 vegetarian meals last week I watched miya scarfing down all variety of beans and lentils...and learned that this child LOVES beans. She will turn her nose at beef and chicken, but give her beans and she will devour them. And hey it's cheap and good for you, so we'll roll with it.

Coconut Rice & Beans

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened b/c I had it on hand)
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/4 cups uncooked basmati rice (I used brown basmati)
1 small onion, chopped
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used dried beans that I soaked and cooked)
1 can black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 red pepper, chopped (optional)
1 lime
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Toppings: lime wedges, diced mango, sour cream, cilantro, green onion. (the mango I had wasn't ripe, so I just sliced up some peeled naval orange over top, it was delish)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted. Cool.
2. Bring broth, coconut milk, salt & pepper, 2 Tbsp. butter, and 1 cup water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.

A few more:
Martha's Bean Burritos
Seriously the best bean burritos ever. They freeze amazingly, in fact we have a big batch in the freezer that we grab from for lunches and dinners, they reheat so well.

Black Bean Soup
LOVE this so much. It's super easy, and you can used dried beans too, but I usually end up using canned ones that I just rinse to get rid of extra sodium. Also I have found it's pertinent to use a fresh salsa for this (you know the kind you can find in the deli or at the refrigerated section at Trader Joes?) It turns out SO much better with fresh salsa. We serve it with sour cream and sometimes a dab of homemade guacamole on top. Actually having leftovers of this today for lunch. It's yummy with quesadillas to dip or tortilla chips.

Coconut red lentil soup
Got this one from my SIL and it was so yummy, and make great leftovers too.

Ok we do have some meat dishes we like too :)

Just made this Beef Pepperoncini last night with some of the grassfed cow that has been hanging out in the freezer, it was really good and really easy. We served it on some warmed focaccia rolls with a little mayo and some melted muenster cheese.

And for sweet goodies, that have been rocking my pregnant world lately:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Need I say more? I mean this was so good, the best banana bread I have ever had. VERY moist and the peanut butter flavor is soooo good. I used 3 ripe bananas and that seemed to be perfect. I didn't use the flax because I didn't have it on hand, and I didn't use the peanuts either for the same reason.

Coconut oil Choc. Chip Cookies
Ok so I changed the title (the blog calls them "Bye Bye Butter Cookies" and I love butter too much to ever say goodbye) but I didn't have any on hand so I thought I would give this a shot....and SERIOUSLY best cookies ever. I cooked them the least amount stated on the recipe and they stayed really really moist and chewy and fluffed up just like she described in the recipe. We loved them and devoured them in record timing. The only adaption I made was I used whole wheat pastry flour. They were truly the perfect cookie, I think I will go make some more right now......

And one that I would like to try soon:

Apple Coffee Cake in the crockpot
This just sounds good, and has so little sugar. I haven't tried any dessert baking in the crockpot but figure it's worth a try! I don't have the smaller slow cooker so I would probably try putting a bread pan in my larger slow cooker as she describes. Anybody tried this?

And that is what's on my mind lately :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Many are the plans...

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

This passage has been one that has both been encouraging and humbling in the past few months. There is something humbling about knowing we can plan and plan with the best of intentions, but ultimately God is sovereignly reigning over our lives and circumstances. I have had much proof of this lately.

First I have to refer you back to this post on waiting, specifically this portion:

I feel like we are currently in the "school" of waiting. Waiting for a new job for Lew, waiting to figure out where we are going to live...eventually :)...waiting to decide if we should buy or rent a home...waiting on more children...

I think we are always "waiting" for something. But certain seasons the waiting seems more daunting and wearisome. But in each season I am SO aware of how God's grace carries me through the waiting and how much I am learning in the process. It's so easy to be looking forward to the outcome...the thing we are waiting for. But really it's the process that bears the sweetest fruit.

To follow that let me give you a little time line from the last year to sum up the amazing ways we have seen God provide, in many ways God's provision came at a time that was a complete surprise to us, times when we weren't sure what He was doing, and when we "thought" we knew what direction we were heading in. Little did we know God was taking us in a completely different direction.

January 2010: After much prayer we move out of our apartment and in with my parents with the goal to pay off debt and possibly save for a home. Lew is also continuing to aggressively search for a new job at this time as his current one has no potential for professional growth.

Febuary 2010: God plants a seed in our hearts that I should possibly pursue going back to work in a hospital setting where the pay is better and where I can work nights to allow me to still be home with Miya during the days. This was a very VERY scary idea for me. It required a lot of faith and prayer for me to feel ready to move forward with this, mainly because I felt so out of the loop since having Miya and wasn't sure how I would juggle home life and work again. But after a chat with my sister in law Rachel who is also a nurse she encouraged me to "not fear or shrink back from hard things." In other words just because things are hard, doesn't mean we are not called to face them. That was all I needed to hear, she was right and I moved forward by applying to the PICU at Shady Grove Hospital. After getting called in to meet with the nurse recruiter I was told the PICU had no positions, but that I could still chat with the nurse manager that day in case something opened up. After meeting with the nurse manager she offered me a job on the spot. And not just any job but the exact position I wanted, which would allow me to work just one 12 hour night shift a week. Clearly God's provision....

March 2010: Miya turned one year, and I start working in the PICU. It was a big adjustment, but after this first month I began to see what a blessing it was. I loved the nurses I was working with and God was pouring out much grace for the transition. Living with my parents was a huge blessing during this transition because we had lots of help and extra hands!

April-July We spent this time just working and aggressively paying off debt. Miya was able to thoroughly enjoy by parents big backyard and I was able to plant my first vegetable/herb garden. We also were able to enjoy a great summer trip to Indiana as well as a beach trip to OC with my family.

End of July 2010: Lew and I start talking about a timetable for trying for another baby. We both knew we didn't want a huge gap between our kids, and because we had no clarity yet on whether we would buy or rent, we decided to not prevent pregnancy and see what God did....

August: Lew is still aggressively pursuing work at this point, still no major leads. BUT we were able to pay off Lew's car at this point which was resulted in much rejoicing!

September-October: By the end of October not yet pregnant and feeling ready to begin to pursue options for where to live, we decided to get back in touch with our realtor and broker to see what would be a good option for us at this point. We also decided to hold off on trying for kids until we had more clarity about whether we would buy or rent.

November: we meet with our realtor and broker and are approved for a loan! We begin our search with the caution that it may be difficult to find something we really like right away in our price range and in less than 2 weeks (I kid you not) found a home and had an offer down. We had our home inspection and Lew and I were discussing if this was the home we really wanted to buy. There was more cosmetic work to be done than we had realized, but otherwise the home was in great shape.... we decided to take a night to pray on it and talk more about it. That night we talk and really have faith for it. The next morning I awoke with a jolt and for some reason had this inkling of suspicion that I might be pregnant. Call it a woman's intuition :) Well a pregnancy test immediately confirmed that suspicion. I cried as I told Lew not because I was sad, but just shocked! But we had a BIG decision to make. Do we move forward with this home? Some of you may remember that I got pregnant with Miya when we were pursuing buying a home last time (almost 3 years ago) so there is something about home buying that brings babies for our family! Either way we decided we had faith to move forward and confirmed our offer on the home. 4 days later I began to miscarry. There was a lot of confusion in my heart as I battled with trying to understand what God was doing...but there was also peace. I just knew God was in control and had a lot of faith as we moved forward with buying our home.

December 2010:
We excitedly settle on our house December 7th. All went without a hitch and we were very excited to move in. I had begun to feel extremely exhausted but just chalked it up to packing and working etc... I mentioned to Lew how tired I was and jokingly mentioned the possibility of being pregnant again. He laughed and responded: " what are the chances of that!?" I decided to find out by taking a pregnancy test. And it appears the chances are good enough because the test came back positive...again! It was like deja vu. I couldn't believe it...neither of us could. And amazingly I had forgotten to cancel the doctors appointment that I had made the month earlier so I was able to go in early on to see how things were going...we got a good report and days later moved into our home. Around the same time Lew saw a job that he was very interested in on Dice.com, but being so busy caring for a sick pregnant wife and chasing a wild toddler AND helping unpack and settle just didn't have time to apply. We spent our first Christmas in our new home.

January 2011: My sickness hit an ultimate high this month. This pregnancy has definitely been more difficult than my last but I think moving, caring for a busy toddler, and growing a baby is quite the load to carry :) This month Lew gets an email from a recruiter saying they saw his resume on dice.com and thought he was a perfect fit for the job. As soon as Lew looked at the job description he realized it was the exact job and company he had seen and wanted to apply for in January! God had brought the job to him. Lew interviewed and had a job offer almost a week later, he accepted.

It's been amazing to see how God provided for us. Granted in praying for all these major things we didn't expect God to give them to us in a short 2 month span, but I just can't help but laugh when I think about how easy it is for me to think I have every thing under control, all my plans laid out...then it's like the control is gone, the plans shaken...and boy am I glad. God's plans have always been better than ours, and I'm thankful he doesn't let us have it our way, or I wouldn't have this wonderful blessing growing in my belly.

I am just over 14 weeks and just coming out from under this sickness. Keeping food down and more thankful for health and energy than I ever have been. My due date is August 14th and if this little one cooperates we may find out the gender March 6th. Well there is my book... I never have been good at keeping things brief :)