Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The love of my life...part 3


3 years ago on our wedding day


2 years ago in (Balboa Park) San Diego where Matt was stationed


1 year ago enjoying hot chocolate and giant cookies (= making Stevie dance in the belly) at the mall

Today is our 3rd Anniversary. Wedding Anniversary, that is. We tend to acknowledge many anniversaries in our household (when we met, when we first started talking, when Matt came home from the military the first time and the 2nd time and homecoming of deployment, when we started courting, when we got engaged, when we got married, baby stuff...and on and on). We like to think back on those special days, but no, we do not officially "celebrate" them all. Unfortunately, my husband has to work today (why do anniversaries, birthdays, and fun occasions happen on Wednesdays anyway?), and to top it off, he has a final exam this evening. Oh well. We'll make the most of it, and maybe go out to a movie this weekend. Yes, we are quite the partiers. Spell check does not like that word, partiers. Apparently, it's only found in the Urban Dictionary. I didn't know I was so well versed.

Anyway, yes, it's our 3rd Anniversary. I did not marry a man in a sweater vest. I married a man in dress blues. Because I am supposed to write about such things pertaining to my post titles, I will share a bit about this man and our story (but you may have to come back to hear more). You might want to take a comfy seat...this could get long. If you've already heard it, you may want to skip this entire post (and the next couple) altogether. I met Matt, a young Marine on leave back in May 2005. He came with his brother to our church his last Sunday in town. Let me back up just a bit prior to our meeting. My mom knew of his coming to town...from Matt's brother. There was something about Matt, not even knowing him, that Mom told me, "We need to check this guy out." My mom would not rest looking for a man for me...well, until we found the one. Well, she paid me (it was either $5 or $10...I really needed it for something, being a poor college student and all) to meet him. She totally denies this now, but believe me, it happened. It was the first and last man my mom ever paid me to meet. She must have known he was going to be good! So, she paid me the whatever amount it was to attend our church's Young Adult Bible Study, thinking he would visit since his brother attended. Yes, my mother paid me to go to Bible Study. I would've been a rather regular attender of the group, but I had a class the night it met. This being finals week, schedules were a little jumbled up, and lo and behold I was "free." Well, I took her money and ran...ran far away from meeting the man of my dreams...to study! I might as well have gone to the library for sweater vest man! When my mom found out (later that week maybe) that I did not attend, I had to pay her back. Well, Man of my Dreams, we'll call him Matt, did not go either. It was not meant to be to meet at that time...with payment involved I guess, or something. As far as my mom and I knew, Matt's leave had ended and he had flown back to Hawaii where he was stationed. "Well," I thought, "I think I handled that well. I avoided another one!"

The following Sunday, however, I was getting ready for church. The however part comes later. I was wrestling with my hair. Oh my hair. I never wanted curly hair. I had straight hair as a little girl, and my mom used to curl it while I'd rather spend my time on other things. I'd still rather spend my time doing other things than wrestling with my hair. It's curly, it's frizzy, it's poofy (must be another urban dictionary word)...it's a hairdresser's nightmare. I remember thinking that particular morning, "who cares? It's not like I'm going to meet the Man of my Dreams today or anything." Here comes the however...However, I did!

I was sitting in the front row at church...still up front with my mom, when I noticed Matt's brother walk through the doors and behind him a very tall guy. I immediately panicked-thinking, warm, welcoming thoughts-"Hey, you're supposed to be gone!", but first gave him a quick glance to size up his appearance. He was handsome. Then I panicked. What if this guy knows people are trying to set us up? How awkward is that? What if he thinks I wanted to meet him, which was untrue! I was not a flirt. I never chased after guys. I figured if I chased him...he wasn't man enough for me. I was waiting on the Lord, as patiently as I could, for Him to bring the Man of my Dreams in my life. I wanted a man who pursued me, loved our God, and would love and treat me like a princess of our King.

Well, Matt didn't have any idea of the match-making connections others were trying to make. After church, I stood next to my parents (my dad's the pastor), who stand at the door to catch up with people and say goodbye. I didn't want to be cornered alone if any matchmaking people tried to connect us, so I huddled by my parents. As Matt and his brother left, we were introduced. He passed test #1 and #2 with flying colors. He looked me straight in the eyes and shook my hand firmly. He was super polite, and I thought, genuine. Those things were very important to me. As my mom talked about my "accomplishments," I got a look at what he was wearing, blue jeans, a button-up, blue, plaid, short sleeve shirt....and...and...running shoes. The first time I mentioned this to him, he got defensive. He said he didn't have any other clothes with him to wear that were dressy or whatever. I said, "Noo, your running shoes. They were the same exact shoes my dad had. I knew then. I knew that this could be something." I know it's silly, and probably lots of people owned those shoes. However, the only people I knew who had them were my dad and Matt. I respected my dad a lot. I still do. You know the saying, "you will grow up to marry a man like your father." So, there was something about those shoes...that feeling, that I will never forget.

More to share...

To Go Back to Part 2

Friday, December 11, 2009

The love of my life... part 2

I guess this is part 2. Feel free to read part 1 though it's not necessary.


My little boy is growing so fast before my eyes! The picture on my header is of my eager 6 month old Stephen. He was getting into the presents before I got my camera out. Once the camera came out, sweet little patient boy came out too. This is the only time I have seen him rest his chubby little cheek on his chubby little hand! Can't you just see the excitement and wonder in his little face? It's almost as if he's trying to guess what absoultely thrilling gift is wrapped in that disguising paper just for him. Maybe it's the rocket booster I asked for...or, whatever. What 6 month old does that? Apparently, mine. My husband said my joy of Christmas has already caught on to him. You know what? I hope so! Unfortunately, the presents he was digging into, 3 in particular, are for some nieces and my mom. What a sad boy I would have on my hands to open girly things! So he would not ruin their wrappings, I pulled that flat green one out that actually is his, so he could tear it up ...if it came to that. I'm not telling what it is though!

Matt has been pretty funny about Christmas gifts and Stevie. We can't talk about his gifts around him or wrap them in front of him because then "he'll know" of course. Well, one day I did wrap one of his gifts (a stuffed lion, shhh!) in his presence, and it was all I could do to NOT get Stevie to watch. It was hysterical. Umm, my little 6 month old, you are not supposed to see this yet. I actually had to hide it behind the box it was shipped in because he watched my every move (and normally he could care less).

Anyway, I am apparently the queen of tangents. This whole "series" is supposed to be about the love of my life. Well, reign those horses in because this is all somewhat related, in my head anyway.

Let's go back to this: My husband said my joy of Christmas has already caught on to him. You know what? I hope so! I love Christmas! I love picking out gifts and sharing them with others. Isn't it so exciting to see someone you love open up the gift you picked for them, and just see the smile! Last year, Matt and I gave my 2 year old nephew, Nathanael, an "electric" guitar. I was stumped as to what to get him. Well, I took him to Walmart one day like a month before Christmas. For something fun for him, we went down the toy aisles. The only toy he wanted to play with was the guitar. He loves watching all the musicians in the praise band at church. I figured, hey, the price was good, $10 for a black electric guitar with strings, that also played pre-recorded music when you pressed the frets. So, later on, I went back and purchased it. Well, the day we exchanged presents was a thrill. Nathanael had the biggest smile on his face and he played it ...ALL day! We even had a hard time getting him to open the rest of his presents. I was like, nice, he likes it. Guess what? He still plays it...regularly! Since he received it, he often plays up with our praise band on Sundays, now almost 3, rocking away...but reverently, imitating the other guitarists. It has been a year. The guitar no longer plays the pre-recorded stuff. There is a clunk inside it when you shake it because the music box is loose or something inside. Yet, it's still a prized possession. He plays on his own now! He doesn't need that pre-recorded stuff.

Wow, the thoughts I have on this just swirl. I love Christmas for more than the presents, but they are a meaningful part to me. I love Christmas because I love Christ! His birth is such an important part of His life. Ok, I know that sounds silly, but really! We couldn't be anywhere without our birth. Yes, His life was so much more than being a sweet little baby (and I do wonder what his cry was like...being Jesus and all, it couldn't have been the crazy cry I hear around here most days), but that's where our salvation stories begin! God chose for His Son to come as a baby! Our salvation, the forgiveness of our sins came through God's gift of His son, first as a baby, who then grew and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins! What hope and joy in that gift! Yes, God is into gift giving! That's why I love giving gifts! No, He is not Santa Claus, He is our Creator, the Author of our lives, our Savior. James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Of course, His greatest gift is His son, Jesus. The verse so often used and memorized so quickly..in lots of things and places, let's not lose what it is really saying: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 He gave us His Son. It was not because we deserved Him...no way! Salvation is His gift to us because He, the Creator of the universe, loves us. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I don't know that any of the gifts I purchased this year will be such a hit as the guitar was last year (and still is) for my nephew, but that's ok. The gifts are meant to bring joy and bless, but not to outshine the Greatest Gift. So yes, I do hope Stevie is already catching on to my joy of Christmas...my joy of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. I hope he catches it and catches it tightly to grow in his own relationship with Christ and to share the Hope and Joy with others.

There's still more to come...

To Go Back to Part 1

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The love of my life..

I am just beginning to type, and I hear a sneeze coming from my son's room. I'm hoping he can go back to sleep and finish his nap. We'll see.

So, I have many thoughts...and I'm probably just going to spill them on here for the sake of getting out of this lack of blogging funk. I have had some ideas, and then I just get busy. Ok, Stevie is now talking, or whatever that is, confirming that he will not be going back to sleep. Hmm, I probably won't get much done here. I guess that's an update. Stevie is now napping! Horray! However, this early nap, is often only a half hour. I'd like him to take longer naps for Christmas. (Oh, but he does when it's just him and Daddy home...on those rare occasions, he has been known to need Daddy to wake him up because he sleeps so long.) A couple posts ago, I asked for some diapering tips because my wee one was only in size 3. Well, he has jumped to size 5 (in Pampers), and I still don't know how that's possible. I know he has packed on some much needed pounds, but his cousin who is nearly 3 is in size 6. Anyway, big news! For my little guy, Target's Up and Up diapers...so far...have been comparable to Pampers in the "containment" department!! This is so huge! Target's diapers are soo much cheaper. We still may use Pampers for some overnights and traveling (and they are softer material), but for the most part, we are using the blue and green dot ones. Incredibly manly, I know. They are no underoos, but someday, we'll get to those, and polka dots will be a thing of the past.

Speaking of his attire...my mom has been after me! She thinks my little boy, my little man, would look oh so cute in a sweater vest. He may look cute in one (I might admit), but I must stand strong. You see, my mom and I have a running joke ...not really joke..something...about sweater vests. I am not a fan of them. She tried and tried to hook me up with many a men in my young single days, and I just was not having it. I was her only girl, and she may have dreamed of those girly things we'd do together, but I wasn't exactly into all that. We'd go clothes shopping, and I always picked out the exact opposite...which was anything but frilly or "feminine." I've gotten a little better about those things in recent years. Anyway, I was talking about sweater vests and how my mom liked to try to find me a good young man to settle down with. I was along for the ride while my mom was running errands one high school day, and she needed to stop in the library. I was not in the mood to go in, and she tried to convince me to. She told me that I just might meet the man of my dreams in there. I told her "oh, great, a guy in a sweater vest! No thanks. The man of my dreams will not be wearing a sweater vest." I know, a total generalization, and I studied hard in school so I spent a lot of time in the library...like I said, I was moody that day. Well, I never went in the library that day, and I certainly didn't marry a man who wears sweater vests. I married a man who wore coveralls and camis to work (at the time I met him) and jeans and a t-shirt and work boots on off days. He may wear other weird clothes (that almost lost his chance of marrying me), but I've yet to see a sweater vest. Therefore, just in case Stevie's woman of his dreams has the same thoughts about such vests, I'm steering clear of them. ;) Well, for now, and until my mom gets him one.

This really is heading somewhere, but for now, my son needs my attention. This may require several "parts." Hold my thought...one of them anyway... :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Catchin' Up & Sugar Doll Award

I haven't been around much lately, so I'm coming back for a quick hello!

Christal from 2Corinthians517 has given me the Sugar Doll Award! So, the plan is to share some more about me and spread the joy by giving the award to others!



Let's see here. You may or may not know these things, but here we go!

*I have had many thoughts lately...so many thoughts, I'm not quite sure where to begin for some posts. So much of those thoughts surround the greatness of our God! He is at work and doing some amazing things within me...and I believe in others too!

*I am married to my Prince Charming, Matt. Our loving Creator led him to me at just the right time. (More of our love story to come in future posts...) He would never spoil me by picking up some things from the grocery store (and purchasing additional things that were not on the list...including ice cream). Do you think I had a homemade chocolate milkshake to help my sore throat last night? :) He's a great milkshake maker, but an even better husband and an awesome father!

*I am a mother to the most adorable son, my little super boy, Stephen, or affectionately referred to as Stevie (amongst other nicknames, Buddies, Tiger, etc.). He fills my days with much joy, as I'm learning (and leaning...on Him) to raise this incredible gift to know our Lord and Savior and to find his purpose on this earth in Him. He loves cows, squash and sweet potatoes (well, food in general...What can I say? The boy loves to eat!), his feet, his Daddy, bath time, and being outdoors. Matt says he loves penguins too, but this is yet to be determined. :)

*We would like to have a "large" family. We're not so sure of the definition of "large" though at this point.

*I would like to start running again! We were so excited to be given a jogging stroller this past week (a wonderful hand-me-down), and both Stevie and I had gotten sick. Hopefully, we're better soon. Then maybe we can squeeze a run or 2 in with the Stevie man before it gets too, too cold.

*I really, really want to do a stroller skate!! Unfortunately, I don't believe our area has it. :( I should probably get better on skates before I add my precious baby and his stroller mobile in the mix though.

*I'm not much of a pop drinker (yes, I call it pop). However, if Dr. Pepper (or a close 2nd, Cherry Coke) is around, I might just want a little bit. :)

*I am a big fan of Christmas music! I was disappointed I couldn't find a radio station (besides online) that didn't begin on November 1st.

*I wore mis-matching socks yesterday...the first time in a long, long time. I wasn't feeling well, and was too lazy to care. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys wearing mis-matching socks, or just plain ugly ones. He thinks it's funny. I think I have several posts about his sock habits on here somewhere...the orange brown ones, the super tall ones with shorts, the time he wore a pair of mine (you remember, the day of an ultrasound and I laughed so hard I thought I was going to go into labor?).

*I get excited about projects, coupons, and good deals. I guess those are particularly on my mind since Christmas is coming.

So, here are some other blogs I award (Some of these are private):

Reason to Worship

Kim

Just Laugh

Seven Matters

There are so many good ones to read...just look around!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Did you??




Taken just after we came home from delivering shoe boxes at the collection site for Operation Christmas Child.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday!


Today is the Marine Corps Birthday. I thought I'd take a moment to reminisce on my first and last Marine Corps Birthday Ball experience. Ohh, the memories...

Matt had been recalled and returned for active duty 2 years ago in mid October. It had been almost a month since I'd seen my groom. He was stationed in San Diego for this round and due to technicalities of being recalled, I, his wife, was not allowed to reside with him. We scraped our pennies together (literally...he was not paid for over a month...due to "the wildfires"....sounds like a good excuse to us...er not) for me to fly out and spend the long Veterans Day Weekend with Matt.

I found a good deal on a pretty red gown and had it all packed to go. Not being a frequent flyer yet, I was not sure the best way to pack it. So, I carefully rolled it up into a large duffel bag. Haha, I knew it wouldn't be perfectly wrinkle or crunch free, but it actually fit quite well. I even tested it out prior to and it came back out in pretty decent shape. This bag only containing my gown was my carry on. Of course, the first plane I flew on was one of those little tiny air buses. They attached a red tag on my carry on. Oh no! I had a window seat and watched emotionally as they tossed my beautiful red dress disguised in a black sports' duffel bag onto the cart. I continued to watch the poor bag get piled upon with bag after bag, suitcase after suitcase. If my dress did not make it, I had no idea what I would've done. On my next flight, I was able to keep it with me...but obviously, had to squish it up once again to fit in the overhead compartment.

I saw my husband through the glass walls at the San Diego airport. I picked up the pace even faster (though I hesitate to run in airports for security reasons...knowing me, I would be stopped, thus delaying my reunion even longer). I even remember the t-shirt he was wearing. Anyway, we hugged, we kissed, all that stuff, got my luggage, and headed for the car. Ohhh the car. Did I mention we were scraping pennies? Well, another technicality of being recalled is they don't move your stuff or your car out since it's only for a year. We had to pay for a rental. Matt was not acquainted with the area quite yet and had limited time and money to look for a rental. This mid 90's Toyota Avalon looked like a beat up car from a shady used car lot. I wish we had a picture! The interior was ripped apart, and I believe a part of one of the doors was broken. The stench of cigarette smoke didn't squelch our young just shy of 11 month married love! Off to base we went to settle into our humble aboad for 4 days. Humble aboad. We stayed in Matt's barracks room. Matt (along with the rest of the recalled guys, married or not) were placed in the barracks with the rest of the single active duty guys and were placed with roommates of much lower rank. This is another sort of rule that was broken. Anyway, we have to be thankful that those particular barracks were styled so though the roommates shared a bathroom, they had separate little bedrooms. So many things were done "wrong", but God really provided for us despite it all. I stayed with Matt in his room. Yes, we broke another rule...did I mention we were scraping pennies? We couldn't afford a room at the hotel on base. It would have to do, so before I arrived, Matt got an inflatable mattress for us on the floor. You all can picture a super tiny college dorm room with one of those super tiny dorm beds. That's what he had....hence the queen sized airmattress that was squished between his bed and the wall, and the desk, and the wall. The stench and stains of the years and years worth of military bachelor life did not squelch our joy either. It was bad though! Each night we were serenaded to sleep with loud music and other rowdy, partying noises.

Friday night, we got ready for the ball. Matt helped me iron out that wadded up dress...he's so great! I wrestled with my hair, and we followed a couple of Matt's friends to the ball in our limosine, or pumpkin, or beat up rental. Matt and I spent a good amount of time together before it began on one of the couches down the hall in this fancy hotel. We arrived early because a.) we didn't know the way and had to follow and b.) we didn't want to be late. Unfortunately, we didn't talk much because we were both tired (I still was getting used to the time change), and we sat uncomfortably. At least, I sat uncomfortably, and by then, I didn't even care about the wrinkles! I was with my husband! The other guys did the exploring and partaking of the cocktail hour while we sat together and I gladly took a break from the heel walking. The plan was they'd show us the way to the ball room after. Well, the time came, and we followed them. This was a HUGE hotel. We even had to walk outside to get to the ballroom. We arrive and look for our name cards, but they are no where to be found. I can't even remember how they decided where we were supposed to sit, but we sat down with unfamiliar people. Reminder: Matt and these guys were recalled and had only been attached to their squadron and units for like a week. They had training and other check-in things to take care of first. Literally, almost the moment before it started, they realized we were at the wrong ball. We skedaddled out of there and had to run to the other end of the hotel for the correct Marine Corps Ball. I'm sure you can picture us! A few buzzed Marines in uniform, my prince, and me in this dress and heels running through the cold-ish (this was California) outside and through the halls of this giant hotel. Thankfully, the "correct" ball was a couple minutes late getting started, so we were able to zoom to our seats, sighing as we saw our place cards!



Matt and I had a decent time. I enjoyed the traditions of the Birthday Ball, with the memorials, birthday cake cutting, etc. The food was pretty good....and we had tons of cheesecake for dessert! Almost everyone at our table left before then, and we couldn't let perfectly good cheesecake go to waste! We decided to leave as the dancing began. I'm not a dancer (much to Matt's disappointment), and the environment was getting less comfortable.

We took our fancy shmancy mobile back to the barracks to spend the rest of the weekend together. Sunday, we went to church on base. Before church, an older woman came up to greet us. She introduced herself and told us about a food pantry available. I ended up in tears as she looked us in the eye and said, "The money you would use to spend on bread and eggs and milk, spend on something for just the 2 of you." I know, it's silly, but it brought me to tears. We were struggling...we were really struggling...without him being paid and the expenditure to fly out there, the rental car, food, all the things he needed that weren't provided for...things to make and eat food with like pots and pans (though he didn't have an oven, just a stove top and a microwave in the room), plastic ware and plates/bowls (mostly tupperware). Yes, I could have stayed home. However, I needed to be with my husband. We hadn't been married a year yet, and we were facing such separation...and unexpectedly too. So, for someone to reiterate how important it is to do things for "us" touched me to the core. So, we bought a teeny ice cream cake and celebrated my birthday a bit early back at the barracks. Yes, it was stinky in his room, but we enjoyed each bite anyway. We could've gone outside somewhere, but we needed time for just us...away from everybody else. We were a bit worried about Monday. My flight wasn't until evening, and I couldn't very well stay in his room all day. And, what if there was an inspection? He wouldn't exactly pass with a wife in the room. Crazy, I know. There were also safety issues of concern. Well, the Lord provided once again...and they were given Monday off since it was the weekend of the ball. This was unheard of! We were able to spend that day together, worry free...until my flight home.

This was a blessed time for us despite the awfulness of it, and I'm thankful for it. We were provided for in such huge ways as time passed, and now, my Prince Charming is home! Maybe I'll see if I can still zip up that wrinkled dress and surprise Matt when he gets home.

Happy Birthday! Thank you to all service members (of all branches) and family members for your service and sacrifice for our freedom!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ordinary Wednesday

This isn't too thrilling, but nevertheless, here's a glimpse of a normal Wednesday with the H's for you to "peek into."

Matt woke around 4am. He always comes back to bed after getting ready for a little more sleepy time together before he leaves a bit after 5am. He prayed, we exchanged goodbyes, no kisses this morning (he's been sick, we think the swine flu...though he's 2 days free of the fever), and I went back to sleep. I woke up a couple times, but lazily stayed in bed...until I heard those little noises coming from Stevie's room. I glance at the clock, 8:09am! Oops!! Stevie's usually up, moving, making noise around 7:45am. Sometimes I let him "play" till 8, but I'm up and moving. This morning, however, I apparently needed some extra encouragement, ahem.

I changed to a different old cross country t-shirt since Matt's been sick to try to decrease the transfer of germs when handling Stevie through the morning. And let's face it, I'm not showering before I go to get him this morning. I give myself a moment in the bathroom and enter my little boy's room with fuzzy eyes. There he is, my little roller is on his tummy, kicking his legs with great thuds, a toothy smile on his face. Of course, the little crib mirror that hangs on the side of the crib has been yanked off and is upside down next to him. We "share" good mornings and sing our daily, "Rise and shine and give God the glory glory..." I transfer him with kisses to the changing table, and unzip the sleeper to find a completely drenched onesie. I'm talking drenched up to his chin. His diaper never comes close to containing all nights' worth of urine. Thankfully, this morning was only "wet". ;) (He's in size 2...any thoughts Moms? They don't sell overnights for that size.) The wetness never seems to bother him. He actually fusses while I change him because he'd rather be eating. He chews on some toes while I change him out of the soaked onesie and into a fresh diaper, onesie, and a sleep and play. I'm silly, I know. I often put him in a sleep and play for the morning hours to start the day a little more cozily since he naps in a couple hours. (Unless his evening clothes were dry, I'd keep him in those.) Later, I'll change him into "day" clothes.

We take the bouncy trip down the stairs. I nurse Stevie while checking emails and catching up on some blogs. Then it's time for my breakfast and Stevie's oatmeal and bananas! This usually consists of lots of mmm's (unintentional of course), smiles, and "I'll have more of that please" noises. He gets some play time while I do a couple things in the kitchen. I even popped an Oreo or two. Yup, I started the day off wonderfully after my Raisin Bran, ha. Nap time arrives for the little man. Diaper change, story in the rocker ("Peekaboo I See Who?"), nap music (our wedding music, yes, it's sort of modern day Jane Austen-y to have him sleep to the music his mother and father were married to, and I love it) a mini burping session and a few more snuggles, followed by the crib. Today, he was put down around 10:15. It was rainy and dreary this morning, so I hoped he may be able to drift off to sleep on his own. When it's dark, that's more of a possibility.

I washed the dishes from breakfast, the evening bottles, and the few dishes I surrendered to the morning from last night. I checked the weather, looked through some mail from yesterday and began planning a trip to the store after nap to buy some bottle accessories (we use Dr Browns = lots of parts)...but see the coupon is not good until tomorrow. Then I heard the cries from Stevie's room at 10:45am. He still had not fallen asleep. This is typical. It takes him awhile. Check another flyer and notice one coupon expired yesterday, but another began today that I'd like to put towards a Christmas gift for my mom. Yes, I may be early to some, but if I can find good deals now, I think it's worth it!

Now, it's shower time for me. 11am. Just before, I checked on the little man. He has fallen asleep..and after only 45 mins to boot! The joy it brings me when I don't have to go to him for him to fall asleep. That doesn't happen much for nap times. The little things definitely are big things for this mom.

I put some laundry away after my shower, and at 11:40, I hear some awake noises. That wasn't a very long one! Time to get his bottle ready and feed him. Turn on the news during feeding and hear we got seventy-two hundredths of an inch of rain...interesting...? I ate my lunch and checked in on little Stellan over on MckMama's blog. He needs lots of prayer right now. I had my lunch time chat with Matt on the phone, and then changed the boy and packed up. First we went to that clothing store to look for something for my mom but didn't find anything. There used to be a shoe store right next door to it. I even asked Matt later about it just to be sure I wasn't going looney. I wanted to ask for some boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We don't have any shoe boxes this year in our house, and I sort of head it at my church, so I thought I'd get some extras for others in the same boat. Anyway, that store is no longer there. I guess that shows how often I buy shoes! We went to Walmart to print pictures (we still hadn't printed his birth pictures or ANY pictures of our firstborn child who will be 5 months next week...gasp, smack cheeks in shock, I know), and while we waited to use the kiosk? (only 1 was working...true to form), I asked for shoe boxes there, but they didn't have extras except for one without a lid. That won't really work. I also looked for an album for the pictures I was printing, but I was unsuccessful with that either (well, for the kind I was looking for anyway). I even contemplated a scrapbook, which is a hobby (though not taken up in a long time) but at the moment I now have three crafty projects on my plate for the little man, and I didn't want to go crazy in the spending department either. You ever feel like your errands were a complete waste of time? We finally got the pictures printed and headed home at 2:15. It was time to change and nurse Stevie and give him a bottle. He had a dip in his weight so he's on the super size plan, haha.

Matt came home around 3, and we popped a pizza in the oven. He has class on Wednesday nights (he's going back to school), so it's usually a quick and easy dinner. I had some talk time with Matt, I had some play time with Stevie (and time in his jump-up to work on those leg muscles), I washed bottles, and then we ate dinner with Little House on the Prairie in the background. Nellie had twins. Ever seen that one? haha (I know, I know, tv during dinner. I'm being honest here!) Nap time for Stevie came, same routine as earlier, only this time we read, "The Way to Wyatt's House" (a little paraphrased for his attention span). Matt and I spent a few more minutes together, and he was off to class.

The rest of the evening, I worked on this post, and went to wash some dishes (does it ever end?) and do some clean-up, but the napping boy had awoken. I gave him a few minutes because he needed a longer nap. Noticing he wasn't settling, I went in to rub his fuzzy little head to sleep. As much as I want him to go to sleep on his own, I do find those moments special. I'm sure he won't need me to rub his fuzzy little head when he's 18. Then I continue with a little straightening up, and start a Gilmore Girls episode online. Stevie woke up again, so even though it was a bit early, I got him up. He had his bottle and devoured his rice cereal. Stevie played contentedly on the floor with his toys for awhile. At 7:35, it was time to get everything ready for bed time. I start the water (it takes awhile to get it warm) and get out his towel, bed clothes, bring up the bottle and formula, bring Stevie upstairs while turning off lights and turning the heat down downstairs. I got out some clothes for Matt for work the next day because he gets home so late and up so early. Bath time was next and is pretty much Stevie's favorite time of the day. He kicks, he splashes, he smiles and giggles, he lets out some excited noises, and tries to grab my hands or the washcloth as I clean him. He wrestles with the towel while I dry him, and warm clothes are added to the clean little boy. It's quiet nursing time, and then he got his bottle (like I said, his meals are super sized), a few more burps while we pray, and then it was off to bed for us both by 9pm.

I waited for Matt to get home by checking email, facebook, and blogs. He came home and told me about class, we prayed, and he let out his "sleep breaths" within moments of "amen"...and I fell asleep sometime after my thoughts stopped spinning.

YLCF Blog Carnival

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Pumpkining We Will Go

So, you've probably all seen these pictures on facebook, but I need some brightening up around here!






He cracks me up! We don't quite have the sitting on our own down...and...of course, his jacket is too big!




Yeah, wishing that flag wasn't there..but I don't want to chop it too much.

We had fun, but unfortunately, did not get to go in the corn maze. There wasn't anyone around to let us in. Well, we could have walked in, but the sign said it required tickets. There wasn't anyone around to help us out. Oh well. We may try again if we get another decent day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What does this one mean?

So, I don't know about you, but I have weird dreams. Usually, they are very weird, lacking much sense and all jumbled. How about you?

I thought I'd share this one. Feel free to mock it or give your "interpretation." Or, feel free to just skip it altogether!

I was dreaming that I was in high school or college (but it ended up being my college campus. Well, sort of. Places are never quite the same.). Anyway, I was taking some sort of history class. History was usually my worst subject. I just had such a hard time with the "read the chapter and answer the comprehension questions" stuff. I know, that's sort of backwords since I was pretty English-y...but I struggled with many assignments, and oddly enough somehow, ultimately did really well on the finals. Anyway, back to my dream.

My teacher/professor was Stevie's pediatrician! haha He gave us an assignment to read this chapter and write a one page paper answering the given question: something to the effect of why did these 3 groups of people have such a difficult time getting along? I had an hour. Ugh!!! I always took forever to read and try to find those answers. Of course, the girl next to me was just standing by her desk and having a grand time because she had done the assignment already last night. Therefore, she could do what she wanted. So, I read. The text book had illustrated pictures in it like a history book. Now, here's the hilarious part: My answer! I had many scribbled out parts on my paper because I had a difficult time getting my words down the way I wanted. All I could come up with from reading the "chapter" was that one guy in particular (and apparently several others amongst the "groups") would try and hit on/take however you want to word it, women of the other groups who were already married or dating someone within their own "group"/culture whatever. I know, I'm doing a fabulous job on getting my words down here too. I found it to be sort of ridiculous. I knew I must be missing the real reason they had a hard time getting along. Not that it wasn't a good reason...

So, I finally finish my little paper and get ready to turn it in. That's when I found out from above girl who had finished the thing the night before, that I needed a visual to go with my paper. Apparently, these were going to be presented at some point. By this time, it was already like 6:08. The paper was supposed to be done (eh hem, and visual too) by 6pm. Grr. So, I jump in my car to head to the store to find something to make my visual with. A girl walks out of the store with a huge stack of construction paper. Perfect. Just what I want. Of course, I get into the store, and there is NO construction paper. I don't even remember what my plan A was for the paper. So, I had to move onto plan B. Plain white index cards would have to do. What was I going to make? Man, I wish I knew the fat, rich guy's name wearing a top hat and business suit in the book who was trying to steal all the women. I was going to make his business cards!!!! The cards he gave the women he wanted to date! While this didn't happen in the text, this was a result of my creative juices. Well, the store didn't have plain white index cards either. I had to quickly try to think of a plan C. I flipped through a daily planner on a rack. I noticed it was half used, but I needed something, anything quickly. My plan was to rip out the used pages and write on several different days of the week the dinner dates he had planned with various women's names. I brought it to the register where she gave it to me for free for being half used. (Sidenote: In real life, I NEVER would have completed a project like this. I was pretty driven to finish my work as perfectly as I could. Ha!) I then went to my car, and outside the store, sat Andy Bernard (yes, from The Office) and another man in old lawn chairs debating which kind of car was the best. Andy said he always wanted a mini van because it is THE COOLEST vehicle there is...and on and on...in true Andy fashion. Unfortunately, I couldn't get in my car, I ended up having to chase it down the road....moments later I found myself in one of those low bicycles where you sit wayy back. It was so hard to petal, and I remember thinking, I might as well get off and run...but for some reason did not. I finally made it to the building where class was, and a couple was walking towards it, commenting that they hoped there was still ice cream left. Sure enough, the building once labeled the real building it was, was replaced with the name, "Ice Cream." Then I woke up.

I know that's a long explanation. Sorry about that. Does everyone else dream like this...or am I going crazy? I probably only remember this dream because I woke up a bit stressed and frustrated that I did not get my work done and done well and done on time! Nope, I did not eat weird foods before bed either. Just a glimpse of what lies inside Becky's brain I guess.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

I guess it's been a bit hectic around here, and the blog has been neglected. I started a post about all things new moms need (in a different world), but that will have to be finished and published later. My husband has been working some weird and long hours, and I've been busy with the little man. When Matt is home, and I have a bit of time to myself...even that has been going awry. I was contemplating writing a Not Me Monday post yesterday, but time got away...and now it's Tuesday, and I only had a couple of confessions. For one, I was thoroughly enjoying my shower time the other day while Matt played with Stevie. I washed my hair, squirted the conditioner into my hand, blissfully thinking about how wonderful life was while I put it in... my armpits! What, don't you do that? I laughed out loud for awhile about that one. Once I conditioned the stubble, I then used what I "should" use to go about my shaving. Aren't you glad I'm back in the blog world? I'm sure you dearly missed my random thoughts and stories about my armpits.

Right now, I have a moment because I'm hoping he is finally asleep for his nap. (Yup, I checked him. He's rolled to his belly, laying the width way in his crib. Goofy!) He fights naps so badly...other moms, please help!! We are trying to transition out of swings and other things and be more consistent about crib napping. He does so well at night. We do our little routine, I lay him down awake, and he falls asleep at some point, but I'm guessing it's pretty quickly because we don't hear anything. He has been sleeping on average 10 hours a night!! (Unfortunately, I haven't been sleeping so well...) So, why are naps just so difficult? The only thing I can think of is that it's light out?? He knows it's daytime??

Other things are going better. My little guy is finally gaining weight! I never would've guessed this department would've been so slow after entering the world such a big boy. We had to take him to get blood work done, and it was awful. I just didn't know what to expect I guess. They could not find a vein in his itty bitty arms. I was so surprised...and nervous...that they were taking blood just like they do an adult...through a vein in his elbow. Poor boy!! He was poked and poked and poked and they wiggled it around in his arm to find one. Of course, he cried, and I tried to hold him still. (Afterwords, they told me if they hadn't gotten it that time, they would've referred him to a pediatrics lab. Huh?? You actually have a pediatrics lab? If there is ever a "next time"...we are going straight there! I think my 4 month old would have qualified.) He got his first sticker (yup, it's going in his baby book), and the doctor is pleased with all the results.

Now, that we've upped his food even more, I can't seem to fill him up. He just eats and eats. Why don't they make bottles that hold 20 ounces? I feel like we need to attach bottle parts to a 2 liter! Theoretically, it shouldn't be long before he's the size of most babies his age, well, weight wise. Length wise, he's still really tall. Anyway, we are so excited to be trying foods with him (to avoid the whole 2 liter deal). He's been ready since he was 3 weeks old, haha! We were at my cousin's wedding...I was eating cake...and Stevie looked up longingly at me, mimicking my mouth movements as it enclosed around my fork and chewed. We waited until the day he turned 4 months to introduce his cereal. It took one day to get used to the spoon action, and now he's a pro, and he loves it! Here are a couple glimpses of that first trial. It's hard to take pictures while feeding with a spoon for the first time. Oh, I was at my parents' so I fed him in his carseat:



Monkey! He thinks his feet are hands too...all the time! He wanted it!!



Or, he thought he wanted it! It got much better later on... :)

The pediatrician gave us the ok to introduce fruits and veggies anytime! We're pretty excited!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Updates

Well, it's been forever since I've been on here. At least, it feels like forever! I hardly remember what to even share. Sometimes I wonder if it's even necessary to write on here anymore since I'm friends with most readers and/or facebook friends, haha. I do like having this though since I don't journal at this time. Anyway....

Just a few days after Stevie turned 3 months (September 8th to be exact), he started rolling over...on purpose! We laid him down for a late afternoon nap, and he cried. Yes, that's usual. When he finally stopped and fell asleep (unusual!), I peeked in. There he was, sound asleep on his belly. Once he started this new trick, he could not stop! It led to many a frustration on both our parts. He loved showing off. It was almost as if he was saying, "Hey Mom, watch this!"...roll..."Uh-oh"..."RESCUE ME!" "Hey Mom, watch this!"...roll..."Uh-oh"..."RESCUE ME!" Over and over and over! He forgot every time he didn't like the end result. Senior moments start early! He is getting better at tummy time though. He'll even smile for awhile and reach for the toys. Evenstill, his favorite toys by far are his hands and feet. When I try to calm him down at nap time, he seems to think my arm/hand is also a toy as I stroke his head. He reaches up for it with a smile and gives me a growl as he tries to eat me. Uhh, things used to be easier in some ways... :)

Then, on Monday, September 14th, my little boy had his first hair cut! What baby has his first hair cut at 3 months and 10 days? Well, apparently, this little one. The thought on my part was to just "trim it" since I had to tuck his hair behind his ears, and all those ladies at the grocery store thought he was a she. I don't think my boy looks like a girl at all, and I often dress him in blue with blue blankets (go figure!), yet, still I get comments about "her." Anyway.... Matt got out the clippers. We thought they would be easier than actually trying to cut a baby's hair with scissors, a baby who doesn't do so great at holding his own head up/and staying still. Matt decided to use one grade shorter? (I don't know how those things work, so I don't know how to say it) than the longest. He started buzzing away, and I melted, holding our little guy. Wait! This is wayyy shorter than a trim!!! We got it on video tape, and all you hear is the buzz and me saying repeatedly, "Ohhhh, I regret it. I regret it," Matt saying, "It's a little late now," and my dad laughing. Afterwords, I told Matt never again! We're waiting till our babies are at least 2!! haha I have to say, the cut is growing on me. It was just such a shock and much shorter than I anticipated. I do still miss the curls though. He looks different and sort of older. The video is about 5 minutes, and way too big to post. So, here are a few pictures. He really did remarkably well for a 3 month old getting his hair cut. He didn't cry till like the last minute of the 5 minute haircut. He stared at his hair laying on the table for a bit.


Just before the cut!


The evidence! Can you believe it? The pieces were a couple inches long!


The handsome boy! His hair is officially shorter than it's ever been outside the womb!

In other news, our boy is very tall. I call him, tall, dark, and handsome...hehe. He fits into some 6 month and even 9 month outfits length wise (though still mostly in 3-6's), but we're really working on bumping up his weight. We're unsure what the issue is. He hasn't seemed to gain weight since 2 months. He's growing so fast length wise (he's been off the charts since 1 month). Feeding him is often a challenge because he has been soo gassy and he just can't settle enough to eat sometimes. I don't think it's an allergy at this point. We've been supplementing with formula...I give him about 5-7 ounces or more extra a day, spread out through the day, and I'm feeding him for what seems like forever every 3 hours during the day and sometimes less, but he is still not packing it on. The extra formula has helped him sleep better and generally stay more content...we had weeks of crying. Because he was outgrowing clothes, and still filling the right amount of diapers, I didn't think it was a food issue. Plus, he's been on the thin side, except for at birth, haha, and had been doing fine. He was gaining great from birth through month 2. Then I put him on the scale and changed the batteries because I didn't believe it...and realized he hasn't really gained. It does worry me. The nurse recommended the extra formula, and we're going from there. We go to the doctor soon, and I am really looking forward to adding in the cereal, hopefully as soon as he turns 4 months. I would be interested in hearing any further advice/experience from other moms!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Attempt Number...

Well, I lost count after the first few. Here is one of the earlier attempts at a family photo in late July.


Obviously, it didn't go so well.

This past Sunday: though it was at the end of a long, sticky day, we at least got a half smile out of the lil man. Grandma was jumping up and down and doing all sorts of silly things to try to make our sober boy smile. Well, it made us laugh anyway.



Sometime this month or so we're supposed to get a family photo with Matt's family. We'll see how it goes with a professional.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another Milestone

or 2 or 3...

Last night was Stephen's first night in his own room in his crib. He had been in our room in his bassinet since we brought him home from the hospital, but it's time to transition him. He had been sleeping so well consistently, so I was ready to move him a couple weeks ago. However, that was when we found out about my surgery, and so we decided to keep him in our room for a little while longer to make it easier for me to get him for night feedings during my recovery. How did it go? Really well! I fed him and put him down after 9pm, and he slept until 3:30am. Unfortunately, I think he woke up to Matt's shower (yes, he had to work today, and on overtime days he wakes up at 3am..yuck). Hopefully, he'll start to sleep through that. Anyway, I fed him, and he was awake for awhile after, cooing and fussing a bit. I waited for him to start crying since the setting was unfamiliar, but it never happened. He went to sleep and slept for another 3 hours or so! I woke him up so we could start our day. Yes, we wake our sleeping boy around here so he's on somewhat of a schedule. I took a picture before I woke him to document the big transition, and well, it looks like we'll have to make some more changes. We originally used the sleep positioner when he got sick and wanted to snuggle to try to make it feel more like he was being held. We moved it to his crib so he wouldn't wiggle too much. Well, that didn't exactly work as you can see. He wiggled down somehow. Yes, the positioner was at his sides. Also, he's working his way out of his swaddler! I'm super excited to kiss that stage goodbye. We'll give it a whirl tonight without either!



Also for the first time, Stevie let out the sweetest giggles over and over with my mom yesterday. He's only let out little chuckles before then. I hope to put some video of that up soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Missed Stevie's Baby Shower

Yes, it's true, we missed one of his baby showers, or his welcome to the family party...since it was after he was born? It was going to be a fun day of seeing extended family and introducing them to Stevie. The poor guy doesn't even realize we missed it, but it was his party and he can cry if he wants to...or whatever. It was scheduled for last Saturday, and unfortunately, I had to go in for surgery on Friday. Great timing, I know. I basically did not heal in some regards, or heal correctly, from the delivery. So, I wasn't thrilled that the surgery did not come about till Stevie was 10 weeks old. That's about all I'll say about that. It was a bear the day of surgery and for a few days after, but I'm feeling a lot better already. I might be able to share a few funny (eh hem, funny now) stories from the day in person, but many are probably not public blog material. Umm, the hospital called me at 9:11am while I was in the car headed there, asking if I could come in any earlier. I was supposed to be there at 9:30am. ?? I certainly won't share how I tried to block back tears as my Dad prayed with Matt and I before I went in...as I was saying, "I would much rather be having another baby." (Yes, I also gave Stevie extra kisses good bye and held in the tears before we left.) It was my first time experiencing general anesthesia...and not something I look forward to again anytime soon. It was also my first time in an operating room. As soon as I saw all the people (doctors, nurses, anesthesiologist "team!", student doctors who looked about 15...those on the bleachers, the bench, and in boxed seats...Umm, ok) and the equipment I was like, "Knock me out now!" I "woke up" in a recovery room with eyes totally fuzzed out, coughing (because they had to put that throat tube in..ick), and completely out of it. I saw the nurse across the room, and asked, "Am I supposed to try to wake up?" feeling as though it might be impossible. She asked me how I was feeling, so I told her, "I feel like I've been hit by a truck" ...and...out I went! (I think I was given that honesty serum...haha, I'm sure they hear a lot.) How's that for their scale you get asked a million times? On a scale of 1-10, how is your pain? Sorry nurses, but that is so annoying. I know, you have to do it, but I still don't know where "hit by a truck" lies. Maybe it would be easier to answer the questions, do you feel like you have a scratch? Do you feel like you've stubbed your toe? Or, do you feel like you've been hit by an 18 wheeled semi at this speed, this speed, or this speed? Ok, so maybe that's a little dramatic or... a little sick. Just poking fun. After I was a little more coherent...awhile later, I answered a bit more gently, "Kind of like after having a baby." Yes, now I'll finally move on.

Back to the party. The BBQ was still held by Matt's family while we rested at home. Later this week, a few gifts were delivered for Stevie. One in particular is helping me heal a little bit faster because laughter is good medicine, right? No, it wasn't the little grill he received. Hmm, I'm thinking that was a "Congratulations Daddy" gift. Here's the one that makes me chuckle:



You've all seen such onesies or t-shirts. It says, "Somebody in East Aurora, NY thinks I'm too cute (and I agree)." Here's the kicker: We don't know anyone from East Aurora, NY! We never got the full story from Matt's Mom about when they got it or how they got it, but she thought it was so soft, so she bought it for Stevie. I'm sure if someone saw Stevie in East Aurora they would think he is too cute, but for now, when people ask who that is, we'll have to answer, "We don't know." And because we don't know anyone from there, it just fits Stevie's silly personality. He'll probably flash that shy smile whenever someone asks. He does when people say he's cute anyway.

Speaking of the silly boy, Daddy took some pictures after bath time the other day:





He's so irresistible! Well, to us anyway! And yes, he is still worth it all!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Morning So Far

Things have been a bit busy around here. 2 nights ago, Stevie slept through the night...9 hours! Last night, he was up at 3ish to eat, and then again to start our day at 8am. I fed him, we played for a bit, and then...I made a confirmation.

I have been suspicious about salad or caesar dressing, or the combo, and his "reaction" to it. I had some last night. What do you know? He had a huge BM this morning. It happens every time! It was up to his neck. I took his saturated onesie off, hoping to avoid contact with his hair. Uh huh. While I attempted to clean him off, I noticed there were remnants on the wall! In the cleaning process, the poor boy decides to urinate. I feel awful. I didn't see it coming and because I was wiping his bottom and back...it flew right into his face and hair! Boy, do I win the Mom Award! I try to then clean off his face...poor boy, while the tears fill in mine! I get him removed from all things mustard yellow and fill his bath. He gets excited in the first bath and urinates. I take the boy out, dump the water, and start again. I begin to wash him down, and once again, he adds to the water! Repeat 2 sentences ago. We finally have clean water, a happy and hopefully empty boy. He enjoyed his bath, sure to get him clean and wash that hair. I dry him off and notice what? A little mustard seed on his arm! Are you serious? 3 baths weren't enough to remove it all? Maybe this is a faith lesson for the day?!!

So, after the baths, I decide to take out the camera and play. I finally have a clean boy...who was happy pretty much through it all (except for the face incident). I've been telling you he has the funniest hair after baths. Well, here it is:


Mom, you said veggies would make me big and strong!


The do! He loves getting his hair combed! Even though I didn't have a little girl, I still have hair to play with!

Now, I'm going to use the bathroom myself, eat breakfast, and take a shower. Then, it will probably be time to do his cycle all over again and somehow squeeze in a trip to the grocery store! Mustard is not going to be on my list this week. Umm, neither is salad or caesar dressing. So, if you think all my posts are about poop, well, ..."So are the days of our lives." (We offer free diaper changing classes to all expecting mothers and fathers!) It's fun though...haha, usually, and he's totally worth it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kodak Moment

Yesterday, I was watching the 2 video clips we have from the day Stevie was born. They were taken during his bath and shampoo time. He was so cute....and soo chunky! I just realized when watching that the nurse was commenting on the size of his head..."big, big head." Yes, he had/has a big, big head, and I pushed it out, and I love it! Anyway, I'd put that up, but it's too big to post (um, the video that is).

I'm pretty sure most new parents tend to sit around with their camera, waiting to capture the big moments. Well, I tend to forget to have the camera out. This particular day (this week), I remembered to take it out after I noticed Stevie having a good play time. Here's the big moment I happened to capture:

video

He's been smiling since about 3 1/2 weeks (probably earlier, but at that point, I was convinced it was on purpose), and I had been wanting to capture some good play time. As you can see, I captured something else too!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15th Last Year

Wow, has it really been a year already? Yup, it's been a year since Matt came "home" (to California) from deployment. It's been a year since that picture was taken above. I flew out the day before from Indiana, after staying with Chrissy and Nathan after our family reunion. I had a ridiculously huge carry-on bag with me, and yes, I'll be honest, because I didn't want to pay to check another bag. The attendant who took my ticket gave me an awful look and said, "Where do you think you're going to put that?" I just sort of smiled nervously and waited for her to make me check it. She said nothing more, so I just kept walking. I stuffed that baby in good...and had specifically prayed for days that I would sit next to a decent guy who would help me lift it or get it out. haha Guess what? It happened! I'm a little fuzzy about the first flight, but on the 2nd one, a younger guy was in the outside seat next to me. He talked a little bit when we first boarded...asked where I was going, what I was doing there, etc. I told him about Matt coming home and I wish Matt could've seen my face talking about it. The guy was like, "Look at you. You're pretty excited about this!" "Well, yeah!! 10 months is a long time without your husband!"

It was crazy trying to occupy myself on base, pretty much alone, for about 32 hours before he got there (yeah, I didn't get much sleep). I was going nuts inside...full of anticipation, just like my wedding day, yet I had some nervousness being alone (and loneliness). I walked to the mini mart on base and ate a frozen pizza back at the room for dinner. I settled into the room I guess, and I'm pretty sure I went for a run on the track that night. Then I went back to the room to watch t.v. and try to get some sleep. The next morning, I took another walk to the mini mart for food for the day. I could've gotten everything the night before, but I knew I'd have lots of time to fill. After my lovely Easy Mac lunch, I headed back to the track to run off some energy. Of course there was a group doing their PT drills there, and I could feel the dozens of sets of eyes on me with every lap. I stayed out of their way, sticking to the outside, looking forward to having my partner (and protector...haha) beside me again. It's sort of a strange thing to be thousands of miles away from anyone I know and in the midst of palm trees. I can't remember what I ate for dinner that night...I just remember not being able to eat much because I was so excited. I kept waiting for the phone call as to the time he would arrive. It was supposed to be before 7pm originally I believe. It kept getting pushed back and pushed back...of course. I got myself ready...and waited...and waited. Matt ended up calling me from Alaska, their last leg. I kept myself "busy" by watching Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Gameshow (not much on) and A Baby Story (love that show). Finally, a friend of Matt's picked me up around 11 to take me to the terminal on base where Matt's squadron would arrive. Just before midnight the plane touched down. Matt was one of the last guys off the plane, but then I saw him! We had to dodge the other people and the baracades, and then we were together again...the pictures here show the rest.

Here we are, a year later, together with a little addition! This year went by pretty fast, and I wish that year had gone by as quickly. I definitely still think about that time often, and though it was so difficult to endure at the time, I am thankful for it. Not because I wanted to be apart from Matt (certainly not!!), but I appreciate that much more what the service members, their wives and families go through for our freedom. There are wives and families still enduring right now. Please remember to keep them, as well as our soldiers, in your prayers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Acorns 2 Oaks

Finally, my blog name change post!

We dedicated Stephen on Father's Day. That was a few weeks ago already! I'm still trying to catch up on here. We were eager to dedicate him to the Lord pretty much as soon as possible after he was born, and we thought Father's Day would be an extra special time to do it. Afterall, we dedicated him to our heavenly Father, and he's named after his Daddy who loves him so much (Mommy does too). I really wanted to post some pictures, but we don't have any! I'm quite sad about this. We didn't take our camera out in our haste to make it to the front after coming in from a feeding time. My mom had theirs, but it was set to video on accident, and the battery ran out within a minute. Thankfully, Matt and Megan taped it for us so we will have it on DVD, but pictures are only in our memory. Here are the only pictures from the afternoon.


Daddy and son matched!



After saying our vows (with the arch blanket over Stephen that we said our wedding vows under), and my Dad praying over him, I added a portion of a song/prayer for Stephen: "A Mother's Prayer" by Rachel Aldous. I would've probably just used the song somehow but didn't have time to get it, so I read it (with tears). I just think it's absolutely beautiful, and yes every time I hear it, the tears come. You see, I'm all about the meaningful things. I searched and searched for a good dedication song. They are hard to come by! I heard this and could not stop listening to it (it has about 78,000 hits, and I'm probably 70,000 of them...haha) and praying the words over my son.



Then when my dad walked Stevie around the church for the people to get a better look at him, we had the more familiar, "I Want to be Just Like You" playing by Phillips, Craig, and Dean.

I think all parents dream and hope for big things for their children. For me, it has been my desire since a little girl to have children. Stephen is an absolute blessing and miracle. You see, it took a little more time than we were hoping it would to get pregnant. I went through rounds of testing and started herbs and other supplements (I preferred to try more natural supplements first). It was thought it may take me a couple more years when my hormonal levels just weren't getting there, but lo and behold, last September, we were so excited to finally see a plus! I am convinced God breathed his breath into Stephen's very being. My body was doing some weird things at the time, and I can't help but think a Spiritual battle was going on inside me and God willed Stephen into being. I believe He has some big things in store for our little guy, our crowned gift of God, and since conception, for that was when his life began, well, actually, even before he was conceived, it has been my dream and hope that our child/children would grow to be "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Oaks are so strong. We desire Stephen and any future children to find strength in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As they seek Him and grow in their relationship with Him, we pray that relationship will be reflected with purposeful, righteous lives for Him...for His glory, that all may know it is Him who gives us life, the Creator of all things, our Savior, the Beginning and the End. Isn't that our very reason for living? We were created for His glory and splendor! So right now, Stevie is sort of a little acorn. We pray he grows into an oak with deep roots planted in Him, for Him. It is our desire also, that we as individuals, a married couple, parents, will continue growing into oaks as well. I'm a visual person, so I appreciate the visual examples and metaphors used in the Bible. When Matt and I were first courting, our first Christmas, I gave Matt a little wooden box filled with acorns with this verse, Psalm 1 ("Blessed is the man..."), and Deuteronomy 26:18 (being God's treasured possessions). We hope to plant those acorns at our first house someday...haha, if they're still good. Then as a wedding gift to Matt for our family, I got "The Oak Inside the Acorn" by Max Lucado. It's a great children's book about growing into who we were created to be. So, Matt and I hope to be 2 examples of oaks for our child/children as they grow from acorns to oaks themselves.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stevie Likes it!

The sling that is. Thanks Megan! Matt tried it out, hmm, maybe the day we came home from the hospital (along with the swing and the bouncy chair and whatever else. It was a day at the amusement park for Stevie, only, without his amusement. He was still a little too floppy for the sling then.) I decided to give it a whirl today, brave I know, being by myself to get him in and around my shoulders! He wasn't so sure at first, and neither was I. I'm still getting the hang of it, but he went to sleep pretty much right away. It sort of looks ginormous on me, but hey, maybe it's just that my boy is pretty ginormous. He's 23 inches long now...and shall I say, built?! I have a feeling he's going to be tall like his dad.

Right now, I'm supposed to be in the shower while he sleeps. Yeah, those things sort of get adjusted with the schedule these days (along with eating and sleeping...for me that is! He does pretty well in those areas).

So, let's see, life with a newborn. I really had every intention of doing a Not Me! Monday...I had so many good things to share. Well, at least I thought they were pretty funny. I'll share a few anyway even though it's Wednesday. I'll call it, "What I Wouldn't Do Wednesday!" I would not hold my breath or brace myself every time I change my little man for fear of getting wet myself. (So far, Dad's been the biggest target...and every time he wears a particular college t-shirt. I'm guessing our little guy would not attend that college). My little boy also would not already have a diaper rash. That would make this mom feel just awful. In her awful state of feeling, she would not use a hand held little fan on his bottom just to try to air him out after each change. We would not often eat dinner in the living room (for that would be a bad habit to develop) to be near our hopefully, snoozing boy in the swing. I would not prepare buttered Italian bread for our pasta on a paper plate and place it on the couch. I then certainly would not proceed to have my mind on other things and sit on that plate. It would not take this crazy lady (because she's not crazy) minutes to realize I was sitting on a paper plate of buttered slices of bread, and only realize after Matt says, "Umm," and points to my rear. I would not get a bit emotional and embarrassed and have my husband unstick the bread from my bottom and wipe the huge buttery mess off of me. I of course, would not be wearing a pair of his sweat pants at the time. While feeding Stevie, the precious babe would not happen to fall asleep all the time. So, my dear husband, would not sit next to us on the bed with his birthday Nerf Shotgun and fire off some blank rounds to awaken the poor boy. (I'm pretty sure that would not be in the newborn handbook, so therefore, he would not do anything of the sort.) Knowing the type of relationship I have with Matt, I would not add to his collection of toys on Father's Day by getting him (or, allowing him to get) a slingshot. That would make us totally weird, and since we would not want to be weird, we would not do such things. Ohh, there are more, but I'll save them for another time.

Here are a few pictures of Stevie at 2 weeks. I can't believe he'll be 3 weeks tomorrow!






Oh, and Stevie is a great sleeper! Sometimes he fusses for awhile when he goes down, but once he's out...he's out for several hours. For example, we put him down around 9:15 or 9:30 last night. He fell asleep around 10pm, and wait for it..., was ready to eat at 3:55am!! Then again at 8:15ish!! The first couple nights home from the hospital were pretty awful (in that he cried and cried and only wanted to be with me), leading me to ask the pediatrician about using the pacifier at our first visit. He was ok with it, so we canned the whole idea of waiting 2 weeks and used it! I can't say it's all the pacifier (he doesn't always need it), but boy, that's helped us. Oh yes, and that whole first week and a half or so, every time I woke up, I had this panic. I thought I fell asleep with Stephen in my arms (because I was so very tired and was feeding him quite a bit in the wee hours of the night and morning). I would look in my arms to find me holding a pillow like it was him, and I'd go crazy digging through our sheets and covers to find him. Scary feelings! People are telling me it's normal to have those panics...phew. I thought I was going crazy. I finally got used to that happening every time I woke up through the nights and mornings...and would have to calm myself down and say, "He's ok. He's in his bed!" Oh, and sort of another side note totally unrelated to sleeping. Beth (Nurse Beth, if you're even reading this...haha), I did have that PUPPS rash. You were right!! It was not poison ivy. Whooo boy, I was miserable. As if recovering from delivery wasn't fun enough, I was itching like crazy...everywhere...and being ohh so proud (ha!) to be included in that 1% of women who get it. It spread terribly after I got home from the hospital (odd because it usually goes away then). It has finally gone away!

Hopefully, I'll be able to share about Stephen's dedication (which was this past Sunday) soon! I'll also try to add pictures of him just after a bath...his hair is hysterical. We're making our big trip to Indiana and Michigan for the week on Friday, so I may not be able to post for a bit. Happy 4th of July week in case I don't "talk to you" till after!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 4th

That's Stevie's birthday!!

I'm about to share our story of labor and delivery (and yes, it's long!). I'll try not to go into grave detail about "personal stuff," however, it is labor and delivery. If you'd like to excuse yourself to another room (like my husband was asked to do...umm, more on that later), or to another blog, feel free. Last chance, here we go!

Wednesday night we went to bed. I tried to sleep as best as I could with my aching back and sciatic pain. Around 11:30pm, I got a shooting pain down my leg (sciatica), and I jerked up really fast. Well, it was almost really fast. Matt's arm was on the sleeve of my t-shirt, so after a good yank, it was really fast. Then an immediate gush. I paused, not quite sure what happened. Then, "Matt. Matt. Matt!!! I ...I...gushed!" Yes, I meant my water broke. He finally realized what I was talking about and woke up for me. :) I called my dr who happened to be on call that night (praise the Lord! His timing is perfect!), and she had me come right in. I called my parents, showered, and we were off. On the way, I called my aunt who is a midwife and has been with us every step of the way for the pregnancy. Earlier that day, I had an ultrasound and non-stress test due to the lateness of this baby's arrival. The ultrasound estimate for the baby was 9 pounds 8 ounces. The technician flat out told me it could be off by a pound, and "let's just say this is NOT s 6 pound baby." Thank you, gentle lady, way to inspire confidence....I was beyond a little scared. (Oh, it didn't help my dad was in the waiting room and called my mom telling her the estimate was 11 pounds...I guess he figured the pound increase would be 10 1/2 and rounded up to 11?...I had to do some damage control phone calling for that because the word spread fast). The "non"-stress test, well, the nurse kept saying several times I was failing. The baby's heart rate was not going above the line they wanted. She showed the results to the dr there and apparently, he "liked it," and I was sent home. Ok....I was like, if these things aren't enough to induce me...umm. Anyway, I filled my aunt in on the appointment. During the phone call on the way to the hospital, she told me to take the epidural as soon as I could. She told me to try for a natural delivery with my 2nd baby. She told me to "survive," I repeat, "survive," this one because of the size of the baby. I needed the epidural to save my strength to push him out. Yikes!

We get to the hospital, check in, and I'm still between 2-3cm, like I had been for over a month now, without any real contractions. The nurse went to put the IV in my hand, and that's when it happened. Matt slumped. He turned white. I'm saying to the nurse, "Umm, I feel it going into my wrist bone." She's not paying attention. The nurse blew my vein watching Matt about to pass out. Poor guy. He got some juice and was asked to leave the room. This causes Becky to worry about how he'll do for the rest of the delivery! The nurse then goes about poking my other hand, actually telling me she wasn't paying attention to me because she was watching, "Dad." Oh, thanks. She blew another one during conversation, saying I had weird veins. Thankfully, she decided to let the nurse upstairs try. She put it in a much better spot anyway (on my forearm) and did it on the first try.

There was an unbelievable feeling in me as we entered my birthing room and saw the "crib" our baby was to be placed in. It already had his little hat and diaper in it, just waiting. My parents arrived and stayed for about an hour from 2-3am. I walked with Matt a bit around the halls and rocked in the rocking chair. My contractions were odd...all in my bottom...and yes uncomfortable. Then Matt and I tried to rest between the monitoring and contractions. I watched the monitor for awhile and asked the nurse what it means when my "hill" goes off the charts. (There were 3 other patients' charts visible on the monitor, and mine appeared to be the only one peaking like that.) I guess it means my contractions were getting stronger...go figure. I listened to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack and some of our wedding songs, and even slept a little. Things got a little more intense and by 5am, I asked to try out the tub with the jets. At this point my body was really shaking. Matt kept asking me if I was cold. In between contractions, I told him, "No, I'm in labor." After awhile, I told Matt I wanted something to help me "get a break." We held on though, taking one contraction at a time. The nurse came in to check on me and asked me if things were changing. I said the contractions were either getting closer together or more intense. I couldn't tell. I could hardly think. She told me, "Well, I hope they aren't getting any closer together...they're already pretty close." I "enjoyed" the tub for an hour in all when the resident doctor came in. She wanted to know if I would like to be checked. I told her in between shakes, "Uhhh, yes and no. I do, but I'm afraid I haven't made any progress." I could not make any decisions for myself during the rest of labor. So, she checked me. I was 9cm! This was 6am. I couldn't believe my ears! Many residents came by and said, "Hey, we heard you're really rocking this labor! No one would guess you're 9cm because you're so stoic." Ha! Thanks for the encouragement, but I'm not really ready to party. At this point, Matt called my parents to give them the update. Mom was ready to come straight to the hospital and had to interrupt my dad's early morning basketball game for him to come by too...even though he knew it would still be several more hours. The college security came down with the message and found my brother, who has the same name, and told him, "Hey, you're going to be a grandpa again. It's time to go!" Well, my 30something year old brother won't be a grandpa, but my dad ended up getting the message. Back at the hospital, my doctor came in and said she could break my water (I guess I broke up high and needed down low done) and then I could start pushing. Huh? Really? So, that's what we did.

I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. For 2 hours, the doctor and Matt said they could see his head. Encouraging at first, not so much after 2 hours. Matt was wonderful. He stood by me, held my leg, and was so sweet in his words. He did NOT show any queasy signs whatsoever. The doctor kept saying what a great team we were. I loved hearing that...well, reflecting on that after. The doctor kept asking if I'd like my legs up. I had no idea what she was talking about and didn't care to ask...until a couple hours passed. I just couldn't respond. Between each contraction, I closed my eyes and tried to rest...even dose if I could, to gather all my strength. You just have no idea how long it will be. I heard pretty much everything going on (though the talking really was minimal except during the pushing). I heard the (annoying) ticking of the clock in the silent room and desperately wanted to know what time it was...how long it had been, but I saved my energy for more important things. My doctor kept commenting quietly, "she's just so focused." A lady came in all hyped up, and said, "Your mom is going crazy wanting to know how you're doing (a bit of an exaggeration, though somewhat truthful). Can I tell her you're getting close?" I had a hard time thinking and responding, but I got the idea I wasn't really all that close. I told her, "yes,"...thinking of course you can tell my mom I'm getting close. You can tell her whatever is going on here. I guess that whole privacy thing got in the way...I should've signed something so she could know what was going on. I didn't care who knew. Are you kidding me? She's my mom, and here I am obvious to everyone in the room, and those who came and went, how "I'm doing." My doctor asked again about my legs, and I let out an exhausted, "I don't know what you mean." "Ohhh, we can hold your legs up for you inbetween the contractions as well as during!" I'm thinking, all this time I didn't have to heave my legs in the air every time I went to push?!! I gladly took her up on the offer...finally! Yes, there were times, near the end, that a few emotions tried to take over...sort of whimpers, cries, "I can't do this anymore" feeling after pushing and pushing. I was drenched in sweat. But, I tried to push (haha, push) those feelings away, and I kept praying to be amazed by the strength and grace of our Lord. He was faithful...beyond faithful. The doctor kept saying, "Wow, you are pulling strength from somewhere." Yup, the joy of the Lord was my strength. Stephen even wiggled around to make the labor more effective. That was a weird feeling! The doctor kept saying he was "helping me" and that he loved labor as his heartrate was so steady. Don't get too comfortable with it little baby! After 2 and a half hours of pushing (and my doctor graciously extending her shift, cancelling meetings and appointments to see me through this delivery), at 9:15am, my big boy arrived (9 pounds 1 oz, 21 1/2 inches)! The doctor looked at Matt, giving him the signal, and he leaned into my face with tears in his eyes and complete happiness said, "It's a boy!" I heard some little cries and leaned forward with the rest of my strength to see my boy. I cried and just kept saying over and over, "That's our baby, that's our baby." Matt cut the umbilical cord, and they put him on my chest. I've never felt such exhaustion (haha), and yet, incredible joy and blessed-ness. The first thing I noticed was his weight and size! "He's soo heavy and big!" It was hard to hold him, but he was perfect. The doctor and nurses just kept talking about his size and how they couldn't wait to weigh him. Everyone loved his thick, black curly hair! So, I looked up at Matt and said, "So, is this Stephen?" "Can he be?" "Yes!" It was so amazing to see the look in Matt's eyes after Stevie was born. He just kept telling me what a great job I did (and later, he said, he had no idea I had so many veins in my forehead and face that could stick out so much! haha) and how beautiful our son was. I had been hoping to have a son to name after the partner God gave me, who I love so much. Stephen Matthew is named after Daddy, Matthew Stephen, and means crowned gift of God. We pray he grows to be a strong, courageous, faithful man of God like his Daddy, and Stephen and Matthew in the Bible.

I know I was blessed with a good labor, and a pretty quick one too (well, except for the pushing!). I really don't know when "transition" occured, and to my knowledge, I never yelled at Matt. :) I did throw the washcloth off my forehead though that the nurse gave me at the beginning of pushing. It was too cold and distracting. I guess I acted a little aggressive with that, but Matt said the nurse took it in stride. haha God's timing was perfect. My very own doctor was able to deliver him (she is great!!), and I even knew 3 of my nurses. I am completely humbled, yet more confident (strange combo I know) that I delivered our son, and all naturally at that. I certainly do not blame any woman who gets an epidural or pain relief, understanding that I wanted "a break," and I'm sure every labor and delivery is different for every woman and pregnancy. Natural devlivery was my desire from the start, but I will not say I did it on my own. My wonderful Matthew was a huge support, and undoubtedly, I was shown God's grace and mercy, as He gave me the strength and perseverance I needed. So, here we are, with our beautiful (ok, Matt, handsome!) son, Stephen, or Stevie for short. What a miracle he is!