Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

I had to post this picture here for several reasons.  First off, JB is officially one month old today! And what a cute picture to commemorate his 1 month milestone!!

I can't believe it because the time has literally flown by.  Talk about a sweetheart... he has totally stolen mine and I can not get enough love from this little guy. He is a cuddler, and such an easy little boy!  I have enjoyed every second snuggling with him and just getting to know his sweet personality. He is already smiling and holding his head up really well.  And true to newborn form he spends most of his day and night eating and sleeping.  What a handsome little boy he is- blessed isn't really a big enough word.  And to say that I feel spoiled by his happy-go-lucky demeanor is just a small sample of how much of a joy he has been in this short month. 

And now to the picture... did you know it was possible to get a 2 year old and a 1 month old to simultaneously smile under a Christmas tree?? Me neither!! But I am calling it my Christmas miracle and here is the proof :)  Thanks, mom, for capturing the magic! I will be getting a frame for this one.

JB's Newborn Photo Shoot

A huge thanks to Monica and Pixel Perfect Photography! Here are a few of my favorites. I love that she was able to capture him in his sweet sleep at 2 weeks old.  I just love capturing that innocence!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Little Turkey's Birth Story ;)

Happy Thanksgiving! I have so very much to be thankful for this season. I just love this time of year when the air finally starts to get a bit chillier and life is full of family, food, and festivities!  I have extra blessings for 2011.  My sweet, sweet John Bailey arrived on November 14th.

I guess it all started with Elf.  That is sort of a long standing labor tradition with my kidlets I suppose. I watched it in the hospital with Emme before my pitocin really kicked in and it helped me laugh and try to relax ;) I had been feeling really good for my entire pregnancy with JB, seriously he was so easy and so kind to my body.  Even at week 39 I was feeling great, going to Jazzercise every day, and wondering if I needed to somehow make myself more uncomfortable in order for him to make his way on out. 

Then at 39 weeks 5 days, it hit.  I was suddenly got really ready to have this baby!! I couldn't sleep, couldn't get comfy.  I ran out of things "to do."  I had honestly waited till the last minute on a lot of things because I had a sneaking suspicion from the very beginning that he would not be early.  I had an appointment with Betty, one of the midwives on Friday and my blood pressure was slightly elevated.  She suggested I try to take it easy over the weekend and get some rest.  At that point I was 3 cm. dilated and 70 % effaced. I indulged in spicy mexican food and spent a ton of time on the birthing ball trying to coax my little boy into a favorable position for labor to come on.

So Sunday comes, and I am officially 40 weeks. Wow. I didn't feel like my body could stretch any further.  I didn't have the heart or energy to make it to church.  I was trying to keep myself relaxed and not get into a mental game of "when will he arrive???"  My sweet best friends finally convinced me to make it out of the house for a last "bring on labor" pedicure.  They were so kind- didn't ask me any questions about when he would be here, just supported me, made me feel loved, and made my toes look pretty and pink :)  When I got home I had quite a few strong braxton-hicks contractions, but I had half expected that to happen after the awesome hot stone massage I had just gotten on my pressure points. 

That night, as I was rolling away on the birthing ball- I happened to come across the movie Elf on USA.  It was a marathon that was playing all night.  I "ran" (waddled?) into the next room to tell Ben that it had to be a sign.  However... bright and early the next morning I awoke and... no baby, no real contractions.  I was officially "over due" 40 weeks 1 day, I know, but man was I ready for him to be here.

I made it up to Inanna for my check-up, Jean (my midwife) took one look at me and she said, "Oh honey, you are ready to have this baby, aren't you?"  She offered to check me and see what was going on.  Again my blood pressure was up a bit for the 2nd time, and when she looked I was now 4 cm (she said she could stretch me to a 5) and 80% effaced.  In her words, "Your cervix is as soft as butter."  I was so relieved when she said, "I think you will have this little boy today or tomorrow!" Hallelujah, it was so awesome to hear that I wasn't going crazy to think he was ready and so was I! Jean recommended I go home and go on a regiment of pumping for 30 minutes, followed by walking for an hour.  After completing the rotation twice, she said I should come back at 1:00 for a follow-up.

I went home and started the process, again trying to keep my mind and body relaxed and not over-think the situation.  I had told Ben to just stay at work and come home at noon to be with me, but as soon as I started pumping, I immediately got emotional, started crying, and begged him to come home as soon as possible (he did). :)

The first lap of walking around the neighborhood, my mom and Emme joined me.  I was kind of like a woman on a mission.  I'm sure I looked like a huge crazy lady to everyone that happened to see me.  Ben made it home for the second session and we talked about how we wouldn't get our hopes up and that most likely we would be returning home for at least a few more hours- just trying to remember that birth is a process, and sometimes a long one.

I definitely began to feel regular contractions, but having only experienced chemically induced contractions, it was such a different sensation that I didn't know what to think really.  We threw our stuff in the labor bag, brought the poster, and a few snacks, and kissed Emme goodbye while mom put her down for a nap. (Have to put in a plug for my mom here.  Wow,  I don't know what I would have done without her.  During the morning she had watched Emme, taken her to the store, picked up smoothies, packed lunches and snacks for us... again all while in charge of a 2 year old!!)

When we got to Inanna it was about 1:30 or so.  Jean checked me and... I was a 6 and in active labor!  She told us to unload our stuff and fill out paperwork- we were officially staying to have a baby. Yeah! I couldn't believe it.  It was really here.  I called Elisabeth, as she was coming to act as my doula (and my best friend!) and we also let mom know it looked like baby day!  We started by pumping again and the contractions picked up.  When Elisabeth arrived, we headed across the street to the park to start walking at TWU. 

Walking ended up being my biggest strategy for pain management.  Ben and Elisabeth did such an awesome job of distracting me and telling me stories while I walked (in my head it was really fast, like a power walk... but I was told it was more like a slow moving hover round, haha).  We came back to be monitored and then did another round.  Then things started to move really quickly.  Around 4:30 I asked to be checked because I wasn't sure if I could walk anymore around the park.  I was between 7 and 8 cm.  I was so happy at the progress, but things were really getting intense!

At that point, I asked them to start filling the tub. I was definitely interested in a water birth, but wasn't sure it would work out- or would be effective for managing the pain.  I paced around the room and swayed on Ben while Elisabeth pushed on my back.  As soon as I could get in the tub, I did and boy did things pick up from there.  I could tell I was in transition, and honestly my memories from that point are pretty blurry because I was wanting so much to get into the next phase!!  I had asked Elisabeth to call my mom to come up with Emme when I started to push because I wanted them to be there shortly after JB arrived. 

Well, all of a sudden, I felt a huge jolt in my body, like an elevator dropping inside of me.  And all heck broke loose!! I needed to push or at least try to relieve the insane pressure I was feeling.  Between 5:20 and 5:30 it was clear to me that it was the now or never point.  I could feel his head coming down when I would bear down.  According to Elisabeth who was texting updates to my mom at the time, I started to really push at 5:32 and at 5:35 he was born!! Absolute euphoria is all I can say.  It was a rush of emotion like no other.  I don't think I'll ever be the same.  We were able to come home at 8:30 that night.  At home, holding my new baby, enjoying my family. I'm thankful.  Happy birthday sweet John Bailey, Mommy loves you.

John Bailey Oehlschlaeger, November 14, 2011 5:35 p.m.  8lb. 8 oz.  18 1/2 inches long

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Look Who's Talkin'

I wish I could document all of the funny things Emme is saying right now.  What a fun age!

  • "That's Uhmazin!"
  • "Mommy! You got a big tummy?"
  • "Mama, I hold J.B. aaaaallll day.  I swing him. I tickle him. I touch his poopies!"
  • "Jesus make my heart happy."
  • "Please change my diaper." (incidentally... is this a clue you are supposed to start potty training? Hehe)
  • "I do it myself!"
  • "Mama, I love you sooooo much.  I miss you sooooo much."
  • "I sweep (sleep) weally well."
  • Me: "Emme, why don't you sing us a song?" Emme: "I need a stage!"
  • "I queen Esther."
  • Emme Singing: "Bwoccoli, celewy, gotta beeee... vetails...."
  • Emme: "My daddy work aaaaallll day. I go to daddy's work."  Me: "What are you going to do at Daddy's work?" Emme: "Sing songs!"
  • "This jacket cozy."
  • "I eat Dowa Yogut (Dora yogurt)."
  • "I two!"
  • "Daddy's a boy, mommy's a girl, J.B.'s a boy, I a girl.... Daddy's a GIRL... noooo... hahahaha."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top 10 reason why we love Grammy

10.  She cooks us delicious meals.
9.    She cleans up after us (and even DEEP cleans!!!) and insists I sit in the recliner while she handles it.
8.    She chauffers us around town and loads/unloads toddlers, bags, groceries, etc.
7.    She loves Target and Starbucks and is willing to take an outing there any time :)
6.    She enjoys shopping with and for the girls.
5.    She has been here for 3 weeks and is staying till Christmas!!!
4.    She changes diapers, gives baths, does laundry, allows a toddler to wake her at 7:30 am...
3.    She happily babysits and provides free date nights- even an overnight stay!
2.    She loves Emme and is willing to do just about anything for her.
1.    She gives sacrificially over and over again, and is such an amazing reflection of Christ's love.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Prayer Requests

Here are some of the things I am praying about as life is about to change in the next month or so! I know these are pretty detailed, but I know that God is in the details and He does care about even the smallest stuff.  Thank you for praying with me.

  • Natural labor and delivery process without complications.  Smooth transitioning from laboring at home to the birth center and ability to use coping techniques and supports.  For the balance of mental and emotional focus along with the ability to let go. 
  • A healthy remainder of the pregnancy and a healthy baby boy who does not need extra interventions or specialists.
  • Good recovery and bonding time with JB.
  • Stress free experience with nursing. Specifically that he will have a good ability to latch and will not have any food or milk protein allergies or reflux issues. 
  • Emme's adjustment to being a big sister.  That she will continue to have the same love and excitement about her little brother as she does now.  And that she will enjoy time with him and respond well to the new family dynamic.
  • Financial provision to pay for the rest of what we owe towards the birth and early infant costs/check-ups/etc.  Also just extra costs that come with adding another child to be covered.
  • Overall peace and a laid back atmosphere in our home as we adjust to #2.  Also opportunities to rest and adjust as a family.
  • For me to be relaxed and enjoy the infancy stage and not second guess every decision.  I am really praying about less anxiety overall and just enjoying the whole process rather than trying to feel like everything has to be perfect.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

L&D Storyboard

I mentioned in earlier posts that I was hoping to create a story board for inspiration and encouragement during labor.  I have been feeling the urge to nest lately, and Ben was gone with Emme for the evening... so tonight was the night!  It was a lot of fun to look through pictures and come up with the phrases and verses I wanted to include on the poster.  Emotionally cathartic I would say!  4 weeks and counting till JB'S due date, I am glad to have had a little time to start getting my head in the game.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Praying Through Your Pregnancy

Just stole this from a neat book I've been reading (title of the post).  I think these are great to pray for not only during pregnancy but into every stage with my kids!

Passion: Lord, please instill in my child a soul wiht a heart for You; a heart that clings passionately to You (Psalm 63:8) and the things that are good, true, noble, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

Purpose: Lord, I pray that my child's life will serve Your purpose in his own generation (see Acts 13:36; Esther 4:14).

Faith: Lord, I pray that faith will find root and grow in my child's heart and that by faith my child may gain what has been promised to him (see Luke 17:5-6; Hebrews 11:1-40).  Reveal Yourself to my child at an early age (see I Samuel 3:7).

Favor: Lord, I pray  that my child will grow in stature and favor with You and with men (see I Samuel 2:26).

Courage: Lord, may my child always "be strong and courageous" in his character and actions (see Deuteronomy 31:6).

Contentment: Lord, teach my child "the secret of being content in any and every situation as You give him strength" (see Philippians 4:12-13).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Update

Here's some of what Emme is up to these days:

  • She is taking a Tiny Tutus class at the rec center on Saturday mornings.  She says she loves it, and will do the moves for us at home... but while we are there she is firmly planted in either mommy or daddy's lap ;)
  • She loves, loves to read.  We have started revisiting story time at the Library again (this time around she is much more interested, haha). Some of her favorite books are the "words" books she got for her birthday.  She just loves to point at each picture and name it.  I get a kick out of how many she knows- there is nothing cuter than hearing a two year old say "watermelon" "popsicle" "shovel" "kite" "picnic"
  • She is super excited about her little brother.  She rubs my belly, kisses it, feeds it, "puts it to sleep". tickles it, shares with it... I could go on... Needless to say I am fairly certain she will be happy to play the mommy role to JB when he arrives.  I was out of town this weekend and when I got back her first words to me were, "I miss JB." Haha- mom hold second place, clearly.
  • She still loves blocks, puzzles, and anything with pieces that can be put back together.  She is extremely methodical in her thinking. Everything as a place and there is a procedure for most everything.  A needs to happen before B and C. Mess with that at your own risk :)
  • She just started counting all the way to 10 by herself. And she will count anything!  Also, she will mostly just count to 10 anway, even if there are only 3 objects.
  • She can sing pretty much the entire alphabet song, Jesus Loves Me, and Open Shut Them.  We also just hear her busting out a random pitch a lot of times- she will tell you she is singing if you ask what she is doing.
  • There are times when Emme is practically talking in complete sentences now- this still astounds me!
  • She is growing very attached to Veggie Tales now.  Whereas in the past she would never pay mind to the TV at all, she is starting to request one of the Veggie shows at least once a day now (a skill I hope will be helpful when brother gets here, woohoo!)
  • She is beginning to memorize a few verses.  At night we have been learning John 3:16, Ephesians 6:1, and Luke 6:31. She likes to do the motions with them :)
  • The park and mall/chick-fil-a play place are a lot of fun for her.  She requests them practically every day ;)
  • She likes to pick out her outfits and begins almost every day by saying, "I need a bow!" (even at 7 am).
  • She is forever mommy's helper- cleaning, laundry, dishes, organizing... no task is too big for her! She wants to be a part of it all.  One of her favorite things to do is help me cook in the kitchen. 
  • Meltdowns happen.... often for no apparent reason :)  One positive thing though, is that I can see the Lord working in her heart even during those times.  A couple of weeks ago after a random fit, followed by discipline she said, "Jesus help Emme's heart."  Thank you, Lord that you redeem us. 
  • She is more and more fun, and more and more of a blessing each day!!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Than You'll Ever Know


That's the topic of this post.

Over the past few months, our family has been through a lot of stretching and pulling.  I know that is how the Lord works.  He loves us exactly the way we are, and yet His love is so deep that He refuses to let us stay that way.  I have a habit though, of resisting change.  Yet God in His kindness will continue the good work He has begun.  He won't allow me (or my family) to remain shallow.

To be honest, this pregnancy has been such a peaceful and easy and calm and natural experience for me physically and emotionally- but financially and spiritually it has challenged our family in ways I really wasn't prepared for.  It is funny how it always comes back to trust.  When I was pregnant with Emme, I spent the entire pregnancy learning about trust- and constantly having to lean into the Lord, knowing that He would take care of her and also letting go of so much fear after our miscarriage.  This time around, it has been facing another fear- namely, financial insecurity and fear of the unknown. 

I am so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to stay at home with my children.  There is truly no greater joy for me than to be with them every day, teaching, playing, knowing their little nuances, capturing every special moment.  It is a treasure that is priceless, and I am blessed, blessed, blessed by it!! I am thankful that my husband feels the same way, and that he works countless hours to make sure I am able to care for them.  Living on one income has never felt "burdensome" to me.  But when the costs of this pregnancy, and anticipating health care, and every day needs as JB arrives started to become more of a reality,  I confess it drove us to our knees. We still aren't sure about how it is all going to work out.  But what I am learning (over and over) is that God wants our family to rely completely and fully on Him alone. 

And am I so foolish not to believe His Word?  Doesn't He take care of simple things like birds and flowers?  Didn't He hand-pick JB and place him in my womb at just the right time?  Isn't He completely and totally aware of our situation- and isn't He bigger than our day-to-day anxieties? 

Even though I still don't have the answers, and the big picture is unclear, I know that God's timing is perfect... rarely early, but never late.  He is Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.  And there are people in my life that He is using in ways they probably can't even imagine to provide for our family's needs.  I am so thankful for those people (and you know who you are) who have allowed me to be vulnerable, have prayed with me, have lifted my family up in prayer, have provided babysitting, have given time and resources, have given generously in so many ways.  You are the hands and feet of Jesus. And when I am feeling weak and afraid, He has used  you, and continues to use you to encourage me and remind me of how big our God really is. 

I don't know how to repay my friends and family that have so willingly taken on our family's needs and cares and continue to love us sacrificially.  Thank you for being the body of Christ to me.  But I hope this song will share a little of my gratitude, as you mean to me More Than You'll Ever Know (courtesy of Watermark).

 Something brought you to my mind today
I thought about the funny ways you make me laugh
And yet I feel like it's okay to cry with you
Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I've been near God
And that's the way it ought to be...

'Cause you've been more than a friend to me
You fight off my enemies
'Cause you've spoken the Truth over my life
And you'll never know what it means to me
Just to know you've been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
More than you'll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you'll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah

You had faith, when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn't think I could find the strength to sing
And all the while I'm hoping that I'll
Do the kind of praying for you that you've done for me
And that's the way it ought to be...

You have carried me
You have taken upon a burden that wasn't your own
And may the blessing return to you
A hundredfold, oh yeah...
A hundredfold, oh yeah...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birthing from Within: Part II

We just finished up our last birthing class last night.  It has really been a blessing to learn more and gain confidence about the whole process.  I have a lot to be thankful for, especially our sweet friends, the Sraders, who have taken care of Emme every Tuesday night so that we could go without paying for a sitter.  I am also so thankful for the wisdom of the midwives, Betty and Jean, and birth assistant, Marissa.  It never ceases to make me smile when I hear them add in things like, "That is the way God intended it..." or "We believe God designed things this way..." etc.  It is so cool to know that the people that will be with you during one of the most vulnerable times in life also share your faith in the Lord.  I "graduated" yesterday evening feeling excited and very much looking forward to JB's arrival, and ready to put into practice the tools that I have gained over the past 6 weeks.

Last night we got to talk a lot about post partum care and breastfeeding, both of which were really important topics for me personally, so it was great to have a whole class devoted to that.  I feel so much more prepared, and while of course you can never predict what birth will look like- it seems as though I have many more ways to cope and remain flexible this time around.  I can't explain how different it all feels this time. So much less anxiety, just embracing and enjoying the natural process, and also feeling much more joyfulness about the prospect of bringing home a newborn instead of fear.

I have about 8 1/2 weeks until my due date and am enjoying this time with just Emme and Ben.  I know that things will no doubt be crazy for awhile with an infant and readjusting to late night/early morning feedings, schedules, gear, nursing, and all that fun stuff.  I really am doing my best to treasure this little window of opportunity and soak up "Emme time."  I'm also surprised at how much of a bond I already feel with JB.  I have a lot of love for this little guy- and I guess I don't remember feeling this attached before!!  I'm typically such a thinker personality that I can really sabotage myself and take a lot of the fun out of things because I'm always processing it and making things complicated (really annoying personality trait I might add). So its neat how God just continues to pump me full of awesome hormones and happiness about this birth, and how by His goodness I've been able to sit back and relax.  I am so thrilled for the next chapter of life.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Meet John Bailey

My two best friends surprised me with an amazing gift for my 28th birthday, something that I never would have done for myself, but was so, so cool to experience!  They blessed me with a 3D/4D ultrasound of my sweet little boy!! I was really excited because I have only had one sonogram with JB and it was at 18 weeks- when he still looked very "skeletor" and we didn't come away with any cute little baby profile pictures.  Anyway, the prime time for a 3D sono is 28-32 weeks when the baby is perfectly round and well developed but not so stretched for space that they can't move much (isn't it funny how this also coincides with the time when Mommy also feels beautiful and "cute" pregnant but shortly before she starts to feel like a small elephant?) ;)

So now that I am officially 30 weeks, we scheduled our appointment and it was awesome! I must admit that I wasn't prepared for how attached and in love I would feel in seeing John's sweet baby face. It was extremely real and I could not believe the details we could make out. I was literally melting when I got to see his chubby cheeks, pensive expressions, tiny toes, and adorable nose. He is quite the handsome fellow if I do say so myself. I'll share my proof with you...

Needless to say, I am just a wee bit excited to meet this little guy.  10 more weeks? I think I can handle that. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Faith Like a Child

It has been really eye opening lately to see just how much Emme is able to communicate.  For so long, you say things to your kids, hoping and praying that some of it is being absorped.  I feel like I am always praying for Emme to have a heart that it is sensitive to the things of the Lord, that she would have an intimate relationship with Christ in a personal way even from an early age, and that she would understand that obedience brings blessing, not that it is just a set of rules from Mommy and Daddy.

All of that to say God has really started showing me that He is working His ways in our little ones lives, even if at times it is hard to see and you wonder when there will be any fruit.  I wanted to document just a few of the "revelations" I have been noticing.  Not because there is any glory in those for Ben and I, but because we rejoice that even in our sinful, selfish, imperfections- Christ will still make Himself known to the smallest of these.

Emme has started to use the word "Obey" more frequently.  Like, "Mommy or Daddy said, Obey" or "I obey/Emme obey."  That alone to me has been such an encouragement.  One of the things that Ben and I both pray for her is that she will have  a clear understanding of the place of authority in her life, that it comes from God, and that as her parents we are a steward of that authority.  I have been trying to use this phrase with her (I know that I can't expect 1st time obedience on every occasion with a 2 year old) to help her remember that obedience needs to happen right away because whatever it is could be important for safety, or removing her from harm, etc. "Obey, Obey, Without Delay!"  It is really cute when I hear her say "Wifout Deway!"

She has also started saying, "I go church." many times when we get in the car :) I love that she enjoys church and also that she is understanding that it is a normal part of our routine.  The other day she was in the guest bathroom and happened to pull out a cross key chain from a bathroom drawer.  She picked it up and said, "Jesus on Cross."  Wow.  It just baffles me that even at 2, she is picking up on Bible stories and truths that we are repeating, even if it seems at the time that she isn't getting it at all.

Emme also loves, loves music.  She has memorized Jesus Loves Me, and we sing it together every night before bed.  Oh  I love to hear that little voice singing such precious words!!  She also started saying, "I got joy joy joy in my heart!" "Daddy got joy joy joy in my heart!" "Mommy got joy joy joy in my heart!" So funny.  It is just neat to see God working Himself into her being. 

I am encouraged that God cares for these little ones.  He desires after them, just as He desires after us and wants us to know Him more deeply. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Birthing from Within Part I

With the 3rd trimester upon me I figured it's time for me to start documenting the process of JB's birth story.  Things are starting to move pretty fast now and I think I will forget a lot if I don't write it down.  And there are just so many neat memories about this pregnancy that I have enjoyed and would be good to have written down for posterity.

This time around I just came into the pregnancy thinking totally differently.  For one, JB wasn't planned. Obviously we understand the whole concept of the birds and the bees, but he just came along totally without a schedule, "trying," or actually even giving much thought to the idea of seriously working on Baby #2.  Really it was a gift from God. I have always had the tendancy to overplan (some call it worry) :) about things, so it was really awesome to just randomly have him placed in our lives.  I guess that sort of got the whole ball rolling in my mind towards finding an alternative to the hospital experience and all of that.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against hospitals (heck I gave birth in one!) and I have nothing against pain meds or epidurals (I had both). It's just that this time I decided to try something different.  I started exploring birthing centers early on and came upon Inanna through a series of different stories and testimonies from friends and strangers who had a wonderful experience there. So the more I learned about it, the more I wanted it to be part of our birth story for JB.  It has been totally different, but totally amazing.  Being with a midwife has been great because it seems like the care is very personal and much more conducive to having a "normal and uncomplicated" pregnancy with limited interventions.  I certainly believe there is a time and a place for more intervention, but I love their philosophy- which is basically that God created your body to be able to give birth, and in most cases, everything is developing and progressing as it should.  And not only is birth normal, but giving birth naturally is normal too.  Never once have they pressed that philosophy on me, it is just the way Inanna is set up is so conducive to helping ease any anxiety you might have about birth that it just feels right.

So now having come to the conclusion that not only would we using a birth center and midwife this time, but also a natural labor--- I really felt like I needed some tools.  Luckily, Inanna offers a wonderful child birth class.  I did the child birth class through the hospital with Emme, but other than "try to stay relaxed and breathe" I didn't come away with many tools I felt could be used.  I know there were are lot of factors involved in Emme's birth (induction... pitocin... internal monitors... lots of time in a bed... etc.) but still I felt totally unprepared for how to handle contractions and the pain that is involved in childbirth.

So we are taking a class based on Birthing From Within with the midwives at Inanna.  The class is at Jean's house, which is very laid back and just makes you feel like you are hanging out with friends.  I think Ben was pretty unsure about the whole thing and he was afraid it would be all hocus pocus and "out there."  I can honestly say, it has been so practical and so helpful!  Every week we have learned some different pain coping techniques and have discussed different psychological and physiological aspects of childbirth.  I'm learning that they need to become a habit, rather than just a technique- so I am trying my best to use them where I can so I will be more prepared when the time comes.  Some of the things I've most enjoyed learning about are how effective non-focused awareness, ignoring, and the power of distraction can be!  During one exercise, we had our hands holding freezing ice for 60 seconds, but I had no idea it was that long because I was so busy watching all of the distractions around me that the midwives were creating.  (I guess I just need to do most of my labor at home in the presence of my toddler) ;)

Some of the other things I have enjoyed learning about are the importance of nutrition, vitamins, water, and some organic teas and homeopathic remedies that can be very helpful both during and after pregnancy. It is isn't mystical at all- it is just really cool to see how some of these very natural things can truly help make your pregnancy more pleasant and energized so you can enjoy this stage of life! It also makes me want to be better about using some of the supplements when I'm not pregnant!Something else they have discussed in class that I would love to do in preparation for labor as well is to create an inspiration story board.  It is a creative way to put lots of encouraging phrases, pictures of your family, Scripture, and anything else that helps you use positive and forward thinking even in the midst of the pain all onto a poster that you can look at and focus on during labor.

One other beautiful thing I wanted to share was about the story of Inanna. Again just looking at the name you might think, "Wow that is really out there, or out of my comfort zone." (that would have been me not too long ago).  But I loved when the midwives explained how they came up with the name for the center.  Basically it comes from a mythological tale in which a Queen (named Inanna) is called to the Underworld to find her brother in law who has passed away.  But at each gate that she comes to, the guard requires her to give something up before she can enter the next level.  Originally she walks in a glamour girl, and by the end of the story she is standing naked and with nothing left.  At the the last gate she must give up her crown.  Eventually she even dies, but is brought back to life with the the help of others.  Anyway, all of this to say- they chose the name Inanna because of its deeper meaning for women who experience the journey of motherhood.  By becoming a mother, you are giving up your maiden form.  Motherhood is all about sacrifice, what you are willing to give.  How deep you are willing to go.  Not just in the birth experience- no that just scratches the surface.  But once you hold that baby in your arms, it is a whole new world of small and large sacrifices, and it is a lifelong journey... but so rewarding for those that are willing to embrace it.   

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I have a 2 year old!!

It seems so crazy, but Emme officially turned 2 on August 7th.  It is a really crazy fun week because there are LOTs of birthdays to celebrate, parties to go to, cake to eat, and people to relax and laugh with!  Between our sweet friend, Rachel's new addition, Kyrielyn Rae who arrived on the 3rd, Emme's birthday on the 7th, Ransom's birthday on the 8th, and my birthday on the 10th... we pretty much stay on a sugar rush for a solid week! It is great!

Emme had her 2 year check up on Monday and true to form she held tight with her stats that make us wonder if we had a 6 ft 5 in. mystery person floating somewhere in our gene pool. Either that or she'll max out at 5th grade like her mama and basically quit growing altogether at that point ;) :
WT: 31.4   93%
HT: 35 1/2  89%
HC: 48 1/2  77%
Dr. G asked if we had thought at all about potty training. I looked at the "signs of readiness" list and she had every single one of them except for "wants to learn." Haha. Anyway I am in no rush.
She is such a funny little kiddo. I have enjoyed this toddler stage so much already and she just seems to get more and more fun the older she gets! At this point I don't hold much to the "terrible two's" term... (check back in 6 months?) Anyway, she is seriously just a joy and I love that every day is a new discovery and full of lots of exciting adventures for her.  You can catch her saying "Was dat, mama?" at least 65 times a day. :) I love it.

We sort of threw the party stuff together last minute (it felt too early to me to try and organize a "theme" other than cake and presents), so the night before her party we were at Target just getting the basics.  I let her pick out the plates and napkins she wanted, and no surprise- she chose "princess." This all started when we found a My First Words book at the library that was princess themed and she was immediately hooked.  Feeding the addiction is the Yoplait "princess" yogurt that that we pretty much consume a pack of every few days.  I can only imagine when she is old enough to watch the movies, choose a favorite princess... obsession I tell you!

We had our friends over for lunch, cake, and presents and it was so fun to watch all the kids just run around and play.  The cupcakes were a hit, and presents took forever because each one that was opened needed to be played with by all of the babies first :).  I think Emme really does have a little bit of Cinderella in her because her favorite gifts were a cleaning caddy (courtesy of the dollar store... and saved since Christmas because she was too excited with other things to open it then), and a vaccuum cleaner that Aunt Elisabeth got her.  Seriously... you could not pry that thing from her hands.  She also insisted that it be stored in the closet with Mommy's vaccuum cleaner. Serious stuff.

Afterwards we all hit the waterpark for a bit where the kids showcased their amazing swimming and sliding skills.  It just amazes me that last year she was barely crawling around the freezing water, and this year she is walking up to the slides by herself and going down at lightning speed, laughing all the way and asking for MORE!

I wish I had a few good pictures to commemorate the day... but what I learned is that it is REALLY hard to get those kodak moments when there are toddlers involved.  It is just a whirlwind of activity!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet Emme Lou!!! Every minute with you reminds me of God's love and affection for us and I hope that you will come to know Jesus more with each passing day!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just for Fun

As much as this little girl would love to go outside.... She will just have to keep up her wishful thinking till the triple digit temps die down!!! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The phase we are in...

Is so much fun. So far I think that just about to be two-year-olds are pretty much the best.  I know it is kind of cliche to say that "motherhood just gets better and better" but it is true!  Why do I know this?

We've gone through a box of bandaids in a matter of weeks (for some real "injuries", yes) but mostly because they fix all visible and INvisible boo-boos.

Toes must be painted pink at all times.

Blueberries are "bluesies" and strawberries are "stawbees."  Also, "Dis' some good melon!" is something you might hear.

Counting sounds likes this, "1,2,4,6,7,8,10!" Other numbers are optional.

JB is already getting tickled nightly. Poor brother better get used to serious affection.

Name is spelled "E-M-E". Out loud, frequently. And these are the most important letters of the alphabet.... clearly!

"I draw, Mom. Star, heart, circle!"

Night time prayers include being thankful for chocolate milk.

Life is good :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do Everything

I recently heard this song on the radio by Steven Curtis Chapman. It reminded me also of some of the things I have been reading in the book The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.  The lyrics of the first verse just remind me that no matter how small the act, or how routine, or how hum-drum, or how "meaningless," everything I do can be done to the glory of God and it is made "meaningful!"

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you
Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do
Little stuff big stuff in between stuff
God sees it all the same

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wisconsin Memories

 Family picture while Emme was napping.

 Enjoying strawberry shortcake with Daddy!

 My personal strawberry :)

 Lovin' some park time!

 Riding high on the biggest slide at the park...

Catching a hug from Uncle Scott.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Look Who's Talkin'

We hear a lot lately coming from our almost 2 year old.... some common phrases... there are so many now it is really hard to keep up with!

I shoppin'
I runnin'
I jumpin'
I dancin'
Shcott (as in Uncle Scott)
Peekee & Bullet (puppy dogs she loves)
I go peepee/poopoo
Emme silly
E-M-M-E (She will spell her name out)
1-2-3-4- 6- 9- 10! (Her way of counting to 10, especially fingers and toes)
I play
Jazz-cise :) (this makes me happy)
Shewwwweee (when there is a stinky diaper)
Scuuuze me (after burping)
I do it
Good Job, Mama! (personal favorite)
Emme cozy (after being in her big girl bed)

Summer Days

Have I mentioned how much I love summer?!? It is so wonderful to have Ben at home and I can not express how awesome it is for him to get extra time at home with Emme. There are really challenging things about teaching, but having extended time with Ben is such a huge bonus that it makes up for it! I am trying to soak up all of the fun times together as our family of three, knowing that it will be different (exciting and wonderful, but also an adjustment!) next summer having a 7 month old also in tow ;)

We are enjoying the carefree schedule we get to have.  Days look something like this:
Wake up & have breakfast together
Jazzercise with Emme while Daddy gets his workout/ Hang around the house and play
Eat lunch
Play and Eat an easy dinner (favs this summer include pb&j, grilled cheese, or something on the grill)
Pool Time!! (Emme coined this term by the way)
Bed Time

Basically this is our M.O. from June to August and I just love it! It is so fun to watch Emme play at the water park. We love the fact that she can go up the slides all by herself and it is so neat to see her jumping up and down in the water and enjoying the season. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are at the pool and I am glad she will have those as well. It is great having such a cool place right down the road from our house- we will bring her PJ's to the pool and stay there till it closes. She is so exhausted when we are done she heads right to bed.

Here's to many more days of fun in the sun!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brotherly Love

We found out on Tuesday that we are having a BOY! It was an exciting time to finally get to see this little guy, and I was especially happy that he cooperated and revealed his gender :)  Emme has been really sweet, kissing mommy's belly and even trying to tickle her little brother in utero.  Poor little man is gonna be in for some major love from his big sister!  She has already learned his name, J.B. (John Bailey) and also thinks that he lives in her belly.  I am just soaking up every second of this pregnancy and have really enjoyed it this time around.  It is neat to think there will be another baby to love in just a few months.

 So fun to see his perfect little fingers!
 Giving us the "thumb's up!"
Sorry, J.B., have to show off the boy proof! ;)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Emme has a secret to tell...

Can you guess what it is? :)

We are so excited to meet Baby #2 in mid November!!!

Easter Pics

We had a wonderful time celebrating the Resurrection with friends and family.  After church we went to the Srader's house for lunch and an egg hunt.  Rylan and Emme had a blast looking for eggs... and eating the contents :)

Sweet friends!

Family pic
Swinging after the hunt!
He is Risen- and that is why we celebrate!

Friday, April 22, 2011

San Antonio Trip

We got to join Daddy for the annual CHS choir trip- this year it was just a few short hours away in San Antonio! We had such a blast on our family vacation.

San Marcos Outlet

 Made a bee line for the shoes at Gymboree ;)

 Family pic at the Hard Rock Cafe

Sea World was so much fun!

 Feeding the dolphins with Daddy

Mesmorized by the huge fish tanks!

Carousel with Mommy

Splash Zone!

Ferris Wheel with Dad

 Peace, Love, Choir, Baby!

Lovin' some Daddy time!