Saturday, December 15, 2012

He's Three!!

Our little tiny baby boy is three years old!!  Oh how far he has come.  And what a fun and wonderful time it has been.
In no particular order, here are some memorable things about Noah at age 3:
-Weighs 26ish pounds and is 37 inches tall.  (His pants fall down a lot.)
-Has a truly amazing memory.  Example:  The first time he saw the Christmas tree up at my parents' house this year he asked after a few minutes, "Grandma, where is the Mary and Joseph and Jesus ornament?"  Grandma: "Um, here's one."  Noah: "Not THAT one, the yellow one."  How crazy is it that he remembered a specific ornament, one that he had only seen when he was barely two, and within a few minutes realized it was missing?  And try to skip or change words when we are reading a book?  Ha.  He will usually correct me and say, "I mean...."  (Sometimes I honestly wonder if he has a photographic memory because of the details he remembers)
-Is in the "why?" stage.  Oh my is he is the "why?" stage.  And he has recently started adding "Really?!" after we tell him an answer he is finally satisfied with.
-Is very logical.  A couple weeks ago we were at story time at the library and the book was about dinosaurs doing things, to which Noah replied, "Actually, they don't, because dinosaurs don't have hands."  Today his ears were really dirty and there is a page in a Dr. Suess book with a bird in someone's ear so I said, "Maybe there is a bird stuck in there."  He then told me, "No, Mama.  Birds live outside in trees."
-Is getting to be quite the little diplomat.  Often when I tell him he can't play with or do something right now he will say, "SOMEtimes you let me do that."  Or "SOME kids play with that."  Oh boy, what are we in for.
-Overall he is so polite and it is so cute!  He almost always thanks me for making him meals or for helping him with something.  He likes to say thank you to all the servers and cashiers when we are in town.  Sometimes he will stop when he is playing with something and say, "Did I say thank you for this?" and it bugs him when a package is delivered when we aren't home because noone said thank you to the delivery man. :)  (Of course, he also gets in quite the demanding moods!  He has told us, "I'm a boss too.")
-His vocabulary and grammar are pretty spot on.  Although he still has his own pronunciation for a few things, like 'debanas' 'debloons' and 'desprise' for bananas, balloons, and surprise. 
-Uses so many little expression and uses them appropriately, like "actually"  "I guess" "Well..." "Oh boy!" and "gosh!"  (Those last two he picked up from Mickey Mouse. ;)  He has also started using his hands a lot when he talks for emphasis.  So stinkin' cute.
-Is quite the little conversationalist.  He will try to get right in your line of vision if he wants to talk to you.  And he likes to peoples' names when he is talking to them.  The other week at church a kid took his sister's boot and ran off with it and Noah turned to her and said, "Well Addison, sometimes I have one boot on and one boot off too." :)
-If he doesn't understand something he will ask, "What are you talking about, guys?"
-Has a great imagination!  We will pretend things for hours.  Yesterday while surrounded by all kinds of new toys, he was playing with an empty laundry basket and a stick.  He took me to his bus garage, a restaurant and the beach. :)
-Still loves tractors and buses.
-Still loves to read.  (His birthday party was a Richard Scarry "Busytown" theme. I think that deserves a post of its own later. :)
-Still loves to snuggle.  I'm a lucky mama.  (He still like to play with my hair too, although I did get a pretty major haircut.)

-I love my 3 year old!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Of Ivory Soap and Hurricane Sandy

So I am thinking about how I almost lost it over Ivory soap yesterday.  Actually, the smell of Ivory soap.  You know how they say smells can be very strongly linked to memory?  I'm guessing many of us have experienced that sensation of getting a whiff of something and being transported to a memory of a certain time and place.  Well for me Ivory soap=NICU.  I'm not 100% sure why, I think because it is supposed to be more gentle, but Ivory soap is always what you are given in the NICU to wash things, mostly pumping gear.  And so me and Ivory soap spent many a time together washing up after pumping yet again.  And then I had to get some when we got home because that is just the way is was and I still keep a bottle around.  But when I use it and smell that particular scent, I am standing in Noah's pod or in the NICU pumping room.  I can still see every single detail of those places in my mind.  Sometimes it doesn't phase me at all, but sometimes I tear up and almost start crying into my dish water.
What people went through and the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is just crazy.  The thing that got me the most was hearing about the NYU NICU having to be evacuated.  NICU nurses carrying babies in their arms down 9 flights of stairs in the dark, with other nurses carrying IV pumps and lines and wires, and other nurses bagging the babies (forcing air into and out of their lungs--basically breathing for them).  Noah was bagged more times than I like to think about, but the one time I actually saw was when he had to leave the NICU and go to a different part of the hospital for a test.  I remember our nurse explaining what would happen, that an RT would be with him the whole time "breathing for him" and then awkwardly thanking her as they left for saving our baby's life...again.  And so hearing about the Hurricane Sandy situation of course makes me shudder.  But it also give me a sense of... pride I guess?  In that I know first hand what those amazing nurses are capable of and am part of this "NICU community", I guess, of parents and staff who have been touched by NICU experiences.
I am so thankful that looking at my almost 3 year old son, you would never know that he had to be bagged and poked and kept at the hospital for three months.  And I am so thankful for my precious daughter and that I got to experience her birth at full term and kind of redeem my thoughts about the whole giving birth thing.  That I got to bring her home right away and be a "normal" mom.   But in some ways, I will always be a NICU mom.  Ivory soap and Hurricane Sandy remind me of that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Family of 4 Update

I can't believe it's already been over a month since we brought Lydia home and became a family of 4!  Overall we are doing great.  Lydia is good at all the things she is supposed to be, eating, growing and making dirty diapers.  I am thankful she has been a very good nurser right from the start, and she is putting on the weight to prove it!  She is not quite as skilled in the sleeping department, but it's coming. Ordinary baby stuff, right?  We'll take it. :)

Obviously things are very different this time around.  And obviously most of those things are very good!  But there are a couple things that are actually harder.  For one, Noah was like a three month old in some ways when he came home, meaning he was sleeping flat in his crib and could take a bottle.  Oh, and sleeping at night.  It took Lydia a few days to get that whole night and day thing figured out.  She seems to have a little reflux and doesn't like being flat.  And there has just been a bigger adjustment period overall.  When Noah came home, I already knew him super well, his habits and likes/dislikes and little quirks.  And I learned them and how to handle them with the most qualified staff possible by my side.  We have had to do that "getting to know" Lydia at home by ourselves, and if feels very different.  But I'd say we are doing a pretty good job. :)  (Oh, and the whole sleep deprivation thing.  Getting almost no sleep plus recovering from a c-section is not the best combination.  I would gladly have taken a few night nurses. :)

Recovery has gone very well except for one thing--it turns out I am very allergic to steri-strips (little strips of medical tape that are put all along the incision).  We're talking blistered and swollen and so painful and itchy I thought I might lose my mind.  But the incision itself has healed up just fine.  It was very hard to not be able to take care of Noah and things around the house.  But Corey got to take a couple weeks off work and was awesome.  And my mom came over a lot.  Noah was very fond of this part of having a new baby!  And so was I; even though I am a mom, I still like having MY mom around. :) Thanks, Mom!

Noah has done very well so far.  Yes, there have been a few times where he has asked if she can go back to the hospital, but he usually is pretty positive. :)  He still calls her "GirlBaby" most of the time. His cutest brother moment so far is when he laid down next to her and said, "GirlBaby and me are friends!  And God loves GirlBaby and God loves me!"  I know he is kind of bored with this little person that only sleeps and eats and gets changed.  He will often ask "Can she walk/talk/etc yet?"  The other day he told her, "Lydia, this is how you hold a toy.  You put it in your hand and hold it!"  I am excited for when they can actually play together. :)  But for now I will enjoy all the cuteness and baby snuggles.
Here are some similarities I have already seen between them:
-Breech, small for their age, and very skilled at hiding from monitoring equipment
-Super long eyelashes
-Does NOT like to be swaddled (Yes, yes, I know; "all babies love to be swaddled."  Have you ever seen a baby fight for 20 minutes to get their arms out of a swaddle and then fall asleep?  We have.  Twice.)
-Likes her paci and has even found her thumb a few times already
-Has already started grabbing my hair
-Overall content, happy, and alert

And what kind of person would I be if I didn't put a few more pictures... ;)


     So, so blessed.
     We love you, Lydia!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Welcome to the world, GirlBaby!

 Lydia Ruth
6 lb 15 oz
19 inches

Everyone is doing well!  We love her!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One more update!

One last update before GirlBaby makes her appearance TOMORROW at 10:30!! 
I lost count, but I know I had at least a dozen ultrasounds, plus more doctor visits, so I am ready to be done with that part!  
She decided to catch up in growing a couple of weeks ago, measuring 5 1/2 pounds, so she should be right around 6 1/2 tomorrow, at 39 glorious weeks!  When my doctor looked at that ultrasound he said, "If this was the only ultrasound I ever saw I would assume it was from a perfectly healthy and routine pregnancy."  What a nice change from his first description of "rare and special." :)  We are so, so thankful.
To be honest the whole concept of a c-section doesn't really bother me at all.  Some women act like it is the end of the world and somehow makes you less of a mom, but when you have been through what we have, anything other than the end of the story being a mom and baby is pretty much just details.  I don't know if my doctor would have let me try for a VBAC anyway, but GirlBaby made it perfectly clear that she was not moving from as breech as she could possibly get, so that made that decision easy.  I am so ready to not have someone literally sitting on my bladder!
That being said, I am actually a little more anxious for this one considering I have had more than 10 minutes to think about it and won't be completely sedated. But I know it will be worth it!  Corey and I were talking about how different it is going to be to actually be among the first people to see and touch our baby.  Yup, pretty excited about that.
Noah is still excited and hopefully will be tomorrow too!  We had a "Big Brother Party" for him tonight and had lots of fun.  I know there will definitely be some adjusting, but I think he is going to be an awesome brother!
Thank you so much for all your love and prayers!!
 (I'm sure just a few pictures will be taken tomorrow :) and we will try to post some soon.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Big Boy Update

Along with my baby belly, there is also a toddler around here who keeps growing and changing!
Besides his soon to be official "big brother" status, here are a couple of other things that have been happening with our big boy:

He is now in his big boy bed!
I will admit, this was not by my choice.  Call me crazy, but my plan was to keep him in a crib as long as he would actually stay in a crib.  So yes, you guessed it, he officially mastered the art of climbing out of the crib and left us no choice.  The first few nights were rough and I would find him sleeping in his rocking chair and he kept asking for his crib back, but I think we're pretty much adjusted now.  He gets very excited to show people his bed and told me, "I sure do like my big boy bed!"

He got his first big boy bike!
If you know my husband you know that this was just as exciting for him as Noah, and that this is a "real bike" from a bike shop.  (because apparently the bikes at Walmart, Target, etc are not "real bikes" :)  Noah loved the bike shop just about as much as his Daddy!  And he has been wanting his own bike and to ride like Daddy for a long time.  He doesn't quite have the hang of it yet, but he loves having his very own bike.

He has developed quite a taste for the classics, especially Richard Scarry! 
He will literally sit with someone for hours with a big Richard Scarry book.  And then we discovered that there are some videos of them on YouTube...  needless to say Huckle, Lowly, Bananas Gorilla, Sergeant Murphy and company have knocked Mickey Mouse and friends out of favorite status for him. :)   He has also recently decided that "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" is hilarious and is a pretty big Dr. Suess fan.

He has definitely entered the infamous "why?" stage!  I can see how it gets old, but it isn't like he is saying it as back talk, he is asking legitimate questions.  Why did you put that there?  Why did that person do that? etc. etc. etc.  Oh, and also "what does it mean?"  He has asked me a couple times in the past few days, "What does God mean?"   You know, simple little questions like that.  :)  Before he picked those questions up he would bring me something or hear about something and say, "teach me about that, Mama."  He has always been very inquisitive and aware of what is going on around him, even as an infant.  I'll take it. :)  He also wants to know what everybody's name is, and if I say that I don't know he asks, "do they have a name tag?"  Inquisitive and logical.  And whenever he sees or we talk about an animal he asks, "what is its favorite food to eat?"  Not quite sure where he picked up that one.  I know some people think I am crazy, but I honestly enjoy conversing with my two year old!

The other day he told me what he wants to do when he grows up: "be a righteous man" (I guess he has been listening all those times I pray Genesis 6:9 over him!) and "drive a big up-truck [dump truck]." :)  And then he said once he knows how to drive it he will "take Daddy's up-truck for a nice drive in the country."

I just love this big boy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baby Update!

The basic update is: I'm still pregnant!! 
33 weeks and feeling big!

At 30 weeks she slipped even lower on the charts for weight, so I now go in for weekly ultrasounds.  The phrase, "if... then we will deliver" was used at that point and honestly I kind of started planning for the NICU.  But even though she is still tiny, everything for both of us has continued to check out just fine each week.  They are particularly keeping an eye on blood flow through the umbilical cord and the fluid around her, but both have been fine!  At 31 weeks my doctor said, "well, I am happy with how things look and I think we will get you to very little time spent in the nursery, but you are just not going to have a big baby."  I'll take little and healthy any day!  At 32 weeks she was measuring at 3 1/2 pounds, which is technically in the 5th percentile, but hey, it's pretty big to us! 
I actually have something to show for all those ultrasounds, as she finally cooperated long enough to get a 3D shot of her face:

Here is big brother Noah at 32 weeks also:
Minus the nasal canula, I'm definitely thinking they look like siblings, don't you? :)
Noah continues to already be an awesome big brother and is ready to meet this baby already!  He continues to ask to hold her, and once tried to use a key to open my belly.  His latest thing is to say that she needs a "smaller" one of everything including furniture, a bike, and a lawnmower.  And he made sure to say she would need a very small helmet for her bike too.  Already looking out for his little sis! :)
Today we even started talking about delivery.  If we make it one more week, we will be able to deliver in our hometown, and there really isn't any reason to think I won't make it to full term.  Delivering here and actually bringing a baby home with us from the hospital--crazy!  She is still breech and the chances of her flipping are not very high, so we are looking at a c-section at 38 weeks, just a little over a month away.  Ah!!  Now there is a giant list of things that I want to get done running through my head.  But it's kind of fun to actually make it to the planning to bring her home part. :) 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dear Noah,

Sometimes (really many times) I am amazed at the person you are already becoming.  I know you are only 2 years old, but the way you approach life, the way you treat others, and the way you are already starting to connect with God is just that, amazing, and I am overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness for every moment that I get to spend with you.
You already challenge my thinking with the questions you ask, astound me with the things you remember and put together, and warm my heart with your reminders of the "happy news" and with your sweet voice singing praises to God.
From the moment you were born you have approached everything with a little extra determination.  From the moment you figured out the power of a hug, a smile, and a "thank you," you have given them freely.  From the moment you figured out that money can be used to affect others, you have generously given it.  From the moment you realized that you could "help," you have been by my side to do just that.
As much as I love watching your body grow and your sweet face changing from a chubby baby to a handsome boy, and watching your mind grow as you learn more and more about the world and yourself each day, I think I love this the most--watching your heart grow, your character develop, God already at work in your precious life.  I pray for these things with all my strength, and getting to be a part of it is the most important, inspiring, and humbling thing I have ever done.  I love you, my son.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Terribly Important Twos

(Yes, I have been thinking about writing this post since Noah got close to age 2, and he is now 2 1/2.  Better late than never, I suppose.)
I used to hear information and statistics about a child's brain development during the first three years of life, and think "hmm, that is pretty amazing."  Or maybe even be a little skeptical.  80% of a child's brain is formed by age 3--the size and structure, but also the pathways and things they have learned.  It sounds like a lot, because it is a lot.  I recently read that a toddler's brain works 3 times faster than a college students'.  (Living with a toddler, I believe that is true and see it every day.  Sorry, college students.)
Then I worked at a preschool and began thinking, "oh my goodness, this really is true."  And not just because of the sheer volume of "educational" things kids learn--first of all the whole talking and walking thing and then the rate that they soak up everything else that is set in front of them.  I could already see in 3 and 4 year olds if they had been shown and taught respect and manners, how they handled conflict, what they had been told about themselves and what was important in life.
Then I had my own child who is currently in this stage of life and I think about it every single day.  A lot.  The best way I have heard it described is that a child's brain is forming these "pathways" the quickest and most efficiently during this time, and the things that are shown and taught to them the most form the deepest pathways.  So when they get older, those paths that are deepest are the ones their minds will automatically take first.
What pathways are being formed the deepest in my sweet boy's mind?  What am I forming there, intentionally or unintentionally?  Is there really anything more important that I will ever do?
So I am looking for input here.  What are the most important things you taught your children during those first three years?  How did  you go about it?  What do you wish parents today were doing a better job at teaching their kids?  Mommies at the same place as I am, what do you think?  Any comments, anybody?
(I promise I will be all blogg-y and share some things I attempt if you share yours. ;)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Baby Update

Happy dance time!  We successfully made it past 24 weeks!  This is a huge milestone because it is when a baby goes into the "probably will make it" category.  Even though there was nothing to indicate I should be worried about not making it this far, it is still something that is burned in my brain and I can't help but breathe a little easier.  AND my blood pressure at our 25 week appointment was awesome!!  This is the time when it started to go up with Noah.
She is still measuring on the small side, but it is within the range they look for and she is keeping up on her own growth and development curve, so my doctor is happy with it.  (I'm thinking a smaller full-term baby isn't such a bad deal anyway... :)  Although it has been hard to get an accurate measurement because she isn't the most cooperative with ultrasounds.  Every time she has been curled up in a ball with her head wedged by my right hip.  Last time as soon as the tech started looking by her face she turned towards my back.  She'll have to get over that real quick once she meets me and my camera face to face. :)
I am certainly thankful for ultrasounds and how they are able to watch her so closely! But I have to admit it isn't quite as exciting as I thought it would be to have so many.  Maybe because they kind of all look the same.  (And as Noah pointed out when I showed him some pictures, "it looks a little scary.")  But I think it is really because from this point on I have an actual frame of reference to what a baby that size looks like.  I have seen a baby less then two pounds, held a two pound baby, nursed a three pound baby, and four pounds and up is pretty much a cute tiny version of any newborn.  So the black and white fuzzy picture just doesn't quite do it justice.  But like I said, it is wonderful to be able to watch her so closely, and to see some wiggles and a little idea of her features.
If her activity level right now is any indication, she is going to have no trouble keeping up with her brother and I am going to be very busy!  I never felt Noah move this much.  Seriously, little girl, what are you doing in there? ;)  Overall I feel much more pregnant this time around, if that makes sense.  I am feeling a lot more pregnancy "things" and will soon pass up how big I got with Noah.  I'll take those as good signs!
Noah continues to already be a wonderful big brother.  He asks on a regular basis for me to open my tummy so he can hold the baby.  Yesterday he gave her (my belly) a hug.  I have been wondering how he would react seeing some of "his" baby gear being used by a new baby, especially the high chair because right now he is still using it.  But the other day he totally out of the blue said, "GirlBaby can use Noah's high chair!  I get a big boy chair."  That kid never ceases to amaze me.  Although he still insists and tells people that there are "two babies, one girl baby and one boy baby."  And he usually gets a pretty good reaction, so I'm sure he will keep on saying it.
So other than being a little paranoid, everything is still going well!  It definitely takes a lot of the fun out of being pregnant when I wonder every time I feel a little off if it is my blood pressure, or every time I have a stomach ache if it is my liver...
28 weeks is fast approaching, where we will do another happy dance.  And probably have a party with cake and balloons, because that's just how we roll.
Thank you, thank you to everyone who continues to pray for our family!  It means a lot and we are very grateful!

(25 weeks and growing!)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wonderful ordinary again ~~ 2 1/2!

Noah is officially 2 and a HALF!  It seems appropriate to do another update, but you're going to have to settle for one that is very "ordinary."  Because the amazing and wonderful fact is that Noah acts and looks just like any typical 2 1/2 year old boy.  He is caught up (or ahead) in every category.  Well, he's still in the tall and skinny category, but I think that has a little more to do with the gene pool than being preemie!  He goes to the doctor the same amount as any other toddler.  Heck, he is actually healthier than most toddlers I know.  He is done with early intervention services because even on paper he is caught up in every area.  Reading back over those last sentences it sounds like bragging, but it is really just ORDINARY!  And his mommy being extremely THANKFUL!   The older he gets the more honest comments I hear from people like, "I wondered if he would even make it. I can't believe he is doing so well!" or "I know such and such a person with a preemie who still struggles or has health issues."  Even the NICU nurses have made told me, "He really looks good.  He really didn't look good when he was born."  And my favorite conversation I had with one of the staff a couple months ago:  Staff: "How is Noah doing?  Is he walking and those kinds of things yet?"  Me:  "Walking, running, jumping, talking...."  Staff: "What, he is talking?!"  Me: "Well, he is almost 2 1/2."  Staff: "2 1/2!  No he's not!!  It wasn't that long ago!  Wait, is he?"  Me: "Um, yes."
Yes, it really was that long ago.  Just for fun and Mommy's memory, here is a little update on Noah at 2 1/2:
  • Weighs 25 1/2 pounds and is almost 35 inches tall
  • Gives me a running commentary on life all day long... no speech concerns here!  He also copies anything we say and understands everything we say!
  • Has started to sing entire songs.  Ohmygoodness, one of the cutest things ever!  His two favorite songs that we sing every day at his request are "Hosanna" and "Noel."  (Yes, an Easter song and a Christmas song; I love my kid. :)  Other favorites are "The Lord Is My Shepherd," "Wheels on the Bus," and any of the songs from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • Can count to 12 if he really feels like it
  • I learned today that he can sing the ABC's pretty well and is starting to recognize the letters in his name
  • Has a seriously amazing memory!
  • Still loves cars, tractors, buses, and has added the riding lawnmower to that list.  I'm pretty sure if he could reach the pedals and the shifter at the same time he would drive...  
  • Has taken his love of keys to a whole new level.  He can take Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, or Grandpa's keys and tell you what each and every one does.  It is kind of crazy.  He also knows that most ignition keys have a black top and can pick those of anyone's keychain.  
  • Can look in the parking lot and tell you which staff are on campus because he has everyone's vehicle memorized.
  • Is still a major snuggler and still loves my hair
  • Overall is such a kind and polite kid! Almost every night he says to me at dinner, "Thank you Mama for making me this food!"  Once he made Corey a thank you card for vacuuming the floors.
  • Loves to help with pretty much everything
  • Is using his imagination more and more.  The other night he was playing with his little ride-on train, going to a meeting and to work.  Then he needed to go to the gas station.  Then the train got a flat tire (many times in a row).  Then there was a cow in the road.  The cow moved, but it was sick so we had to bring it to the cow doctor.  Then the cow needed a bandaid, to rest, and to be rocked by Mommy.  And this was all in the 20 minutes before bedtime. :)
  • Has given us a taste of the "terrible twos," with throw himself on the ground screaming and periods of what we like to call "the little dictator."  But he always calms down pretty quickly and comes back for hugs.  Overall I have to say that the twos have been much more terrific than terrible!
  • I love my 2 1/2 year old!

(P.S. According to my Facebook counter thing, GirlBaby is officially 24 weeks today, meaning she is right around the size Noah was when he was born!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

We love church

Noah was all about going to church and "reading the red Bible" (the hymnal) this week.  And sure enough, as soon as we got there that is what he did:
Phrases like "More church!" " Sunday School again!"  and "See Pastor more!" are heard on a regular basis around here.  I am grateful. 

I see more and more a very dangerous path being started down by quite a few people in my generation and younger--taking the idea of "all I need is Jesus" and twisting it to "I don't need to be a part of a church or be accountable to anyone for my faith."  Is it possible to have a vibrant relationship with Christ without participating in a church?  I would say yes.  (Possible, but not ideal.)  Are there parts of the world where this is necessary?  Yes.  But we have absolutely no excuse.  We have the freedom to worship publicly with others; we have people called by God who dedicate their lives to receiving training and using that training as leaders of churches.
There is no such thing as a perfect denomination or a perfect church.  Because there is no such thing as perfect people.  This is another thing that truly scares and saddens me--people saying "I don't like how the church looks so I am not going to be a part of it."  There are things that I don't like about the American church either.  But why is the church something we are so quick to drop away from and rationalize doing so.  If we don't get involved and change it, who will?  What is going to happen?

Once again God uses my toddler to remind me of these things, to take off my critical adult glasses and see the good.  The church we are a part of is far from ideal for a young family.  Noah is almost always the only kid under 8 years old and we are the only "young family."  Sunday School is led by his parents.  We have one room upstairs, one room downstairs, and no nursery.  There are times when those things are what I see the most, and I think about how it is oh so much work as a mom and none of that is "right" for me and I don't want to go.  Then I see that little 2 year old who is bursting with excitement to go to church and asking for more, and I remember what it is really all about.  He knows that there are people there who love him.  He knows that it is a safe and fun place that he is a special part of.   He knows that we pray together and sing together and learn together and that it is important.  He loves to hold his own hymnal and is even starting to sing the words with songs he knows.  We are blessed to have a pastor who is wonderful with children and includes a children's message every week that they get to go up front for.  (which Noah calls "sticker time" because they get a sticker at the end)  Noah told me this week, "Mama, Pastor teaches me many things."  

(Of course, don't go getting the idea that he is the model of perfection.  There are weeks when no amount of bribing with food or toys will keep him in one spot.  And having such a small room, everyone hears his running commentary of the service.  Such as the time when he said very loudly, "No more praying.  Time to go downstairs." ...) 

Please excuse the random theological bunny trail that came with these cute Noah pictures; it was on my heart.  Thank you once again, my sweet little boy, for reminding me of things I should know by now and being a precious example of a "childlike faith."

We love church.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wonderful ordinary

I have had so much joy in "embracing the ordinary" lately.  Our days haven't been filled with anything that would look particularly exciting from the outside, or any big changes (well, other than my belly, which is thankfully getting bigger all the time) or crazy adventures.  Just enjoying everyday life with our little family and all the blessings we have been given.  With our summer officially here life has been settling down on the school being done end and picking up on the doctor's appointments end.  We have sure enjoyed having Daddy home more!!
Can I also just say that I love that my "ordinary" means getting to be a stay at home mom.  Yes, money is tight.  And yes, there are days that I want to pull out my hair and never look at or talk about a bus or a dump truck or that book that we read 8 times in a row ever again.  But every morning I can honestly say that I am ready to do it all again.  There is nothing that can replace or come close to listening to that little voice and his take on life all day long, to knowing exactly what is going into those little ears and eyes and heart and having the huge privilege and responsibility of so often deciding what that is.  There are so many moments when and sit back and think that these are some of the most precious and valuable times I will ever have.

Anyway, here is some of the "ordinary" (with pictures, of course :) we have been embracing lately:

The sweetest two year old ever:

Playing with blocks.  Noah is suddenly obsessed with his blocks.  He has always showed no interest in them, and in fact that is the only thing that always didn't "pass" on development checklists and early intervention and such--he would absolutely refuse to stack blocks.  Well, I think we can check that off our list now:
He loves building cities, which include some or all of the following: mall, restaurant, church, garage, house, dog house, Grandma's office, and temple (which must come from the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the temple in his Bible storybooks, which he loves because they include pictures of tools).

It is so fun to see his imagination growing everyday!  And his vocabulary!  The other night I was putting him to bed and he said, "Mama, talk to you!" and proceeded to talk my ear off for half an hour, including a very detailed description of something we did one time months ago, and making a plan for the next day (which included making a train station, which is where the blocks came into play!)

Nature. We have also been spending a lot of time outside in the awesome not-too-hot, not-too-many-bugs weather.  He discovered the joys of playing in black dirt with worms.  He also found a big moth the other day and told me, "Noah show Mama moth.  Be very careful, Mama."

Gardening. We have even started a little garden, which Noah is so excited and quite serious about.  I don't really know anything about gardening, but the experience for him is totally worth it and hopefully we actually end up growing something.  I took him to a greenhouse and let him pick out anything he wanted, and he picked watermelon.  We also picked lots of colors of flowers, and he would have taken one of every kind if he could.

Remember how wonderful ordinary can be!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A camera shy little sister and an excited big brother

Here is the wonderful first peek we got of our little lady!

She was definitely feeling a little camera shy though.  We were told to give her modeling lessons before next time. :)

We had a fun little "gender reveal" party for our family.  I learned that my hunch was right: always go with the two year old's guess when it comes to these kinds of things. :)
Although he has recently changed his guess to "two babies."  (I think he was getting tired of being asked boy or girl, so his thinking went like this: "girl baby...and boy baby...two babies!")  Pretty sure the ultrasound would have shown that, buddy.  I am of course a little nervous for the whole change to two children, but I am so excited to see him as a big brother!  I showed him the ultrasound picture and so have had to start the whole explanation of the baby is in mommy's tummy and we need to wait until she grows before we can see her.  I was told that many two year old's are oblivious to the whole concept, but not Noah!  He will now tell you where the baby is and lifts up my shirt and asks to see and hold her.  He also said thank you for the baby in mama's tummy while we were praying tonight.  Such a sweet boy.

She was measuring closer to 18 weeks than 20 weeks, so my doctor adjusted my due date to the end of September.  It's hard not to be a little worried, but he said everything looks healthy and consistently small, so it really is much more likely that the original due date was off rather than she is already growth restricted.  I will have another ultrasound in a few weeks to make sure her she is growing at a steady rate.

What a special day to get that first peek and to hear that she is healthy.  I was scrolling though Facebook the other day and realizing that among people I know there are those that are wishing they were pregnant, wishing they could get pregnant at all, waiting in the long adoption process, or facing the situation of knowing their baby will not survive past birth.  (I think of what a miracle it is that any baby is ever born healthy period!)  My mama's heart aches for them, and is full of joy and amazement that I get to raise my wonderful boy and now carry this little girl.  Surely I have been entrusted with a great treasure.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Baby Update

Tomorrow I will already be 20 weeks along in this pregnancy!  And tomorrow we have an ultrasound!  So, what do you think: pink or blue?  My first hunch was boy, but Noah says girl.  (Yes, my two year old does have an opinion.  Every time I have asked he says, "girl baby."  I think he wants a girl like his little cousin. :)  I will be thrilled either way!  I love love love my boy and would gladly take another one and I think it would be fun for Noah to have a brother, but I'll admit that sometimes after talking about nothing but lawnmowers, cars, and buses all day long that I think how nice it would be to have a little girl. :) 
These past couple weeks I have finally started to feel better.  Hooray!  Amazing how much more you can get accomplished when you don't constantly feel like throwing up.  I was also having crazy hip pain already; I don't know if it was just how Baby was positioned or what, but that started to go away on its own and then I started going to the chiropractor and thankfully that is gone too.  Actually, between not feeling sick, getting my thyroid medication dose adjusted, and going to the chiropractor, I feel better than I have in a long time!
So far everything has been looking good for both me and Baby at doctor's appointments.  Even if I was to have preeclampsia again, nothing would show up this early, but I still feel that sense of relief each time I hear everything looks good.  Really the only thing different between this pregnancy and a "normal" one so far has been needing to get my TSH checked more often for my thyroid.  The change will come once we hit 25/26 weeks; then I will start going in for weekly appointments and ultrasounds.  That is the point when my blood pressure just barely started to go up last time.  (My blood pressure is usually really low so the numbers themselves weren't scary.  And then nothing else really happened until everything happened.  I guess when it comes to medical things I am quite dramatic.)  The only "prevention" they can do is to watch me closely, so that is the plan.  (I try not to think about the fact that isn't really that far away and everything could change at that point...)
Hoping and praying to see a big, healthy baby tomorrow and a glimpse at whether Noah will have a brother or a sister!!  (Noah was already measuring small at this point; at the time it was just considered that he was "on the small side" but now we know that it was because he was already growth restricted and not as healthy as he should have been.) 
Check back tomorrow for pink or blue! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

March for Babies 2012

The March for Babies this year was another awesome day!  I just love how laid back the event in our area is and an "it is what you make of it" kind of thing.  (This year for me that meant that I felt the need to make shirts for everyone and put it off until the last minute and then caught a cold... oh well.)  For us it is a fun day together as a family, a way to give back, and something definitive to celebrate Noah.  (We celebrate him every day, but it is still fun to have an actual event once in a while.)
I know looking at Noah today it is easier to put to the side things like March of Dimes and all that "medical stuff" because there is just no way to tell by looking at him that those things were such a significant part of his early life.  But the truth is many stories don't go like Noah's has.  I was reminded and saddened by that at the march this year as I realized how many families walk in memory of a baby instead of in celebration of.  There is always an "ambassador family" at the March for Babies events and the family this year was one who had a preemie in the NICU, got to bring her home, and then lost her a few months later to SIDS.  And many of the babies started out bigger and healthier than Noah did.  He really is an amazing little guy and preemie success story and we are just so, so thankful.
And now for some pictures. :)

Team Noah!

 Display at the march of families' stories.

We had fun.

Noah LOVED the bouncy house.  Thankfully his cousin (well, technically cousin once removed, but that is just too much of a mouthful for a 2 year old!) Ruth was there to go with him.  She was the best bouncy house buddy ever!

You think he likes her just a little?

 Noah and Great-Grandpa, who he calls "Great Grandpa Tractor." (Tractors are one of Noah's very favorite things in case you didn't know.  He has quite the collection.)  He even got a new tractor this time. :)

 It was a super nice day so Noah had to show off his four wheeling skills. 
Those footprints on his shirt are a stencil of his actual footprints from when he was about a month old.  A little more perspective: I was curious and measured Noah's inseam.  It is 14 1/2 inches.  He was 13 long inches when he was born.  This is why we March.

Monday, April 9, 2012

March for Babies

We are excited to be participating the March of Dimes March for Babies event again this year. It is a fun time for our family and a way to try and contribute a little bit toward the fight to end prematurity.
The march is already this weekend and I haven't been nearly annoying enough with my fundraising attempts, so please consider helping out Team Noah! and donating with the easy process at this link:
Thank you!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Christ is risen!
Or in the words of my very favorite 2 year old,
"Happy news! Jesus is alive!"

Happy Easter from our family!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring has sprung?

We have been having crazy warm weather here lately! I am a pretty huge fan of snow and winter, but I'll admit it has been really nice to get outside more (minus all the snow gear), especially with a 2 year old boy. (Not that I trust this weather. It will probably snow as soon as we're used to the warmth...) We have been spending a lot of time outside enjoying all kinds of spring-y activities.
We also had to do a little bit of shopping for a necessary addition to our spring wardrobe:This makes me so happy. :) I just love these boots! (Noah said I had to get some too and picked them out for me.
We have been enjoying bubbles:
Grilled food:
And Noah's favorite thing of all, riding on the lawnmower:
Seriously, this kid would ride on that thing forever. I cannot tell you how many times a day he asks for it...

Happy Spring!