Friday, December 25, 2009

"Mary did you know?"

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know..

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak.
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great I Am.
~~~~~Merry Christmas and may you experience Christ in the fullness of His glory~~~~~

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

25 Christmas Memories

  1. Helping my mom wrap our extended families' gifts. Our pool table became the wrapping station, and I remember tearing off tape strips and lining them along the edge. No more of that, thanks to this.

  2. When I was about 4, I pulled our tree down on top of myself! I remember lying on the carpet, being speechless with the branches in my face. Then I remember screaming and Mom coming in to rescue me. :)

  3. Going bargain shopping the day after Christmas with my mom, sister, and grandmother. Their goal was scooping up 50% Hallmark gift wrap and greeting cards for the following year.

  4. Pulling up to our house and Dad having decorated the exterior with colorful lights, I yelled, "It's a miracle!" (I was four years old).

  5. Visiting the Biltmore house at Christmastime and smelling their gingerbread mansion yards away down the hall.

  6. The follow-up to #5, coming home after our trip to Biltmore and running upstairs to see our pet gerbils. Both looked strange. I called for my dad, and he quickly covered the cage and asked me to look away. Apparently, my sister's gerbil, Chestnut, had devoured mine, Charity. Chestnut was as big as a softball, and Charity's hide was the only thing remaining. This isn't a Christmas memory worthy of a Hallmark card, but a memory nonetheless.

  7. Always being the first to wake up on Christmas morning, I'd run into the den to scope out the gifts. I'd then run upstairs, wake my sister and tell her everything she got. :-D What are little sisters for?

  8. Singing one of the verses of "Morning Star" as a solo for the Christmas Eve lovefeast as a child.

  9. While decorating the tree each year, remembering each ornament's story.

  10. Crying my eyes out while watching "It's A Wonderful Life," and every sappy holiday commercial. This year's for me, is from Kay Jewelers about the baby's first Christmas. Sigh...

  11. Watching and reciting "Christmas Vacation," "A Christmas Story," "Home Alone," and "A Christmas Carol."

  12. The first weekend of December was when our church would decorate for Christmas. Back then, they used gorgeous real garlands, wreaths, and trees. While the adults worked, the kids would run and play around the church. We had a chicken stew for lunch afterwards.

  13. Seeing the Festival of Lights and waiting for hours to do so. One year, we took our dog along for the ride and gave her a Greenie. Big mistake! We thought the stables were nearby due to the smell, but we finally figured out that it was simply Cubbie's horrible gas. Though they do freshen your pet's breath.

  14. Making gingerbread houses with my mom and sister. One year, my childhood dog, Scruffy, pulled it off the dining room table and gobbled it up. Red icing in the white carpet was an added touch.

  15. Eating lovefeast buns for breakfast on Christmas morning.

  16. Going to my grandparents' home on Christmas Eve around 9:30 pm and not leaving until after midnight. All of the extended family piled into that small house, but it was bursting at the seams with love and laughter.

  17. Buying Christmas gifts for my son!!! I didn't realize how much fun and tempting it would be to buy him everything!

  18. My first married Christmas...waking up in our own home, with just us. :)

  19. Surprising our families last year with news of our pregnancy.

  20. Requiring and watching significant others do an embarrassing "present dance" in front of all our family. My sister's then fiance/now husband, misinterpreted it to mean "lap dance." :-D We all had a big laugh! :-D And an awkward one at that too...

  21. Having been told where our honeymoon would be, I got so excited that I fell backwards into my future in-laws fireplace that was aflame! Thank God for firescreens...and it was St. Lucia.

  22. Always choosing the tree. There are perks of being the baby of the family :)

  23. Totally getting busted singing Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" at the top of my lungs on video. Thanks Dad!

  24. Last year, instead of gifts we gave a donation to Transform India Movement. Our donation helped build a well for people living in Bihar, India. Just a few weeks ago, we received a letter and lots of pictures of the well being dedicated to God who gives us living water through Christ. Humbling to say the least, to see children clapping and jumping at the sight of water coming from a pump. And here's a reality check: these people had never heard of the name "Jesus." The sweetest Name I know...

  25. Raising our candles on the last verse of "Joy to the World" with the entire congregation and orchestra. I'm sure it's only a mere glimpse of how Heaven is.

My sister and I, Christmas 1983

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow place like home

As I type, and I can't believe I'm about to type this, it's snowing. Glorious snow. It made me start to think about reasons why I love it when it snows:
  1. There is excitement everywhere. Especially here, since most folks don't know how to drive in it or deal with it. It's rare in these parts. Usually we get ice instead of snow. The local meteorologists probably drink 4 espressos in order to deal with round the clock severe weather updates. Not to mention the absurd run on grocery stores for milk and bread.

  2. The soft silence that envelops everything. It's as if the world is sleeping away, enjoying the respite.

  3. Watching for cardinals. They are my utmost favorite bird, and we are fortunate to be able to see them daily. I really don't think anything can compete with the stark contrast of a fire-cracker red bird perched amid the white snow. Simply breathtaking.

  4. Making snow cream. If you've never tasted it before, I liken it to manna from heaven. Quite literally ;) All you need is 1) snow 2) sugar 3) vanilla 4) milk/cream. Mmmm so good.

  5. Nesting. I love how families get together and stay indoors for the day. Board games, hot cocoa, slow cooked meal, and movies are my perfect snow day. And throw in a couple of blankets too.

  6. Contrary to #5, but...enjoying the outdoors. For every hour spent indoors, there's a healthy balance of being outdoors in the snow too. I love piling on the dusty snow gear and getting wet, cold, and hot all at the same time! Building snowmen, making snow angels, throwing snowballs, taking a walk.

  7. Watching my dog play in it. She knows she doesn't get to see or feel the cold, white stuff that often, and consequently gets hyper. I love seeing her tracks in the snow.

  8. Feeling as if you're in a snow globe. I like to picture my home in a snowglobe :)

  9. Legitimately singing "Winter Wonderland." Frolicking and playing, "the Eskimo way." ;) Though I still would love to be able to hear sleigh bells ringing!

  10. Making comfort foods. My mom's tradition is baking chocolate chip cookies, but I might start one of my own: baking bread.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Cure for Chaos

We interrupt your hectic day to bring you 50 seconds of peace...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Encouragement from the Duggars

One of my favorite books is The Duggars: 20 and Counting. Currently, Michelle Duggar is pregnant with #19. It details the long, unexpected road that they're currently on (and loving). I was re-reading the chapter on "Training and Correcting Little Ones," and I found such a timely gem. I hope this encourages any fellow moms:

"If you are a parent of little ones, we know what you're going through. We know how hard it is, how tired you get. You're constantly changing diapers, cleaning up messes, and correcting and training. Sometimes you feel like you could pull your hair out! We know all about those long, exhausting days. But, having gone through them seventeen-going-on-eighteen times, we urge you to take time to enjoy these days, despite your frustrations and exhaustion. Leave the house a mess now and then, and simply spend the day playing with and enjoying your children. Because here's the truth we've learned by heart: each day may pass slowly when you're tired and weary, but the years pass quickly. Today your children are totally dependent babies; tomorrow they will be grown and gone.

One day we were driving down the road when all of our children were small and buckled in their car seats. Jim Bob looked back at all those little faces and said to Michelle, "These are the best days of our lives, and we don't even know it!" (emphasis mine)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Avocado, get in mah belly!

On Friday, the 27th, Caleb tried his first ever food. I skipped the rice cereal, because I thought he just might enjoy the flavor of avocado better than that. Plus, I've read some interesting information regarding the need for rice cereal versus whole foods. All I did was place some avocado in a mesh feeder and Caleb did the rest. His first look was one of confusion, but a few seconds later he gummed away happily at the feeder. I am so proud of how well he did with real food for the first time :) I hope Caleb will love guacamole as much as his momma does!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Easy and Cute Thanksgiving Craft

This year for Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun for Caleb to make a craft and share with his grandparents. We decided to make a baby hand turkey. Instead of tracing his hand, we did it the fun, messy way; with paint! I also added a topical Bible verse on thanks.

What you will need:
Craft paint (I used "burnt umber," think terracotta)
Baby wipes
Fine point markers (red, yellow or orange, and black)
Paper plate
Small sponge

How you do it:

1) If you want to add a Bible verse or other Thanksgiving sentiment, open a Word document, type it out, and print on your cardstock.

2) Wrangle baby completely out of their clothes, in nothing but a diaper, and sit in Bumbo seat. Make sure you're wearing an old shirt yourself.

3) Squirt out about a silver dollar amount of paint onto paper plate. Attempt to sponge paint onto tight-fisted baby palm. Repeat. Again. Pry once more, this time with an enthusiastic, coaxing message: "Juuuust oooopen!"

4) Get more paint on you instead of baby. Leave fingerprints all over your countertop for later cleanup.

5) Squash baby's half open fist onto cardstock. Sweetly coo, "Hold still!"

6) Grab baby wipes immediately and wipe everything down. Ironically, baby obediently opens palm for cleanup.

7) Admire your baby's cute, unidentifiable hand turkeys. Not to mention, those turkeys are missing a few feathers if you know what I mean.

8) After drying, draw eyes, beak, wattle (that red thing that hangs under their neck, and yes, I had to google it), and legs with colored markers.

9) Pat yourself on the back. You just earned a "Creative Mommy" badge :) And the grands will surely love you for it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Becoming Aware: Choking Hazard Test

I learned of a simple, free, and possibly life-saving tip the other day. To check on choking hazards for your baby, simply test the object with an empty toilet paper roll. If it easily slides or fits through the tube, then it's definitely a choking hazard.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hitting a 15 week milestone

Sushi roll

Egg roll

Swiss Cake roll

Tootsie roll

Cinnamon roll

Jelly roll

Yeast roll

Pumpkin roll

Caleb rolls!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Adventures in Parenting: Nail Clipping or "We've got a bleeder!"

Some of the most apprehensive moments in being a parent involve basic care for your child. As a new mom, freshly discharged from the hospital, I had two major concerns for my son: 1) Avoid touching the umbilical cord at all costs and 2) Praying his circumcision would heal properly. Those were nothing...

Fast forward a month and Caleb was extremely fussy, so I decided to be brave and get his temperature....rectally. Praise the Lord for a "flex-tip" thermometer that has an indentation as if to say, "no trespassing beyond this point." And I am even more thankful for the disposable covers and KY jelly for my son's sake. Yes, that was easy too when I think back on it.

But so far, the worst of it has been attempting to trim his microscopic nails. This is intimidation at its finest: Placing a mini guillotine on top of an itty bitty nail covering thin skin. I tried the avoidance tactic by choosing to file his nails instead. It worked overall, but I began to notice that his nails needed more taken off, instead of just filing the edges.

The saga continued at around 10:30 this morning. After a yummy bottle with a content belly, I thought it would be a good time to try using the aforementioned mini guillotine. I did my best, but ultimately it was not so. After a tiny clip, the boy began to cry. "Oh sweetie, it's not that bad," I reassured him. "Hang on, it won't take long."

Until I glanced down at his teeny thumb, and noticed that I had not clipped the nail, I had instead clipped his thumb. Immediately, blood began to bead up and I rushed to grab some kleenex and neosporin. Normally, I am pretty calm when it comes to first aid. Unfortunately, when you throw my precious son into the mix, I have learned I become anything but. I was crying, thinking "you horrible mother!", snotting all over my face, while my ponytail was conveniently loosening at this inopportune moment. Meanwhile, my sweet son was staring at me, smiling. Yes, smiling. It was then that I was truly grateful for a gentle smile. To top it off, he left me a "just because" gift in his diaper.

Since his thumb was not clotting after applying pressure for almost half an hour, I called his doctor's office and we made a quick trip over there to get a professional opinion. His teeny thumb left an itsy bitsy trail of blood on his pjs, my jacket, and a sock I was using on his hand to keep it covered. Dr. L. wrapped his thimble-sized thumb with some gauze and advised that it stay wrapped for several days. As we left the doctor's office, I thought, "Great, I've turned into that mom who freaks out and rushes to the doctor."

But ya know what, that's okay. I am doing something that millions of women have gone through before: an adventure in parenting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hand Sanitizer a No-No for Babies

I found this interesting tidbit from the November issue of Parenting: Early Years in their "Outsmart the Flu" article.

"Doctors agree that when you're on the go, the gentlest and most effective way to wash your child's hands is simply with a baby wipe. Since infant skin is more permeable, steer clear of alcohol-based santizers until he is at least 2 years old, suggests Benjamin Lee, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. They're too easily absorbed before then, which puts him at risk of alcohol toxicity."

Who knew? Just thought some fellow moms might be interested too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Appalachian Lullaby"

"Well I love my baby, sweet and fair

You've got the sky in your eyes, the sun in your hair

I rock you to sleep most every night

and sing you this song

while I hold you tight

Sleep my baby, the angels keep you from harm

and your Father above

cradles you in His love, safe and warm

Sleep my baby, nestled in your momma’s arms

Sleep my baby, the angels keep you from harm

My baby you'll be sleepin' soon

kissed by the golden stars and moon

I have just one wish for you

may your every dream come true

Sleep my baby, nestled in your momma’s arms

Sleep my baby, the angels keep you from harm"

Song and lyrics featured on "A Child's Gift of Lullabyes"

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Day in My Life, by Caleb

Trying to lift my head

Talking sports with Daddy

Posing for Mommy

Watching tv with Poppie

Sitting up

Falling asleep after eating

Birdwatching off the balcony

Practicing to be a big boy one day

Cuddling with Daddy

Acting silly at bathtime

Being cute all the time

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thoughts on Motherhood, 7.5 weeks in

Random stuff I'm currently learning:

  • Moms don't get to punch the clock, it really is a 24/7 job. Holidays and vacations take on a whole new meaning as well.
  • Who knew such a small human being could fill up a sedan with baby gear?
  • I analyze poop on a daily basis. His, not mine. ;)
  • Sleep deprivation makes me somewhat evil.
  • I love sitting in the glider, rocking Caleb to sleep.
  • Finding his precious baby hair on his sheets makes me sad.
  • Clothing sizes do not match Caleb's chronological age...he easily wears 3-6 month clothing, and he'll be 8 weeks in a couple of days.
  • A basket full of dirty baby clothes only equates to a small load in the washer. :)
  • I am married to an amazing husband who is an equally amazing father. He even does nighttime feedings on the weekends to allow me much needed sleep.
  • I could squeeze a pudgy baby face all day long :)
  • I have way more respect for moms of multiples. I really don't know how I'd be able to cope with more than one infant at a time.
  • Soy formula makes for smelly baby burps
  • I love watching him explore the world. Staring outside from his bouncy seat, taking it all in.
  • I really had no clue what I was in for when I was pregnant. That was the easy part!
  • Having family live in the same city is a major blessing.
  • Because I talk mostly to a baby all day, I am a little too eager to have adult conversation, and desperately stretch out dialogue.
  • I find it hard to believe that the same pair of baby eyes I stare into, will be the very same eyes I look into when he's thirty years old.
  • Breastfeeding was not only a physical challenge, but an emotional one as well.
  • No one knows my baby like I do :)
  • Babies 'R Us is not as romantic as it used to be, back in my single days. It's now the equivalent of going to the grocery store, necessary but a pain.
  • My heartstrings have been tugged as I have already packed away some baby clothes. Will another future son get to use them? Who knows?
  • Finding new fat folds each week is a new hobby of mine.
  • I kinda get why 'only children' exist....
  • I'm sorry I ever thought mean things in my head to moms with crying babies in stores.
  • I love how angelic he looks while he sleeps.
  • Strangers do not respect the "canopy down" position on his carrier. If it's down, it's down for a reason, usually because my poor kid gets easily overstimulated, so please...don't lift it!
  • I regret not having taken more photos thus far.
  • I love hearing him make new sounds for the first time.
  • He is my son and I hope he knows how much I truly love him.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reading like a Fiend

In what little time I do have to do whatever, aside from getting dressed and washing bottles, I have been reading up a storm. No surprise here, they're all parenting books. Perhaps you've heard of them, swear by them, or think they're a load of bologna.

On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo: Details an "infant management plan to help babies synchronize their feeding, waketime, and nighttime sleep cycles."

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD: "The new way to calm crying and help your newborn baby sleep longer." Explores the 5 S's: Swaddling, Side/Stomach, Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD: Helping to shape sleep habits from infant to teen. Explores a scientific approach behind the need for sleep.

The Baby Whisperer solves all your problems by Tracy Hogg: Teaching parents the right questions to ask concerning feeding, sleeping, and behavior to diagnose your child's issues.

Having read these four books, I've learned a few things. Mainly, there is no one, right way to raise your child. Seemingly, most of the information contradicts each other. Two of the books use the "cry it out" or "extinction" method, while the other two advocate soothing your baby upon first cry. I guess I'm kinda using the middle of the road approach. Do I think I will somehow damage or destroy Caleb's trust in me by letting him cry it out every now and then? No. Do I think I'm being manipulated by Caleb if I cuddle him when he cries? No. All I know is that I'm doing my best with what I know.

Pretty much all the books deplore the idea of rocking your child to sleep, as it will inevitably cause a dependence upon it to fall asleep. While I do think this could be a problem with an older baby, for a six week old, I don't think that's an issue quite yet. I find it strange that almost every nursery has a glider or rocker in it, and yet "experts" tell you not to use it that much.

Swaddling works like a charm however, and doesn't have the same "ill effects" of rocking. When Caleb is a little fussbucket, swaddling helps him calm down almost immediately. That, and he loves his Binky :) Not to worry, he won't be one of those poor three year olds that is still sucking away on it.

Thank the Lord he does really well at night. We're still not yet sleeping through the night, but after he feeds, he goes right back to bed. I only wish the poor kid could nap decently during the day. As it is, the world must be way too exciting for him, because he'll stay awake and observe everything. I am amazed to watch his eyes soak everything in, studying things meticulously. By the way he looks at me, I think he could mold my face out of clay pretty easily.

This afternoon, we shared one of those moments that you will forever cherish, and wish that you could freeze it and it would last indefinitely. As I held him, our cheeks were touching together, and I could feel his baby breath upon my face. It was so intimate, and my heart simply overflowed with love.

I cannot believe that my little boy is already six weeks old. It is going by so incredibly fast. I have to be intentional in savoring the little moments between all of the mundane tasks like changing diapers, burping, bathing, washing bottles, and folding his baby clothes. How is it that someone so small and so dependent can steal your heart away?

I've been thinking of a passage lately that has even more meaning now, since I am a mother.

Isaiah 49:14-16 "But Zion said, 'The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.' 'Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.'"

How could it be that a mother could ever forget her child? It seems impossible, doesn't it? A love so strong...yet weak in comparison to God's love for us. May we remember how special we truly are to God every day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Caleb's Birth Story

Preface: A week prior to his arrival my OB had informed me I was already effaced 70% and dilated 3 cm. I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to hear additional good news the following week (assuming progress obviously had to have been made). On Thursday, July 30th, I went to my appointment and eagerly had my internal exam. To my extreme disappointment, no changes had reportedly occurred. After all of the walking I had been doing daily, as well as feeling like I had something like the flu, I was upset to say the least. It was 5:30 pm by the time I left my OB's office and I sobbed the entire way home. When I got home, I told Brent how upset I was...I was physically miserable and couldn't bear the thought of going much longer (at this point I was 5 days away from my due date). To help cheer me up, we ordered a pizza and rented a movie to relax that evening. I chatted with my friend Michelle around 9:00 pm, retelling the whole doctor visit while she attempted to encourage me. A little later, Brent and I finally settled into bed, totally unaware that in less than a few hours, our son would be born!

At midnight I awoke with major cramping and contractions. I hadn't felt anything like that sensation before. It was nothing like the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had been experiencing all week. I began using the relaxation techniques that we had been trained with, attempting to relax all my muscles, allowing my body to let go, and breathe slow, deep abdominal breaths. I remember thinking to myself, "If these are not real contractions, I'm afraid to find out what real ones feel like..." I didn't want to wake Brent unnecessarily, so I laid in bed a little while longer, watching the clock to see the spacing between contractions. At about 12:30 am, I left our bedroom and headed into the den. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and began tracking the time each contraction began. Each one seemed to grow in intensity and come faster than before.

It was getting quite rough at this point...I began trying all of the laboring positions we had learned: side-lying, kneeling, all fours, etc. The pain was so intense. I had desired to labor at home as long as possible for comfort reasons, as well as to confirm that I was indeed in active labor. I was not about to be turned away from the hospital for false labor. At 2:00 am, I waddled my way back into the bedroom and sat on the edge of Brent's side of the bed. It was still dark in the room, and I nudged his arm some to awaken him. He slowly turned over and all I could do at the time was breathe heavily and hold my belly. I told him, "I think I'm in labor..." After a few minutes of catching him up on the past two hours, we began to get things ready.

Thankfully, we had already packed our bags, but there were things like toiletries that still needed to be packed. My contractions at this point were coming every minute, and I could barely walk, move, do anything in between them. I remember attempting to go to the bathroom before leaving, and the whole process probably took five minutes, simply trying to lift my underwear back up, flush, and get up. Meanwhile, Brent was scurrying around, packing, but also wanting to confirm that I was in true labor. He was carrying a timer for the contractions and asked me to let him know when I was having one. I began moaning and groaning at this point. He asked, "Are you having one now?" (This is the first time I snapped at him) I said, "IF I'M MOANING, THEN I'M HAVING A CONTRACTION!!!!" LOL! Poor sweet Brent....

The next step was literally getting me to the car. Since we live in a condominium complex, this a little easier said than done...especially when you're having contractions a minute apart, live on the second floor, and have the furthest away assigned parking space. To be honest, I don't remember getting to the car. Brent was already there packing the trunk and placing a towel in my seat in case my water broke on the way to the hospital. Before we got in the car, Brent suggested we try to walk some around the parking lot. Our birthing instructor had suggested this, because if you're in true labor, walking only intensifies the pain, but if false, then usually it will subside. We're alone in the dark parking lot at 2:30 am, and I begin to walk. I got about fifteen feet and grabbed onto Brent's neck and held on for dear life. I believe it was then, that Brent realized, this was the real deal.

As with walking to the car, I don't remember the ride to the hospital. It was simply a blur, and my eyes were closed most of the time dealing with the pain. At that time of morning, it literally would take five minutes to get there. I could've sworn it took thirty. Every bump in the pavement felt magnified times ten.

We wheeled up to the hospital, Brent grabbed a wheelchair and we began the trek inside. (When we had gone on the maternity tour, we were instructed to go to Admissions first which was on the ground floor, then we were told to proceed to the fourth floor, Labor & Delivery). Brent wheeled me over to the Admissions office which was completely dark and locked and said, "But we're supposed to go here first..." (This was the second and last time I snapped at him) I said, "GO TO THE 4TH FLOOR!!!"

We get to the desk and a game of 20 Questions begins and I'm required to answer. Yes, the woman who can't open her eyes because of pain is getting asked, "What's your Social?" Okay, this is exactly why we did the pre-registration; where did all that information go? I think the woman got my drift and I was whisked away to Triage where I was to be checked for dilation. Here, my personal equivalent of an Olympic event was asked of me. The nurse told me to move from the wheelchair to the bed, and to put on a gown...all without her assistance. This is that point in the movies where a patient yells at the top of their lungs, "NURSE!!!!!" I swear angels got me undressed in that moment...there's really no other way to explain it. I somehow managed the nurse's requests in the now thirty seconds of rest between my contractions. After checking me, she informed me I was now 100% effaced and 6 cm dilated. Holy moley....I was going to have a baby. And soon.

I was wheeled to a labor & delivery room where consent forms, monitors, and a nurse were busily getting me ready for Caleb's debut. Meanwhile, I'm still having monstrous contractions, and as I previously blogged about, we were planning for a natural childbirth. Due to the speed of my contractions and the fact that I was having barely any rest or time to "get on top of" the contractions, we made the decision to opt for the epidural. I am thankful that in that moment, I did not feel like a failure or any less of a woman because I chose the epidural. I also didn't want Brent to be disappointed in me (and he wasn't). After receiving the epidural, the normal Megan returned. It was actually quite comical, because up until that moment, I had had several women (nurses and anesthesiologist) working quite ahem personally on me, and I hadn't even introduced myself! Imagine, what self-respecting southern woman would do such a thing? I literally began introducing myself to the staff, thanking them for their help, and apologizing for my uncouth behavior prior to the epidural. LOL!

Shortly thereafter as I was lying in bed peacefully, I felt a gush of really warm water. Naturally, I thought, "Did I just pee on myself?" And then I realized, "No, that was definitely not pee...and oh great, I just created a big mess on the bed..." I tell ya what, the whole labor & delivery process gets a girl beyond the ick factor concerning bodily fluids. Have mercy! And God bless those nurses....they see and do it all for complete strangers. Brent got a little woozy after accidentally witnessing my water break and sat down on the couch nearby. This is the man who looks away and shivers during medical reality shows. Poor sweet Brent...

Meanwhile, my labor was progressing quickly still and Brent liked watching the monitors while my contractions spiked and peaked, each one doing its intended work, bringing me one step closer to meeting my precious boy. I was still able to feel them by pressure, but it was certainly a relief to not feel the overwhelming pain I had been experiencing before. By 7:30 am, I was at 10 cm. Like a lot of OB/GYN practices, you don't know which OB will be delivering you, until the appropriate time comes. I was so happy that my favorite OB was going to be delivering me. :) God had indeed worked everything out. Dr. B. visited and checked me, said he could feel Caleb's head and based on palpating my tummy, guesstimated that Caleb would be less than 8 pounds. I must've had a surge of the epidural, because I outright laughed in his face and said, "Yeah right! He'll be more than that!" I then asked him, "You wanna make a bet?!" He laughed and smiled and continued the exam. He informed me another woman was about to deliver, so I would most likely see him again after that.

From about 7:30 to 8:30, I took a quick nap, knowing the hardest but most rewarding work of my life was about to begin. I wasn't sure what to expect concerning the coaching portion of pushing, but I was really surprised that only a nurse was with us. It felt so intimate, just the three of us. From 8:30-9:00 she coached me with pushing. This was the hardest part, because I was trying to get Caleb's head wedged beyond my pelvis. She brought a mirror in to help me see and understand what we were trying to accomplish with each forceful push. It was the strangest thing to son's head getting closer and closer to crowning. Brent was an amazing husband throughout all of it, holding my leg, encouraging me, and simply loving me. He had told me previously that he was just going to be looking at my face during the delivery, but then he realized that he had the awesome chance to witness a miracle in real-time.

After thirty minutes, I had finally gotten his head wedged beyond my pelvis, and this was the fun part. Yes, I said fun. I knew I was only minutes away from holding my son in my arms, and this gave me the most determination in my life. Meanwhile, Dr. B. still had yet to make it back into my room, but the sensation that you're experiencing then, is that "It's time to push, and push I will!" Suddenly, my nurse had stopped saying "Push, Push, Push!" and was now saying, "Don't push! Don't push!" since Dr. B wasn't back yet. He finally came in, and could barely get gloved, gowned, and masked in time for the delivery.

I was grunting and pushing like my life depended on it. These pushes felt different than the other ones, because it felt good to push, and I felt relief...much like a bowel movement.

At 9:33 am on Friday, July 31st, 2009, with a loud wail Caleb Sheridan came into the world. I was a blubbering fool, bawling tears of joy and relief. The moment was surreal. Brent was laughing and crying at the same time. Holding Caleb in my arms for the first time was just amazing. I remember saying, "My lil pudge..." After some cuddling and Brent cutting the umbilical cord, the nurses began working away, taking measurements and such.

So what did my precious little boy weigh? He weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces! When we heard that news, I laughed and told Dr. B., "You owe me an ice cream!" He was 21 inches long too. To watch video of the birth, click here...

We are so blessed to have a healthy little boy who is teaching us so much about patience, dependence on God, humility, and God's sovereignty. Today marks Caleb's 1 month birthday! :) Happy 1 month, little one!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Still here! Just playing the waiting game...

"Any day now..." those are words I've repeated to curious strangers and friends, as well as reassuring myself on a moment by moment basis. I have been 'nesting;' it finally kicked in and revealed itself through reorganizing several kitchen cabinets, cleaning both bathrooms, and also by scrubbing down the door frames. :) As I was cleaning the door frames, I said aloud, "I can't believe I never noticed this dirt before!" Indeed, as if anyone goes around noticing the grime on door frames, especially the lower third.

The bags have been (mostly) packed, the laundry done, the carseat installed, and the stockings hung by the chimney with care. Basically, we're in need of the little human that accompanies all of those things :)

I promised photos of his completed nursery, but I'll do you one better. Visit my husband's recent blog post, and you can actually watch a before & after video he recorded of it. The room really came out well, I just want Caleb to see it for himself!

So here's where my self-centeredness comes in. I need your prayers. If you can imagine any random type of petition that arises during the waiting period, labor, delivery, and post-partum...then I will happily accept your prayers. I was blessed to have a dear friend pray for me via phone yesterday and it's just amazing to know that God does hear our prayers and always answers them according to His divine best for us. Prayer isn't the last resort, it's the first!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This post will be highly random...I'm having lots of little mundane thoughts with no real depth to them, but just feel the need to dish them out. :) Call it 'pregnancy brain' if you wish...

  • Caleb received his first Appalachian State onesie and I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. I have been meaning/wanting to buy one but they are next to impossible to find off the mountain. Consequently, I really want to go to Homecoming this year and let him hear tens of thousands fans chanting, "Gooooo Appalachian! Gooooo Appalachian!"

  • Yet another note on certain really bugs me to see some say things like, "Mommy's new man" or "It's all about the attitude" or "Tax Deduction." These are all very degrading in my opinion...especially the ones that connote that daddy is now completely off the radar and now yesterday's leftovers.

  • Earlier this week I completely lost my navigational skills while driving. (Now if you would ask my husband, he might have a differing opinion on when that actually happened, lol). For the first time during the pregnancy, I realized "so this is what people are referring to!" I ended up taking the completely wrong exit.

  • And have I officially joined the ranks of hmmm, how do I say it...."white trash?" Because my husband and I royally fail at growing anything that is supposed to be green while it's alive, we have now planted fake flowers on our balcony. And because I am one frugal lady, my only stipulation was that he buy them from Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree!!! Yes....we is hiiigh class!

  • The nursery is pretty much complete. I will post pictures once I get everything in its place. I was so glad to be able to finish the glider's slipcover with my sister this week. Thanks, Mere! The last baby task that I am attempting to delay until as late as possible (but how do you do that when you have no idea when you'll go into labor?!) is all the blessed laundry. All of the clothes, bedding, and cloth diapers must be washed, dried, folded, and stored.

  • Now that I am a few days into my 36th week, I am getting antsy. Thankfully, not neurotically so...yet....but it's just so hard to believe that Caleb will certainly be here very soon. I find myself sitting in his room peering around imagining him using the crib, changing table, swing, etc. And I look at all the little clothes, just waiting to see him in them. I think I remember my sister saying that one of the fun parts with a baby is getting to pick out what they'll wear for the day :) This makes me happy :-D

  • Obviously, because the birth is imminent, like all moms-to-be, I'm curious to see what labor/delivery will truly be like. All the birth stories in the world are as unique as the individuals themselves. Part of me thinks it will be the most horrendous pain in the world, while the other part thinks that I can do it, because billions of women have. And for whatever reason, I think of Mary going through labor in a stable with only Joseph by her side and how she got through it. I've heard women remark that their faith became much more real to them on delivery day...and I trust God will take care of me then too.

  • My precious nephew turns the big 2 today! Happy Birthday little buddy! I can't wait to see him and Caleb grow up together and do cousin-y boy things.

    Don't you just love his messy little face?

  • Okay, I just thought of yet one more rather important baby task....packing my hospital bag. Once again....delaying that until as late as possible. Am I in denial or something?

  • I finally cleaned out a box of random stuff that's been occupying my trunk for who knows how long. It was stuff I knew I wanted to keep that I just hadn't bothered organizing. One of the little gems I unpacked was a tablecloth that my grandmother used once upon a time. It's bright, cheerful, and summery and it fits our small table perfectly. There are red and yellow flowers on it with a blue gingham print around it. I like looking at it, knowing that she used to use it too :) Plus, it's amazing how much homier a tablecloth makes a place look.

  • We went and ate at a soda shoppe last night which is entirely too cute. The waitresses wear poodle skirts, it has black and white flooring, a free jukebox, red vinyl booths, etc. Both Brent and I said we wished we could've lived in the '50s. Everything seemed simpler then and at least somewhat more wholesome. And the cars were much cooler :) So if you could choose, what decade would you like to live in?

Okay, that's all for now....sigh.....I wish Caleb were here!! :-D

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week 35 Pregnancy Update

Holy moly, I can't believe there are roughly five weeks left until Caleb's arrival! This post will be small but chock full, kinda like a multivitamin.

Last week after some issues like high blood pressure and proteinuria came about, I had to complete some additional labwork. Praise the Lord everything came back normal and negative. We were able to see Caleb again on the ultrasound and he has really changed since we last saw him at 20 weeks old. The kid has very visible chubby cheeks!

Apparently, the chubbiness is not only limited to his cheeks, but his overall development. After taking measurements of his skull, abdomen, femur, and arm, he is already averaging the size of a 37 week old....two weeks larger than average! Thinking of this makes my woman parts They guesstimate his weight at already 7 pounds, so he very well could be 9 pounds at birth if he keeps up this rate of growth. His feet are measuring at 3 inches, kinda large...but then again, his daddy wears a size 13 shoe.

Due to some additional fluid in the amniotic sac (which is not necessarily a bad thing), I'll now be going twice a week (instead of once) to have non-stress tests (NSTs) done on Caleb. Basically, all that consists of is strapping a monitor to my belly for 20-30 minutes and recording fetal activity. This kid seems to be always moving, so I don't think it will be much of an issue.

Thank you for your continued prayers! He will be here before you or I know it! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Ripple Effects of Sin

This week, there have been lots of major news headlines: deaths of celebrities, sentencing of a thief, and indiscretions of a governor. The one that has stuck with me the most was South Carolina's Governor, Mark Sanford admitting his unfaithfulness to the world.

Every time I hear of adultery, it breaks my heart. At one point, both the husband and wife were madly in love with each other, took vows and pledged their lives to one another. And somewhere between "I do" and "I don't" another lover has taken a spouse's rightful place. How can someone carelessly toss away everything so dear to them, and not count the cost of doing so?

As my mom and I watched the press conference (boy am I glad I've never had to do a public confession before!), we were at times ensconced in disbelief, anger, and sadness. Mark Sanford is not the first person to have ever committed adultery, especially not in political office, but for some reason, this particular incident has left me appalled more than usual.

A self-professed Christian leaving his wife and four young sons drowning in the wake of his transgressions...over Father's Day weekend of all times. Lying to his own staff of his whereabouts...from the Appalachian Trail to Argentina. And from an "innocent" friendship of eight years with a woman to a national press conference admitting secret rendezvous with a now lover.

One of Satan's greatest lies to us is that our sin is just that, ours. False! Sin always has far greater reaching ramifications than we can ever know. On this side of Heaven and the other side too. And even if your sin goes with you to the grave in secret, God still knows...and grieves. Randy Alcorn has written a post that covers Sanford's affair, but more importantly he shares a list of "Anticipated Consequences of Immorality." I highly encourage you to read it. It is sobering and demands I cling with all that I have to my wedding vows.

I will say that during the press conference, he truly seemed sincere and contrite. He even mentioned that he "had violated God's Law" and this public confession was "a consequence of my sin." He also recalled several spiritual mentors by name and asked for their forgiveness. What I saw in this man, was someone who had been highly regarded and esteemed become reduced to a weak, humbled lump of clay. Time will tell how all of this plays out, but I truly hope he and his wife will be able to reconcile and move beyond his affair.

Psalm 32:1-5

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "— and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What the heck is a "mezuzah?"

Pop Quiz!

A mezuzah is....

A) an Italian sportscar made in the 80's

B) a Jewish doorpost box holding Scripture

C) a silly instrument made famous in Dr. Seuss books

D) an African headpiece worn in tribal rituals

The correct answer would be....

B! A Jewish doorpost box holding Scripture

Now why exactly am I writing about a mezuzah of all things? Well partly because it all started out with a favorite passage of Scripture, and also because I gave one to Brent as his first Father's Day gift.

Starting with the aforementioned Scripture passage, taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Not only does it remind us of the First Commandment, but this passage also reveals God's daily design for passing down our faith through generations. Learning about God is not something that only happens on Sundays or in a church building. It is to be a daily occurence that pervades everything we do and say while at home or away. If we are leaving the responsibility of teaching children about God up to the church alone, we are failing as godly parents.

And here is where the mezuzah begins to come into play... the word mezuzah in Hebrew translates to "doorposts." The latter part of the passage mentions "binding them on your hands...writing them on the doorposts and gates of your home." While some may read that symbolically, others have interpreted it literally; hence the physical mezuzah was born.

Mezuzahs come in all colors and all materials. The above picture looks the closest to the one I bought. It's around four inches tall and about an inch across. Often times the Hebrew letter shin (sheen) will be inscribed on the outside. From what I've read, that may be interpreted as Shaddai, meaning "God Almighty." But here's the cool part about's not the box itself that is ultimately special, but what hides on the inside!

On the inside of every mezuzah is a mini scroll with Scripture written in Hebrew aptly named the Shema (shih-mah'). Shema in Hebrew means "hear." If you look back at the Scripture above, it begins with "Hear, O Israel..." The Shema contains the same Deuteronomy passage from above (6:4-9), along with Deuteronomy 11:13-21. Later versions have added Numbers 15:37-41 as well. Mezuzahs are affixed to the doorposts of homes; depending on your practices, they may be placed on one doorpost or every doorpost in your home.

It was interesting to google mezuzah and read lots of requirements that have been established by rabbis. This includes the placement and angle of the mezuzah, along with having it inspected by a rabbi twice within seven years for any damage, to even kissing it as you walk past. Being that my husband and I are not Jewish, the mezuzah to us is a tangible and symbolic way of gently reminding us to keep God first in our lives and to pass our faith down to our children intentionally. We are thankful that we are no longer bound to the law, since Christ has fulfilled it and is our salvation! (Please read Galatians 3:10-29 for a clear explanation of this).

When I presented the small gift-wrapped box to Brent for Father's Day, I had already warned him, "I don't think you'll know what it is when you see it." Talk about curiosity! It's not every day you could say something to that effect. He said upon first seeing it, he thought it was a whistle :) Good guess, but notsomuch. He truly enjoyed hearing all about the meaning and significance behind it. It was definitely a special and timeless Father's Day gift, and we look forward to teaching little Caleb about it in the future. More importantly, we desire for Caleb to learn about a wonderful Heavenly Father who loves him infinitely more than we ever could.

Friday, June 19, 2009

33 weeks and counting

It seems like I feel bigger and bigger than the week before, which I'm sure is truly the case. It is hard to believe that we only have 7ish weeks until Caleb arrives. Some friends have said, "You've been pregnant forever!" while others have said, "Wow, only 7 more weeks?!" I feel the same way, my mind agreeing with both ends of the spectrum. More and more I just look forward to meeting him and seeing his little face.

This past weekend my Bible Fellowship class threw me a baby shower along with another pregnant gal, Kristie. We are due about a week and a half apart. I am in awe of everyone's generosity when it comes to welcoming babies with gifts! Truly, every bit helps a mom-to-be and her baby.

Holding the "Wee Block" which was made precisely for little boys during changing. It says "Lil Squirt" on it :)

Evidence of my very practical nature: a Space-Saver high chair

A group shot of all currently pregnant mommas

I have been super busy this week, baking, cooking, and errand running. Wears a girl out, especially now that my feet are becoming easily swollen if I'm not careful or paying attention. It's been dreadfully hot here, today the high is 97. Thank you Lord for air conditioning!

On a serious note, as much as a mom-to-be daydreams and tries to prepare for this momentous life-changing event, one never truly can. Last night I experienced my first panic attack, and my poor husband was witness to it all. I'm not sure who it freaked out more. It was a culmination of thoughts about being a good mother, a good wife, and a good Christian. Combine that with the realization that our lives will never be the same again, and it became a nicely wrapped up package of anxiety. It was surreal, feeling myself get to a breaking point. There I was, feeling extremely overwhelmed before our little boy has even arrived. Poor Brent thought I might start going into labor at any second. I can only imagine how Caleb was feeling at the time! I calmed down after about fifteen minutes and tried to compose myself. I know that God's Word tells us to be anxious for nothing, but through prayer and petition and with thankful hearts, to let our requests be known to God (Philippians 4:6).

It is moments like those that force me to realize how small, weak, and fragile that I truly am. More importantly, I see God more clearly for who He is: immense, mighty, unbreakable.

I am beyond grateful that the God I serve has conquered all, and can never be conquered by anything or anyone. He is. And when I am weak, He is strong.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Make your own Freezer Jam

It's really actually quite simple. Don't be intimidated, it only took about 30 minutes to go from fresh strawberries to strawberry jam ready to be frozen (no canning required). This jam is best kept refrigerated and used within 30 days or frozen for up to 1 year. I chose smaller jars to accommodate the 30 day usage.

All you need:

  • 4 lbs. of fresh strawberries
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar or Splenda
  • a packet of no-cook fruit pectin
  • plastic or glass jars
Jars, tons of strawberries, and the pectin packet

I used the Ball-brand No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin (purchased at KMart). Easy instructions on the back for making your jam.

Mixing the sugar and pectin

Hulling all those sweet-smelling strawberries

Pureeing them just until crushed

Mixing the strawberries, sugar, and pectin together for 3 minutes

The fruit of my labor: 64 oz. worth of fresh strawberry freezer jam!

Friday, June 5, 2009

My middle name could very well be Helga

Okay, so the most random thing happened mere minutes ago. While I was sitting in this very spot, perusing blogs and such, I heard a loud Craaackk followed by crashing. WHAT THA?!

Strangely enough, it happened right near my head...and no, my brain did not fall out and break.

Instead, one of my beautiful china plates just up and decided, "Today is the day I want to break in two." The poor plate is now lying pitifully in two very large pieces. Thank goodness in its failed attempt to run away with the spoon that it didn't take a precious teacup and saucer down with it too. I am glad my china sits on shelves behind closed glass doors, else that thing could've pushed several pieces on top of me!

Okay, so here's where the story really gets interesting. The Sherlock Holmes in me begins to use inductive, or is it deductive reasoning, to try and figure out why this happened:

  • So, we've had lots of rain, could the china somehow become affected by high humidity?? But we blast our frigid A/C nonstop, so I'm not sure that's it. Plus, this Waterford china is allegedly dishwasher safe. Temperature variances should not have broken this plate.
  • Perhaps a manufacturing flaw...a hairline fracture of sorts that finally gave way? It is bone china after all, maybe it had osteoporosis?...tee hee hee

And then I remembered something highly, and I do mean highly ironic that took place a few hours prior.

You see...I sing. I loooove to sing. Especially when no one is around, which is perfect for this now SAHW.

I was singing "How Great Thou Art" and got to the part at the end of the chorus where the pitch gets a bit high...."How great thou art, how great thou art!" As I hit that particular note, I heard something that could best be described as being startled. I jumped up thinking Cubbie had knocked something over or had gotten surprised by her own gas (which happens quite frequently!). When I found her, she looked comatose as usual, napping in our bedroom.

What I am now pondering is, is that when my precious china plate began to involuntarily crack?! Perhaps that was the surprising sound I heard. Am I somehow responsible for this?!

And then it dawned on me...that familiar quote that conjures up the image of a woman with a viking hat on...

"It ain't over 'til the fat (pregnant) lady sings."

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case!

Week One of Being a SAHW

It has been a whirlwind of a week around here. It's been raining cats and dogs in our region (don't step in a poodle!) and my husband has been away on business all week. Needless to say, Cubbie and I are becoming quite close. My fears of becoming bored have been unfounded. I am learning to love my little world within the bigger world. These four walls have not felt like a prison cell by any means, but instead, freedom to do whatever I'd like to do.

I have noticed that certain mental habits have shown themselves this week, and primarily they are habits of 9-5 working girl. For instance, I've always meal planned, but as I was doing it this week, I began to plan "quick meals" for those nights when we have routine events. About thirty seconds later, I laughed at myself and realized, "Wait a minute, I'll be home so I can have the meal prepared before 5:30."

Another lesson this self-titled efficiency expert has been learning is that because of no real time schedule, I have the freedom to pace myself and if something doesn't get done completely, I'll always have time the next day to complete it. I really don't know how I was doing it all before, mainly on Saturdays in one fell swoop. Frankly, what I've also come to realize is that I wasn't doing it all before. Sure, I was able to keep a decently clean house and prepare meals and such, but I wasn't able to enjoy or spend ample time on anything. Everything seemed like just another task, and I was working through my to-do list as quickly as possible to simply sit down and exhale. Anyone else ever feel like that?

I still have a to-do list, in fact I have three now (Master, Weekly, and Daily), but the difference is that I'm enjoying them and there's no pressure to complete them immediately. It's interesting to see that this time at home now is training me in flexibility. It is also training me to listen to my 31-week pregnant body. I'm not able to do everything at one time like I used to before, and that's okay, because I have time to do it later in the afternoon or even the next day.

So what exactly has been filling up my time? Aside from the usual things like laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking, I've been able to do some things that I hadn't before. So far, I've tried my hand at baking some Honey-Wheat yeast bread (all by myself!), organized all of the generous baby gifts I received from coworkers, made Banana bread, reorganized the linen closet to suit my shorty self, and tried some new recipes from Deceptively Delicious (Jessica Seinfeld), and enjoyed lunch poolside with my sister and her children.

Can I just tell you how utterly cool it was to eat a lunch yesterday that was entirely made from scratch? Chicken Salad on warm from the oven Honey-Wheat bread. It was the best I'd ever eaten. Although making bread is a relatively long process, especially by today's standards, the flavor is unbelievable, and worth every knead.

Speaking of bread, I have finally become disciplined in reading my Bible every day as well as spending time in prayer. I find it easiest to do it after I've had breakfast and before the day truly gets started. One of my problems in the past was that I never had any real direction, I was simply choosing a passage at random (via Holy Spirit, perhaps?) and that was that. But now I am going through the Book of Acts a chapter a day. I've never read it straight through before, so it's nice to have a continuing storyline for a change.

Some of the verses I've underlined this week:

"Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins. Then wonderful times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will send Jesus your Messiah to you again." Acts 3:19-20

"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training." Acts 4:13

"But Peter and John replied, 'Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.'" Acts 4:19-20

And due to a cross-reference, I read the short (three chapters in all) book of Joel and found this jewel:

"That is why the Lord says, 'Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don't tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts.'" Joel 2:12-13a

Okay, so this post has become monstrous! Sorry for that! I'll leave you with a photo of my gorgeous Honey-Wheat bread :) Strangely enough, one of the two loaves came out to roughly the size of an NFL-regulation football. I have no idea how I'll be slicing that beast.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Beach Cottage

This past weekend was a welcome respite with family, gentle breezes, and laughing gulls. My family has owned a beach cottage since 1957 when no one lived there. I can only imagine rustic shanties with weathered wood and sandy grit on the floors. Thankfully, my family's home has been upgraded with better appliances and A/C only a few short years ago, yet its charm and homeyness remain. It is filled with hand-me-down decor creating an ecclectic feel from the family members who once inhabited it.

I guess I should explain that beach cottage is probably misleading. It does not sit on the east coast's sandy shoreline, but rather an intracoastal waterway with its own pier. Many a summer day has been spent walking in mud at low tide looking for oysters, jumping and swimming off the pier with cousins, occasional stinging of jellyfish, fishing or rather giving fish a free all-u-can-eat shrimp meal, and slathering on coconut-scented tanning oil. And oh, the summer nights...a breathtaking sunset in a myriad of hues reflecting off of the rippling water, the cool salty breeze blowing your hair past your neck, and listening to the soft lapping of waves against the pier. It was bliss, and still is.

Back when the property was bought, several other extended family members purchased lots too, all in a row. When I was little, I remember spending time with my cousins Tiffany and Anna, and Gail and Alison. Those were the good ol' days, eating Chilly Willy's all day long, running barefoot, no qualms about makeup or frizzed out hair, swinging, and hearing the endless slam of the screen door shutting.

It is a home that has truly opened its doors to all people. To me, the house almost has a heartbeat of its own. It has seen all ages and generations visit, and it has also seen its original owners pass away with time, my great-grandparents and grandparents. The original wooden sign simply bearing Davis has been relocated indoors to remind us of familiar times. There are so many stories lurking with each nook and cranny in that old place. It is truly the house that love built.

Below are pictures from our time spent down at the beach, enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Easy Clothing Tip

Something I always seem to have issues with is getting some deodorant residue on sleeveless shirts. It kills me, because inevitably no matter how little I put on, ten minutes later it's rubbed off around the seams, leaving an unsightly mess.

My tip is not how to avoid this, because frankly I don't think you can, even by using clear or spray deodorants (they always flake off). But rather, what to do once it has happened.

This isn't rocket science and you probably already do this. I simply wet a washcloth and rub gently to remove it. The key however is to use a washcloth that is similarly colored!

Nothing is more frustrating than using a white or light colored washcloth to remove the residue only to come away with wet lint deposited on your dark shirt too. Double ick.

So, keep a black washcloth around for just this type of moment. Most of my wardrobe is black, and I'm amazed that I hadn't realized this sooner.

Side note: You will notice in some very high-priced restaurants that black linen napkins are given to patrons to prevent lap lint. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Park City, Utah photos as promised!

I have so many pictures that I want to share, and so little time to upload. :( Here are some of the highlights. Most of the time I took advantage of outlet shopping and eating; two of a preggo gal's favorite friends. Our favorite parts were driving through Provo Canyon and visiting the Olympic Park.

Our rental car we affectionately named "Sugar Booger."

Only at a Walmart in Utah...

Driving through Provo Canyon

"The hills are alive...with the sound of muuuuuusic"

Bridal Veil Falls

More Provo Canyon

"Wide open spaces...."

Me, looking pretty big!

Entrance to Olympic Park (Winter Games: 2002) Picture it with snow!

Alpine Long Jump...from this vantage point, you actually are unable to see the landing area. And believe it or not, this is used year-round, only with water during the summertime.
This is the bottom view of the same Alpine Long Jump. The colored lines show where skiers land. Those are people on the left spraying water on the slope.

Note to Self: Pregnant women don't fit well in a bobsled.

There we go!
JUST KIDDING! Those were professionals training....on concrete.

More ski jumps, only into a pool :) Athletes from all over the world train here year-round.

Note to Self: Pregnant women can't luge either; let alone lay flat on their backs.

But, we can ski!!! Hahaha, I can dream!