Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Although this post is a little late, I guess it is better than never! We had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas this year! I was on bedrest still and was originally supposed to be working so it was a nice surprise to be home with my family instead.

We started our celebration on Christmas Eve at our house. Our tradition is to have hors d'oeuvres on the 24th. We certainly didn't run out of food! We had shrimp cocktail, crackers with cheese and meat, fruit, veggies, little smokies, spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, and sparkling juice. Then we headed over to my parents house to open a few gifts. It was a very relaxed and laid back evening.

Nikki and Tom made it safely to Grand Forks after a brush with death as they drove through the night to get here. They hit a patch of black ice, spun a number of times in a circle and ended up in the ditch. We are VERY grateful for the guardian angels watching over them and Tom's super strength to push them out. Even though we had to share them with Tom's family, we still had a blast! We miss them so much and it has been quite an adjustment to not see them very often so it was such a blessing to spend that time together.

Here are a few pictures from Christmas Eve:
Jonah so excited to see Nikki and Tom

Mom, Jonah and Nikki snuggling on the couch

The boys opening a few presents at my parents house. They weren't as excited about the new clothes as they were about the new addition to their nativity!

The boys got new pjs from my parents and had to wear them for the rest of the gift opening. They of course were sure that everyone needed help opening their presents too!

Christmas morning we (Richard, myself, and the boys) spent together at our house. We had cinnamon rolls (which weren't as good as our traditional Christmas egg bake, but were a good substitute due to the excitement from our pre-term labor).

The boys were also very good about taking turns to open their gifts and were so excited about each thing! They impressed us with their great attitudes and simply enjoying each gift they opened, never expecting more. They are growing up so fast!

Here is the traditional "before opening stockings on Christmas morning pic"

This picture is one of my favorites. I fortunately had a large majority of my Christmas shopping done this year before I was placed on bedrest. The boys actually were with me when I bought some of it too. Jonah noticed me purchasing this little lego set, which I told him was for another little boy and he spent the rest of the shopping trip saying that he sure wishes that was for himself and how much fun that little boy will have with it. When he opened it he was literally jumping up and down with excitement and I we were the best parents ever after this!
Our present to the boys this year was legos. They have recently been playing with the legos I had as a little girl at my parents house and really enjoying it. It was fun to watch their faces light up when they opened it and how excited they were to start building!
Richard and I were able to "play" a little too and help them build things for their lego city. I must say that I am pretty excited to do this with my boys! I never imagined having boys after being from a family of all girls and even though I hope to some day play dolls, barbies, or have tea parties with a daughter, these boys have opened my eyes to a whole new world...from superheroes to being rescued by a solider and now to legos!

We pretty much spent the rest of the morning hanging out in our pjs and playing with the boys. We also enjoyed watching the snow start falling. (Little did we know that we would be getting 25 inches of it and stranded across town for a few days). We headed over to my parents around lunch time and spent the next few days eating, playing, laughing, and just being together. It was marvelous. I spent 99.9% of my time sitting on the couch, with my feet up and relaxing!

Nikki and Tom joined us later in the day and we had them to ourselves for the rest of the evening. We had a delicious meal together, opened some more presents and played a few games.
Here is a few pics from our meal together

Here is a fun picture of me and my boys before opening presents

Nikki and Tom snuggling before opening presents

Nikki and Jonah putting together one of his new lego sets. Jonah and Elijah were in heaven the whole time with both aunties, and grandma and grandpa!!!!

Due to the snow, we ended up spending the next few days at my parents house. It was wonderful to see just be together. We were supposed to have a big Christmas get together with my Dad's side of the family, but it was cancelled due to the weather. We were sad we didn't get to see everyone, but it was nice to just keep relaxing together.

Here is a fun pic of my three boys reading a story before nap time one day.

The boys were able to have a sleepover with Nikki and Laura the night before Nikki headed back to Montana. It was so fun for them and fun to hear them talk about their sleepover too! We were pretty sad when Nikki and Tom had to head back to Montana, but soooo glad we got to see them for a few days! I am also excited that Nikki is going to try make a trip back this way in March after our baby is born!

Here is a picture of me at 30 of my best Christmas presents by far...still being pregnant!

25 inches of snow

Over Christmas we had a "nice" little blizzard with 25 inches of snow! It was great for us because we were not planning on traveling any farther than my parents house which is a few miles away. I moved my bedresting self to their house and enjoyed my family for a few days. The boys are super excited about all the snow and have been playing in it almost daily. It has been so fun to watch them enjoying it with Richard too!

Here is the front of our house

This is Jonah standing on the snow pile looking out from our front door. He is touching the roof! Crazy that it is so high! The perfect sledding hill in our front yard though!

All three of my boys playing outside for the first time with all the snow.
Richard and Jonah were outside for hours and started working on a snow fort.
You can see how high the snow is compared to Richard's truck!

Here is a better picture of our whole house and the piles of snow

Elijah climbing out of the snow fort

Richard climbing out of the snow fort

Elijah hanging out inside the snow fort. Richard made it big enough for an adult to sit up in there comfortably. The boys can hardly wait for it to be finished so they can play in it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Jonah

It seems like only yesterday you were snuggling on my shoulder in the hospital. It seems like only yesterday we were checking you out from head to toe, inspecting your cuteness after you were born!
I can hardly believe it has been 5 years since God blessed our family with you! Thank you for making me a mommy for the first time and thank you for being such a blessing the past 5 years. We love you so much and can't wait to watch you grow and discover God's plan for your life.

Happy 5th Birthday Jonah,
Love always Mom, Dad, Elijah and Baby

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Blessing

Beautiful, fluffy, white snowflakes are dancing gracefully to the ground, adding to blankets of white snow that have accumulated while we slept. The Christmas lights are twinkling, soft Christmas music plays in the background, and two little boys full of energy and excitement are running around.

As I reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas and take time to ponder this I am overwhelmed by Christmas blessings. I am also wondering what Mary was thinking as she prepared for the birth of her son in a lowly stable. Was she scared, nervous, frightened, or at peace? Did she really know how much that little baby would change the world? Did she know that her baby boy was born so he would someday die for all?

As we prepare for the birth of our third child, we are remembering how quickly someone so small can change your lives. How quickly this little person turns your world upside down. They are unpredictable to say the least! As I am on bedrest for a few more weeks, I have been feeling convicted of knowing God has a plan for us and this little one. Preterm labor and bedrest is not the path I had chosen during this pregnancy. But, the Lord knew and He will provide. All I can do is wait patiently for His plan to unfold.

I have so many Christmas blessings to be thankful for. I am thankful for this little one staying in my belly for as long as he or she does. I am thankful that although I am afraid of what will happen, I know I will not walk it alone. I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends who have graciously been helping us out as I keep the couch warm. I am thankful for an amazing husband who is keeping me focused on God's plan and allowing me to worry about resting and keep this baby in and not about the boys or housework.

I have spent many hours in tears praying with the Lord for strength to not allow my mind to wander and consider all the what if's that accompany the delivery of such a little baby. I confessed to Richard that when we lost our last child (2 years ago) so early in the pregnancy, the hardest part was not being able to hold that baby in my arms and say goodbye. I have prayed that if God was to take this baby too, could he just allow the baby to be big enough to hold so I can say goodbye. However, now that I am facing this reality I of course do not want to give this baby up. I want to watch him or her grow, spend countless hours awake at night comforting my child, and watch this one grow with his or her big brothers. I do not want to say goodbye.

Did God want to say goodbye to His son? Did Mary? Did he want to watch His son suffer? I am sure he did not want this, but he did it for us! Wow! Could I do that if God asked me?

Today so many will gather with families, eat delicious food, exchange gifts, and make memories laughing, reflecting, and reminiscing. Some will pause to reflect on their own blessings this Christmas. Some will not. Many will forget all together though why we do gather to celebrate.

I pray you will have a joyous day celebrating Christ's birth with your loved ones. I pray that you will reflect upon your blessings this Christmas, but remember the ultimate gift we have been given. A little baby boy born in a manger to a virgin, the ultimate Christmas blessing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

30 weeks and more bedrest

Today the boys came with to my 30 week appointment and were excellent helpers! It was Richard's first day of Christmas break so he was able to come too. We had to wait for over an hour to see the doctor, which is no easy task with two toddlers and an impatient husband!

The appointment did not involve sword fights with stirrups or prizes for peeing in a cup, but both the boys were able to help our doctor find the baby's heartbeat. Elijah went first and after his regression to wanting me to do everything (short of going to the bathroom) for him since our last appointment I was utterly surprised when he asked to help. He was pretty proud to find it and exclaimed he was going to be a doctor. When I asked if he was going to be a doctor when he grew up he said nope just for Halloween next year.

The proud biggest brother took a turn next. He was also privileged to find the heartbeat right away (150s) and then proceeded to smear gel all over my belly "trying to find it somewhere else."
It was such a blessing to hear that little heartbeat again and know that he or she is doing just fine despite all the stress we are feeling! My doctor was concerned that I have been still having contractions despite being on bedrest at home and feels it would be best for the baby if I had a few more weeks of bedrest. She felt this was the best choice and we are going to reevaluate the decision at my next appointment (32 weeks). She felt that at that point I may be able to go back to work for 4 or 8 hour shifts. She also started me on nifedipine to help stop the contractions I am still having.

Although there were tears on my behalf about this decision, I am relieved that it was an easy one for her to make. I trust her judgement and ultimately want what is best for my baby. It is hard to not be caught up in the reality of it all. It is hard to not think how will we do it? It is easy to forget that God is in control and that He will provide!

It is also hard to know that my coworkers are going to be facing the craziest, busiest, unit they have seen in a long time without me. I know they understand, more than anyone else, how important it is for me to stay pregnant as long as possible. I feel truly blessed to have such amazing coworkers who care about me and are so supportive. I know this would be so much harder if they weren't so great! Hopefully I can make it up to them by keeping my baby out of the NICU and bringing them some treats!

I am also trying to think about how fortunate we are to not be spending our time in the NICU visiting our sick, premature infant and walking that road instead of this one!

Thanks to all for your prayers, support, emails, phone calls, etc. It has helped keep our spirits up more than you know! We are continuing to pray for this pregnancy to last weeks longer and for this little one to continue growing stronger each day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

29 week belly shot!

I missed documenting 28 weeks and was QUITE concerned that I would be posting pictures of our baby at this point and not another belly shot! Here we are at 29 weeks though, safe and sound in utero!
I thought we better get a Christmas tree shot too!
I am praising the Lord for each day we make it at this point! I am trying to be patient and remember that God has a plan and is in control. My wonderful husband is keeping me focused on this and trying to keep me calm!

Lord, thank you for the days and hopefully weeks more that this little one will be inside me! I know you have a plan for him or her and I pray you continue to give me peace and help me trust this plan. Thank you for your precious gift, YOUR son, and giving us a reason to celebrate this season! Thanks for wonderful friends and family who have been loving us as I take it easy. In your precious name, Amen!

My two sons

How can I be so blessed to call these two little boys my sons?
How can I be so blessed to have these two little boys call me mommy?
How can two little boys teach me so much about patience, humility, selflessness, sacrifice, and love? How can two little boys drive me so crazy one minute and make me feel completely inadequate as a mother and wonder if I should be checked into the pysch unit STAT...

...and the next minute make me so thankful that God has given me the privilege of raising them and being called their mother that my heart just melts looking at them?
I wouldn't give up the sleepless nights, sticky kisses, completely chaotic days, snuggles together, the good, bad and the ugly for anything.

I love these days of superheroes, trains, legos, and wrestling. I love the snuggles on the couch while reading books, our naps together, and our adventures. I love having two little helpers when I am cooking, cleaning or trying to tackle a new project. I love the trips to the park, open gym, and our "dates" to Starbucks or McDonalds. I love watching you both learn so much each day. I also love watching you become the little guys God created you to be!

Thank you for stretching me to new heights, challenging me each day, helping me appreciate each day together and helping me grow to be a better mother. I love you both and thank you for being my sons. I pray God continues to help me learn daily how to be a better mother for you and help prepare you for life. Thanks for being patient and loving me through it all! You are growing up too fast and I am trying to cherish each moment.

Love Your Mommy

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Nikki and Tom!

One year ago my little sister Nikki married her best friend Tom. One year ago we had a wonderful time celebrating with them as they said "I do" and made a promise to each other to spend the rest of their lives together. It was a perfect wedding and we can't believe it has already been a year. They are happily married in Bozeman, Montana.

We miss them lots and wish Montana was a little closer or at least that they were ;0) They are coming home for Christmas and we are looking forward to seeing them, even if it will be a quick visit!
Happy Anniversary you two love birds! We pray for many more wonderful years together. We pray for God's plan in your lives to continue to unfold and that you will grow stronger and closer as you walk this path of marriage together. We love you so much and are so blessed to call you family. Cheers to Nikki and Tom, we love you!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, How I Love Thee

Last week we went and picked out a Christmas tree finally! We were hoping to go cut our own down at a tree farm, but due to the frigid temps and lack of time we ended up going to the same place we went last year to get one. However, we were disappointed to discover that they only had 5 trees left! So we ended up picking one up at Menards for $15 and it is actually a very nice tree. Richard and I decided that if it wasn't at least we didn't spend much on it! The boys thought we were a little crazy when we set it up inside to warm up and open up. They didn't believe us until they saw it open for themselves.

We decorated the tree the next night and had a little party to celebrate. We are thinking we will make this a tradition each year. We had sparkling juice, cheese, summer sausage and crackers and some chex mix. The boys had their church Christmas program that day so it did get a little late when we finally got around to getting it up and we had no naps that day so it was also a little tricky with that.

This is probably one of my least favorite pics of myself, but I took one for the team so you could see our spread from our "tree decorating" celebration.

Poor Elijah missed out on most of it by sleeping on the couch since he missed his nap from the church Christmas program. Fortunately he woke up later and was helping us out, but unfortunately he was up a little later due to his cat nap.

Jonah took my spot helping Richard decorate the tree lights so I could be the photographer.

Then Elijah woke up and had to help too of course!

Putting ornaments on the tree was an adventure! We have quite a few and I was trying to control which ones went up and stop the little fingers from opening all the boxes and breaking any. It was fun to watch the boys remembering some of them and for Richard and I to be able to tell them about some of our favorites.

I was able to put a few on myself, and we had to document "Bruce" helping too!

Then it was time for the star and we let both boys have a turn putting it up! I still remember my dad lifting me up to put the star on. My sisters and I rotated each year so when it was your turn it was a BIG deal!

Now it's Elijah's turn.

The final product! We haven't decided on a name yet...we (or at least I) name the tree each year. Last year our tree was Sophia and the year before it was "Evie" so my vote is for Lucy this year. Jonah doesn't like it though so we'll see.

After getting the decorations up we sang some Christmas carols together and put the boys to bed. We are looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth in less than one week! We are praying you are able to slow down and focus on the reason for the season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

29 weeks and contracting in the hospital

Update: I was discharged this afternoon after having my contractions stop for about 6 hours and being taken off the magnesium sulfate. My cervix still hasn't changed too! Praise the Lord! I am home resting and thanking the Lord for more time inside for this little blessing!
Yesterday we were officially 29 weeks and our little peanut must have gotten confused by all the excitement and thought it would be fun to have a little party in the hospital with pre-term labor!
As many of you know this little bugger has been giving us a run for our money since 20 weeks with contractions continually since. However, they have never been anything we were too terribly concerned about until last night. I had gone into work to help out after a whole bunch of babies decided to be born all at once!

I got there at 5pm to help work and was doubled over in pain with tears at 6pm with contractions. My WONDERFUL co-workers wouldn't allow me to persuade them to let me be and personally delivered me to labor and delivery to be evaluated.

Fortunately, they did that because shortly after being placed on the monitors I was contracting quite significantly ever 2-3 minutes. It became a whirlwind as I was being examined, tests ran, and medications given hoping to stop them quickly.

The first drug they gave me (terbutaline) would hopefully stop the labor and then I was given betamethasone (a steroid) to help the baby's lungs mature a little quicker if he or she did decide to arrive so early. When the terb didn't work they added nifedipine (another med to stop labor) and when that didn't work we went to the big guns...magnesium sulfate. Wow, that is some fun stuff, if you have ever been on it I am sorry! Yuck!

That finally did the trick. At about 430 in the morning they slowed from every 2-3 minutes to every 5 minutes. Then now this morning to every 10-15 minutes. I was quickly reminded how painful labor is and how grateful I am that it does work (when it should). I am a little nervous now that I have been reminded of it, but very thankful that God has stopped the contractions and let our little one have a little longer inside!

Please pray for the contractions to stop, and for wisdom with bedrest and work. My physician is wonderful and is confident that we have found the right cocktail of meds and that I won't need to be bedridden for the remainder of the pregnancy, but may need to take it a little easier. We are going to play it by ear and see how it goes.

I will update if anything changes and appreciate your thoughts, prayers, calls, and emails! They are very encouraging and help me keep my focus on God's plan and not my own!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not me Monday...

It has been awhile since I have participated in Not me Monday! If you are lost, check out MckMama for the details...and the following did NOT happen to me at all! (Due to the length of the story I am going to exclude all the statements that I did NOT do the following, but just know that is the case!)

So a few weeks ago the boys were both in desperate need of a bath. They were both in the tub and I was putting clothes away frantically in their room, trying to finish before there was more water on the floor than in the tub.

Earlier in the day Elijah had been complaining of a stomachache and I had written it off for not wanting to finish any of his meals because he was just too excited to play with whatever toy was waiting for him. However, when he said it again at supper I was a little concerned that he may in fact be getting the dreaded stomach flu! So, when he refused to finish his chicken pot pie we allowed him to be done and saved the rest for him to eat later if he was hungry. I also had been having a horrible day contracting all day and was in quite a bit of pain from the constant tightening of my uterus and nervous about these continuing contractions.

The boys were in the tub all fresh and clean having a grand old time when I heard some coughing and then silence. Now, I must tell you that they have this disgusting habit of drinking the bath water or at least letting it run into their mouths and then out again. We have discouraged this and explained why it is a little gross to drink water you have been bathing in, but they often forget this minor detail when having so much fun playing.

So I heard the coughing and silence. I waited for a few seconds to hear more coughing and recovery, and asked if they were ok. Instead I heard Jonah's very nervous voice calling for me. I ran into the bathroom and saw Elijah standing in the tub with big eyes and blue lips trying to cough out the water but not making any noise or breathing. I grabbed him from the tub, around the waist, and lifted him out and over to the toilet and gave him a few good blows to the back.

I think the combination of my squeeze on his tummy and bending him over the toilet caused him to cough up the water and loose his supper into the toilet. As he is puking and having some even come out his nose he asks me in between gasps for air if he can go back into the tub. What a trooper! I then said what any loving mother would, "Just finish throwing up honey, then you can go back into the tub."

In case you forgot, our older son Jonah (who is still in the tub) has a VERY sensitive gag reflex. So sensitive that a stinky fart, sound of a gagging brother, etc can cause him to throw up. As I hear him gagging behind me I yell for Richard to come and distract him while I restrain Elijah from jumping back into the tub while he is puking.

I also yell at Jonah to cover his ears, plug his nose and think of a happy thought. He somehow manages to do all these things and recites "Grandma's house, Grandma's house, Grandma's house" for his happy thought.

By the time Richard came to our rescue, the emergency was ending and things were under control so he returned to our bedroom where he was putting clean clothes away.

After getting them settled back into the tub I started to walk down the hall towards our bedroom and realized my sweatpants were soaked from my waist to my knees.

Since I had been having such bad contractions that day I immediately thought my water had broke. My mind went into panic mode and I immediately start thinking the worst. Like that we aren't even 28 weeks yet, or would I be shipped to Fargo and put on bedrest, or would I have to deliver and have our baby on a ventilator and be in the NICU for months, or would our little fighter succumb to the numerous complications premies face like a bleed in the brain, retinopathy of prematurity, necrotizing enterocolitis, or have horrible lungs as a result from being born early.

As I am rambling off my fears to Richard, he is trying to comprehend what I am saying and asking me if we need to go to the hospital or if my water truly did break. There was definite fear in his eyes.

At that moment I was brought back to reality and realized how badly I had to pee while I was putting the boys clothes away and that I had decided to finish doing that before going to the bathroom. Which was right before Elijah started chocking and turning blue on me.

So fortunately I only peed my pants and just didn't realize it because I was more worried about my child who was not breathing and not my lack of bladder control.

After realizing this I was able to breathe a little easier, but continued to amaze Richard that I could pee my pants that bad and not realize it for so long! The beauty of having a weakened bladder after having kids I guess and being pregnant!

I hope you haven't peed your pants while reading this and that at least you got a good laugh for the day. We all certainly need them and I am more than happy to allow you to laugh on my behalf!

So what did you NOT do this past week?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One of my favorite rooms

We moved into our home in July of 2008 and quickly realized that there is always something we can be doing to "improve" our home or make it more our own. Richard has done an excellent job doing all the jobs himself. He continues to amaze me with his endless list of skills and talents related to fixing and working around our house. One of the projects he recently finished was the trim in our living room and hallway.

When we moved in we tore the carpet up and Richard refinished the beautiful hardwood floors that lay under it. During this process we had to take the trim off and realized it wasn't in any shape to be reused. Richard picked out some beautiful trim and crown molding to replace it but we (or I suppose I should say he) hasn't had enough time to finish it.

He worked very hard over his Thanksgiving break and the last few weeks to finish it and it looks BEAUTIFUL. I am so proud of him and impressed. He also helped me (well mostly he did it and I helped him) hang some pictures that I have been waiting to put up for a long time.

The room has always been one of my favorite rooms in my house for a few reasons. One because it is very cozy and two because it has a wonderfully large picture window to look out while relaxing. Now that it is almost "finished" I like it even more!

Here is my wonderful hubby measuring and making sure the pictures are level and straight. (You can even see the beautiful trim and crown molding in the background).

Here are the pictures we had taken last June by Stacy. She did a great job and it is fun to be able to display them for all to see.

Here is the final product. Doesn't it look inviting? Don't you just want to come over and join me for a cup of coffee and a chat? The door is always open...