Tuesday, December 30, 2008

quiet moments

I've been enjoying the last few mornings with Willow, while Justin is still home from work and tucked in our dark, quiet bedroom sleeping, us girls start our day. I leave all the lights off except the Christmas tree, illuminating her sweet face with the holiday glow of pink, blue and orange. Barely awake from her night's slumber, she fades in and out of stirring, flashes of smiles and coos escape without her willing them. It's a sweet gift to start the day with; I'm so thankful I don't have to rush to get ready, to be at work by 6:30 am and miss these precious moments.

After she nurses and lulls back to sleep for her first morning nap, I drink in some inspiration and contemplation from a blog I happened across. It's called Holy Experience and the writer is Ann Voskamp. I've been inspired by her perspective and writing about relationship with God and her devotionals during the advent season. This as an archived post that I read this morning and wanted to share. I hope you peruse her blog-home and find enjoyment as I have.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This was the sight we got to walk home to the other evening after a stroll. I dashed inside to grab my camera and just stood there giddy with delight at how amazing this was. Quite possibly the most beautiful sunset I'd ever seen and my pictures don't come close to doing it justice, but I thought I'd share anyway :)


It's a rare drizzly, cool day in California and I'm cozy inside, snug with my baby, sitting by the glow of our modest little Christmas tree. 
Christmas Eve day and not a present under the tree..... but I have mine in my arms and am quite content : ) Justin and I agreed to forgo presents this year since one, we had the huge expense of a new baby and two, we really couldn't think of a single thing we truly needed. 
What an amazing gift, in the current state of the world, to be in a place where we have no pressing, immediate needs. The reality of that is sincerely humbling and moves me to my knees in gratitude and praise. 
I've been listening to the CD, Sing over Me: Worship Songs And Lullabies  that my sister sent me when Willow was born. I played it to my tummy while she was still nestled inside. The other night she was unusually fussy, having a hard time getting back to sleep after her 1 a.m. feeding, so I turned on the CD. It was amazing to watch her get very still and calm, then slowly drift off. I pray that, even if she doesn't understand language yet, she internalizes the aspect of worship and comfort that it creates. There are several songs I love, but two stick out today as I reflect on the gift of Jesus Christ and the constant provision of the Father.

How Deep The Father's Love For Us
How deep the Father's love for us/ How vast beyond all measure/ That He should give His only Son/ To make a wretch His treasure/ How great the pain of searing loss/ The Father turns His face away/ As wounds which mar the Chosen One/ Bring many sons to glory/
Behold the Man upon the cross/ My sin upon His shoulder/ Ashamed I hear my mocking voice/ Call out among the scoffers/ It was my sin that held Him there/ Until it was accomplished/ His dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished/
 I will not boast in anything/ No gifts, no power, no wisdom/ But I will boast in Jesus Christ/ His death and resurrection/ Why should I gain from His reward/ I cannot give an answer/ But this I know with all my heart/ His wounds have paid my ransom
(written by Stuart Townend)

You Are Good
When the sun starts to rise and I open my eyes/ You are good, so good/ In the heat of the day, with each stone that I lay/ You are good
 With every breath I take in/ I'll tell You I'm grateful again/ When the moon climbs high before each kiss goodnight/ You are good/ When the road starts to turn around each bend I've learned/ You are good, so good/ And when somebody's hand holds me up, helps me stand/ You are so good/
With every breath I take in/ I'll tell you I'm grateful again/ 'casue it's more than enough just to know I am loved/ And you are good/
So, how can I thank You/ What can I bring/ What can these poor hands lay at the feet of the King/ I'll sing You a love song/ It's all that I have/ To tell You I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands/
When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul/ You are good/ When the world is gone gray and the rain is here to stay/ You are still good/ So with every breath I take in/ I'll tell You I am grateful again/ And the storm may swell even then/ It is well and You are good/
So, how can I thank You/ What can I bring/ What can these poor hands lay at the feet of the King/ I'll sing You a love song/ It's all that I have/ To tell You I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands/
(written by Nichole Nordeman and Clint Lagerberg)

Having an infant is such a clear reminder of what relationship with the Heavenly Father should, and can, be like. Willow is dependent on me to meet all her needs, and seems quite content to be so. After she fills her little belly, she nestles herself against my chest with the most satisfied expression and quickly drifts of to sleep without worry. I hope to convey that to her as she grows older and more independent. I hope she recognizes that contentment in her parents as we lean our heads against the Heavenly Father, that we will be able to close our eyes without worry, knowing that Christ has fulfilled both promise and provision for us.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

YAY!!! This morning, before Justin left for work, I was making his lunch and he was visiting with Willow. He was chatting to her while holding her, and she had the most serious, contemplative look on her face (which is her usual expression). Suddenly she gave the biggest grin while looking directly at his face. Of course I wanted one too, so I stood by his shoulder and started coaxing her and again, she had on her serious face. Then I got one! Of course I didn't get a picture for proof, but I promise it happened. It was a big morning at our house, all before 6:30 a.m. :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Family Tree

1.Uncle Junior (in blue) and Uncle Conrado 2.Nana (in black/white) 3.Auntie Lydia (in red/white stripe)  4.Auntie Carmelita (in brown/black)  

Justin's Great Aunts and Uncles (his maternal grandmother's siblings) live in Southern CA. Even though he didn't grow up close in proximity to them or know them well before we moved out here, they have been incredibly welcoming and generous whenever we do spend time with them. Justin's Mom Lee (now "Lola".....Filipino for grandmother) and his Nana were able to come out to meet Willow this past week and we squeezed in a few visits with the relatives, Nana's brothers and sisters. Most of them are in their 70's and don't look a day over 50, incredibly energetic, vibrant and full of good humor. It was fun to watch them "Oooo andAhhhh" over my precious baby girl and talk to her in their Tagalog/English mix. 
One of the highlights for me was sitting in our living room, listening to Uncle Conrado (a spry 82 who goes dancing frequently) recount fleeing from Manila in the Philippines when he was 13, as the Japanese were attacking the island. Listening to the stories of hiding out in the mountains, traveling on foot, hearing the sounds of constant air raids overhead made me more aware of the tremendously rich history that Willow has running through her veins from all sides of our families.  From the Philippines to Puerto Rico, from hot, humid South Carolina to the Northwest snowy corner of Illinois, from Texas to Georgia and too many places to count in between, she has a legacy of hard workers, innovators, dreamers, travelers, justice-seekers, believers and inspirers to collectively learn from and grow into her own little uniquely colorful individual.
 I am so excited to watch and encourage her as she unfolds.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


willow's funky hair after her bath
Nana and Willow
Thanksgiving preparations 
Strolling the Seal Beach Pier
Enjoying some sweet time

Willow and I survived day one with just the two of us.... which included 4 wardrobe changes on her part and two on mine, two projectile spit-up covered pillow cases, spit-up on the sheets on Justin's side (I was tempted to not change them and keep my mouth shut), 4 loads of laundry (how is this possible???), initiation of the cloth baby wipes, vacuuming in 2 minute increments so I could check if she was crying, partially putting up Christmas decorations (I should be done by New Year's at this pace!), watching snippets of White Christmas....I do still have my priorities in line, cooking a REAL dinner that actually involved chopping stuff (mostly because I felt guilty that Justin was on his ump-teenth night of leftover Turkey sandwiches), and essentially running around like a sleep-deprived chicken with it's head cut off. I am officially a Mommy!!!!

I also had a healthy dose of wonderfully sitting and rocking, laying and watching and just marveling at this precious little creature that has "poofed" into my life and totally re-orchestrated my days without even knowing it.  I just ache for the Mom's who have little option and have to return to work for one reason or another. I can't imagine missing one poopy diaper. 

My Mom, Dad, sister Beck and her family were all able to journey from their respective far away places to spend Thanksgiving here and meet the new addition to our family. It was a wonderful gift to have them in my home for about a week and celebrate this season of thankfulness. My Mom posted a list of "Thanksgivings" on our family blog and I am prompted to do the same; even though the actual holiday has passed, the truth and sentiment remain the same.
I'm so very thankful for...
-a healthy pregnancy and baby, a miracle and blessing that is not lost on me.
-a loving, supportive, patient, encouraging, understanding husband who doesn't mind when I dance in the grocery store aisles or do a little shimmy down the sidewalk.
-the incredibly rich legacy of faith in my family from which to learn, grow and draw encouragement.
-my Southern roots
-the music of Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin
-a cup of coffee when it's still dark outside
-the ritual of  having a "proper pot of tea"
-Palm Trees decorated for Christmas
-the ability to mix and match colors and textures as I please!
-the fact that there is no REAL Fashion Police
-the "underbelly" of trees when you stand under the branches and look to the sun
-being able to look heavenward in the face of a broken world
-Salvation that I could never fully comprehend
-the Dick Van Dyke Show
-my nursing degree
-the change of seasons on the East Coast
-my smelly, strange, quirky dog Zoey
-the luxury and comforts of my home
-Sprouts farmer's market and Trader Joe's
-our apartment maintenance guy, Juan
-generous strangers
-the sheer delight that colored christmas lights provide
-a church to collectively worship with other christians
-the sacrifices made for freedom
-discoveries & revelations made on road trips
-friendships across miles
-the complex, wise, unique, beautiful individuals the make up my family
... and immeasurably more!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Willow's Arrival

For those of you who haven't heard through the grapevine and are thinking I've had the longest pregnancy EVER......Willow has most definitely arrived!!! She was born Nov. 18th at 1:07am, weighing in at 7 lbs 13oz, 19 1/2 inches long and a full head of black hair. My Dr's first words were "Oh my, look at those cheeks!", followed by "wow, look at those big feet!"

She is absolutely perfect and precious, big cheeks and feet included. Labor and delivery were not at all what I was anticipating or had prepared for; I guess that's why they always say the only birth plan to have is "plan to have your plans changed". I began having consistent contractions around 2am monday morning, significantly stronger than the warm-up ones I'd been feeling for the previous 3 weeks. I told Justin to be ready, I think this may be it. At this point, being more than a week past my due date, it was difficult to actually believe that it REALLY could be happening. So we made it through the night with no hospital runs and I set about the day doing a final clean of the house. I had a Dr's appointment at 2pm and was feeling certain I'd be in L&D before then. No such luck! We went to the appointment, had my routine fetal non-stress test and I was waiting for my Dr. when the nurse popped in and said she'd had an emergency and couldn't see me! I had been having contractions about every 6-8 minutes while in the office and they were getting much stronger, so they sent me to L&D to get checked and put me on the monitor. Once there I was told "you're still only 1cm dilated!!!"..... no change for 3 weeks! Since I was obviously in the early stages of labor and had been for about 18 hours, we decided it was time to get things going. They started me on Pitocin to hopefully make my contractions more effective and at 7:30pm the Dr. came in and broke my water. I essentially went from early labor instantly to transition, with contractions every 1 minute, coupled with violent shaking, tremors and terrible nausea. Before she left, my doc had guessed I'd deliver sometime around 6 or 7 am, since I was having such a slow time progressing. With that in mind, I decided I couldn't manage the pain and was afraid I'd be energy depleted from the tremors and asked for something for pain. The nurse new I must be progressing much faster than they anticipated and we went straight for an epidural..... this was around 9:30 pm. I hadn't received any relief from the epidural 30 minutes later and when my nurse checked me again I was about 6cm dilated. She turned off the Pitocin and called the anesthesiologist to come give me a bolus, thinking my labor was essentially out-running the epidural effect. The bolus did the trick and I was able to rest for a few hours. The nurse said she re-check me around 12 am. At about 11:45 I told Justin he'd better go flag her down, I was starting to feel pressure and like I needed to push. Sure enough, she came in and said I could start to "practice push" and she'd call the Doctor. She deemed me a "great pusher" and decided we'd better not be too aggressive before the Doctor arrived. Once she got there, it was about 20 minutes later and our sweet Willow was here! It was the most surreal, out of body experience to lay there with her on my chest and realize she was the little thing I'd been feeling inside for the past 9 months. It was so amazing to finally meet someone face to face who I had already been experiencing so intimately.
My Mom arrived wednesday and was able to be there when we were released to go home, which was such a huge help. We were able to spend a sweet gift of time together for several days before other family members arrived to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The past week has been a wonderful whirlwind with a new baby and having my family here; the only thing that could make it better would be having my brother and sister-in-law here to complete the family circle. 
I am beyond thankful and have such a full-heart with the realization that God has blessed me with a healthy, precious baby, an amazingly supportive, sacrificial, generous family and an encouraging, loving, understanding husband. The timing of Thanksgiving couldn't have been more perfectly appropriate!

Stay tuned as Willow's Wonderland journey begins to unfold.... and I post a ridiculous amount of pictures! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Baby Stephanie

I thought I'd share my newborn picture since I previously posted Justin's. Mom actually saved and gave me that outfit; I plan on putting Willow in it for a photo, then framing the dress with our baby pictures side by side. That would be pretty sweet, I think ;-)

So, I thought Sunday might have been "the day" or at least the day before "the day", but alas, it's passed and no baby. I was having pretty frequent contractions that were getting increasingly stronger (not painful, just very noticeable). I went for several walks, which brought them on even more, and snuck in few naps between bursts of cleaning and organizing everything. It was funny how, even though we've know the day is inevitably getting closer and closer and most definitely going to happen, having the feeling that this may be it or at least we're getting REALLY close, kind of sent us both into high speed mode. I don't think Justin's ever written a paper or studied so quickly :-) My dear friend Abby is betting on Election Day as the big day, and I'd so hate to disappoint her...so maybe, just maybe I can coax Willow into coming tomorrow. 

I think I'd better try to come up with some things to get me out of the house, or else I'll go stir crazy just waiting.  I figure a sure fire way to get things started is to go to a large, crowded store. Surely my water will break there, in front of everyone, in the middle of the clearance aisle or tableware section. IKEA anyone??

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This may have been the highlight of my pregnancy.....I mean, when else can you proudly bare a huge round tummy painted orange??? It was hilarious to watch little kids faces as they walked up to us to "trick-or-treat" (we sat at the bottom of our stairs in lawn chairs with our bowl of candy). One little girl just had to touch my jack's nose which was painted over my belly button. She looked up wide eyed and proclaimed "OH, it's your button!" She was a precious little princess herself. I'd have to say my overall favorite was a teeny tinker-bell.....who knew tinker-bell was really a brown little hispanic?
Hope you all had a fun fall day to wrap up October. Happy November....this is the big month!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tripod & crummy camera...

I wanted to get some good "pregnant pictures" before it's too late....which isn't much longer! I didn't want to spend any money on "extras" right now, so we resorted to the next best (or more like the last best) thing. A tripod and crummy camera with a timer. 
We kind of crammed this "shoot" in between a work cookout and our weekly Friday night dinner with friends, combined with a bright high noon sun, a strong breeze and a park full of kids, dogs and occasional homeless person....and this is what we got. Once I got over my frustration of not being or having a professional photographer telling me what the heck to do, we just had fun and and enjoyed being out in the beautiful weather and doing this together. 
I can check one more thing of my ever shortening list and am counting down the last weeks left..... sometimes patiently, sometimes not so much :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

9 months of perspective

I had my 36 wk apt today and everything is just perfect-o and right on target. She did a brief ultrasound to get baby measurements and estimated Willow is about 6lbs 2oz right now.... several weeks still to go! So I'm on track for a chunky, umm, healthy baby!
It's always good to hear positive reinforcement that all is continuing to be well and we're both super healthy; although I did remark "then why do I feel so blah and bad?". My Dr. just laughed and replied "because you're 36 weeks pregnant and have been doing this for almost 9 months and you're ready to have a baby!" 
Oh, yeah.

I was filling out a new calender yesterday, looking through my old planner to transfer birthdays and important dates.....and was reminded, by red ink pen, when this all began. It's hard to believe it's been 9 months, and flipping through my old calender gave me great visual perspective. I know that in those first few weeks and early months after her birth, I will need constant reminders to keep perspective. Perspective to take one day at a time, and at the same time not get too frazzled, frustrated or dissapointed when one day doesn't go as planned or how I anticipated. 
I've often struggled with giving myself reasonable time and space to process changes and circumstances, often pushing myself to "just do it" or "get over it".  I know giving birth and becoming a mom is one of the biggest changes I'll ever make (a bit of an understatement), so I know now, more than ever, I need to extend the same grace to myself that I hope others will as I sift through emotions and questions and elation and worry.  

From now on it's perspective, grace-filled, one day at a time.  
Remind me in a month :-)

Thursday, October 9, 2008


(newborn Justin...he was a chunky fella!)
(Justin around 2 months old. He still has napping down to an art)

Yesterday (Oct. 8th) was Justin's birthday. He's been pretty busy and stretched to the max with work and school requirements, trying to get some big things accomplished before Willow comes. We were able to have a relaxed, quiet evening together with no homework, papers or work-duty calls or mishaps. It was low-key (which is GREAT since he's in need of low key right now) and wonderful to just visit and enjoy some quiet, sweet time. 
He received a card from his grandparents and we were tickled to find some baby pictures of him inside. Of course it made us talk about what the combo of the two of us will look like in little Willow..... I have to say that I think her 3D ultrasound image seen here looks a bit like him! Just a few more weeks and we'll be able to see for ourselves.
I'm just so overwhelmingly thankful and proud to be partnered with such a loving, humble, patient, consistent, discerning, diligent, giving man. I am SO excited to see Justin take on the role of father and have been amazed at how he's already embraced that role and made adjustments before she's even arrived. She is going to adore her Daddy! 
I sure do :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


                                                                                                             (34wks pregnant)   

It's been interesting as I've been preparing myself and our home for Willow's arrival that there is definitely a "theme" running through everything. Cleanliness. I've been cleaning everything: sterilizing, boiling, dusting, scrubbing, wiping anything in my path. I even washed my car. *If you've never seen an 8.5  month pregnant lady washing her car, trust me....it's amusing.*

Now I'd say I'm a pretty laid back person when it comes to dirt and grime. I certainly don't mind dirt and am probably one of the few ICU nurses who is not a germ-a-phobe (although I probably should be.) So why this clean freak streak? Don't get me wrong, I think a brand new baby should be in a clean environment and to some degree protected from nastiness until they get a good strong immunity on board, but that's not the point for me. 
I believe it comes from a strong urge to protect, to preserve her as long as possible from the harshness and "dirt" of this world. To cocoon her in an untainted little world far away from the influence of sin and depravity and, well, society in general. As I've realized this and thought about it, I know that's in some ways my role, but in most ways it's ridiculous. Willow will come into this world fresh and new and sweet...... and a sinner in need of grace and forgiveness just as we all are. That's somewhat hard for me to swallow, thinking that my precious little bundle has a sin nature, will be willfully disobedient, will choose at times wrong over right, will hurt feelings, will ignore truth and sometimes just be plain old bad. 
But it's also somewhat freeing to realize. Knowing that because of our sin, because of our free-will to choose, we are separated from God apart from accepting and receiving his free gift of salvation through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. That's our only "protection", our only "preservation", our only hope. I can't clean my house, my car, mySELF enough to justify and rectify anything. And I can't do it for Willow either. I can guide her, teach her, pray for her and encourage her, but it's her choice, her relationship to accept and develop,  just like mine is.
And we just might do it covered in dirt and germs :-)

Okay, I'm going to post a bunch of random pictures from over the past week or so, and then I'll actually write something! 
#1. Justin making a one-of-a-kind onesie for Willow at our baby shower.
#2. Opening a gift someone had mailed to the shower from far away. So special.
#3. Some of the folks at our co-ed shower thrown by John and Mena. Everyone made personalized onesies for Willow.... a very cool idea. She's got a HUGE variety to last through babyhood!
#4. Little pink laundry! I've started washing and putting away clothes....it's so strange to see them in my house!
#5. I made a supply of cloth baby wipes to go with my cloth diapering adventure. Choosing the fabric was the hard part; so many precious patterns. I should have a supply to last through diapering years, all for less than $6!

So those are just a few of the things we've been doing this past week, mixed in with several nights of insomnia and Wonder Years marathons. It's been great to be off from work and I've been able to get a lot of "piddling" accomplished (is piddling an accomplishment?) while balancing resting and nesting. Since I've had this stretch of sleepless nights, I've been so grateful not to have to go to work and be responsible for someone's well-being!  I've paid close attention to my body and often after a morning of being busy, I have pretty bad headaches, eye pressure, and my brain goes to mush and I'm just pooped. To have the freedom to say "I'm done" and go put my feet up is great.
It's been VERY hot here the past week, and looking at the forecast we should have a break and FALL might be coming to town! I'm so excited and ready to embrace it...I'll probably celebrate with a pumpkin by my door and walnut, chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. They are SO yummy and make the house smell delicious. And I only gained 1 lb between my last two Dr. appointments, so I feel entitled! 

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's time...

(31 wk preg. pic)

I just got home from my 32 week OB apt. Everything is fine, we are both healthy and right on track...YAY!
But, my Dr. said she'd like me to go off of work now, since I've had some intermittent episodes of high blood pressure, severe headaches, blurry vision and really intense lower pelvic pain. All of these symptoms are exacerbated during my 12 hour shift and honestly I dread going each time I have to work.... they are just really long, physical, anxiety filled days. I told her I'd like to finish out this work week and turn in my notice starting Sept 22nd and she was fine with that.
I'm relieved to have her "permission" and recommendation to stop working, but also know the next 8 weeks will be really long without work to break them up and mark them off! Also, I feel a bit anxious about having that much time alone and feeling a bit on the "blah" side, physically and emotionally. Please pray that this will be a really healthy time for me (and Willow!) and that it will be exactly what God intends and wants it to be for us. 
I still have a handful of projects to get done before she arrives and definitely want to accomplish them with frugality and timeliness. I have the ambition of "going more green", especially in our diet with a new little person to grow and nurture, so this will be a great gift of time to do some investigation and make changes..... if Justin can stomach them ;-) 
I'll keep you posted.... now I have no excuse not to keep this updated and fresh!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


            I came to a bit of a halt in my nursery decorating over the past few weeks. This is where it stands right now. I've pickled plain frames pink to put family photos in to hang in a pattern on one of the walls.  I did finish my butterfly-crystal mobile..... it's quite magical with the midday sun and breeze fluttering the butterflies and mirrors. If she doesn't watch it, I sure will!

But, as I said, I kind of took a pause on the decorating and spent some time refocusing and thinking. I realized that, similar to planning a wedding, it's easy to get caught up in the color scheme and registering for those perfect necessities and getting excited about family coming, and the MAIN event becomes overshadowed. It hit me......hard.... on the way home from work the other night the reality and magnitude of all of this. I was tired and my body hurt and Willow was in a very uncomfortable position with little feet poking my ribs as I was driving. I started patting my side and talking to her and she shifted a little and it struck me that "Oh my, I'm really the mommy". Am I ready, have I prepared myself, have We prepared ourselves to be parents, what are we missing, what should we be doing, thinking, reading, praying to get ready????? I thought back to our wedding planning time and remembered experiencing very similar feelings and how I had pulled back from all the wedding details and planning specifics, retreated into my room and asked God to show me, work on me, prepare me for this new role. It was a sweet time and I'm so thankful He stopped me in my tracks and captured my attention from the distractions back to the MAIN thing.
So I've been reclusive a bit lately, refocusing and soaking in the reality of this life changing event that I know I couldn't possibly be fully prepared for. I've been thinking about what I hope for Willow, what do I want for her, from me more than anything. I pray for the obvious things of wonderful health, a sharp, inquisitive mind, a kind, generous heart towards others. I wouldn't complain about an excellent little athlete or super star student or socially skilled, charming child. But above all, I want her to love the Lord. I beg for, cry for her to have an insatiable hunger for Jesus, to want to know Him and love Him so much more than she does me. To be content and comforted by learning about Him and His truths, to want to spend time alone with Him. 
My sister recently told us about Max, her four year old, coming into the living room and proclaiming "Mom, lets praise God. You don't have to close your eyes, you just tell Him." Right then and there, they praised God. It brings tears to my eyes to think of Max's little heart desiring that, and acting on it at that instant. Oh, that's so what I long and hope for our little Willow, that she just has to praise God because she can't stand not too. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trains a comin'...

The past week has been really good for me. As I've entered into the third trimester (shout for joy!), my thoughts and energies have begun to shift. When I first learned I was pregnant, I immediately began thinking of labor....how I wanted to do it and how to prepare myself. I quickly put that out of my mind because I had 9 whole months to think about it and frankly, it's just not as fun to ponder as baby names and nursery decorations. But now it's starting to stare me in the face from the not to distant future and I'm picking up that pebble again. While in my head and deepest hearts desire I imagine a natural birth, I am fully able to admit that I'm not nearly brave enough to commit to that 100% and had better not set myself up for disappointment.  As my Mom so eloquently has said about her own laboring realizations, "this trains a comin' and there's no stopping it"..... and I just might need some medicinal assistance with that train. To explore my options, I went to the library and found a Lamaze and the basics of labor DVD. It was actually really helpful and gave me a little boost of confidence while remaining very practical and honest that labor is just going to be plain old hard, uncomfortable work. I was so gung-ho, I accidentally woke Justin up from a nap with my practice breathing... from the look on his face, I think he thought I was really going into labor. I have a feeling he'll need some relaxation techniques more than I will :-)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So, I  said I was going to attempt to paint a tree on the big blank wall in Willow's room, for the purpose of "hanging" pictures off the branches like a family tree. This was my creative, super crafty friend Katie's idea. One small problem is that, while I may be creative in my own right, I am not terribly efficient or effective at carrying out crafty projects. And basically I strongly dislike painting, even very small areas that would take most people 1-2 hours to accomplish. That and the fact that I am also terribly spatially challenged. While I have a fabulous image of the said tree in my head and was even able to translate it onto paper (although somewhat wonky), getting it onto the wall in a non-disfigured fashion is another story. SO, I had already bought these fabulous wall art stickers from Ikea that I was planning on using in her room. I've been slapping them up today and think that they just might suffice, releasing me from the daunting task of painting a stick figure tree on the wall. One problemo....my walls are textured and silly stickers stick best to flat, so there's a little peelage going on around the edges, but I am sure I can remedy that with some type of crafty purchase. That or cry and forget about my nursery tree fantasy. No worries, I'll keep you posted on the final outcome.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

shhh....sneak peak

I had an ultrasound and fetal echo today. At my regularly scheduled appointment last week, my Dr. heard some irregularities in Willow's heartbeat (PAC's -premature atrial contractions to be exact). She said this is very common in pregnancy and even after birth for babies, but she wanted to follow up with a fetal echo just to be sure. Long story short, all is perfectly perfect with her little heart and every other part of her. We're so thankful for such a healthy pregnancy and baby so far. The bonus of today is that the Dr. doing the ultrasound took this 3D image for me to take home. Isn't that just amazing....she had no idea she was being watched in her little world, sleeping away all tucked in tight and cozy. I'm so excited and filled with anticipation to see who she looks like more, whose eyes and nose she favors the most, will she have curly or straight hair, Justin's skinny feet or my wide ones? But I am pretty sure she'll be a little brown baby! 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Full Heart

Today was such a wonderful day, although I'm feeling pretty tired around the edges now. During worship this morning at church, I was really moved by the songs and the supplication they offered to the Lord. I don't know if it's being pregnant or just that I am filled to the brim with different emotions at present, but the words caught in my throat and I felt my eyes beginning to puddle. Since we've been married, I've loved standing beside Justin during church, putting my hand on his back and feeling the vibration of his voice as he sings. It's a treasure to worship with loved ones. Apparently Willow was moved today too, as she was wiggling and kicking during all the songs...so much that I could see feet and elbows moving about my belly! It sent my mind to Psalm 139 as I marveled at how at that very moment, as we stood together as husband and wife worshiping, she was being "knit together" in my womb, known by the Holy Spirit. It's almost too much to contain.

After church and lunch, we stopped by the Fort McArthur base pool to swim. I've had a lot of leg and joint discomfort lately, probably from doing 12 hour shifts mostly standing, and I thought the water would be relieving. It was delicious! Not to mention the liberation of walking around the pool in a bathing suit with my belly poking out, feeling very round and pudgy and not feeling one bit apologetic for it! I mean, who's going to be critical of a pregnant lady trying to get a little exercise? 
So I'm off to savor my beautiful organic cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls and chiffonades of basil fresh off my plant in the window, partnered with a warm piece of crusty baguette :-) 

Life is delicious...