Monday, December 28, 2009

Hannah Counting

She can easily count to 10 now... nothing past that. :)

video

Take care,

Terra

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bible Story Mixups

This morning, at breakfast, I thought I'd take the opportunity to teach Hannah about the true reason for Christmas. First, I decided to make it clear why we needed a Savior in the first place. I asked her if she knew how sometimes she did things that were bad. Of course she said yes. Then she asked, "Mommy does bad?" And I agreed. We said that Daddy and even Benjmain do things that are bad. Because we are bad, we deserve punishment - even death. But God loves us SO much that He sent His son, Jesus, as a baby to our world. Jesus would later die and take the punishment we deserve on Himself. She kept nodding and saying "yeah" as if she was really following. I thought I'd quiz her...

Mommy: So what was the baby's name?
Hannah: Isaac!
Mommy: ummmm....no. That was a different Bible story. It was baby Jesus. And who's son is baby Jesus, Hannah?
Hannah: *proudly* All things!
Mommy: What? (oh yeah... when I ask her 'What else did God make?' that's the answer)... Jesus is God's son, Hannah.
Hannah: Yeah... in the BIG ark!

I just died laughing. It's awesome to hear her soaking up all these truths about the Bible... funny of course that she doesn't know who/where/what. What a joy!

Christmas pictures coming soon!

Take care,
Terra

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MRI and more

Good evening friends and family. I know many of you have been curious about the official MRI results. The MRI did come back normal. My doctor was a bit irritated with the MRI tech because the tech recommended doing a MRI without contrast versus with contrast (which is what my doc had ordered). Obviously I didn't know any better so I just said "okay" to the tech, I figured she knew what she was doing. So there is a small possibility I may have to get that done again (with contrast) in the new year some time if we continue to find nothing elsewhere. My doc mainly wants the MRI (with contrast) to check for the possibility of early MS.

So where do we stand now? Neurologist. Apparently there are few here in Louisville and they are not very easy to get into. My doc said that they fax all of my issues/records/tests to the neurologist and then the neurologist chooses (based on what they receive) how long it'll be before you come it. She said it could literally be months. SO... I definitely ask for prayers that the neurologist would by God's grace, show me favor and get me in sooner than later. I will say that overall, I've had many more good days than bad days lately so that's a huge praise. I continue to trial and error different things (such as diet, activity, etc) to see if I can rule anything else out. As of today, still not sure.

My doc did say that while she doesn't yet know what's going on, she can fairly confidently say it's nothing immidiately horrible (such as something that could immediately threaten my life). At worst, it could still be the beginning stages of a long term illness (such as MS, etc).

I'll keep everyone posted as usual. Thank you for continued prayers. I've truly felt a great deal of God's grace in so many ways with this whole ordeal. Tonight, as I was playing with Hannah, I glanced up at the magnetic part of her easel where her "Leap Frog" alphabet letters were sticking. There was a random grouping of letters in the upper corner, minus the letter "u", when rearranged, it spelled "journey." I though that was so neat. I'm on a journey. There are hills, valleys, curves, sun, rain, and more. But the entire journey, the good Lord is by my side reminding me to put my trust in Him. You all are my physical reminders of His love. Thank you.

Take Care,
Terra

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hannah's Memory Verses

I know it's kind of hard to understand her but I tried to repeat each thing she said so you'd understand. :) She's very average in her language skills so we're blessed to hear the Word of God coming from her heart at only 2 1/2. :)

video

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Real Post :)

Okay, so I've been promising a real post for ages and haven't yet given you one. The kids are down, the house is mostly clean, James is in a meeting, so I'm making this post my priority right now. :)

Where to begin on updates? Well...

For about the last two months, we've caught just about every cold and virus floating around the city of Louisville (except either of the flus, which I pray stay away from us!). We've had a nice combo of just about every symptom you could ask for...off and on. Right now, we seem to be on the upswing of our latest and I pray, pray, pray we can stay healthy for a little while.

With all the sickness, there have been many cancelled events and plans. Quite honestly, I was very sad about many of those (including our church's gift exchange and my birthday party). BUT, God continues to show grace each and every day, with each and every illness. I've been really forced to rely on Him not only for strength and energy but more importantly, joy. God's word tells us to be thankful for all things. Is my joy found in my activities? Or in the shed blood of Christ that saves my soul from Hell?

Thanksgiving was nice even though we were not able to see any family. Instead, we had a few friends/church members over for the feast. :p We were blessed by Mama Tess and Papa Ben with the turkey dinner from Meijer. Just about everything was precooked and only needed to be heated. And boy was it yummy!

In the midst of the many cancelled events, we were both able to attend a Christmas party for GFS, a company James chaplain's for. It was tons of fun. We got to dress up, eat a really yummy meal and enjoy a great comedian/juggler. I was really excited I still made it to that. We are thankful for a friend/babysitter who was willing to watch the kids knowing there was a possibility she could get sick from them. By God's grace, she didn't.

Okay...if I keep going, this will be WAY too long. I'll try to be a little better about this again. :) Oh...and I've uploaded some pictures on Flickr if you want to see them!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesandterra/

Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coming soon...

I know, I know, it's been forever since I've had a real post. We've bounced sickness back and forth for the past month and a half. Nothing serious, just obnoxious colds/coughs. Well, this week and next are both extremely busy... Lord-willing, I'll get a real post up here again soon. :) I haven't forgotten about you all!!!

Until then...
Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Review of KidSwitch

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Now your child can say, "I did it myself"! It's so important to help our kids build self-esteem and independence. That's why these light switch extenders are perfect for children's bedrooms, plus the bathroom, of course. They attach easily, so tots can turn their lights on and...


Amazing

By Terra from KY on 11/16/2009

 

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Playful Design, Easy Use, Useful Application

Best Uses: Toddlers, Accident Prevention, Kitchen/Bathroom, Playroom, Bedrooms

Describe Yourself: Parent of Two or More Children

We have one of these in both the playroom and the downstairs bathroom. These are the 2 rooms I constantly heard my 2yr old daughter say "light on," "light on Mommy!" No more! She loves being able to do it herself and so do I. It's been great with potty training as well. It was SUPER easy to install. Only cons is that it is "slightly" flimsy and a kid that was being rough might bend or break it fairly easy. Definitely worth every penny though!

(legalese)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A few new pics

There are a few new pics, videos and such on Flickr.

Click here for the latest: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesandterra/

Please also be in prayer for me. I have a really bad sinus infection. Pray I trust the Lord in the meantime and lean on Him for strength and comfort. I praise Him for antibiotics and pain killers. :)

Take care,
Terra

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dadadada?

Okay... so here's the post from when Hannah started the "dadadada" talking.... http://jamesandterra.blogspot.com/2008/01/dadadadada.html
And here's Benjamin:

video

Take care,

Terra

Thursday, November 5, 2009

He's finally rolling back to front!

video

When I was just starting to wonder if he'd ever roll back to front, he finally got it today! He's been sitting for a couple of weeks now so I figured he'd be rolling by now. Finally!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Cuteness


We went around the neighborhood with the kids. Hannah would say "Chalk o Cheet" if she'd say anything at all...then "thank you." When we arrived home and were walking up the driveway, she said her "purse" (aka candy bag) was heavy and asked me to carry it in. Then she was all excited about the "chocka" inside. Fun stuff.

Click on the picture below to see more pics:

Take care!

Terra

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Pics!

So I uploaded some new pics to Flickr. For some strange reason, they are WAY out of order... but here you go anyway:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesandterra/

Take care,
Terra

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Girl Bed!

Hannah has "moved" effortlessly to her big girl bed - aka, her crib as a toddler bed. She was very excited about it too! My sweet girl is getting big so fast!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GAD?

Friends and family, thank you again for your continued prayers in the area of my health. I had another doctor's appt this morning and here is the latest...

First, many of you know I've continued to deal with pretty heavy dizziness. Again, the doc could not see anything through the otoscope but the tympanogram continued to be abnormal, showing remaining pressure/fluid in my ears (more in the right one). She's referred me to an ENT to see if I have anything to worry about going on there or simply allergy related issues that aren't showing many symptoms otherwise. She also wants me to increase my fluid intake tremendously as I do a really poor job in that currently.

As far as the other things... and my lab tests... as the doctor expected, everything came back negative. That means most major medical issues have been ruled out- praise the Lord. So...where do we go from here? Honestly, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say what she thinks the issue may be... generalized anxiety disorder. This can lead to a great majority of the physical symptoms I've been experiencing. Why is that embarrassing? I feel like it's something I should just be able to "deal with" and "get over." After all, I know the Lord is sovereign, good, wise, and my ultimate rest.... why is this affecting me so? The doctor has no immediate desire to put me on meds (which is a good thing in my opinion), she'd rather I work on the lifestyle/behavioral changes first and see what progress I can make. She told me I am going to have to slow down (both physically and activity-wise). Along with that, I'll add that I will most definitely be seeking the Lord's leading in this area. I believe that at least in part, anxiety is a sin of distrust in the Lord. Pray that I seek His leading in this area and that my sweet husband, amazing friends and family, and church body can be the encouragement and accountibility I need.

Thank you all so much for everything. I'll keep you all posted on any issues with the ENT. In the meantime, I'm back on Zyrtec-D to help with the dizzy issues.

Take Care,

Terra

Monday, October 19, 2009

Invisible Mother......

I have no idea who the author is but a friend forwarded this to me by email and I thought it was encouraging... To all the mommies out there:

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store..

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England.
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feelingpretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To My Dear Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam; He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it..' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right; And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Benjamin Upright

So he's spending a bit more time upright these days. Enjoy this short video.
video
Take care!
Terra

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Health Updates

Hello everyone! I pray you're doing well today. Many of you have been asking about my tests and I wanted to update you on the latest.

My doctor was on vacation this week but the other doctor in the office called me. As I expected, most of the tests came back completely normal (things like iron-levels, thyroid, etc). The test that would give a better idea of whether or not I was battling Lupus came back borderline. However, the doctor told me that borderline was not necessarily something to get worried about. He also said judging by some other test I had, he would highly doubt Lupus was the issue. So that's the good thing. The not-so-good thing, it's still a bit inconclusive. My doc is back in the office today so I called to see what she wanted to do next. They had me schedule a follow-up visit with her this coming Tuesday afternoon. I'm not sure if she will order more tests or what she plans to do. I'll keep you all posted whenever I know anything further.

Thank you again for your love and prayers. By God's grace, this last week has been a really good week for me physically. Thank you!
Take Care,
Terra

Monday, October 5, 2009

The family


The family, originally uploaded by Jamesandterra.

We had a wonderful time celebrating the marriage of our friends Duncan and Stephanie Crosby. That being said, here's our latest family picture!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Update on Health Concerns

As many of you know, I've been suffering from several various ailments and health issues. While many of these things have worsened recently, many of them I've struggled with for years, just to a lesser extent. Last summer I had multiple tests to determine the cause of my ailments. The doctor was unable to come to a diagnosis. This morning I had another doctor's appointment (with a new doc). She was amazing and listened very well. She has ordered many more (and specific) tests than were done last summer. The good news is that my dizziness is likely caused only by fluid buildup in my ears. I'm being put on Zyrtec-D to deal with that. Based on my issues, she has reason to believe I'm struggling with either Lupus and/or Fibromyalgia. I should have some basic results within 10 days. Depending on the results, I may or may not have to have more testing to confirm the diagnosis. You may notice that I've linked resource webpages to both of the issues above. If you're interested in reading more about them, feel free to click on those links.

That being said, I'm not dying. :) Well, in a sense, we're all dying but you know what I mean. While both issues can potentially have a severity in manifestation, they do not imply that there will be. 85-90% of people living with Lupus, as long as they follow doctor's orders and treatment, can expect to live a normal lifespan. This is much different than in years past.

How am I taking all of this in? Well, honestly, I've been preparing myself for this potential diagnosis all week. Some moments have been stronger than others. Some days I've felt physically horrible, other days I've felt almost normal. The Lord is my Rock. Isaiah 41:10 says, "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." I've been singing these verses for the last few days and they have truly been a comfort. I must admit, I am afraid of how this will effect my life. There is no cure for either of these issues. Treatment is simply done to control and deal with the symptoms. That frightens me. And yet I fully trust the Lord is good. If this is to be my thorn, so be it. Praise be to God for His ways and thoughts are higher than my own. Whatever brings Him greater glory is what I pray for in this life. And if that's Lupus or Fibromyalgia...so be it. Pray that I continue to hold that mindset during the harder times.

I want to say thank you to all of my friends and family. You all have been so thoughtful, supportive, and prayerful. Please continue to be a friend in those ways. I cannot tell you what it means to me to know how many people are praying for and loving on my family and I.

If you have any further thoughts/questions/comments, feel free to let me know. In the meantime, I'll be sure to update with test results as soon as I am made aware myself.

Thank you!
Take Care,

Terra

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Amazing Grace

For those of you that don't know, I've been really battling some medical issues lately. To keep this post short, my speculation (as well as a few friends of mine in the medical field) is that I may have an autoimmune disorder of some sort. Some days are harder/easier than others. These last 3 weeks have leaned on the more difficult side. That being said, I'm fighting to trust in the Lord and His perfect plan for my life. I know "he works all things for the good of those who love Him" and He's forcing me to trust in His perfect strength and not my imperfection.

Tonight, a friend of mine included me in a forward that she sent out to many friends... little did she know, it touched a special place in my heart. Enjoy it yourself here: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1785324681?bclid=1338935106&bctid=1913313052

I have my first of probably multiple doctor's appointments on Friday. I'll update everyone as I can.

Please keep me and our family in your prayers,
Terra

Thursday, September 17, 2009

March of Dimes Walk

On October 3rd, I'll be walking my second 5K with some neighborhood friends. March of Dimes is an amazing organization that supports premie, newborn and other baby medical causes here in the US. Would you consider supporting my effort? I'm only trying to raise $100. If you are willing/interested in helping, please click on the link on the right side of this page. I appreciate your help!

Thanks!
Terra

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sleepy and Kiddo Updates

Yawn.
That explains my energy level these last few months. Could it be the youngins? :)

In other news, we've decided on a paint color for the kitchen. Now I just have to buy it and my mom is going to paint it for us for our anniversary (which we celebrated on Sept. 9th). Oh...guess you want to know the color... Thanks to Sarah's suggestion, we're going with Benjamin Moore's Hawthorne Yellow. Whoo hoo!

Benjamin had his 4mo well check up last week. He's gone down on the growth charts a tad but he's still a big boy! Weighing in at 15lbs and 25 inches long, he's 55th on both charts. His head is 75th. Hey...that's smaller than Hannah's 95th noggin! Benjamin continues to get quite the personality. He LOVES to laugh and I often hear him laughing to himself in his bed. Seriously, he laughs at just about anything. Our friend Ruth always said he's be a joker (after his start/stop labor drama)... maybe he will be!

Hannah's vocabulary is finally exploding. She is seriously saying SO many new words every single day. She's interested in repeating (or trying) everything we say. Of course that means we must really pay attention to our words and their uses even more. She's getting over another ear infection but the doc still wants to hold off on tubes at this point (and so do we!). She's also turning into a better eater. Though I'd still label her as picky...she's getting much better at trying new foods and at least abiding by the 1 bite rule (1 bite and then she doesn't have to eat any more of that food if she doesn't like it; she is required to taste it). OH and potty-training is going FABULOUS! I didn't know if I'd ever say that! She's more or less completely day-trained at home. Rarely do we have an accident. Now the real test is out in public. Baby steps here. She's only 27mo old... I'm not pushing it too fast.

Well... I guess that's the update for now. Until next time...
Terra

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mommy-Daughter Picnic

Two Sundays ago, we had some AMAZING weather here in Louisville. With James at work and Benjamin sleeping, Hannah and I had a picnic in the front yard. Yes, we were on a beach towel enjoying the day and ending the meal with Kit-Kats. It was very enjoyable. Click the link below to see pictures in addition to the video:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesandterra/sets/72157622179482375/


Monday, September 7, 2009

Kitchen color?

Wow! I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted! I'll try to get some new stuff up here soon.

In the meantime...any ideas on a color to paint the kitchen? I want yellow... James wants red... Where's that compromise? Not orange...we already have an orange bathroom! ;)

Take care!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today's Funny Picture

If you know what she's holding...you'll know why this is a funny picture. :)

"Using" Mommy's pump

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Random Thoughts

A few totally random and unrelated thoughts:

I tried to mow the lawn tonight because James works a crazy week. About 1/4 of the way through, the lawnmower stopped and I couldn't restart it. Lovely. I'll try again tomorrow.

I'm LOVING Yoga. I'm also getting nice and sore as I've just started "fast" walking 3 days a week with my friend Jessica here in the neighborhood. It's refreshing and yet tiring all at the same time. Especially at 6am.

I'm taking an Intro to Biblical Counseling class this fall. It's being offered at our church but is a seminary level class so I'm pretty excited about it. My mom always says I love learning and it's totally true. I'm an information fiend. Pray that I don't just get more "info" but that it can be used in great ways for the kingdom of God and the glory of Christ. It'll be on Friday mornings for 9 weeks.

We're going to the Newport Aquarium on Friday....looking forward to family time.

In two weeks we're visiting my friend Amy in Ohio. It's been too long and I miss her! Should be some nice downtime.

In three weeks, we're celebrating our 3yr anniversary. I can't believe it's already been three years! We're hoping to celebrate with a day of fun at either King's Island or Holiday World while my mom takes care of the kiddos.

Well, I guess that's enough randomness for now!

Until next time...
Terra

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Videos of Hannah

So a few days ago I posted some videos of Benjamin. I thought it would be Hannah's turn. In the first one, she teaches us about colors. In the second one, she labels family members and really expresses her sadness over her Auntie Natalie's move to Hawaii!






Take care,
Terra

She put these on herself


She put these on herself, originally uploaded by Jamesandterra.

I was impressed!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Busy Week

I haven't been writing much but I've been trying to keep everyone up to date with pictures and videos at least. I hope that's encouraging! ;)

This week is going to be super busy for James. He's literally going to be working just about non-stop from now until Friday. He has several meetings for his chaplaincy on top of his normal 40hr work week at Meijer. Then we're going to have some family time at the Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati. Please, please pray for strength and energy there.

Hannah and I had a cold this past weekend/week. It was no fun but we're doing great now. This morning, Benjamin woke up with a cough. I'm guessing he's now getting what we already had. Pray for quick healing for his little body (he's 3 1/2 months old now).

I've been doing yoga pretty much daily at home for the past week now. I never knew how amazing yoga could be! Seriously... I've felt more rejuvenated and had WAY less back pain then I do in a typical week. I'm so grateful to my friend Leigh-Anna for introducing me to it at the Y first! It means early mornings (about 6am) but it's totally worth it.

After reading up on some posts from my friend Courtney Bell's blog (see right side of this page for link), I was encouraged to start a weekly cleaning rotation. Each day the focus is on a different room and then there are certain things I do daily. Then I've also created a daily schedule to help me plan Hannah and Benjamin's day. This schedule is loose in the sense of activities but very specific in mealtimes and naptimes for example. Different things work for different people but so far, I've found that taking a little time to set these up has given me a great deal of EXTRA time to do things day to day. Oh..and a MUCH cleaner home! If you'd like to see my files, just leave me a message with your email address (if I don't already have it) and I'd be happy to send them.

Okay...so that's life in the Santos' home for now.

Until next time...
Terra

Friday, August 7, 2009

Random Thoughts

Today Hannah wrapped a small ball of Play-Doh in a napkin, said "It's cold," and asked to microwave it. Wow.

In other news, I attempted to take both of the kids to the YMCA's waterpark today. That was just entertaining. Benjamin was being happy but he's only 3 months old and has to be carried around. Hannah was dying to go into deeper water or on the slides but I couldn't help her sufficiently enough carrying Benjamin. After about 30 minutes of trying, I decided we'd simply have to come another day. And as you could imagine, Hannah was really not happy about that.

Things around here have been busy but good overall. We joined the YMCA ("Y") last month and I know I've personally really enjoyed it. I've been taking Yoga and Spinning (aka Cycling) with my friend Leigh-Anna. I never realized just how hard yoga can be! I expected Spinning to be hard so that was no surprise.

Our church has launched a new campus in the St. Matthews area. That has been fun and exciting. The public launch will be this Sunday and I'm looking forward to it.

I've been limiting my online time lately (as you can probably tell) and hope to do even better. I'll try to get some new pictures on here later though. I just need to upload them.

Until next time...
Terra

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

RIP Memaw 7/25/09

As usual, it's been a while since I've blogged. The biggest thing that's happened lately is the loss of my Memaw. She passed away this past Saturday from pancreatic cancer. This picture was taken just over a month ago, the last time I would see her living.

The funeral was Monday. It was sad as it should be and yet encouraging as well. The pastor put a great emphasis on the fact that one day, all believers in Christ will be reunited with their loved ones. What a blessing it is to know the Lord!

I got to see several family members I haven't seen in a while. My cousin Tiffany, my aunt Tammy and uncle Bob were there. I haven't seen them in about 2 years. Then there were lots of other friends and family as well. We all received individual letters my grandmother had written us before she died. Some of those were pretty entertaining.

Overall, though the occasion was sad, the time together was good. James was able to get his work days rescheduled so that he could go with us. It's been a really long time since he's been able to visit with us. We made it safely back to Louisville and are finally getting caught back up.

My Memaw was 72 and excited about seeing her Maker. I know, because she said so!

In Christ,
Terra

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Enjoying Our Children

So I haven't written for a while again but with very good reason - I'm enjoying our kiddos! We had a wonderful vacation in Florida (see pics from last post). We rested, enjoyed family, went shopping and ate LOTS of food! Hannah and Benjamin were slightly out of sorts while we were there just being at a different place. Hannah, in particular, had many discipline issues. However, since we returned home and got back into the swing of things, the kids have done SO well!

I feel like I'm finally seeing some fruit in the tons and tons of discipline Hannah has had to go through. She has been such a joy this week! Now don't get me wrong, she definitely still has a few issues each day but in the grand scheme of things, she's doing great. She is doing a much better job of listening/obeying the first time with a happy heart. She's helping as much as she can (often on her own initiative) with things like throwing away trash, helping empty the dishwasher, "folding" laundry and picking up her toys. Potty-training has taken a little bit of a back step but I'm okay with that for now. We're both much happier at this point. ;)

Benjamin is really showing his personality. He's such a laid back baby and loves to smile. He's a hungry little guy though, growing super fast! At his two month checkup, he weighed 12lbs 7oz (70th percentile) and was 24in long (85th percentile). Though he looks more Asian than Hannah (in our opinion), he seems to have the size and hairy legs of the Caucasian. ;) He loves to coo, smile and is kind of laughing. He gets up once a night to nurse and otherwise, sleeps fairly well.

All that being said, I'm thoroughly enjoying our two babies right now. From Hannah's funny sentences ("I'm scared of bugs" & "I'm sweaty") to Benjamin's smiles, I can't help but smile myself.

In addition, I just finished a great book called "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God." If you're looking for a good read that will show you how to have more joy doing exactly what the Lord has called, it's a must. Next on my reading list: "Womanly Dominion." How's that for a title?

Until next time...
Terra

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sanctification in the Santos Home

I haven't posted much of anything detailed or deep lately. Quite honestly, I've been overwhelmed more often than not and this blog has taken the back burner. Yet by God's grace, I'm growing and learning more and more each day.

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the term "sanctification" as used in the title of this blog, a simple definition is presented. Basically, after becoming a Christian, sanctification is the process by which the Lord molds you more and more into His likeness through the situations you find yourself every day. A person will typically say they are being sanctified when they are going through a hardship or trial, though sanctification doesn't have to be the result of a negative situation. Does that make sense?

That being said, there has been a LOT of sanctification going on in the Santos home. Hannah recently turned two. She's changing and learning at an amazing rate all of a sudden. Her vocabulary has exploded and she spoke her first "sentence" the day before yesterday: "I scared [of] bugs." And yes...she's petrified of bugs, dogs, birds and cats... I have no idea why. It's fun to see her picking up things so quickly and starting to communicate much more clearly. Yet with the joy, there have been many struggles. She is a true drama queen and has tested me greatly this last week in particular. She is craving the attention that I've had to split between her and Benjamin and will do whatever it takes to get it. As a matter of fact, she will regularly tell me when she's doing something wrong - just so I'll pay attention to her - even though she'll be disciplined! Please don't think I'm ignoring my baby girl. I really don't think I am. But her "first-child syndrome" is stepping in and she's not happy about sharing the lime-light.

There were many days last week that I felt like crying (some of which I did). I've prayed with great passion that the Lord would give me wisdom and patience in leading, loving and disciplining her. I'm seeking out "veteran" mommies for wisdom and instruction. I'm desperately clinging to Christ as I feel like a failure so often. Yet it's all been good for my soul. When I am at the end of my rope with attitude issues...I cling to Christ. When I realize I'm not the perfect mom...I cling to Christ. When I'm exhausted and have no chance for rest... I cling to Christ.

Pray that I continue to grow as a Christian, wife, and mother. Pray that I trust the Lord's goodness in all things. Pray that our daughter will see Christ in me. Pray that I'll lead her in glorifying God in our days. As difficult as sanctification can be, I pray the Lord only continues it if it will draw me nearer to him.

Until next time...
Terra

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just Plain Cool

James' new obsession.... And he would love to be able to do it (no joke)! ;)



Something else really cool... Doesn't the Lord make our bodies totally amazing?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lots of Pictures

I've done it again... uploaded lots of pics and a couple of videos for anyone interested. Enjoy!

The link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesandterra/

Terra

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Be Glad?

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24 NIV

Oh how I've struggled to do just that these last few days! It's been a hectic few days around the Santos home. From James' busy schedule, toddler discipline issues, potty training fiascoes, four hours of almost solid crying from the baby, lack of energy and so on... I've fought to keep my sanity. As a matter of fact, I cried twice today - and I'm not ashamed to admit it. For good reason, the Lord brought the above verse into my heart just moments ago. It doesn't say, "Today was a good day, let us rejoice and be glad in it." It says, "This is the day the Lord has made..." Why the rejoicing? Because God made it. God made today. He made yesterday and the day before. He will make tomorrow. As hard as it may be...I have to fight to rejoice in each day because God has made them. Everything that happens in a given day has been sovereignly ordained by a good God. Pray that I trust in Him and His grace. As the line goes in a Steven Curtis Chapman song, "this is a moment made for worshipping." Every moment. Every tear. Every smile. Every newborn cry. Every act of disobedience from my toddler. Every moment is a moment made for worshipping. Thank you Steven.

Tonight I cling to Lamentations 3:22-23, "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (ESV)

Tomorrow is a new day.

In Christ,
Terra

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playgroup Friends

Very often I comment on the playgroup (or people from it) that the kids and I go to. Well, the picture below is a huge group shot of most of us at the park one day. There are a couple of ladies and their kids missing but this is the majority of us. This picture was taken just about a week before I gave birth to Benjamin, hence, he's not in the picture. These ladies (most of whom live in my neighborhood), have been such a blessing from the Lord and I love our weekly times together! I'm not sure how I ended up front and center but oh well!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Family Pics

These AWESOME family pictures were taken by our good friend Jessie Minnery. Click the picture below for many more!

IMG_6691a

Friday, May 22, 2009

May Pictures!

I finally uploaded a ton of new pictures taken this month. They are from several different things so they are totally random. Click the picture below to enjoy!



Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dancing in the Hail Storm

Well... not really... Here's a video of some nice golfball sized hail we got a few days ago. It sounded like it was beating the house down but no visible damage anywhere.
video
And here's a video of Hannah dancing and singing to some old school Brian McKnight. :)
video
Take care,
Terra

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Natural vs. My Epidural Childbirth

I've very purposely titled this post "My" Natural vs. "My" Epidural Childbirth, instead of simply "natural vs. epidural childbirth." Why? Well, I want it to be very clear that my experience may be different than others'. Do I have a preference between the two? Absolutely... but a healthy mom and a healthy baby are the ultimate goals. Whatever needs to happen for that to happen, is perfectly okay in my opinion. That being said, here is a bit about my experiences! ;) I'm going to go back and forth between labors/deliveries to make comparisons. Hopefully it won't be too confusing! Oh... and this will inevitably be a long post. Read as interested!

When I was pregnant with our daughter Hannah, I prepped to have a natural, non-medicated childbirth. I took classes, read books and researched the internet like crazy (as I'm a research geek). Two weeks before she was due, at my regular OB checkup, we learned that my placenta was no longer functioning as needed to support her in the womb. Her and I were both losing weight. My doctor decided an induction was medically necessary and was scheduled the very next day. I was crushed as I'd heard a Pitocin-induced labor was much more difficult than a normal one. The next morning, we arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. I was led to the bed, all of my vitals were checked, I was connected to both the contraction monitor, and the baby heart rate monitor. A blood pressure cuff was attached, an i.v. inserted and the Pitocin began.

After 6 hours of light contractions, my water broke at only 1cm and I was no longer allowed to get out of the bed. Within 30 minutes, my contractions increased considerably. Roughly, six hours later, I was only 3cm dilated yet was having contractions of duration and strength like those during the transition phase of a normal, active labor. I asked for the i.v. pain killer they had mentioned before (Stadol). Though it didn't kill the pain, it more or less made me feel like I'd had too much to drink and made me temporarily not mind as much. Within an hour, it had worn off and I was back in the same dilemma. Having dilated no further and dealing with immense pain, I broke down and requested the epidural. After receiving it, I fell asleep for three hours in pure exhaustion. When I awoke I was 8cm dilated and delivered Hannah about three hours later. It was approximately an 18hr labor from the start of the Pitocin to delivery. You can read the full details about this labor and delivery from my birth story post.

Fast forward to my pregnancy with Benjamin. About two months before he was due, I started thinking about the possibility of going natural again. I knew for certain if I was induced again, I was not even going to make the attempt. But what if I wasn't? I started questioning my friend Courtney about her experience of going natural with her 3rd child. I asked her if she'd used a doula and she had. That got me to thinking again... maybe... if I had a doula, I'd have the encouragement and support I needed to actually have the natural childbirth. Long story short, the Lord put me in contact with Betsy, a doula and fellow member of my church! We met once before labor to discuss expectations and desires. Afterwards, we kept in contact by email.

After several false "starts" to labor, the real thing finally began around midnight, five days before my due date. You can read all about the details on my recent birth story post to reduce repetition. This labor and delivery was SO different from the last!

One huge difference was that my water did not break until Benjamin's head literally began to crown. Having your bag of waters in tact cushions the contractions. Some people then ask if it hurt? Absolutely! Especially at the end, I felt like I was going to die! ;) Yet, I cannot even imagine how much more it would have hurt without my water in tact!

After my epidural with Hannah, my lower body/legs were numb for around 12hrs. I couldn't get out of the bed or anything by myself. I had to use a bed pan (no fun) and get help to even move my legs in the bed. With Benjamin, I was able to go to the restroom on my own two feet less than an hour after I delivered him!

I went in to the hospital with Hannah after a full night's sleep. Yet after giving birth to her and spending about 45min-1hr with her and friends, I passed out again for about five hours. I was completely wiped out. After giving birth to Benjamin and working only on 3hrs of sleep, I was on a tremendous adrenaline rush. I did not sleep until 10hrs later! Though I felt and worked hard through my labor and delivery with him, I truly felt great afterwards.

Confined to the bed after my water broke with Hannah, I believe was one of the greatest reasons my labor progressed so slowly. Given, the fact that I was induced and it was my first baby were definitely factors, I'm sure. With Benjamin, after being on the monitors for the first 30 minutes and all being well, I was allowed to get out of bed and move around. At the end of my labor with him, when I was finally allowed to get up, about 20 minutes later, my water broke and I delivered! It was much more painful to deal with the contractions laying on my back in that bed. Swaying side to side, leaning over the bed was my favorite position in handling my contractions.

When it came time to push with Hannah, I had to be coached on how to breath and when to push. Because of the epidural, I could feel the contractions but not the pain or pelvic pressure. With Benjamin, they did have to tell me to slow down my breathing. Yet my body literally told me when to push. As a matter of fact, the nurses were having to tell me not to push because the doctors weren't in the room yet. I thought they were crazy because I didn't feel like I could not push. My body was doing a thing of it's own! As he crowned, I felt the "ring of fire" that you may or may not have heard about. That in and of itself gave me reason to get him out! Yet he came so fast, it didn't last long. ;)

After coming home from the hospital with Hannah, I was incredibly sore for several weeks. I had one stitch and a ton of lower pelvic pressure whenever I stood for more than five minutes. The very day I came home from the hospital with Benjamin, we went to a soccer game. :) I barely felt like I'd given birth just two days before! I've felt almost completely normal since! Given, I had no stitches this time and my body may still have been a little more prepared since I'd given birth previously. Yet even my energy level has been way above and beyond that with Hannah.

Overall, my natural childbirth was SO incredibly rewarding. I feel like I climbed an enormous mountain and lived to tell about it! The recovery was way faster than with my epidural childbirth. The cost will be considerably less because I won't have to pay for the anesthesiologist or the epi. It is still an amazing feeling to know that the good Lord made our bodies to be able to give birth. Sometimes people act like it's a foreign concept. If the Lord blesses us with more children (and I pray He does), I will most definitely attempt another natural childbirth with the help of my new friend and doula, Betsy. At the same time, if medical reasons necessitate something else, I will do whatever is best for me and our baby.

I hope this post has been encouraging, informative and helpful - especially to anyone contemplating a natural childbirth! If you've read this far - bless you! ;)

Take care,
Terra

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still Here!

Just wanted to jot a quick note to let you know all is well in the Santos home. I haven't taken the time to blog lately as I adjust to being a mama of 2 and getting less sleep. I'll try to update again soon though!

Take care,
Terra

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Week 39: The Birth Story!

I can tell you in advance that this will be a long post so prep yourself and read as interested! ;)

Monday evening/Tuesday morning around midnight, I started having contractions. Considering I'd had several occasions where I thought I was in labor, and wasn't, I decided to lay in bed and see what happened. By 1:30am, the contractions were getting a bit stronger and starting to hurt. I decided it was likely true labor and James and I got out of bed to pack and prepare.

From 3am to about 4:30, my contractions were consistently between 4-6 minutes apart and around 1 min or so in length. I finally called the OB and she told me to go on in to the hospital. Excitedly, we packed everything and everyone in the car. We called our parents, our doula (Betsy) and our friend Lindsey (who wanted to experience the labor/birth). We dropped Hannah off at James' sister's apartment and then arrived at the hospital around 5:30am. I was strapped up to the monitors for about 45 minutes and then told if everything looked good, I could detach myself.

In total weirdness, my contractions suddenly started to slow and decrease in intensity. I was only dilated 3 cm and about 70% effaced. Frustration and irritation soon set in. My 4-6 min contractions quickly became 8-10 min and not nearly as painful. After 3 hours of being at the hospital, I had not dilated or effaced any further then when I came in. The doctor and nurses were very kind and patient though. The doctor gave us the option of staying or going home. Considering she knew my desire to have a natural childbirth, she recommended that I'd be more comfortable elsewhere so that too many interventions were not used. We decided she was right and left at about 10am. But right before we left, James suggested praying for us. He prayed particularly that my contractions would regain their momentum and labor would pick back up. We put our trust in the Lord and left.

Almost as soon as we did leave the hospital, my contractions jump started! We were all hungry at that point in time so we went to eat breakfast at Panera. It was one of the yummiest breakfasts ever! ;) While eating my spinach and artichoke souffle', yogurt with granola and orange juice, the contractions continued to increase and strengthen. I ducked into the bathroom about 4 or 5 times to have the contractions so it wasn't dramatic in the restaurant. After leaving Panera, we went to James' sister's apartment. She lives incredibly close to the hospital so we thought it'd be better than driving all the way home (which is about 20-25min from the hosp.). By this point, my contractions were about 3 minutes apart. Yet we didn't go straight to the hospital because we were determined we would not be sent home again. My contractions continued at roughly 3 minutes apart for about 1 1/2 hours. At one point, I felt the need to "bear down" and we decided it was time to make a quick trip back to the hospital.

In the 5 minute drive back, the walk inside, and back up to Labor and Delivery, I had 3 more contractions. And by this point, they were no joke contractions! After giving my name and insurance information again, another contraction took over and I nearly doubled over into the floor. Several nurses came running and immediately got me into a LD room. After changing into the gown and getting back on the monitors, I was checked and nearly 7 cm dilated. This was amazing considering I was only 3cm just 2 hours earlier! After 30 minutes on the monitors, I was given permission to get up and move around.

I took position standing at the side of the bed since I'd dealt with most of my contractions leaning/swaying bent over the bedside. I'd move around for about 30-45 seconds or so until the next contraction began. With my sweet husband and awesome doula's help, I made it through each contraction one moment at a time. With every single contraction I'd think, "I can't do this," but then the contraction would end and I'd get renewed strength. After only 15 minutes or so of moving and standing, my water abruptly broke and I felt the immediate need to push. The nurses were called back into the room and had to help me into the bed as I didn't feel I could move at all! One nurse went to check my dilation again and suddenly screamed something like, "There's the head! I need a doctor in here! Get me a doctor!" Sure enough... Benjamin was coming! The nurse was literally pushing his head back towards me to keep him from coming out. Several nurses frantically got gloved, yelled for some sort of table and continued yelling for a doctor. Within minutes, two doctors were in the room: my primary OB (who just happened to be walking the hallway) and the OB on call. With two or three pushes, Benjamin joined the outside world!

It was an amazing labor and delivery in SO many ways! First, I was able to go natural (no epidural or pain meds), which was something I really wanted to do. Second, my water did not break until the very end, whereas with Hannah, it broke at 1cm. Third, my support was awesome. James, Betsy and Lindsey were all great! Fourth, I had a wonderfully supportive nurse and great doctors. Fifth, though we were sent away that morning, my labor picked back up at an incredible speed. From the start of contractions until delivery was only 13 hours. And of that, only about 4 were active, heavy-duty labor. Sixth, I had no lacerations from the delivery. Seventh, my recovery has been super fast. I feel SO good to have just had a child. I seriously feel 100x better then I did right after having Hannah. Eighth, the Lord blessed us, plain and simple. I was healthy. Benjamin was healthy (his APGARs were 9, then 10). Everything went nearly as smooth as it could go! We were discharged from the hospital in just under 48 hours. Benjamin only had a slight case of jaundice, so no need for phototherapy (as with Hannah). As a matter of fact, in only 3 days of life, he's already back to his birth weight!

I do plan to write a separate post on my experience of natural childbirth. This one is long enough I think. ;) So if you're interested in that, stay tuned. We praise the Lord for an amazing labor, delivery, and childbirth. Thank you ALL for your prayers, encouragements and love!

In Christ,
Terra

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Benjamin James Santos is here!

At 1:06pm this afternoon, Benjamin James Santos finally graced us with his presence! Weighing in at 6lbs 8oz and 19 1/2 inches long, he's doing great! Here is one quick picture to whet your appetite. I'll post more as we take more and get the labor/delivery story up soon!


Thank you all for your prayers!!! This delivery was so blessed by the Lord!


In Christ,

Terra Santos

Saturday, April 25, 2009

One day shy of 39 weeks: Frustration

Frustration: that could explain my attitude this morning. I pray the Lord gives me grace and patience that I desperately need right now.

At about 10pm last night, I started getting regular contractions. They were increasing in strength and coming between 8-10 minutes apart. I tried falling asleep (with no luck)and about 1 am, I decided I must be in true labor and might as well get ready. I showered, finished packing, James cleaned around the house and I played around on the internet a little to pass the time. At about 3am, I decided to sit down and actually time the contractions again as I'd been ignoring them for a bit. By 3:30 or so, they completely stopped!!! Contractions weren't the only sign that made me believe I was in labor. I had a great increase in pelvic pressure that left me hardly able to walk. The other sign will remain undescribed. SO... all that being said, I got about 4 hours of sleep last night and for no good reason. :(

Benjamin is still moving around like a little jitterbug... just not moving out yet. One day...

Take care,
Terra

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Week 38: Nearing the End?

That's the question... AM I nearing the end of this pregnancy? I just got home from my weekly OB visit and it was a semi-exciting one. First, I've gained the weight back that I lost last week so that was good. My BP was great (100/71). As I write this, I'm 38 weeks, 4 days pregnant. You may recall that last week, nothing had changed with my progress. I've continued to have tons of contractions this week, thinking labor was near on several occasions, only to then have nothing happen. Well, apparently the contractions are actually doing something again. Today she said I was almost 3 cm dilated, 60% effaced and at a -1 station. Definitely more exciting news than last week. I know this still doesn't mean labor is necessarily right around the corner... but it does excite me that the contractions are actually doing something! She mentioned the possibility of stripping my membranes, if I was interested. I've heard that it was painful and she said it was uncomfortable but not much different than the exam itself. I then asked her what would be the chance that it would cause my water to break sooner than later as a result. She said it would probably increase it. I told her I was hoping to keep my water as long as possible as I remember how much stronger the contractions got with Hannah once it broke. She totally understood and said in that case, she wouldn't recommend the membrane stripping. Glad that was an easy decision. If this baby doesn't come in the next week... I may reconsider... we'll see.

Another thing that was encouraging was that Benjamin was still head down. In the past week, he's been moving around like crazy and I was a bit anxious that he may no longer be head down. She estimated (by feel) that he was probably right around 6 lbs, give or take.

We finished off a semi-busy week this week and now there is very little scheduled for the next several. I'm very excited about that. I got to visit my friend Sarah in the hospital yesterday after she delivered little Maggie. I'll officially be the last of the 4 of us girls to have her baby. Oh well! ;)

Well, I know this was kind of short compared to usual but Hannah is down for a nap and I'm going to try to sneak one in as well. Please continue to pray for us!

Take care...
Terra

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My friend Courtney's Delivery

This is too funny and happened last Sunday night. You have to read it for a good laugh... ;)

http://thebells.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/the-birth-story/

Take care,
Terra

Week 37: The Wait Continues

I was hoping to skip this week's journal and go straight into a Labor & Delivery journal - so much for that! ;) Well, here's the scoop.

Had my OB appointment Thursday. No further dilation or effacement. The only exciting part was that my cervix was now "really easy to get to" versus a challenge to reach. I had actually lost 3 1/2 lbs in a very short time but since I was sick last weekend, they attributed it to that and didn't seem concerned. I was happy about that! I really liked the doctor I saw this time. She was super nice and helpful. Just had an overall spirit of joy - I wonder if she happens to be a Christian... hmmmm... But when I deliver, it's whoever is on call so I don't want to get my hopes set on anyone in particular. The nurse was really sweet too.

All that being said, we're anxiously awaiting this little guy. More than anything, we're just excited to meet him and see what this new member to our family looks like. I mean, it's always up in the air with a biracial baby... Of course, the chances of him looking primarily Asian are still incredibly high but you never know!

It was a pretty low key week overall (which is always nice). James had 3 days off work from Meijer and so we actually had a decent amount of family time. Of course he still had to work his chaplaincy as well as finish preparing for tomorrow's sermon but it was still peaceful as a whole. Easter was a joy. You can see pictures on our last post. James' parents come into town this week so it'll probably be a little busier - in a good way.

I guess that's it for this week. The wait continues.....

Take care,
Terra