Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sickness and Christmas

Once you go for a while without writing, it's a bit overwhelming trying to decide how to summarize such a great chunk of time.  Sooooo.... here's my best try!
The thing that first sticks out is that we've had a LOT of colds over the last few months.  Very reminiscent of two winters ago when we literally had someone sick in the house from September to April.  We seem to have something for about 2 1/2 weeks, healthy for half a week or so and then the next thing for another 2 1/2 weeks and so forth.  Right now, we're going on a few days of health so I'm hoping the next thing is not right around the corner.  I have a habit of being sick at Christmas.  Poor Sophia had double pink eye, the croup and was on the verge of cutting her first teeth all at the same time!  Fortunately, one of those teeth finally popped through and all the other nastiness is gone as well.

Speaking of teeth, she's our earliest teether at 10 months.  Yep.  Hannah was 17mo, 15days and Benjamin cut his first on his 1yr birthday.  An average kid is 6-9 months.  We're an odd bunch. :)

Otherwise, life has progressed fairly normally.  James' job continues to go well.  Homeschooling has been a blessing most days.  I won't lie, I have my days, but what parent doesn't?

The hairbow business picked up a tad just before Christmas.  Then I decided to make the kids' gifts.  That was fun but quite a bit more time consuming than I'd planned.  I made an owl doll for Sophia and chef apron/hat sets for the older two.  Then some cute bean bags.

I've always been a BIG Christmas card/newsletter sender.  Well, time simply got away from me this year and I just didn't get to it.  Yep.  I'm a slacker.  I loved all the cards I got from others but barely got out a handful myself. (A personal note to my friends, I hope you don't mind!)

There's my big update.  I hope all is well for everyone!

Take Care,
Terra

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Halloween, Homeschooling, and the Holidays

Wow, how the days keep flying. My mom once told me that time goes by so slowly as kids and the older you get, the faster and faster it goes. I need no further convincing!
Halloween was fun. Last minute, we changed Benjamin's costume. Someone gave my brother a dragon costume for his son for Halloween. Unfortunately, his son was with his mom on Halloween and had other plans. So.... since they are the same age, Benjamin wore it instead of the planned racecar driver outfit. He got SO many compliments. We went to our church's Trunk or Treat on the 30th and then Trick or Treating in our neighborhood on the 31st. The kids had a lot of fun. Well, Sophia wasn't a big fan of it all but the older two were. You can check out all the Halloween pictures, as well as other October pictures at this link.
As we get further along on our homeschooling journey, I've started to pick up some recommended books on the topic. I used to read all the time but since I've had children, I haven't really made the time. After picking up a book about one philosophy of homeschooling, I've started tearing through many more. I've rediscovered the fun of reading! I'm such a learner at heart and love to research (sometimes too much, I admit). If you're curious about the books I'm reading, you can check out the list here.
I'm getting excited about the holidays quickly approaching. I love Thanksgiving and it's focus on giving thanks and family. I've actually joined the Facebook habit of listing one thing I'm thankful for each day and it's been a blessing to even participate in! We're traveling this year (for the first time in 5 yrs!) to my sister's place. Then, soon after, will be my 30th birthday. Yup. I'm getting old. Ha! Then of course, my favorite holiday of all - Christmas! Hannah is super excited this year (and has been since JULY) because she actually remembers what all it entails. Now our work is helping her not to worship the THINGS that Christmas brings.
Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Money Saving Mom's Budget

Most of you know I'm an avid follower of Moneysavingmom.com.  This website is the best I've found on living frugally and realistically in way more than just clipping coupons!  And the best part is that it's done with a Christian perspective.

Well, Crystal is getting ready to release her first book and I'm super excited.  This will certainly be worth every penny!  Make sure you check it out!

The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year

Hope it's a blessing to many!

Take care,
Terra

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is it really October?

This has been a strange month. As is typical in the Ohio Valley, the weather has been goofy. 80's one day, 50's the next. Rain, no wait, drought, no wait, rain, frost... what?! Always entertaining, that's for sure. Kiddos got to enjoy time in the sprinklers during the beginning of the month. They had a blast with that. Now it seems the cold weather is approaching, but who knows, I'm not holding my breath yet.

We're at the tail of a little cold of sorts. It had a funny progression. My nephew brought it to us. Then Benjamin got it, Sophia, Hannah, me, James and lastly, my brother. For us adults, it seemed to come and go faster. Kids are still battling snot but otherwise doing better. Sophia is having a hard time napping still. At least they're pretty much sleeping at night. That's always a plus.

James continues to love his new job. Though many of the people he works with are living their final days, he has the opportunity to befriend and bless them with his words and presence. He's now a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator for those that may have missed that. It's even evident here at the home how enjoying his job affects day to day living.

We're now on our 9th week of our homeschool curriculum (we're working through Sonlight's P4/5). Very enjoyable. Hannah enjoys the reading time though she's especially attracted to her workbooks and writing practice. I think that's probably the opposite of most kids her age. Benjamin is learning to count - kind of. Right now, he counts "2,4,7,8,9,10,11,12". haha Now I just have to fill in the blanks for him! Sophia is sitting and trying to crawl. She pushes herself backwards but hasn't figured out the forward motion just yet. She's 8mo old now.

Then me? Well, I'm making a ton of hair bows right now to try and have them ready for the approaching holidays. If you're interested in any, let me know! I'm posting lots of pics on our Facebook page.

Oh... and with Halloween approaching, we'll have Tinkerbell, a racecar driver and a puppy dog. I'll be sure to post pictures!

Until next time,
Take care,
Terra

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Go, go, go

Some days I wonder if life ever slows down. You ever have those days? I mean, I can go for a week or two thinking things are going pretty smooth and nicely paced. Then there will be that week or two of craziness that makes me forget the slower weeks. This week was technically not that busy compared to last week or the next. But the random things that popped up made it feel more so. Next week I babysit quite a bit. So it'll be busy but it'll be at the house at least. I was having more vertigo issues but I started doing my home exercises again and by God's grace, they've been pretty controlled.

James' new job has been going great and he loves it so far - a great blessing! My brother has gotten fairly adjusted to living here I think. And I always love having some extra adult conversation when he's home and my husband is still at work.

Last week, James and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. That was very nice. At dinner, he read to me some journals he'd written during our off and on again dating journey. Sweet thoughts on this side of the marriage covenant.

Last night, my mom and I took Hannah and a friend to Disney on Ice. We won tickets from a local organization. It was so much fun. I think my favorite part was a comment made by Hannah. Tinkerbell drank poisoned milk to save Peter Pan. The only way she could be saved was if the audience clapped to show we "believed in make believe." After doing so, and Tinkerbell coming to her normal self, Hannah looked up at me with the widest eyes. She said, "It WORKED Mom!" My mom and I laughed so hard we were crying. It was so sweet to see her face light up the entire performance.

Homeschooling is going great. Hannah loves most of it. She requests her school time each day. She likes to work on writing her letters but gets very easily frustrated if she can't do something well. So I occasionally have to tell her we'll just work on something else for now. There's no need to rush. She's just barely over 4.

Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Change As a Good Thing

We've been back from vacation for three weeks now. Kind of hard to believe it's already been that long! There's always that time of catching up but then things settle down again. A few big things have been happening around here though.

The biggest is that James will soon be starting a new job! Though we're grateful for the four and one half years he's been employed at Meijer, we've been longing to see him back in full-time ministry. Starting September 6th, he'll be a full time chaplain with a healthcare/hospice company called Amedisys. He'll continue to do his part-time chaplaincy work for Marketplace Ministries as well. We're very excited about this change and look forward the transition.

Secondly, my brother moved in with us. After a great deal of various hardships, he needed help getting back on his feet. He moved in with us just two weeks ago. By God's grace, he's already accepted a part-time job and is looking for that to turn full-time, or to add an additional part-time job. It's been great to have him with us as we've never been able to spend a good deal of time together. When I left town for college, he was just in middle school. Since we've been adults, our lives have taken us very different paths and we didn't see each other much. So it's been some much needed time together. The kids are having a blast getting to know "Uncle Jimmy" better.

After labor day, I'll begin homeschooling Hannah more officially. We did a few random things here and there last year but we'll get back into our actual curriculum and scheduled fun and learning. Benjamin will be able to learn as we go with things like colors and a few letters. Sophia is getting big very fast! She just turned six months old. She's kind of sitting now (with support) and turned into a little roller! She's very vocal and has begun the drool fest. She's been pretty irritable these last few days so I'm wondering if she's beginning the joys of teething.

I've been super busy with a fall kick-off for my hair bow business. I unveiled a new product every day for one week and then held a giveaway. That kept me pretty busy both in creating and staying active on my Facebook page.

So it's been a fun type of busy around here. I don't mind that at all!

Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation and Disney

This is probably the longest I've ever gone without posting on our blog in the 4 years I've kept it! Hopefully the sabbatical will not continue. :)

We just returned from a nice vacation in Florida. We visited James' family near Destin and with the blessing of his parents, even hit up Disney with everyone. His sister and her family flew in from Hawaii and it was a great time. At Disney, we checked out Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. We stayed in a super nice 4 bedroom town home in Orlando that had incredibly reasonable rates. The kids were spread throughout the rooms so it wasn't too overwhelming for anyone. The first 3-4 days we were there, it rained and rained. The 10 day forecast called for scattered and isolated thunderstorms EVERY day. But by God's grace, it stopped and we enjoyed beautiful (though super hot) weather most of the rest of the trip! I've posted tons of pictures online so check them out if you're interested here and here.

Vertigo has been clear. I was officially released from care again unless I have another relapse. That's a blessing! I'm currently undergoing physical therapy for some long standing back/shoulder/neck issues. I've got a great deal of exercises to do from home to help with that. I was doing them very consistently until we went to Disney, then all was lost. Started up again today. After carrying kids around constantly those few days, I feel I may have undone most of what I've accomplished progress-wise. We'll see. Back to work!

It's funny that summer always seems like it'll be the laid-back time of year. Then it comes and goes just as crazy as the rest of the year! I can't believe it's almost August. By the end of the month or early September, I'll begin homeschooling again. Fun times!

Until next time...

Take Care,
Terra

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reflections and Pictures

Last week we had a last minute opportunity to get out of town. James was unexpectedly off two days in a row (which is rare) so we called up some friends to see if we could visit. We ended up in Adams, TN at a small Christian camp that they are the caretakers for. Though it was a short trip, it was so nice and relaxing for the most part. Our friends were amazing in serving us. Our second night there, they took the older kids with them to church so we could have some quiet time together. Then they even had them stay the night with them so we'd sleep better. We got to see a lot of natural beauty that we miss living in the suburbs including a gorgeous sunset, lots of wildlife and even the joy of our kids playing out in the country. It was a nice little mini-break.

Upon arriving back in Louisville, we hit the ground running. It was a very busy few days including counseling, my hosting a playgroup, going to the grocery and preparing for Hannah's 4th birthday party. Speaking of the birthday party, I believe it was a great success. We had a "Tangled" theme and used several ideas I'd found online. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We had a large braid hanging on the front door, pin the pan on Flynn, tower building, hair sculpting and of course food. The giveaway for the girls was my new Rapunzel hair clip that I'm selling with my business. Everyone loved them. The cake turned out WAY better than Benjamin's did. It was very detailed with a tower and all. Be sure to check out the pictures to see it. I must admit I was proud of it. :)

Today we took Hannah for her four year well visit at the doctor. I felt so bad for her as she received five shots (all immunizations) and a finger prick. She limped all day (she's a little dramatic). We got her a doughnut from Starbucks for a special treat afterwards. Then for dinner, my inlaws bought her favorite ribs from Mark's Feedstore. So all in all, I think she made out. I know it hurt her. Fortunately other than flu shots, she won't need any more until she's 11 I think. Whew.

My vertigo has been on again and off again. I've been treated twice since my last message. Hoping things will correct soon.

Until next time...

Take Care,
Terra

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the Upswing

So I've kept many of you all waiting for two long weeks without writing updates about all the health problems I mentioned in my last post. Well, I guess if you were super worried, you would have called or emailed by now. haha. Wait no longer...

James' TEE test went well. It was a very uncomfortable procedure as he had to have his entire mouth and throat numbed. He said he felt like he was choking on his own saliva because his swallowing mechanism was not working. Fortunately, the anesthesia kicked in soon after. The doctor said that everything looked completely normal. He didn't even see the "thickening" that had been seen in a previous test which led to this one. So we praise God for those results. James was sick to his stomach the rest of the evening but began feeling normal again the next day. As for the rheumatologist results, no new information there. The testing they did for gout came back negative. From what I've read online, this test is not conclusive and does not necessarily mean he does not have gout. His levels simply may not have been high enough during the test to show a positive result. They basically told him to call again when he has another full blown episode and they'd try to work him in. That way they could do the testing when he was in the middle of an episode (which he was not during his first visit).

As for me and the BPPV (vertigo), I've been doing better. The first few days after treatment were rough and very nauseating. I continued to feel pretty crummy for about one week. These last 3 or 4 days I've been feeling quite a bit better though not 100%. I'm noticing that fast movement (such as looking out of the car window) is still causing me some issues. I go back to the doc on the 31st for a re-test. I'll be treated again if it's still there. But as I said, I've been feeling much better these last few days so I'm grateful for that!

As for the kids, on a health note, they've been doing great. This time of the year is my favorite for that. I started noticing Sophia preferred to hold her head towards her right shoulder. But since Hannah had womb-induced torticollis, I am familiar with treating that. I went ahead and started stretching Sophia and working on getting her movements centralized. I've noticed great improvement and can hardly even tell she's had a preference now! Very exciting. She's been a super easy-going sweet baby.

Hannah and I went on a Mommy/Daughter Princess Tea Party at a local kid's place last night. That was a lot of fun for her. She's painfully shy but we continue to try and encourage her gently when we can. She got to choose a dress, get her nails painted, hair fixed and choose makeup. The girls all walked the runway to show off their pretty selves (which she did with my holding her hand). We had cookies and apple juice. We met Belle, Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Fairy Godmother. She colored pictures, played some games and came home with a balloon. I'll try to get pictures uploaded by my next post.

Benjamin is full swing into his twos. We have to stay very consistent with encouraging and disciplining him or he's a mess. That said, I've seen a little more of his sweetness lately if we are. We're going to start potty-training Thursday. Fun stuff!

Okay, I feel this is getting very long now so I'll stop writing. Until next time....

Take Care,
Terra

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Health Fun

Parenting lately has been pretty entertaining because of some health issues. As I mentioned a few posts ago, James has had a lot of problems with his right hand/wrist lately. We've always assumed it was arthritis (he has a great deal of genetics playing against him). Today, a rheumatologist told him she thought it was probably gout. They did more blood work and xrays and we'll wait for further thoughts from her. Thursday he gets something called a TEE on his heart. It's basically an ultrasound inserted through the esophagus to check on the heart. James was told he has some thickening in one of his valves and so they are going to check everything out and see if there is anything to worry about.

Then about two weeks ago, I decided to start doing yoga again. Just a few days later, I started getting dizzy and nauseous. For some, that may mean little. For me, with a past of BPPV (positional vertigo), I knew otherwise. I went to the doc this morning and had my suspicion confirmed and retreated in office. So I get to sleep upright for the next two evenings and have to keep my head level for 48hrs. Add increasing muscle spasms behind my right shoulder blade and I think we're both falling apart! What in the world are we going to feel like if we live to be older!? We're only 33 and 29 now!

So... picture all of the above. Then add three children ages three and under. Plus one or two if I'm nannying. It can lead to some interesting days! Fortunately, God reminds us that He is strong in our weaknesses and we're definitely physically weak these days! And all this sounds horrible but it's usually not everything bothering both of us at once. There are little graces each day.

I'm in the process of planning Hannah's "Tangled" birthday party. That should be fun. We've started doing a little more school time each day, since she's not in a formal program. The hardest part of that is keeping Benjamin (2) and Sophia (2 1/2mo) entertained while doing so. I usually wait till Sophia is sleeping since she still does that a lot these days. Benjamin is a bit more challenging. Oh... and then potty training comes soon...

Until next time...

Take Care,
Terra

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter and Birthdays

As I mentioned in my last post, we celebrated Benjamin's second birthday this Saturday. Then on Sunday, we celebrated Easter. My in-laws came in from Florida last Wednesday and stayed for six days. So it's been busy but fun!

For Benjamin's birthday, we went with a music theme because he loves to sing and dance. My mother-in-law cooked a crazy amount of amazing Filipino food, which is typical for special events in their culture. My mom always made our birthday cakes growing up and so I have continued the tradition. This year's cake was a special challenge. The idea itself was very simple: a sheet cake with simple icing and piped music notes/designs on the top. The fun began when the cake refused to pull away from the pan (even though I'd used cooking spray as instructed). Several chunks from the top separated when I pulled the pan off. I pieced them back together with icing. Because it had broken in so many places, as I iced the cake, crumbs were everywhere. My white icing was quickly speckled with chocolate cake. Solution? Add more icing delicately enough to cover it. Good thing I had extra. Then came the decorating. Apparently I didn't use the right type of icing or something because it was completely losing it's shape as I piped it. Stars were blobs. I was very frustrated and moments from tossing the whole thing in the trash and ordering one from the grocery. But God gave me grace and determination. I pushed through and in the end, though it wasn't as great as I'd planned, it worked. :) Check out pictures of the cake and the party here.

Easter was great. Church in the morning. Lunch at the Golden Corral (no cooking!). Afternoon nap. Egg hunt inside (it's rained for about 12 of the last 14 days - seriously). Pictures from Easter and other recent fun here.

Our biggest parenting challenge lately has been Benjamin. Reaching the two year mark, he's very much a two year old. He's challenging us in about every way he can. Tantrums and whining have become daily issues that we're trying to nip in the bud. It's been a real challenge and very draining for sure. But then I look at my almost four year old and remember that consistency really pays off in the end. It's just gathering enough energy to be consistent as we should in the moment. Some days are better than others for sure!

Until next time...
Take Care,
Terra

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Overwhelmed

The last few weeks continued to be a little overwhelming. By God's grace, as I'm writing this, things have gotten much better. As I've mentioned before, I nanny a little boy who's 2. Occasionally, I have his 4 year old brother as well. The days that I watch them are scattered throughout the month. This month, the great majority of the need fell at the beginning of the month. At the same time, my husband started having some severe hand/wrist pain (which he's always been told is arthritis). It usually only flares up every 2-3 months. It's flared up 3 time in less than a month this go around and has lasted longer than any previous flare up. When it happens, the pain pretty much puts him out of commission. Then my mom moved out. She's been living with us for the last year until she could get a place of her own. She's been such a huge help around here on a practical level. So all at once, I lost four of my helping hands and had 2 extra kids about twice as often as usual (making it 5 kids ages 4 to 6 weeks in my home). As you could imagine, I was quickly overwhelmed.

But again, God has been good and helped me through it. Now, I've only got the youngest boy once per week until May. My husband's hand is still tender but not in the all out pain it was in. He's been really serving us around the house in any way he can. He's going to follow up with two specialists to try and figure out what's going on. I had a friend volunteer to watch the kids (all of them!) one morning so I could have a little personal time (in which I ran errands). Another friend even offered to make my grocery runs! My mom is still babysitting for us once per week so we can have our date nights. My bow business has picked up so I'm busy with that. But I'm not complaining because that's what I've been hoping for! I'm having to remind myself regularly that I'm NOT super woman/wife/mom and no one except myself expects me to be!

Which brings me to my posting. I was planning to write weekly but it looks like I've been doing better with a bi-weekly schedule. Hope that's okay!

Next week will be busy as my in-laws, some cousins and my sis' family will all be visiting. We'll be celebrating Benjamin's birthday the day before Easter (it's actually on the 28th) and then enjoying Easter together the next day. I'm SO looking forward to seeing everyone though!

Until next time... here are pictures of Sophia's baby dedication as well as the circus and other fun stuff in the month of March! http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=272502&id=607147099&l=48997e038d


Take Care,
Terra

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

So it's been a VERY busy few weeks! We weren't as busy when the baby was born because we knew better. However, now that things are back in the groove, we've fallen right back into the crazies. I'm nannying again. I'm kicking my hairbow business (joybowtique.blogspot.com) into full swing. We jumped back into our church activities (my husband is a lay pastor and we help with the counseling ministry). Then of course just having 3 kids ages 3 and under is enough to keep us busy!

Since the last time I wrote, I found out one of my dear friends is having twin girls! She's had a long road of secondary infertility so this was extremely exciting.

This weekend, we're having our youngest (Sophia - 6wks old) dedicated at our church. We'll have some friends and family visiting for that. Then in just a few weeks, we'll be celebrating our son's second birthday. Then Easter. Then the Kentucky Derby. Then Mother's Day. Then our oldest's fourth birthday - Memorial Day weekend. Then Father's Day. Then Vacation. Then a break. Whew!
I went on a women's retreat this past weekend. That was great. They had a nursing mom's opportunity. So I was able to go, have my own room and bring Sophia. It was fantastic! The speaker was great. It was funny because people kept telling me how brave I was for coming with a newborn. In my opinion, it was a vacation to be away for 24hrs with just ONE kid and not all three!

A few nights ago, we had the opportunity to go to the Ringling Bros. circus with tickets we won from a local business. The kids really enjoyed it. I'm realizing in my "old" age that I don't like being around that many people any more often than I have to be! There were SO many people. Benjamin, my usual happy-go-lucky kid, was terrified by the sheer quantity of them. He insisted on being held and would not walk. So James and I were both carrying kids and Hannah fortunately walked! I'll try to get pictures uploaded soon so you can see them next time. About half way through, Hannah said, "Mom, when I grow up, I'm going to be a clown." Funny stuff!

Until next time...
Take Care,
Terra

Saturday, March 19, 2011

On Again, Off Again

The last few weeks have been interesting. I'm titling this post "On Again, Off Again" primarily thanks to Sophia. I was beginning to be convinced that her reflux was giving her a great deal of issues. Then she started doing better. Three good routine days of sleeping, eating and being awake. Went to the pediatrician for her one month well check. Everything looked great. She's actually gained two pounds and six ounces in four weeks! She was 6lbs, 3oz at birth and 8lbs, 9oz at her one month. That's exciting. The doctor said if she seemed like she was going back into her super fussy, spitup, sleeplessness to call and she'd call in a script for us to try the baby Zantac. After our visit that day, we were back to a bad night of sleep. Then another. But then the last two nights have been good again. SO... I'm not sure what's going on with this little one but she's been on again, off again with her routines. Which means we've been on again, off again with sleep. Since I'm up with her during the night, on the mornings she wakes around five and insists she's up for good, James gets up with her. That's a blessing for sure.

I will say that her being my third baby has had definite perks. I feel much more confident in my parenting a baby. It also allots me time to sit each day (to nurse) that I normally wouldn't take. And people are much more willing to offer help when they see me out with the three kids (ages 3 and under) by myself. That said, I don't get out very often with all three of them by myself. It's too much work and way too tiring. Instead, I invite people to my place to visit and try to run errands when my husband can be home.

The kids are continuing to adjust. They're doing better with each other than they were. We're still having our hardest time with Benjamin. I think part of it is the fact that he's almost two (his birthday is next month), partly teeth that are coming in and then partly the change in our lives. He ADORES Sophia and you really have to watch him to make sure he doesn't smother her (literally) with hugs and kisses. But he's wanting to demand everything he wants, when he wants it and how he wants it. So we're having to direct most of our parenting energies on him right now.

Hannah continues to grow and mature. She certainly has her moments but over all it's so neat to watch her start to process and understand life better. She'll be four in May. We were praying for Japan one night and I was telling her, in kid-speak, what had happened. You could see her empathy and her prayer was so sweet. Now every time she sees a map, she asks me where Japan is. I'm beginning to look forward to doing more official homeschool stuff with her this fall.

Until next time...
Take Care,
Terra

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Family of Five and Reflux

When I'm pregnant, I write weekly pregnancy updates. I figure that a weekly blog is doable so I'm going to try to sustain that pace with the regular ins and outs of every day family life.

Sophia is now two weeks old and we're continuing to get in the groove of our new life as a family of five. At the beginning of the week, we took her to the pediatrician because she'd been sounding very congested and gagging a lot - especially at night time. Long story short, the doctor confidently diagnosed her as having reflux. He said it's very likely to get worse as she gets a little older and considering so far, her symptoms have been worse after night time feedings and not as bad during the day. So now we're learning the ropes of dealing with a baby with reflux. Fortunately, we've received a great deal of counsel and suggestions to help. If her symptoms seem to get worse and she appears to be in more pain, we may try some meds to help as well. We'll ask the doctor about that at her one month checkup. Overall though, she's doing great and has been such a sweetheart. She's already over a pound more than her birth weight which is fantastic!

Benjamin and Hannah are adjusting okay. They are both super sweet and helpful with Sophia herself. However, they've found much reason to fight amongst one another. Benjamin is realizing he can test my willingness to discipline him if I'm in the middle of nursing Sophia. So the biggest adjustment for me personally has been constant and consistent discipline with the older two. The day after we came home from the hospital, both older kids got sick and were running fevers. We praise God that Sophia did not get whatever it was they had.

James and I are doing well. He took a week off from work after the baby came to help around the house and get adjusted. He's been great in helping in every way he can. In addition to that, since my mom is still living with us, she has been a HUGE help as well. When James and I were at the hospital and even since we've been home, she's not only helped with the kids but cooked/cleaned/given baths and way more! It's been a true blessing to have her here during this time.

It's been four days since James went back to work and life went back to usual (in the general sense). So far we're surviving well. By God's grace, we'll continue to grow and thrive as the weeks and months continue!

Until next time...
Terra

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 41: Sophia Makes her Grand Entrance!

You know as well as I do, I was beginning to think it'd never happen! :) About four and a half hours after my last pregnancy post, I woke up with strong contractions and really bad heartburn (probably the fault of that ginormous cheeseburger I ate). Not getting too excited yet, I took some Tums and went back to bed. An hour later (about 2am), I was still awake as the contractions were way to strong to go back to sleep. I decided to go ahead and get out of bed. My husband had worked late and was just getting ready to go to sleep when I came out of the bedroom. He asked if everything was okay. I told him my contractions were very strong but were only about 8-10 minutes apart. Soon after, I went to the restroom to discover pink-tinged mucous. I knew the time had FINALLY come. I went ahead and took a shower before we left, not knowing when my next would be. We started gathering our things and trying to contact a babysitter for the next day. We had several people that had told us we could call but then unforeseen things came up for many of them. I was starting to stress but finally got everything lined up.

Here's the kicker, by 3:30am (only 2 and a half hours after my labor had started) my contractions had closed into 3-4 minutes apart and were increasingly painful. My doula told me not to wait much longer to get to the hospital because my last labor had been a fairly quick one as well after I got past 3cm. We headed out. On the way, I noticed my husband's gas light was on in his car. I know I gave him a death stare. I told him if the car died on the way to the hospital I would kill him. He assured me that 'he knew his car and we would have plenty of gas.' Ha! And then...to make it even more humorous, we swung by a Redbox that was on the way to drop off a movie so we didn't forget about it!

As I was getting out of the car when we arrived at the hospital, I went into another contraction. I told my husband to wait just a moment and then we could head into the ER. As soon as the contraction ended, I took a step and felt a gush of fluid. I looked at him and said, "either I just peed on myself or my water broke." Two steps further and it was very obvious my water had broken. We walked inside and I went up to the registration lady in the ER. I asked if this was where I was supposed to go for ER. She looked at me kind of funny, said "yes" and then asked what I was there for. Really?! I said, "I'm having a baby and I'm dripping stuff all over your floor." She then quickly took me back to some other registration people. They couldn't believe I was there to deliver because I was laughing about everything. Seriously. I don't know why or how but I found everything humorous that evening/morning. Finally, after being unable to find me in their system the first few attempts, they realized they'd better do something. One of them asked if this was my first baby. When I told them it was my third, they quickly changed their speed and someone said they needed to get me upstairs asap before I had the baby right there.

Insisting on putting me in the wheelchair on the way up, the ER person pleaded with me not to have the baby in the elevator - said it'd almost been done. When we got to L&D, someone suggested bringing me to triage. The other nurse said I was definitely not going to triage and took me straight to a room. I hopped out of the wheelchair with this crazy amount of energy (call it adrenaline?) that I had. They all continued to laugh at me and my spunk. After getting changed and being checked, I was 5cm dilated at about 4:30am.

I had to remain on the monitors for the first 30 minutes to make sure the baby and myself were okay. As is typical of me and my labors, I slowed down a bit in progression/contractions. As soon as I had permission, I was taken off the monitors and stood bedside to continue laboring. My doula and a friend who soon plans be a doula herself were there with my husband and I. We continued to have good conversation and crack many jokes in between contractions. I find it a true gift that the Lord gives us a break between contractions to 'ease' things a bit. Again, I continued laughing about everything. Maybe that was my means of distraction? I'm not sure.

My doula had told me to be sure and tell her whenever I felt a change in pressure or like I was going to have a bowel movement. At one point, I started crying uncontrollably and knew I had to be close. I felt the pressure and told her I thought I should be checked. No sooner did the words come out of my mouth, my midwife and two nurses came into the room. My midwife looked at me, called for a nursery nurse and said, "Let's have a baby." After another contraction, she told me that considering this was my third birth, I could probably go ahead and start pushing to 'get this over with.' I was all about that! She asked me if there was a particular position I wanted to deliver in. She said I could lay on my side, squat, get on all fours if I wanted, it was up to me. I'd never been given such an option before! I told her I had no idea and asked my doula, who suggested lying on my side.

I started pushing at about 8:05am. My contractions slowed incredibly (to about 4-5min apart). During the second, the baby's head was seen. My midwife told me we'd probably have her out with the next contraction. I'd been fairly quiet during most of the labor contractions, minus some moaning and groaning towards the end. But when it came time to push, my husband later told me he didn't think he'd ever heard me scream so loud. Ha! Surely enough, the head did emerge on the third contraction. They told me she was here and I started to feel relief. Then they informed me that I should be able to get the shoulders out on the next push. I just about lost it. I thought she was already out! I remember screaming something about 'getting this kid out of me.' By God's grace, the next push sealed the deal and Sophia was finally here!


The entire process was SO amazingly blessed. Start to finish was only 7 1/2 hours. I had no lacerations or other medical issues. As a matter of fact, I didn't even have to use the Heplock that had been placed for fluids or anything. Sophia's APGARs were both 9. She had no bruises or marks and even a round little head! She was placed on my chest, slightly wiped off and I was allowed to keep her for one entire hour before they took her to be weighed/cleaned/etc. At one week overdue, she was 6lbs, 2oz and 18in long. She has a head full of dark brown hair, super long eyelashes and dimples to die for. :) The entire hospital stay was fairly restful, smooth and over in 2 days. She came home nursing like a champ and with just a touch of jaundice (not worrisome). The kids are totally in love with her.

I think each pregnancy got harder and harder for me. And yet, each delivery was easier than the one before. Though we're not 100% sure, this will likely be our last biological baby. We've always had hearts to adopt and think that will be our next means of adding to our family. We'll see!

Thank you for following our story! If you want to continue to keep up with us, you're welcome to follow our family blog at jamesandterra.blogspot.com .

Many blessings to you all.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 40: Yep. Still Here.

Since I titled week 39 "Disbelief," I couldn't do it again. So... Yep. I'm still here. I'm writing this at 40 weeks and 6 days. Every day I wake up, I'm somewhat in shock that I'm still pregnant. And yet part of me feels like I'll be pregnant forever, even though I know that's not true. My last midwife visit went well. I'd increased to 2 1/2 cm dilated but as you can clearly see, I'm still here and still pregnant. No weight gain, measuring 37wks (which is not atypical for my pregnancies). It's been quite entertaining to do my daily Facebook status updates and for people to ask where in the world the baby is. Your guess is as good as mine! She's obviously in no hurry to join us!

Considering Sophia sill hasn't made her entrance, James and I took the opportunity to go out to eat for Valentine's (which we hadn't planned). I used to work as a server and I know how crazy Valentine's can get at restaurants. For some reason, I really just wanted a burger (a specific one) and not to have to wait a long wait somewhere... So, I requested Red Robin where I ate an entire Bacon Cheeseburger with Pepper jack cheese and spicy mayo, all of my fries and two strawberry lemonades. And somehow I walked out of there... haha It was fantastic!

Oh...and I'm including a belly shot of me at 40wks and 5days. I love this shirt as it really makes me look smaller than I am!

Tomorrow (2/15), I go back to the midwife. Considering I'll be one week overdue, they will do an ultrasound and non-stress test to check on little Sophie. Pending the results of those tests, will determine the next (if any) course of action. If my placenta appears to be giving out, they will likely induce me (which is what happened with Hannah). If not, maybe they'll suggest sweeping my membranes or something. I'm not sure. Part of me is so ready for this to happen I'm up for just about anything (except Castor Oil or Pitocin, haha). A friend of mine reminded me that she had a cervical catheter as a means of inducement. She has the same midwife as I do so that's certainly a better option in my book. My doula just helped a first time mama through a 35 hour labor/delivery... crazy! So I'm at least glad I didn't go into labor at the same time. She's my personal friend and the same doula I had with my son. I think she's about as ready for me to have this baby as I am so I'll stop texting her with false labor alerts. Actually, she's been super patient and understanding with it all, never making me feel like a burden. Speaking of false labor, I had another episode of that this weekend. Very annoying.

All things said, I'm REALLY hoping this will be my last post before my birth story! Until then....

Take Care,
Terra

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hannah's Magazine Debut

We really didn't expect to see Hannah on the cover as she really didn't want her picture taken that day. And yet, lookie here... a friend pointed it out to me. :)







Week 39: Disbelief

I officially entered the world of disbelief during week 39. As I've mentioned before, my first two kiddos were born early (Hannah by 2 weeks and Benjamin by 5 days). I'm actually typing this on my official due day (2/8) in disbelief that I'm still pregnant. I truly never would've thought my 3rd child would be my latest! I have to be honest, I'm not as frustrated as I was though I'm still being impatient. The Lord has given me grace. On top of that, the fact that my midwife will not let me go past 42 weeks gives me a light at the end of my tunnel. "Sophia, you have a maximum of 2 more weeks before you get kicked out. Please make this easy on Mommy."

I'm hoping to go natural again this time so I'm really not excited about the idea of Pitocin. I had a not-so-fun experience with that and my first child. I've been trying everything on the list of things that are supposed to naturally make you go into labor to no avail. This little girl is simply not ready to join us yet for whatever reason. Patience.... patience...

I am grateful that I haven't had any more extended periods of false labor since my last post. At least she's not teasing me right now in that sense. I go back to my midwife tomorrow. We'll see if anything exciting has happened (though I'm not holding my breath). Speaking of which, I finally gained a pound. Whoo hoo. At my last checkup I was still exactly the same progression as the week before (1.5cm, 70% effaced). Since I haven't had much activity since then, I'm not really expecting to be any (or much) further this time.

Sophia is big. I mean, maybe not in all actuality but she feels huge to me every time she moves around. And yet I look at my stomach and wonder how an entire baby is really in there as it doesn't look as big as she feels.

Well, here's to praying my next post will be my labor and delivery story and not be written at 41 weeks! :)

Take care,
Terra

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My New Business

Many of you know already but in case you don't, I want to make you aware of my new business.

Introducing...

joybowtique.blogspot.com

or on Facebook at: Facebook.com/joybowtique

Please let me know what you think and if I can help you in any way!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 38: Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

So. Tired. Of. Waiting. Yep. I know... I've become the impatient-end-of-pregnancy-and-tired-of-it woman. I'm trying to be grateful, I really am. I feel I'm doing okay with the wait and then I have another night of false labor. Oh yes, week 38 was no different. Sunday night I woke up at nearly 1am with contractions. I lay in bed for a while and realized they weren't stopping so I got up and played around on the internet. By 3:15am, I'd been having painful contractions 4-5 min apart for nearly 45min. I was convinced I was in true labor. James called in to work for the following day and also called his mom to let her know. As a last "test," I decided to try and lay back down for a little bit and see what happened. Sure enough, the contractions slowed and eventually went away. I'm so tired of this false labor it's ridiculous. As I commented on a Facebook status, I wouldn't mind being up half the night if it was going to lead somewhere and not just a tired mommy the next day.

I do have to give praise that I've had much less hip/pelvic pain this past week. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not in reference to the baby's position but it's certainly been nice to not be struggling every moment. I'm still having pain, it's just been much less frequent and intense. So that's a definite blessing.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was starting a new hair bow business. Well, it's officially off and running. I figured I may as well get everything started if I was going to be waiting for this little girl to make her appearance. I'd love for you to check out the site, "like" it on Facebook and let me know what you think! The business is called "Joy: a bowtique" and you can find it at joybowtique.blogspot.com . Though there has been a lot of work going into making this happen, it's been a lot of fun too. My undergraduate degree was in business (with majors in management and marketing) so that's been helpful. The fun, girlie product makes it enjoyable. Then of course using my oldest as a model is always a joy.

Lastly, my midwife checkup was nothing exciting. Everything looked okay. I went another week with no weight gain (I'm at 31lbs total). I asked her about it because it concerns me a bit. I've only gained 1lb in the last 4-5wks. She said that she was not worried because the baby's measurements have continued to grow each week. Said it was likely just the fact that many moms eat less in the last few weeks because there is less room for the food. As long as I wasn't dieting (which I certainly am not), she was not concerned. And the fact that everyone keeps commenting on how "tiny" I am doesn't help. I have my next visit tomorrow morning, we'll see if anything changes.

Until next time...

Take Care,
Terra

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 37: So Ready

After each pregnancy, I tell myself that I'll be more patient and grateful towards the end with my next. Then each pregnancy, I realize just how hard that is. Week 37 ended with continued lower body pains. Some days it's literally hard to walk without cringing in pain. I guess the good part of that is being forced to slow down. Hannah will ask me why I made "that face" and when I tell her it's because I'm hurting, she'll offer to rub the area or get my rice sock. So sweet. That said, I'm SO ready for this baby to come and relieve the pain.

During week 37, I had another night of false labor. It was nearly identical to the one I wrote about last week so I won't repeat. The last three nights have been perfectly quiet and I've actually gotten pretty decent sleep.

I think Sophia may have "dropped" last night. I started sitting on my exercise ball a little to help encourage this baby to make her entrance. Right before bed, I looked in the mirror and noticed it looked like my bump had visibly shrunk! Maybe I'm just imagining things. I'll include a picture and let you decide. 37wks, 5days along in it.

Midwife visits have been great lately. Short and sweet though nothing exciting. Last week I was a whopping 1cm dilated and getting soft. Measuring a couple of weeks behind because of Sophia's positioning (which is to no surprise, very low). My weight gain has slowed tremendously, though the stomach bug may have contributed to that. We'll see what this week's visit brings.

Until next time!
Take Care,
Terra

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week 36: False Labor Fun and a Stomach Bug

The last night of week 36 left me thinking I was in labor. Isn't this my third birth? Shouldn't I know the difference? No. Not when my body feels like it's in labor and then nothing happens apparently. I went to bed around 9:45ish to wake up just after midnight in the middle of a strong contraction. Didn't think too much about it as I've done that before. I went to the restroom and then went back to sleep. Soon after, I woke up with another contraction. Thinking it was probably a few hours later, I peeked at the clock and it was only about 20 minutes later. Odd. So I laid there, trying to go back to sleep. For about the next two hours, I lay there, mostly awake having contractions every 8-12 minutes. They weren't super painful but they weren't comfortable either. Eventually, I fell asleep and never woke with another contraction. The next night went perfectly smooth without waking one single time from a contraction.

This "false labor fun" happened several times when I was pregnant with Benjamin. There were at least three times that I can remember this happening. Once, James and I even went ahead and got up, got everything ready to go to the hospital only for the contractions to eventually stop. I was determined this time that I was not getting out of bed and getting ready for anything if this was not the real thing. So that part was good even though I lost a few hours sleep. Even the day I had Benjamin, after having contractions all night long, my labor stalled after arriving at the hospital. I was sent 'home' after a few hours of no progress - only to come back two hours later in great pain and 7 1/2 cm dilated! I have a feeling this labor may be another crazy one at the rate I'm going.

The hip/pelvic pain is still pretty intense most days. I'm walking with lots of waddles simply to try and move the pain off the areas where it is strongest. My abs have started hurting also. Not sure if that's from the funny way I'm walking or just the extra weight pulling on them. Then there is always the back pain of course. :) But truly, I'm grateful for this little life I'm carrying in my belly. I'm just ready to be carrying her in my arms instead.

My baby shower was amazing. I have some wonderful friends who really made me feel special and blessed. They prayed over me and the family. They each shared ways that I have encouraged, loved on, or helped them know Christ better. In a weird way, I felt like I was hearing people speak at my own funeral. It was so sweet and thoughtful. I was in tears before the first person finished speaking. Thank you to Cindy and Jessie for hosting/food, Kristyn and Heidi for planning/leading, and my mom for the little giveaways. Thanks to all the sweet friends that joined us and blessed me with kind words alongside of great gifts. And a huge thanks to my sister for watching my sick child....

Which leads me to the last tidbit about the week. Remember that stomach bug Benjamin had? Well, it finally made it's rounds. Last Thursday night I was sick all night and felt horrible the next day. Friday night James had a few issues (though not many) and Hannah woke up vomiting. All day Saturday, my sweet Hannah was sick and miserable. My sister volunteered to stay home with her (as well as Benjamin and her two kids) so I didn't have to cancel the shower. I had a babysitter lined up but didn't want to get her sick too. My sis was staying with us (she lives 3hrs away) so she'd already been exposed either way. I was bummed that she drove all the way up here, to stay home and babysit my kids. Then she left with one of her kids with the stomach bug. By God's grace, he was the only one that got it and it was short lived. So a HUGE thanks to my sister for all her help with everything. Needless to say, it was a yucky weekend in this house!

Take Care,
Terra

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week 35: Pressure

So week 35 continued with the hip issues. I guess this is here to stay until Sophia joins us. In a nutshell, I feel like her head is the size of a small melon. It's like she's head down, pushing her feet up against my right ribs and using her hands to pry open my pelvis. Seriously. That's what it feels like. :) About half of the time, there is great pressure in the area as a result. Some of that time it's coupled with nerve pain (sciatic?). Then there's the off and on low back pain. But I do praise God I haven't had the spasms too much recently. And I still have a month till due day. As long as I'm full term, I'm praying she comes sooner than later!

On the home front, things have been pretty relaxed in many ways. James has been pretty busy but during the day, the kids and I have not had too much going on. That's been nice, especially considering the way I feel. Sunday Benjamin woke up sick. He vomited 3 times before lunch. I feared a stomach bug. He was much better after his nap and never had any other issues. I'm hoping the rest of us are in the clear and it may have just been something he ate. I did a LOT of laundry that day.

This weekend is my baby shower. I'm looking very forward to that. Of course the gifts are great but I love seeing friends that it can be hard to get together with on a regular basis. Many of my friends have 3+ kids and life gets a little more challenging to plan around all of them. :) My sister is coming into town for it as well and I haven't seen her since September. Should be a great weekend.

I still have not located what I'd packed for Sophia for the hospital. Oh well. I packed most everything for my hospital bags today. Mainly just haven't packed the few things that I'll use until then. I did like last time and wrote out a list of things to grab when it happens. Now to preregister!

Until next time...

Take Care,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 34: Pain in my Hips

Ouch. That would explain the last several days. I've suddenly been thrown back into memories of the end of my pregnancy with Benjamin. Blame it on the weight, blame it on the hormones that 'relax' your muscles... I don't know but my hips hurt! Basically, the tops of my pelvis/hips and my sacrum hurt with any weight at all on them. If I'm sitting, it's not bad. Really, it's just when I'm standing, which is the majority of the day of course. I hope it won't feel this way for the rest of the pregnancy or I'm going to be struggling!

My midwife visit went great. Up 31lbs. Everything else looked fine. After my next visit, I'll be having weekly ones. Whoo hoo! The day is quickly approaching! I'm so excited!

I've definitely started 'nesting.' I'm suddenly having the urge to clean and organize everything around this house, including things I never even think of. This weekend I washed the car seat, bibs and socks, as well as a few other tidbits. I washed the clothes a while back. Speaking of Sophia's clothes. About 2months ago, I set aside a specific outfit I wanted to pack for her pictures at the hospital. I cannot find it for the life of me! I have looked absolutely everywhere I can think of with no luck. Since I need to be packing a hospital bag soon, I guess I'll go ahead and choose something else in case it doesn't show up in time.

Along with things to pack, once I figure out an outfit, I'm working on a cute hair bow. I'm getting ready to start my own hair bow business. I finally settled on a name... "Joy: a bowtique". Now I'm having a hard time deciding what type of bow to bring. :) I've been getting the website prepared and trying to figure out all the small details so that when Sophie arrives, I'll just have to worry about the physical bow making.

Until next time...
Take Care,
Terra