Introducing...

Monday, December 29, 2008 40 Comments A+ a-

Reagan Jacqueline
Born on December 29th, 2008
at: 6:27am

5 pounds, 10 ounces, 18 inches long

Mom and baby resting and doing well!

Isn't she beautiful!
The cousins, only 15 days apart!Sisters, best friends, and now moms TOGETHER!

Blue or Pink?

Saturday, December 27, 2008 8 Comments A+ a-

The bag is packed and in it are both of the adorable outfits above. I found these on Friday and knew that I had to have them for the coming home outfits. Which do you think we'll need?

As far as the spelling of our girl's name goes, it is still undecided even though 73% of you said you preferred the Reagan spelling. It's still a toss-up between Reagan or Raegan... I know, I know. A new option that was never even listed in the poll.

Stay tuned... We're getting anxious to find out if Baby Trece turns out to be either Gavin Jonathan or Reagan (Raegan) Jacqueline.

Let's Do That Again!

Friday, December 26, 2008 9 Comments A+ a-

Ended up in Labor and Delivery last night. The circumstances involved weird bodily fluid leakage that needed to be checked out; it turned out to be nothing but then my body decided to start having contractions every 2-3 minutes for three hours straight. Man, those hurt! But after the lights were turned out and I was able to relax, the contractions stopped too. Whew! I am so NOT ready to have this baby yet... as evidenced by the fact that Jon was frantically throwing stuff into a bag last night on our way out the door.

Yes... the bag is getting packed TONIGHT and will remain in our car until the big moment arrives.

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The biggest reason I'm not ready to have this child is that my mom is currently in the hospital and will remain there during the next 4-5 days to continue receiving treatments for Gillian-Barre.

About three weeks ago, Mom started losing sensations in her legs. The numbness and tingling turned into paralysis and pretty soon, my 50-year-old mother was bound to a wheelchair. Needless to say, we were more than concerned and quite anxious to get to the root of the problem. During this time, being the nurse that she is, Mom self-disagnosed herself with Gillian-Barre and while the nuerologist agreed at first, the prognosis then when to something called Cervical and Lumbar Plexitis.

It was, and still is, one of the most stressful situations we've faced. Especially as Courtney faced the idea that Mom might not make it to the wedding. However, we made it through the big day, Mom was able to enjoy herself, although not as fully as she would have if she weren't confined to a wheelchair and we were so thankful for her presence.

Then Christmas Eve arrived and with it, some new symptoms that concerned the nuerologist who demanded that she come to the hospital. Mom was admitted and a spinal tap was performed, taking 4 vials of spinal fluid. The test results from that fluid did indeed confirm Guillan-Barre and Mom is currently receiving infusions (not transfusions) of immunoglobins.

From what I understand of the disease (and I understand very little), a simple virus (a cold, flu, or even an innoculation) can get into the nervous system and start attacking your nerves, which is what caused Mom's paralysis. The new immunoglobins are being introduced to her system to start fighting off the bad stuff and the doctors are confident that she is already starting to regain some strength in her feet. Whoo hooo! After the infusions are complete, we may be looking at another 3-4 weeks in a rehab hospital or nursing home so Mom can have physical and occupational therapy to regain strength and muscle tone in her legs.

Quick Timeline:
Late November/Early December: Mom starts experiencing symptoms from Gillian-Barre and worsens with each passing week.
December 14th: Christine's water broke and is admitted to the hospital at 9.5 cm, is given an epidural to slow things down a little, she pushes for an hour, and ends up with an emergency c-section. But we have beautiful Elliana Faith to show for all that hard work.
December 20th: Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
December 21st: Courtney and Jeremy's Wedding Day and all that entails.
December 24th: Mom is admitted to the hospital.
December 25th @ 10:00am: We receive an official prognosis of Gillian-Barre for Mom. Relief and optimism as we finally have an answer and a treatment plan. No more unknowns!
December 25th @ 10:00pm: I'm lying in a room on the Labor and Delivery floor, one floor below Mom, and breathing through contractions.
December 26th @ 3:00am: Jon and I climb into bed and pass out!

Whew! It's been an exciting (almost) two weeks. And we've decided that it couldn't hurt to ask the hospital if they'll offer us a family discount.

A Momentous Day

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 5 Comments A+ a-

Oh my… It was an incredibly special day. And at the end of it, all that mattered was that Courtney married her best friend and became a Mrs.
Some wonderful memories were made. We all woke up at my parents house and trooped downstairs to talk about the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. We laughed, we swapped stories, and we all agreed that it was a successful evening. We got ready and headed to the beauty salon where the bride, the mother-of-the-bride, and all the bridesmaids took turns getting their hair done. Aunt Debbie showed up with a Starbucks drink for all of us, and we all giggled at Devyn’s antics, even when I was supposed to be chastising her for sneaking sips of my coffee drink.
Then it was off to the church to finish getting ready, to put on dresses and makeup, watch the “First Look” between bride and groom, and be ordered to different poses and settings for wedding pictures. Those two hours flew by and before we knew it, the ceremony was about to begin. Devyn and Hudson did an amazing job, both making it down the aisle with little coaxing. Once at the front, Hudson threw the ring pillow down like he was spiking the football and then ran to Jeremy with arms up, begging to be picked up. It was the perfect introduction for Uncle Jeremy. Devyn made it to the front with the rest of the bridesmaids but halfway through the opening prayer, told me she was going to sit down and proceeded to sit with Uncle Brock and his girlfriend, Holly, for the rest of the ceremony.
A quick ride on the Limo Bus to the hotel and the party was in full swing. After a delicious dinner, meaningful toasts, the cake cutting, and appropriate dances, the dance floor never emptied. And my two little dancers never left the dance floor once! Oh, those two… they danced their little hearts out. At one point, Hudson had a circle around him as he got down to “Bringing Sexy Back”. Oh my, I have a heartbreaker on my hands!
Side note: My friend, Mandy, came up to me to relay a story that just leaves me in awe of my little girl. Mandy had gone up to Devyn to tell her what a beautiful flower girl she was and how pretty her dress was. After saying thank-you, Devyn pointed to her three-year-old cousin (second cousin? first cousin, once removed?) and said, “Look at her, isn’t her dress beautiful too?” And my heart melted. There are some things that parents just can’t teach and this is one of them. I am in awe of the gracious, loving, and sweet spirit that is my daughter; is it weird that I want to be more like her?
It was a day to remember and I’m so thankful that we were ALL able to be part of it. Christine was there, with her husband and seven-day-old daughter, and Mom was there too. (I have yet to relay what is going on with my mom and I hope to have a post on here soon.) But despite the fears and anxieties of the past weeks, it was a day to celebrate the arrival of a new brother-in-law and the birth of a new family as Courtney and Jeremy became one. It was a momentous day indeed!

My View of the Day

Friday, December 19, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-


This is what I get to stare at all day while her mommy and daddy take a much-deserved rest! Isn't she beautiful?! And I love that her cousin, the unborn cousin, keeps kicking her because she's crowding his/her space. Too funny!

Courtney Nicole

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

It was Christmas of 1985 and all the presents under the tree had been unwrapped, except for one. It was the last gift of the morning and we all held our breath as we waited to see who it was for. The box, very light in weight, was handed to Dad and he opened the present to find a poem typed on a piece of paper. And in that poem, that fateful Christmas morning, Dad, Christine, Allison, and I learned of Mom’s pregnancy with daughter #4, Courtney Nicole.

I was six years old for that announcement and I remember a lot of that pregnancy pretty vividly. During one OB appointment, I scalded myself with boiling water in the waiting room and suffered 2nd degree burns. I remember Mom running out of her exam room to hold me while the nurses tended to my burns. I remember the night that Dad gently shook me awake in my top bunk to inform me that Mom’s water had broken and it was time to go to the hospital. I remember the phone call the following morning to find out that it was another girl. I remember the baby going unnamed for three days as we tried out various different ones to see which fit best, only to settle on the name Courtney. I remember Courtney coming home in a light pink outfit, with pink rosebuds all over it. And our little team, our claim to fame as the four sisters, was complete.

Now that baby girl is all grown up, degree in hand, a new job in a new city, and getting ready to marry her high school sweetheart in just five days. I know there will be numerous tissues in hand as I watch them exchange their vows, no doubt remembering the journey of bringing her home to toddler to tomboy to all-knowing teenager to the amazing woman she has become. All while resting peacefully in the knowledge that she has picked a wonderful man who will encourage her and support her in the years ahead. And if anyone can tell Courtney when she’s wrong, Jeremy can. She and I both need that good kick in the rear from time to time, and only Jeremy and Jon seem to be the ones who can get through to us.

I love you Baby Sister, and I’m so looking forward to your special day!!

Meeting Miss Elliana

Monday, December 15, 2008 7 Comments A+ a-

Quite enamored with the newest addition.

Sharing a joke between cousins!

One of my new favorite pictures... the cousins!

We stopped by the hospital for about an hour this morning to introduce Elliana to her older cousins. Devyn is quite in love with the newest addition, constantly wanting to hold her, touch her, or kiss her. In fact, she didn't want to leave. Hudson is just curious, having to be told "gentle" and "soft" on numerous occasions. He likes to poke, what can I say?! Holding Elliana and chasing down Hudson and Devyn gave me a small idea of what I have to look forward to in just a few weeks.

Mommy is doing well, she is sore, tired, and a bit overwhelmed. They had five hospital staff visits during the one hour that we were there. I'm sure a good rest will go a long way in helping Christine. Please pray for Christine and healing from the c-section, and that Elliana will get the hang of breast-feeding. Thanks everyone for your well-wishes and prayers! They are greatly appreciated!

Presenting...

Sunday, December 14, 2008 16 Comments A+ a-

... 5 pounds and 15 ounces of pure deliciousness. Elliana Faith arrived a little after 1:00pm, after an emergency c-section. Christine's water broke about 7:45am, dilated from 5cm to 10cm in an hour, but unfortunately, her hips did not allow for a vaginal birth. Everyone is doing well and I'm quite anxious to get inside the room and hold my beautiful baby niece. Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

I'm feeling sentimental and gooey.

Friday, December 12, 2008 7 Comments A+ a-

There is no Elliana news to report. Christine and her doctor are having a discussion this afternoon about options but we are preparing ourselves for a wait.

I’m finding that preparations for the third child are more relaxed, both physically and emotionally, than the first two children. I’m four weeks out from my due date and I have yet to pack a bag for the hospital, or buy coming-home outfits, or wash and set-up the bouncer, bassinet, or baby swing. All of these things were done months before the due dates of both Hudson and Devyn. And unlike my other two pregnancies, I’m not counting down days until the due, or waiting impatiently.

I’m sure part of the reason is the time of year and all that we having going on right now; but I think a bigger part of it is that I feel like I know what to expect. There doesn’t seem to be this need to hurry up and wait. Instead, I find that I’m trying to relish the time I have left in the pregnancy, both with unborn child and these last few weeks with Devyn and Hudson as a twosome.

For anyone that knows me, or has been reading this blog for a while, know that I’m an emotional, sentimental, and feeling woman. Rarely do I approach things from a logical, list-making, black and white, perspective. My emotions lead in almost everything I do, in almost every decision I make, and this is both a good and bad thing. These next few weeks are sentimental ones for sure, for many reasons. But the one that’s foremost on my mind is that life as I know it right now, is about to change.

Hudson, my little man, my Bobo, my cuddler, my all-boy, full-speed, tiny bundle of energy, is currently the baby. This is the same boy that runs circles around our house for an hour, is up and down in the blink of an eye, is constantly taking anything resembling a bat and ball and hitting it, and yet at the first inclination of being tired or sleepy, crawls into my arms. It is simply divine. He is about to become the middle child, and has no idea how his world is about to change. I wonder how he’ll adjust to no longer being the baby; I wonder how he’ll adjust when Baby Trece is nursing or sleeping or cuddling with mom or dad; I wonder about his acceptance of a new person in the house.

I don’t have any doubts about Devyn. We’ve already transitioned to big sister and it’s a role that she flourishes in. In fact, there are times that I truly believe she’s a better mother than I am. She is quick to help Hudson with anything he needs; the first to kiss a scrape; and I can’t help but smile every time she runs up to say hi to Baby Trece, or to kiss my belly. She is quick to whisper sorry to Baby Trece if my belly is bumped and constantly mothers ME as I settle in for the night, sore from the extra weight on my bones and muscles. She tells me to lay down, to rest, and grabs a pillow and blanket to tuck me in. Yes, I have no doubts that Devyn will adjust seamlessly to the new one.

And Baby Trece, oh my sweet, sweet child. The one that is constantly moving within me, poking and prodding, turning and kicking, not to mention how often you try to insert your feet up under my ribs. I’m getting most anxious to meet you, to hold you, to kiss your tiny fingers and toes. I’m anxious to know if we’re adding another son or daughter to our lives. While I didn’t appreciate your daddy’s desire to wait to find out the gender at the time, I find that this has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of all three pregnancies. The not-knowing, the unknown, has been a sweet distraction and I constantly wonder what new dynamics you’ll bring to the family. You’ll be here before we know it and I’m so looking forward to that day!

My trio, my beautiful, wonderful trio of children. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for the wonderful blessings you are and the number of ways I’m becoming a better person because of you. My wish for all of you is that you will grow close and your relationships will become strong, for you are tied together in a way that no one will ever be able to replicate. I pray that you’ll be each other’s biggest fans, strongest defenders, and greatest encouragers; for this is probably the best gift your daddy and I will ever give you, the gift of siblinghood.

In the mean time, I’m slowing down, as if to stop time. This is more than likely the last time I will be pregnant and despite the aches and pains that accompany the last weeks, I want to cherish what it feels like to have life growing inside me. I want to focus on Devyn and Hudson and lavish as much attention as I can before their world is flipped. I want to soak in the sights and sounds of this season, especially as our extended family adds three more members to it in the form of two new babies and a new brother-in-law. This is most definitely a reflective, sentimental time for this mama.

And yes, I intend to pack that bag very, very soon.

Quick Snippets

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5 Comments A+ a-

While running wedding errands last weekend, I jokingly told Christine, “Wow, you’re bossy today!”

And then a tiny, pipsqueak of a voice chimed from the backseat, “You’re bossy too, Mommy.” Thank you, my daughter.

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Do you think it’s possible to consider something that is cold, metal, and has wheels as a comfort item? Hudson has recently discovered cars and must go to bed with a matchbox car in each hand. Not only that, he wakes up with a matchbox car in each hand too. Such a boy!

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While the kids always go to sleep in their own beds each night, there are times that they still end up in our bed by morning. Devyn has suddenly adopted the foot of the bed as her own space and this morning was no exception. Daddy was a little surprised this morning when he turned on the light and saw both my feet and Devyn’s head peeking out from the covers.

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30 days until Baby Trece’s due date…
15 days until we celebrate the birth of our Lord…
11 days (and counting) until Courtney’s wedding…
7 days until out-of-state relatives and friends start arriving…
5 days until Christine is past her due date…
1 day until my next OB appointment…

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And we still haven’t decorated yet; our poor children are so deprived this year. But I am happy to report that at least we’re done Christmas shopping.

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When disciplining Devyn earlier this week, she put hands on her hip and informed me that, “Mommy, Daddy is the boss.” While biting the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing, I was more than happy to remind her that when Daddy wasn’t around, I was the boss.

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Hudson has developed a habit from watching his daddy and continually leans back in his chair at the dinner table. Despite repeated warnings and cheeky smiles in return, we decided that perhaps a natural consequence was needed. Sure enough, Hudson tipped so far back in his chair that he fell over and needless to say, a lesson was learned that night.

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The best sound at night is listening to the delighted laughter of our children playing together; the two of them are now inseparable and the best of friends. It won't always be like this but I'm soaking it in while I can.

The Correct Perspective

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 10 Comments A+ a-

There are times that fear, and doubt, definitely get the better of me. When those times arise, I can hear the lies being thrown at me and I realize that this is NOT what trust looks like. Even while my head realizes that I’m buying into the lies, my heart has a hard time accepting it.

Early this morning, around 4:00am again, I laid in bed wide-awake for over an hour as I obsessed and mulled over the fact that my income is being cut in half very, very soon. “What am I thinking?” I wondered. “How can we possibly make this work?” And yet, even in the midst of these thoughts, I could sense the Truth, begging to be heard over the lies running through my mind.

I know, KNOW, this is the right thing for us! This has been something we’ve worked towards since Devyn was born. We know that this was our only decision when presented with the options of full-time or 20 hours per week. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the right decision was made. Yet as I tearfully talked to Jon about it this morning, the thought of lost income was overwhelming.

My sister, Christine, is facing much of the same fears as I, but as always she is the most trusting and faithful sister. Everything about her demeanor, her countenance, shows an unwavering faith that God will provide for their needs. Even if the budget looks undoable on paper, she is trusting that it will all work. And then she said something to me this morning that put everything back into perspective.

“Jenn, we will never get these years back.”

And she’s so right! My children may not get to have all of the opportunities that other kids get, but they will have more of their mama. And I will get to have more of these years with them. I’ve already missed out on four years of Devyn’s life, and there is only a year and a half left before I bundle her off to kindergarten every day. I intend to make the most of that time!

I’m sure the doubts and lies will continue to sneak in from time to time, after all, that is our enemy’s choice way of doing battle, isn’t it?! But I will do my best to continue to trust God for our needs. Not to mention, that it will be good for me to remember true needs vs. wants. And I’m especially thankful for a husband and sister who are willing to offer support and encouragement during my moments of doubt.

Trying to Surrender

Sunday, December 07, 2008 6 Comments A+ a-

You would think that after everything that has happened this year that I would have learned a lesson or two about trusting God and His timing for everything. But once again I find myself having to "relearn" those same lessons.

Courtney’s wedding is coming fast, very fast. In two very short weeks, we’ll be primping and getting ready to walk down the aisle and watch Courtney and Jeremy exchange vows. These last weeks include last minute alterations on dresses, hair and nail appointments, preparing for out-of-state relatives and friends, holiday shopping, and last, but certainly not least, the arrival of a little baby girl, Miss Elliana Faith.

With the dawning of each new day and Christine has not yet gone into labor, is another day that brings a stressor to the family. We’ve known this whole time that Christine’s due date was five days before the wedding and it was cutting it close; we’ve just always assumed that Elliana would be here by now. Each day Christine gets a little more miserable as she continues to contract but stays dilated at 3cm. Each day Courtney wonders and worries whether or not her sister, and soloist, will be at her wedding. This is downright inconvenient, we bemoan. Doesn’t God know what’s at stake here?!

And then there’s the little one that I’m carrying. After having two children already, I thought there were few surprises in store for this mama. And yet, this pregnancy has brought nothing but surprises. On Friday morning, Jon rolled over in bed and whispered that I should probably pack a bag for the hospital. I smiled my knowing smile and said there was no hurry; this little one isn’t arriving until after January 1st. Jon gently reminded me that my plans aren’t always God’s plans. I hmpffed and rolled out of bed.

Sure enough at my doctor appointment that afternoon, I learned that Jon may be right. With both Devyn and Hudson I always measured two weeks behind; I was often sent in for ultrasounds to make sure they were growing ok and they always were, just small babies from a small mama. However, with this pregnancy, not only have I not once measured behind, I’m actually measuring two weeks ahead! I have my reasons for wanting to wait until January 1st, one of which is that I want Courtney at the birth and they don’t return from their honeymoon until then. But as Jon said, God may have other plans.

I’m trying, really trying, to surrender my plans for Baby Trece, and our family’s plans for Baby Elliana. I don’t know the whos, whats, or whens for these situations and I need to be comfortable with the unknown. I’m surrendering my need to know and plan out each detail. I’m surrendering the idea that I know what’s best and when the timing should happen for both. I’m surrendering to the fact that no matter what happens in the coming weeks, none of it is a surprise to Him and I can trust that His plan is best.

But it doesn’t hurt to continue to pray for the earlier arrival of Miss Elliana Faith and the later arrival of Baby Trece. After all, a girl can still hope, right?!

First Snow Storm

Thursday, December 04, 2008 7 Comments A+ a-

While Daddy is putting in 12- and 16-hour days right now, Devyn and Hudson are enjoying the first real snow storm of the season.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 01, 2008 6 Comments A+ a-