My Thoughts on 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-

Last January, I wrote about how I was going to dedicate one word to 2010 and that word was Authenticity.  As we’re about to embark on a new year, I’m forced to evaluate how I lived out that challenge.  As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t help but feel that I fell short of that goal.

As events unfolded in 2010, I found myself withdrawing more and spending more time in self-reflection.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I was able to convey my struggles and reflections as eloquently and as transparently as I would have liked.  As much as I like to be real and transparent with family, friends, and on the blog, I lacked the motivation to do so.  I’m a little discouraged that I wasn’t able to do follow through on my objective.

I then turned my thoughts to what word would have described this year and I kept coming back to Faith.  And perhaps not in the ways you might think.

2009 and early 2010 was the time in which I matured the most as a Christian.  I was so eager for Him, His words, His thoughts, His presence; I’ve never felt such a thirst for my Lord in all my 30 years.  It was unquenchable and I can’t tell you how much I grew and learned during that time. 

Then the Lord started challenging me, asking Jon and I to take leaps out of our comfort zone and into a full reliance on Him.  Even though I was sure that I was ready for those steps, I’m embarrassed to say that my actions proved otherwise. 

They were not steps or leaps borne of the Lord’s confidence, but with such fear and timidity.  With each new event, I found myself drifting further away from my daily quiet times and dependence on Him.  I worried over circumstances and depended more on our human weaknesses than my Lord’s strengths.

And yet, I’m still thankful and proud of the fact that no matter how we feared, we still obeyed Him and took the steps He asked of us, uncertain of where He was leading.  And perhaps, too, the year of spiritual maturity and growth sustained my Faith this year, when I walked more in the valleys than the mountain tops. 

While I wish I had shared the struggles of this year with you all in a more authentic way, I’m also very aware that God worked a different theme in my life this year.  I’m not done being refined by Him (and the refinement process is not fun, my friends), but I do hope that 2011 will bring more consistent quiet times with my Lord and I’m praying for the unquenchable thirst to return.  He and I are in the midst of talking about themes for 2011, and I wonder where He’ll walk me this year.

Happy Birthday, Rea-Rea!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 6 Comments A+ a-

Two years ago, she broke the mold and arrived 13 days early in a somewhat traumatic fashion.  Two years ago I cuddled the five pound, 10 oz bundle of baby girl, the only one of our children whose gender we didn’t find out before-hand, and marveled at the tiny preemie clothes that fit her.  It has been a whirlwind of two years as we got to know our second daughter, her quirks, her personality, the idiosyncrasies that make her distinctly Reagan.

ReaganLittleSisterCollageHappy Birthday to the Little Sister… who is determined to make her mark… who tries so very hard to prove herself… who feels that if Devyn and Hudson can do it, she can do it better… who will toe the line just to tease Hudson mercilessly… who will play dolls and house with Devyn or cars with Hudson… who not only takes it, but dishes it out.

ReaganBigSisterCollageHappy Birthday to the Big Sister… who acclimated to a newborn far better than I ever imagined… who brings blankets when she feels Ashlynn is cold… who plugs a cry with a pacifier and is more than willing to share her own… who insists on equal holding time… who whispers “Hi Baby” before sharing a kiss.

ReaganCollage2Happy Birthday to the Daughter… who shares an impish smile before doing something she knows is wrong… who glances over her shoulder as she tests the limit to see if we’re watching… who grabs our hands and begs for a dance… who will cuddle into our shoulder as she tires out… who pulls out her paci before leaning in for a gentle kiss… who astounds us with her extensive vocabulary… who can’t hide a thought or emotion from us with her expressive face… who brightens our lives just by existing.

ReaganCollage1Happy Birthday to the Girl…  who sings to herself or to her dolls… who will tell stories in her jibberish… who likes to “read” in bed before she falls asleep… who needs enough sleep, and to wake up on her own, or there is a price to pay… who needs a full tummy to stay in a good mood… who will wag her finger at her mother in a clear “Get that camera out of my face” way… who is hilarious… and bright… and temperamental… and feisty… and ours.

Happy Birthday, Reagan Jacqueline!  Life would be so boring without you!

Stopping for Small Moments

Monday, December 27, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

SistersMyHeart

Jon went back to work for the 1st time since Ashlynn was born today.  My house is a wreck.  There are piles of Christmas loot all over the house that need to find homes, I have approximately 3-4 loads of laundry to fold, I’ve yet to shower or get dressed today, and I’m relying a little to much on Devyn to be my little helper.  (If only she wasn’t so good at it!)  I was in the middle of loading the dishwasher when I peeked into the living room to this scene and my heart stopped.  This is what life is all about… a small moment of catching the love between two sisters.  I need to remember to stop for the small moments more often.

Labor of Love

Friday, December 24, 2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Labor of Love
by Andrew Peterson

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Glory to God In the Highest

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 0 Comments A+ a-

This was originally posted in December of 2007.

It was a dark night; there were fewer stars out tonight, hence less light to do his job. He looked out among the herd, mentally calculating the number of sheep. He smiled to himself, they were all there; he could relax once again. The glow of the fire highlighted the faces of the other men with him; some were dozing, trying to rest as they awaited their next rotation; others were warming their hands, rubbing them over and over as they chatted amongst themselves; and still others were keeping a wary eye over the herd. They had sent Cephas out to walk the perimeter, to ensure that a predator wasn't hiding among the hills or bushes, ready to snatch a wayward lamb.

He was a man of few words; conversation was rarely needed for the job he did. He bent down to scratch dirt-encrusted calves, wincing with each movement. He was tired, that was certain; they'd been out here for weeks and he'd almost reached his patience threshold. He was ready for a warm bath, a good night's sleep, and freshly-laundered clothes, but these would have to wait. Instead he turned his attention back to the herd and the black night. Again, he smiled. His might not be the most coveted of jobs but he enjoyed the stillness, the quiet the job brought. Not to mention the beauty of the night landscape. Off in the distance, the town of Bethlehem stood on a hill; various lamps and lights dotting the horizon. It was beautiful out here and he'd learned to enjoy such simple views.

Suddenly, in the distance, he heard a horn; a sound unlike anything he'd ever heard before. He glanced around the men, to see if they had heard it too, or to see if he really was losing his mind. Even the men that had been sleeping had risen to their feet, looking around to find what had woken them. There! The horn sounded off again. He searched the dark sky to see what was giving such melodious music. And then before his very eyes, there shone a bright light. He shielded his eyes, wondering how day had arrived so suddenly, where moments ago night still covered them. He could hear some of the men cowering on the ground, begging for their lives, asking Yahweh to save them. He was half-tempted to join them, this was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before. Then the sky was filled beautiful music, the words drifted over him.

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King!"

He fell to his knees as the sky filled with a heavenly choir. Angels, dozens of them, spread across the horizon; their light so bright he could barely look at them without his eyes burning. To the left and the right, angels stood with horns; their long, drawn-out notes punctuating each word.

"Joy to the earth; the Savior reigns!"

Who were these beings?! It was obvious that God had send this heavenly host, but why to sheep herders? What had he done to deserve such news, or to see such sights? He was humbled to his very core. An angel stepped forward, away from the others and came close to the men.

Don’t be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."

And with a final verse, a final truimphant blast of the horn, day returned to night and the men were left to talk amongst themselves. As the rest of them debated about what what they had seen and what they should do; he found himself too awed, too thunderstruck to join in. What had just happened here was nothing short of miracle. He heard a shout in the distance and turned to watch Cephas tripping over himself to reach the others.

"Did you see that?" he asked of the other herders. "Did you see that beautiful choir?"

Yes, they shook their heads; some still unbelieving what their eyes had seen. Cephas turned his head and with wide eyes asked, "What should we do?"

The herder came to his feet, grabbed his staff, and announced, "We go! We find this babe, the savior of the world and we rejoice!" With his announcement, he turned toward Bethlehem. As the men scrambled to join him on the trek, he smiled to himself. Never had his heart felt so light, so happy, so... so... so full of joy! A savior had been born! His Savior! What wonderful news for all the earth.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

A Sweet Snooze

Monday, December 20, 2010 6 Comments A+ a-

We took the kids to visit Santa this afternoon, and reactions were varied.

Devyn couldn't wait to sit on his lap and was more than willing to share with him what she wanted for Christmas... and what Hudson and Reagan wanted too. Heck, she even vouched for Ashlynn. Hudson wanted nothing to do with sitting on Santa's lap, but eventually ventured forward to at least share his Christmas wish. And Reagan wanted absolutely nothing to do with Santa, whatsoever. No sitting in his lap, no smile, and definitely no eye contact.

Ashlynn slept through her visit with St Nick, thus allowing the man in red a quick snooze with the two-week-old. And to commemorate her first visit with Santa, he reached into a pouch and pulled out her first Christmas bell. Overall, I'd consider it a successful visit.

A Great Man

Monday, December 20, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-

I've written about Jon's grandpa on a number of occasions on this blog.  I wrote about a fishing trip here, a generational legacy, and we've made numerous memories at his cabin.  If you follow my tweets, then you know where this post is headed.  But before I dive in, I feel like I need to relay the importance of Grandpa in our lives.  When I fell in love with Jon, I fell just as hard for Grandpa.  Jon is who he is today because of him; Grandpa's influence on Jon is written all over every area of his life.  Grandpa has left a distinguishable fingerprint on Jon, and in turn me.  He is a man of great strength, character, and faith.

Last Sunday, we celebrated Grandma and Grandpa 60th wedding anniversary, an anniversary few see or reach.  An example of marriage rooted in God and commitment.  Its a beautiful sight to behold, and I pray that Jon and I get to reach the same milestone.

Its amazing how fast life can change; less than a week later, Grandpa was in the ER not feeling well.  There were a number of different diagnoses, but one has floated to the surface and we have an official diagnosis of Acute Leukemia.  We're still waiting on which type of leukemia and how advanced the disease has spread.  We do know he's going in for surgery tonight to receive a port and is starting chemotherapy tomorrow.  Grandpa is looking to spend the next month in the hospital, receiving chemo for seven days, another medication for three days, then another round of chemo for seven days again.

We're asking for your prayers!  We're praying for wisdom for the doctors, peace for the family, strength and a desire to fight for Grandpa, and a positive attitude for all.  I know this, if anyone can beat this, its Grandpa.  He is one of the most stubborn, strong-willed men I've met and I pray those traits will serve him well through this valley.  He truly is one of the greats!

A Newborn Babe

Thursday, December 16, 2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Until I can find some time to put together some coherent thoughts, I’m reposting some of my favorite Christmas posts from previous years.  This was originally posted in December of last year, and I still love the picture Beth Moore created.  I pray it touches you too.  From Beth Moore's study, Jesus - 90 Days with the One and Only. Beth Moore is very clear, "... this is strictly fiction. I just invite you to imagine with me what Mary's first moments might have been like..." Enjoy.

Her body lay sapped of strength, her eyes were heavily closed, but her mind refused to give way to rest. She ached for her mother. She wondered if she yet believed her. She heard the labored breathing of the man sleeping a few feet from her. Only months before he was little more than a stranger to her. She knew only what she’d been told and what she could read in occasional shy glances. She had been told he was a good man. Over the last few days, she found out he was far more than a good man. No man, no matter how kind, could have done what he had done. She wondered how long it had been since he’s really rested.

A calf, only a few days old, awakened hungry and could not find its mother. The stir awakened the baby, who also squirmed to find His mother. Scarcely before she could move her tender frame toward the manger, He became to wail! She scooped Him in her arms, her long hair draping over His face, and she quietly slipped out of the gate. She gingerly sat down and leaned against the outside of the stable, propped the baby on her small lap, and taking a strip of linen and tying back her hair, she began to stare into His tiny face. She had not yet seen Him in the light.

She had never seen the moon so bright. The night was nearly as light as the day. Only hours old, His chin quivered, not from the cold, but from the sudden exposure of birth. His eyes were shaped like almonds and were as black as the deepest well. She held Him tightly and quietly hummed a song she’d learned as a child. She had been so frightened of this moment, so sure she would not know what to do. She had never held an infant so small, and He was God, wrapped in soft, infant flesh, with bones so fragile she felt like He could break. She had pictured this moment so many times. What would the Son of the Spirit look like? She never expected Him to look so normal, so common. Must have been the part He inherited from His mother. She was so sure she’d feel so terribly awkward. So afraid she’d drop Him – the Messiah – and God would be awfully sorry He had given Him to her! Instead, every fear, every doubt, every inadequacy was momentarily caught up in the indescribable rapture of a mother’s affection.

She remembered asking Elizabeth things she dared not ask her father and mother. Once when they were walking together at the end of the day, the wind blew her cousin’s robes against her, and like a curious teenager, Mary tried her hardest to catch a good glimpse of Elizabeth’s rounded middle. At the time she herself had no physical evidence that God’s promise was true. But she had enough faith to ask endless questions. What am I to do when He comes? Her cousin’s reply would remain forever etched upon Mary’s heart long after He had saved the world. He will tell you what He needs from you. Beyond what He needs, all He wants is for you to embrace Him and talk to Him.

She looked back into His delicate face and watched Him closely as He seemed to stare deeply into the moonlit sky. And she began to talk. “Sweet baby boy. Do You know who Your Daddy is? Do You know Your name? Do You know why You’re here? What do You see when You look out there? Can You see the stars? Do You remember their names? Do You think I’ll do ok? Will You love me too?” A tear dropped from her chin to His. He yawned and made such a funny expression she grinned, wiping her face on the yellowed rags she’d draped around Him. The fussing calf had obviously found its mother. Not a sound was coming from inside the stable. The earth stilled. The infant slept. She held the babe next to her face, and for just a moment, all the world was silent to the breath of God.

She closed her eyes and listened, stealing time like a hidden metronome, as high and as wide as she dared to think, but still she could not begin to comprehend. She, a common child of the most humble means who never read the Scriptures for herself, was embracing the incarnate Word. The fullness of the Godhead rested in her inexperienced arms, sleeping to the rhythm of her heart. This time she hummed a song she did not know, a song being sung by the choirs of angels hovering over her head but hidden from her carnal senses. The deafening hallelujahs of the heavenly hosts were silent to mortal ears except through the sounds of a young woman’s voice who had unknowingly given human notes to a Holy score. The glory of God filled the earth. Heaven hammered out a bridge, but one young woman sat completely unaware of all that swelled the atmosphere around her. The tiny baby boy had robbed her heart. “So, this is how it feels to be a mother,” she mused.

She crept back into the stable, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in the manger. Just down the path, the sun peeked gently over the roof of an inn full of barren souls who had made Him no room.

December Short Takes

Sunday, December 12, 2010 5 Comments A+ a-

Each year we give the kids approximately $10 to buy gifts for our family, and take them to our local dollar store; we feel it’s a great way to introduce them to the concept of giving.  We try to lead them to the general direction of items that might of interest to the recipient, but we never dictate what they should give.  Each child decides on their own what they want to give to each family member, which can lead to some interesting choices.

Devyn and I finished her shopping last week and we came down to the final person on her list… me.  We agreed that I’d wander around the front of the store while I let her pick out my gift by herself.  Approximately 15 minutes later she reappeared by my side with her hands behind her back, clutching her selection.  She had the most pleased expression on her face, and kept reminding me not to look. 

As I handed her the bills to pay for her gifts, I stood at the end of the register and let her finish her purchase.  And despite her best intentions to hide my gift from my eyes, I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse.  I had to bite my cheek quite hard to keep from smiling at the box of kleenex she’d chosen for me.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

************************************

LookALikesAnyone care to wager a guess on who these precious babies are?

************************************

Hudson ran to his room and grabbed the bag of presents from his closet, the hiding place he’d chosen for his gifts after our shopping trip.  He raced up to Reagan, rummaged through the bag, and pulled out the jump rope he’d chosen for Reagan.  He extended the jump rope to Reagan, as if to give it to her.  But when Reagan reached for her gift, he coyly pulled it away and shook his finger in her face.  “You gotta wait until Christmas, Reagan.”  Color her confused.

************************************

MyHeartCollageMy beautiful girls… My beautiful kids… My cup overflows…

************************************

Devyn: “Daddy, I can’t tell you what I bought you.  But I can tell you the color, its clear.”

Jon: “Um, let me guess, a tackle box.”

Devyn: “No Daddy!  I can’t tell you!  But it is fragile.”

Jon (turning to me): “Is it a b-e-e-r m-u-g?”  (We’re quickly approaching the point where we can’t spell things in front of her anymore.)

Devyn: “I can tell you its NOT a cup!”

Way to keep a secret Devyn Paige, we’ve never been more proud!

Her Arrival, Part 2

Thursday, December 09, 2010 16 Comments A+ a-

My sincere apologies, everyone!  I truly didn’t intend to be so cruel in my cliff-hanger…  I just saw how long the birth story was getting and thought that would be a great place to end it.  Please, no mutiny!  You can read the 1st part here.

Jon and I exchanged one look and both quickly shook our heads no at the suggestion of an ambulance.  “I’ll be able to get her there a lot faster than an ambulance could,” Jon reasoned.  And when Dr. Susie was reminded that Jon was First Responder Certified, she asked if he was prepared to birth a baby in the car.  Jon’s reply?  “I could if I have to, but I’d rather not.”  Dr. Susie finally relented the idea of an ambulance and shooed us out the door after we promised to head straight to the hospital, to which we laughed.  As if we had anywhere else we had to be.

We both had our cell phones out and dialing various family and friends before we reached the car.  I tried Mom, then a couple of sisters, only to reach their voicemails.  I finally got a hold of Christine and was only able to utter the words, “Seven centimeters.  Hospital now.  Please hurry!”  I called my friend, Cassie, who agree to pick the kids up from my parents house and Jon relayed that information to Mom, who was frantic to get to the hospital after missing out on Reagan’s birth.  Between calls and a couple of contractions, Jon and I made many jokes about the morning’s events on our way to the hospital.  And truth be told, I don’t think his driving was any different than how he normally drives.  Take that as you want.

BirthCollage1Jon dropped me and my purse off at the entrance and I made my way up to the Labor and Delivery floor.  I had to pause a couple of times in the hallways for the strong contractions, and thankfully no one bothered my by asking if they could help or if I was all right.  I would have walked a fine line between annoyed and mortified if they had.  Jon met me on the 3rd floor, and we were led to my room where we were given the same directions that I’d been given the two previous times before.  While in the bathroom changing, I had two intense contractions that almost made me cry out to Jon for help.  And if I could have talked, I probably would have.

Finally I was settled into the bed where I promptly asked for the epidural.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize that I was probably already at 8cm (much like I was when giving birth to Hudson) but I didn’t care.  I have no desire to feel pain and if I can go through birthing a child without it, I’ll gladly take the pain-free route.  Dr. Susie had obviously called ahead and given the nurses all the information they needed, as I suddenly had four nurses by my side, each one doing something different.  One administered an IV, one attached the monitors, another was already notifying the anesthesiologist that they were needed, etc.  It was like a well-oiled machine.

BirthCollage2Mom arrived, followed by Jon’s mom, then the requested anesthesiologist, and in the midst of receiving the best epidural of all four deliveries, I had THE most intense contraction.  I know that I squeezed Jon’s hand too hard, but in that moment, all I could think was, “Thank the lord, I won’t be feeling any more of those!”  I profusely thanked the the kind doctor for the lack of pain I was now feeling, and was instantly smiling again.  I no longer had to fear the idea of giving birth without one.

The next couple of hours blurred together as everyone who needed to be there arrived, even Courtney who had to drive from 55 miles away in less than 40 minutes.  Dr. Susie arrived and explained why she wasn’t checking my process again, that since I was Strep B Positive, the less she checked the less likely for infection or making things go faster than they already were going.  And even though all three youngest kids had tested positive and we were well-familiar with the process of antibiotics, she went through the explanation again.  In fact, soon after she explained why they were afraid of my water breaking and not having the antibiotics in my system for long enough time, my water broke on its own.  We were now 3 for 4 with water breaking naturally.

BirthCollage3As the wait lengthened, there was talk of lunch and whether or not they dared leave after their experience of leaving for dinner when I was giving birth to Devyn.  And just like with Devyn, Dr. Susie, Jon, and I assured them that they had plenty of time to grab some lunch.  Yet once everyone had gone to the cafeteria, Dr. Susie finally decided to check me and that’s when she announced that I was almost 10cm and ready to push.  And just like with Devyn, we were frantically calling everyone to let them know they should probably return as soon as possible.  Only this time, we weren’t getting a hold of anyone as the cafeteria had spotty reception, at best.  Finally, (finally!) we got a hold of someone and waited for them to arrive and Dr. Susie and the nurses moved everything into place as we prepared for Ashlynn’s arrival.

BirthCollage4About the time everyone got back to the room, Dr. Susie was already having me starting to practice pushing.  Just as she had Jon lean over and take a look at Baby’s head, I saw my husband turn as white as a sheet, bark an order at Courtney to “Take over!”, and sat down to catch his breath.  Suddenly all attention turned from me and to the father-of-four who had never gotten light-headed in the delivery room before.  He was ordered to put his head between his legs, and we were all surprised when he ran to the bathroom to empty the contents from his stomach.  When he returned and despite all his insistences that he was fine, a cold wash cloth was laid across his brow and a student nurse stood behind him.  Just in case.

The attention returned to the birth at hand and Dr. Susie kept asking if I had any urge to push.  Unfortunately, unlike the epidurals with the other three, this epidural had worked SO well, that I wasn’t feeling anything and we relied on the monitors to tell us when I was having contraction to help with pushing.  With Hudson I only had to push three times and with Reagan, I pushed once, so I was a little surprised that I had to work harder with Ashlynn.  I guess that’s what I get for making assumptions again.  (And yes, I’m very aware that many women have to push for a lot longer than the 10 minutes I had to push with Ashlynn; it was just a surprise based on my own frame of reference.  Ok, I’ll stop now.) 

BirthCollage5But finally… after three (almost four) weeks of false labor, excruciating back pain and pelvic pressure, after two visits to the hospital and another two to the doctor’s office, she was finally here.  All six pounds, eight ounces, and nineteen inches of her.  She’s currently laying beside me as I type out this birth story.  The older three are distracted from fighting over her by watching “Horton Hears a Who” and I’m awed that eight days ago, she was nestled snug inside me and now none of us can imagine life without her.  Welcome to this crazy life, Miss Ashlynn Rose!

Her Arrival, Part 1

Wednesday, December 08, 2010 10 Comments A+ a-

I felt the 1st contraction at 8:00am, while I put the finishing touches on Devyn’s hair.  I paused mid-brush and had to breathe through the pain, finally relaxing once I felt the contraction crest and then to start to ease.  “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself.  “That one really hurt!”  Then proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes getting the kids ready, out the door, and to my parent’s house so Devyn and Hudson could attend bible study with Nana.  Just as I pulled into the driveway, another strong contraction started and I was unable to move from the driver’s seat until it started to subside.

I unloaded the kids from the car and we made our way into the house, loaded down with the diaper bag, my laptop, and coats and shoes that had yet to be put on.  As we sat at the kitchen table admiring the new advent calendars that my parents had bought the kids, another contraction started and ended with my mom watching my face carefully.  I just waved my hand, indicating that it was nothing, probably more false labor.  However, within a matter of 10 minutes, I had three strong contractions and I finally said the words I’d been thinking out loud, “Mom, I’m not sure you should go to bible study today.”  And Mom was completely convinced after another contraction started within seconds of that announcement.

I called Jon and the doctor’s office, telling both that I needed to come in for a labor check.  You could hear the placating tones in everyone’s voices as they’d been dealing with my labor checks for a few weeks now.  Mom agreed to watch the kids for me, and Jon said he’d meet me there.  As I started driving away from my parents, I started making the needed calls to friends to be on stand-by, that I might just need them to watch Hudson and Reagan for me today after all.  I was so caught up in the urgency of the events that I’d forgotten to take out the kids carseats and flipped a U-turn to do just that.  Finally, a little over an hour after my first contraction, I was on my way to the doctor’s office.

Mom had wondered out loud if I was capable of driving myself to the doctor’s office and I assured her I was fine, that I wasn’t entirely convinced myself that I was experiencing the real deal.  There were a couple of smaller contractions on the way, but about two miles from the doctor’s office one contraction was so strong and so powerful that I contemplated pulling over to the side of the road until it was done.  One thing was certain, I was pretty sure I shouldn’t be driving.

When I finally got to the doctor’s office, Jon was already waiting inside, and I shot him a weak smile as I leaned against the front counter waiting for the next contraction to lessen.  I was called back to an exam room shortly after that where I sat second-guessing whether or not this was the real thing, yet cursing Jon when he told me that he fully expected to go back to work.  But when another contraction started, all doubt vanished.  These were simply taking my breath away.

I could hear my doctor talking to a patient in another exam room, and I could feel myself getting annoyed, wondering why they didn’t feel the same urgency as I did.  When the second contraction started easing, I looked at Jon and said, “If she’s not here in three minutes, you’re going to look for her.”  Jon’s response was to roll his eyes, but not long after, Dr. Susie walked into the room.  We went over the morning’s events and as I started to get into position for her to check my progress, the third contraction since I’d walked into the room started; Jon gripped my hand as I breathed my way through the worst of it.

I carefully watched Dr. Susie’s face as she examined me and the look on her face said it all, without a doubt I was being sent to the hospital.  “Jenn,” she started, “you’re definitely having a baby today.  You’re already seven centimeters.”  I breathed a sigh of relief at her words, happy that I wasn’t going home without my baby in my arms, relieved that I wouldn’t have to face induction after all. 

But Dr. Susie still look concerned and asked me again how fast the others had come, and when she frowned at my answers, I finally asked her if everything was ok.  She slowly nodded yes and said, “I’m just concerned about whether or not we have enough time to get to the hospital.  I think I should call you an ambulance.”

…to be continued…

Sisters

Sunday, December 05, 2010 5 Comments A+ a-

Loving the opposites in our youngest girls. Reagan with her blond curls, blue eyes, and light complexion. And Ashlynn our little dark beauty!

Now if we can just teach Reagan that fingers don't belong in Ashlynn's eyes, ears, mouth, or nose...

The Face We’ve Been Admiring

Friday, December 03, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

Picnik collage1

Just some quick peeks at the face we’ve been admiring the past few days!  And a few random thoughts to jot down for prosperity’s sake…

  • Overall, she is a really good baby.  She does have her fussy moments, usually between 3:00 and 5:00am, but that’s ok as nights will probably be our few times to be alone.
  • She has a full head of black hair, black eyebrows, and eye color that i have no doubt will be brown in a matter of months.  I am overjoyed as I’d completely given up hope on any of the kids having my coloring… and have bowed to Jon’s superior genes with blond, curly hair and blue eyes.
  • She instantly recognized Hudson’s voice and turned her head the first time she heard it.  It was amazing!
  • She is a great nurser and latched on immediately after birth.  I have no doubt that she played a major part in my milk coming in on the 2nd day. 
  • Ashlynn lost 8ozs in the hospital, bringing her discharge weight to an even 6lbs.  Nothing to be concerned about, and I have no doubt she’ll make it up in the days to come.
  • We see so much of Devyn in little Ashlynn’s face, but as the days pass, she’ll share a look or two that is definitely Reagan.  We believe Ashlynn has Devyn’s nose (courtesy of Uncle Brock) and Hudson’s lips (courtesy of Aunt Christine), and are having fun watching genetics play out.
  • The kids are doing ok, with Devyn stepping into her patient, big sister role seamlessly.  Hudson and Reagan have both taken to Ashlynn so well and now its a fight as to who gets to hold Miss A next.  In fact, don’t be surprised if you come to visit and Reagan won’t share.  In her words, “My baby.”

I’m thankful for a husband who is taking the new few weeks off to help the adjustment go easier; I’m thankful to the family and friends who were willing to watch the kids for us while we stayed in the hospital and got to bond with our newest little girl; and thankful to Jon’s mom who simply polished our house from top to bottom for us.  What a blessing to come home to!

I’ll be sure to share more later.  I’m especially looking forward to sharing Miss A’s birth story with you all, there was plenty of excitement as she arrived the fastest of all our babies.

She's Here!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 35 Comments A+ a-

Just when we thought she'd was content to stay where she was, she finally made her arrival.

Ashlynn Rose
December 1, 2010, 1:10pm
6lbs, 8ozs, and 19 inches

We think she looks very much like Devyn. I'm sure more pictures will be up shortly. Thanks for all your prayers!