Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections & Resolution

A year ago today I was preparing for our big New Year's Eve party with a little hope in my step.
It had been a very challenging year for Truman and I and I was anticipating a fresh start with a little more predictability...ha! Little did I know that a few weeks later I would be finding out that I was pregnant :)

2012 has brought many trials, but along with those trials came great joy that I didn't know my life was capable of receiving. Bringing life into this world has been an incredible gift. Along with a deep love for my new daughter came a new, deeper love for my husband. He has been dragged through the mud when it comes to school and work. He studied countless hours (even after he graduated), took odd jobs, and dealt with a lot of unanticipated stress. All so that he could take care of his family and so I could stay home with the little one. He is the definition of a selfless man and that was so apparent to me this year. He loves me well, and for that I am truly grateful.

I am happy to say that he now has a job that he enjoys and I think will flourish in. Though we are moving to Omaha because of it, I am excited for what adventures my little family will be met with. I have wrestled with my feelings of moving back to Omaha for the past month and I have come to a state of peace (only by the grace of God). I am determined to focus on a life of gratitude which brings about true joy. Not happiness, but joy. There is a difference and I'm ready to experience it. 

Which brings me to my resolutions...
I know the word "resolutions" is overused during the new year and often written off as a few goals that won't last past February. But I have been forming these goals for the past few months and hope them to be life-long rather than the duration of a year. The plans of settling down in Omaha has brought on a lot of anxiety. We love Lincoln and were in agreement that we wanted to raise a family here. It is apparent that the Lord does not want us here at this time in our lives so we are trusting him and making the transition. I want to be VERY intentional this time about how I live. A big move like this brings lots of opportunity for change and I am thankful for that. A few of my/our goals are...

1. Living intentionally with relationships. Our church, 2 Pillars, has really challenged and encouraged me to be very intentional with my relationships. The gospel is not separate from the rest of our lives. It can be lived out through work, marriage, relationships and I plan to do so. Because I stay at home, our neighborhood will be my main focus. I'm a total introvert when it comes to making friends so this will require a lot of help from the holy spirit. But I want to challenge myself to get past the "acquaintance" phase. I don't want to get stuck in friendships where the topics revolve around weather and the Huskers. I want to invest myself.

2. Getting plugged in at Coram Deo. We are thankful to have a great church waiting for us in Omaha. Coram Deo is the sister church to 2 Pillars so I'm excited for the transition. However, we did a terrible job of getting plugged in last time so I am determined to do so this go around. 

3. Re-write a budget (and get out of debt!) This one doesn't need a whole lot of explaining. I'm terrible with finances, but since I'm staying home I'll be taking on a lot of the responsibility when dealing with bills, groceries, etc. I want Truman to trust me with our finances and I want to always be thankful for what we have so I don't fall into the trap of wanting more and living above our means. 

4. Technology ban. I get into the habit of waking up and checking my email, facebook, instagram, etc. right away. I want to make my quiet time a much higher priority and discipline myself more when it comes to spending time on the internet and my phone. 

5. And finally, choose a life of gratitude. I want to spend a little more time on this one so I'll write a separate blog about it. 

I really am excited for 2013 and our move to Omaha. Of course, there is nothing predictable about it, but I'm learning that joy can be found in even the most chaotic circumstance. Famous last words, right? :)

So long 2012 and cheers to a new year. 
Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

It was our first Christmas as a family of three. However, I anticipate that next year will be more exciting when Penny can actually understand what is going on. She got plenty of snuggles in with her grandparents and uncles/aunts which is always fun to watch.
 We spent some time in Central City on the river and it was so. beautiful. Watching a winter sun rise and sun set is one of my favorite things about long as I'm watching from inside by a fireplace :)
Pen got so much attention from our family and loved every minute of it. She LOVES to be held.
Getting some lovin' from Grandma.
 On Christmas morning, we tucked her in between us and slept late. It was my favorite memory from the holiday. I watched my two loves sleep soundly and my world was perfect. 
We wanted to see Les Mis really bad but I was nervous to bring Penny to a movie. We decided to give it a try and she slept most of the time! I panicked when I realized it was 2 hours and 40 minutes but I just stood in the back of the theater and bounced with her for the other half. She LOVED to watch the big screen and she even started to sing along with the music. I'm sure the people by us weren't as enamored as I was :) 

The movie was so, so good. I'm hard to please when it comes to movies but I would easily chart this up to one of the best movies I've ever seen. I had goosebumps almost the entire time and by the end the whole audience was sniffling. Such a great musical and the movie really does it justice. Towards the end of the film things start to get super emotional and as I was rocking Penny in the back I noticed an older man take his glasses off and wipe a couple tears away. I love noticing little moments like that. 
We decided not to get Pen very many gifts this year since we knew she'd be spoiled by grandparents. I couldn't help myself and had to get her a pair of baby moccs. Slightly too big right now, but I can't wait until she's running around in them!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Even though Christmas is a fun time to get together with family and celebrate, I think it's amazing that the celebration of Jesus' saving grace doesn't have to stop on the 26th! So thankful for that.
Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Tribute to Beans

We had to make a very difficult decision and say goodbye to our first baby, Coco Bean.
When Penny joined our family, I knew it would change how much attention we could give Coco, but I was determined to make it work. But as the weeks went by, it became harder and harder to give her the love and attention she needed and deserved. I had to put aside my own selfishness of wanting to keep her and do what's best for her. It has been a hard weekend for me and it will take some time to get used to a house without Bean. 
I wanted to dedicate a post to our wonderful three years with her...
I have so many great memories with Coco. She has been by my side for the past three years...literally. Always snuggling up next to me when she had the chance. I will miss so many things about her. The way she pranced through the house when she was really excited, her army crawl when I took her for walks, the way she would lay on top of the couch for the entire afternoon, hearing her lick the crap out of Truman's arm in the middle of the night (it made him so mad!), the way she always had to be sitting on my lap when I was reading or writing, how she ran to Penny with concern every time she started to cry, and most of all I'll miss feeling her sleep against my back. It made me feel so safe.
It's the little things that make saying goodbye difficult. I still think I'm going to walk around the corner and see her snuggled up in her favorite blanket. I quickly pick up my underwear from the bathroom floor thinking she'll shred it to pieces. I hesitated to put my dinner plate on the couch because she'd always get into it. It's the habits that remind me she's gone. In time it won't seem so bad, I'm sure. 
It's hard for me to accept that Penny won't get to grow up with Coco. I had been dreaming of watching them grow together and it's sad to think that she won't know her. We'll get another dog once we have our own home with a backyard, but no dog could ever replace our Bean.

I spent my last day with her doing some of her favorite things.
We took a long car ride and she sat on my lap.
I took her to the pet store to get her favorite bones for her new home.
And we went on a nice, long (and a bit tearful) walk throughout the neighborhood. 
She was so excited to be getting all this love and attention that I wasn't giving her these past couple months!

With that being said, we found a wonderful new home for Coco to live. The couple has a little girl who will give Coco so much love--that makes it easier for me knowing that. We are thankful that she'll be getting lots of attention and I love knowing that she has a new best friend. I'll always remember her and I don't know that I'll ever stop missing her. 

Our last picture as a family of four (Pen wasn't too thrilled). 

We love ya, Beans!

**Sorry for the incredibly long post. If you're not a pet lover this will all seem silly to you, but I wanted to write one last post to the gal that put some spunk into our lives :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

{2 Months}

Baby girl is 8 weeks today and she is so. much. fun.
She smiles and coo's more often now and my heart melts every time. I can't believe she has been a part of the family for 8 weeks now and I am so excited to continue watching her grow and learn. I have the best job ever and I'm so thankful to Truman for supporting me in staying home with her.

A few fun facts about Pen:

-We call her strange things. Like Turtle and Pennifer. She makes this adorable face that looks like a turtle and, well, I have no idea where Pennifer comes from. This is coming from the people that call our dog Beans...

-She farts toots like a 40 year old man. And we laugh uncontrollably every time. So immature.

-Still loves to be held. Throws a fit when we try to put her down in her bouncer. I've had to find the right balance between holding her and letting her fuss a little. But most of the time I give in and hold her because she's just too darn cute.

-Slept through the night for the first time last night! I'm going to try not to hold her to that standard from now on, but I'm totally okay with being at that stage if that's the case.

-Loves to look at lights. Anytime she's being fussy, we put her in front of the bright bathroom lights (or the Christmas tree) and she loves it.

I can't imagine life without this little girl. I'm learning that the life of a mother is not always a glamorous one. Trying to balance personal hygiene and my duties as a wife has been hard, but it is so rewarding.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{1 Month}

 (Not happy to be taking her 1 month pictures...)
 (Family pic on my birthday)
Today our baby girl is 4 weeks old.
Some days it feels like these four weeks have been four years and some days I feel like I can't fit enough hours in. I laugh at how I took things for granted before her like uninterrupted showers and brushing my teeth before 2 p.m. but she's worth it. I'm so lucky to spend every day with this gal.

Fun facts about Penny:

-she is an animal when it comes to feeding. literally, she grunts. we get such a kick out of watching her eyes widen when she knows it's time to eat.

-she eats all. the. time. I feel like a human pacifier. Some days I'm really discouraged by it, but I'm trying to enjoy those moments we share together.

-lately the only thing that will calm her down is to blast music from the record player and dance in front of it. she hates to be standing still so we do A LOT of bouncing (and dropping, thanks Sharon :) I'm so used to bouncing that when I was putting makeup on the other day (which is a very rare thing now) I caught myself bouncing back and forth.

-she's finally sleeping 3-4 hours in a row during the night. it's not consistent yet. she still has nights where all she wants to do is eat and fuss, but I feel like we're making progress.

-I'm starting to notice she'll look into my eyes a little longer now especially when I'm singing to her. I can't wait until she can interact a little more.

-She can only sleep if she is swaddled tightly. She wiggles around like crazy (sometimes she even turns herself around in the bassinet) so it's impossible for her to sleep without it. 

-When she's napping without her swaddle, she enjoys swinging her arms around like a mad woman (hints the pictures above). 

I'm so excited for the holiday season to begin and to start our own little family traditions!
Monday, October 29, 2012

Penny's Birth Story Pt. 2

I'm not one of those women who look fabulous while giving birth, but these pictures are really special to me. Thanks, Kal, for  sticking with me the whole time. 

When the nurse said I was 8cm, I started to cry uncontrollably--partly in joy and partly in fear that I was too late for the epidural. I could barely talk, but I managed to ask "does this mean I can't get the pain meds?" Everyone laughed but I was dead serious. I wanted relief. NOW. The nurse said she would check. As they were getting me hooked up to the monitors the contractions were coming faster and stronger. Truman was rubbing my feet with eucalyptus oil and my mom was holding my shoulders tightly. I finished breathing through a contraction and the nurse said "are you sure you even want the epidural? You're doing so well with your contractions." I contemplated forgoing the meds for about a second (mainly because I was terrified of the needle) but I decided I still wanted them. 
 The anesthesiologist was really sweet and soft spoken. I told him how terrified I was of the epidural and that he was going to have to talk me through each step. I get really chatty when I'm nervous so I asked a million questions. He was patient with me and answered every one. Most of them being "will this hurt?" Thankfully I was already in so much pain the epidural didn't hurt at all. The only painful thing was having to sit still through the contractions. I'm surprised I didn't break Truman's hand in the process. My legs slowly started to get numb and the contractions were becoming bearable. I could still feel when I was having a contraction, but it was pressure instead of pain. It just felt good to be able to get a break from the constant pain. (Hints the smile in the picture below).
 After I got settled into bed I begged for music to calm my nerves. I had made a labor playlist, but wasn't sure if I would even care about music amidst all the chaos. The music and massage oil ended up being my best friends. They couldn't get the ipod hookup to work in the room so we had to blast it from my laptop. When it started, I immediately felt my body relax. The entire mood of the room changed. Things were familiar-- it didn't feel so cold and stressful. My nausea even started to subside. The worship songs especially brought me back to the miracle that was occurring. I was no longer focused on the pain and intensity of labor. I could soak in the last few moments of pregnancy.

"September Grass" by James Taylor came on and I remember closing my eyes and faintly sighing "ahhh, James." The epidural had slowed the contractions a bit and allowed me to slightly relax (as much as one can relax during labor, anyway). Whenever I feel anxious, I use heat to calm down so I plugged in my heating pad and hugged it tightly. The nurse was skeptical of that and eventually took it away because it was too hot...woops. My good friend, Alyssa, and sister-in-law came to the hospital and it was a wonderful surprise. It was a big help to have loved ones hanging out in the delivery room. It kept my mind off of the fear of delivery and made the time go by faster.
 We were sitting silently when this loud buzz came from the monitor. It was one of those sounds that you know means something is wrong. The nurse came back and noted that Penny's heart rate was dropping significantly during my contractions. She didn't seem too alarmed and said as long as the heart rate was coming back up she was okay. The rest of labor was kind of a blur. I was at 9cm at about 1:00am and the on-call midwife showed up. P's heart rate was dropping lower and lower and I felt a sense of urgency come over the nurses. The buzzer continued to ring over and over like a broken record and my stomach started to turn. At 2:00am I was at 10cm and they put an oxygen mask on me (not sure why). The midwife decided to call in my actual OB due to the concerning heart rate. They did a good job of hiding their urgency, because I wasn't aware of it at the time. My mom had to explain to me later how worried they were. 

As I watched the numbers drop on the heart rate chart I started to get tears in my eyes. I asked for my bible so I could focus on prayer, but the second I cracked it open my OB showed up and was ready to get things going. Nurses started to filter in and prepare for delivery. A few were from NICU in case there was an emergency. My epidural was wearing off on my right side so my mom had to continue rubbing it through contractions again. Once it was time to push there were about 15 people in the room...I was oblivious. They had me try a few pushes and I couldn't feel a thing--it was wonderful! Because of Pen's heart rate, they wanted to get her out quickly by using the vacuum. The nurse, midwife, my OB, Truman, and my mom were all surrounding me as the pushing began. My adrenaline kicked in and the nurse was counting through each push. With all of the encouragement, I felt so strong. They attached the vacuum and started to pull her out. It popped off loudly and I freaked out because if that happens 3 times you have to resort to a C-section. My OB re-attached it, I gave one more big push and my world stopped.
 I had my eyes focused on my stomach and I watched P slowly leave my body. It was the strangest feeling I have ever experienced. This giant bump just disappeared. It felt like my stomach was getting sucked out with the rest of it. I got scared, grabbed the sides of the bed and whimpered "oh my gosh." Out came this purple, beautiful, bundle of Truman and I. She cried out and I cried out. What a relief it was to hear her tiny little voice. Truman grabbed me and I could barely mutter "she's so beautiful". 
 Truman cut the cord and they let me hold her for a few seconds before they had to check to make sure everything was okay. The OB said the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice which explained the low heart rate. Truman went with her while they started my repair.

 She held his finger the entire time. It was a special moment for him :) I am so, so thankful I had the epidural. I ended up with fourth degree tearing so it was a real blessing that I couldn't feel a thing. Make no mistake, labor and delivery was still incredibly difficult, but I'm glad I was able to enjoy the experience.
Everyone left so we could enjoy the first minutes alone with our baby girl. It took a while to digest what had just happened. After watching me in so much pain, Truman decided I could choose the middle name. I was kind of thinking he would :) So I chose Emerson. We were in disbelief that she was finally here. That we made her. That she was healthy.
 She hugged my chest as I breastfed her for the first time and we sat quietly listening to the remains of my playlist. Content and filled with joy. Thankful that the day we were dreaming of for 9 months was finally here. I felt so tough--amazed and shocked that I actually did it and survived. I turned to Tru and said "I could totally do this 4 or 5 more times" only half joking. His eyes got wide as he tried to decide if I was being serious :) He said "we'll talk about that later..."
 I am so madly in love with our little family. These past four weeks have been harder than I could have imagined, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I love being a mom and Penny is already teaching me so much. I rock her at night with tears in my eyes as my understanding of Christ's love grows. He died for her. This tiny little life. I feel so lucky to get to teach her about Jesus and watch her learn about His love.
I'll hold onto these moments forever...and probably have to re-read them when she's 16 and complaining about her curfew :) Our lives have been changed for the better and I can't wait to watch this little one grow.

Praising Jesus for His many blessings,

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