Monday, April 30, 2012

500ft below the summit

Thank you for all your love and prayers since my post yesterday. A day of taking it easy and having an early night was clearly the right move and I am feeling much better this morning.

Better and ready for the week ahead. Highlights for this week include our first meeting with our doula, a Dr's appointment and blood glucose test, brunch date with a friend, signing up for the MOPS program starting this fall at my church, and a large history paper, (other homework is on the list but crossing this essay off the list will be a real highlight!).

I continue to be inspired and challenged by the teaching each week at church and yesterday was no different. In spite of not feeling well I am so glad that I went. Richard continued in his series on the psalms of ascent. The simplified version of what I took to heart was that often in life we have a place in our mind that we want to get to, whether deepening a relationship, overcoming an addiction, changing a habit or learning a skill, we have an end in sight. But the work to get there is hard, and so we allow ourselves to stay content to stay in the place where we sit today. We might even take a few steps towards that goal, but when it gets hard or uncomfortable, we stop, content to stay on a ledge below the summit.

He challenged us that sometimes we want to be somewhere but we don't want to go there. I totally identified with this, anyone else? How many times have I started something only to give up when it got tough. How many things have I mastered to mediocre? Many. How many goal do I set myself but fail to actually make time for in my day? Again, many. This is not the full and abundant life God wants for me.

I have many friends who inspire me for different reason, but during message one in particular came to mind. Her name is Lindsay. Lindsay was our wedding photographer, have you seen our wedding pictures? They are phenomenal because Lindsay took time to pursue her passion and truly perfect her skills. Lindsay is also a sign language interpreter because God gave her a  passion for that and so she went to school and got trained to a professional level in that too. She also decided a few years ago that she wanted to start running. So she did. She pushed through the hard initial runs and set a goal of a marathon - years later she has multiple marathons under her belt, as well as triathlons and even a half iron man. She wasn't content to just jog around the park. This is just a small slice of her life, not to brag about her accomplishments but to illustrate the way she lives life. She truly inspires me. Sometimes its easy to let the hard work of life keep us from our goals, but she has a true gift for getting every last drop of juice out of life. I want to be more like her when I grow up! 

I am what stops me reaching the mountain tops in my life. I let the journey intimidate me because I am so aware of my own weakness and the places I lack strength, patience, peace, grace...the list could go on and on. It is easy for me to forget that if left to my own devices I would fail because I am lacking in all those areas but I am forgetting that I am not in this alone. God can be my source in all the areas where I am lacking if I just let him. It is his desire that I live fully. In his message, Richard prompted us to pray a prayer of appropriation thanking Him for his provision in the area that we feel lacking. We can trust him to meet our needs. We can trust him to be our guide on this journey of life.

The things that I want to accomplish, overcome, and succeed it are available to me with God by my side. As He shows me the next step along the path and I am obedient to follow his lead I can become all he created me to be. Am I willing to take the steps I need to to reach my goals, or am I content to let the hard, maybe uncomfortable steps prevent me? For too long I have been satisfied with the view from 500 ft below the summit, but I want to change. So, taking one day at a time from today, I am setting out on a new adventure to more fully become who I was created to be.

Glad you are along for the ride. I am sure we will have bumpy days, but I am truly inspired and encouraged to start today with a new perspective and a new energy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

On the couch :(

I was hoping that I would be sharing pictures of us surrounded by the tulips today, we had a plan and everything. However, I woke up this morning feeling under the weather. Pretty unspecific symptoms but generally achy and tired and that feeling of coming down with something. We went to church, but I felt lightheaded and just not quite right. So after we left we had to decide what would happen to our plans. I wanted to go so badly, but the general not feeling well and the nasty sciatic nerve pain which has returned once again (only now it's moved bum cheek to the right) and Jeremy became pretty insistent that we stay home and I get some rest.

I know he is right but I hate cancelling plans, especially when it means not getting to do something I really want to do, and not getting to do it with good friends.

I am writing this from my space on the couch. As I was watching 'My big fat gypsy wedding', and thinking I should be using this time to do something more useful, I felt as though God gave me a word of encouragement. A word that told me, this is only the first of many times plans will get cancelled, or rearranged in the years ahead.

Today, I could have pushed it and gone to the tulip festival. I almost did. But I know it my heart that it would not have been the best for me, or baby. He needs me to be well. He needs me to be rested. So today, my mama-ness took over and ultimately I made this choice for him.

So on this couch I will sit. Feet up and resting. Feeling the kicks and rolls of our little man telling me I did the right thing :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blogging for procrastination

Phew! Glad this week of school is done...and not so excited for the week ahead. It's going to be a busy one. Usually my school schedule is fairly well spaced out throughout the quarter, but when I looked ahead to the assignments dew next week I couldn't believe it - and not in a good way - there is so much reading and so many assignments and essays due for just my history class, not to mention the usual load from my other classes. It's insane. And I might be by the end of the week.

I hope I survive.

I wanted to reorganize our closet and sort the nursery, move a bookshelf (with help) cook really good dinners...but suppose that fun stuff can wait for a week. Humph. Insert pouty face. 

Weather is supposed to be fair this weekend so after J gets home from teaching this morning I hope we can find something fun to get us out the house! Especially because I have been up since WAY early this morning when he kissed me goodbye and inadvertently woke up baby boy who decided it was time for a dance party and something to eat. 

So as I am up, I want to work ahead a little on next weeks assignments while he is out. The more I get done now, the better, right?

But I don't want to...don't make me...I am already bored. Bored with all the learnin' and slightly overwhelmed with the heavy load ahead. So here I am, blogging. For distraction and procrastination purposes.

Thanks from reading this less than inspired entry - brought to you by the letter "I don't want to do my homework" and the number "I still don't want to do my homework."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby Wise (2)

(So we'll see how part two goes over)

Ok, so the honeymoon is over for me and this book. Or at least we are in a bit of a fight...Baby wise is probably sleeping on the couch.

And no, we are not even technically at the methods part yet. I got distracted by something and I think that this might be the reason so many baby-wearing, co-sleeping, demand-feeding parents hate this book so much. It left a nasty taste in my mouth already.

The description of attachment parenting that is presented is totally BW- not a typo, even though the book's presentation of this parenting style could be equally be labelled with two other letters starting with a B Their presentation/definition is what they use as comparison for their methods.

As a mama-to-be who felt a connection to an attachment style of parenting I felt very defensive when BW began to trash that style and at the same time, it concerned me to hear some of the statistics and  possible consequences related to it. Would I be ruining my child if I use a baby carrier and have him sleep in a little crib in our bed?...the thoughts began to swirl. I had to keep reading, and I am so glad I did because boy O boy these baby wise peeps have such an incredibly specific and extreme view of what attachment parenting is.

It's almost laughable.

I am sure that there are certain parents who chose to use attachment parenting in the extremes mentioned. And I am sure that they make it work for their families. This is not a comment on the right or wrong of this parenting style, but simply recognising that the very extreme definition causes folks like myself, who connect to the label of attachment parenting to feel a little misunderstood. I actually think that some of the methods discussed in BW could fit into an attachment style of parenting. BW considers their methods parent-assessed parenting. I would consider my desired style of attachment parenting to also be parent-assessed. I don't believe the two have to be mutually exclusive.

BW talks about attachment-parenting with the insinuation that any time a baby makes a noise a mother would stick her breast in its mouth because they must be hungry. I do not think that baby wearing and even demand feeding means that a mother cannot assess if her child is hungry or not before inserting boob. I hope to breast feed our son but I also want him to feed on some form of a schedule so he can have the security of knowing that food, play and sleep are all going to come in time. If I have just fed him, and he fusses 10 minutes later I will assume he is not hungry and try other things to calm him (first). I don't think this means I would not be meeting his needs, and I don't think that it means I am not attachment parenting - he may well be in a baby sling when he's fussing ; ) 

I believe that there is no law that says you have to commit to one single style of parenting. In fact, I think that the beauty of all the resources out there give parents an opportunity to make a plan which fits them. Perhaps the labels used in all the parenting books should be left out, so that they would not be misunderstood, and certain effective methods would not be disregarded by parents who consider themselves to fall under an alternative style.

All this to say. I like things from each of the parenting books and resources I have read and imagine that one our little guy comes along he will be a product of our mish-mash of ideas! A very cute product at that :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Era of the Belly

My oh my! Something tells me that the next few months should be officially renamed, "The Era of the Belly."

Not the best picture, but here we are at 25 weeks 6 days.

Of course, when you are soon about to wave goodbye to the second trimester of pregnancy, you should expect to have a belly. In fact, if I didn't I think I would be pretty mad that I had nothing to show for all my efforts!

I didn't have to worry about it, I saw a change in my body early on, and popped officially on the early side also. Until recently though the belly has been a part of me. Now I feel as though it's taken on a life of it's own.

When I wake up in the morning, I sometimes forget that I have the belly and then I walk into the bathroom and my reflection takes me by surprise for a second. And then to the shower. We have an average sized shower, but the last few uses have been comical. Bending over to shave my legs is physically impossible - this is a mix of belly and height combining forces. Luckily I can feel my way around parts can't see, it's a little like reading braille!

(As a P.S. I have noticed on more than one occasion when shaving that I have forgotten to shave both legs or underarms on a previous occasion. I guess "The Era of Pregnancy Brain is a fall back name for this time period)

Back to the belly. For the past two days, I have managed to spill not insignificant amounts of food or coloured beverage down my shirt, and not noticed until hours later when I see my reflection in a mirror as I wash my hands. That feels like a win for the big B.

Sleeping at nighttime is another belly win. As in, the belly might sleep but I do not. Actually, baby boy is very active at night, and it seems every time I have to adjust position, it bothers him enough that he has to readjust his own. It means the belly is moving and shaking and that means sleep is hard to come by. The huge pillow is still wonderful but it has slightly lost it's edge against the belly.

Another laughable belly event happens every time I am trying to get into the stall in a public bathroom. Suddenly when I turn to shut the door - Belly - now I have to back way in, practically standing on the potty itself before I can close the door.

It took me almost 10 minutes to put on socks the last time I tried. The belly throws my balance off so trying to do it standing up is no longer possible, but the belly is also too big to make sock-putting-on simple sitting down either. I have do do some pretty impressive contortionist moves to achieve my goal of toasty toes.  I think its the universes way of telling me to get a relaxing and fabulous pedicure and then commit to slip on flats and flip flops exclusively.

Here is my current view - so long toes, see you again in a few months.

This post would be lacking something significant if I didn't mention the belly button. The beautiful innie I have been blessed with since birth, suddenly took on a life force of its own and now seems determined to prove it's worth by sticking right out. I have three layers on today, and it has failed to pacify the belly button.

I am not sure how I will get any bigger, but I have been assured I will nonetheless.

Keep growing baby boy - We love you x

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On a lighter note...

Wow - so who knew that Baby Wise would have been such a controversial post topic?! I have more thoughts to share as I have continued reading but I think I will wait a little! Thank you for all your comments, encouragements and suggestions of other resources and books. I am a mama-to-be sponge at the moment so I will be checking them all out.

It's a gloomy day here in Seattle, and I just had beans on toast and a cup of tea for lunch, something comforting about eating like I never left England :)

I had to go on campus for one of my classes today and it felt good to be back there. I even bumped into some former classmates which was nice. Helps to feel less anonymous in the seas of people! Everyone's schedule is so different quarter to quarter so it felt like real a treat to see them.

I wanted to share this latest addition to our nursery stash! I do not want to have too much Pooh in the nursery (although, I don't know if you can ever have to much of that particular silly old bear) but I think that the lamp will be a sweet addition. What do you think? We are pulling out the grey blue and the cream from the lamp for the walls.

Tonight we are planning to head over to Home Depot and get some paint - low VOC of course - for the nursery. I can't wait for it to all come together. Let's be honest I have been dreaming about making a nursery for decades so this is a delight! All the pieces carefully selected to make the place our son will lay his head.

I am hoping that when my Mum is here to visit in a month or so she'll be up for some nursery sewing projects. She and Jeremy's Mom are handy with the sewing machine and I see a day of total baby-prep ahead as the final touches come together for our little man's arrival.

After this week, I only have 7 weeks left of this quarter and it cannot come soon enough. As I am sure you have been able to gauge from my recent blog posts my head is somewhere else :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Wise (1)

Once I read 'Happiest Baby on the Block', and loved it so much I confess my baby book reading slowed to a crawl. I felt content to take the information in that book and just run with it, but recently the copy of Baby Wise (Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D.) which has been sitting lonely on my night stand began to once again spike my curiosity. I had heard from friends that because I loved 'Happiest Baby', I would hate 'Baby Wise' but I do love me a schedule so I wondered if I would find some useful tips, and honestly the polarizing effect of this book on mothers in my social circle made me very curious.

I had to take the bus yesterday and took that opportunity to make some headway into Baby Wise. I was fully expecting to dislike it. And even from the little I have read I strongly doubt it will be a method I can ever fully buy into but I feel as though a lot of the bad rap this book and method has received is from people who haven't read it. I say this because the methods (as far as I have read) are no way near as controversial as I had imagined.

I am about halfway through the book, so there will be probably be more posts as I get deeper into the methods, but I wanted to share thoughts so far. After only a few pages I sent a text to my friend telling her I already had ideas for multiple blogs from what I was reading and it was true. Lots of really great insight and reasoning behind the ideas. I suppose there are foundations for most parents as they think ahead to why they make certain decisions about how they parent, and I related to the ones mentioned.

The thing I really loved is the foundational principle that your baby joins your family. This sounds simple, but the author compares it to families who welcome the baby in and allow the family to change to make life revolve around them. This is something I know I personally have to be aware of as we welcome our little man. We have waited so long, I feel as though he has been consuming my thoughts already and yet I want to be sure that he does not begin to feel as though this is how relationships with peers and others will play out. I want to prepare him fully for the world. This example is used in the book to illustrate child-centered parenting is what I am truly hoping to avoid by making other choices in how we parent. It sounds extreme but I think it could be so easy to fall into this pattern in life and I know it would be easier to make the tough choices at the outset rather than backtracking once life patterns become established.

"Marisa's parents have adopted the child-centered approach. As a result, Marisa will never have to wait for anything. If she wants something, it is given to her on demand. Baby-sitters? They make Marisa uneasy. So an evening out alone together simply isn't an option. Either her parents will take her everywhere they go, or they will miss a function due to Marisa's inability to take part. As for eating, if Marisa suddenly rejects her bananas she'll be offered a variety of options until her particular preference is revealed. Then mom will stock the shelves full of Marisa's delight, only to learn days later that the child's pleasure is back to bananas. Welcome to the circus." "Sadly, Marisa's parents are not aware of the disabling impact their attitude has on their daughter. Instead of building Marisa into a self-assured adult, they are fostering the emotionally crippling attitude of me-ism"(23)
Who wants to be around those children? Not me. And I would like people to enjoy my child so I want to give him the tools necessary to get along in the world by making sure he understands that he is fully loved, and oh so valuable, but also that the world does not revolve around him :)

Of course a baby takes time and attention, and rightly so, but this book makes the point that the best thing parents can be for their children is strong example of love. Parents must chose to parent in a way that continues to give their marriage the attention it needs and deserves."Too often, parents lose sight of this fact, getting lost in a parenting wonderland of photos, footsteps, and first words. Baby becomes central to their existence. Yet the greatest overall influence you will have on your children will not come in your role as an individual parent, but in your joint role as husband and wife"(20)

That means making your marriage relationship a priority; continuing (or starting) date nights, making time together at home to connect each day where children can see this priority, as well as just the simple interactions of love such as hugs, kisses, and playful words. This feels like as easy piece of the parenting puzzle to misplace in the wake of lack of sleep, new routines, and generally becoming parents! I hope that speaking our intention to make marriage a priority will help us transition well into this area of parenthood. We want our son to feel confident in our marriage, and safe and secure in the home we provide for him and we understand that it will take intention and work. I believe the truth that, "A healthy husband-wife relationship is essential to the emotional health of children in the home. When there is harmony in the marriage, there is an infused stability within the family" (20)

Ok, so we're off to a good start Baby wise and I. We are totally on the same page about bringing a baby into a family and having it join our team, giving them a "we-ism" foundation. And also as we continue to make our marriage a priority in our home. We seem to both believe that these are motivations for making the parenting choices which will form the structure of of let's see if our methods match up?!

Monday, April 23, 2012


It's been a good day.

Better than good actually. It's been one of those days when life works. When you are the person you want to be. I am so thankful for a renewed sense of self and of the beauty of life. But this truth does not come without understanding that life can have pain and tragedy too. We recently found out that good friends of our lost their long hoped for  baby in the second trimester. It has been hard to find beauty in life since that news. I have been crying out to God on their behalf, asking for his comfort and peace to be with them and his HOPE to flood their hearts, and while I believe he is steadfast and present with them it doesn't erase the reality of what happened and how theirs lives are forever changed.

The message on Sunday at church was from the Psalms of Ascent. The psalms which were written to help God's chosen people on their journey towards holiness. Pastor Richard spoke about the journey of life and how we cannot fully enter our journey of faith, or the abundant life which awaits without first leaving something else behind. It's a journey that takes us to mountain tops but we have to do the hard work of taking each step. One step at a time

He spoke about how we have a guide for every step along our path but that on our journey we must be willing to fail. Along the way there will be times that we take a step and we screw up royally. Grace abounds to us in those moments but we have to choose to dust ourselves off and try again. We have to refuse to sit in the fall out of our failure, getting comfortable with where we are today. Making life work for us. Adapting, managing sin instead of overcoming.

I know that sometimes I feel as though it's too much effort to get back fully on the path. Climbing this mountain of faith. Its easier to put of the TV, enjoying a big bowl of ice cream, aware of what I should be doing, but drowning out the Holy Spirit with extra chocolate sauce and some HGTV.

I am tired of feeling like the path ahead is calling but that I am refusing it. I want so much to put my shoes back on and get out there, but I allow comfort and fear to keep me right there on the couch more times than I would like to admit. I know that when I look back on my life, I will deeply grieve the time lost to comfort and fear. 

Today was an opportunity to take a step. And step I did. I walked around the lake by our house, something I have wanted to do regularly since we moved here. I made a delicious dinner for us tonight because I had quiet and time to look through the cupboards and fridge to find ingredients. I did laundry, I cleaned bathrooms both of which have been on my mind to do for days but I haven't made time to just do it, because it wasn't as "comfortable" as what I was doing. I focused on homework assignments and handed in work that I feel proud of. I even did some assignments ahead of time. I was walking up my mountain towards the life that God is calling me to. Small things true, but knowing God in all of them. Present and joyful.

In the midst of our own journey to having a family, fear and comfort became addictive. They became a way I coped with the miscarriages, especially. It kept me safe because the feeling of loss was too much to bear. The heartache to much. I was fearful it wold overwhelm me, fearful that God couldn't pick up the pieces of my heart, so I had better tape them together as much as I could on my own. It was better than nothing.

He pursued me constantly through the dark days and when we released even just a little of the fear to Him he laid out the path of adoption before us. And we ran. We shook off the past, and adapted to the next steps, but it wasn't too long before the comfort was drawing me back in. Adoption was scary. And honestly the fear of what could go wrong was painful. The doubt put me right back on the couch, afraid to move, wanting life to just happen so I could deal with the process later. And then pregnancy made getting off the couch near impossible. The fear of what could happen was on my mind 24/7 because my body was a constant reminder.

I feel as though I have been happy to take baby steps. I have been content to live halfway but I do not want fear and comfort to decide my life anymore. I want to be an example to our son of someone who is on a wild journey with the Lord. Not held back. Not content to settle. Passionately in love, moved to action.

As I pray for our friends I am more and more aware that in life there is pain on the journey. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So I have to live fully today. One step further up the mountain. Trusting that the view from the top makes it worth it, and that the person i get to become on the journey bring more freedom and life than I ever expected.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Oh how I wish I had taken pictures today. It's the one downside of not having a camera on my phone. Usually my almost prehistoric flip phone does the job just fine, but on days like today having a camera handy would have been nice. I say this because the weather in Seattle today was absolutely fabulous. The sun shone and the sky was blue. I got pretty for the ladies tea at church and enjoyed time with friends. Picture evidence would have been nice :)

I spent the morning on my front porch soaking up the first rays of real spring sunshine while I did some reading for school. It wasn't quite as private as being in the back yard, but the sun hadn't got around the back at that time and I wanted to be outside! This afternoon was the ladies tea at my church and my friend Sarah and I prettied our bumps and headed to enjoy the festivities.

The theme was Alice in Wonderland and the hall was decorated with amazing decor which made the whole event really special. Leslie Parrott was the speaker. She and her husband attend our church but I had never heard her speak before. If I am honest I didn't really know much about their ministry at all before today, but i guess they are kind of a big deal! The women's ministry at my church always puts on amazing events. The leadership team are so committed and it shows. I do not always make time to hear God speak to me in the way I should and want to, but I feel as though when I set time aside to attend women's ministry events, God is still faithful to show up. Without fail. And this afternoon was no exception.

 Leslie spoke about the relationship each of us has with time. How some of us are schedulers, planning ahead to have time for the things we consider important, and some of us are more free-spirited leaving space for events of importance as they might show up. She spoke about how at times we let our lives become full to overflowing, and when we are in that place, we have no room for him to pour anything into us. I have been feeling a lot of tension to fit everything in to my schedule recently. I love the opportunity to be in school but I confess, I have not been loving the feeling of constant, never ending lists of things to do. I am feeling a level of stress as I try to fit life in, between completing assignments. I was feeling like I never had time for anything other than school. When J mentions having friends over for dinner, or I try to schedule coffee dates with girl friends I suddenly feel my chest tighten slightly as a panic rises that I won't have time for the commitment I am making. Even if I set up plans I feel conflicted and disconnected from the activity that I should be enjoying. I feel as though the Lord is opening my eyes to the way my relationship with time is unhealthy. I am filled to overflowing from the 'to do' lists without ever asking what He needs or wants from me.

To live the life I want, I have to make different choices about my time. As I let my cup empty, the Lord can fill me and lead me and give me the life He has in mind. I feel refreshed and full of hope and expectation for the week to come. I trust that there is more in store than schoolwork alone. I had school work on my mind when I left for the tea, and imagined coming home and picking it back up when it was finished. But the opportunity to go to get frozen yogurt with Jeremy, and Sarah and her family, arose and I took it. We sat in the sunshine and ate our yogurt by the lake. I have time for all the homework on my list next week. I should be taking time to enjoy this weather, and enjoy family and friends. This is where true life lies. In letting time be a gift, not a burden.

Hoping you all had a fabulous Saturday too :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Practice, Preparing and Nesting

Recently we have picked up a few of our important baby items, nursery furniture, stroller and car seat to name some of the stash. However, without a real need for them yet, they have come out of the car and stayed stacked in their boxes in garage. We assembled the crib and dresser and put them in the nursery a couple of weeks ago but then we ran out of steam.

We decided we needed to get them out of the boxes just to make sure they weren't damaged and we needed to return them, so that the receipts would still be valid. We first pulled out our stroller, J put the wheels on and then promptly proceeded to pose as if he was pushing it around town. It was so sweet, and even though I am totally biased, hilarious too!

I just kept thinking I can't believe I own a buggy (yes, I know here they say stroller but when I was thinking in my head about how awesome life is today, I think in British) I have pushed many a child in buggies and strollers over the years but it feels strange to think that this is my buggy for my baby. I love it. Even the orange colour. We got this particular stroller because the day we went to get one this colour/stye so it seemed silly to pass up on this crazy deal because of the colour (we had already researched and decided that this was the brand we wanted). I was a bit nervous it would be really bright but it's actually much more toned down than I anticipated so all is good. What do you think? Sadly the camera was not handy to capture J and his 'daddy' posing but this is what our boy will be cruising around town in!

Next up was the car seat. I made J read the whole instruction book for how this works. After we read all about it and tried it out on the floor of the living room, we headed to the garage to see if we could actually fit it into the back seat. It was surprisingly un-complicated. Our car has the 'latch' system so it is super simple to connect the base. What a great invention! It was so funny to be lifting the seat in and out and trying to really imagine doing it when our son is sitting in it. It felt like we were playing house or something. We chose the Chicco Keyfit 30.

All that to say, we feel confident in our choices and are so enjoying getting ready for our little guy to make his appearance in a few months!

Another development is that my nesting has begun. At least on paper it has. My list of all the nesting I will be doing at the end of this quarter of school. Organise our master closet. Clean out the pantry, connect our buffet and hutch and attach that unit to the wall, hang some pictures, paint the nursery (of course) and put up pictures in there...there is a lot more but that's enough for this example! ha ha!

Is it still nesting if most of my list is for Jeremy to actually do?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cloth Diaper Plan

So here's the thing, we want to use cloth diapers. Not because it's inherently wrong to use disposables, but for our lives, we believe cloth is best. The choices each parent makes for the best of their child are for good reasons. We all have different priorities and opportunities and as J and I enter this new phase of life, we are recognising how our priorities and opportunities impact the baby choices we need to make.

We believe that a principle of our Christian faith includes being good stewards of the earth that we are blessed to live on. We recycle, we compost our food waste, we make an effort to use natural, organic products when possible. We make sacrifices to be able to be make these consumer choices but for us they are important. When we started to consider the ways we could care for our baby in a 'green' way, one of the most obvious things to us was using cloth diapers instead of disposables.

It's a slightly daunting prospect but I hope that I can follow in the footsteps of many friends who have walked the cloth diaper route before me! I figure, the whole motherhood thing is going to be new and overwhelming so what difference will a few more loads of laundry really going to make? (Please don't answer that, I like my island of ignorant bliss)

The money saving aspect is also very appealing. We hope to have other children one day, biological or otherwise, and if we would be able to re-use the shells that we purchase now it would continue to be a sound investment beyond our son.

In 'the eco-nomical baby guide' by Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley, (which has sort of become my baby buying Bible), they do a break down of diaper cost. I consider my self a bit of a Princess when it comes to certain items. Organic/natural is important to me, so if our child is in disposables for ease during travel, or for some other reason they will probably be organic. In cost comparison, generic store brand diapers cost about 11-19cents each, which for a lifetime of 6000 diapers is about $900, Huggies cost 19-31 cents, and $1500 for a lifetime, and Seventh Generation (the organic, fancy princess type diapers we would likely end up using) cost about 28-43 cents each which is an astonishing $2100 for a diaper lifetime. Holy Moley!
Using cloth diapers we will shell out about $275 in supplies and we will have to pay for a few more laundry loads a week, but once we have the supplies, we have the supplies. If we have another baby in the future, all we will pay for is the water for laundry. That is a giant saving. Cloth diapers are not just for hippies people, they are a sound financial investment.

J had been all for using a local diaper service, but they use a specific kind of cloth diaper and outer wrap. I see there could be huge upsides to this because it would take the diaper laundry off my list. However, if we ever end up with more than one little one in diapers in the future it would suddenly get much more expensive and not be saving us much money in the end. From many, many sources who are cloth diaper-ers, I have been reassured that the laundry really is not that big of a deal. Truthfully, I am not intimidated by the laundry. Plus, they make a great spra attachment that you can connect to the water flow of your toilet to help remove some of the 'material' once they start eating real food and dirty diapers get really substantial. The sprayer is certainly something that my poopy-diaper-aversion hubby has decided it's a must have baby item!

We have decided to use the BumGenius brand diapers. Lots of advice from cloth-diapering mums as well as my own experience with them lead us to make this choice.

Looking at all the cute colours is a great distraction to what might be inside of them once they are on our little boy's bottom!

So this is the plan. We know that some little bottoms don't fit snugly into cloth diaper wraps so we will have a few organic diapers on hand for the beginning but will transfer to the BumGenius diapers as soon as he is big enough.

Whose life is this? Picking our diapers and planning for a baby boy. Loving it all. And feeling incredible grateful for the life I have today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Love and Respect

Last night we finally finished our 'Love and Respect' study with our small group. We have been reading through a chapter or so each week so it's taken a while! This book has some great information and really offers a different way of thinking about the ways we interact with our spouse. Recognising the motivation that love can be to a woman and that respect can be to a man is important. While there are certainly some absolutes in this book that I do not fully buy into, the general idea fits us well.

I truly appreciate the conversations that this book has resulted in for us, and I love that they happened early on our marriage journey. I think that these lessons will continue to shape our marriage and be good reminders of what might be behind comments or actions that we are frustrated by in the other person.

The book includes practical steps to take to show your spouse love and respect which of course are handy (to say the least!) but the final chapter was my favourite. It began to talk about how our actions are at their core towards God. We don't (just) have to respect our husbands because they are our husbands, but we should love them because they are loved by Christ.

When I get to heaven, I want God to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." A huge part of that will be about how well I have loved and respected the people God brought into my path, especially my husband. I want my love for Christ to be the motivation and the source for loving my husband. I am called to love him even if he is being a jerk. My actions are my responsibility. Now, I am not saying stay in an abusive marriage please don't hear that, that is a totally different situation. For most of us our humanity just gets the best of us sometimes, we can be short tempered, impatient and we do not always make loving or respectful comments. In the moments when we are on the receiving end we can chose to react and make a situation explosive, or we can chose to show love and respect by recognising that our spouse is not acting from the best place. We can walk away, or calmly ask what is really going on. We can chose not to be offended but understand where an action comes from.

We are not always the best versions of ourselves, but 'our response is always our responsibility'(Eggerichs). If we respond in anger, or say something spiteful back we have now committed a sin too. As most of us know firsthand, this never ends well. We are trying to make sure that we take a moment in the times when we are feeling unloved or disrespected to make a good choice to show love and respect back. It's a work in progress but I am excited to have the tools.

I am sure that adding a baby into the mix will certainly not be lessening the load on our marriage so it feels good to have had time to practice some of these things when we are still getting to sleep through the night!

There are times when J and I are goofing around and laughing uncontrollably about something dumb that I just look over at him and cannot believe I got so lucky. Marriage is hard work at times but it is so worth it. I am truly getting excited for this new season of marriage ahead. I know that it will be a challenge, and I think that we have had some grieving that life as we know it is changing, but I think we both trust that what's ahead will be truly worth it too :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Artichokes and Nursery Purchases

Officially feeling less than glowing today. I have not been sleeping well recently but last night took the biscuit, in a bad way. I felt like I ate something that disagreed with me, dinner just sat in my stomach and there is limited real estate in there at the moment so slow digestion becomes even more of an issue.

Jeremy had bought a couple of beautiful artichokes at the store this weekend, he loves to cook them and then dip the leave in butter sauce so that was on the cards with some left over chicken from the weekend. I am not sure if it was the chicken or the artichoke that my body decided was a poor choice, but whatever it was I felt like rough. On top of baby boy was a whole artichoke and and that is exactly what it felt like :(

I forced myself to get up when Jeremy left for work this morning because I hoped that it would propel me into a productive day. I knew if I just turned over and closed my eyes "for a second" my whole morning would be gone. I knew I had lost many hours of sleep last night between regular pregnancy discomfort and feeling really nauseous so I have no doubt I could have slept until noon if I had let myself.

So I got up, ate breakfast, checked email, and am now writing this blog. I would be doing homework but I am struggling to keep my eyes open already. Maybe a nap would have been a better plan. Seems that my body is not so good at faking it as it was pre-pregnancy. So now I am planning a little cat nap before I try to do anything too productive.

Yesterday, (before the mis-guided dinner consumption) I was excited to get to check off some more baby preparations. I think we have finally decided on our nursery wall colours, I cannot wait to actually paint and see it all coming together. I think that most women have a piece of having a baby that they have been dreaming of since childhood for some people its picking out clothes but for me setting up the nursery feels like the dream coming true. Every decision, every purchase, brings with it hope of things to come. I ordered an adorable lamp which I imagine will be providing a soft glow through the room while I am up feeding my little man in the wee morning hours. Jeremy thinks it's goofy how excited I get, but he enjoys seeing me happy even though he doesn't get the same joy from an Amazon order! ha ha!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hormones. Check.

Another beautiful weekend in Seattle, it just makes everything better. We had to run errands yesterday but we picked up lunch at Whole Foods mid shopping and took it to a park to eat to get to spend time out in the sun. After the 'to do' list was complete, er headed to my sis-in-laws to witness the maiden voyage of her new fire pit. It was the perfect excuse to be outside for the afternoon and evening!

With the sunshine has come another new phenomenon, unexplained crying fits. So until this point this pregnancy has not been the flood of emotional turmoil I had been expecting. In fact, the physical discomfort seemed to be what has affected life for us the most. But just today I have had two meltdowns.

The first while I was driving us home from church, not ideal. I had taken navigated the Target parking lot on the way home because J wanted to get something. Now anyone that knows this parking lot knows that it is not exactly a stress-free environment at the best of times but Sunday afternoons it is a zoo. My stress levels were WAY up already but after J made some "gentle suggestions" about the way I needed to reverse to get out I couldn't hold it together. I drove a few block and the tears just kept coming and I felt my anxiety rise even more because my emotions felt like they were spiraling out of control. I managed to safely pull over and J took over the drive to the grocery store. It was kind of ridiculous.

We got the things we needed from the store and hormones had rebalanced themselves enough for me to be very confident to get back behind the wheel and take us home. I guess I just need to pray that that is not something that happens on the day I take my test!

Then we got home, made lunch and just when we were going to sit down to eat, J sat where I was planning to sit and that set me off again. Oh my! This is going to be a long few months if this is going to become toe new norm! ha ha!I am hoping its just me and the belly adjusting to the sunshine?!

Thought it was time for another belly pic too - certainly popping now, as is my belly button!

24 weeks

Friday, April 13, 2012

Trial and Beauty - Real Life

This week it feels as though spring has really arrived in Seattle. It's not been sunshine all the way, in fact Wednesday was quite miserable a times but the sun has definitely been shining and the temperatures have been staying in the mid 60's which is a lovely and welcome change.

J and I had talked about having a date night last night, making the most of it before we need to get a sitter for that luxury, but I never could have imagined that we would be having a picnic. J got home from work and suggested we pick up something to eat and take it to the beach to eat. We got some food and instead of heading to our original planned destination we went somewhere closer because we we not sure the weather would hold out for much longer. However, once we got to the beach park, the clouds had cleared, the wind was non-existent and the sun was warm. We headed down to the sand and put out our blanket and we ate dinner, shared stories about our day, and watched the sun go down while our baby boy kicked away to his hearts content. It was a perfect evening.

There are some moments when I just look at a moment in my life and wonder what I did to be so blessed. Laying at the beach, the warm sun on my face, holding the hand of the man I love, with a swollen belly full of baby, I can't help but feel blessed beyond measure.

Life is not always easy. It is not without trials but even in the tough times there are glimpses of heaven, of God's kingdom here on earth. And tonight was certainly one of those moments.

I can think back to the times in my life when I didn't know how I would make it to my tomorrow. Times when my hope was gone and my hear was so hurt and broken that I couldn't imagine ever being happy. These times are not all in my distant past. Not as if you walk through the bad and get to good and never look back. The trials are woven into life.

I have strong memories of the days when I was crippled with anxiety and unable to leave my house were woven with learning about the power of prayer and the gift of community which led to getting on a plane and starting a new life thousands of miles away.

There were desperate and painful tears as my lonely heart ached for a companion, but in the midst of that time grew deep and blessed friendships, and sweet times with my God, my first love. Until the man that God had in mind all along came into my life, and loved me completely.

There were painful days and nights as my body expelled pregnancy after pregnancy and my heart broke over and over as my hope of being a mother faded, but in the midst there we treasured times of intimacy in our marriage as we shared a grief only we could fully understand. And then the moment happened when we saw our baby's tiny heartbeat flickering on the screen and we knew our lives would never be the same.

And to last night. The beach picnic date. The perfect moment. It will not be the last moment when the goodness of life overwhelms me, but I also know that there will be other trials ahead too. I mean, parenting is going to throw us some curve balls for sure, we are blissfully unaware of all that is ahead, but in Him we can do anything.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Homeward bound...

Back in November when we were deep in the adoption Home Study process we decided to get tickets to be home in England for 3 weeks for the 2012 Olympics. We figured that the chances we would have been matched with a baby by then were slight and that having something fun to look forward to would be good for us and would help the waiting process go by a little easier.

Fast forward only a few weeks and we get our positive pregnancy test, with a due date smack bang in the middle of our trip. In the early days we felt as though we should keep the tickets because I think in the back of our minds we still felt that something bad might happen and this way, we would at least have something pleasant to look forward to to distract us if we were not going to have a baby.

I told J I wanted to wait until 24 weeks to try and rebook the tickets. 24 weeks is medical viability in a pregnancy. Not a pleasant term, but it means that medically if I went into labor now they could/would try to save the baby. Far from a guarantee that the baby would survive but at least they would have a shot. Today we are 24 weeks. Medically viable. (Yay baby boy!)

And to celebrate we are re-booking our tickets. We had hoped to rebook and go home to England for Christmas, but we learned that we had to re-book within a year of making the original booking. Not ideal. I was already nervous about travelling with an infant at Christmas, but now we are (being pushed by British Airways into) travelling a month earlier. Yikes.

It was an option to fly home before the baby but I am just not comfortable flying that far pregnant. I could get passed the obvious pregnancy discomfort of a long haul flight, but after all we have been through to have this baby, if something went wrong after flying I would never forgive myself. Even if it was not directly connected to the flying, I would alwasy wonder "what if?". I want the peace of mind to know that I couldn't over-think any of my actions and blame myself.

My doctor gave me a note to explain that I could not fly on the original ticket and so we do not have to pay to change our tickets which is some comfort I guess. And a chunk of change we do not have to part with.

I am excited to visit home with our little guy and know that there will be many, many, willing arms ready to hold him if we need to nap and adjust to the time difference. We can just pray that his little body is healthy and stays healthy after breathing in all that recycled airplane air. I will be wiping down and disinfecting every surface like a crazy person. perhaps I will even take some face masks with me to hand out if anyone dares to board the plane with the sniffles.

Praying that I will have some solid peace in my heart about this before we actually fly - or that our mama and papa bear instincts tell us both we should stay home...Lord, help appreciated please!

Any tips for international travel with teeny ones would be very, very appreciated!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello Cankles

I feel as though over the last few days I have officially 'popped.' I have seen a few acquaintances from church who I assumed knew I was pregnant because I feel as though I have been showing for ages, but I think that until the past week I was still in the "is she pregnant or isn't she?" stage, and because most of them know something of our history with miscarriages and our plans to adopt I think they were really cautious to ask about the belly until now - when it is undeniably baby!

I am also recognising that my body is not always able to keep up with my head. I like to be busy, but I am having to make sure that in my busyness I am taking breaks to sit down. Over Easter weekend I was on my feet a lot, and on Monday I was also standing for longer than I realised. By the end of the night, my ankles were super puffy. Almost beyond recognition, my legs went straight from leg to foot, cankle city! I know that as i get bigger and the weight my legs has to carry increases this will not be an uncommon occurrence. I anticipated swollen ankles were on the cards but I just thought I would have a few more months without them. Guess not.

I confess here on the safety of my blog that I did a little more baby shopping this afternoon...all essentials of course. I mean, every baby boy must have dinosaur t-shirt right? At least the swollen ankles will limit my shopping as time goes by! ha ha!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The day in bullet points

It looks like the sunshine is trying to shine again today. Looks like some outside reading is on the cards for the afternoon. That makes me smile and also makes me want to get some good outdoor furniture which can help us make the most of our limited outdoor space.

I am IN LOVE with the Passion Fruit cake from Macrina Bakery. My sister-in-law brought one to Easter lunch and very generously let us keep the leftover few slices. By us, I mean me and the baby. That may not have been her intention but it is the reality of what happened. Here is the description from their website, and if you ever get a chance to try one. Do it!
"Rich white chocolate cake with passion fruit Bavarian cream and fresh raspberry preserves. Frosted beautifully with passion fruit buttercream."

I got a package from Amazon this morning with cute crib sheets that I had ordered for the nursery. I know that baby boy won't even be sleeping in the nursery until the winter but it feels good and motherly to get things ready in there. I cannot wait to fill the dresser with his cute little jammies and vests. (Just typing that made my voice go all squeaky.)

Last night, I found J standing, staring into the nursery closet looking at the baby clothes with a goofy smile on his face. "Whatcha doing?" I asked. "These clothes are so small" he replies. Melt my heart.

Baby boy is kicking more and more, stronger and stronger. Steals me heart every time. And steals my sleep during the hours of 10pm and 7am!

We signed the paperwork for our doula today. Feeling blessed that we can have her support for the birth but going through the paperwork and answering questions about our birth preferences is slightly scary!

Still trying to stay in denial that this kid will be coming out of my body someday. It's getting trickier - see above.

I have memorized the phone number of Babies-R-Us.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Sunshine

Well, the sun was shining bright and beautiful again in Seattle. I forced myself to go to a coffee shop to study for about four hours to cross some homework assignments off my list. Looking out at the sunshine was certainly a good motivator!

I saved some reading to be able to do in my back garden before the sunshine got scared away!

Our yard has fallen out of favor in place of baby prep recently and sitting out there just reminded me of all that needs to be done. I realised that the weeds don't seem to be deterred by the crappy weather that we have had until now. Looks like a yard day is in our future. I feel as though this ever prominent belly will make bending over more of a challenge as the weeks past so I want to get things planted pretty soon. I don't have huge plans but I will be digging up my herb pots and putting in new starts, weeding my rose garden, planting some flowers in my front pots and then maybe putting down some new mulch or topsoil in our garden beds.

I guess that is a pretty long list. Perhaps my nesting instincts will hit the garden before they make it to the rest of the house?

Does anyone else feel inspired to get life in order when the sun shines?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!

I LOVE Easter.

This year we were really involved in the preparations at our church and this only added to the anticipation of this special day. I was involved with the decorations and food set up and Jeremy was leading worship. Yesterday, I joined some other lovely ladies from church in a sunshine-filed back garden where we took out about 1000 white tulips from the buckets they had been stored in, and cut them to fit in glass jars.
Later in the day, we joined many other friends at the gym where we have church to set up for today. We sliced fruit, set up tables with clothes and platters, prepped the pots for tea and coffee making and set up chairs, staging and the decorations, ready for the celebration this morning.

We were at church bright and early, helping where we could with last minute details and ready to worship. There was so much to celebrate. Death could not keep J down, he rose again. Defeating death, and sin, and giving us abundant life!!

He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!

After the service, we went outside to watch the kids participate in the Easter egg hunt. So sweet to see their smiling faces and hear all the squeals of delight. Watching all these little ones running around gave me a warm feeling when I realised that in a couple of years, we will (God willing) be watching our little guy running around and delighting in the moment as he collects his coloured eggs with all his little friends.

I also love the time to get together with friends and family to share this celebrating together. J and I usually host his family and friends for Easter lunch, and I relish the opportunity to host. J's parents and sister bring parts of the meal too which makes things easier, but we make the ham and some sides. This year, J's parents brought scalloped potatoes and rolls, Carrie brought an amazing fruit salad which has become a holiday fave for the family, and dessert, and with the ham I made quinoa salad with artichokes and parsley, and Asparagus with balsamic tomatoes. I would highly recommend both of these sides, but the asparagus was truly delicious.

After our lovely feast, we made the most of the beautiful sunshine and sat on the deck playing cards and eating the passion fruit, coconut cake that was some of the best morsels of food to ever pass by my lips. Of course, I washed the cake down with a cup of tea. First cup of tea in the sunshine of the year, made for a very happy me!

This year we actually managed to get a family picture...Thanksgiving and Christmas both passed without this accomplishment so it feels like a big moment! ha ha!

While we sit down and put our feet up, we recognise what gift today is. In Christ's death, sin is defeated and we can know eternal life in the future, and as important, we can know real freedom and joy in life today. The message of the cross is a reminder to life fully into every opportunity that life brings us. The gift of life is even more apparent to us this year, as my growing belly reminds us of the gift of new life we have been given! We are truly blessed.

Life is not always easy. It is a wild ride, painful at times, but with the almost unbearable days we can find strength, hope and peace in Jesus our Saviour and our friend. And in the days when life is good, we can be thankful to him for the goodness he showers over us.

May you know His peace and joy in your life this Easter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chocolate vs Fruit

Week one of the quarter continues to go well. I am starting to feel more familiar with the classes and the expectations of my professors. My anxiety about taking on such a full schedule has eased some what and I hope that I might even enjoy this quarter!

My consumption of Cadbury's mini eggs and creme eggs however is more of a concern. I am trying to be good, but failing. I am trying to remind myself that everything I eat, baby eats and lots of sugar is NOT good for him. I's resolving to cut myself off. More and more as I read about maternal nutrition and the effects on children I recognise that it is my responsibility to feed our son well while I am carrying him. And to this point I haven't done too bad of a job but my Easter candy obsession is starting to worry me.

Baby boy is kicking away as I write this so he's doing ok so far, but I want him to have a taste for fresh fruit and vegetables. Pretty sure he can develop the taste for chocolate by himself in a few years! ha ha

Monday, April 2, 2012

Busy, busy, with hearts full

The past few days have been busy, busy. Busy with fun activities but busy none-the-less! I am taking today slowly but trying to keep up productivity too!

It's the first day of spring quarter and I want to start well. I can always seem to tell how the quarter will be by how the first week goes. If I am able to start off strong and getting things done ahead of time, then it bodes well for a good, not too stressful quarter, but if I procrastinate handing things in even in the first week, it's not a good sign. I have already completed a lot of things for my research class so I am feeling positive!

This weekend Jeremy was away until Saturday night and came straight from the airport to meet me at a good friend's 40th celebration. We didn't stay too long after he arrived because I was exhausted by then and he was pretty wiped from skiing and travelling all day. I loved having a reason to get dressed up. It has been a long time since I have felt well enough to put in the effort. It helped that I got ready with two girl friends and could share ideas and compliments along the way!

Here are Amy and I celebrating Hawaiian style!

Sunday our friends Josh and Lindsey were in town and stayed with us. It was so good to see them but not long enough of course. The sun even decided to come out so we took a walk around Greenlake and rewarded ourselves with a stop at the cupcake cafe on the way round!

It was a full weekend but one that left our hearts full too. Now to make this full week a week that has the same effect!


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