A Rescue Mission

At church the past few weeks, Danny has been calling Christmas a "Rescue Mission," and I REALLY like that perspective! It's so easy to get caught up in getting Christmas cards sent out (which we declined to do this year), buying the perfect gift for everyone on your list, decorating the house, baking cookies, and sharing delicious meals with the people you love most. Of course all of those things are fun and give us an opportunity to celebrate Christmas, but I'm really making an effort not to lose sight of the fact that Christmas is a Rescue Mission. Jesus was born in order to reconnect us with God. Despite even our best efforts, we all fall short of perfection. It's just the way things are. However, acknowledging Jesus as our savior - the person who paid the penalty for our imperfections - gives us the opportunity to not only live alongside God day to day, but also to spend eternity with him. So again, Jesus came to rescue us from the alternative - spending day-to-day life and eternity apart from God. How lucky are we?!

I was reading The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15) today, and it really touched me. It reads:

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, [Jesus] said in a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold. As he said these things, he called out, He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

As I began to think about the parable and question its true message, I saw that the answer was in the next several verses.

...Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for awhile, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience."

Wow, is that sinking in for you like it did me? Throughout life, most of us have been exposed to God's truth just like this parable shares. Now the question is, which seed are you?

Seed on the Path - you hear the word of God, but you do not believe

Seed in the Rock - you hear the word happily but stray from what you know to be true when going through trials

Seed among Thorns - you hear the word of God but ignore its teachings in order to pursue what this world has to offer (money, success at work, popularity among others, etc.).

Seeds in Good Soil - you hear the word, and you bring the light of God into this world so that others who know you know that you love God.

I want so badly to be a seed in good soil, but I know there are times when I am a seed among thorns (ignoring God's word for worldly treasures that will never last or fulfill my life). I try my best to prevent that from happening by exposing myself to God's word every Sunday, by reading the Bible (I've been doing much better since I downloaded a Bible application to my phone), and by surrounding myself with friends and family who help keep me accountable for my behavior. I have gained so many friends at our church, and these people have helped me grow in my walk so much these past 3 1/2 years. Not only do they inspire me through the way they handle their own trials, but they also encourage me to live my life in a way that God intended for us to live. My point is, I hope to be a seed in good soil more and more often in all areas of my life: work, parenthood, marriage, friendship, in public, in private, and with family. There are so many people who have made such a positive impact on my journey as a Christian, and I hope each and every one of you know who you are. The gift you have given me this past year is priceless. I love you!


Sledding Adventures

Noah has found his new favorite outdoor activity - sledding! A couple Sundays ago when we got a lot of snow, Ryan and I promised Noah that we would take him sledding after work on Monday. Although it was getting dark by the time Ryan got home, a promise is a promise! I think Noah was surprised by the amount of clothing you have to wear when you go sledding - especially when it is only 17 degrees! I dressed him in his socks, a pair of my socks that went to his thighs, two pairs of sweat pants, a t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a hoodie, his snow pants, winter coat, mittens, and a ski mask. Yes, he was completely decked out and looked like Randy from A Christmas Story! No, he could not put his arms down either. :)

Ryan and I put on our own layers of clothes, somehow fit Noah into his carseat, loaded the sleds, and off we went. Just down the street there is a big, fairly steep hill that no one seems to have discovered. It provided the perfect place to go sledding! I know I probably shouldn't have, but I took one trip down the hill with Noah - I couldn't resist. He loved it! I think Ryan and Noah must have gone down that hill at least 10 times. Noah even said he wanted to go backwards once, which was really fun. He said, "Bye, Mommy, I love you. Bye," and down he went.

A picture to prove I was there, too! :)

A few days ago, Ryan and Noah went sledding with our friend, Matt, and his little boy, Bryson. Jessica (Matt's wife) and I stayed at her house and enjoyed the warmth. Our due dates are about 11 days apart, and it will be fun to add two more little boys to the mix! Noah asks almost everyday to go sledding again. With all the snow coming this weekend, I'm sure it won't be long!


Christmas Tour 2010 - Part 1

We started our Christmas festivities early this year! We loaded up Ryan's Jeep Patriot with all of our goodies and drove to South Whitley on Friday, December 3rd. Noah watched movies on Ryan's video iPod all the way there, which kept the drive calm and easy! Seriously, how did my parents make that drive when we were kids? No wonder my brother and I spent most of the drive looking out our own windows after getting in trouble for fighting in the back seat. :)

We made it there in one piece and put Noah down for a nap. I kept Danette company while she made a bunch of delicious goodies including these cute little gingerbread men with red hots. Ryan and Dad were updating their Garmins. After Noah woke up, we drove into town to eat at The Brownstone. We fought Noah 90% of the time to eat his meal. Regardless, the food was delicious as usual, and it's fun to see a nice restaurant in my home town.

Even Kya was excited to open her presents!
After everyone went to bed, Ryan and I started watching a movie, but before I knew it, I was nodding away, too. We bought Noah this great air mattress with bumpers, and he slept great all night! We woke up to monkey bread and mini quiches...delicious! Soon after we started breakfast, my brother and his wife arrived. They are due to have their first baby April 20th, so not even two weeks before our due date. How fun is that?? It was fun to talk about our pregnancies over breakfast.

Danette's dad, Dale, joined us soon after, and we started opening presents. We bought Kristen some Secret Fit jeans from Motherhood Maternity. Those were such a staple in my maternity wardrobe last time, and they are already coming in handy for this one. I had to make sure Kristen had a pair, too! We also found a cute heather gray shirt to go with her jeans. When I asked Dan what he wanted for Christmas, he said something Chicago Bears to decorate their office. I had no idea where to start until Ryan suggested an autographed picture. We found a print of this year's team's signatures on Soldier Field. I wasn't sure if it was something he would like, but turns out, he really loved it! PHEW! :) I always have a hard time shopping for my dad, but Ryan again came through with an idea - the new Crossroads DVD. He is always watching an old one, and the new one just came out in November 2010. He seemed to really like it! I also grabbed a Hickory Farms gift set because they are so delicious but hard to buy for yourself. :) We got Danette the Sex and the City 2 DVD, Half Broke Horses (a great book!), and some scentsy bars - you know, great girly stuff! We also bought Dale a gift card to a restaurant. Picking out gifts is one of my favorite things to do, and I bet this year, I did 95% of my Christmas shopping online. It's just SO convenient! What did you buy for the people you love?

Noah hit the jackpot! Dan and Kristen surprised him with the Dance Star Mickey Mouse! He went bananas when he opened it! We took it to our friends' house last night, and not only did Noah love it, but so did little Baby Ava (Dalia and Kevin's daughter) who is almost 7 months old. Dad and Danette bought Noah and our little yet-to-be-named Bambino lots of wonderful gifts. Noah's favorite items include a DVD of kids' Christian songs where his name is inserted all throughout, a book called There's a House Inside my Mummy, a Fisher Price cash register, and a Radio Flyer tricycle! I know, I know...he is SO fortunate to have gotten such wonderful gifts. Thanks again everyone!!!

Ryan and I were also really fortunate in what we received. Dad and Danette spoiled us with a new Sony HD video camera! It is SO nice, and now we can easily download videos onto the computer, and we can burn them on DVDs. We are still drooling over this gift, so thank you! Dan and Kristen got Ryan a kapo for his guitar and a DVD from the 80's called Making Mr. Right, which I've been dying to re-watch for years! Yes, I would say we all were very blessed this year!

Dad and Danette made a fabulous dinner for us - filets, twice baked potatoes, green beans, rolls, and lots of desserts. I filled myself into a food coma and put Noah down for a nap. After he woke up, we went to visit my cousin Joey, his wife Katey, and their three girls (yes, you read that correctly!). Daisy Louise was just born earlier that week, so we got to meet her for the first time. Noah had fun playing with Sydney while we had a nice visit. After having dinner and packing up the car, it was time to say goodbye. We had such a wonderful time and were reminded of how lucky we are to have such an incredible family.


What a Perfect Week

Really - it was the perfect week. I know I've said it a million times, but I am so fortunate to be able to work part time and stay at home with Noah part time. It's helped to create a lot of balance in my life, and I count my blessings everyday that I get to enjoy this precious time with Noah before he grows up and goes to kindergarten. It did hit me a couple weeks ago that he is 2 1/2 years old now, which means my time with him at home is half over already. It just blows my mind how fast he is growing up!

When I build my schedule, I don't work Thanksgiving week because the kids are so hyper and excited, which makes testing for special education a little more difficult and a little less valid. I enjoyed every single minute of every single day I was home. On Monday we went to visit my mom at the hospital before she had surgery (she's doing great!), and then we went to the mall for a bit. As soon as we got in the door, we ran into my good friend, Leah, her mom, her two boys, and her two nieces. We got to visit with them for a bit, and then Noah got to see Santa for the first time. We didn't do the whole sit-on-Santa's-lap bit because Ryan wasn't with us, but he at least got to see who he was in person. The night before we had bought Noah a Mickey Mouse Saves Santa movie, and that has really helped him make the connection about who this Santa Claus guy really is.

After saying goodbye to our friends, we walked down to Auntie Anne's and bought a soft pretzel and cheese dip to share. We walked down to the play area to burn some energy but ended up not staying very long. I have a pet peeve when parents are too busy chatting with each other to make sure their kids are being nice to other kids. So rather than stew over it, we left and found a little Simon Foundation donation spot where you put in a coin, and it spins round and around until it finally drops into the container. Noah loved that! Then, we went over to the fountain and made some wishes with some more coins. I was truly just enjoying each simple minute we had together. Next we walked over to Build-A-Bear and made a teddy bear for a friend's daughter's birthday. Noah picked it out and enjoyed filling it up with fuzz. On our way out, we say a bright and colorful train that was driving around the mall. I promised Noah we would come back with Ryan and go for a ride on that train!

On Tuesday I took Noah to a play group at Chick-Fil-A for about an hour and hung out with some friends. After a quick trip to Meijer to pick up a few things, we drove back to the hospital to visit my mom, who was doing very well! Noah kept the atmosphere light saying things like, "We must get there before the moon is full!" and "That's the biggest tower I ever saw!" He must get this stuff from cartoons or something. After our visit, we drove down to our church for Noah's Thanksgiving party. He got dressed up like a little indian with the rest of his classmates, and they all had a feast with more pilgrims and indians - classic! I was so glad to have shared that time with him.

After Ryan got home from work, we turned on Tim Allen's The Santa Clause (our traditional let's-decorate-for-Christmas movie 5 years running) and got the decorations out of the attic. Noah was amazed by the tree and all of its lights. We have told Noah that after we turn on the magic, all he has to do is yell "Magic" at the tree, and the lights will turn on. You should've seen his face the first time he did it! PRICELESS. He still enjoys doing it each time we need to turn the tree back on.

Noah watching The Santa Clause in our papasan.
On Wednesday, I decided to start making Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls with Noah. He LOVES cooking and is a great helper, so it was a fun project to work on together. We had to make the dough and let it rise for a few hours that morning. We also survived a trip to Kroger together (thanks to a Mickey Mouse movie on Ryan's video iPod) including dozens of coupons. I spent $44 and saved $72...success!

When Ryan got home from work, we went back to the mall. Ryan was carrying Noah around on his shoulders when Noah spotted the train across the mall. He started squealing and pointing and yelling, "Choo choo, Daddy! Choo choo!" We caught up with the train, bought out tokens, and hopped aboard. As we toured around a couple of the malls' wings, Noah smiled ear-to-ear nonstop. We had so much fun! After a quick stop at the food court for pizza, we drove back home. It was time to finish our cinnamon rolls! I rolled out half of the dough and melted TWO CUPS of butter (yes, that is FOUR sticks!). I poured one cup of butter all over the dough, and Noah helped me spread it out everywhere. Then he poured on the sugar and cinnamon. I rolled up the dough and sliced it into 1 1/2 inch pieces. After repeating those , steps a second time for the other half of the dough, we had over 50 cinnamon rolls!

Thursday brought on another day of baking. We first made our cinnamon rolls with some eggs and bacon, and they were seriously, honest-to-goodness, the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten in my entire life! It was the perfect balance of bread and sugary goodness. We took some down to our neighbors and drove some over to our friends, Kevin and Dalia, too. Then we started making Paula Deen's pumpkin pie, which Ryan later said (unprompted) that it was by far the best pumpkin pie he had ever had (Note: I've made different pumpkin pies every year since we've been married). Then, after Noah's nap, we drove up to Ryan's parents' house to celebrate Thanksgiving. He was so well behaved, though wasn't a big fan of turkey unfortunately, and had a great time with his cousins!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each brought on more great memories with Noah and Ryan. We really enjoyed every minute we had together. I had to finish some reports for work this evening, so I turned on Nopey-Nope (Pinoccio), and he snuggled in right beside me on the couch. Then tonight, when I was putting himto bed, I got really teary. I am so sad that our week together is over. I had SO much fun! I know our days of having time for just the two of us are numbered, and I think that is partly why I am getting so emotional about it. He is becoming such a neat kid with such a fun personality, and I am going to miss him so much tomorrow when I go to work. Hopefully the day will go quickly, and with three case conferences, it should. I already can't wait to pick him up and play with him tomorrow night. I think we're going to make some Auntie Anne's pretzels together - the dough has risen, and now they just need to be rolled out and baked. I am already looking forward to the 3 weeks of time off that I have over Christmas. It is going to be a really special Christmas this year!


Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun for Halloween this year! After much deliberation and sleepless nights, we decided to buy him a Mickey Mouse costume because that still is his most favorite thing in the world. Noah started the 4 day celebration with his classmates at church. They held a Fall party, and I didn't think much of it as the date got closer and closer, but when I went to drop him off, I felt really sad that I couldn't be part of it. Ryan - being the best dad in the world - skipped lunch and spent time with Noah and his friends for awhile. They played basketball, walked around collecting candy from various people, and played some other games. I'm so glad he was able to make it!

The second day consisted of a Halloween party at my friend/coworker's house. Marinda provided plenty of food for everyone, and when it got dark, she and her husband projected a kid-friendly movie onto a big screen outside. When we first arrived, Noah wanted to go up into the treehouse. He kept calling it his clubhouse, which was fitting in his Mickey Mouse costume. We weren't up there for more than 3 minutes when he grabbed himself and had a deer-in-headlights look on his face. I swooped him out of the treehouse as quickly as possible, but we were too late. We had to change him out of his black pants that matched his costume and put him in brown ones. At least it got dark pretty quickly! :) We ate some delicious hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and chocolate dipped pretzels. Noah thoroughly enjoyed his first popcorn ball, which was all over his face, costume, and hands. I got to visit with a bunch of friends from work for awhile, and then Noah hit a wall. Even the popcorn ball and backyard fun couldn't keep him going. We said goodnight and counted the night as a success overall!

Saturday brought Day 3 of our Halloween festivities. Ryan's sister, my nieces, my nephew, and my in-laws all came over so the kids could go to our Trunk-n-Treat event at church. Dozens of cars line up in the parking lot, and the kids walk around and go trick-or-treating. It's really cute! They had several games and some live entertainment; plus, I think I noticed about 40 kids enjoying the playground area. It was a zoo over there! The kids all seemed to have a great time, and I loved seeing them altogether. My mom and her husband even came by the church for a bit to see Noah all dressed up. Later our friends Leah, Joe, Little Joey, and Baby Ray came by for some Trunk-n-Treat fun! We had a great time!

Afterward, everyone came back to the house for some delicious chicken and dumplings, salad, breadsticks, and Halloween cake. It was so fun to have everyone over, and our entire house smelled like Thanksgiving! It made me so excited for the upcoming holidays.

On Sunday, our friend Dalia and her daughter, Ava, came over to help pass out candy for Halloween. Noah got dressed up yet again and went to a few houses around ours. We have one neighbor in particular who gets really into holidays, and he dressed up like Michael from the Halloween movies. It was super creepy, but if you were brave enough to approach him (and his axe), you got a full-sized candy bar. Reese Cups - get in my belly! Halloween was a lot of fun this year, and it's hard to believe we'll have two little boys to dress up. I can hardly wait!

"See ya real soon!"


15 Weeks

Hooray! We are 15 weeks today! I go to the doctor tomorrow, and I can't wait to hear the baby's heartbeat again. Last week was really my first good week since before we hit the 6 week mark. I still sometimes get a little nauseous around 8 p.m., but it's inconsistent at this point. For the most part, I am feeling much more like myself again.

I always heard that you feel the baby move earlier in subsequent pregnancies, and that has definitely been the case for me! I felt Noah move for the first time around 18 weeks last time. I have probably been feeling this baby move since sometime in the middle of my 13th week. With Noah it felt more like bubbles popping, but this time, I am feeling more of a pushing feeling already. I will be excited to have our ultrasound (probably 4 weeks or so from tomorrow) in December. I look about 5 weeks further ahead than I am, though I have gained very little weight. I don't know how things just redistribute, but they do!

Thanks to my belly bands, I am still able to wear my regular pants and jeans. Plus, for whatever reason you are just smaller in the morning than in the evening, so I can squeeze into my regular clothes. I am so thankful that leggings are in this season because I am trying to wear them at least once a week to work. My work pants are definitely tighter than my jeans, so it's nice to be extra comfy one day at work. These pictures are from last Friday. We finally took some after so many people have asked for some belly shots!

As we speak, Noah is snuggled up next to my watching Pinocchio. I am cherishing this time with him right now, knowing it will never be just like it is again. He has one arm across my chest and his two feet propped up on my legs. He said he was a little "scared" and "afraid" when the movie first started, but I'm not sure why. I asked if he wanted to turn it off, and he said no. I just like that being close helps him feel better. So sweet!

The name game is a tough one. I think boys' names are the hardest to pick out. We had eight girls names, and we would've been happy with any of them. I have read every boys' name from two different books, and we have about five possibilities right now. People always ask about names, and it's so hard to want to share them because everyone has an opinion. If I hear a negative story about a name, then it's kind of tainted, and we won't want to use it. So, it'll probably be a big surprise come April/May! I still find myself smiling when I think of brothers...my two boys get to be brothers. Nothing has ever felt so sweet!


Fall Break Fun

Ryan decided to take off Thursday and Friday a few weeks ago while I was on Fall Break, and we had SO much fun! First thing on Thursday, we took Noah to Splash Island in Plainfield. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (for the second time) while Ryan and Noah played in the water. Noah's favorite part is the zero-entry pool that has a waterslide. I bet he went up and down that slide at least 30 times!

We took a short break for lunch from the snack bar - hot dogs, corn chips, nachos, and some drinks - and then back in the pool they went. After more trips around the pool and down the slide, it was time to get dressed, play inside a locker, and head home. We had such a great day together!

On Friday we had lots of fun things planned for Noah! First, we started out with a trip to the mall to return a few things, and then he got to play on their indoor play equipment. For some reason, he loves playing there! I've got to remember that for an upcoming cold day. Then, we stopped by Toys R Us to look at toys and to see if anything got our attention for Christmas ideas. Because we were taking Noah to Toy Story 3 at the dollar theatre after his nap, Ryan wanted to buy him a little Buzz Lightyear action figure. We played with the more expensive, shiny, loud Buzz Lightyears first, so when we bought the $8 use-your-imagination-to-make-the-sounds Buzz, Noah quickly said, "The button's not working!" We tried to explain the idea of making your own sounds and even did some great impressions, but he wasn't impressed. :)

After his nap, we went to the movie theatre. We had taken him to Shrek 3 a few months ago, and he made it for about an hour. This time, though, he seemed much more interested in the movie! I bought a little bowl that he could hold and filled it with popcorn a few times. He had a sippy cup of juice in one cupholder and his Buzz Lightyear in the other one. It was really cute! Noah made it through the whole movie, too. We had so much fun!

On Saturday and Sunday, we did other fun activities, but for the life of me and my pregnant brain, I cannot remember! Whatever it was, we had a great time. I remember thinking at the end of the weekend that it was the perfect Fall Break with my family!


Good Bye First Trimester

We finally hit the first big milestone of pregnancy yesterday. The dreaded first trimester is behind us!! I couldn't be happier to be 13 weeks and have the majority of the nausea and sleepiness in my past. Let me catch you up on the past couple months of our lives...

Up until last Spring, Ryan and I had this satisfying feeling that our family was "complete," though we always knew we would probably have more children. Neither of us felt rushed to hurry and have another baby, knowing that when the time was right, we would just know. It was probably April when I first felt that old familiar feeling - something was missing. I really think God puts that feeling on our hearts when He decides its time for us to move forward our your journey rather than live with the status quo. The conversations about having another baby began, and we knew that  a Spring baby would be great timing for my job.

In July, I totally thought I was pregnant! I had several symptoms and just felt pregnant; however, the pregnancy test was negative. As the end of August drew near, I didn't "feel" pregnant at all. I decided to take a prengnacy test on August 25th just to confirm my suspicions, but instead, I was totally surprised to see a plus sign quickly appear on the test. I started laughing to myself and double checked the directions to make sure I was reading it correctly. I went into the living room, and Ryan asked me why I was smiling. I announced, "We're pregnant," though I was still in total shock. We were both really happy, but since neither of us thought we going to be pregnant, we stayed in a state of shock for probably another 24 hours. Then we quickly began sharing the good news with our family!

I felt really decent for about two weeks after finding out we were pregnant. However, when we hit the 6 week mark, I experienced a quick 180 degree change. I felt nauseous 24 hours a day with no relief, and I started taking a 2-3 hour nap each day. Thank goodness for working part time! When people ask was morning sickness all day sickness feels like, I like to describe it as living with the stomach flu 24 hours a day minus the body aches for an unknown amount of time. You have to force yourself to eat, knowing that if you don't you'll only feel worse. Eating when you are experiencing a constant stomach ache is like going against nature. When you have that flu, you can lie in bed and starve yourself until it passes. With pregnancy, you have to keep living your life as close to normal as possible.

I felt really sick for about 4 weeks, and I really struggled with guilt during that time. I felt horrible for not spending good, quality time with Ryan and Noah. It's really hard to focus on meeting other people's needs when you are feeling so horrible, which only made me feel more selfish and guilty. Fortunately, I am feeling much better these days. I still feel sick during the evenings, and even that doesn't happen every night. I know I am turning a corner, but I can't wait until my stomach feels 100% normal again. I am sleeping really well from about 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Then I toss and turn for the next 3-5 hours. For some reason, I am having a hard time sleeping comfortably. I slept great with Noah, so hopefully this isn't a sign of what's to come. :) I was SO good about sleeping on my left side at night when I was pregnant the first time but am having so much more trouble with that this time. Did any of you other moms ever experience that??

Two weeks ago, Ryan and I had our first prenatal appointment. We met with Dr. Soper, and she was more personable than I remember her being last time. Maybe I passed her test of going through natural childbirth, so now she's going to be more laid back this time around?! We sat in her office for awhile answering various questions. When I told her the first day of my last period was July 26th, she said, "You're not going to believe this, but you are the third person in a row to say that same date." How crazy is that?? This means we share a due date with at least two of her other patients.

Next we went into the exam room. She put the jelly on my belly and quickly found my heartbeat with the doppler. I found myself holding my breath while she searched for the baby's heartbeat, and fortunately, we didn't wait more than a few seconds. The woosh, woosh...woosh, woosh..woosh, woosh quickly filled the room. I think my heart skipped a beat with excitement. It really is the best sound in the world! I told Dr. Soper my concerns that maybe I was carrying twins due to my family history and how quickly I was showing already. I had only gained 3 lbs., buy my stomach looked 4-5 weeks ahead of my last pregnancy. She said that the size of my uterus really makes her think it's just one baby. It was enough to put my mind at ease, but until I see an ultrasound, I am not putting the possibility out of my mind.

The coolest part about this appointment was learning that there is a new test that can be done to determine the baby's blood type. I am Rh negative, and Ryan is Rh positive. I had to have two injections of Rhogam with Noah due to our different blood types. The first one they do as a default at 28 weeks. Then, when Noah was born, and they found out that he was Rh positive, too, I had to have another injection. This time, a new technology has been developed where they took a blood sample from my arm, and they can determine the baby's blood type while it is in utero. How cool is that?? This will help know with certainty whether or not I need Rhogam. As a bonus, this company that analyzes the blood will also tell you the sex of the baby. Since we didn't find out last time because that was what I prefered, we already knew we were going to find out this time as a compromise. So we signed up for both test results!

I had a voicemail on my phone last Wednesday from Dr. Soper saying our test results were in a week earlier than we expected! I was heading into a case conference, so I sent Ryan a text message that they were in. He asked if he could call Dr. Soper to find out, and I thought it would be really neat for him to know before me, so I agreed. He text me back about 20 minutes later and wrote, "I know...." About an hour and a half later, I was finally home and was about to burst at the seams. Ryan was already there with Noah, so I ran inside and made him tell me everything from the very beginning. I love the build up that leads to surprises! He said he was so excited, and his heart was racing so fast when he called that he could barely articulate why he was calling. Dr. Soper called him back and explained the technical infomration about the blood test. She then shared that the baby was Rh negative, just like me! That was exciting news! Two less injections I have to deal with in this pregnancy! Then, Ryan teased me for a bit when I asked what the baby's sex was. Finally he said, "We're going to have....a baby.......


I was so happy and got a tear in my eye. Another boy. A brother for Noah. Another son. Questions started going through my mind as I wondered what he would look like or be like. There is no way we could have another blue eyed, blond haired child, right? What are the chances? Will he be a good sleeper? Will he be as sweet as Noah? Will he have a funny sense of humor? So many questions that only time can answer. I am so happy to get to know this little boy and cannot wait to feel him move for the first time. I am so happy that Noah will have a brother, and that as they go through life, they will have each other! I hope we can provide the kind of home where their friendship will grow over time despite their differences...that they will always respect each other and take care of one another.

Brothers. I love it!



A few weeks ago, I got the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog - Christmas 2010 in the mail. We initially learned about Samaritan's Purse at church when the earthquake devastated so many lives Haiti. After making a donation to the organization, we began receiving frequent mailings from them. Yes, I admit - I get super annoyed with mailings. Credit cards, charitable organizations, insurance companies...doesn't matter. I don't like getting any of them.

However, I am SO thankful that I received the Gift Catalog a few weeks ago. This catalog describes 44 different gifts that you can purchase for people all over the world. I went through the catalog page by page, reading about the various gifts and trying to decide how we can help a family in some other part of the world.

The first gift that really caught my eye was Gift #30 - Household Water Filters. These filters require no chemicals or power but instead rely on a natural biological process to remove disease-causing microorganisms and pollutants. How awesome is that??? I always find myself drawn to charitable organizations that work to help people have clean water, all because of watching one of those horribly sad commercials when I was little. There was a man on TV talking about how kids used the same water for cooking, drinking, bathing, and going to the bathroom. I was in total shock - I had never heard of people having to live like that. It really opened my eyes that a bigger world existed outside my little bubble, and it was a world where clean water wasn't readily available. So, knowing that this water filter will help a family have clean water brings so me so much joy!

The second gift brought me to tears. Gift #21 is milk, and there is a picture of two happy little boys with glasses of white milk in their hands. I lost it. I found myself crying...my whole life I've thought about how people don't have clean water but never considered the fact that something as simple as milk was not available to children. We drink two gallons of milk each week, and in many places around the world, kids don't get to drink milk. Does that break your heart in pieces? Mine seriously shattered tonight when I read Gift #21. For only $4, a family can be provided an entire week's worth of milk. Four dollars. Think about it. That's one drink at Starbucks, a value meal at McDonalds, a movie rental. Four dollars...for milk...that would last a week.

Our pastor once said that if you're looking for your purpose in life, wait for something to break you. If something shatters your heart, it's a pretty good indicator that you need to get involved. It's your purpose. For you it may not be water or even milk. We all have different things that break our hearts for different reasons. It helps prevent us from all going after the same cause. I hope you'll think about it, though, and remember the things that break your heart - not just at holiday time, but all year long. Consider looking through Samaritan's Purse's Gift Catalog. You might just find something that moves you, breaks you, and then makes you smile when you know you've just help improve someone's life - even if it's just as simple as a glass of milk.


The Adventures Continue

Sorry I've been so absent in my blogging! Here are some fun pictures to hold you over until I have time for a better update on our lives. Enjoy!

 Noah's first sleepover with Evie :)

Labor Day at Independence Park

Just being a boy...


I'm a Big Boy Now!

Somehow, over the past month, Noah seems to have really become a big boy. I know he's only two. I know! Still, he has changed so much, and I am LOVING this new stage. I wrote last time about our potty training endeavors. His language just keeps exploding, as he's always saying something new. Some of my favorite conversations include:

Noah: "Where's my daddy?"
Me: "Daddy's at work."
Noah: "Daddy at work. Making money. I'm proud of you!"
(nothing makes me melt more than Noah looking Ryan or me in the eye and telling us he's proud of us)

Me: "Noah, you're a stinker!"
Noah: "I not a stinker anymore. I'm a good boy!
(It's already important to him to be a good boy. He gets really sad if I say he is being a bad boy, which I reserve for when he's being REALLY badly behaved.)

Noah: "What's wrong?"
Me: "Nothing's wrong, honey. Mommy's happy."
(He's always checking in to see if we're ok - though I think it's mostly because it's one of the only ways he knows to start a conversation.)

Setting: Ryan and I are having a conversation.
Noah: "Talk to me, Mommy! Talk to me, Daddy!"
Ryan or Me: "What do you want to talk about, buddy?"
Noah: [Begins talking about Mickey Mouse, his favorite]

Setting: I ask Noah to do something.
Noah: "Why?"
Me: Because Mommy needs to you to obey."
Noah: "Why?"
Me. Because it's important to listen to Mommy and follow directions."
Noah: "Why?"
Me: [Finally realize I'm 3 "whys" deep in this conversation, so I stop talking.]

Not only has Noah's language exploded, but he has been sleeping in his "big boy room" for over a month now! Once he conquered potty training, he just looked funny sleeping in a crib. Noah just seemed too big to sleep with bars all around him. We I looked for ideas to decorate his new room all over the place. I went to countless stores and as usual, I felt disappointed by the selection for boys. I used to get frustrated shopping for his clothes because there are always 3-4 times as many girls' clothes as boys' clothes. This time I was super annoyed by the ONE sports' themed comforter set that I found at each department store where I looked.

Finally, per some advice of friends, I went to Target and hit the jackpot! There was a really cute space theme and another one that was robot themed. There were some classic sports themed comforters and some neutral boys decorations. I ended up falling in love with this cars and trucks quilt set. I bought matching sheets, window valance, lamp, piggy bank, and wall decals. I also found some GREAT items at Home Goods: a step stool, a painting, and a big bookshelf. At the big Target toy clearance sale, I found some little wooden trucks that Noah can take apart and put back together. Check out the pictures and let me know what you think! We are pretty happy with it, and Noah LOVES spreading out in his big boy bed! Of course every parent worries that moving your kid from the crib to a bed automatically means you are fighting your child to stay in bed. We have been very lucky not to have that problem. We were very stern with Noah about staying in his bed until we come get him, and he does just that. I love that boy!

Noah's new train table! Thanks Aunt Kelli & Cousin Micah!
The headboard was another great find at Home Goods!

This was my dresser when I was a growing up!

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