Easter Sunday 2011

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have had a wonderful time celebrating this special day with those you love most. We've had a really nice weekend! I always had this feeling that the baby would make his appearance April 23-24th - looks like I was off this time. :) Friday night I went and saw Water for Elephants with my friends Jessica and Claire at 9:55 p.m. because I was worried if I didn't see it then, I wouldn't get to see it for awhile. I napped from 7:30-9:15 p.m. and then drove to the theatre. The movie was REALLY good! I read the book last summer and loved it, so seeing it come to life on the big screen was a lot of fun. What made things a little more exciting that night was that I was having contractions about every 3 minute for nearly the entire movie. They felt low and crampy and made my back ache a bit. Only a couple times were the contractions so strong that I lost focus on the movie for about a minute each time. I really thought that was it - we were going into labor! I got home around 12:30 a.m. and woke Ryan up to tell him that we needed to pack our hospital bags (finally). We were both getting excited but went to bed as quickly as we could in order to rest up for what would maybe become the big show.

Turns out, it was a little show. My contractions slowed down and eventually stopped in the middle of the night. Ryan woke me up around 4:30 a.m. to let me know he was getting ready to go on his 18 mile run, and I realized I had slept all night without waking up to contractions. I have to admit, I was disappointed. Mentally I felt really strong before going to bed as I prepared for what we hope would be an intervention-free birth. I was praying to God that I have the strength that Jesus had on Good Friday over 2,000 years ago - the strength to endure the most physically painful/intense day of his life in order to benefit all of those who place faith in him. When I was in labor with Noah, I remember the experience being very spiritual. God had designed my body perfectly to bring this baby into the world. He provided breaks between contractions so that I could recover and prepare for the next one. Pregnancy itself is a sacrifice - you sacrifice your health (e.g., 17 weeks of nausea and 3 sinus infections later) and your physical appearance (hello extra 30 pounds strapped to the front of my body!). Then, when it comes time to go through labor and delivery, you again are making emotional, mental, and physical sacrifices all because you love this little person who is about to be born. I loved the idea of having an Easter weekend baby, but I do trust that God knows the best time for this little one to be born. So now we patiently wait.

Noah snuggling with Ryan last week
Fortunately, we had a great weekend that made "waiting" more bearable! Saturday morning my dad and Danette arrived to spend the morning and early afternoon with us. After visiting for a bit, we all went to an Easter egg hunt at St. Barnabas with our friends Jill and Aaron and their two little ones. Two years in a row, I forgot to bring an Easter basket. Seriously, how does a person forget that detail?! Noah put his eggs in my purse, and all was well. We then went and had lunch at BJs Brewhouse - by the way, their Shrimp Scampi Pasta is delicious! Afterwards, we drove back to our house and just played and visited until Noah was ready for his nap. Dad and Danette left shortly after, so Ryan and I laid down for a nap, too. We woke up to Noah walking into our room and scaring us to death! You see, he's not allowed to get out of bed without us either going into his room first or without us talking to him on our new video monitors (love them by the way!). What made things scarier is that he went downstairs first to look for us. Then, when he didn't find us, he came to our room, and by that time, he was scared, too. It freaks me out to think he could have wandered outside without us even knowing! We had a serious talk with him about not leaving his bed when he wakes up, so hopefully we won't see him do that again for a long time!

Last night, my mom and Kent stopped by after their visit with my brother, my sister-in-law, and their new baby, Natalie Alaine. Isn't she gorgeous! I'm so sad that we haven't been able to visit them yet, but I can't wait to see them in their new roles as parents. More than that, though - I can't wait to kiss her little cheeks!! Oh yeah, where was I? Mom and Kent came over and spent a couple hours with us. Noah was playing baseball outside with Kent and Ryan while my mom and I talked and talked and talked. We had such a great visit, and I felt spoiled to see all my parents in one day! We almost got together with Ryan's mom, sister, and her kids, but it just was going to work out well timing-wise.

This morning for Easter, Ryan got up bright and early to go practice the songs before church began. He played at the 8:00 a.m. service (we never have a service at that time but did for Easter) and then came home for a bit and had breakfast with us. Soon after he left to go back for the 9:30 a.m. service, Noah and I also left for church. It was bittersweet because Noah has stayed with me during the music portion since he was born, partially so he can see Ryan play, partially because he enjoys the music so much, and partially because I have selfishly loved snuggling with him while we sing our hearts out! With having another baby, I know it will be too hard to juggle both of them by myself while Ryan is playing. Since today was Ryan's last time playing for several weeks (because of the baby), it will be nice to have his help transitioning Noah into his classroom right when church begins rather than after the music. I'm excited to have the extra time with him now that he'll have a nice break! We don't get to go to church very often together, so I plan to just soak it up!

After church, we came home, had lunch, and played with Noah. I sterilized the tubing, shields, nipples, and bottles for my breast pump (check that off the list!), and then when Noah went down for a nap, so did we. A couple hours later, Noah woke up, and he found Easter eggs hidden around our house, as well as his Easter basket filled with more eggs, the Over the Hedge DVD, and The Hungry Caterpiller book. We watched his new movie and had dinner this even. Now, Noah is playing on the porch with Ryan while I finish this blog. We had a wonderful weekend together! Today marked the 4 year anniversary we have been at Emmanuel, and we are so grateful for the personal growth and new friendships that have resulted from our time there.

I would love your prayers for the continued health of this baby boy! Please pray that we can be patient for God's timing and enjoy these last days/weeks we have as a family of three (plus Kya!). I think I'm going to take Noah to the Children's Museum tomorrow. It will probably be our last time for awhile, and Noah loves it - not to mention it will keep me walking for several hours chasing an almost 3 year old busy boy! Again, I hope you all had a happy Easter! Hopefully I will be blogging soon about the big adventure that lies ahead.

Riding the carousel last time we went to the museum


Full Term

We hit the full term mark on Monday, April 11th, and this past Monday, April 18th, we crossed into our 38th week of pregnancy. We're excited to be at this point in our journey, and now the waiting begins.When we were pregnant with Noah, we never had to wait because he surprised us the day we turned 38 weeks. All along, I really felt like this baby would arrive sometime between April 16th and April 24th. Now we are there, and Easter Sunday is drawing near. Will this be the weekend we go into labor and meet our new son? I wish I knew! I'm not overly uncomfortable, and I do feel patient with this part of pregnancy. I am just dying to know when and how it will all unfold!

Saturday night at about 2:45 a.m., I woke up to a pretty strong contraction. I ended up timing them for about an hour. They weren't consistent but ranged from 3-6 minutes apart. I could feel the baby pushing down, and I felt like we were definitely getting closer to the real thing. All week I've felt pretty "normal," and although I have contractions all the time, typically they aren't painful. I'm trying to wrap things up at work and am getting really close. I think everything could be completely finished - with the exception of one conference - by the end of the day tomorrow. Of course, if the little man doesn't make his appearance for a bit longer, I can always find more things to do!

The laundry is done. The house is clean. The nursery is prepared, and the diapers are stockpiled. I have my contact list for when we got into labor and when the baby is born, and I've completed all the necessary paperwork to donate the baby's cord blood. However, just like when we were pregnant with Noah, though, the hospital bag is still not packed! I just can't bring myself to do it for some reason! I think I will pack it tomorrow - the list of what to pack has been ready for weeks - just in case the big show is this weekend!

Ryan is getting more and more excited to meet the little guy, too! Whenever I do go into labor, I'm going to tell Ryan that it's time to get Jimmy Johns - kind of like our secret code! Last time after Noah was born, I was starving!! It was very late at night, and they brought me this dry, not-so-good-tasting turkey sandwich. So, I told Ryan this time, on the way to the hospital, we will need to pick up Jimmy Johns on the way there, even if I am having contractions every 3 minutes. I don't eat deli meat during pregnancy because I'm afraid to get lysteria, so it will be a treat after baby boy is born!

For now, I am just praying that I go into labor when my body and this baby are both fully ready. I pray that I be patient for God's perfect timing as we enter the final stage of this pregnancy. I would appreciate your prayers for a healthy baby and a safe delivery! I'm excited to share our birth story with you. Hopefully all will go smoothly, and we will find ourselves a happy, healthy family of four in the next few weeks.

37 Weeks

38 Weeks


A Fun Weekend with Friends!

This past Friday night, Ryan and I had our friends Abigail and Devin over for dinner. We hadn't seen both of them together since November when the latest Harry Potter came out, so we were very much looking forward to some time with them! My mom said that she and Kent would be happy to keep Noah overnight, and Noah couldn't wait to get to their house to play in the barn. Ryan let me know that the following morning that he had a big surprise for me, so I couldn't make any plans. Check!

AfterAbigail and Devin arrived, we put some steaks on the grill and asparagus in the oven. I finished up the mashed potatoes while Ryan grilled the steaks. We sat down and had a fun dinner just catching up with our friends we've had for the past 11-12 years. It was WONDERFUL being able to talk over dinner without being interrupted or having to beg Noah to take another bite of his food!! After dinner, we played a game of Word on the Street and then Ticket to Ride. I hadn't played games FOREVER - it was so fun! Devin ended up winning Ticket to Ride and taking our game home. We figured it will be awhile until we can play games like that again. :) The rest of the night we spent laughing at You Tube videos and talking about all sorts of stuff. It was a great night! Crazy to think that the next time we see them, we will be a family of four.

The next morning, I quickly got ready for my surprise morning! We rushed out the door at 8:45 a.m. and started heading north. Next thing I know, we were pulling into my friend Dalia's neighborhood. As we pulled into her driveway, I saw all the girls (Dalia, Patty, Natalie, and Kerri) in my Bible study group there, too! They started honking their horn at me and told me to jump in their car. So this was my surprise!! I hopped in the car and off we went toward downtown Indy.

Patty, Dalia, me, Kerri, and Natalie
I was so excited about having some girl time with these awesome women! We meet as couples twice a month to have dinner, discuss whatever Bible study we are doing, and to have accountability time with one another. Doing this for the past 4 years has had a huge impact on our marriage and spiritual growth. I love these women, and knowing that they planned a special morning for me made my heart smile!

Our first stop was at Cafe Patachou, one of my very favorite places to have breakfast! I can't even remember the last time I got together with girlfriends for breakfast - maybe never. It was so fun! I ordered their croissant French toast with fresh fruit, a side of eggs, and a hazelnut steamer, which was especially delicious on that chilly rainy morning. Again, it was so nice to just have some time with these women without kids, husbands, or other distractions. So relaxing!

The girl giving me my pedicure was coincidentally someone Ryan knew from high school! She is also a strong, Christian woman, which made the morning even more fun to know that God had orchestrated even that time together!

After breakfast, they had another surprise for me - pedicures at a spa downtown! This has always been my dream - to go to a spa with a group of women and all get spoiled together. I've just never made it happen, and I love that Dalia organized it without even knowing how extra special that experience would be for me. They only had three pedicure stations, so Natalie, Kerri, and I went first, and then Dalia and Patty went second. We all chose pretty different colors. I was feeling a shimmery purple color, while Kerri took a change on a fun coral/orange color, which is what I typically pick this time of year. Dalia chose a very glittery pink, while Patty and Natalie picked shades of red. We had a great time just chatting away! I think men would be amazed at the number of subjects and conversations that women can have in a short time together. The morning was full of smiles and laughing, delicious food, and spa treatment. I couldn't have dreamed of a better surprise with the girls! They also gave me two free house cleaning sessions, which I will surely take advantage of by the end of May. Thanks again for such a wonderful gift and experience, friends! I am so grateful for all that you did to make our time together so special!
Natalie and me
It has become apparent to me that God brings different people in our your life at different times for different reasons. Dalia and I quickly became friends while training for the Bourbon Chase, and the longer I know her, the more I realize we have in common. She truly feels like my sister, like we were cut from the same mold. When something comes up for which I really want/need prayer, I call her because I know she will pray her heart out! So many times, I see those prayers answered, and without a doubt it's because "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). Thank you, Dalia, for planning such a special day to celebrate the upcoming birth of this baby boy!

Patty and I also met during Bourbon Chase and survived 200 miles across Kentucky together in the same van! For those of you who have endured those conditions in a major race, you can understand the accomplishment! :) Our friendship has grown through the course of our Bible study group, and I love the way she strives to be a strong, Christian woman. This especially is evident in her awesome marriage! Her passion for everything - her work as a photographer, her marriage, her faith, her friends - is something that I easily connect with and love to see in her!

Natalie and I met in December 2009 through Dalia, and when we joined their Bible study group, our friendship began to grow. From the day we met, I have always loved being around her contagious happiness and genuine sweetness. Natalie shows so much determination in her job and her role as a mother/wife, striving to be the best that she can be. I admire the steps she takes to improve the life of her family. It really pushes me to look at my own life and take the necessary steps I need to accomplish in order to better relationships and situations around me!

Kerri and her husband are the newest couple to join our group (October 2010), and from the first meeting, I knew that they were the couple that would make our group complete. Kerri is easily one of the sweetest, warmest people I know. Although in many ways I am still getting to know her, I feel like I've known her soul for decades. Does that make sense? I think sometimes when you meet a sister in Christ, you have this automatic connection with one another, not just because you have your faith in common, but because it is a tie that truly binds you to one another. I admire Kerri's eagerness for growth and look forward to seeing God continue His work in her life!

All in all, it was a perfect weekend with friends! Ryan and I didn't pick up Noah until about 5 p.m. on Saturday. We have never been in town and had him be away for so long. It felt strange being home without him, but Ryan and I had a great time both when we were together and when we were apart. Pretty soon our lives will change in ways we can't predict as this next chapter begins. I will treasure this past weekend for months and years to come!


Operation Potty Training: Over and Out

Noah getting ready to bounce at the mall - one of his rewards during our journey!
When I look back on my past (almost) 3 years of parenting, I would say that potty training was maybe the only part that was blah for me! Check out Part I and Part II if you're interested in our journey with potty training. Noah has been using a small froggy potty since January 2011 to go #2, and Ryan and I have both felt very tired of cleaning that potty every day. However, knowing the lengths it took to get us here, I wasn't going to push anything. While I was away for a couple hours, Ryan started talking to Noah about going poo on the big potty. After I got home, Ryan suggested that we make another sticker chart for Noah where he had to earn 15 stickers, maybe we could make a chart with 4 places for stickers. Although I had my doubts that Noah would actually use the regular potty, I was excited about the idea and motivation we were providing for him. He could have the Toy Story 2 DVD if he earned 4 stickers.

That very evening, he said he had to go, so I put him on the big potty. He didn't go and said he wanted back down. I thought to myself, "Here we go again...." Well, minutes later, he said he had to go, and I put him back on there. Sure enough, he started going and went like a champion! We gave him a sticker, and he  seemed happy with himself! Each day following that, he earned another sticker and another sticker. Then yesterday, while he was staying with my mom, he even went on her potty! Now that was a serious first because Noah won't go anywhere but our house with the exception of my dad and Danette's a time or two on the froggy potty. Needless to say, he earned his fourth sticker, and after picking him up, we took him to the store to buy Toy Story 2 and watched it last night before bed. This journey began in July....picked back up in January...and is now complete in April. It sounds like a long time, but because he rarely had accidents, it hasn't felt like that long. He's officially a big boy - almost 3 years old - just in time for us to start all over with a newborn baby boy.

I can't wait!

Loving it!


36 Weeks

On Monday we officially hit the 36 week mark. I look back on this pregnancy and kind of feel like I've been pregnant forever. Some parts of it were very difficult - the first 17 weeks of nausea, and the rest has really been wonderful! The weeks throughout the holidays went very quickly, while chunks of time have gone so slowly. Regardless, we are four days away from being considered full term, and little baby boy could make his appearance anywhere between now and May 16th (2 weeks after my due date). That's right - due dates are not an end point but rather a median between 38 and 42 weeks when it's considered a "normal" time to give birth. A lot of people don't realize that and start questioning women about why their babies haven't arrived yet as their due date gets closer and closer. The 40 week mark is just a median - not the time that the baby will arrive. :)

Anyway, off my soapbox now - I am feeling really great still! I can tell that I'm slowing down a bit sooner in the evenings than in previous weeks. I sleep all night long with the exception of getting up once to use the restroom. I count my blessings everyday for this great sleep! I have Braxton Hicks contractions ALL THE TIME, and when I looked back at my posts when I was 36 weeks with Noah, the same was true even then. They don't hurt at all but are sometimes annoying more than anything. I have been sitting on my birth ball a lot lately because it's just so much more comfortable and because I can feel the baby moving more into place. We have our Rock of Ages show next Thursday nights with some friends, and after that, he is welcome to make his appearance anytime!

I am pages away from finishing Your Best Birth and am thankful to have read about all the reminders of why we strive for a natural birth. (Side note - I really encourage all women to read books about birth both before and during pregnancy! It is so important to educate yourselves about birth, as well as the benefits and risks of medical intervention in birth rather than just taking your practitioner's word on everything. It is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself during pregnancy, and let's be honest, you deserve royal treatment for bringing new life into this world). It's really helped me mentally prepare for this upcoming adventure, and although it might sound crazy, I am actually excited about going into labor and delivering this baby! It is probably the most empowering experience I've ever had, one that made me feel connected to women all over the world in a way I had never felt before. I showed Noah the birth story with pictures that our doula, Julie, made for us after he was born. He was pretty fascinated with seeing pictures of himself after he was born. I'm so interested to see how my labor progresses this second time around. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect experience the first time - yes, even with the intensity and pain that comes with transitional labor - and can't wait to share another birth story with all of you again. Until next time, enjoy these newest pictures of me at 36 weeks!

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