Saturday, December 29, 2012

Today I turned 26.  My husband told me today I am old; I kindly reminded him I will never be as old as he is.  And let's be honest, 26 is not old, he just likes to make a big deal that I'm closer to 30 than 20 because he thinks it will freak me out or something.  Anyway, I have been thinking of my birthday thankful list for a few weeks, so here I go:

1.  My relationship with the Lord; He is always constant, never fails, and always gives me what I need right when I need it.  He has been faithful this year is so many ways.
2.  My Husband; I have fallen more in love with him this year as we have started our family and we have had to learn to work together on a completely different level.  He is the best daddy, he loves me unconditionally, he willingly helps me out around the house, he is a phenomenal cook, he laughs at my jokes, he is a spiritual leader, he is a hard worker, and so much more. 
3.  Eliana Joy; God truly did answer with joy when he gave me her.  Although she has been one of the most difficult babies I have ever known in my entire life, she is the sweetest thing.  Her smile melts my heart and her laugh makes me well up with joy.  Snuggling with her is one of my favorite things, and reading to her is equally as fun.  My days are far happier with her in them.
4.  My mom; she has willingly sacrificed so much to help care for Eliana.  She is offers a listening ear whenever I need it (even at 2 a.m. to complain that my child does not sleep), she encourages me, she also laughs at my jokes, she set an amazing example for me as to how to be a mom, she hangs out with me, she loves being a grandma, and so much more...
5.  My dad; he has sacrifice time with his wife to allow her to care for Eliana.  He makes me laugh, he makes sure our house is in working order, he picks things up in town when I need them, he checks to make sure I am doing ok, he loves being a grandpa, he, too, laughs at my jokes, he loves being a grandpa he sets an amazing example of what it means to be a fool for Christ, and so much more
6.  My sister and niece; I just love them.  My sister gets me and we share so many memories together, and my niece is just the sweetest thing you'll ever meet. 
7.  A good relationship with the in-laws; my husband and I have talked multiple times this year about how thankful we are that we get along with both sides of the family.  It makes things so much easier.
8.  To have been able to stay home with Eliana since she was born; God has been so faithful in providing, and I know I will never get these months back.  I cherish them with ever fiber of my being.
9.  To almost be done with my MSW program; I start my internship in less than 2 weeks, and while I may not be excited about leaving Eliana, I am thankful to almost be done and that I am doing my internship 15 minutes from my house instead of 35 and that I got to set my hours.
10.  My friends; God, again, has been so faithful this year with the friendships He has allowed me to make and keep.  There have been so many difficult days with a seemingly impossible baby and I have a couple friends who just "get it" because they've been there.  It's so encouraging to know there is hope.  And then there are other friends who don't have babies but love Eliana so well and still love me well even though my days and time is consumed with caring for her.
11.  Community Bible Experience; for lack of a better word, small groups, from our church read through the New Testament in an 8 week time frame; I loved it because it not only gave me a focus for reading the Bible, but going to group each week taught me more about the scripture and made me hunger for more of God's word.
12.  Living in close proxemity to my parents; some people may say that 5 minutes away from your parents is too close.  I simply love it.  It has been so nice since having Eliana to be able to run over there with her really fast if I need something, for someone to run home if I forget something, or for my mom to run over here if I need her to look at a mysterious rash on Eliana's body.
13.  Our Pediatrician; might seem kind of crazy to be thankful for that, but I am.  I have just been genuinely impressed with her; she personally has called me back every time I have called the doctor except for one time, she looked out for Eliana's best interest even though she kept her in the NICU longer than what I thought was necessary, and she took concern when she saw how Eliana was acting as an infant before we got her reflux/colic situation figured out.
14.  Volleyball; helping coach this year again not only allowed me to build my friendship with one of my best friends, but it also allowed me to invest in the girls' lives.  I love them all to pieces, and it is a privilege to coach girls who have character
15.  My job at FBS; working as a Family Behavioral Specialist for nearly 3 years has left a lasting impact on my heart.  I miss my clients on a daily basis, and I am thankful that I was able to invest in their lives and do what I did for as long as I did.  I am also thankful for the stories that I will forever have from them.
16.  My experiences in India; while I have not been since before I got married, I forever treasure my time there.  Not only did I meet some of the most precious individuals ever, but God shaped my heart for the nations there.  He taught me so much about who He is and what His desires are there as well, and I am forever changed because of it.
17.  The ability to dream for the future; from what our next house will look like, to how many children we will have, from what job I will land after my MSW, to whether or not we will move oveseas
18.  Couponing/Saving money; while I have always been frugal (some say a tight wad) I have learned to appreciate using coupons and price match and am thankful for the opporutnity to save a little money and have fun doing it!
19.  Facebook/Cell phone; keeping in touch with people is such a privilege.  I think we take it forgranted and abuse the way it has evolved by being too addicted.  I don't want to ever depend on it, but I am thankful that I have it as a means to say hi to those I love and to show those who live far away pictures of Eliana.
20.  That my dream of becoming a mom has come true; this really goes hand in hand with Eliana, but seriously, I have wanted to be a mom my entire life, and I love it.  Sure, it gets hard, especially with a child who doesn't sleep, but what a gift it is to be entrusted to raise her.
21.  A clean house; this always makes me feel so accomplished and satisfied.  I'm not sure why, but it does.  And I probably appreciate it more this year because it doesn't happen often with a baby and grad school
22.  IWU; I LOVED college, LOVED it.  And I feel like the four years I was there I learned so much about myself and loving others; I would not be who I am today without it.  And honestly, I am sure it has more to do with the people I met while I was there, but either way, I am thankful.
23.  Our Church; I love going to church on Sunday.  I just do...I might love it at another church, but I am thankful this is where God has us now and for the relationships we have built and for the freedom we have to even go to church to worship our Lord and Savior.
24.  Merom; the 17 or so years I went to church camp with my family are some of the best memories ever.  The relationships I built there I truly believe are eternal, and I am forever grateful for the time I was there and the ways God used that to shape me into who I am.
25.  A sense of humor; I seriously would not have made it this year without a sense of humor.  My motto a lot of days has been laugh so you don't cry. 
26.  For another year to bring honor to God, be with my family, watch Eliana grow, follow where the Lord leads, make memories and love others.

I am seriously so blessed...
Happy 26th birthday to me. 

Also, I rescued a cat from the barn below our house today.  I am thankful for that too...we will see if it sticks around. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I really should be sleeping; however, tonight, sleep eluded me as I lay in bed.  I am not sure how and I am not sure why because last night between 11:00 p.m. and this morning at 6:40 a.m. I was up approximately 5 times, feeding Eliana twice, rocking her once, giving her her pacifier once, and putting her in bed with me another time.  I suppose I will blame the coffee I had this morning for the first time in 15 months.

But tonight, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness to the point of being giddy.

Tomorrow Eliana will be seven months old, yes seven months.  I am not sure where the time has gone, but I do know that these seven months have been the best months of my life.  I have waited for what has seemed like an eternity to be a mom, and I love every second of it.  Sure, I have my moments where I want to throw myself a pity party for the simple fact that I have not slept through the night in 15 months, that my daughter typically only takes 30 minute naps, and that she refuses to sit still for me to cut her fingernails.  But tonight, I am thankful for every last minute of being her mom--in the good times, frustrating times, joyous times, heartbreaking times, and never-want-to-forget-these-moments times.  If I could have, I would have crawled in her crib with her just to get an extra snuggle in with her today for I know she will not be little forever.  But I didn't because, alas, my daughter is a horrible sleeper; one day, though, I have no doubt in my mind that I will crawl in bed with her just because I can.

Each night I pray over my sweet girl--I pray that she would come to know Jesus and love him with her whole heart, that she would serve him, honor him, and tell others about him.  I pray that God would continue giving me the strength and endurance I need to raise her to the best of my ability, that He would teach me how to raise her in a God honoring way, and I thank him each night that he has chosen me and Dan to raise her even if at times we feel like we do not know what we are doing.  (I also pray for straight sleep--tonight I prayed for five hours.  I mean, we serve a big God who cares even about the sparrows, I know He cares for me and my lack of sleep...)

But tonight, it hit me.  It hit me that I think God smiles at me an awful lot when He sees how much my Type A personality has been changed.  Albeit, reluctantly, but it has had to change.  My house is not immaculate any longer, in fact, I could write my name in the dust on my coffee table.  There are two loads of laundry that need to be folded; one of which has needed to be folded for nearly five days.  There is another basket of clothes of Eliana's that needs to be put away that has been sitting in my living room for over a week, dishes that need to be washed and others that need put in the dish washer; my bed does not get made every day any longer, and I'm lucky if it gets made once a week.  I have no shame in not showering every day or wearing a shirt or sweats with spit up on it.  My carefree spending days have been put to an end, and I now proudly clip coupons and make it a game for myself to see how much money I can save each week with grocery shopping. 

And I never knew life could be so sweet.

I am in love with being a mom.  I am in love with Eliana.  And I am in love with my husband who does more for me than most could imagine. 

But most importantly, I am in love with the One who has prepared me my entire life for this, who gave me the desire to be a wife and a mom, who has been chipping away at the control I like to have over my life, and who gives me the strength each day when I question my abilities.

I am so undeserving, yet He has chosen me anyway. 

God truly did answer with JOY when He gave me Eliana Joy; I just did not realize how many ways or on how many levels he was going to answer over these last seven months.

So blessed.  So thankful.  So unworthy.

Lord, thank you does not seem like enough, but yet I find myself repeating
it over and over.  You are so good to me, and I praise you for
the ways that you are teaching me and growing me through the fun times
and the not so fun times of motherhood.  Guide me, teach me, and
use me.  You are so worthy.  I love you, Abba.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I love being this little girl's mom.

She's 12 weeks old now, and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone nor how much she has grown and changed.  However, I would be lying if I said that these past 12 weeks have been a walk in the park, because they haven't.  I wouldn't trade any part of our journey thus far for anything, so don't mistake any of the following information for complaining it's just the way things have been.

I think every new mom has expectations of what their little bundle of joy will bring and add to their lives; I know I did.  I'm realistic enough to know that sleeping through the night would be a thing of the past, and because I've never been a good sleeper anyway this didn't seem to bother me.  I was also realistic enough to know that there would be periods of crying and days where I would be unable to take a shower and I was ok with those things too.

However, I was not prepared for the acid reflux, colic, or the desperate need to be held all day every day that Eliana demands.  I was not prepared to not be able to take her places because she screams and screams and screams, and I was not prepared to not be able to do homework without having someone else holding her.  But I was also not prepared for how much love I would feel for her, how much joy it would bring me to see her smile, hear her coo, and to see her respond to me singing to her, reading books to her, and playing with her on her playmat.  She is a gem, and I truly do love being her mom.  But she does hear multiple times a day that she is special because of how demanding she is.

I would be lying if I didn't say I'm looking forward to the day where she will nap on her own for me to get the house picked up, laundry folded or dinner made.  But, for now, it all can wait.  And I will do my best to cherish this time I have with her.  It's hard to not want your baby to do exactly what all the books says they are suppose to do right when they say they are suppose to do it, but what I do know is that this time goes by much too fast to wish it all away.

She is actually sleeping on me right now, but she is sleeping well enough for me to be typing and that is a huge success in itself.  (Of course right as I type that she is stirring, but we'll just go with it.) 

Because of Eliana's demands, I made a decision to not go back to work even part time.  I couldn't stand leaving her knowing that someone else might have to listen to her scream all day, and there was no way I could balance work, school, and her.  So, as hard as it will be not having client interaction, I must remind myself that this too is only for a season and that I did all that I could while I was there to make a difference in the lives of those I came in contact with. 

But for now I must go as the little one is awake and crying and ready to be fed...and let me just tell you, when she wants something she wants it NOW :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eliana Joy, you are TWO months! (Well, two months and one week--Aunt Rachel and Cousin Kaelyn were home this last week so Mommy is a little behind in updating this!)  Your daddy and I cannot believe how fast these two months have gone nor can we believe how much of a blessing you are to us.  You are growing by leaps and bounds, and we are so thankful you are ours.

This month you are started smiling at us.  You were 5 1/2 weeks when you gave us your first real smile, but you just recently just started smiling more often.  You are the happiest in the mornings, and you are still exclusively breastfeeding.  Although, you do take a bottle well when Mommy has to go to volleyball or when you stay at home to hang out with Daddy if Mommy  has an errand to run or something.  You are a horrible sleeper--not just at night--all day.  You refuse to sleep during the day unless you are being held which makes it difficult for Mommy to get anything done around the house!  There were a couple weeks this month where you wouldn't even sleep at night unless  Mommy was holding you.  Grandma Janet has been a LIFESAVER and often comes over to hold you for Mommy to do her homework.  She even came over one night when you would NOT sleep for me and let me sleep from 12:30-6:15.  Usually you get up 3 times a night, sometimes 4.  And sometimes more than that.  You still eat about every 2 hours, but sometimes I get lucky and you go 3.  Mommy is still waiting for the day where you sleep longer at night!

Although this month has been full of great memories with you, this month has also been difficult as you started crying A LOT.  We took you to see your pediatrician, and she thought you had reflux so we started you on some Zantac.  It helped for a day, but then we had to try a different medication the next week.  It seemed to help a lot more, but then we went through another week where you just cried, and cried, and cried!  Your pediatrician referred you to Riley to get checked by a GI specialist because she saw how you were screaming during your feedings and didn't feel comfortable treating you without you being seen by someone else.  The specialist essentially just said that it was reflux mixed with some colic and that you would get better with time.  We are all beyond thankful that it was nothing more serious, but, girl, let me tell you--you have some STRONG lungs!  None of us are wanting to wish away these first months with you, but everyone is ready for you to feel better.

This month you also discovered your play mat; you love laying under it listening to the music and watching the mobile and lights.  It's so cute hearing you cooing and making noises at the toys.  You are also obsessed with the ceiling fan!  You love staring at it as we hold you in the chair. 

White noise is still your best friend as it calms you do quite a bit when you are screaming your head off, and we frequently let it run at night with hopes of it helping you sleep.  You actually are still sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's room because you gag and spit up in your sleep sometimes; Mommy is able to hear you better this way and make sure you are ok.  Once you outgrow that we will move you into your nursery.

You still don't get to go out with us much as you just cry usually; Mommy has actually missed the sermons at the church for the past 3-4 weeks because you refuse to stay asleep!  But church is really the only place you go.  Mommy tried to take you shopping with Aunt Rachel, Kaelyn, and Grandma Janet this last week when Aunt Rachel was home and you legitimately screamed the ENTIRE time.  I guess we will have to teach you to love shopping later :)

You are wearing a size ones diaper and have been for all of this month pretty much; you could have worn newborns for another couple weeks, but Mommy and Daddy didn't have anymore so we moved you up to ones because we didn't want to have to buy anymore when we already had ones in the closet!  Mommy was sad, and Daddy was a little sad too!  You are wearing 0-3 month clothes, and a lot of them are still big on you but newborn sleepers are too small because you are so long.  At your doctor appointment at Riley you weight 10 pounds 1 ounce and were nearly 22 inches long.  You are getting so big--I wish I could slow time down!

You also got to meet your new friend Haley as she was born this month; you looked so big compared to her!  Your daddy and I are excited for you girls to grow up together, and I am very hopeful the two of you can be just strong of encouragements to each others as her mommy and I have been to each other over the years.  You girls will surely have fun playing together, though!

Your daddy and I love you so much, and we continually are praying for you to grow up to be a woman after God's own heart.  We are so excited to see the plans He has for you, but do not want to miss out on the time He has given us with you anticipating the future too much.  He has taught us SO much through you already, and we know that He is not done using you in our lives.  I am sure month three will be full of more fun memories, and for that I am thankful.

You are a blessing, and it is a continual privilege to be your mom.  I fall more in love with you every've made my lifelong dream of being a mom come true, and I hope you know I cherish EVERY waking minute with you.  You are simply beautiful, and your daddy and I love you so very much.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Eliana Joy--you are ONE month!

You have brought so much happiness to your daddy and me, and each day we are in awe of you. You are still in newborn diapers, and you have primarily been in newborn clothes.  However, last night you wore a 0-3 month sleeper, and it fit!  You are not the best sleeper unless you are being held, but I really can't complain.  You usually have one stretch during the day or night where you sleep about 3 hours.  When you do sleep, you always have your hands up by your face and you usually have your head resting on your hand or your arm.  You have learned to take a pacifier pretty well which makes mommy and daddy very happy that you have something to soothe yourself, and you LOVE white noise.  When we turn it on for you, you immediately calm down.  You do seem to have a pretty sensitive tummy, so mommy has had to be careful not to eat spices or anything that could irritate you too much or else you cry and cry and cry because your belly hurts.
Everyone says that you look like your daddy still, but you have definitely changed tremendously since you were born.  Your eyes are blue, and the new hair that is coming in is blonde.  You make the funniest noises all the time, and everyone who hears you says that you are the noisiest baby.  You also make some pretty funny faces, and you rarely are still.  You have had lots of visitors this first month, and everyone loves holding you.  You also already know who mommy and daddy are, and sometimes if a lot of people have held you, you cry until mommy or daddy has you back.  You have been a jewel through church the past three Sundays, and everyone always has to come look at you and say how cute you are.

This month has been a whirlwind, and it has gone by so quickly.  You are growing so fast, and while I love watching you change, I am sad knowing you will not always fit so securely nestled in my arms as you do now.  However, I still am treasuring every moment I have with you.  You already make me proud, and I still love you more and more each and every day. 

What a privilege it is to know that God has entrusted your daddy and me to raise you in His ways and to love you unconditionally.  We are so thankful to Him for you now and always.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I love this little girl.

May 13th was my first Mother's Day.  May 13th was also Baby Dedication Sunday at church.  Dan and I made the decision to have Eliana dedicated due to our desire for her to be raised in the church surrounded by Christian Community where she can be loved and supported by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Our hope and desire is that she will grow and learn who Jesus is and that she will fall in love with Him.  Dan and I have been entrusted with a big responsibility, but we are so thankful God chose us to be her parents.  However, we are well aware we cannot raise her effectively on our own and that we need others to not only encourage us but safe people for her to look up to and trust in her future.

In other news, Eliana is continuing to grow, and she is actually four weeks old today.  I cannot believe how fast time is going.  Adjusting to motherhood has been more than I could have ever hoped for, and it was well worth the wait.  On Friday she will be one month old, and I have every intention of updating on Friday with more specifics of what this last month has looked like.

Monday, April 30, 2012

As per usual, it has been awhile.  I couldn't stay caught up with work, school, and life in general let alone keep a blog updated.  But, alas, I am back--and once again, it is my goal to be better and keeping this updated, not only for my sake, but also for the sake of my sweet daughter.

Yes, that is right, folks, Eliana Joy made her entrance into this world on April 18, 2012 at 9:45 p.m. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 22 inches long. There's a lot to her birth story, and I do not want to get too far ahead of myself so let me back track...

Of course Eliana's birth story began from the time she was conceived, but the birth story I am talking about is essentially based off of the weeks leading up to her birth.  For those who are not aware, my pregnancy was rather uneventful, minus the morning sickness and stomach flu.  I had no problems with blood sugar or blood pressure; I was able to work and maintained a rather busy lifestyle.

Two and a half weeks before Eliana's due date, on April 4, 2012, I received a text message from my mom during one of my home visits around 4:00 p.m. that my grandma had fallen earlier that day and that my parents were in the ER with her and my cousin.  After I left the home visit, I gave my mom a call who explained to me that Grandma had fallen as she was trying to walk back to her mobile home before her and my cousin went out to eat for lunch.  She was cleared by the doctors and was set up with follow up appointments with a plastic surgeon and an orthopedic doctor; all seemed well and I continued on about my evening as I had planned.  Around 10:30 that night, my mom called me and said that my grandma was on the way back to the ER because she was very confused.  By 11:30, I received another call letting me know that my grandmother had passed away. 

Over the course of the next few days, everything seemed like a whirlwind.  I was still balancing school, work, being 38+ weeks pregnant, and then the stress of losing a family member was added on top of that.  Grandma's viewing was on a Monday night and her private burial was on Tuesday morning; I took a day and a half off work not knowing whether or not that would leave me with enough time to complete all my ending tasks prior to being on maternity leave. 

By Wednesday evening after work, I was contracting pretty consistently; this continued into Thursday and I saw the doctor on Friday.  And let me just tell you, by Friday I was exhausted and downright miserable.  Thankfully, the doctor listened to me and suggested that I come back earlier the following week so that I did not have to wait as long to make up a plan in case I did not go into labor on my own.  I left the doctor's office with a 10:30 appointment scheduled for the following Wednesday. 

Throughout the weekend, I continued on the same track of staying pretty miserable, and work on Monday was rather dreadful as well.  It finally got to the point that I decided to call the doctor to see if I could be seen on Tuesday instead of Wednesday; thankfully, they were able to get me in Tuesday afternoon at 1:15.  When the doctor came in to check me, he told me I had made a little more progress and that he was going to scrape my membranes to see if that would send me into labor.  If it did not send me into labor then I was to report to the hospital at 7:00 a.m. for an induction.

Well, no labor came on its own, so Dan and I loaded up the car, prayed together, and left the house around 6:30 a.m.  However, nothing could have prepared us for what we were going to experience that day.

After arriving at the hospital and being put in the delivery room, a nurse finally came in the room and started paperwork around 7:45.  By 8:15 my pitocin drip had been started, and I was feeling very anxious to meet my little girl.  Shortly after the pitocin was start, my doctor came in the room and decided he would go ahead and break my water.  Well, in the process of this, he was unable to reach it so he asked the nurse to push down on my stomach to help things along.  Finally, he was able to get my water broken, and they sat me up in bed.  A few minutes later, I remember saying to the nurse, "I don't feel good".  She asked me what didn't feel good, and I told her I did not know.  Beyond that, I do not remember anything.

Dan, however, said that after I told the nurse I did not feel well he watched the color drain out of my face, and he told the nurse I was going to pass out.  The nurse, apparently, turned around just in time to see it happen.  My blood pressure at that point in time was nearly 50/20, and Eliana's heartrate slowed significantly during this ordeal as well. 

When I woke up, I remember there being a nurse on my right and on my left and my doctor sitting at the foot of the bed attempting to find Eliana's heartbeat.  My first question to them was "Is she ok?"  The nurse to my left simply replied that her heartrate was low so they were monitoring it.  At this point, I felt sick because I was afraid of losing her.  I immediately began praying for Eliana to be safe and healthy.  After about 15 minutes of the doctor monitoring her in the room, her heartrate came back up and was steady.  All the while, they had put me on oxygen and told me I was not allowed to move.  The doctor decided that me passing out and her heartrate deceleration was not from the pitocin but rather from pressure that was placed on my vena cava while they were trying to break my water.  Finally, around 10:00 they started my pitocin back up again.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly up until I got out of bed to go to the bathroom and changed positions when I laid back down in bed; nurse flooded the room again concerned about a decline in Eliana's heartrate again.  They made me switch positions and eventually her heartrate steadied, but they shut the pitocin off once again.  The pitocin stayed off for about an hour, and when they started me back up finally they started it back up at the same low dose that they had started me on earlier in the morning.  The nurses were rather convinced that her decline in heartrate was due to an increase in pitocin; however, after attempting to switch positions a couple more times, it was more likely caused by her laying on her cord.

My pitocin got started back up again around 3:00, and by 5:00 I was having consistent enough contractions that I was getting uncomfortable.  I decided to go ahead and take the pain medicine available before the epidural; this medicine made me really tired and only helped with the pain for about 30 minutes.  Eventually, the nurse came in and asked if I wanted something else for pain; no one had informed me that doctor had approved an epidural for me even though I wasn't four centimeters.  At that point, I decided to go ahead and take the epidural.  The doctor came in to start the epidural, and it didn't hurt really at all.  The doctors and nurses were afraid to lay me down flat due to me passing out earlier in the day, but they assured me that within 15 minutes I would feel relief from the contractions.

Well, about an hour and a half later, I had gotten no relief from any contractions.  Someone in the room went to get a nurse (I don't even know who it was at this point because my eyes were shut from 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.) to tell her that my epidural was not working.  She came in and asked me questions about whether or not I could feel my legs, what my pain level was, etc. and quickly realized that she needed to call the doctor back in to check why my epidural wasn't working.  The doctor came in and gave me more meds and within seconds I felt relief and opened my eyes. 

Very quickly after that, I began to feel pressure and knew that I would soon be meeting our daughter.  Within minutes I went from 8 centimeters to 10 centimeters and was ready to push.  The doctor had been across the hall as another woman had given birth at home, but he quickly came over when they told him how close I was to delivering. 

Within five contractions equaling about within 15 minutes, Eliana made her grand entrance into the world.  The first thing I did was check to make sure she was indeed a girl, and then the doctor placed her on my chest.  She was not crying and was purple, but the doctor assured me that she was still getting oxygen through her cord.  After about 20 seconds of not crying and not breathing the doctor said, "I don't like this at all" and whisked her off of my chest over to the warming table where he worked on her with the nurses. 

I don't even think words can express the emotions I was feeling at that point in time.  There was a moment in time I was not sure she was going to make it; I was scared to death, mortified may be a better word.  I couldn't see what was going on over on the warming table because of my position in bed, but I remember the nurses and doctors encouraging Eliana to start breathing.  Dan and my mom were both assuring me that everything was ok, but I knew better.  This was real and this was scary; finally, though, I heard her cry.  I have NEVER in my life been so relieved to hear a baby cry.  And it wasn't just any baby, it was MY baby. 

The doctor had to suction her out more than normal and they had to bag her in order to get her to start breathing, but she was breathing on her own.  And when she was finally placed in my arms, I praised God for answering my prayer to save her life and for protecting her throughout the delivery.

And I wish, from that point, everything was smooth sailing, but it wasn't.  Eliana had to be placed in the NICU due to not breathing at birth and ended up on an oxygen and heartrate monitor.  She remained on the monitor until Saturday unless she was in the NICU and then she had to be on it all the time.

Later on Wednesday night, the nurses brought Eliana in to me telling me that her blood sugar was low and that she needed to eat.  As a first time mom who was nursing and having a diabetic sister, I was concerned about how much I could really help control her blood sugars.  To make a long story short, we battled with keeping her sugars up for about 24 hours, then to our knowledge due to three good sugar tests she no longer had to have any testing done.  On Friday afternoon, though, one of the nurses told us that she wanted to do a random sugar test on her.  Her test came back at 33 which is much too low, and the process started all over again.  Unfortunately, this time, her sugars did not regulate.  Early Saturday morning, Eliana had to get an IV in order to help regulate her sugars.  This stayed in until early Sunday morning.  Finally, on Sunday she had gotten three good sugar testings and they were prepared to let us leave the hospital.

Words could not express how ready I was to leave the hospital; I hate hospitals and I just wanted to be home with her.  But, God was faithful and we were able to leave.  However, we had to take her back the next day to the hospital for an appointment; at this appointment, they tested her blood for jaundice levels because her levels had been climbing before we left the hospital.  After our appointment on Monday, Dan answered my cell phone and found out that Eliana's jaundice levels had increased and that we had to take her back for bloodwork the next day. 

At this point, I was ready to pull my hair out.  I was so frustrated--all I wanted was for her to be healthy.  My recovery had been great, and I so badly wanted to switch places with her.  But, again, I prayed and asked for God to bring her levels down so that we did not have to drive to Marion every day to have her jaundice levels tested and so that we did not end up back in the hospital.  So on Tuesday when my cell phone rang after having her blood drawn, I was nervous to even answer my phone.  But, I knew that I could not just ignore the call, so I reluctantly picked up.  The nurse on the other end told me that Eliana's levels had dropped and we did not need to take her back again.  I was so relieved.

And now, here we are; it's been about a week since then, and today we had Eliana's week check up.  She is back up to her birth weight, the doctor is not concerned about jaundice levels, assured me that I was doing well breast feeding and that all we needed to do was continue loving her and doing what we were doing.  Music. To. My. Ears. 

So from here, we continue moving forward, and I find myself praying for time to slow down.  I can't believe she's almost two weeks old already.  It makes me sad to think how fast she is going to grow and excited all at the same time.  I know God has great plans for her life; He has already shown up in so many ways.  So much so, I have every reason to believe and say that she lives up to the meaning of her name--"God has answered with JOY".  What a privilege it is to be her mom, and I am so thankful that God has entrusted Dan and I to raise her and show her who her Heavenly Father is.

Eliana Joy, You are a pure blessing in your daddy's and my life.  Words cannot explain how deep our love is for you already, and I know I speak for your daddy as well when I say that we fall more in love with you every day.  Our hope and prayer for you is that you grow to fear the Lord and love Him deeply.  He has amazing plans for your life, and I have every reason to believe that he will continue answering our prayers and your prayers with JOY just as he did when we were in the hospital waiting to bring you home.  As I look into your eyes and at your sweet face, I see such innocence, and I pray that you will grow to understand how much you are loved by so many.  Time is already going by too fast as you are changing so much so quickly, but I treasure each and every moment I spend with you, even in the middle of the night when I can barely keep my eyes opened.  You make the sweetest noises and sometimes the funniest noises too.  You are already back up to your birthweight, and everyone says you look like your daddy.  However, plenty of other people say that you have my nose, my chin, and my dimples.  Regardless as to who you look like, I think you are beautiful, and I am proud to call you my daughter.  While I do not want time to go by too quickly, I cannot wait to see your personality develop and to see the path that God is going to lead you down.  You are so special, and I love you now and always. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My has it been awhile! I don't even know where the time has gone...I've had great intentions about updating this, but time has always escaped me somehow.

Life has continued whizzing by. I wish I could say that my pregnancy has gone by very quickly too; however, that would be lying. Don't get me wrong, it's hard to believe that on Friday I will be 35 weeks, but stil, it seems like it is going to be an eternity until I am done with being pregnant.

The reality, though, is that I am sure the time will fly by because life is going to be pretty hectic up until her arrival. Between work, school, volleyball, and various weekend activites (not to mention my sister and sweet niece will be home again in a week and a half!) I feel like I'm not going to have any time to relax. I am sure I will find time for it, but when you're and obsessive compulsive planner like I am, it doesn't go over so well. Basically my schedule will go like this; work Monday-Friday with late nights twice a week, sometimes three. Once a week volleyball open gym, unless two of my clients fail a drug screen then volleyball is twice a week because working late will only happen one night. In three weeks I will have a missions committee meeting which means I will have something Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night that week. Doctors appointments are going to be starting weekly as well; I am hoping to get by with one more biweekly appointment, but I am not sure how they will set anything up after my appointment on Friday. And then there are the weekends; my B-E-L-O-V-E-D weekends where I should be able to sleep as long/as late as I want and relax. The reality though is: this weekend I have a baby shower on Saturday for a stepcousin (something like that...), Sunday is small group with my high schoolers, next weekend Dan and I possibly could be making a trip to Indy to pick up our recliner rocker that we ordered for our living room and on Sunday is an after church meal for missionaries our church sponsors and being on the missions committee I need to go and after that is my second baby shower (more to come about my first baby shower if you can hang in there...), the following weekend (the first weekend of April) I have a wedding shower for Rebecca up north that I am planning on going to unless my doctor says I cannot travel and I will have small group on Sunday with my high schoolers and then we will have our small group from church on Sunday evening, and the weekend after that is Easter, and the following weekend after that a person from Nepal is going to be coming to our church to speak about the work he does there which will result in lunch with him due to the missions committee yet again, and then the following weekend is when she is due. Phew...I'm tired just from typing that all. I'm just praying I have the strength and energy to get through everything; not to mention I am going to have to figure out how to get all my school work done in there at some point and not to mention attempt to work ahead since my class this time around is not suppose to be over until April 29th.

Anyway, I digress; everything will come together as it always does.

On a lighter note, I had my first baby shower on March 3rd that my sister and my mom planned for Eliana. For those people who know me well know that I do not do well in a big group of people; as excited as I was to see everyone I was semi-stressed out about being the center of attention and not having time to talk to everyone who came there to celebrate. Regardless, the shower went well, and Eliana and I were so blessed by everyone's generosity through their gifts, their kind words spoken, and simply by their presence. I am thankful that Eliana will have so many people who are going to love her well. (And I am sure Dan is thankful too...)

Dan did make fun of me though because due to my Type A personality, after getting home that evening from hanging out with my sister, her husband, parents, and niece, I couldn't go to bed until I got everything put away. Thankfully he was patient and looked at the majority of stuff we got and he has even learned to say "Awww" or "That's cute" when I show him clothes.

And more specifically regarding Eliana, to my knowledge, everything continues to go along smoothly with the pregnancy. My belly is growing, which is frequently pointed out by my clients, which means that she is growing so that is a positive. Her favorite place to nestle herself is up in my rib cage on the right side; mommy doesn't like that so much because it hurts. And she frequently gets the hiccups. She isn't letting me sleep very well at night because her head seems to be pushing on my bladder and last night I just couldn't get comfortable and was awake for quite some time. I suppose I should get used to it, though. I have an appointment on Friday, but it is highly unlikely that there will be any other details to give because my appointments legitimately last about 5 minutes with the doctor.

And lastly, I don't have any funny parenting advice to share...I think I must be getting better at diverting the conversations or perhaps my clients are going further into denial that I am really going to be taking off for 12 weeks. Everything that I have heard lately is, "Ask Liz if she wants to change your diaper because she's going to need practice!" To which I want to respond; I have had plenty of opportunities to change children's diapers, I don't need more practice on yours. "Oh this is what you have to look forward to!" (Regarding a client's brothers poopy diaper...) And I almost said, you mean babies really do that??? But I didn't.

I did hear a story the other day that I cannot take credit for, but I still think it is worth sharing. Another service provider shared about an interaction she had with one of her clients. Both of them were pregnant with I believe their fifth child (the client was a number of years younger than the service provider). During their conversation, the client asked the service provider, "How long are you going to be taking off work?" The service provider looked at this as a prime opportunity to talk with the client about bugeting since she was going to be taking 12 weeks off which is what they had been spending a lot of time talking about recently. However, when the service provider was finished telling the client about how her and her husband had saved money so that she could afford to take time off and so that they could pay the bills from the hospital for the baby, the client looked at her and said, "You mean it costs money to have a baby??"

I wanted to keel over and die when I heard that story...and yes, it is a true story, I didn't make it up. But here's the reality, this client has four other children all of which have been paid for by her insurance (likely Medicaid) and it is a high possibility that she has received WIC so that she does not have to pay for any formula or basic foods in the home. And it is a high probability that she will receive it again. So there really is no reason for her to know that it costs money to have a baby. While these types of programs are great assistance and are definitely needed to assist families, it shows that there is little reason for people to want to get off of them. That is not true for all people, but when it is what someone has grown up with and has started raising their own family with, it's reality. And unfortunately, I cannot do anything to change it except pray that someday, somehow the cycle will be broken.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

There are times in my life where I desperately miss living in community like I did when I was in college. Don't get me wrong, I love being married, and I love my friends that I have at this phase of my life, but there was just something about the community that I experienced when I lived in college that I long for at different points. Perhaps it was because the people I lived with day in and day out knew me and knew the real me. And not that I am "fake" with the people in my life currently, but when you live with someone it's much easier to tell when they are having a good day or a bad day. And if you know me, then you know that I often have to be forced to talk about things in life, and I feel like because I couldn't "hide" as well on my bad days while I lived in college that is what happened.

But then life happens, and you graduate from college, eventually get real jobs, eventually get married, eventually get pregnant and the authenticity seemingly fades away. Not intentionally, but because of being busy, because of distance, and because of a myriad of other things. And so I often ask myself, "Where do I go from here?"

There is no good answer or at least I haven't found one yet. It's just interesting to me, I suppose. But what would it look like if we strived for that kind of community life outside of college? What would it look like if we didn't give up searching for those authentic relationships? What would it look like if we were not only intentional in supporting others but letting others support us as well?

I suppose it would look more like the Body of Christ; I long for that more than I long to be back at college, and I just needed to share.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcome to week 29 of my pregnancy; I know, I know, I missed a few weeks. Every Sunday after church after I already put my sweats on, I always said, "DANGIT! We forgot to take a picture again." And the reality of it was I didn't want to change back for a picture. Overall, pregnancy has gotten easier. The sickness still is gone unless I go too long without eating. The downfall is that I'm having to get up more in the night to go to the bathroom, and I'm starting to not sleep as well. On the brighter side, you can definitely see my stomach move all the time when she is moving at this point. She responds to noises, and she really likes the music at church. Her sleeping patterns vary it seems, but she is definitely the most active at night. I feel her kicking me in the middle of the night too when I lay back down to go to sleep. I feel like I need to enjoy these few weeks of pregnancy as MUCH as possible considering that the first several were rather rough, especially since I have heard how uncomfortable I am likely going to start getting. Moving on though.

Life outside of pregnancy has been hectic. I picked up a few new cases at work, and I have been busier in the last few weeks than I have been in months. This definitely helps the days go by faster, but I hate feeling behind in the office. My to-do list is getting shorter, but due to my type A personality I hate the fact that there is still even a to-do list on my desk as I'm sitting at home right now. Not enough to work on it while I am at home and not enough to terribly stress myself out at work, but I still dislike it. One of my new cases includes me working until 7:00 p.m., which isn't the end of the world, but it just is going to take awhile to get used to. The upside is that I only have 10-11 weeks until maternity leave so it can't be too terrible!

In other news...I don't feel as though I can post the whole story here, but I learned this week and last week that people are desperate and not trustworthy. A client with whom I work stole my wallet while in the car with me. Now, of course, it's a material thing and the reality of it is, I am fine and Eliana is fine and for that I am grateful, but it just doesn't make sense to me how someone who I am trying to help feels as though they can take advantage of me like that. Regardless, it is out of my hands at this point, but I was angry and I still kind of feel angry at times. My wallet didn't really mean that much to me; sure, it was cute and I liked it, but it can be replaced. The money I lost, well I'm not sure that will ever be replaced, but the tickets from my honeymoon and the receipt from the pregnancy test that I was planning to put in Eliana's babybook are gone. They are small and in the big scheme of things they don't matter, but it just is so not right. However, in spite of my anger, I have had to pray consistently for God to help me handle the situation with grace. And out of that, I want this person to know that while there will likely be consequences for their actions and choices, they still have a second chance. Honest to goodness, I believe that with my whole heart. And I have been praying somehow God will use this as a wake up call and that they will learn something from this. Don't get me wrong, it's not ok to steal, but there is always forgiveness.

On a lighter note, I haven't posted any parenting advice. I guess this has also kind of turned into funny things people say to me throughout my pregnancy too so here I go:

1. I had a lady say to me the other day as she asked if I would like to hold her son, "Have you ever thought of how crazy it would be if your daughter and my son got together and got MARRIED? Then we would be related!" I thought to myself quickly and wasn't entirely sure how to respond other than by saying, "No, I've never thought of that." She was insistent that it could happen due to them being the same age. I'm convinced there has to be something in the social work code of ethics that forbids it. Not to mention that I would forbid it for my daughter knowing what I know.
2. One of my 9 year old clients could not WAIT to tell me when I got to her house, "Did you know that everytime you pee, your baby pees at the same time? Everytime you poop, your baby poops too?!" I about died...
3. And just today, as I was playing with this man's 15 months old son, he looks at me and says, "Do you even have any experience with kids?" I wanted to say, "No, I don't; I don't get PAID to work with families and children or anything. I have never babysat for anyone in my life, I have no nieces or nephews, I have no younger cousins, and quite honestly, I could REALLY use your help telling me all there is to not about babies since you are a superstar dad." However, I refrained considering that I have been working with this family for approximately 3 years, and I did not figure that he would catch my intense sarcasm. Instead I said, "Yes, I have some experience with kids." And moved on from there...

I am never ceased to be amazed though. Never...nor do I think I will ever be as I continue on my journey in that job.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sometimes I wish people could be a fly on the wall in my house to hear my husband's and my interactions; we think we are quite funny.

Through a course of events last night, Dan and I started talking about the future and him getting a job after graduation. You can only imagine how these types of conversations go with a Type A personality (me) and a Type B personality (Dan), and in case you can't imagine how they go, well, they don't go well. Dan's philosophy is "I will get a job at some point and it will be fine." My philosophy is "I need to know when you are going to get a job so that I can figure out insurance, my internship, babysitting for Eliana, and paying for my Grad School." After expressing that to Dan, Dan's philosophy still remains, "I will get a job at some point and it will be fine." To make a long story short, Dan eventually looks at me as I continue to list all the reasons I need answers and for him to get a job ASAP after graduation and says, "You're so...You're so...UGH, I don't even have a word for it!!" To which I mock him and say, "Well you need to practice using your words so why don't you come up with something?" He tried determined, focused, "planny", etc; I agreed with him, and he was shocked. His response to that was, "Well, I was going to say rigid and inflexible, but I didn't figure you would take that well." I laughed, so hard, because it is so true. Like I said, I Type A; 100% maybe 150%. It's a good thing I married a Type B to balance me out.

And to top the rest of the night off, my devotions were all about trusting God with the future. I couldn't help but laugh, and I would venture to say God was probably shaking his head and smiling at me as well.

Anyway, if you think about it; I'd appreciate your prayers for the opportunity that started the converstaion between Dan and me for the future. God has a plan, and I know that. I must trust Him, and I must trust He will have me in the perfect place at the perfect time.

Moving on; I have a couple piece of parenting advice/stories I figured are worth sharing:

1. Last week I had a client who continuously attempted to put her feet on me and they smelled WRETCHED. I know that since I am pregnant my sense of smell is enhanced, but seriously, I thought I would vomit. Before I left the house, I told her dad that she needed a bath that night, and he asked me if she smelled bad. I told him that her feet smelled and that she needed a shower. His response, "Well, that's what she gets for not wearing socks with her boots." To which I asked my client why she doesn't wear socks with her boots. She responded, "They make my feet too hot in the furry boots." Her dad said, "And I'm not quite sure how you argue with that logic!!" I left the house shaking my head thinking; argue with that logic? Really? When you are the parent and you have a child and you want them to wear socks, you simply do not give them an option. Now that seems more logical to me; especially considering its 24 degrees outside.
2. I had another client tell me that I really need to watch my bladder after I have a baby, because it drops and becomes weak and I am going to lose all control over it once the baby is here. Now, I'm well aware that while pregnant there is more pressure on the bladder and after being pregnant I am not saying that my bladder won't have changed or whatever, but losing all control? I'm not convinced...perhaps in three months I will feel differently, but just saying. Seems a little far fetched to me.

Ok, that's all I've got for now; I'm sure there will be more soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Don't be sorry for compassion. It can move us to do amazing things, and it can help you gain a new perspective." -Soul Surfer

My heart is overwhelmed tonight; overwhelmed at the way God chooses to show up. Not in a bad way by any means. You see, tonight Dan went to bed early because he has clinical tomorrow, and I didn't need to go to bed early tonight because I have MLK day off work. The majority of my homework is finished and because this is pretty much my last official three day weekend until Eliana arrives I decided to watch Soul Surfer that I have had recorded for quite some time.

What a powerful story. What an amazing young lady not afraid to stand up for what she believes in and who trusts the Lord wholeheartedly regardless of the storms she has be through.

It reminds me of the small group; I talked with the girls today about the fact that they were made to make a difference. They were created for purpose. They were created with intention, and God stands in awe of them. It reminds me of the reality that God has created me for purpose and stands in awe of me as well. He has created me to love my clients even when they are unlovable. He has created me to be an encourager to those he has brought across my path. He has created me to be an example. He has created me raise Eliana to know Him, to trust Him, to love Him, to honor Him, and to believe that she is created with purpose as well.

I am so unworthy; truly unworthy. If people only knew my flaws, my worries, my control issues they would understandly that I really am a wretch that was saved. Saved solely by grace.

I didn't ask for God to show up today in my life the way that He has necessarily, but He met me where I was at. He knew that I needed it, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful that with every kick Eliana makes I am reminded of what her name truly means: "God has answered with joy". In case you missed that GOD has answered with JOY, not just in entrusting me with the baby He has given to me but in so many other areas as well.

If only Eliana could understand how much she has already taught me before I have even held her in my arms.

Thank you, Father...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So it may be hard to believe that I am posting two days in a row, but I figured I needed to take advantage of my last night of freedom before I start school again. I finished reading a book, and I decided it was time for me to write about what God reminded me about last week.

You see, last week, I was sitting in a missions committee meeting where we started talking about how many people's lives have been changed in the 10-40 window due to them receiving training about developing businesses. Essentially, it capatalizes on individuals' strengths and helps them to become successful in their communities and better able to provide for their families. Along with many other things. However, my heart started racing thinking of the impact that has already been made but still about the work that needs to be done.

It is such a foreign thought to so many of us in the United States that there are actually people halfway around the world who have no idea who Jesus is. It is such a foreign thought to so many of us that people are living in complete and total darkness, unaware of the Gospel, and not by choice. And it is such a foreign thought to us that we should take ANY part in spreading the Good News to those who have never heard. But the reality is, there are several people groups who have never heard of Jesus and several who do not even know what the Gospel is. And the other reality is that being a part of spreading the Good News to those who have never heard is not a choice, it is not an option, it is a command.

So many verses in scripture refer to "GOING", and yet no where in scripture have been able to find where it is something that we get to CHOOSE whether or not we do. If we are a part of God's family, then to me, it feels as though it is an expectation He has of us. The funny thing to me is, He doesn't need me to do His work, yet he chooses to use me; He can show up to people in dreams, visions, and in so many other ways, yet He has chosen ME to be his vessel for sharing His message with other people.

The hard part for me right now, though, is that I am not halfway around the world living out my faith in such a way that inspires people who do not know Jesus to come to know him more. Yes, I am in contact with people each and every day who does not know Jesus, and I do my best at sharing His love with them through my actions, but so much of my heart is overseas.

Dan and I were just talking the other night before we went to bed about how much we wish we could travel overseas to encourage those already serving or to begin building relationships with natives. But yet, he ever so calmly reminded me that we are where we are for a reason. It is for reasons that he does not understand and it is for reasons that I do not understand. But yet we both know we still have a responsibility to play in helping others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

So how does it all fit together then? Our hearts are still overseas, but yet we know we are here for a reason...oh I wish I knew. How I wish I knew...But what is important for me to remember, is that in God's perfect time we both will understand how and why everything has fit together the way that it has.

I just hope and pray that we can raise Eliana Joy to have a heart for others, a heart for the lost, a heart for the nations, and to know that the God our family serves and will continue to serve deserves all the praise, glory and honor.

And for now, I end with Luke 10:2, the prayer of my heart regarding missions right now, because prayer can make more of a difference than what we realize, "These were his instructions to them, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.'" May He do just that...May He send more workers into his fields so that more people may come to worship him.

Because when it comes down to it; missions exists because worship doesn't.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 15
Week 18
Week 24
Week 25
So my husband had this fabulous idea to take a picture a week of my growing belly. Well, in my eyes it was kind of silly to take pictures of a belly that wasn't change enough to be able to tell through pictures. However, I appeased him in weeks 15 and 18 and let him take a picture, and now from here on out, I will do my best to get pictures as I am starting to show a little more.
People still have a hard time believing that I'm due in April with how little I am showing, but it's not like I have shared with them my experience with morning sickness and then my bout with the flu. And the other reality is, I feel like she is growing by leaps and bounds each day. As my morning sickness has subsided mostly, I feel like she is awake more during the day as she often kicks a good part of the time while I am at work. Usually night is when she is the most active and it seriously makes me laugh out loud to watch my belly jump as she kicks or punches or rolls or does whatever she does. She was even doing it at church on Sunday; perhaps that just means that she's going to be a little girl full of the Holy Spirit, though. :)
Anyway, I just wanted to share this tonight, bed it calling my name as work will come much earlier than desired tomorrow. More to come next time about how God has been moving in my life...
Oh, and one last thing: one of my client's last week said to me as he is raising three kids by himself, "Well, I would tell you to not get married because nothing good ever comes from it but it looks like it's a little late for that and I would tell you not to have kids because they are a pain in the butt, but it looks like it's a little late for that too." REALLY, sir?! Is how I wanted to respond, but instead, I smiled because my life is none of his business for one, and for two, I know I am exactly where the Lord wants me in life right now and nothing could be better than that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Someone remind me to never again talk about how I am going to spend my free time. Life has been a little on the hectic side, but I suppose that is nothing new.

First, legitimately a week after class I got the worst stomach flu of my life. I seriously don't think I have ever been so sick in my entire life, and in over two years of work, I had to take my first sick day which then turned into two sick days. Chalk up a trip to the ER too why don't we on the first night that the nasty bug reared its ugly head. Thankfully, the nurses and doctors were able to stop all my symptoms and after almost two bags of fluids, I wasn't as dehydrated. It took me about 5 days to fully recover, but now I am back to normal. Well as normal as I can be awhile pregnant with the morning sickness that is still left.

The sad part of the whole stomach flu fiasco was that I had started feeling sick at work, but I didn't think anything of it really because I have been so used to being sick for nearly the last five months. Fortunately, I didn't get sick in my client's house; I made it outside to their yard, was then able to finish the meeting, drive halfway home, pull over and get sick, and then I made it back to my house before the worst of it hit. Still NOT fun, and NOT fun while pregnant. Thankfully, from what we know right now, Baby Eliana is still doing well. Her heartrate was good at the hospital and it was good at my doctor's appointment the Friday after. And let's be honest, she's still kicking up a storm. So I am just hoping and praying that she was protected and everything will continue moving on smoothly. Did I mention Dan ended up with the flu two days later?? Thankfully he didn't get it as bad...

So, moving on, after recovering from the flu, then it was Christmas. And oh how I love Christmas!! We celebrated with Dan's dad's family where we announced Eliana's name by giving Dan's younger sister all the letters mixed up in a box that she had to try to arrange and then pronounce the name. It didn't work out so well so then the whole family got in on it, and we were able to tell them. Everyone liked it, but no one had heard of it, so it took awhile for some of them to learn how to pronounce it.

Then on Christmas morning, Dan and I were talking before we got ready for church and my cell phone rang. It was 8:30 in the morning, and when I saw it was my mom I was a little shocked because she's not usually up that early. When I answered, she told me my grandma had collapsed and dad was rushing over to her house immediately and 911 had already been called. To make a long story short, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance, kept for observation, had a heart attack the day after, was transferred to Parkview in Fort Wayne and then had a Pacemaker put in on Tuesday and was back home on Wednesday where she is doing well but still recovering.

That added a little bit of stress on Christmas day, but I am beyond thankful that she is ok. She seems to be a little excited to have a great-grandchild around here since her eldest great-grandchild lives in Arizona and Kaelyn lives 5 hours away. Later that day we still went to Dan's mom's house for Christmas with that side of the family. The kids were so excited and there was so much energy but it was a good day.

My sister and her husband then got home that night and we went to see them over there; they were home from Sunday night-Friday morning so LOTS of time was spent over at my parents house that week, but spending time with them and my niece was precious. And then after that week, it was the weekend and Dan and I did not do anything for New Years as we recovered from the craziness of the past week or so.

And now it's back to work. And soon school will be starting again, but for now, I will relish in the time that I do not have to spend doing school work because I have a feeling this next class is going to kick my behind.

That's all for now; next time, I will update more parenting advice...have no fear, they haven't stopped giving it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

ok, so I am a little bit late of doing my list of things I am thankful for on my birthday...believe me, the week of Christmas was a week unlike any other, but I will post more about that later. Now on to the list of 25 things I am thankful for this year. If you are curious about what the postings have been in the two years previous, I actually posted them on my birthdays; December 29 of 2009 and 2010.

I am thankful for...(in no particular order)

1. A relationship with a consistent God who is always there and loves me unconditionally no matter how many times I fail; although there have been dry times in my walk this past year, He still always shows up and never ceases to amaze me.
2. Over a year of marriage with my husband; we have learned, grown and laughed together. We have grown frustrated at times, but we have adjusted to life with both of us in school and still working. I love him very much.
3. My parents; it is so true that you don't realize how much your parents did for you as a kid until you grow up and leave the house. But I adore my parents and the time we are able to spend together.
4. Another volleyball season; it is so fun to be able to help out with something I love. Not to mention I also have the privilege to hang out with some of the most amazing other women and high school girls there are.
5. My in-laws; after hearing people's horror stories this year, I really took a step back and realized how blessed I am to have in-laws who I enjoy spending time with and who geniunely care about me as a person and my relationship with their son.
6. My new niece, Kaelyn Leanne; she is just precious. I love getting pictures and videos of her from my sister. I hate the distance that separates us, but there is nothing better than rocking her to sleep.
7. My fabulous sister; I feel like this year was a year of growth in my relationship with my sister. She truly has become one of my best friends this year, and I cherish the time we have had together, the conversations we share, and the understanding we have.
8. My church; I love going on Sunday mornings hearing the Word of God preached, praising the Lord. One of my most favorite things is seeing the little kids dance during worship. It truly is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen.
9. The fact that I have completed two semesters of grad school; being back in school isn't all it's cracked up to be, but I only have one year of classes left before my internship and I am thankful for that too.
10. DVR; this probably sounds lame, but the reality of it is, being in school and working full time I have had to develop a self-care plan that allows me to take time for myself. DVR has allowed me to watch mindless TV shows that help me get my mind off of the often horribly negative stories I hear daily.
11. My family in India; even though I did not see them this year, I think of the daily and miss them immensely. I even just got a Facebook request from one of the girls I was closest with at the orphanage my first year there. What a sweet surprise.
12. My job; although my job frustrates me to no avail, I know I am privileged to have a job and to be investing in the people's lives I work with in the way that I am. I would be foolish to not be thankful for the opportunities it gives me to share God's love with people every day.
13. My friends; I am relearning what it means to need people. We were created for community, and I am thankful for the supports I have.
14. Seeing the sunrises and sunsets; the colors still amaze me, and the beauty of them increases my gratefulness to the Lord for caring about the minute details of our lives.
15. My dad's stories from his trips overseas; maybe this is double dipping since I already said I was thankful for my parents, but I love listening to my dad tell stories. Now, first of all, he is a great storyteller, but the reality of it is, hearing about the ways God is moving in places most people would never want to travel to gives me goosebumps.
16. Time alone; I've always known I was an introvert, but this year, I have continued realizing I need that time if I am going to effectively pour into others.
17. Words with Friends; again, another shallow thing, but yet another mindless activity that I am able to do to keep me sane.
18. Memories; I love being able to remember little things about my life, from church camp to time spent with my beloved Grandma. They bring me joy.
19. Being organized; I love the feeling of satisfaction I get when I know everything has its place and when I feel prepared for things.
20. The dreams I have for my future; although I know God is in ultimate control, I love knowing that the possibilities are endless.
21. The fact that I can still play the piano; talk about stress relieving. I love sitting down and being able to play...
22. Laughter; words truly cannot express how much I love laughing. I love laughing with people, I love making people laugh, I love not being ashamed to laugh loudly, and I love even laughing by myself at silly things that happen.
23. Days with no plans; this seems to happen less and less the older I get. Although being busy looks different at all stages of life, I love days where I have no plans and no obligations.
24. The story God has written and is continuing to write with my life; I have learned that even my life can make a big difference in the world, and I just want to be obedient. I am thankful for the opportunity He has given me to walk in His ways according to His word.
Last but not least....
25. I am thankful for Eliana Joy; mine and Dan's daughter due in under 4 months. I am thankful that God has chosen us to be her parents, and I am excited to see the journey that He takes us on as we learn our new roles of becoming parents. I am thankful for each and every move she makes already and the kicks that make my belly jump. I am thankful that she is fearfully and wonderfully made and that God already knows her and has prepared a way for her. I am thankful for the humbling experience it is to be pregnant, and I am thankful that He so long ago heard my prayers of becoming a mother.

I am so, so blessed. And so unworthy. But I am HIS and that is what makes this life worth living.