Saturday, December 15, 2012

christmas card 2012

our christmas card:

Initially Snowflake Christmas
Custom Christmas cards are always available at
View the entire collection of cards.

what a year of blessings.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

our last few days

the past several days have been a whirlwind, and with three nights in the hospital, there aren't clear endings and beginnings to the days.

wednesday i was scheduled for a 4pm induction. it would have been in the morning, but the nurses in labor and delivery were at a conference all day and my doctor had to argue to get us a spot even that late. i'm thankful he did, because delivering at 41 weeks is late enough. on the way, we got stuck in road construction that had been scheduled but was never actually happening. then, we were supposed to be pre-registered, and that wasn't in the system, so it took us until probably 5 to get into a room and ready to go.

i think they hooked up the medicine around 6pm, after i had been checked over and had signed a bunch of papers. my parents and justin's mom were there, along with sam, who just played in the room with whatever he could find and had a fun time.

i had contractions on my own before the pitocin was hooked up, so that was great news. they were about 5 minutes apart, and with the pitocin they came closer, around 3 minutes apart. nothing else was really happening, so everyone went home and we stayed. during the night, the contractions got bad enough to keep me awake but not bad enough for an epidural. they offered me pain medicine through my iv, and hoping that i would sleep, i agreed.

instead of sleeping i just felt drunk and woozy and still woke up with every contraction, so basically i slept about 2 minutes at a time. justin had the birthing ball (which i tried to use but the monitor wouldn't stay on the baby so i couldn't) next to the bed, sitting on it, trying to comfort me into sleeping. i slept a few minutes and then woke up to him sitting there looking exhausted on the ball and i said sadly, "oh justin, you don't have to sit on that ball!" he thought it was the funniest thing. i didn't want him to have to sit there, but the overly sappy nature of the comment was definitely the result of the medicine.

i guess i got to about 3 cm that night, and levi dropped enough by 5am thursday for the doctor to break my water, which wasn't exactly comfortable at 3cm. on a gross note, oh my gosh how much "water" can fit inside you? seriously. there is a lot of it. my belly felt somewhat deflated, and the contractions got a little worse.

i was trying to wait until i was 4cm to get my epidural, which seemed fine at first. i wasn't hurting, and even when it did start to hurt, it only hurt for a minute and then it was over. then, i DID want my epidural. i was about 3.75cm at my last check and things were starting to hurt pretty badly. the girl told me it would take 30 minutes for the bag of iv fluids to go in and then i could have the epidural. it took an hour. then the anesthesiologist took so long to get there, i wanted to poke him with his own needle.

i had two contractions while he did the epidural (i didn't think he could even do that, but he did it) and then it was glorious and it didn't hurt anymore. before the epidural, i had several contractions that made me cry because they lasted about 3 minutes each and were in my back, and before those i had a lot more (shorter, not in my back) of what the nurse told me made most first time laboring moms scream. one of the crying ones, i was turned sideways, holding tight to the bed rail, moaning in pain, tears streaming down my face, and i said, "it HAS to be almost over!" the nurse said, "it just peaked, you're about halfway." after that i told justin i didn't want any more kids. i am pretty sure i was serious.

this was all sometime thursday afternoon. things were going well and then two nurses ran in, shut off my pitocin, gave me an oxygen mask, and had me lay on my left side. levi's heart rate was still up, but it wasn't where they wanted it, so they had to be careful. my contractions also stopped completely, meaning i was no longer having any on my own. levi was fine, and they started the pitocin again, at a low dose. i was at about 5cm, 90% effaced, and that was as far as i would ever be. each check from then until 9pm was the same. we went from a normal chance of a regular birth to a 15-20% chance. i cried. a lot.

i didn't know what i wanted to do, and justin didn't know what he wanted to do. we had been praying all day long and all night and all day before, and so we prayed again and decided on a c-section in hopes that levi would be safer that way.

we were in the operating room by 10pm and he was born at 10:22pm. one of the people assisting in the c-section encouraged justin to watch as they pulled him out, and so he looked over the curtain in time to see them pull him out and the doctor unwind the umbilical cord twice from levi's neck. justin said it was the scariest thing he had ever seen.

the doctor said, "happy birthday!" and then, "he is huge!" i watched as they weighed him...9 pounds, 3.5 ounces. one nurse measured his head. "38 cm. he wasn't coming out," she declared.

all that time i wanted a vbac, and everyone tried to help me have that happen, and he was better off with a c-section because of the cord and his size - something that nobody can know or account for or write about in a medical article or a blog about vbacs. Nobody except the One who made sure i didn't progress enough to put levi and myself in danger.

the doctor told me that we probably would have been in the operating room for an emergency c-section because the cord was wrapped around his neck, even if i had progressed. so strange how things pan out, and how something can be "for the better" even though it might seem like the worst option initially.

levi is great - perfectly healthy and fine. i am sore, taking medicine, and hoping to recover quickly. it all worked out for the best.

and so that is my long story of how i ended up with a second c-section and a second fabulous little boy.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


we were really hoping for an august baby. by "we," i mean me, and by "hoping," i mean pleading with justin to learn to do a c-section to get levi OUT. ok, not so drastic as that, but i am VERY ready.

i have already gained 10 more pounds with this pregnancy than i had with sam at 39 weeks, so i feel more pregnant than i have ever been. in addition to that, levi is head down and engaged, so he is way low and way painful. i can't say if i prefer low or high, because sam's melon head in my ribs was not a fun time either, but then it didn't hurt to walk. i haven't progressed since 36 weeks, and i'm 38 1/2 weeks now. (i think that cervical checks are just a cruel joke doctors play on you to make you excited that labor could come any day, when in reality it will probably never come and you'll be pregnant forever.)

so we will just say i'm a bit impatient with the last bit of this pregnancy. you'll all be so excited if i get pregnant again to hear me whine and complain about it - but then again the end of pregnancy isn't fun for anyone, so i'd say i'm pretty normal.

sam is almost 14 months old now. he is fantastic, as always. he is walking more and more but is still not a huge fan of it. i'm not sure why, but it doesn't matter. he CAN, and it's not really a delay, so we just let him be. he walks when he wants to.

he is talking a lot too, but he always has been one to repeat things, starting with whispering "teeth" to us. he tells us he is a "big boy" and that he wants a "gnk" (drink). he signs "more" and sometimes will say it, but not often. he says, "YUM!" when he likes something. he says, "get get!" about calvin still, but it's much more clear now than four and five months ago. he can pretty much repeat whatever we ask him to if he's in the mood to.

this weekend he is telling us, "hi baby." he told levi and then kissed my belly. so sweet. he won't know what to do when levi is no longer in there! he also says that he loves us all the time. so sweet. he shakes his head no and tells us, "uh huh!" for yes. he also says, "BOOOO!" or "GOOOO!" for gross. we don't really know why.

animals either neigh or growl, unless it is a bee. a bee buzzes. horses are accurately in the neigh category, along with puppies and giraffes, and lions growl, along with gators, cheetahs, and the toy farmers that go with his farm set.

he has become a fit thrower. he is stubborn, but we are bigger than he is, so he can only resist our will so much. sometimes parenting a 14 month old, you feel like size is the only thing you have going for you - that is, when they won't listen very well. i know it's a hard phase where his will and his lack of understanding of certain situations (and what is and isn't appropriate or nice) are conflicting, and it will get better. it is definitely easier to take care of a little baby (as demanding as they can be) than to parent a toddler.

work is hard, but not the job. leaving sam hasn't gotten one bit easier - it's harder, even. i still cry to leave him some days, and it's not just the hormones. and levi does make it more tiring as well. i look forward to maternity leave as a time to spend with my boys and rest and recover. i wish i had more than 6 weeks but i am thankful to have what i have.

justin is enjoying his student teaching and is picking up some more responsibilities as time goes on in the semester. we will both be glad when he is finished for good in december.

that is pretty much what is going on with us these days. keep praying for this baby to make his appearance very soon! i've tried all the tricks aside from castor oil and i can't get those contractions to start! i know they will when they are supposed to - i just want "supposed to" to be today.

Monday, July 16, 2012

levi's heart update!

we had our follow up ultrasound today to check levi's heart. i was so anxious, so of course the normally always-on-time office was 30 minutes late in getting us in. after 30 minutes of ultrasound time, the tech left to talk with the doctor and was gone for almost 20 minutes, coming back to ask for two more pictures for the doctor.

the doctor came in when the tech was done and asked how the pregnancy was going, etc. my head was about to explode from waiting.

he said, "well, last time, there was a leak in the valve. on a scale from 1 to 10, one being the least and 10 being the most, the leak was about a 2 1/2 or 3. now it is more like a 1." he smiled, and said something about how he didn't really know why, but it was better.

then he said, "the chamber had been slightly enlarged, but now it is the same size as the one next to it." he smiled again, and didn't have an explanation.

so levi's heart has improved so much that the chamber is normal and the leak is so minor they are not concerned with it at all. he will live a normal life, and i will deliver in carbondale and not st. louis.

they do want us to have an ultrasound of his heart after he is born just to check things over, but the doctor doesn't expect them to find anything wrong at all.

i don't remember exact quotes from the doctor, but he seemed surprised. after he gave us the good news, i just exhaled and tried not to cry and leaned my head on justin's shoulder. we are so, so very happy.

and of course, we know the Explanation for levi's improvement.

Psalm 139
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

levi's heart

last monday we went to st. louis children's hospital for an ultrasound of levi's heart. with our family history, my ob recommended we do this with sam and levi both.

we went in march of 2011 with sam, and it snowed for half of our trip there. the ultrasound was done, and everything was normal and fine.

this time, it stormed terribly, pouring down rain, from about the caseyville exit to busch stadium, which makes for a hectic entrance into the city. people were pulled over to wait it out.

we got to children's in time for the appointment, checked in, and waited for our ultrasound. these ultrasounds aren't fun ultrasounds. you don't get photos, you don't get to look at the baby except for his or her heart and blood flow, and they last 45 minutes to an hour, which is a long time for a fat pregnant lady to lay still on her back.

this time it took longer than last time, but for a while, i attributed that to it being a different person doing the ultrasound. then he sent us into a little conference room with a diagram of a heart to wait for the doctor.

about this time, i started totally freaking out. "justin, they didn't do this last time," i said about six times.

the doctor came in and told us that levi's heart is mostly normal, and for now, i will still be delivering in southern illinois.

he told us that levi's tricuspid valve doesn't close all the way. this can be normal to a point, but his is past normal. the doctor called it mild to moderate. because it doesn't close, the blood that is pumped through it can leak back into the chamber it came from.

in addition to this, the right ventricle, which the tricuspid valve leads to, is borderline enlarged.

a diagram of a heart, with the tricuspid valve and right ventricle labeled.

he told us that if it stays the same or gets better as he grows, levi will live a normal life and be able to do normal things.

if it gets worse, he didn't say what would happen, but the inference was that levi might be born in st. louis, possibly needing extra monitoring and procedures. for exactly what reason and what procedures, we don't know yet, but i think he wanted to wait to see if anything changes before going into the added stress and explanation.

he said we would come back for another ultrasound in four to six weeks. ours is scheduled just about three and a half weeks from now.

of course, we are praying that it will stay the same or get better. we debated telling the world wide web, but we have a lot of friends who are willing and happy to pray the same with us, so i am writing this blog so that you know what we need right now.

please pray that his heart grows normally and by our next appointment, everything is fine. i know that God can heal him with or without medical intervention, but we are really hoping it doesn't take medical intervention.

i will keep you posted as we know more, but for now, please be praying with us for our little boy and his heart.

Monday, June 4, 2012

almost 11 months

sam is just almost 11 months old now. he is absolutely wonderful and we love him so much. being off on break, i feel like i am really getting to know his schedule and his quirks and his personality better than ever - that, and he's developing his schedule and quirks and personality more than ever.

i'm trying to just think of all of the things he DOES, all of the things he SAYS.

he crawls fast, everywhere. he can get into the kitchen faster than you can run there and put up the baby gate. today he sneaked in there while i was gone and his dad was occupied with homework (one more week of intersession class) and played in the dog's water bowl. he also got into the water bowl yesterday. he splashed and giggled so much that i couldn't even get mad (after all, it IS a bowl of water on the floor, and he IS a baby). that, and the look on justin's face of complete shock and possibly disgust (because it's DOG water) had me laughing for 20 minutes.

he loves (LOVES) his dog. calvin was our furry consolation for infertility. he was the little dog to take care of when it seemed like we would never have any little babies around here. now, calvin is a pet to me and justin, but to sam, he is most definitely his dog brother. i would say that sam loves calvin more than anyone or anything in the world. he crawls after him, tackles him with baby hugs, and kisses him, which is fairly disgusting when you think about the things dogs do in their daily lives. he is sam's best friend.

sam also has a relatively new found love of "reading." we read to sam enough for him to know how to turn the pages and to look across them, sometimes touching them like we touch the words as we read them to him. he has a big picture book that he loves to look at by himself, sitting in the floor. he knows how to get his books out of the bookshelf (which used to contain a greek and hebrew dictionary, a new testament in english and greek, and various other of his dad's books that were moved because of this new knowledge, and instead is filled with board books and sam's big picture story bible). he also loves to scoot the books across the floor as he crawls. i don't understand it, but it seems to bring him great joy.

he also learned to throw. it's not good, but it's just about as good as i can do. he uses his right hand more for this. he throws small toys (we are working on just throwing balls, but sometimes you practice throwing with a 10-month-old with whatever he has just to see if he will do it), balls, and he throws pieces of cereal to calvin when he is supposed to be eating it instead. this prompts another new development: a very silly, closed-mouth giggle. he cracks up at calvin crunching on the kix or cheerios like it's a comedy routine. he bounces and dances when he gets excited, when he hears music he likes (yes, he picks and chooses what he will dance to), or both. he is just generally a happy kid.

he is also pretty stubborn. he can say just about anything he wants to say...but only when he wants to say it. he says "hello" pretty reliably: it's how you can tell when you're loading the dishwasher that he has found and is now playing with your phone in the living room. "hello, hello, hello." at least if he is saying "hello," he is not covering the phone in slobber. he will also repeat "i love you," though it is more of "a wuh woo," which is still pretty good for a kid his age. he did this first for my mom, and she won't let me forget it, ha.

sometimes he just repeats things once or twice, and then won't say them again. on the way home last weekend, he and i were talking about the moon, which he kept calling "ball" (another of his favorite things to say, along with "book"). i said, "you see the moon? it's up there." he said, "up there." we were looking at a book last week with elmo on the cover. i said, "can you say 'elmo?'" he said, "elmo."

of course, he has a greeting for his dog friend. every time he sees calvin for the "first time" (waking up from a nap or in the morning, coming home from somewhere), he says, "heyyyyyy." sometimes he accidentally calls calvin "kitty," which he gets to play with (read: chase into hiding) at his grandma tracy's house.

he is SO. MUCH. FUN. he is, like every kid, exhausting and trying, as he tries to get teeth in (he only has two!), tries to learn to climb and walk, needs to take a nap and won't go to sleep, or throws a fit because he can't chew on his "hello toy" or because we stop to pray before eating and darnit he just wants to EAT. but he is wonderful. he isn't perfect, but none of us are. we love him in a way we never knew we could love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

microwave hot and sweet pickles

saturday we went to the farmers market and i couldn't resist buying some cucumbers to pickle. now that i'm on summer vacation, i'll cook more things that i actually enjoy cooking. i've only made pickles once before, and it's been several summers ago, but i wanted to try it again.

today i tried a recipe for hot and sweet pickles that is based on a recipe from emeril lagasse, found here.

i adapted it for the microwave, i cut the recipe in half because i wanted to use part of my cucumbers for another kind of pickle, and i didn't have any dried cayenne peppers, so i adjusted it for that as well.

microwave hot and sweet pickles
1 1/2 lb cucumbers
1 c onion
1 1/2 c white vinegar
3/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 c sugar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (you can definitely cut this back or add to it, but i feel like these turned out pretty hot)

slice cucumbers 1/4 inch thick and dice/slice (whichever you prefer) onion. optional: get a husband who used to work at a restaurant so he can cut the onion for you (and various other fruits and vegetables when needed).

place cucumbers and onions in 2-quart or larger microwave-safe bowl.

add vinegar, sugar, and all other ingredients. stir and microwave on high for 9 minutes, stirring about every 3 minutes.

during microwaving:

after microwaving:

wash and dry a 1-quart canning jar (or larger). ladle the cucumbers, onions, and juice into the jar. be careful, it is really hot and can burn you through the bowl or the jar. i have an ove glove that i keep around because it's seriously the best for handling hot pans and dishes. if you use a 1-quart jar, all of the juice will not fit, but that's ok. put the lid on the jar and refrigerate (these are not regular pickles - you must refrigerate them).

pickles should keep about 3 months this way, but of course, eat them faster than that and use your best judgment if you don't.


a few hours later:
the pickles are indeed quite hot. delicious and hot. i don't recommend trying 3 tbsp of red pepper flakes or anything crazy like that. ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

my internet cobbler

i found this recipe online a few years ago. this was before pinterest, so i have no record of where, but i think it is fantastic.

i originally used it for blueberry cobbler, but it can be used with blackberries, apples, or peaches, and probably more, if you get the desire to try it out on something different.

the crust is more cake like than other cobblers i have had, which have more of a pie crust instead.

this recipe fills an 8x8 baking dish, so if you want more, you'll have to do the math on that one. as it is, it's a small and simple dessert that i love love love to eat while it's still warm, topped with vanilla ice cream. (or, you know, reheat it each time in the microwave like i do and then it's always warm.)

the "filling" (which is actually just the bottom)
3 cups of blueberries or blackberries (or apples or peaches, cut into small chunks)
the juice of 1/2 a lemon (ssshhhh, i use bottled lemon juice, a few teaspoons)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp flour

grease an 8x8 inch baking dish. all of the above can be combined in the baking dish. i like to use as few dishes as possible, so i melt my butter in the baking dish and then add everything else to it and stir it together. (a variation would be to add more fruit, maybe even 4 to 5 cups if you have a deeper pan, and just increase the sugar, butter, and vanilla.)

the crust
1 3/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp butter
1 cup milk

mix together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. cut in the butter (cut butter into cubes and use a pastry blender or even a fork would work in a pinch, i suppose, to work it into the dry ingredients). add the milk and stir. let the batter rest for about 10 minutes. (5 will do if you're feeling impatient.)

spoon the batter evenly over whatever fruit filling you have chosen to put in the baking dish. sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar (or completely coat it, like i do...whichever).

bake at 375 for about 25 minutes.


20 weeks has come so fast.

second child syndrome, i guess...

i used to see moms posting about how they haven't kept up on updates, baby books, photos of developing bellies, etc, and think, "oh i will be so excited i will post about everything."

let me tell you something.

no, you won't. because you're tired and you have at least a 2 month old by the time you're pregnant with your second (thankfully sam was five months when we found out - i had NO IDEA what it could do to your body but i will say that i could never be the duggar lady and not be the biggest whiner in all of the world). because you might have to work full time and hide your gagging from 95 kids a day and then come home to a 6 month old who needs you, you won't update everyone on every single round ligament pain or braxton hicks contraction.

so this time, i got zofran. some people would never take medicine to stop nausea during pregnancy, and that's ok. that's a choice a woman has to make. but if you wouldn't and i would, it doesn't mean either of us is wrong. it means we need different things to get through our different days. ginger ale and puking all day does not a good algebra teacher make. the medicine has been a life saver. i started out so miserable that even if i wasn't tired, i would sleep just so i wasn't awake to feel so crappy. now, i can at least enjoy parts of my days.

last time, around this time, i started to get dizzy a lot, lightheaded, feeling like i couldn't get enough air (well before my lungs should really be affected), and honestly if you hit the nail on the head, it feels like there isn't enough blood supply in your body. being that i was 20+ weeks last time, the doctor said it was just sam's weight on my blood vessels.

this pregnancy, by 11 weeks i was feeling the same thing. i talked to my family doctor and my ob doctor and they both came to the conclusion that i probably have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which i also saw on the news and said, "justin! that's me! i have that!" basically your heart doesn't pump your blood right, and you feel tired, weak, and dizzy a lot. it's why i feel "bad" a lot (even when not pregnant) without actually seeming to have a reason. i definitely feel legitimized. (kind of like when i found out i had giant endometriosis - not a good thing but at least a real, legit thing.)

thankfully mine isn't the worst case - there are people who are unable to live normal lives with this. mine is exacerbated by pregnancy, so it is worse when my blood is carried around and diverted to do other things, obviously. i may get on some medication for it after i have levi (that would be this baby's name).

now the pregnancy hasn't been all about medication and discovery of my crazy ailments, obviously, but being that i have had these experiences, i like to get them out there so that someone going through the same thing googling "zofran math teacher" or something will find this and maybe be able to relate.

it has been fast, though. at 13 weeks we had a measuring ultrasound because i was measuring ahead. of course, when you have had infertility, you KNOW when things happen, and i KNOW when i got pregnant with this kid. he was just a big one at 13 weeks. now, he measures right on time...just like i told my doctors. ;) BUT, the fun part is that we got to find out with 90% certainty that he was, in fact, a he. so that was fun. before i knew it, i knew "the baby" was a boy, and i could feel him moving around. so fast.

i finally got justin to pick a name after the 19 week anatomy scan that confirmed sam does indeed have a baby brother. levi james is what we chose. i wanted something short to go with sam, but something that couldn't have an irritating nickname. justin said sam is from a prophet, and levi is from the priesthood, so we have to have another and give him a king name and we will have prophet, priest, and king. i told him the next one would be a girl. hahaha.

levi is a normal, wiggly kid, whose ultrasounds look healthy and good.

sam is as fantastic as ever. he is a beautiful, wonderful boy, and i love him with my whole entire heart, even when he gets snot on me. he is doing all of the typical baby things. he says words when he WANTS to, he has a couple of teeth, he crawls and likes to play with his ball and his calvin dog (who sometimes likes to play with sam and sometimes does not). he pulls up and tries to walk and exactly one week after justin put cabinet locks on, has learned to open cabinet doors. his toys are all over the living room and he sleeps like he was born to sleep perfectly. he will eat anything you are eating. he will pinch you out of meanness on purpose if he doesn't get his way, which has me believing we are indeed sinful by nature if i didn't believe it before. overall he has been an easy kid. he is great. super duper great.

justin needs the laptop, and this has been plenty long enough to keep you busy reading a while, so i will go. maybe i'll post again after levi is born. hahaha.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

genesis 3:21

i think the thing that some people miss - the thing that i missed for a long time - is how the whole Bible is about Jesus. sure, you might think, duh, of course. but did you figure this out on your own? did you just read it and go, "oh, yeah, just like Jesus. that lamb is just like Jesus. i'm seven and i know what propitiation means."

if you were in a typical sunday school class with flannel characters on a flannel board, you may not have. you got the highlights, the big stories. oh yeah, i know about noah. i can sing you a song about his arky arky. that is a "big sunday school story." but sometimes, Jesus is in the tiniest little sentence and you don't even notice Him until someone points Him out. in reality, the big story is Jesus.

so i want to write about the tiny sentence that is genesis 3:21.

in genesis 1 and 2, you can read all about creation. you know the story - it's one of those big ones. God creates man (male and female). they are naked, and it's not a problem because there is no sin or shame. and then He says, "behold, i have given you every plant...and every shall have them as food." He also says that He has given the plants for every animal to eat.

now, i love steak as much as the next girl (who hunts deer and believes it is totally good to legally kill and eat if you want to - acts 10:13). but in the beginning, there was no death. no matter how crabby you get about deer hunters, something has to die for you to eat that cheeseburger, chicken breast, or fried fish. with no death, there is no meat eating, so they ate plants.

but then there was the fall. you know that story too. the sneaky satan snake got eve to take a bite of that fruit (which i personally think MUST have been more exotic than just an apple), and then adam ate it too. the problem was that the fruit was from the only tree that God had forbidden them to eat from (or even touch), the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

and then adam and eve were aware of and ashamed of their nakedness, and they made themselves clothes out of leaves. i would imagine that leaf clothing is not comfortable or durable. needless to say, the probably crude clothing that adam and eve made to cover their shame was very temporary, would quickly become brittle, and then would probably fall apart easily.

God came and found them and told them the results of their actions. life was no longer perfect because sin had entered the world.

genesis 3:21
and the LORD God made for adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

skins were not listed in the creation story. skins were not created separately from animals. in order to help cover the shame of adam and eve, God sacrificed the life of an animal - maybe two. death was now in the world.

we cannot cover our own sin and shame. we can make all the leaf outfits we want from our own works, from our own efforts, and in the end these are fleeting, temporary, never good enough. we cannot do anything to undo or make right our sins. we cannot cover our shame.

but just as God made a sacrifice to cover the nakedness of adam and eve, God sacrificed Jesus to cover our sin and shame. Jesus is our perfect Savior, the Son of God who lived a perfect life and gave up His own life on the cross so that we can be saved, to cover our sin and shame with His blood. (that's propitiation: the sacrifice of Jesus takes the place of our punishment and reconciles us with God, even though we are sinners. if you didn't already look it up, that is.)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

this time around

well, i figure it's about time for an update. my first appointment is this week, and what felt like it was forever away a few weeks ago has come pretty fast.

with sam, i got sick at seven weeks. this one wanted to make his or her presence known at five weeks. i'm pretty sure i'm having a worse time with this one, and not because i have another baby to care for. sam's a pretty easy kid, even when he's sick like he unfortunately is now. i just think it's hitting me harder. justin feels so bad for me, he is giving me daily "it's just for a time, this isn't forever" therapy so that i won't despair and feel like i'll feel like puking forever.

otherwise physically, i feel giant, with the "leftover belly" from sam. i feel like i'm already showing big time. maybe i'm just being harsh with myself, but i notice it. i'm running out of regular work clothes that hide it even a little bit. i think it can still pass as just all leftover belly, at least.

the pulling has started as well, with all of that expansion in there for the little blueberry-sized kid. a blueberry-sized baby can have such an effect on a body! incredible.

i have been napping quite a bit lately, and justin has been great about it. he has covered all of the duties i can't do, or whatever i'm asleep for. the last two weekends have been really low-key, involving naps and just hanging out at home. work has been kind of tough but i am managing. it's very demanding as it is, but pregnancy makes it harder. i'm looking forward to the second trimester.

i find myself not being as worried, whether that is knowing more of what to expect, or not being pumped full of fertility medication, or trusting better, or just being more tired, or a combination of the four, i'm not sure.

we have felt some guilt, and let me explain this. when you have infertility, you develop bonds over infertility. you have friends with infertility. and you all know how much it sucks to hear another pregnancy announcement, how your stomach falls and your heart catches in your throat, and how you want to be happy for the person announcing, but you desperately want your OWN children and so it hurts. and so, we get that. i don't consider myself permanently cured and super fertile. i have been blessed with at least temporary health in that area. we still know what it feels like. we understand if someone can't say congratulations or just live life with us through this time, and that's ok. it really is. we know we haven't done anything to make us better people, and we don't deserve it any more than the next infertile couple - probably less, in a lot of cases.

so if you're reading this wondering why not you - i don't know either, but it probably isn't because God doesn't want you to ever be a mom or dad and it probably isn't because you're not a good enough Christian to bear children. infertility is part of the curse, but your fertility is not determined by merit. if it were, none of us would have kids.

so these are just some things going on with this one, and some thoughts i've had about our "intentional surprise."

Monday, January 9, 2012

oh baby!

sunday, i was one or two days late, depending on how you're counting. on a whim, i asked justin to stop at the dollar store and grab a couple dollar tests (they work as well as any expensive one) on the way home from eating lunch at grandma's. we got home and i took one. almost instantly, there it was...a second pink line. i brought it in and said, "we have a big brother," gesturing toward sam.

we sat and stared at the test saying things like, "that's a line." "yep, that's a line." "how did that happen." (we know how, and we meant to, but we were surprised.) "is that even real?" "this isn't real." and so forth.

i took another test monday morning, just to make sure. still pregnant.

then we were able to keep it a secret a whole three days after we wanted to wait until sometime in february to tell. yeah right. :)

and once again, God just defies everything anyone would have thought about our path to having more children. He has perfect timing in everything. every good and perfect gift comes from God, this we know well.

i am sure that some people will have questions (or comments, or opinions)...soooo...

the answers to questions that people might not (or for a few of them, shouldn't) ask, but might wonder about - because hey, i'm an open book.

1. are you crazy?
a little, but not for this reason. ask us again in september.

2. was it on purpose?
of course.

3. did you expect it to happen?
not in a million years would we have guessed that after going through everything we have, this would happen now.

4. so you never really had infertility?
wrong. we had primary infertility - we could not conceive our first child. apparently we don't have secondary infertility, which is conceiving after your first child. we may have infertility if we try again - who knows. there are couples who have no trouble with the first and then have infertility with the second. having kids does not negate infertility.

5. now don't you wish you would have just waited instead of doing IVF?
no. for one, sam. he is awesome.

two, you don't try 15 months with various treatments and get diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis with a bleak outlook and just have a baby. my body didn't work right then. my ovulations weren't good, if they even existed. when they did, the luteal phase (time between ovulation and menstruation) was too short, which had the potential to impede implantation. all of this was caused by the endometriosis.

there is no way to get rid of endo except a hysterectomy (which doesn't even always work...ugh), to temporarily (very temporarily as i found out) clear it out with laproscopic surgery, or to be one of the miracle people who has the worst possible kind of endometriosis that miraculously mostly dies off because of a pregnancy - a pregnancy that in our case likely would not have happened without us doing IVF. miracle. miraculously. you get the picture.

after my IVF pregnancy (aka, since i had sam), i have had a few endo-symptom-free cycles, several good ovulations, and a normal two-week luteal phase every single time.

if you don't think God can work through IVF - apparently in more ways than one - then i have a sam for you to meet and a pregnancy test for you to see.

if we waited, it wouldn't have happened - not this way, at least.

6. are you sure you weren't just too stressed about it the first time?
no. if you think endo and infertility are caused by stress, you need to read some medical literature. (please never ever say anything like this question to anyone trying to conceive. ever.)

7. why did you try so soon?
there was no guarantee that i had been healed of my endometriosis, even enough to get pregnant, and for a couple of months i had symptoms of it. we knew that if there was a chance, the chance was NOW, and not later. endometriosis grows as time goes on, and though pregnancy's progesterone keeps it in check, after pregnancy it can grow back with a vengeance.

it may seem irresponsible to some people for us to try so soon, but it seemed irresponsible to us to miss the opportunity to have more children based on the expectations of someone who doesn't understand infertility.

if you want something, you don't sit around and wish it would happen. when you want something, you try. you apply for a job. you go to school. so we tried to have a baby because we want more kids.

end of fake interview! :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

my post-christmas christmas craft

i wanted to do something with sam's handprint for his first christmas, but i didn't have time to do it before christmas. things were just too busy. i decided to make something after christmas to put up next christmas.

i tried salt dough with a handprint impression. my first try i threw away because it got very puffy even though i followed the directions. my second try was ok with a different recipe. it's sitting unimpressively on the table right now. it was tough to get a good impression because he's at the age where it's fun to grab things and he just squished his fingers unevenly through the salt dough.

but with felt i had leftover from making my argyle christmas wreath, i decided to make a handprint ornament. i liked this project because it wasn't messy and the ornament won't break if it gets knocked off of the tree, etc.

i took green felt and traced sam's hand on it, then cut it out.

i cut two circles of red felt (the same size, large enough to fit the handprint cutout with a "border").

then i stitched the handprint to one of the red felt circles with white thread, just stitching around the edge of the handprint. it might be embroidery floss. i just found it in my sewing box. it's thick and white.

i used white yarn to then stitch the two circles together around the edges (with the handprint on the outside of one of the circles). i left an opening to stuff some stuffing between the circles to give it some dimension, then continued stitching until it was stitched all the way around.

last, i threaded a piece of yarn through the top of the circles and, leaving enough yarn to hang the ornament from, i knotted it securely. this created the loop at the top of the ornament.