Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Hey everyone, I hope your week is going well!
 I just finished this book, "Uninvited" by Lysa Terkeurst and I wanted to take the time to share it with you.
Probably since about the time I hit high school I have struggled with feelings of loneliness and rejection, and I still do from time to time. I never felt like a was someone's first choice of friend, and I've never really had a best friend. I recognize this is partially my fault. You see, I am what they call an "extroverted-introvert". I am social and like to have friends and go and do things, but I also really just like being at home with my family or by myself, and I suppose sometimes I choose that over doing things with friends which has probably led to them just quitting of thinking to invite me to things anymore. 
I have struggled with feelings of being slighted or overlooked in an areas I am passionate about. 
Whether it was being overlooked for a solo in a dance piece, or a scholarship, or being rejected time and time again in the job interview process, or even feeling like an outsider in my career. The fear of rejection and loneliness never goes away.
I recognize that I have held onto hurts and allowed myself to become bitter over past rejections, and while I have "moved on" and I haven't entirely let it go.
Lysa TerKeurst addresses these issues in this book, and it makes the reader feel validated by sharing her own heartaches and rejections. She is a successful writer and woman of ministry, and yet, she also has felt the sting of rejection and embarrassment and self doubt.
As I am sharing this book with you I am kicking myself for not highlighting areas of the book that really resonated with me, but I think the quote from the book that best describes how we should view our hurts and rejections is this:
"The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others."
If you relate to me in these thoughts and feelings then I highly recommend you read this book!
The message spoke to my heart and inspired me to shift my frame of mind when dealing with rejection.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

Friday, July 14, 2017

1 Samuel 1-- Hannah: A Faithful Mom

I don't journal very diligently, but last week I had time and I was inspired from my bible reading, so I did while Landon was sleeping. Right now he's out on a walk with Dad so I thought I might share my journal entry with you all instead of taking a shower, because, priorities right? 


Wednesday, July 12th

After a semi-difficult night with Landon, he is now asleep in the swing. Joel went out to run some errands and I am having some quiet time. I haven't showered in 2 days (*note from the editor; I'm sensing a theme here, I promise I am not an unhygienic person!)  and now would probably be a good time to do that, except I am too paranoid to leave Landon asleep, alone, in the swing even if only for 10 minutes. In desperation I gave in a suggested we try putting Landon to sleep in the swing at 5 am this morning. It worked, he's still alive and Joel and I were able to get a couple more hours of sleep.

My bible readings this week are from 1 Samuel and it starts with the story of Hannah. She could not conceive and she wanted a child so badly that she promised to give him up to the Lord if he granted her prayers. He did, and she followed through by giving him over to be raised by the priest, Eli, after having weaned him; his name Samuel. What a faithful woman. I cannot fathom wanting a child so badly only to give him away after a year, even knowing that it was for a higher purpose.

I can see that, right now, I am holding my child back from the Lord by holding on to earthly worries, fears and anxieties. I feel guilty at times for bringing a life into this world that has so many evils and horrible travesties. I worry about being able to protect my baby. Did I make the right choice by having a child?

I am such an anxious person, one of my sin struggles. How can I even imagine having another child in the future when I worry so much over this one? I think of Hannah. God is not asking me to physically give my son to him, but to raise him up in faith. I need to trust the Lord's plans for our lives and for Landon. I need to stop worrying and seek the Lord with prayer and petition and trust that God will provide and protect our family. 

Dear Lord, please bless and protect our family. Please give Joel and I wisdom to parent. I lift Landon up to you that he would grow to become a great man of faith. Strengthen him and bless him with wisdom, that he will do great things for you in this world. Amen!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

C-Section Experience From a First Time Mom


Hi there! It's been over a month since the last time I posted, and when I left you guys, I had gone in for a version to flip baby boy, which didn't work-so you may have figured by now, I have been MIA because I am not the Mom of a 1 month old! So here's a short recap of my birthing experience. Warning: this is a long post so I chunked up into sections for easier reading.

First of all: don't expect your experience to be the same as anyone else!
Perhaps, though, maybe my story might help someone to be a little more prepared going into it.

As soon as I found out I was going to be having a C-section, I started looking up information on Pinterest. Some of it was helpful, some of it was not. 

CIRCUMSTANCES
I had a scheduled C-section because my baby was breech, and I had it at 38 weeks and 1 day because my blood pressure was dangerously high. I only found out when I was going to have the C-section, 2 days before because my doctor decided it we needed to get the baby out ASAP in order to keep us both safe.

I was very nervous and had a range of emotions leading up to the surgery.
I've never had a surgery before, I didn't go to any birthing classes, and I was feeling anxious/sad about the fact that in 2 days, I would no longer be pregnant, but I would be a mom!

PREPARATION
Having a scheduled C-section is much different than having an emergency C-section.
I have had heard horror stories about other women's C-section experiences, but for me the experience was not that bad--don't get me wrong, it's by no means an easy thing to go through, but it was not the worst pain I've ever been in, and at 4 weeks postpartum, I am really starting to feel relatively normal.

I was not allowed to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before my surgery. Lucky for me, my doctor scheduled it as early as she could so I just had an early dinner and then slept through the non eating portion. The hardest about that was not being able to drink anything during that time, because during my 2nd & 3rd trimester I was extremely thirsty all the time!
I had to take a shower before I went to bed & when I woke up in the morning using a special antiseptic wash. I also had to make sure I slept in freshly laundered clothing and bedding. This is all to help prevent any infection. I also did my makeup in the morning before I went because I did want to feel pretty in our first family pictures (I made sure to wear waterproof mascara!)

PROCEDURE
We had to be at the hospital at 5 am, my parents kept us company while I was being prepped and before we went in. My surgery was scheduled for 7 am. They took me in by myself to prepare the final stages before bringing in my husband. They put up a curtain over the incision point so we couldn't see the procedure.The worst part about the whole procedure was before hand I had uncontrollable shivers, and the epidural made me nauseous for about 1 minute, but right when I got to the point where I thought I was going to throw up, the anti-nausea medication kicked in. 
Then they brought in my husband to hold my hand through the procedure and started the surgery at 7:30 and our baby was delivered at 8 am. I could feel my doctor and nurses working on my stomach, but not enough to be able to tell what they were doing-- I didn't even realize that they had started the incision and then I heard someone say "I see a leg!" Joel asked if he could go look and he got to see out baby being delivered!

They cut the cord, and then took him to be weighed and get the liquid out of his lungs. Joel then cut the excess cord off (they leave a stub on that falls off at about 2 weeks). C-section babies don't cry right away, but before I got to see my baby, I heard him squealing--he sounded like a little baby piglet!

Then they brought him to me, uncleaned, as soon as they could so we could have skin to skin time right away. Because I was still laying on my back while they were stitching me up I couldn't really get a good look at him for a while. I was pretty overwhelmed and a little out of it, I teared up when I first heard him squeal, but I didn't cry when I saw him. My husband did though :) Don't tell him I told! All the nurses, my anesthesiologist and my doctor were awesome and made me feel comforted and at ease the whole way through. The whole thing from preparation to finish only took about an hour. One thing about a c-section that felt a little strange for me is a disconnect from the laboring process. I was pregnant and then I wasn't. I didn't see or feel my baby being delivered, so sometimes I have a hard time comprehending that he was inside of me for 9 months!

POSTPARTUM HOSPITAL STAY
We stayed in the hospital for 3 nights. The first night I had to have a catheter and an IV in. 
Also, I had a male nurse my first night, which for me was a little awkward, but I got over it pretty quick because I was so exhausted and my husband was there with me the whole time so it wasn't too awkward. 

We had quite a few visitors in the hospital, and it didn't bother me. Joel and I invited people and wanted people to come--but first time mom's possible reading this: don't feel bad if you don't want visitors! None of my visitors over stayed, and all of the hospital staff was very kind, but I have to admit, by the second night I was feeling very overwhelmed. I had so many different nurses, and lactation specialists and pediatricians come in to talk to us and check up on us that the introvert in me got to a point where I just wanted an hour alone! Sometimes it was even hard to find time to eat dinner! But then our last night/day no one really came to check in on us at all and it made me a little anxious.

BREASTFEEDING
One of the most overwhelming things after delivering is trying to breastfeed. So many people had different trips and tricks for me, and so many different people saw and touched my breasts in order to help I was just kind of emotionally over it after a while. I was still very swollen everywhere after the surgery, and my nipples inverted so my baby couldn't latch. I ended up using a nipple shield (still am) and our baby was able to latch on easily after that. I honestly think I would have given up on breastfeeding if it wasn't for my husband. I jokingly nicknamed him the "breastfeeding nazi" because he was always on me to pump and helping me get set up and helping wake up me and the baby to feed. I had really lost motivation because it was so hard, but he kept on me!

HOSPITAL BAG
I had spent quite a bit of time beforehand researching what to pack in my hospital bag--and I totally over-packed. I don't know who these women are who get dressed and do their makeup everyday in the hospital after a c-section, but I am not one of them. I spent the first 2 days in the ugly hospital robe and I flat out was too exhausted to care about what I looked like. The 3rd day I took a shower and put on my own clothes, and the last day I took a shower, didn't wash my hair, put on comfy clothes to go home in and very minimal makeup just to look nice for a family picture. Really all you need is a couple of comfy tops and bottoms, high-waisted underwear, slippers, robe, minimal makeup, and showering/grooming toiletries and a going home outfit for the baby, plus whatever documents you are supposed to bring. Oh and of course your phone and charger. I didn't bring gifts for the labor and deliver nurses like other bloggers on Pinterest said to (sorry, but I had quite a few while I was there) and I didn't bring snacks. You can order meals and snacks from the kitchen.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE LEAVING
After getting home, I realized I had some questions about my surgery that I wished I had asked my doctor. The hospital sends you home with a lot of information on how to care for your baby, not anything on how to care for yourself after your c-section; that was mostly just told to me and I got told so much stuff over the course of my stay that I didn't remember a lot of it. The main thing I remembered was no lifting anything heavier than the baby in a carrier or driving for 10 days and no intercourse for 6 weeks. Here are a few questions I wish I would have asked:
-How soon can I take a bath?
-How soon can I go swimming (it's summer!)
-Is the tape on my incision supposed to come off on its own?
-When do I remove the tape if it's not coming off on its own before my 6 week postpartum appointment?

GOING HOME
Getting in the car to go home was the most relieving feeling ever!! I was very nervous to leave the hospital, but I didn't realize how exhausting it was to be there until we got in the car to go home. 
We were very fortunate to have a lot of support when we got home. My mom stayed with us for a few days, and then Joel's mom stayed with us for a few days and friends and family brought us meals.
I feel I am healing very well. I started weaning myself off of the pain pills before I even left the hospital. I didn't take them every day when I got home, and I now I am completely off of them. I haven't taken any in over a week. Again, it's not the worst pain I've ever had, but there were days where the pain pills did really help. I am fortunate that I haven't had any hemorrhoids or infections throughout my whole process. I have just started getting back into light activity the last couple of weeks, going on neighborhood walks in the evening. This week I am going to start some light activity on the elliptical. It has been difficult for me the last month, at times, to just take it easy. I often felt guilty or anxious that I should be more active and start trying to get back into the habit of exercising or that I shouldn't be relying so much on other people to do things for me, or worrying when my body was still aching. I actually did get a low grade fever and was extremely exhausted toward the end of my second week and I had to take a step back and tell myself "you had a major surgery and you have a newborn baby: it's OK that you are not physically and emotionally back to normal yet!"

ONE LAST NOTE ON COMPARISONS   
One thing that I have seen come up a lot since giving birth, is the amount of people that compare birth stories, like somehow having an extremely tough labor makes you more important or superior to other moms. I have not personally had anyone make comments to me about a c-section being the easy way out, but I have friends who have. I don't understand the comparisons at all. I always assumed that I would give birth vaginally, but I was not in anyway disappointed that I did not. The only reason why we even tried the version to flip the baby was because I had heard that a c-section took longer to recover from than a vaginal birth. My c-section experience was great, and I am glad that I had one. I am recovering just fine and I don't feel like I am any "less of a woman" because I didn't deliver my baby vaginally. I guess some people negatively claim that having a c-section is an "easy way out". I can honestly say that FOR ME, having a c-section was a lot easier than I think a vaginal birth would have been, but guess what? I don't really care! A scheduled c-section was what was safest for my baby and I and that's all that matters to me!

Our First Family Picture
So there it is! Our birth story. I hope that anyone who is having a c-section for the first time and happens to read this post, that it helps you in some way!
P.S. I am a lazy blogger and I don't do this professionally, so I hardly ever go back and edit my posts. So, sorry not sorry for any typos and/or grammatical errors. I may go back and edit it someday ;)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

37 Week Maternity Pictures

 Long time no see! I have been very neglectful of this blog as I have had lots of time to write posts, but little motivation! So here is what's going on with us lately.
Last week at 37 weeks exactly we went to the hospital to have a "version", which is procedure to try to flip the baby head down in the womb, because right now our baby boy is breech.
 Since there is a small possibility of harm to baby or mom during the procedure, we had to go in prepared for an emergence c-section just in case. I never got around to having nice maternity pictures taken because I couldn't justify spending the money. Luckily, my mother-in-law came to visit before the procedure and snapped some pictures for us on my iphone. I know they're not the best quality, but I am pleased with how they turned out!
Joel snapped these pics of me, and I will always cherish them, even though my face is swollen and you can't really tell I'm wearing makeup.

He's going to be such a good Dad!
So unfortunately the version was unsuccessful and baby boy is still breech. It's funny that he decided to be a little stinker, because as of 37 weeks he is the size of a striped skunk!
So as of now the plan is to have a c-section!
See you soon baby boy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Baby Gender Reveal Party

The Hubby and I decided to host a "Gender Reveal" party to tell our friends & family what gender our baby is! How cute is the "He or She" cake topper I got from Amazon?
I ordered the cake from our local grocery store bakery. I turned out cute, although not exactly what I wanted. A young guy was taking my cake order, and I feel if it had been a girl, she might have understood what I wanted a little better. I tried explaining "ombre" as I wanted it to fade from pink to blue...he didn't know what that meant. So I told him it was for a "gender reveal" party, thinking that might trigger the context of the cake and he asked me if someone was transitioning... Next time I guess I should bring a picture of what "ombre" is haha.
 
 I got tons of cute pink and blue party supplies at Walmart. Napkins, plates, straws and balloons. 
For the pink drink, I just used raspberry lemonade, for the blue drink, I mixed calypso ocean blue lemonade and pineapple juice.
I love decorating for parties, and the pink and blue theme was so much fun! I got berry and regular flavored La Croix sparkling water in the pretty pink and blue cans and rock candy, which was a big hit with all of the kiddos!
 We inherited a bunch of toys from one of Joel's collegues when they found out we were pregnant, so we set them up for all the kiddos at the party in our bedroom with a movie...I feel like I took this picture before all of the toys were out--it was crazy! haha
Such a blessing to have so many friends and family to come support us in our exciting news!
 Getting ready to pop the confetti filled balloon...
We're having a boy! We found out our appointment earlier that week--I was so sure we were going to have a girl I have been calling our baby boy a "she" for months! Sorry baby boy!
 So even though most of the "old wives tales" predicted girl, and girl won the poll, God had a boy ready for us! Joel is so excited, he had to rub it in a little ;)
Today I am 24 weeks and 4 days! Baby boy is moving a lot and he is the size of an eggplant :)
I'd be lying if I said sometimes I don't have a moment of panic thinking about how much our lives are going to change once he gets here, but seeing how excited Joel is to be a Dad and how much he loves our little boy already makes me excited to be a mommy and grow our little family!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year! I have been seriously neglecting this blog over the last few months. I've just come to terms with the fact that I am not organized enough to blog things in chronological order.
Today I am posting about the New Year and, per usual, I will post about Christmas into the first couple weeks of January.
But first...an important announcement!
 We are going to be parents! Our baby is due June 22nd. We find out the gender in February.
I am 15 weeks  and 3 days, and I am very lucky that I have had no morning sickness or nausea. 
What I experienced is extreme fatigue, and somewhat loss of my appetite.
I haven't really had any cravings, except for sweet and sour cabbage salad from a local teriyaki place...and according to Joel, "crisp lettuce and veggies" haha. 
I haven't felt the baby move yet (that I noticed) and I'm not really showing yet, although I think I may be starting to get a little baby bump (it's hard to tell through my chub--I'll just say it's a baby bump haha!)
 For New Year's Eve this year, we had hoped to have a few family members over to celebrate with food and games.,
 However, it snowed (not here) and kept them from coming over.
 So I'm sharing my cute decorations on here, because no one got to see them!
So Joel and I went out for sushi for dinner (don't worry, I had the cooked kind!).
Afterward we drove around town to look at people's Christmas light displays.
 Then we had a quiet evening at home. I fell asleep at 9:30 and woke up shortly before the countdown to see J-lo shaking her booty. Dang that girl can dance!
 Below were my top 9 "liked" photos on Instagram, and I'll give a little recap on the year :) 
-We lived our first year in our new house
-We vacationed in Las Vegas & Mexico (my first time out of the country!)
-We hiked and camped, and I lost my wedding ring on a summer adventure
-Joel's football team made it to the quarter finals for playoffs and I had fun going to all the games with my fellow coach's wife and crafting buddy
-We found out we were pregnant
-We bought our first new car
-We celebrated 5 years of marriage in Bend and Joel surprised me with a new wedding ring
-We enjoyed a lovely holiday season with family and friends!
So far my New Year's resolutions are as follows:
-stick to a weekly cleaning schedule
-organize all of our closets
-have friends and family over more often
-Read more and spend less time on my phone
-Finish our Mexico vacation scrapbook
-Get ready for the baby!
It almost still doesn't really feel real that we are going to be parents in less than a year!
As much as I prolonged making the decision to become parents, It's impossible not to be excited! 
Here's to new life in the new year!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Swan Island Daliah Festival & Hiking Saddle Mountain

The weekend before school started, my dear friend and I went on a little excursion to celebrate her birthday. We started out at the Daliah Festival in Canby. 
Oh my goodness we were in Daliah heaven!
Friends are the flowers of life!
From there, we went on our way toward Seaside to hike the Saddle Mountain Trail that has long been on my bucket list of Oregon hikes. Round trip, it is about 5 miles.
There were many beautiful sites along the trail. At the picnic bench pictured below, we found ourselves pondering a life question: How did they get the picnic benches so far up the trail???
Seriously, if anyone has an answer for me, please let me know. 
We kept going, up and up, and then we reached what we thought was the end of the hike.
A little perspective on how big our universe is...
God's creation is so amazing!
I was feeling on top of the world, and then, I looked to my left...
and realized we were not at the top.
This hill may not look that bad, but oh my word, it was the most difficult hike I have ever done. To put it in perspective, when you zoom in on this picture, you can actually see people hiking on the trail.
I thought it was never going to end. It kept winding up and up. It was so steep, there were chain link fencing put over the trail to help the hikers with grip. 
Getting to the top was worth it though. Look at the view! We could see the ocean too!
I am so glad for my dear friend Kate going on adventures with me! It was a grueling hike on the way up, but the way down was just as bad! I discovered that I, apparently, have a knee problem! My left knee hurt so bad only on the down hill that I couldn't bend it. I fell quite a few times from the awkward gait I had to take on to avoid the pain. Luckily, Kate is on the up from knee surgery as well, so we were both slow pokes on the way down.
We finished the day with some Taco Time and a Candy Man ice cream cone on the gloomy beach.
We earned that ice cream!!
I'm looking forward to our next adventure!
Happy Sunday!