Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sam + Addy

Since up until recently Addy has been the star of this blog, I thought you might appreciate a little update on how our "first born" is adjusting to our "newborn."  (This is a subject I thought and prepared a lot for before Sam was born... Check out those posts here and here.)  

For starters, these pictures are some of my favorites from the last two weeks:

Feeding time.  Addy is SO exhausted from her late nights and interrupted sleep.  Clearly, Sam is too.
Play time.  Addy: "Your toys look a lot more fun than mine."  Sam: "What is this giant toy to my right?"

If I wasn't so long winded, I'd just let these pictures do the talking and tell you that Sam & Addy are doing great together; but, you know me better than that!

Addy's adjustment has been slow but steady and sweet.  Despite our best efforts at bringing home a onesie from the hospital for her to smell etc., Addy seemed completely uninterested in Sam at first.  We realize that there are much worse problems to have when introducing a baby and a 70 pound dog; but, I was a little disappointed.  

After this, our progress on the baby/dog front was slow.  

First, there was Poppy's first home visit.  I was holding Sam while he sat next to me adoring his great-grandson.  Innocently, Addy wandered into the general vicinity of the baby, and POPPY FREAKED!  Totally unexpectedly, he started screaming "Get away! Get away! She's an animal!!! She could destroy that baby!!"  and shooing her away. It was hilarious, and a bit sad.  Poor Addy.  Luckily, we convinced Poppy that she was OK and we haven't had any more outbursts.

A few days later, Addy attempted a new strategy to regain her control around the house... She faked an injury.  It began in the morning of one of Sam's first days at home.  She was limping and holding hew paw pathetically.  I, of course, fell hook, line, and sinker and thought it was the saddest thing ever.  However, as the day progressed and visitors took her up on her offer to throw a tennis ball a few times; we noticed that Addy's "limp" conveniently came and went as she pleased.  She's a smart one, that one.

Anyway, over time, she is beginning to take her role as a big sister a little more seriously and is, truly, quite good at it.

Nowadays, she is hyper-alert to Sam's crying.  Usually, she just stares at Jeff & I like "aren't you going to do something?"  On a couple of occasions, we've found Addy peeking into the bassinet or pack n' play when Sam wakes up from a nap before we can get to him.  On the other hand, late at night when he wakes in a fury, Addy promptly retreats out of the bedroom and into the closet so as not to interrupt her beauty rest.  :)

I wouldn't really call her "protective" just yet; but, she is definitely interested.  I've noticed in the last few days that she usually wants to lay right at the feet of whoever is holding her bro.  We don't let her lick his face; but, she likes to sniff him whenever she can.  I think he must smell like one of us now because she seems to be beginning to understand that he is here to stay.

Sometimes I would give anything to be in her head for a few minutes... Like this morning when I'm pretty positive she was thinking "is there a return policy on that thing?  Doesn't he know we don't wake up at 7?"  

I'm sure this has been a rude awakening for her, as we knew it would be; but, like everything else, she has taken it in stride.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sam's Birth Story: Part 3

(I am the longest story-teller EVER.  If you've missed them, read Part 1 here and Part 2 here to catch up...)

... According to my dad (the numbers guy) I was rolled by the waiting room at 4:22AM for surgery.  (Poor family, they thought the baby was coming back at 1:30!)  Jeff was given a hott haz-mat suit to wear and asked to wait in the hall while I was prepped.  The anesthesiologist stood "up top" with me, and talked me through the whole process.  At one point, he even asked me what kind-of music I liked and I thought "don't be ridiculous, I'm not in the mood to talk about music."  Right before the surgery started, the doctor called out "husband" and someone left to get Jeff.   I was SO glad when he came in to be with me.  He prayed for us, and for Sam; and, again, I felt totally at peace.  Finally, we were about to meet our boy.

Sam was born at 4:45AM.  He wasn't crying.  I kept asking why and people kept telling me ridiculous things like "it's totally normal" and "he's still connected to you" and I just accepted it.  I was not afraid.  It might have been the drugs; but, I truly think I was just covered in prayer. It is NOT in my nature to not freak out when things don't go exactly according to plan. In reality, probably about 40 seconds passed before we finally heard his sweet little voice.  It felt like forever... It was the best.sound.ever.  A nurse brought my boy to us, and Jeff got to hold him so I could see him.  He had hair - which shocked me.  Then, he was off to the nursery.  Jeff went with him and got to introduce our little guy to his adoring fans.  I had a good bit of recovery ahead of me; but, I was on cloud nine.  I was happy and chatty with the doctors.  Our Sam was here. 

I found out MUCH later, that Sam was born completely blue and not breathing.  Not only was his head definitely stuck (and almost definitely would NOT have come out had I continued to push); but, he also had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck FOUR times.  This is called a quadruple nuchal (Google it), and the doctor had only seen this one other time. As soon as he entered the world,  he had to have these cords ripped off of his neck (no cord cutting for Daddy) and was rushed to nurses to get oxygen.

Poor Jeff had peeked over the curtain right before they pulled him out and seen the reality of those first seconds.  I love him even more today because; somehow, in that moment, he knew that he had to lie to me and tell me everything was fine -even though he was scared to death.  I hate that he experienced that feeling alone; but I am thankful.  I, honestly, think childbirth might be more traumatic for the dad than it is the mom.  I'm sure many disagree; but, I wouldn't want to switch places.

I know that God prepared me for a c-section; and, I know that he protected me from fear and anxiety in the OR.  Having a baby born blue is every mother's worst nightmare... Yet, I never really experienced those bone-chilling feelings.  I don't know what it was, but I felt an incredible peace over me the entire time Sam was being delivered.  I am SO thankful for that.  I am thankful for my awesome doctor who knew to make the c-section call; I am thankful for modern medicine; I am thankful for my brave husband; and, I am thankful for my healthy baby boy. (Photos taken just minutes after he was born while I was still in recovery... Look at his poor head!)

After the umbilical cord saga, Sam was a bit of a legend around the nursery.  Nurses etc. kept stopping in to see "the baby that had his cord wrapped four times!"  Jeff and I were so proud of our little acrobat.  Of course, we're biased... But, we happen to think he's quite a champion.

So... there you have it.  It is our story.  It is not perfect.  It is not how I imagined it.  But, it is ours.  And, more importantly, Sam is ours.  He is here.  God is good.

At one week.  (0 months - haha!)
P.S. He is making up for that lack of crying now! ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sam's Birth Story: Part 2

Ok friends... Sorry I just left you hanging... on with Part Two.  (In case you missed it, read Part 1 here.)

...When we first got checked at the hospital, the nurse asked if I wanted to go ahead and get prepped for an epidural.  I was NOT opposed to having drugs for the pain; but, I had read about how epidurals often slow labor down.  Plus, I wasn't in that much pain just yet, so I thought we should hold off... The nurse, however, strongly recommended that we get started because she said the process could take about an hour.  (It was almost the middle of the night, so they would have to call the doctor on call to come in from home to check me, get a bag of fluid in my system, etc. all before the anesthesiologist came in.) I decided to go ahead with it then.
And... thank goodness I did.  The process ended up taking two hours.  After my water broke, labor progressed REALLY fast and got much more intense.  By the time my doctor got there at about midnight, I was already dilated to a 6, and he commented on how strong my contractions were... You're telling me buddy!  By now, they were definitely hurting! (Looking back, I don't really remember much of the pain, but I can tell by the way that Jeff describes it, that I was NOT a happy camper.  I do remember that I cried and told the nurses that I didn't expect to be so loud.)

The nurses also had some trouble getting the iv started in my hand (let's just say, Jeff had a shirt ruined with my blood in the process), so it was 1AM before I finally got some relief from the epidural.  (I had been so nervous about it; but, by that point it felt like a piece of cake.) Right afterward, the nurse checked my cervix again, and I was at 9!  We would be having this baby even sooner than we thought!! 

At that point, Jeff called our families and told them to come on to the hospital (his mom was already in the parking lot - Haha).  Here's one of my favorite photos of them arriving.  (Hope no one was trying to sleep anywhere nearby.)

Once I was feeling like a human again, I remember thinking "I can't believe how easy this has been!"  (A terrible idea to get ahead of myself like that.)  The thing was, I'd been fully prepared to have a c-section, or - at the very least - a very long and difficult labor.  The idea that I would go into labor at home, check in to the hospital, and have a baby a few hours later had NEVER crossed my mind... I don't really know why exactly; except that easy had never really been an adjective used to describe this pregnancy. (I may or may not have also thought to myself: "This is going to be a boring birth story on my blog."  Little did I know...)

At 1:40AM, after about 30 minutes of "laboring down," the nurse declared that it was time to start pushing.  Again, my expectations were totally blown out of the water.  I'd imagined Jeff standing "above the sheet" coaching me; but instead, there was no sheet, and he was (literally) given a leg.  The doctor, I learned, wouldn't even be called in until the baby started to crown... Crazy!

Approximately one hour later, my doctor came to check on me even though there was still no head in sight.  I felt like I'd been working SO hard, but we weren't really seeing any progress.  Although the nurses were encouraging; I'd later learn that they had been sneaking outside to call my OB all along... Something wasn't quite right.

When he "investigated the situation" (you like that polite terminology?), he found that not only was our little one's head apparently stuck on my pelvis; but, his heart rate was elevated and his body felt warm - not good signs.  In the doctor's words, "[I] could push for another two hours and it might be possible to have this baby; but, I could also be in the same situation I'm in now but a lot more exhausted."  His recommendation of a c-section did not surprise me one bit.

Looking back, I sincerely believe that God had been preparing me for that moment.  I am so grateful for the peace that I had about getting the c-section. It was like I was already ready for it.  Jeff and I didn't doubt the decision for one minute; we just went with it.  We just wanted a healthy baby.  I wasn't sad.  I wasn't even scared.  I just was ready to meet Sam.

To be continued... (One more part, I promise!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sam's Birth Story: Part 1

Ok.  Let's do this...  (This may be the boring part... If you just want the gory details of Sam's birth - jump forward to Part 2 coming soon. No hard feelings.)

Our birth story begins two weeks ago today, on Tuesday July 12th.  As you might remember from some of my posts around that time, I really wasn't showing much progress towards labor.  In fact, I hadn't had a single contraction yet and had set my sights on my 39 week appointment Thursday in which (I'd hoped) the doctor I'd be working with for the next two weeks while mine was on vacation would consider scheduling an induction.  We were ready to meet our little guy... But, I wasn't getting my hopes up!

Anyway, I felt particularly sluggish Tuesday morning; but, I chalked it up to the fact that I had had a productive Monday and crossed off most of the remaining items on my "Pre-Baby To Do List."  (Thanks God for showing this Type-A gal some grace with your timing!)  I snoozed a little later than usual and read in bed for most of the morning.  I was having some new back-pain, but it was nothing major.

At eleven, I left the house to run some errands and meet Jeff for lunch.  Some time around there, the pain in my lower back started becoming a little stronger and I noticed that it was coming in short little intervals.  Could this be labor?  It wasn't what I was expecting, but it was different and could be timed. At Panera, over black bean soup (sorry nurses!) and turkey panini, I told Jeff - "I think I'm having contractions.  I'd actually be a little surprised if this isn't the start of something."

I'd planned to go to the mall and walk around after lunch (you know, to bring on the labor I thought was still weeks away); but the back pain was increasing, and I felt super tired.  So, I went home to nap instead.  At about 3:15, I was woken up by the pain in my back.  Aha! "Real contractions will not slow down when you lay down or walk around."  I decided to start timing these little spurts.  At this point, they were between 15 and 20 minutes apart and lasting between 30 and 75 seconds.  By now I was confident that Baby C was getting ready to come; but, I also was well aware that some women labor like this for DAYS.

By 5:30ish, my contractions (I now felt safe calling them that) were more like 10 minutes apart.  So, when Jeff called to see how I was doing, I told him to come home.  We needed to get some things done because I was pretty sure we'd be going to the hospital that night.  (Always planning, I am.)  Of course, he hurried home.

Things start to get a little blurry around this point... Contractions didn't really feel the way I thought they would.  In fact, the only reason I even knew they were contractions was because they were time-able and not just a basic ache.  They hurt; but, they weren't miserable.  Even as they got stronger, I could still walk and talk through them.  It wasn't the "textbook" labor that I'd learned about in our birthing class; so, despite what my body was telling me, I was super nervous that I would get to the hospital and they'd send me home saying it was nothing.

To busy myself, I cleaned out my car instead.  I'm talking Windex, Pledge, and the vacuum.   This seemed perfectly legitimate at the time - I didn't want the baby to come home in a dirty car.  (Nevermind that it has been sitting pretty in my driveway ever since then.) Jeff ate the Chicken Enchiladas I'd made for dinner (I wasn't hungry - another MAJOR sign that something was up) and mowed the lawn in the dark because I insisted.  He is a really good man.

Finally, by about 9PM, my contractions were five minutes apart.  Mom had brought over an exercise ball, and that seemed to be the most comfortable place to get through them.  I could still handle them, but they were definitely getting more painful.  BUT, they weren't lasting a full minute and it hadn't been an hour like this - I'm a rule follower, you know - so we waited.  I took a shower, put on make-up, straightened my  hair, and asked Jeff - "Do I look ready to meet our boy?"  

At 10:30PM we walked up to the labor and delivery floor of the hospital.  We only took in one bag because I thought we might curse it if we took everything in.  I wanted to be sure we were staying first!  It wasn't like we had an appointment or anything, so we just showed up.  TV makes you think that this stage will be very exciting and dramatic.  In reality, I told a nurse I thought I was in labor, she took me into a room, wrote down my name and social security number on a paper towel (I'm not lying), and left us to wait.

Thirty minutes later, I was checked in and hooked up. My contractions were measuring every three minutes or so, and I was 3.5 centimeters dialated, and I had to use the bathroom REALLY bad.  When I got out of bed, I didn't even make it to the bathroom before my water broke everywhere.  To my relief, the nurse finally said, "You better get settled in, you're having a baby." So... We called our families, Jeff went off to get the other 500 items from the car,  and we checked the blog (on his phone) to see who had a chance at winning our birth-date pool.  :)

I can't believe I'm posting this.  At least I have nice nails.
To be continued...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby-Proof Decorating : A Guest Post from Kirsten Krason

Hi guys.  Tired mommy here.  We're out of the "honeymoon phase" with Sam now and adjusting to the parts of parenting we'd been warned about - i.e. staying up ALL night eating and crying. (BOTH of us- haha!) . Luckily, he is still cute enough to make even that bearable.  I'm going to try to get some pictures etc. up later today; but, in the meantime... I have an awesome guest post for you from one of my favorite design bloggers.  Enjoy!

First things first, if you have never read 6th Street Design School... You need to start! :)  Designer Kirsten Krason lives down the street from my good friend Liz in Utah - which makes me kind-of feel like we are friends even though she is a "big time" decorator/blogger and we've never met. :)  Anyway, her blog is one of my absolute FAVORITE stops for design inspiration and tips.  You MUST check it out.
Isn't she so cute?
Now, on to some content...

Before Sam was born, one of the things I thought about was how my "decorating taste" would change once there was a baby on board  (i.e. STUFF EVERYWHERE and, eventually, little hands everywhere). 

So, a while ago, I asked Kristen to send me some tips for baby-proof decorating.  Here's what she said:

1. Outdoor fabrics! I seriously swear by outdoor fabrics for anyone who has kids. There are some misconceptions that outdoor fabric is ugly or uncomfortable but there are actually some great patterns and designs out there. I love outdoor fabric for any dining chairs because you don't have to worry about food staining.

2. Museum Putty is amazing! I love this stuff. I put it on the bottom of lamps or other fragile items in my house. It's not completely fool-proof but it holds well enough to deter kids from tampering with items.

3. Scotch Guard is great for any pieces of furniture or pillows that you worry about. I spray it on everything in my house.

4. Magic Eraser really is magic! This is great for walls or furniture. I also recommend using high gloss paint when possible. It's so much easier to clean.

5. Outdoor Rugs. We have this outdoor rug in our dining room and it is incredible. I never worry about food spilling on it. It is super durable and very easy to wipe clean. Plus it looks great!

I hope these tips help. Overall I would say that when you have kids you just have to relax and be flexible. Things will break. But try and have a good attitude about it when it happens. 

Kirsten, thanks SO much for sharing some mom/designer expert advice.  I'm definitely going to remember these things when I finally get around to re-doing my sun-room later this year.  :)
P.S. If you want more, check out the entire series on her blog right here.  (This will be some of my late-night-feeding-reading in the next few months for sure!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

How to Name a Grandma

First, can I just say thanks to those of you that commented with similar stories/ experiences yesterday?  THAT is why I love blogging - because it makes me feel normal.  :)  (I'm also secretly hoping Jeff had a second at work today to read some of those comments so that he knows I'm normal too.) Ya'll are the best.

Now, on to very important business...

My mom is really having a hard time "naming" herself in her new role as Grandma.  It is a pretty important decision, really.  I mean, Sam will set the precedence for all future grandchildren; and, this name will likely be around for the next... 30+ years.  You heard about my dad's name here... But, my mom's having an even more difficult time.  I'd always planned to call my mom "Girl Bear," but... Something about that sounded a  little inappropriate for a boy... I've been calling her Granny, but that's really my Granny.  Then, today, she offered the names "Ju Ju" - a bit politically incorrect, don't you think? - and "Juicy"  -  I don't think this one needs much explanation as to why it isn't going to work out.  (Her name is Julie, by the way.).

Obviously, we need some help!  

What do your kids call their grandparents?  What's a good name for a hip Granny?!?  All suggestions welcome.

I'm also linking up at Kelly's Korner today with this post from a while ago on "Marriage Advice."  Check it out if you are tired of baby talk. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The First Week

Well, I officially understand what people mean when they say they "grow up so fast" now.  Actually, I find myself saying "I get it" about 100 times a day these days.  I admit, I've been naive.  I never really understood why new moms said they couldn't take a shower or clean their houses or return simple emails.  (I mean, doesn't your baby sleep a lot?" I thought.)  Now, as I sit here at 5:03PM in my pajamas while my mother-in-law cleans my bathroom, I GET IT.  I feel like part of the club now.  We moms, we stick together.  As my friend Lea said this morning in an email, "It's as if as soon as you have a baby, you can relate to every mom in the world all of the sudden... It's nice to have someone 'get' what is so hard to put into words."  That's it.  I have so many thoughts and things I want to remember right now; but the idea of getting everything written is, honestly, overwhelming.  We'll just take this one step at a time. 

Sam is eight days old today!  When we were in the hospital, everything was "for the first two weeks" (umbilical cord, circumcision, pacifiers, driving - for me, not Sam), and that felt SO far away.  Now, here we are more than half way there.

He looks different everyday.  Heck, he IS different every day.  One day, I will think I've "figured it out," and the next day he is totally different.  There is no such thing as "figuring it out" right now.

His little head is perfectly round, and his hair looks like it might be lightening a little bit. (P.S. I'm still in SHOCK that he even had any hair when he was born!)  

His eyes are still big and blue, and each day he seems to be looking around and recognizing more.  He knows his mama and daddy.  He loves to go outside and could stare at trees and light all day (Or at least until he gets hungry).

He likes to be warm and cozy, like his dad.  (Mom still sweats like a body builder - minus the muscles.)  

He also likes to be held and looked at.  He might be a little spoiled already, but I'm kind-of OK with that.

He LOVES to sleep, like his mom and dad and Addy.  But, mostly from the hours of 4AM to 4PM.  (Hence the fact that I am drinking my first cup of coffee of the day right now.  My day is only just beginning.)  We're a little mixed up right now, but I'm hopeful this will soon straighten itself out.

He makes the funniest faces when he is sleeping... We have affectionately labeled them: "old man face," "angry bird face," "milk drunk face," etc.

Jeff is a natural.  Really.  I can't even talk about how wonderful he is with Sam (and with me, for that matter) without tearing up.  He is SO good, and he loves his boy SO much.  Jeff is the BEST at changing dirty diapers (a task he swore he would never do) and soothing.  I have never loved my husband more.  Truly.

Addy has been perfect, just like I knew she would be.  She is interested in Sam when he cries or lays on the floor (on his activity mat); otherwise, she is pretty uninterested.  She is, however, milking all the visitors etc. as much as she possibly can.  She even faked an injury two days ago - a little limp that conveniently came and went when someone threw a ball. ;)

And, I'm feeling pretty good.  SPOILER ALERT: I had a c-section, so my recovery has been slower than some.  I am losing weight slowly (about 15 pounds now), and yesterday I noticed I have ankles and knees again.  Victory!

Today (Day 8) has probably been the hardest so far because I'm weaning off of pain medications and the last week's worth of visitors, lack of sleep, and being milked like a cow (more on that later) is catching up with me.  I am SO SO happy.  But, I'm also very emotional.  I cry at 9:30PM every night.  Some times it is because my nipples hurt (yes, I just said nipples... There is no such thing as modesty and motherhood - a lesson I learned quickly), and other times it is just because I feel so overwhelmed by God's goodness. Jeff just hugs me and laughs through this nightly ritual of tears.  I don't think he realized being a dad meant he would have to take so much care of BOTH of us.

I still can't believe I'm a MOM.
Thanks to my friend Jen for all of these adorable photos!
People have loved us and welcomed Sam even more than I ever imagined.  From the minute he came into this world, Sam has been surrounded by a huge community of friends and family.  Our refrigerator is PACKED.  My house is clean.  We have more cards and gifts than we know what to do with. And my baby has been so loved.  This makes my heart full. THANK YOU to all of you that have made our transition home so great.  If it's true that "it takes a village to raise a child," then we should be set.  (Thanks, especially, to my incredible mom and mother-in-law... You two have been such lifesavers!  I love you!) 

I could go on and on... But, I'll stop there.  One day, I want to tell you all about Sam's birth-day, and some "truths" about having a c-section.  But, we're taking baby steps here (no pun intended).

P.S. Jeff commented yesterday on how grateful he was for all the "set-up" and prep I did before Sam was born.  For as crazy as I was, it really has paid off.  We love having a "kit" in every room to make our lives easier.  I'm thinking about starting a business.  Seriously.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waiting for a Husband: A Guest Post

Not too long ago, I wrote about my friend Shelly's wedding here.  But, I didn't really say as much about it as I wanted to...

Shelly was one of my first (not from high school) friends when I moved back to Roanoke after college five years ago.  As the area director for Young Life at the time, she quickly welcomed me into a beautiful community of young people loving and serving the Lord in Roanoke.  Over the years, as we led on a team together, she became an important relationship in my life.

I always considered Shelly a kind-of spiritual mentor in my life.  Her faith and trust in the Lord was SO obvious from the first time you spent any time talking to her.  One of the areas where this was the most evident (although really, it seeped through her entire life) was in her wait for a Godly husband.  I loved her attitude about guarding her heart but still be open to dating (Who am I to complain if someone wants to take me out to dinner?  He just might be The One), but also the way she did not sit around pining for a husband... Her life was FULL - full of joy and relationships and life - with or without a man.

This spring, she married Ben.  She is 33 years old but younger and more beautiful than ever.  Their wedding ceremony was SO special... Not just because we could tangibly see the Lord answering her prayers, but because she and Ben both made such an effort to glorify God and the story he has written in their lives up to this point.  When we left, I immediately told Jeff - "that testimony has to be shared.. I'm going to put it on my blog"...

So, today, with her permission of course, I am sharing Shelly's testimony of waiting and trusting.  Her sister read this during the wedding.  It is long, but it is SO worth reading. It is powerful and so true.  I hope it will speak to some of your hearts that are waiting for your husband now or anyone who is in a season of waiting and trusting...

Merry Studios
For me this has been a journey of faith.  For a long time I liked the idea of getting married but hoped it wouldn't happen any time soon ;)  .  I was sure as soon as I was ready, Prince Charming would be waiting in the wings to sweep me off my feet.

But as I approached my late 20's and began feeling an interest in looking for Mr. Right and settling down, God gave me a verse that made me a little nervous: He showed me Romans 4: 16-22.

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace . . . He (Abraham) is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. 
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many
nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as
dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was
strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that
God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him
as righteousness.”

Somehow I knew that God was giving me this verse about my husband and that it would be an area where I would live on hope and faith for a while and have to believe in His promise even when all my circumstances indicated otherwise.  Just like Abraham believed he could have a child just as God had promised even when his body was 'as good as dead.' I was to believe for my husband even if he wasn't anywhere on the horizon. So while I never doubted God had someone out there for me I did wonder if I'd meet him In this century.

Around this same time someone was praying for me and said they got a strong sense that I should start praying for my husband.  This went against my grain because I'm a firm believer in living in the present content with your circumstances.  So I didn't like investing my time and energy to a hypothetical someday person.  But I did see this wisdom in this so I asked some of my close friends Mary, Melanie, and Kristen, and Wendy to join me in praying weekly for each other and our husbands.  I also started this journal of prayers for him so I could write things down to pray for him and go back and pray over them from time to time.  These ladies and many more were such wonderful gifts of encouragement for me on this journey of faith.

Along the way guys came and went.  I was told I was too pickey, unrealistic, needed to move to a city with more men . . . I was set up on more dates than I can count But I was sure that God would keep his promise He would find me when the time was right.  I had to believe I didn't have to make anything happen in my own strength (like abraham having a child with Hagar to try to fulfill the promise for God)  I could trust God to fulfill the promise all by Himself.
Along the way God said WAIT, HOPE, TRUST, REST time and time again and encouraged me with verses such as:

Psalm 25  "No one whose hope is in YOU will ever be put to shame"

Psalm 27 "I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage, yes, wait for the Lord."

Hebrews 11 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see . . . And without faith it is impossible to please God"

Isaiah 30:15 - "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength"

and Proverbs 31 - "Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future."

He also encouraged me in the reality that He meets all my needs. He told me "I am my beloved's, I have been called "MINE, belonging to me" by my creator, lover, father."

One time my mentor at church, Jean, told me to ask God why I wasn't married yet. So I did, and later that week I was driving and listening to a new CD and all of a sudden I knew the words to this song was my answer:

"You make all things beautiful just in time.  Its just a matter of time. Into your hands I fall on you I'll wait God, on you I'll wait all of my days. No one who waits on your will ever be ashamed.  It's just a matter of time. Calm down my soul, calm down and know no one who waits on the Lord will ever be ashamed, wisdom will be justified, in just a matter of time.  You will make all things beautiful just in time."

And THAT was the truth!

So God and I have taken this journey and He has been faithful to keep his promise.

Merry Studios
Now, in this area of my life, my faith has been made sight, and I have the promised one instead of the promise.  But the faith journey is not over, and this part of my life has only proven to me God's faithfulness and will help me be that much more confident in the next promise and the next phase of my life.  I've heard marriage is not easy, there are questions of kids, finances, jobs, living location, . . . But in all things I know this for both me and for you.  God works ALL things together for good for those who fear the Lord.  His mercies are new every morning.  And his plan is for us to keep living by faith, trusting in the promises, and believing in his character in every area of our lives. My story is the story God's writing for me, and I'm excited for the next chapter. ;)

Monday, July 18, 2011

40 Weeks: Bringing Baby Home

Saturday was my due date... I was fully prepared to be posting a 40-week bump update today.  BUT, instead, we came home from the hospital that day - this time, with a BABY

Just as everyone told me, all the swelling (which is still here, by the way), sweating, and sacrifices of the last 40 weeks do not matter at all right now.

So, consider this my final "update" as we officially turn the corner into parenthood now...

All snug in his little car seat ready to head home.
Proud (and puffy) mommy.  Just look at those little eyes exploring the outside world.
Very proud Daddy
Sam & Addy meeting for the first time... You can see how interested Ad was.
Settled in at home.
Our family of four.  (I HATE this picture of me.  After all my prep for what to wear home, Sam needed to feed the second we walked in the door and I had to change clothes.  Reality at its finest.)
So happy & blessed.  (Don't worry, we don't let her in his face.)
We are doing really well at home and loving this new life (albeit a little tired).  Our days have been super busy with feeding and introducing Sam to our friends and families.  It's been a good few days.  (I can't imagine NOT having our boy right now.)

I'm working on Sam's birth story for later this week, so stay tuned for that... In the meantime, I have a special treat/ "baby break"/ guest post from my friend Shelly for tomorrow.  Jeff and I were blessed to attend her wedding to Ben a few months back, where she shared her testimony about waiting on the Lord to provide a husband in her thirties.  It was so beautiful and powerful that I asked if I could share it on my blog.  Please come back tomorrow to read it.  It's really good and speaks to a different season of life that is also so special and important for women.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lucky #13

I've never really had a lucky number.  But, I guess if someone asked me, I'd say it was 26 because that's the day of my birthday.  That number comes at the end of my email address & was my number in high school lacrosse, but that's about the extent of my passion for it... And, it hasn't really brought me any luck per se (lacrosse success not withstanding). 

Anyway, I officially have a new favorite number - 13.  I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be "unlucky," but it certainly has not been for me.  Most obviously, Sam was born on JULY 13th.  But, funny enough, we also found out that we were going to be parents on the 13th - of November.  (Which also happens to be my dad's birthday).  So, as you can see, we've had some pretty big blessings come on this day.

Sam was born exactly eight months from the day we got our + sign.  The whole pregnancy felt LONG; but now that he is here, that fall Saturday morning seems like just yesterday.  We can hardly believe we made this little cutie, and he is ours to keep... already.  Crazy how that works.

Ok, I better stop my blubbering (bare with me for a few days folks).  Here are some pictures Howard took of Sam on his second day of life.  (Man, I love having friends with photography skills.)

We think he gets cuter every day!

P.S. I just realized that 13 + 13 = 26 (math isn't my strong suit, ok).  Maybe I was onto something all along.

Friday, July 15, 2011

His Name

Thank you SO much for all your sweet comments yesterday.  (And, because I feel bad for possibly misleading you, I should clarify that the photo of the three of us in the last post was taken about 36 hours, a shower, some sleep, and a blow dryer AFTER Sam was born.  I was no beauty queen during labor... That's for sure.  Haha.) I am so excited to share all the little details of this new adventure into parenthood with the blog world!  But first, a little baby name quiz for you today... 

WHY Sam?
Is it...

A.) He is named after a famous Chapman ancestor.  Sam Chapman was actually a Captain in the Civil War and rode with Mosby's Rangers.  Besides Johnny Appleseed (Chapman) - which wasn't really in the running - he's the Chapman family's claim to fame.

B.) We love the story of Samuel in the Old Testament and wanted our son to grow up knowing that he is an answer to our prayers, AND that he will forever belong to the Lord first and foremost. (i.e. "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." - 1 Samuel 1:27 - 28) 

C.) Out of a list of approximately 15 boy names, it is the ONLY ONE we agreed on when we played the "thumbs up or thumbs down" game at around 20 weeks pregnant.

If you guessed ALL OF THE ABOVE, you are right! :)  Haha!

We've been calling him by it since we first found out he was a boy back in March.  People worried that he might not "look like" a Sam; but sure enough... He was our Sam all along. His name is strong and simple, and I love it!

...And if you don't, you should probably keep that opinion to yourself because it's all said and done now.  We filled out the birth certificate information yesterday. ;)

Have a great Friday!  We'll be spending it in the hospital snuggling and admiring our little one (and watching Cable TV).

P.S. Marshall is a family name.  It is Jeff's grandfather, dad, and brother's middle name... So, we jumped on the wagon too.  We are proud to give him a name shared by so many men we already love and respect.  Plus, we think Samuel Marshall just sounds like he's got big things ahead of him. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

HE'S HERE!!!!!!!!

Well ladies... HE'S HERE!!!!!!!!

Samuel Marshall Chapman "Sam" was born yesterday (7/13) at 4:45AM.  He was 7 lbs., 4 oz. and 19.5 inches long. He is perfect and wonderful.  I love him so so much, and I am SO happy that he is here.

In my fantasy world, I imagined that we would have all this extra time in the hospital/labor for blogging etc... But, alas, reality has set in and this is the first second I have had to update my blog.  Rest assured, I've been thinking about you all and anxious to share! 

Here are a few pictures to tide you over until I have a chance to write down all the details.  In the meantime, THANK YOU for all your support and prayers these last nine months.  We made it!!

Just a few hours old.
Our families meeting Baby Sam.  They were troopers... In the waiting room from about 2:30AM.  
Our family of three!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recommended Reading

Ok moms, what books do you recommend I stock up on for AFTER the baby is born?  The internet is a wealth of information for pregnancy; but, I know some people just swear by certain books on actually raising a baby into a healthy and happy little person.

I've already read Babywise and intend to put at least some of the major principals into practice.

We also have The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and will, definitely, try out those ideas.
And, I am currently reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. It has been strongly recommended by a couple of friends.

What else should I add to my Kindle wish-list (we don't have cable, so I intend to do a lot of late night reading & feeding)?  What was your "Baby Bible" that first year?  Please share!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Last Nine Months + Birth Date Pool

Oh what a ride it has been for my poor body (and my hair - please look at my bangs from week 12 to week 38... ridiculous).  Haha!  Seriously, how amazing is it that I've grown a HUMAN BEING inside me since October.  We women are really something, aren't we?!?! As huge and uncomfortable as I feel right now, I am fascinated by the work my body has done & SO proud to have made such a comfy place for Baby C to rest these last 9+ months... Here's hoping I can look back at these photos one day and laugh the way we do when we alk about my mom when she was pregnant.

Also, as my due date quickly approaches, I thought I'd share the Birth Date Pool that we put together back in March at our Gender Reveal Party.  We invited friends and family to place little bets on WHEN Baby C would make his entrance into the world. (Everyone placed their bets before we revealed the gender, so that explains the two different colors... My dad pitched in an extra $20.00 if the winner also guessed the correct gender.  Also, they placed their bets without really knowing how the dates would fall - We actually drew dates out of a hat to fill in the top and sides after the fact - my dad says this is how real betting works.  Who knows?)

Anyway, here's the electronic version dad put together later:  (See where I get my Type A-ness?) 

As you can see, my actual due date is highlighted, and there might be a few people hoping I deliver  in the next 24 hours. (Myself included.)  At least Baby Chapman waited long enough to make this competition a little fun - Haha! I'll keep you updated.
P.S. First, I know I'm pregnant and hormonal, but how SAD was The Bachelorette last night? I mean, I genuinely felt terrible for Ryan.  Next bachelor maybe?  Second, I don't like Ashley at all; although I am fascinated that she can keep shirts on that have no backs at all. And finally,  I thought Emily looked like a Stepford Wife, and I'm over her.  She wasted all of our time last season. 

Am I becoming awful?!?

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