Saturday, July 20, 2013

Surprise Surprise!

1 Samuel 1:27-28 (NIV)
27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Well, I guess it’s time to share our exciting news.

In December Ella will welcome a baby brother!  I’ll give you a minute to pick up your jaw…

It has been pretty funny to watch the reactions we get as we’ve told our friends the news.  Some just stare at us, as though they have to gather their thoughts before they say anything.  Others are clearly trying to hide their shock as they wish us congratulations.  But most just drop their jaw and stand there.  It’s hysterical.  I think a majority of people thought we were finished having kids.  I have to admit, there were times I thought we were finished having kids.  Yes, I am at “advanced maternal age” (my doctor just calls it AMA to make me feel better), and yes, Ella is 6 years old, but we’re still bringing another sweet baby into the family and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

This has been a subject of prayer for many years.  In fact, since Ella was born we’ve been praying about whether or not to bring another child into the family.  God has already blessed us so much by giving us this new baby.

Ella is so excited she can hardly stand it!  She has prayed for a baby brother or sister nearly every night for 3 years.  She would watch shows where one of the characters had a baby brother or sister, and tell me that if she was a big sister she would help me too.  She would bring me clean diapers and help feed the baby, and she would play with the baby if I had something I needed to do.  For a long time she was afraid that she wasn’t going to get one.  We had many conversations about how we can ask God for things, even good things that we really want, and sometimes He still says no.  Ella would say, “But I’m a nice girl and I will be a good big sister.”  And we would explain that even then, sometimes God says no.  When we told her the news, one of the first things she did was look at me with a huge smile on her face and say, “Mom!  God said YES!”  Every single day she kisses my tummy and talks to the baby.

Specifically, Ella has been asking for a little sister (she says that boys can be too wild).  Joe and I tend to be a couple that likes to be surprised with the baby’s gender (we didn’t know Ella was a girl) but since Ella wanted a little sister so badly, we felt like we needed to find out the gender so that we could fully prepare her in case it was a boy.  We had talked to her a lot about how this could be a boy and would she be just as excited if it were a brother?  She assured us that she would be just as excited because all she really wanted was to be a big sister.

Joe wasn’t able to attend the ultrasound with Ella and me, so it was just us girls in the room.  Fortunately the tech looked at the gender first and when she told Ella she would be having a baby brother Ella let out a big “YAY!!!”  She talked for the rest of the time about her baby brother and what was he doing and where was his face so she could see him.  She also determined that she will be the one who picks out his clothes every day, but I have to change all of the stinky diapers.  She did, however, say that she’ll get me a clean diaper to put on after the stinky one is off.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.  I miss the naivety I had with my pregnancy with Ella.  At that time I still didn’t know that bad things happen after 12 weeks.  I didn’t know that all babies weren’t born healthy.  I had heard of a NICU, but never actually known someone whose child spent more than a few days in one.  It had never crossed my mind that you can go into a hospital to have a baby, yet come home empty handed. 

We’ve already had this poor kid tested for everything, and I do mean everything.  But even after all this testing, fear still lingers in the back of my mind.  If we had tested Ella for all of these other diseases they would have also come back as “normal,” yet it was clear when she was born that things weren’t normal…not normal at all.  The EB results came back as 97% that it does NOT have EB.  That is great news that we were thrilled to hear, but I can’t seem to get over that 3%.  We’re kind of known for falling into the 1-5% category.

Every day I have to remind myself to focus on the gifts.  For now, all signs point that we have been gifted a healthy, EB free baby.  For me, the ability to be pregnant again has been an incredible gift that I never thought I’d experience again.  Ella is a gift.  In spite of all of her challenges, she always has been, and always will be an incredible gift.  If given another child with health issues, this child will too be a gift.

That said, I pray every day…multiple times a day, that this baby is healthy.  I pray that he has the strength of his sister…strength physically, strength of character, strength in courage and strength of conviction.  I pray for a strong heartbeat.  I pray for strong skin.  I pray that he’s chunky (it would be really nice to have a kid and not worry about their weight 24/7).  I pray, pray, pray that he is healthy.  I ask that you all pray with us.

All of that said, we are THRILLED to have this precious new addition.  I get so excited to see him with each ultrasound and can’t wait to see his precious face in December.  I love each little kick and can’t wait until Joe and Ella can feel them too.  Of course since this is a boy it means that I get to go shopping for precious little boy clothes!  I’m excited to decorate his room, and Joe already can’t wait to coach t-ball.  We are so thankful to the Lord for blessing us with this sweet boy!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The last 3 months in a nutshell

I deeply apologize for my complete slacking off on the blog.  I’ve kind of been in a social media funk lately.  I’m not really feeling the vibe of facebook and I haven’t had much motivation to actually write a complete blog.  I’m trying to do better…really I am.

Here are the last 3 months in summary:

April was a pretty boring month.  Ella didn’t have any really exciting events at school, we didn’t take any vacations, and even Joe and I didn’t have anything exciting going on.

May always starts off great with my birthday!  I turned a whopping 36 this year.  So far I’m taking growing older ok.  I was nervous about hitting 36 but I’ve handled it ok so far.

The second week of May we had a special guest come visit.  GiGi flew into town to attend a very special Mother’s Day Tea that Ella’s class was having at school.  It was so fun to have GiGi in town, and it was especially fun for Ella to show off her class and friends.

The Mother’s Day Tea at school was amazing!  It was much more elaborate than anything I had imagined in my head.  Ella’s teacher had gone to great lengths to set up everything the night before including tables, fancy plates and cups, and full decorations around the room.  Each of the children had written their own story about the A B C’s and objects for each letter.  Then at the tea, 2 children were at each table and had the opportunity to read their stories to their family and friends.  The whole thing included a performance of poems and other readings by the kids, and of course, Ella had a speaking part (she loves performing).  GiGi was VERY impressed with the whole thing…so was I.

Also in May, I went back to working at the preschool 3 days a week.  It only lasted 5 weeks, so it didn’t take up my entire summer, but it was nice to have something to keep me busy at the end of the school year while Ella was still in school.  And as always, at least one kid in the preschool class did something to make me laugh each day.  Those kids are so much fun to be around!

June was a VERY busy month.  Since in May Ella’s class had the Mother’s Day Tea, in June they held a Father’s Day Breakfast.  Fortunately Ella’s teacher knew enough to know that many of the fathers would be working during the day, so she scheduled the breakfast in the morning right after school started.  Joe went and got to see Ella’s performance skills first hand.  Ella has a t-shirt that says “My Mom is Totally Awesome” and one day when she was wearing it Joe said to her teacher, “I need to get Ella a shirt that says ‘My Dad is Totally Awesome.”  Well, much to our surprise Ella’s teacher went and had a shirt made and Ella got to wear it for the Father’s Day Breakfast.  Joe, of course, loved it!  Each child got to share what special activity they love doing with their dads…Ella said that she will always remember helping her daddy make coffee in the morning.  It’s amazing how those little activities sometimes mean the most.  During the program Ella read a poem titled “Little Girls Need Their Daddy’s.”  It was so sweet.  We have a copy of it at home and she has read it many times.

Also in June Ella’s class had their end of the year celebration.  It was a great performance where they showed the parents all that they had learned this year.  They also talked about what they want to be when they grow up.  Apparently Ella has changed her mind from being a singer and a dancer, and now she wants to be a doctor.  But after the performance she explained to me that she doesn’t want to be a people doctor, she wants to be an animal doctor.

 I wrapped up working at the preschool on June 14th and had a few days to get ready for Ella’s school to finish up and prepare for another visit from GiGi and Paw Paw.  Ella’s school finished on 
 June 20th.  Since it was so close to her birthday I let Ella take a special treat for her classmates.  Unfortunately the kids aren’t able to take food to celebrate their birthdays, so instead Ella gave each kid in the class a sheet of smelly stickers.  If I’ve learned one thing by working in a preschool, it’s that smelly stickers are the greatest invention on the planet.  A kid will do almost anything for a smelly sticker.  I knew Ella’s class would love getting some of their own.

I have to be sure to mention what a wonderful school year it was.  We could not have asked for a more perfect teacher for Ella.  She has learned so much and grown up so much both with her learning, and in personality.  She met some incredible friends this year and can't wait to get together for play dates this summer.  We are so excited to see what First Grade holds!

Immediately after I picked Ella up from school, we headed to the airport to pick up GiGi and Paw Paw.  It’s always fun to have grandparents come visit!  The next day GiGi and I spent all day decorating the house for Ella’s birthday party on Saturday.  This year the theme was “Garden Tea Party” so our house was decorated in bright flowers and butterflies all over the walls, and of course, streamers all over the ceiling.

Saturday was the big party.  Ella was lucky enough to have Grammy Janet and Aunt Katie come down for the event, and Cousins Lindy, Kit and Cam also came.  Of course Boppie was here, and 9 of Ella’s friends from school.  To say our house was chaos would be an understatement.  Toward the end of the party I looked at Kit (who is 16) and she was obviously in 6 year old girl overload.  After the party she went down to the basement and took a 2 hour nap.  Since it was a tea party, the little girls spent the first several minutes of the party decorating their tea hats.
After the tea hats it was time to eat.  As usual, we ordered pizza for everyone (Ella is convinced that it’s not a REAL birthday party unless there’s pizza) and I had fruit, goldfish crackers and candy on the side.  To drink we obviously had tea (which Ella was the only one who liked it) and raspberry lemonade.

After pizza the girls played “pin the spot on the ladybug.”  It always surprises me how much the kids love this game.  I always feel like its old and out dated, yet when they go to play the game they have a blast and laugh and cheer their friends on the entire time.  Next came stacking sugar cubes.  The girls loved seeing who could stack their sugar cubes the highest.  Of course one of the girls kept bumping the table and all the stacks would fall.  At the end they asked if they could eat the sugar cubes…no way!  The best activity (for the adults) was coloring wooden fans.  I went to AC Moore and bought a bunch of wooden fans with pictures of a flower and a frog on front.  The girls all laid on the floor and colored away in complete silence.  It was a much needed break after so much activity.

As I’ve mentioned here before, Ella’s not much of a cake eater.  This year she decided that instead of cake she wanted to have cotton candy as her birthday dessert.  AC Moore had some on sale, so I picked up several containers.  I think it was GiGi who came up with the great idea to put the cotton candy in cupcake papers.  I also baked some chocolate rose shaped cupcakes because I figured some of the girls might not care for cotton candy, and I was sure some of the adults would prefer cake.  What I didn’t imagine is that most of the girls would want BOTH.  A few of the little girls had 2 servings of cotton candy and 2 cupcakes.  SUGAR HIGH!

By this time the birthday party was over and the girls were starting to head out.  It was a great day and Ella loved every minute of it.  She wore a beautiful dress from cousin Lindy that was pink and looked like the skirt was covered in flower petals.  It was perfect for a Garden Tea Party.  At one point during her party Ella leaned over to her friend and said, “My mom is awesome!”  There is no greater compliment than that.

My only regret is that the party was so busy that I didn't get any pictures with my camera.  Thank heavens GiGi was there and took plenty with her camera.  She has emailed them to me and I'll be sure to include them in the right.

After the party all of the family sat around the living room and talked, then we headed out to Ella’s favorite restaurant for dinner…Hana Tokyo (Japanese hibachi).

The Sunday after Ella’s birthday party we headed up to Maryland for a mini family reunion with Paw Paw’s cousin and her family.  I feel fortunate that we live so close to his extended family.  We don’t see them very often, but it’s nice to know they are here if we needed them.  It was a fun time reconnecting with family, looking at old pictures and reading letters.

We spent the next several days relaxing and trying to rest up for the next leg of our vacation.  GiGi and Paw Paw had never been up to the Jersey shore so Joe was more than happy to show them around his hometown.  We headed up to the shore on Saturday morning and spent the weekend sight seeing and showing my parents all of Joe’s favorite spots.  They loved spending the time on the beach and we had a lot of fun seeing everything.

GiGi and Paw Paw headed back to Wyoming on Tuesday.  Our house is almost too quiet without them.  I think Sabrina may miss them the most.  Every morning she would head down to the basement and cuddle up next to GiGi and give her some morning kisses.  The first morning they were gone she went downstairs and when I found her she was just sitting on the floor staring at their empty bed.

We have now welcomed July and are looking forward to what this month holds.  Today has been the perfect, relaxing 4th of July.  I stayed in my pajamas until noon and we spent the morning cleaning up some things and Joe mowed the lawn.  Just as it should be.  We’re not planning on leaving either.  Steak on the grill tonight then most likely watching the fireworks from the comfort of our bed in our air conditioned house.

I promise that I’ll try to do better with the blog updates.  In April I didn’t have anything to update, so I kind of got out of the mood.  Hopefully from now on the summer will hold many exciting adventures.