Birthday Memories

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post where I talked about losing my first little one.
Read about it here.

My doctor wanted me to wait a month or two before trying again.
We only waited a month, I immediately got pregnant again.
I knew immediately that I was pregnant.
My body acted differently {just like it had with my first baby}.
I was not in denial the second time around.
I was excited and hopeful.

About 6 weeks in {again}, I had issues while at school.
I called my doctor’s office and they said go to OB triage.
{I ran into one of my friend’s in the hallway – I had to track her down to ask her to teach my class – she didn’t know I was pregnant again, but of course she said go, go, I’ll take care of everything – the benefits of teaching the exact same thing as your peers.}
They ran the blood tests – hormone levels were fine.
The doctor scheduled an ultrasound for that day – she thought I might be far enough along to see the heartbeat.
This time they could see the gestational sac {no doubt I was pregnant},
but no heartbeat.
They thought it was just a bit early and probably didn’t mean anything bad.
Needless to say, I was worried.
More blood tests a day or so later – hormone levels rising – good sign.
Another ultrasound {at 7 weeks} showed the heartbeat. {Relief.}
I think it’s kinda cool that you can see the heartbeat {fetal pole} before you can hear it.

The rest of my pregnancy went fine.

Aiden was due on December 29, 2009.

He decided that he wanted to come early.
My waters broke on December 8th as I was climbing into bed.
{I had just finished grading a lot of papers and still had more to finish, but I was done.}

I know they always say that when your waters break, you’ll know.
Well, that’s an understatement and a half!
And, of course, I wasn’t contracting.
They let me wait until morning to see if I would start contracting on my own.
I did but they were pitiful – no enough.
So, I was induced.
I did not want to be induced – I knew thing would not go well.
And I was right.
Aiden was in distress, so they had to stop the contractions.
The medicine that stops contractions made all of my muscles convulse.
I was spent.
I had planned on using no pain medication or epidural.
But my worst fear was having to be forced into an epidural or spinal
because they had to do a Cesarean.
At that point, I was exhausted
and knew I didn’t have much time before they were going to do an Cesarean.
I had already been there for 14 hours – they weren’t going to let me go for more than 24.
I gave in.
I got the epidural.
I got some sleep while they started the induction again.
They finally figured out that Aiden had the cord wrapped around his neck twice.
He needed to come out quickly.  {After 19 1/2 hours, I wasn’t sure what quickly meant!}
Long story short shorter, Aiden came out blue.
That child worried me at the start of the pregnancy and at the end!

It’s hard to believe he will be two!
I thank God every day for my little one.
He is such a blessing.

Happy Birthday, Aiden!

{Below are a couple of pictures from two weeks ago – it’s the first time he ever painted. He asks to paint all the time now.}

Thanks for reading!

Birthday and Remembering a Loss

Tomorrow is Aiden’s 2nd birthday!
I’m so excited about that.
We have a party planned for just the 3 or us,
then we’re going to the zoo for the night time Winter Wonderland.
Aiden will LOVE it.

But, I also remember the little one that we lost.
Patrick and I were married for 9 1/2 years before we decided it was time to have a baby.
In February 2009, I found out I was pregnant.
I was actually in a bit of denial {even though I wanted a baby so badly}.
It happened immediately and it seemed too good to be true.
I even waited a while to take the pregnancy test.
It was positive, so I called my doctor and made an appointment.
She confirmed what I already knew –
we were going to have a little bundle of joy in October!

And then something terrible happened.
On February 14 {that’s right Valentine’s Day},
I lost our little baby.
We were at a friend’s house, and I wasn’t feeling very well.
I had a fever and was just miserable.
I went to the bathroom and was shocked by the blood.
I had no idea what to do.
I just started crying.
I, of course, feared the worst.
I was only 6 weeks along – what could be done?
I called one of my other friends.
She told me to call the nurse’s line.
They got me in contact with the OB doctor on call.
I think we decided to wait a day to see what happens.
{There’s nothing you can do at 6 weeks is all she could tell me.}
I talked to her the next day, and she had me meet her at OB triage.
They took blood and checked for hormone levels.
The next step was to go to my doctor a couple days later
{don’t really remember how many – it’s all kind of a blur}
for more blood tests to see if my hormone levels were rising or lowering.
I honestly don’t remember the results,
but my doctor sent me to get an ultrasound.

Here’s the worst part {I think it’s the part that hurts the most}:
the ultrasound tech said there was no evidence of a baby at all.
Apparently, that was supposed to comfort me.
Like, oh, you weren’t pregnant, so no need to worry about it.
But it didn’t comfort me – at all.

My doctor disagreed.
She said my hormone levels were such that I was pregnant.
{Not sure if she was just telling me that to comfort me or not}.
Regardless, I know there was a little life growing inside of me.
He’s now in heaven, and I’ll see him one day again.

I really struggled with why this happened.
I questioned God a lot.
The only answer I kept getting was, “Do you trust me?”
Well, of course, I trust You, Lord, but I still don’t understand.

I had started a Beth Moore bible study in February called,
Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman.
The first week, we had to list reasons it was tough being a woman.
I honestly had a hard time coming up with a list.
I was thinking – my life’s not hard – I like my life.
Then, February 14th happened,
and the bible study made so much more sense.
Losing my baby was the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life.
God knew the bible study was exactly what I needed at the time.
It was a study on the book of Esther,
which is now one of my favorite books in the Bible.
{Oh, btw, I just found out that Beth Moore has a blog, so I’m totally subscribing.}
God made sure I had help during my time of sorrow.
The bible study helped me.  It forced me to talk to God about it and me.
I think my faith was strengthened because of the whole ordeal.
I still don’t know exactly why this happened,
but I have been able to minister to people because of it.

If you have lost a little one and are wanting ways to remember,
take a look at the ideas from Small Bird Studios.
Franchesca has put together the 12 Days of Christmas with You in Heaven.
A group of wonderful ladies are sharing ideas for how to remember our little ones.

12 days

I want to share the story of my second pregnancy, but I will do that tomorrow.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 NIV
{Beth Moore shared this verse.  It is an awesome reminder to just love – always love.}

Much love,logo

P.S. Don’t forget about the giveaway that ends today!

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Sponsor Spotlight: Imprintalish

Meet Lish from Imprintalish!

My name is Lish and I am the one and only behind Imprintalish. I created my blog in order to capture the small moments in life that might otherwise fly by. That was over two years ago and while I still stay true to why I started Imprintalish, my blog has grown tremendously since then and become more of a lifestyle blog with a focus on raising my two little munchkins! I love showcasing beautiful finds and inspiring photos, crafts, tutorials and everything in between! My Etsy shop specializes in Custom Digital Photocards and Photography Prints and was inspired by my love of blogging and photography. I hope you come on over and say hi, cause I love making new friends!

Blog & Etsy

Here’s a preview of some of my favorite prints from Imprintalish!

First, here’s one of Lish’s brand new prints – Snow Droplets on Grass. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the unique perspective.

Source: Imprintalish

This is another new photograph from Imprintalish – Snow Covered Pine Branch.  I think the green is so vibrant.

Source: Imprintalish

And how about this one – Dandelion Wisps Blowing in the Breeze?  I am currently in love with dandelions prints and stencils…so of course, I heart this.

Source: Imprintalish

I’m all about the color in photographs.  Lish does an amazing job capturing the colors – like the Cherry Blossom Trees and the Macro Blueberry Bush – beautiful color!

Source: etsy.com

Clicking on any of the photographs above will take you straight to the Imprintalish Etsy shop.  Go grab one today!

Imprintalish also designs custom photo cards.  Think of Lish the next time you need some!

Have a beautiful day!
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Nap Time Treasures

One of my favorite things to do with Aiden is to curl up and read a few books.
We do this randomly – whenever he wants.
But we also read before nap time.
{Patrick reads to Aiden at night time.}
Aiden chooses a few books – 3, 6, whatever.
We sit in the rocking chair in his room and just read for awhile
getting lost in the stories
spending time together just the two of us.

After reading, I get hugs and kisses.
Aiden climbs into his little toddler bed.
I cover him up with his blankets.
And then, I sing to him.
He requests songs now –
I used to just sing one or two songs.
Now he asks me to sing 4 or 5 songs.
He requests
“grace” {Amazing Grace},
“baby {Hush, Little Baby},
“sunshine” {You are My Sunshine},
“trees” {the chorus of the Beautiful Trees song from Sid the Science Kid},
and “twinkle” {Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star}.

“Good night, Aiden.  Sleep well.  I’ll see you when you wake up.”
“Night, night, Mama!  Mama, night, night!”

And then there are the days {like yesterday}
that he refuses to take a nap.
He gets up and plays instead.
These days are pretty rare, but they usually end up something like this:

Aiden fell asleep in the car while we were running errands before dinner.
He didn’t wake up when I took him out of the car.
I put him down on the couch while I made dinner.
Sweet little boy.

I know nap time will be gone one day.
Aiden and I will still make time for just the two of us.
But for now, I treasure our nap time.

What do you treasure today? 

lala

Thanks for reading!
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Answered Prayers

We’ve been searching for a house since April.  We moved to Florida in August.  We’ve made several offers and even gotten a couple, but none of them have worked out.  At church on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we were reading Matthew 21:22, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”  We were discussing if this meant when you ask God for something, he will give it to you or if it just means that when you ask him for something and it’s in His will that he will give it to you.  We leaned towards the latter because if I asked God for something ridiculous like a brand new expensive car, why should I expect to get it – I would have no way to pay for it and no one would just give me one.

I’ve been praying for a house for while and I’ve been praying to just know whether or not we’re supposed to even buy a house here (we’re only here while Patrick completes his doctorate).  I hadn’t felt like my prayers had been answered one way or another.  We kept looking for houses and we kept not getting them.  Every time we gave up on the house search and looked for a place to rent, it had either already been rented (like that hour) or they didn’t allow large dogs.

On Thanksgiving, I phrased my prayer a little differently.  I asked, “God I’m asking – if it’s in Your will, please let us find a house soon.  I trust that things will work out.  Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’”  And for the first time I really believed it.  I do trust in God.  I know that He only has my best interests at heart {even if I can’t see it at the time}.

We found a house a couple weeks ago that seemed perfect.  It was not as new as many of the homes on the market (just a few years older), it was in the town over from where we had been looking, the owners had bought it as a foreclosure and remodeled it, the price was a lot lower than the ones we had been looking (we upped our price range to have a better selection), it was the right size, it had a good floor plan, etc, etc.  Of course there was a problem though.  The house had not been owned long enough to qualify for FHA financing (weird 90 day rule).  It wouldn’t be 90 days until Dec. 2.  We would have to wait nearly 2 weeks and hope no one else would buy it (no one using FHA could so that eliminated some buyers until the 2nd).  We saw the house on Tuesday Nov 29, loved it, and made an offer.  The seller’s agent said the only offers they had gotten were way too low.  We weren’t even messing with anything and were offering asking price.  They accepted our offer “officially” on Friday, the 2nd.  I finally feel like we have a house.  {As I’m typing this, our loan person just called and my heart skipped a beat…all is fine…she just needed something.}  With that said, the only hurdles we have are inspections, appraisal, and loan.  There shouldn’t be a problem with any of these, but I’m still going to keep praying and praising.

I still don’t completely know what the future holds, but I trust God and know everything will be all right.

What about you?  Is there anything on your mind today?

Blessings to you friend,
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Kenyan Tea Recipe & Gift Idea

When we were in Kenya, we had tea every day.  At VBS with the children, the milk and sugar was already added.  Everywhere else, we had to add it.  There are many different ways to make tea in Kenya.  We asked some locals to teach us how to make tea their way.  Here’s what they taught us:

Ingredients (per serving):
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
1 tea bag (use Kenyan black tea – I’ve found that English Breakfast tea works well)
sugar to taste (I suggest sugar in the raw for a more authentic Kenyan tea.)

Directions:

  1.  Boil water.  Use a tea kettle if possible.  If not, be sure to remove water from heat as soon as it barely boils.
  2. While water is heating, heat the milk.  You can microwave it for 30 seconds to 1 minute or you can gently heat it on the stove.  You want the milk to be hot enough to steep the tea, but do not let it boil.  Try for around 200°F.
  3. Add a tea bag to your cup.
  4. Pour the warmed milk over the tea bag and allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the water.  Remove tea bag.
  6. Add sugar to taste.  Try 2 teaspoons of sugar and go from there.

Tea Sampler Gift Idea

Choose a jar. {I used a jelly jar.} Remove the label.  Soak in hot water to loosen the glue.  Scrub with hot water and soap.  Use nail polish remover (acetone or non-acetone varieties work) to remove the rest of the glue.  You could also use Goo Gone or something similar.

Choose a pretty piece of paper for the top.  You can use scraps of wrapping paper or scrapbook paper – whatever you like.  Mod podge the paper to the lid.  There’s a lot of tutorials on the web for this.  Here’s the one I used.

Source: designspongeonline.com via Trisha on Pinterest

Fill the jar with a variety of tea bags.

Tie a ribbon or piece of twine around the jar.

Write the recipe for Kenyan tea on a tag and tie it to the jar.

You now have a lovely little gift to give!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

taterots

One Artsy Mama
link party
whipper
Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Thanks for reading!

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On Mission – Part 2

Read part 1 here.

Packing for our trip was the beginning of the adventure.  Patrick and I were each asked to fill one of our checked bags with supplies for the kids.  We borrowed the largest suitcases possible and filled them full.  The people of our church donated so many things!  Amazingly, everything they donated fit perfectly into our luggage.  There wasn’t room for even one more item.  It’s funny how God works sometimes, isn’t it?

I’m going to skip most of travel details.  If you are dying to know something specific, feel free to ask.

Originally, we were going to fly out with the group from Dallas, but it proved to be less expensive for us to just meet them in Nairobi.  Bad weather made them miss their connecting flight in London, so they had to stay the night.  Another couple from Dallas flew separately as well.  They arrived in Nairobi the same night we did.  The rest of the group arrived the next day.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal about Nairobi:

Nairobi smells of diesel fuel always.  Traffic and driving is crazy.  There don’t seem to be any clear rules.  On the way to the airport, there was one stop light – that police were directing traffic through, lots of traffic circles, and 2 police checks that no one stopped at – just drove around the spike strips.  Our bus driver treated the bus as if it were a compact car weaving in and out of traffic.  On the way back from the airport, we saw our first stop sign, although our driver just slowed a bit and rolled right through it.  It doesn’t quite feel like “Africa” yet.  It feels like a big, dirty city with lots of crazy drivers, lots of pollution, but in a strange place – rainforest trees, unfamiliar bird sounds…

From Nairobi, we flew to Kisumu (on Lake Victoria), which finally felt like “Africa.”
It was much greener than Nairobi.  The air was cleaner.
The drive to Busia was beautiful.

Because of the travel delays (and a couple of blocked roads),
we missed attending the church service with the kids.
We were all looking forward to experiencing worship with them, but we didn’t arrive in time.

The kids we were going to meet are a part of a program called KidsHeart Africa.
These specific kids have all had parents that died from HIV/AIDS.
They live with relatives or other foster parents in the community rather than in an orphanage.
It is because of the KidsHeart program that these kids can stay with family.
Usually, it would be too expensive for someone to take in extra children.
The KidsHeart program helps provide the families with the things needed to take care of the children.
They get help with clothes and medicine.
There is a community garden and a well.
There is even a child development center for preschool age kids.
The KidsHeart program has affected the lives of the entire community.

Finally, we arrived at the Catholic Center.
The kids were very excited to meet us.
They ran alongside the bus as we entered the yard.
They shook, touched, or held all of our hands as we exited the bus.
Honestly, it made us feel like celebrities, but we knew we didn’t deserve that status.
After all, we were there to see them.
In our minds, they were the special ones.

Some of the children greeted us with, “How are you?” in the cutest Kenyan accents.

Every one of them had a great big smile.  Their smiles were highly contagious.

Several of the older kids spoke some English – some of them spoke it pretty well.

Most of the younger kids did not speak English.
In Busia, most of the residents speak a local language called Luhya; some speak Kiswahili;
some understand English, but don’t speak it; and some speak English well.
Kenya has 2 national languages – English and Kiswahili.
Most people also speak a native tribal language.

We spent time with the kids playing games with them and getting to know them.  They liked our cameras – they wanted us to take pictures of them, and they wanted to take pictures of us.

The mission coordinator from the Dallas church introduced us to all of the kids.  One of the local workers translated what he said into Kiswahili.

He explained to the kids that we traveled 5 days (because of all of the delays) just to see them.

He said, “I have one child in the US, but I have 47 children in Kenya.”
He told them of how the church loves them and has lots of pictures of them everywhere.
Each of us introduced ourselves to the group.

We went outside and played circle games.
Most of their group games involve singing and dancing.
We dispersed into free play after a while – football (soccer), passing balls by kicking or throwing, jump rope, and just running around.
We had tea with the kids.
Then, we played some more.

Sadly, day 1 was over, and we had to leave.

We said, “Kwaheri” to the kids and headed for our hotel.

At the hotel, we discussed the plan for the next day and got the crafts ready.
We helped make friendship bracelets for the kids –
enough for all of the foster kids plus some of the neighborhood children.

Part 3 will conclude with more interactions with the kids and the impact they had on me.

Thanks for reading!

Blogs I Love

As you’ve probably figured out, I am new to the blogosphere.  I started my blog to share my experiences raising my little Aiden.  I know this is by no means a novel idea.  There are many people out there blogging about the same thing.  I am amazed by each person’s unique perspective and style.  I enjoy reading so many of them!  I would say that my approach comes from being a teacher.  I hope to share with you strategies and tips that you can use with your little ones.  I write about my adventures with Aiden – our excursions out and about, how we occupy our time indoors, books we read, games we play, art we create – learning opportunities for little ones.  I also use the blog to chronicle my thoughts – about faith and trusting in God, about the choices we make as parents, and about other random things.  Expect also to find the occasional recipe and craft project (I just got my new Silhouette Cameo — so excited).

I want to share with you some of the blogs I currently follow.  If you are not already reading these, you really should be!

Little Miss Momma.  Ashley is awesome.  I think she blogs about nearly everything – from being a mom to fashion and accessories to diy projects like crafts and photography.  She also has the occasional post from her own momma.  I am in love with her momma’s DIY Reclaimed Wood Inspired Frame.

Source: littlemissmomma.com via Trisha on Pinterest

Casey Leigh.  I think I read Casey’s blog because she is so real.  She wears her heart on her sleeve, and I admire that.  She strives to be in God’s will and to know the purpose for her life.  I also find that I have a bit in common with her.  We both have first born sons named Aiden.  We’ve both had a miscarriage (not that I like having that in common with her, but I find comfort in her words – she has a gift for knowing what to say).  When I read her blog, I enjoy listening to the music on her playlist.  Casey shares ideas from other bloggers, so there’s always something new to check out.  I wish my messy hair could look as good as hers!

Source: thewiegands.com via Trisha on Pinterest

I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar.  Cheri’s blog is actually one of the first blogs I ever read.  One of my friends suggested her a while back, and I’ve been following ever since.  She showcases a lot of craft projects – ones she does herself plus features of others.  Right now she’s in the middle of Refashionista week.  I never knew that repurposing and personalizing clothes could be so wonderful.  I think my favorite thing that Cheri has done is the viking costume for her youngest son.  My son will totally love this.

Source: iammommahearmeroar.blogspot.com via Trisha on Pinterest

There are several more blogs that I’ve just started following.  I am falling in love with them, too!  Here’s just a few.

Lee La La.  Lindsey’s got style.  And she writes from her heart.

Make It and Love It.  There are so. many. tutorials on this site.  I know I will be spending a great deal of time here once I get my sewing machine.

Momma Rake.  Another women of God.  I am inspired by her ability to trust in God as she and her husband move their family to where God wants them to be.  {Sounds a bit familiar – we just moved across country a few months ago!}

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I do!

What to expect from my blog in the next few weeks?  I will begin a series on reading to your little ones – making reading interactive and ways to help develop reading and language skills.  My friend, Rachel, is a Speech Language Pathologist.  She will be helping me out!  I will continue my story about my mission trip to Kenya – one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.  I will share some more recipes and brag about how I have a husband who loves to cook. (Aiden loves to help!)  And you’ll get to see what I make with my new Silhouette Cameo – no promises that anything I make will be good.  I also have a few sewing projects I’m dying to start (I’m getting a sewing machine for Christmas).

Thanks for reading!

On Mission

One of most AMAZING things I have ever done in my life, I did for God.

 Here’s how the story begins.

A couple did a mission spotlight at our church.  They showcased a program called KidsHeart Africa.  KidsHeart is a partnership between Buckner International, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the All Africa Baptist Alliance, the Africa Exchange, and Change for Children.  The program strives to meet the needs of children affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.  The presenters told of their visit to Kenya where they saw the impact the church was making on the children.  The purpose of their visit was to spread the news to other churches and gain support for the initiative.  A large part of the program was the connection to churches in the United States.  The more churches that were in support, the more community centers could be built and the more children could be helped.

 Our church was moved by their story.  One couple, in particular, stepped forward and said they wanted our church to agree to support the program (which, of course, meant giving monetarily).  This was easily agreed upon by our church.  Then, this couple went a step further and said they wanted people from our church to go on the next mission trip to see firsthand the KidsHeart program and to help build one of the new community centers.  Patrick and I knew immediately that we wanted to go.  We had done mission work in the US, but had talked about doing mission work in another country.  He and I have always felt called to Africa.  This seemed like a perfect fit for us – God inspired for sure.

 We talked to the couple about our willingness and eagerness to go.  They helped us make it happen.  They connected with a few other members of our church and gathered all of the monetary support necessary for us to go.  We were ready to go, patiently waiting for the official date of the CBF of Missouri’s trip – it was supposed to happen sometime during that summer.

 The date for the trip was finalized, but much to our dismay, the trip was scheduled for October.  {my heart dropped}  October??  What happened to summer?!  I was a teacher in my 2nd year at the time.  I didn’t really want to leave my students for over a week, but for this, I so would have.  The problem was Patrick.  He was in graduate school and taking off for a week was impossible.  That did not discourage the visionaries of our church, however.  They figured out a way for us to tag along with another group – from Dallas, Texas.

This meant the purpose of our trip would change slightly.  Instead of helping start a new program and build a community center, we were going to visit a well-established program.  One that was sponsored entirely by one church.  We would get to see what the community center that our church was helping to sponsor could become.  Very cool.  The group from Dallas went every year to visit their kids in Kenya.  They conducted Vacation Bible School with them, helped with various projects, and even conducted medical missions.  They were very much invested in these kids.  We were so excited that we were going to be a part of this!

 My story will continue soon…I hope you join me for part 2 where we meet the children!

Thanks for reading!

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