Thursday, January 28, 2010

Toaster Oven Romance and an Itty-Bitty Girl

I hate my toaster oven for toast. It's ironic that it is called a "toaster" oven because it is horrible at toasting bread. It burns it and it is uneven. It could be that it isn't a top of the line toaster oven. I think it would be good to have one with a moving element or a large area element to evenly toast bread. Toasters are much better at toasting bread.

I love my toaster oven for heating up day-old rolls or leftover pizza. It returns it to its yummy former life unlike the microwave that turns bread into rubber. I also love how I can make open-faced sandwiches quite easily without using the large oven. It is also good for heating frozen rolls for two people instead of using the large oven.

Does anyone else feel this way?

We took Lucy in for her 12 month appointment (at 14 months...we're a bit behind). She's small. Her length and head were pretty good, but her weight was low. However, I am now not worried. The growth charts most doctors use are based on formula-fed babies. I've known this for several years. The World Health Organization (WHO) did a study with nearly 8500 breastfed babies from many ethnicities and countries (including the US). Mothers were not allowed to smoke during or after pregnancy, and there were dietary standards that mothers had to maintain. The goal was to obtain an international standard for breastfed babies both in developed and underdeveloped countries. I plotted her growth on a breastfed chart from the WHO, and it was so much less alarming as I saw she was much closer to her own curve. Breastfed babies grow at different rates than formula fed.

Also, her weight began to drop at the typical 9 month mark when most breastfed babies plateau. She has also become increasingly more active, and we were in the middle of a transition to food. It has taken her some time to get used to eating food (she hated baby food from the beginning and wanted whatever we were eating). Now that she is more accustomed, we have high hopes that her weight gain will improve, but as an added caution, I have her on a high caloric diet full of good fats and proteins.

And, I found a sippy cup that she likes. Hallelujah.

She also didn't like whole milk, so she gets some Carnation Instant Breakfast in her milk (which she loves). She still nurses morning and night, but she is embracing "Big" Girl status. :)

I am not worried anymore. About that.

It's this ice that is headed our way! Let's hope we only get snow so our power won't go out!

I guess if that happened, we couldn't use the toaster oven.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Melting Pot Post

I want to thank my many wonderful supportive friends for your kind comments and prayers. I feel very good right now, and I continue to rest in the grace of God. I also want to thank my parents for their constant support and love during this time. It means so much.

When I told my brother about losing my baby, he was sad, obviously. However, later he called me and said he and his wife would love to adopt a Haitian child. Dave and I would love to as well. Unfortunately, the process is not super easy right now. The Department of Homeland Security allowed Humanitarian Parole for Haitian orphans that were in process of adoption PRIOR TO the earthquake. It still will take some time to determine if the children that are in emergency foster care from Haiti are indeed orphans. The goal is to keep them in their families if at all possible. We will still continue to look into it.

Our friend, Mark, went to Haiti with a group of residents from Dave's program in Tulsa. I was really hoping he would bring me a Haitian baby in his carry-on. :) I kid...kind of.

Dave and I have always wanted to adopt. We still do. We are holding that open before the Lord and seeing where He takes us on this adventure. One thing that is important to us is to be debt free. I know there are varying viewpoints on this, and I am not here to debate it, but our goal is to not be beholden to anyone as far as money is concerned. This frees us up for giving and serving and adopting. Plus, we have a goal to go overseas long-term, and we don't want to have debt for that. I saw a stat from UNICEF that said there are 143-210 million orphans worldwide. That is 50%-70% of the US population. This is not an unachievable task. God is bigger.

We are open to adopting domestically or internationally. The way we see it, it doesn't matter so much where--just as long as we do it. Each child matters and is worth it.

I've heard people say in the past, "Well, you can have children of your own, why would you want to adopt?" Well, it is on the heart of God, so it is on our hearts as well. Our hearts have lots of room for children. We love our children dearly and desire more of them--why? Because bringing forth new life is a beautiful picture of what Christ does in us, the Church--He brings forth new life and makes us a new creation. We have cherished each of our children from the womb, but we would gladly cherish a child crafted in another woman's womb as well. We hold that before God and say, "We will serve You."

I truly do believe that if you follow Jesus, you need to be involved in caring for orphans--whether that means helping raise funds for others who are adopting, providing your home to foster children, being a foster respite worker relieving foster parents when they need a break, or adopting a child. There are so many great organizations to get involved with. One way Dave and I have cared for an orphan since we got married is through Compassion International. Our Rwandan daughter, Umutesi Constantine, was most likely orphaned during the Rwandan genocide in the early 90s. She lives with her aunt now, but we support her through Compassion. She will be 18 this year. She chose to follow Jesus last year. We hope to meet her one day and see her thriving because we supported her. We love how she calls us her "dear parents in the Lord". We really think of her as our own.

We have several friends who are involved in orphan care--one family in our town provides respite care for a foster mom. One of our friends adopted a son. Dave's brother and his wife adopted a daughter. Some friends in Tulsa are new foster parents, and another friend there is in process to become a foster parent. We have friends who adopted three daughters from China. We have many friends currently in the process of adoption--here are a few of them; feel free to support them if you can:

Mick and Gayla
Cameron and Jenny
Steve and Joanna

If you are in process of adopting and want me to add you to my list, let me know!

In other news, I am really enjoying my kids. We've hit a new stage, and it is so much fun. They keep us laughing most of the time. It is so great! Sam is learning stuff like crazy. He hit 5 and became a huge sponge. It is so cool to watch him--his drawings are amazing--especially the ones on the Etch-A-Sketch--his skills are far beyond mine, for sure! He is reading well. We're working on the necessary sight words. He's getting them. It was hard for him at first because he really wanted to sound them out. He's getting it, though.

Just in case you're wondering what I'm doing with him--last year, I bought a $15 Pre-Reading Hooked on Phonics kit at Target. It is great. It has three or four sets of flashcards, a CD with exercises on it, and books to work through along with a progress chart and stickers. I think it was the best $15 I ever spent. In fact, we are going to need more books soon!

Maryn is an actress. She is constantly re-enacting TV shows. She also tells Sam what lines he has to say. She is extra cuddly too, which we love!!! She is doing great on her letters. She still confuses a couple of them, but she's doing great. Her potty time is much better too. She seems to have gotten over the hump. I hope. :) She's still strong-willed (and will be forever, I guess), but our discipline really seems to be working. I can't say I adhere to any certain discipline philosophy, but I really love Love and Logic. It has helped a lot with her. She is also enjoying me teaching her daily tasks--like laundry sorting and folding sheets, towels, etc. She is a big girl.

Lucy is almost walking. She took a step last night. She gets so proud of herself. We love it! She babbles a lot. I know she wishes she knew more words--she gets frustrated sometimes. She knows some signs, but she won't use them. About 2 weeks ago, I started her on a high-caloric diet to beef her up. She was doing great until we transitioned to food. She really struggled with the transition, and her weight was affected. She's doing much better now, and I hope with this diet she will pack on the pounds! Do pray with us about this. We really want to see her gain some weight in the next 3 weeks. She's only nursing morning and night now. We'll see if she nurses as long as Maryn (17 months). She is so cute. Seriously. The cutest baby on the planet=my LuLu. She is so affectionate, and she is getting better about going to other people. She is trying to drop her morning nap. Already. Sam did the same thing, but he did it at 11 months. She still has quiet time in her bed in the mornings, and it is good.

I am so thankful for my sweet little family. I love each of them and how God is growing all of us. My biggest struggle is my house. I just don't like to clean. I'd rather play with the kids or read a good book! However, I really am trying to bless my family and bring peace to our home, so I am trying to keep it looking nice and clean. But, I still may hire someone to help with the harder stuff that I don't seem to have time for.

Well, if you made it this far, you are truly devoted to me. I appreciate it. Once again, thank you, my friends--the few of you who have stuck with me over the last four years of my blogging. I love you and appreciate your prayers and support. I am blessed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I wanted to share something very near to my heart. I know this is a public forum. I know that not everyone who reads my blog is even known to me. Many of you are my friends in "real life", some of you are my friends in blogger-land, and then there are those who are like sisters to me though we haven't met (or met briefly!!!). Some of you may wonder why I haven't told you in person or on the phone--I don't know why--just don't take it personally--it's not an easy thing to talk about. I hesitated to write about it on here, but I really want my friends here to see God's grace and peace worked out in my life. I want them to see the way He takes care of his children. I miscarried last week. I was not very far along--not even 5 weeks.

We are sad, but we are not in despair. We so feel His grace and peace in this--I can't even describe it. Miscarriage is something I didn't know much about until I was married. I didn't realize how common it is. 10% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. So many more times, people miscarry and don't even know it (this is the more common statistic you see which is between 20%-33%). I've also noticed a lot of women don't talk about it. I understand why they don't want to talk about it. It sucks. It's hard. It is so personal and dear to our hearts--and it hurts to talk about it. However, I really feel like hearing these stories from other women helps others walk through it if they have to.

My dear friend, Marla, lost two babies after they were born. Watching her walk through that unspeakable grief empowered me in a way I didn't realize. Though she and her husband were devastated, their world did not end. They still loved God, still trusted Him, and came to a place of peace with their loss. I could see God's grace on her in her trials. I couldn't understand how she must be feeling, but I imagined how horrible it would be.

Miscarriage is something I have always feared and dreaded. In fact, each time I've been pregnant, I've found myself worrying about it or wondering when my turn would come (it was especially hard because I had SO MANY friends losing babies). When we discovered I was pregnant, it felt very surreal and honestly, I didn't feel good about it. I just felt like something wasn't right, and I did not have high hopes that this pregnancy would continue. I see His grace even in that intuition--it somehow prepared my heart. When I began miscarrying, I saw that it was the end--I would not hold my baby, and I would have to wait to meet him/her.

But, even in my sadness, I found comfort and peace in the arms of Jesus. He grieved with me. I do not believe this was His Will. His will is not for babies to die. It is not his will that sin and death rule. He did not design it this way. However, He does allow the effects of sin in the world to have their consequences. I don't know why He intervenes sometimes and not others. But I do know He is good. I know that He was weeping with me. I know His heart is grieved when we suffer.

But I also know that He is a redeemer!!!!

He will not allow our suffering to be wasted.

He will not leave something ugly. He will make it beautiful.

He can't help it--He loves to make all things new.

I totally trust Him. I totally love Him. I totally worship Him without reservation.

No matter what hard thing you have to walk through, know that He will redeem that in your life. He so wants to show you his mercy and grace in your time of need. He is good, and His mercy endures forever.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Out of town.

Sorry for the lack of "post"age. I am in Tulsa for a retreat with the residency we graduated from. I am relaxing and enjoying the benefits of the city. But mostly, I am enjoying my friends and being with people who know me and love me. That is the nice part--no trying--just being myself.

I have had a rough couple of weeks with illness and other stuff. Someday, I may decide to write about it in cyberspace, but for now, be assured that Jesus is with us--a very present help in times of need. He is faithful. He loves us. We aren't alone.

And we're not the only ones--whether you are dealing with illness, disappointment, loss, or hard relationships, he is there. Ever present and ever loving, waiting with open arms to receive you.

No worries.

In fact, I think if Jesus was American, he'd be from Colorado.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The First Week

This week was not a good one. I got sick on the 2nd. I swear it was a short version of the flu. Horrible, let me tell you. I'm still coughing horribly. I'm just SO thankful that the four days of fever are behind me. My children contracted it as well, and thankfully, they, too, are on the mend. Dave escaped. I'm so glad.

We had a nice time with our families and got to see a lot of people in a short amount of time. It was also quite nice having Christmas spread out. It made the toys not seem so overwhelming. We all received some very lovely gifts, and it was honestly WAY too much. I am in awe at our family's generosity.

Aside from that, not much is going on. Today is my first good day after being sick all week. I don't have a fever, and I actually drank coffee this morning. The sun is coming out and it is pretty with the little bit of snow cover on the ground. We've yet to get any major accumulation.

I'm contemplating now what my resolutions will be for the new year. Have you made any?

I'm also teetering on the edge of what to do with Sam for kindergarten. There is a Pre-K and Kindergarten at our church that is half a day, four days a week. This sounds PERFECT. However, I'm sure there will be advance registration for the Pre-Ks who are moving up to kindergarten, and I don't know that he'll actually get in (there are 2 PK classes of 10 each and 1 kindergarten class of 14). If he doesn't, I don't know if I could send him to full-day kindergarten at our public school yet. He'd probably do fine; it's me I'm worried about. :) However, the kid is already reading, and I know to homeschool him for kindergarten wouldn't be a huge time commitment (after talking to a few moms who've done it). I don't know...I have peace about not homeschooling him (as I've mentioned before--I'm not compelled to do it, but I am open if we feel it is a necessity). Looks like we'll see how things pan out and just PRAY and seek His Peace in the matter.

Just out of curiosity, Arkansas homeschooling moms, do you know if you have to present anything to a public school if your child has been homeschooled--like aptitude testing or your lesson plans or anything?

That's all for now. We have a lot more traveling to do for the next week and a half. I'll be in and out. I'm sorry I'm so far behind on reading many of your blogs. I just don't come back to the sunroom (where the computer is) that often now that it is FREEZING!!! I hope to catch up a bit now that I am feeling better. XOXO.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Old Meets New

It came and went, and I slept through it. It was one of the best nights of sleep I've had in a long time. I was so tired from sewing and doing dishes. The dishes took me over an hour--I put one load in the dishwasher and handwashed the rest. It exhausted me!!

Did you see the blue moon?

We are having Christmas with our extended family this weekend. It is nice to be with them and the kids are really enjoying themselves.

Here is my grandma with Lucy. So sweet. I love my grandma. She is so funny. It was good to see her. She loves my kids and is so thankful for them. She has always been excited each time we got pregnant, and I so value her love for them. She is precious.

We got to see our good friends, Jake and Melissa, who were in the area for the holidays. It was SO good to be with them. They are true-blue and life-long friends. Taking a self-portrait with the iPhone proved to be challenging...I lack these skillz.

We even got to go out for an adult (read kid-free) dinner and coffee. It was delightful and full of laughs.

We have a busy month ahead of us with packed weekends. I think it will help January, generally a slow month, to expire quickly.

2009 was not a horrible year for us; it was pretty normal. I don't have any major aspirations for 2010-- except for some financial goals that Dave and I have for our budget and home. I hope 2010 is a year of growing closer to Jesus and Dave. :) I also hope I am a better mom. I also would like to experience renewal in my heart for the future country we will serve in--wherever that is.

I guess I do have some aspirations... What are yours?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone