Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Not About the Bunny

D'aaawwwww, isn't he cute? That's Phillip, and he was my rabbit until I developed a rather bad allergy to his fur. Anyways tomorrow is Easter, and for many children that means they are going to sleep tonight with the impression that a giant bunny rabbit is going to come into their homes/yards and hide eggs full of goodies, and fill up baskets with toys and treats. The vast majority of those children, even those in Christian homes, are probably not thinking about the broken, bleeding, and dying man that died for our sins and rose from the dead.

     First of all, I have no issues with families who want to do the Easter Bunny thing. Seriously, I'm 100% cool with it. I had the Easter Bunny when I was little and I'm not exactly out worshiping Satan right now, so I highly doubt belief in a giant bunny is going to ruin their faith later in life. I loved waking up to the "bunny tracks" on our front walkway, seeing my basket overflowing with goodies, and beating my older brothers to the eggs (after I dragged them out of bed). So please, please, please don't think I'm trying to knock the "bunny crowd".

     We have made the choice not to teach our children about the Easter Bunny, a choice that was personal and unique to our family. I have to say it's been interesting blending my and Kenny's backgrounds and we have had to really sit down and have serious discussions about these things. We were both raised in a Christian home, so we aren't all THAT different but there are a few experiences we had growing up that were a little different. Our families did much of the same things. Going to Church, we learned all the Sunday school stories, participated in corny Christmas pageants, you know.The difference in this case is when I was little I believed in the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and imaginary birds named Frankie who lived on my shoulder...what? Got distracted there. My point being here that I grew up with these mythical creatures as real and Kenny didn't, although I think he had the tooth fairy.

     It's something you don't think about at first when you have children. There are all of these weird questions that come up that you never thought about. Before I ever met Kenny I just always assumed my kids would believe in the Easter bunny. Well, when you get married and decide to have kids, you need to talk about these things because you now have another persons feelings to consider too. We have had several discussions on what beliefs we want to instill in our children, and what traditions we want to start with our family as a result. When it came to giant bunny rabbits hiding eggs, we both decided to leave the bunny out of it. After all...Easter isn't about the bunny. We still kept some traditions I grew up with, but we've added traditions from Kenny's past too, as a way of blending our pasts to make all new experiences for our kids. I've made up Easter baskets for all three of us, and we took Roxas to his very first Easter egg hunt this year so I mean...we aren't totally axing the "mainstream" Easter activities. It's just we won't be including the bunny part.

     What we plan on teaching Roxas (and Lucy...and future children) is that we do these fun things as a way of celebrating. We are celebrating the resurrection of Christ and all that it symbolizes. As a little kid I get how it can be hard to wrap your tiny brain around what exactly the true meaning of Easter is. So I don't expect them to really get it for awhile but we will still try to teach it as best as we can. Honestly it was hard for me to understand completely until I became a mother. Until I experienced a love so fierce I would die for another human. This kind of love, that fierce, absolutely pure, love is the kind of love shown to us by God even though we all deserve Hell. We are loved, we are granted mercy, we are forgiven. God sacrificed His only son for us. His only son. For awful, sinful, hateful, essentially terrible people. I don't know about you but there is pretty much nobody...scratch that...there is absolutely no one on this Earth I would sacrifice my son for. Ever. Yet...God did just that. He sacrificed His son for me. Me. You. My neighbor. That weird guy who creeps you out. He sacrificed His only son for all of us, granting us a completely undeserved ticket to paradise with Him. Seriously...wrapping my head around that is almost impossible. He is an amazingly loving God who has given us the most priceless gift of all and I think that is worth celebrating.

     Tomorrow we will celebrate with Easter baskets, candy, toys and a little egg hunt at home for Roxas. However instead of the focus being on a large rabbit that may or may not have been exposed to radioactive chemicals at some point (I mean really, how did he get that big?) the focus will be on Jesus Christ and what an amazing gift we have been given as followers of Christ. Even though I've fallen flat on my Christian face at least a million times just this year...I rejoice, I celebrate, I am thankful all for the empty tomb the symbolizes my freedom.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

22 Weeks- Baby is getting big!

     Twenty two weeks today...and coincidentally...I am twenty three years old today! So far it has been an amazingly wonderful day and I have been receiving Happy Birthday wishes all day long. One of my closest friends from nursing school treated me to lunch today and we even got to leave class a little bit early! I am enjoying putting my feet up and relaxing a little bit now. I had a clinical day yesterday where I was observing surgery and was on my feet for several hours at once and it has for sure taken it's toll on my body! Little Lucy is getting bigger and bigger by the second it seems and my body is ever changing as it accommodates my little nudger.

     Being my birthday and all I was thinking about how your whole idea of birthdays shifts when you are a parent. Especially a mother (sorry dads) has a whole new perspective on it. I am so thankful my mom went through all that she did to have me. There was hurdle after hurdle and she fought through them all to give me life. As a parent in general it's amazing to realize how much your parents actually sacrificed for you. Their lives changed completely just because of you. Two people had their worlds rearranged because of your existence, but the weird part is they are happy about it. So thank you mom AND dad for having me, raising me and setting me on the right path in life. 

     She is roughly the size of a baseball glove, or papaya if you're going with the fruits. I have a few different places I gather all this info from and I happen to like some of the other comparisons besides fruit. I couldn't tell you how big a papaya is but I can understand a baseball glove! The eyelids are still shut but her eyes are moving and tear ducts are forming. The eyebrows and lips are gaining more definition as she begins to look more and more like a tiny newborn. Tiny tooth buds are even forming under the gums. The arms and legs have reached their final proportions, although they will still get bigger. Her brain is now set to "warp speed" and is developing rapidly, specifically the germinal matrix which is kind of a brain cell factory which disappears just before birth. Hopefully she is listening during all of the lectures and absorbing all this information!

     As I mentioned earlier, my body is every changing to adjust to a growing baby. I almost feel like third trimester (only 5 weeks away!!) has come early for me. My ankles have started to swell, my belly aches and hurts by the end of the day and my back is killing me 80% of the time. I've also acquired several new stretchmarks. My poor skin is just being put through the ringer on this one. My belly has really "popped" out and my belly button is getting flatter by the minute. I get kicks ALL the time. Like her brother, she aims for my liver and ribs...but she isn't quite big enough to reach...yet. Kenny finally got to feel some good kicks. Little booger stages a dance party, but once his hand is on my belly it's quite as can be in there. I can see my tummy twitching and moving as she stretches and moves around (see video at the very bottom of this post). This makes up for all the other crud I put up with. We have our next ultrasound on Friday and I'm super excited to see little girl again...and pray that she is still a little girl. Otherwise I have a lot of pink things to change out. Other than that there isn't much else to report! Hope everybody has a great Easter weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

21 Weeks- Just Keep Swimming

        21 weeks and thing are going pretty well. This week is kind of fun because Lucy is roughly the length of a beer bottle! Hehe, I think it's perfect. If you prefer the fruit analogy then she is roughly the length of a large banana. She swallows several ounces of amniotic fluid every day to practice digesting and her swallow reflexes and thanks to taste buds she can "taste" what I eat. It does seem that she enjoys the sweet things I eat the most! She sleeps about 12 to 14 hours a day, and seems to like the morning and bedtime the best for performing some pretty amazing acrobatics. Her fingers and toes are completely formed now, as well as her eyelids and eyebrows. Growth is still continuing at breakneck speeds as she gains more and more weight each day.

     I finally feel a little bit more normal, although some symptoms have just been exchanged for different ones. My ankles are starting to swell after being up all day, and I've found several new stretch marks...oh joy. My body is starting to reflect the abuse I'm putting it through and I'm hearing about it. Everything aches and I'm still exhausted but it's all for something pretty awesome. Trying to find clothes that fit me and don't make me feel like a cow is a challenge. There is this weird limbo period where stuff either hangs off me or makes me look like a spring breaker with questionable morals. I was lucky enough to score some awesome summery dresses from Ross yesterday which drastically increased my mood. Nothing like having clothes that fit to put a smile on your face. Now I just have to hope they will still fit in July!

    I had a minor setback, well potentially, today. Our third semester teacher came in to talk to us about any thing that may be on our records because if you aren't squeaky clean then you can't do clinical in Vegas and she needs to schedule people who are or are not going to Vegas. Well I have no issues there, my record is the squeakiest of squeaky clean. I did however talk to her about trying to keep me closer to home to minimize the hassle of traveling to Vegas and dealing with having a one month old to care for. If I'm lucky I will only have to travel to Vegas maybe 3-4 times and the rest of the time I will be in Havasu or Kingman. Even if I do get's going to be tough. VERY tough. Especially trying to breastfeed, which is going to be a logistical nightmare and a huge challenge with 12 hour clinical days, up to two a week, and lecture days to boot. I've known all of this. The teacher really, strongly, recommended I think about deferring the semester until next January because of how hard it may be. Then she brought up a point I never even thought of. I will be going back on August 27th and there is clinical, that involves repositioning patients/lifting/standing for 12 hours etc. within the first week. If everything goes absolutely perfectly then I will be about 5 weeks postpartum at that point. The doctor gives instructions to rest and not lift anything heavier than baby until your 6wk postpartum check up. According to the teacher they will not allow me to do clinical unless I have a doctor approval for clinical activity. That means I have to convince my OB to give me said clearance...and that may or may not happen. It's a lot to think about and we have a lot of things to consider. I'm going to speak with the OB about this at our appointment next week and hopefully that will help make this easier to consider.

     Anyways, on the brighter side of things...we get to see Lucy again on the 29th! Our anatomy scan is next Friday and truth be told I am a smidge worried she is going to say Lucy has magically turned from a she to a he, but looking at those ultrasounds I am 99.9% sure she is indeed a girl. I can't wait to see how big she is and how much she has grown from our 14 week scan. It's also my 23rd birthday next Wednesday. Honestly I don't really care about my birthdays anymore, getting older seems to do that to you. I have so much else going on that I have legitimately forgotten about it at times. I'm planning on spending my day in class and trying not to fall asleep listening to lecture. Doesn't that sound fun?

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

20 Weeks- Halfway There!

     Twenty weeks today...twenty...out of forty. We are halfway there and I can't believe it. I can't help but think back to twenty weeks with Roxas and it felt like such a huge milestone to hit and it's no different with Lucy. This morning Lucy was particuarly awake and kicking quite a bit. As I sat there looking at my belly jump and pop it was a moment that made me feel so much more connected to our daughter. It's incredibly easy to forget about what is really going on inside of me, but every now and then I have moments like this one that I can only describe as feeling like everything else in the world stops for a second and it's just us.
Something kind of funny about having babies is how you forget things. I totally get the part where you forget how sucktacular labor is. There is a very good reason for that. I'm sure if my brain could actually bring up the physical feeling of labor again I would really think twice about having more children. What is weird to me is how you forget what being pregnant is like. Sure I can look at pictures of myself, even video, while I was pregnant with Roxas but I can't seem to conjure up the memories of what it actually felt like after he was born. I couldn't remember what my belly felt like, I couldn't remember what kicks felt like, I just couldn't seem to remember the exact feelings. Then, the first time I felt a flutter I remembered. The first good kicks and I remembered. Seeing my growing belly every day...and I remember. Pregnancy is so unique in that it can only truly be experienced in that moment and only then, not after. It's even more precious to me now that I know in 20 weeks I won't be able to remember exactly what it felt like.

     Lucy is a growing girl possibly weighing a full pound now (Roxas was 1.2lbs at this time!) She is about 10in long and swallowing the aminiotic fluid around her even more often. All that amniotic fluid is helping her make meconium...I'm so excited. If you have ever experienced the horror that is meconium you get the sarcasm there. Blek. The fundus (top of the uterus) is now about level with my belly button and she has finally decided to move up a little so her kicks aren't so low and thus easier to feel. Of course I feel her kick from the outside all the time, but the second I try to get Kenny to feel her...she stops. Something I read and found very interesting was that babies at this stage actually start developing noticeable sleeping positions. Some babies will sleep curled up, chin to chest and others will sleep stretched out. All I know is Lucy is very awake at certain times of the day...particularly when I'm trying to go to bed but she is also pretty awake in the mornings and late afternoons as well. From this time on she will mostly just be growing, gaining weight and perfecting reflexes.

    Speaking of gaining weight...I'm still weighing in at less than my pre-pregnancy weight. I lost lot of weight in the beginning and I've only managed to get about 2lbs of it back. I still have quite a bit of time left to get some steady weight gain going on though. My body is already starting some of the great changes mommies get to experience. I found a new stretch mark this morning, plus my hands and ankles are starting to swell but hey...that's what it's all about right? Ha. It's all part of the fun. I'm developing the classic waddle, especially if my hips and back are hurting me.

    There isn't too much else new going on. Roxas is getting even better at walking, taking more and more steps each day. School is crazy as always, but there are only a few more weeks left which is very exciting. Of course I don't know what I'm going to do with myself then! Probably obsess and sew a lot!

Until next time...


Monday, March 11, 2013

Let's Party!

    Well Roxas has officially had his first birthday party!

     The whole party was a ton of fun. I think just about our entire family came and so did all our great friends. Roxas had a really fun time, even without his afternoon nap and four new teeth making their way in. As you can see he enjoyed his special "smash" cake. At first he wasn't too sure he was supposed to be eating it but once I cut into it for was all over from there. I think he ate at least 3/4 of the whole thing! I also made a "big people" cake since not too many people like baby drool in their cake. Of course I can't possibly do anything the "easy" way or make anything his cakes were a little extravagant for a first birthday....but really? did you expect anything less? I also made this super yummy oreo cookies that were dipped in chocolate to look like Mickey Mouse pants. They were so unbelievably easy but I think they turned out really nice!

I am so, so thankful for all of our amazing family and friends who came (and those who were there in spirit!) and spoiled Roxas beyond all reasonable expectation. He is truly one loved little boy and we appreciate all that we as a family have been blessed with. We never would have made it a whole year without the support and love of you all!
Opening his presents (Big thanks to our friend Jenna for taking some pics!)

    He has so many new and fun toys, he hardly knows what to do with them all. My living room at the moment looks a lot like a Toys'R'Us has exploded. Seriously, this kid has SO many toys now! We also got some super cute clothes which he desperately needed. I haven't figured out how to stop him from growing yet, so he seems to go through clothes like a little growing weed. I had a onsie I bought when he was maybe a month or two old that was size 18mo and couldn't wrap my head around how this tiny baby would fit in this he barely got to wear it a day and it's already too small!

     Roxas also went to his one year old check up on the 8th! He got three shots :-( and was not too thrilled about them. The doctor said he was looking great, although he is a bit orange from all the veggies he eats (doh!) but the important thing is he LOVES to eat. This kid will eat absolutely anything. I can only pray this habit follows him for the rest of his life. Please, please, pretty please? He is now 26lbs, 30.5" tall...and his head is STILL off the growth chart. It's all those big and smart brains he is housing in that extra large noggin. I'm really hoping Lucy doesn't take after her brother with the giant head thing.  I am so happy we have been 100% blessed to have a perfectly healthy little boy who has grown big and strong in his first year.

     As of this morning Roxas hadn't really "walked" or taken more than maybe a few steps. Then....this afternoon while my mom and I were sorting through some of his new loot...he took steps! Real, honest to goodness steps! We stood him up and got him to walk about 3.5-4ft from my mom to me a couple of times before he got worn out and tired of it. I got a quick video of him taking a few steps. It wasn't even his best attempt, but he did SO, SO, SO good! I am so happy I got to actually see some of his first steps. I was really worried I would totally miss them, which to be totally honest would have upset me. It has been a very exciting few days for us! 

     Well that about covers the first birthday party, and all our excitement for the past few days. Time to relax and kick back for a little bit (HA!)

Thanks again to all my friends and family who came and spoiled Roxas so very much, we appreciate each and every one of you!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

19 Weeks- Mango Time!

     19 weeks today, almost halfway and in just another month we will have reached the point of viability. Time just seems to pass right by without stopping to say hello. I must say though having school and Roxas to distract me has proven helpful. I'm slightly less obsessed about baby stuff and I'm finding it makes the time go by quicker. I know once school is out for summer I will have a decent enough amount of time to get things in order for Lucy. One advantage of having a second child is...all the baby stuff is still here! In a pinch we could bring home a newborn right now and be alright. Of course that won't stop me from spending a good chunk of my summer making pink blankies, and drooling over all the cute girly stuff I can find.

     I can't wait to spend some time with Roxas before Lucy arrives too. I have no idea how he will react to having a little sister who needs mom a lot. I'm hoping it goes well, but essentially we're winging it. Some of  the unknown factor is gone since we've been through a lot of the basics but incorporating a newborn into a house with a toddler (oh boy I can't believe he's a toddler now!!) is going to be a whole new one for us. I figure, we survived one kid...we can survive two. Right? Yeeeeeaaaahhhhh. We'll see.

     Anyways, little Lucy is developing her sucking reflex and her coordination is improving by the second. She is roughly the size of a mango, zeroing in on gaining her first pound. Her arms and legs are finally in their correct proportions, with neurons connecting her brain and muscles to orchestrate some complex movements. She is taking all those neurons for a thorough test drive with some of the acrobatics I feel in there. At our doctors appointment last week the nurse was quite impressed at how hard she kicked the doppler off my belly. She also proceeded to throw a fit for two or three minutes after being annoyed by the doppler. Vernix is starting to coat her skin as a water protectant for the next four-ish months. Another connection those neurons are making is to the senses. Her sense of smell, taste, touch, hearing, vision are all being honed to perfection right now, and if she plans to have hair on her birthday, it is beginning to sprout right about now.

     We did have a doctor appointment this past week and the doc was happy with everything. She said everything I had been feeling was normal, but not to be ignored either. She just wants me to keep tabs on it and monitor for any worsening symptoms. I went to have my blood drawn for some screening tests too. I don't know why but I'm always a little nervous about these screening tests, but I'm sure everything will be great with her. I did finally manage to make the numbers on the scale go higher, but I'm still under my pre-pregnancy weight. I was a little worried I was going to gain a ton more weight with a second baby (which is common) but it's looking like my weight is about on par with the first. I hope it comes off as easily too. A girl can dream. Second trimester has been a small and somewhat disappointing relief from my first trimester symptoms. I still get sick, I'm still exhausted, and even though my emotions are slightly more under control, it's still a roller coaster at times. I really hope things can calm down more as the weeks drag on. This time until about 33/34 weeks is probably my favorite time of pregnancy. The belly is big enough to actually look pregnant rather than fat, I get to feel her kicking and rolling, plus Kenny gets to feel her kicks on rare occasions. It only gets better from here!

     Not much else to report for now. Until next time...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One Year Old

 Roxas is a year old. We survived one whole year keeping him happy and healthy. It's gone by so incredibly fast. It seems like it's only been a month since we brought him home. There has been so much that has changed, and he has grown so very much in this past year.
      Looking back on what was happening a year ago today is somewhat surreal. I don't honestly remember a lot of my labor but I know for the most part I spent today squeezing the ever loving out of Kenny's hand, trying not to be "that lady" who screams through labor, and praying very very very hard that it would be over soon. It was one of the best days of my life though and I would re-do it all again in a heartbeat. That whole "forgetting labor" thing is definitely a protective mechanism for moms. If we could really vividly remember the whole thing...I doubt we'd have more than one kid.

     Watching Roxas grow and change over the past year has been the most exciting, educating and exhilarating part of our lives so far. I have a video of him that I kept up from the time he was about a month old all the way until a few days ago. I finally got to watch it and I had completely forgotten how small, helpless and needy he was. Granted, he is still those things but not quite as much. To see him just hold his head up was a huge milestone, or roll over. Now he stands by himself, says a ton of different words and is working on four new teeth coming in.

     He isn't walking just yet, but he is standing on his own really well. He will stand and push just about anything he possibly can, even if it isn't a toy made for walking. He can stack blocks, and his rings with shocking ease compared to just a month ago. We are working on eradicating the binky and without it his vocabulary has exploded.  He is hardly ever quiet. The words he knows seem to get even clearer each day and he knows how to relate what word goes to what object/person/thing. His favorite is still "Dog" or "doggie". He is finally cutting some more teeth. I was starting to think he would have two teeth forever. All four of his top teeth are trying to come in at once. This has caused him to end up with just about every classic teething symptom in the book and I feel so bad for him being utterly miserable at times. I can't wait to see that full toothy grin! He is completely his own little person and has his definite likes vs. dislikes which he makes very obvious.

     Today is a little bit bittersweet for me. I am so excited for everything to come but I am sad to see his time as an "infant" go. As of 9:07pm he will officially be a toddler. It's not easy to reconcile that sweet, itty bitty, newborn with this adventurous and bright toddler. Another bittersweet aspect is a reminder how I never made it to my goal of breastfeeding for a year. For the most part I've been able to come to terms with this but today the wound still seems fresh and it's a painful reminder I wasn't able to do what I set out to. I'm hoping to make it the full year with Lucy, but I still grieve for the months I lost with Roxas.

     We had a great time at Roxas's baby friend, Anberlin's birthday party over the past weekend. They are only 3 days apart! Of course Roxas was cranky and grumpy the whole time but really first birthday parties are all for the parents anyways right? Since I had clinicals from 6am to 6pm today (another thing I'm a bit bummed about) I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with my little birthday boy. We are celebrating with all our friends and family on Sunday the 10th though. I'm really excited for that, and all the great memories we will make. My parents were on Roxas duty today while I was at school and he got a little cake to celebrate his birthday on the actual day and we gave him one of his little presents tonight too. I just can't believe he is already one year old!

    I'll update after the weekend with pictures from his party and how it all went. I've been working very hard to get ahead in school and allow myself a little breathing room to get this party planned. It should be interesting!