Saturday, September 30, 2006

Uncle Tucker and Hadley

...the dynamic acrobatic piano duo. :)


Friday, September 29, 2006

The Guest House

I am feeling the need to post every day, if only to say "no baby." I'm sure that if I don't post your assumption is that I might possibly be in labor or something, so I'll just try to post. And, you can be sure that after the baby comes, we will be posting an announcement that the baby is here. So, believe me, you won't be left out.

Here is a visual of where we are living now. We are staying in the cutest little guest house that you ever did see. There are 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a great open kitchen/living room area. Also, the outside here is super. We are in a little development in Kilgore, TX. But, we are also in a very quiet area with lots of woods all around us. It's super. So, the kids play outside all the time. Right to the left of our house in that fenced in place (see the first picture) is a great sandbox that Joel just restored...they've been busy in that all morning. There are also a couple of swingsets, a treehouse, a pool, and lots of open spaces and woods to explore in. And, the road we live down is great too...we take lots of walks. We love it here and are so thankful for the chance to live here and the generosity of our hosts. Oh, that's another plus...great neighbors. Our kids love to play together too (they have a 3 1/2 yr. old boy and a 6 yr. old girl who loves to "babysit"...they also have a 9 yr. old boy and 7 yr. old boy).

Anyhow, here you go...our wonderful little guest house:


The front of our cute little guest house.



As you walk in the front door, you see the kitchen area straight ahead. The kitchen and living room area is all one big room...we love it.



This is what you see if you look to the immediate left as you walk into the front door...the living room area.



The kids' room. The twin bed on the right, we dismantled and put the box spring on top of the top bunk and the mattress under the bottom bunk as a trundle to "catch kids" in case they fall. The kids both sleep on the bottom bunk. It's been a bit of a challenge since Hadley has always been either in a pack-n-play or a crib, but she's getting better about staying put. They both sleep horizontally in the bed...that is, with their pillows up against the left wall, their feet pointing out toward the trundle bed underneath.

The hallway leading to the bathroom on the left and the master bedroom at the end. The kids' room is there to the right.














The perfect size bathroom.



The master bedroom, which now has our king-size bed in it instead of this bed...this bed is propped up against the wall. It also has our spa-n-a-box in it...what we are using for our birth pool.




Keep us in your prayers and we will keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ready Again

Now that my headache is just a normal headache and not one of those crazy headaches from Satan himself, I am once again ready to have this baby. Yay!! I did have to take some Tylenol this morning and I also took some Sudafed (since there has been speculation all along that it could just be some sinus issue). I'm not sure which one helped, but my head got better...and both are o.k. to take in pregnancy, so we're o.k. there. Still would rather take nothing at all, but as long as they aren't so bad that I need the ibuprofen, we are doing alright.

Some of you have asked about what is going on in the missions area of our lives. The first thing we needed to do is get set up with someone/some organization to handle all of our finances (support coming in and such). Joel has been very busy the whole time we've been back in Texas researching our options in that dept. and we have really narrowed it down and believe we have found our sending agency. So, we're very excited to have gotten that accomplished and we're also very excited about the sending agency we are probably going with. I'll tell you more about them whenever it is finalized. But, that's where we are with everything. Still much to be done for sure.

So, as I was saying, I am once again ready to have a new little one. So, just keep that in your prayers. Thanks so much for your prayers concerning my head. We are SO THANKFUL that it's better. Please continue to remember my head and now add on the birth too. :) Thanks.

Much Better

Hi all. I am happy to say that today has been much better. My head is still heavy and achy, but just like a regular headache...nothing major.

I took ibuprofen for the last time at about 4:30 this morning. After researching again (reading the same articles on the web I had read before) and praying alot this morning (I was wide awake from 4:30 - 6:30), I decided that I just really didn't think I should take ibuprofen anymore. But, there was the issue of the debilitating headache without it. So, we just went to God with it around 10 this morning...it was getting time to take the ibuprofen again and before when I didn't take it every 6 hours on the dot, the pain got away with me. I didn't want that to happen again, but I knew how I felt about continuing to take it. So, Joel prayed for me and we decided that we for sure weren't going to take it.

So, haven't taken anything all day and I'm fine. Like I said, achy still, but I think it is finally going away...yippee!! Thanks so much for your prayers and suggestions...we really appreciate it. I'll let you know how I'm doing again tomorrow.

Oh, and also, the midwife appt. went very well yesterday. My blood pressure was fine (114/64) and there was no protein in my urine. I continued to have no swelling. So, obviously not preeclampsia. I didn't have an internal check, so no updates on dilation or effacement or anything like that. I'll go see her again next Monday.

Thanks again for your prayers.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Migraines Stink

Alright, so I'm not completely sure that what I have is a migraine. But, that's kind of what I'm leaning toward, given my symptoms and such.

I've had one other headache like this...back in December. It lasted less than 24 hours though, which I was very grateful for. This one is hanging on for dear life.

The whole history is that I started getting "floaters" (fuzzy vision) every now and then about 3 months after Hadley was born. I kept having them fairly regularly (once a week or so) and decided to go to the eye doctor. The floaters would last about 30 minutes each time I had them, during which I couldn't really do anything, like drive...very annoying. Sometimes I would have a headache following these episodes and sometimes not. The eye doctor said that it could really just all be related to having been pregnant recently...everything swells to a certain degree when pregnant (even parts of your eye), blood volume is increased, hormones are whacky, etc. He said I should just give it 3 months or so and if it didn't stop, get checked out again. He called it "optic migraine" or "opthalmic migraine."

We moved and didn't have insurance anymore. And, the episodes got fewer and farther between. Finally, I had that really bad headache in December and nothing after that...no floaters or anything.

The floaters came back, from my recollection, probably about a month or so ago. I don't think I had any before that. I've had about 2 or 3 episodes I guess...not always followed by a headache (and if a headache follows, it is usually a mild headache...not like what would be considered a migraine...don't feel the need for medication or anything). Anyhow, I had an episode of floaters last week...Monday or Tuesday night...can't remember. Around Wednesday night my head started feeling really heavy and I would get this horrible throbbing sensation if I bent over. I rested for a couple of days. Friday night my head was getting worse and worse. I went to bed and woke up Saturday morning at 2am with the worst headache I'd ever had. My main pain being right above my left ear (the same as last December). Saturday I just laid around and slept as much as I could. Around 3pm I took some Tylenol, then again at 11pm before I went to bed. The Tylenol did take the edge off, but barely. At 3am on Sunday morning I woke up again with an even more horrible pain than the morning before...I couldn't lay down at all...had to sleep sitting up...and barely did sleep at all...and, it was too early to take the Tylenol again. At 7am I took some more Tylenol, which again, didn't do much. I called my midwife on Sunday morning and she told me to take ibuprofen every 6 hours. I took 600mg at 3pm and it did wonders. I even went to life group at the Brockway's last night (right next door...I had to get out of the house). By the time we were getting ready for bed, I felt it coming on again, so I took 400mg ibuprofen. Then again at 3am when I woke up, felt it again...took another 400mg.

I woke up this morning with a heavy head, but not bad pain or anything. I was going to try to not take any more medication...but, it didn't work. By the time 10am rolled around, I was hurting really bad. I called my midwife back (she had told me to call her if not any better) and she said keep taking the ibuprofen every 6 hours to keep it at bay and come see her today at 5:15pm. So, that's the history and the update of Michawn's headaches.

The concern for pregnant chics with headaches is preeclampsia. Some of the symptoms are: headache, swelling, high blood pressure, and protein in urine. As of last Wednesday my blood pressure was 104/58 (my norm.) and no protein in my urine. I don't have any swelling, just the headache. So, I'm sure it's not that, but we will be absolutely sure after this afternoon, after my midwife checks my blood pressure and urine again...always good to be sure.

Another thing it could be is a really bad sinus headache...I don't have any drainage or fever or any of the other related symptoms of that, but I also took some Sudafed a while back...we'll see if that helps. And, the other thing it could be is just whacky hormone stuff...my body getting ready to deliver and the estrogen and progestin (or whatever) shifting and such. And, of course it could be a "tumah." :) But, we'll rule out the small stuff first I guess before I go in for a CAT scan.

As in a previous post, I'm not one to take medicine. But, thankfully those little ibuprofen are available when they are the only thing to keep you functional and make it possible for you to open your eyes. I've read some heavy warnings about taking it in the last trimester of pregnancy though, so pray that I won't need it long...or that the baby just comes soon (and while I am functional on the ibuprofen so I can birth it).

I will keep you updated in the days to come on the status of my weary head.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Don't Come Today

As of yesterday, I am 2 weeks away from my due date. I am praying today that the baby doesn't come. That's a weird request for a girl at my stage of pregnancy. Usually, someone at my stage is SO READY to have the baby.

I am too...except that for the last few days I've had a terrible headache. It got worse and worse and then last night (this morning really I guess...at about 2am) I woke up and thought I was going to die. Horrible I tell you. This has happened once before...last December I think. I don't know what a headache has to be before it is considered a migraine, but if this isn't it, it's close.

It's funny too, because I was dreaming about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston when I woke up. Last time I dreamed about them (I was on a safari with them in Africa) my water broke and I had Hadley that day. Last night I woke up and thought, oh, my water's probably about to break. :) Then I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt the weight and pain of my head and decided that I hoped my water didn't break.

I was finally able to get back to sleep for a little while. But, I am still barely opening my eyes and propping up my 400 lb. head wherever I go (for instance, I am now sitting sideways on the couch with my head on a pillow on the back of the couch as I attempt to type this). It's a tad bit better than it was at 2am, but I am in no way, shape, or form in a state that would be able to birth a baby...not without some kind of general anesthesia to knock me completely out. :) That's an exaggeration, but seriously, pray that the baby will indeed wait until this head issue goes away. Thanks.

Friday, September 22, 2006

On Purpose?

It was so funny. I was at Chili's tonight with some friends and we were being introduced to another friend of one of the ladies. She was saying that I was due in 2 weeks and that I was going to be having the baby at home in the tub. The lady quickly said, "On purpose?" She was cracking me up.

You get all kinds of responses from people. Some people think it's dang cool, but yet others wonder "WHY!?!?!?!?" would you ever want to do that.

So, I thought I'd take a few minutes here to just give you some of our reasons for wanting to have our babies at home.

1. We are crazy like that...O.K., so that's not a real reason, but I just thought it'd be fun to type.
2. Well, because we can. I'm not one to take medication easily, for anything. Don't get me wrong...I don't like pain. But, the first thing I do when I'm in pain or if I am sick or whatever, is pray. If God doesn't just heal me immediately (which has happened), then I ask for guidance. Sometimes through research I can pin down a cause to my sickness or pain that can be cured by natural means. Sometimes things just have to run its course. For instance, there is WAY too much antibiotic usage these days in my book...most of the time it will just go away without antibiotic usage. And, lots of times Dr.'s prescribe antibiotics even though they are not sure it is something that should be treated with antibiotics, but the patients feel better with a prescription, so they give it. So, same with birth. I just don't think it's necessary in most cases to have any medical interventions, therefore we don't plan for them. Thank God for the medical interventions that are available if need be, but most of the time they aren't needed.
3. It is so peaceful. When we had Hadley at home, it was so relaxing and calm and peaceful. Joel and my midwife were the only ones there with me. It was just super nice. She came out and barely cried. We cleaned her off a bit and weighed her, during which she may have whimpered a little bit (I don't even remember that), but then we all just went to sleep. The lights were down low, everything was really quiet...nobody whisking her away to briskly rub her down and shine bright lights in her eyes and poke and prod her. It was just nice.
4. Dr.'s/hospital personnel are trained for certain things. They are trained to think of the worst possible scenario, look for that, and treat it if it remotely looks like that is what it is. Rightly so...they do see things on a day to day basis that is very wrong and should be treated. But, an overwhelming percentage of births go off without a hitch...and probably even more would go off without a hitch if unnatural means weren't used to induce or just tamper with the body's ability to birth a baby. But, my point is this...I really don't want to put myself in a place where they are a little hyper about every little thing and where they tend to look at pregnancy/birth as just another medical condition that needs intervention and treatment. The truth is, as stated before, most births need no/little intervention whatsoever.
5. I love the attentiveness of having a midwife. Midwives are SO in tune with what is going on and so knowledgeable. Birthing babies is what they do day in and day out...they know their stuff. For instance, with Hadley my water broke at 4:30 am. At 9:30 that night I was still not having regular contractions...I had done everything on my own that I could do to stimulate them. My midwife came over and checked me. Apparently, my cervix had shifted backward and was pointing a bit toward my back (it wasn't like that 3 days prior when she had checked me at my appt.). That is why I wasn't having contractions. She simply held my cervix forward and stimulated contractions by stroking my cervix and applying pressure at certain pressure points known to stimulate contractions (one being on the inside of my foot). She held my cervix there through about 5 or 6 contractions...about 30 minutes. After that my cervix stayed in the proper position, I had regular contractions, and 5 1/2 hours later Hadley was born. Now, I'm not sure a Dr. would've known to do that, been attentive enough to figure it all out, or even if he knew the problem, taken the time to hold my cervix like that. I'm really guessing not, not your average Dr. anyhow...not always to his discredit...sometimes they are truly too busy with other patients and such. But, another reason I prefer a midwife...good one-on-one attention which is needed and very much appreciated while birthing a baby.
6. I am a nurse, so please don't get me wrong and think that I am anti-medical. But, being a nurse, I know this from personal experience...sometimes there are things that are policy/procedure and need to be done even though it is really just not absolutely necessary. That is another thing that I like to avoid by not going to a hospital if possible. Again, if it's unnecessary, let's not do it.

Well, obviously not an exhaustive list, but all that I have time for today and all that you care to read anyhow I'm sure. It's a very personal decision, how to have your baby. But, again...many people wonder why in the world we chose the way we did...just wanted to let you know.

Also, as far as the pain (that's always a big question)...2 things:
1. In my experience, if you are prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, it is VERY hard work and not something that I'd want to do more than every year or so, but it is definitely do-able. And, totally not what is depicted on most TV shows and movies. If you are full of fear, you will probably look like those ladies on the shows and movies. But, if you are ready and knowledgeable, you will have a wonderful delivery. Again, not full of pain, but full of hard work.
2. If you do any reading at all, you will find that, like I said, if you are full of fear and not full of knowledge, you will be full of pain. Also, if you base the things you do and choices you make on scripture, then it is so very helpful to know what scripture has to say about pain in childbirth. For instance, I was always taught that Eve was cursed for disobedience and that part of her curse was pain in childbirth. That is usually taken from Genesis 3. In the original Hebrew, nowhere is the word "cursed" used referring to Adam or Eve. The ground is cursed and the serpent is cursed, but it is said of both Adam and Eve that they will have hard work...that Eve will toil in chilbirth and that Adam will have hard work in eating of the cursed ground. Unfortunately, is seems that with every new translation this scripture reference becomes more and more twisted...like the Bible translators are very influenced by the culture in which they live (and the movies they see where the women are screaming and writhing in pain as they deliver their children) moreso than they are influenced by adequate translation from the original Hebrew. For instance, in KJV, the word "sorrow" is used for how Eve will deliver her children...and how Adam will eat of the land. An alternate translation given for "sorrow" is "toil." But, in the Revised Standard Version, the word sorrow is replaced with the word pain when talking about childbirth...but, when talking about Adam, the word sorrow is replaced with the word toil. Interesting, since in the Hebrew the same word is used for both Adam and Eve..."etsev" which basically means "giving up of oneself as in toil." If you look at an even newer translation, the New Living Translation, when referring to Eve it says, "You will bear children with intense pain and suffering." The childbearing scenario just gets worse and worse with every translation. Interesting isn't it? By the way, in the New Living Translation, when referring to Adam, it just talks about hard work and struggle...no pain. Again, in the Hebrew the same word is used for both Adam and Eve.

Anyhow, there is your little Bible lesson for today...and why we do what we do. Will we always do it that way...I can't think why we wouldn't, but God always has things up His sleeve, doesn't He? If He wants us to give birth differently in the future, He will let us know. I pray that we are always listening to His direction and not just doing things because that's the way we've always done them.

Thanks for all of your prayers concerning this new little baby and our birth experience. We are praying that it is a great experience all the way around. We are excited.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Angelina Lips

I was just thinking this morning how I felt like I have Angelina lips. Unfortunately, I don't really have those beautiful lips, but I feel like I do. The last couple of months of pregnancy for me, I always just feel like even my lips are huge, even though in reality they aren't. I feel like I can't talk right...maybe even like my tongue is swollen or something. It's weird and maybe not reality, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, today I went to the midwife. By the way, an update is that I still have no dilation, but am now about 60% effaced. The baby's head, which was "way down there" last week, is now up high again...normal for babies other than your first (to bob up and down).

Anyhow, Mama got a treat. I went by myself today. Sometimes Joel and the kids go too, but not today. The ultrasound people were there today testing out a new ultrasound machine. It's apparently way more high-tech than the one they had previously. Well, I was asked if I wanted to be a guinea pig and I said sure. So, I got to see the little one again...for free. It was really fun. I've always just seen one ultrasound at around 20 weeks with each one. It was fun to get to see this one so well developed and basically ready to come out. I even got to see a 3-D image of his/her little face. And, lo and behold, he/she has Angelina lips. :) Now, could be that this poor little one is very smushed and therefore the lips are a little poked out looking. But, definitely some pokey lips. It was super cute.

The ultrasound machine was really cool. They could even set it to where the amniotic fluid around the baby's nostrils was colored a little...and we could see the baby breathing the fluid in and out of its nostrils.

We can't wait to meet this little one with pokey lips.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pretty Girl, Pretty Boy, Fun Family




















Fun Family Pic

While we were in Boston, we took advantage of Joel's little brother's photography talents and took some family pictures on the beach. It had turned a bit chilly the week before we actually got around to taking them, but it was still fun and we got some GREAT shots...or, Danny got some great shots that is.

I'll just share one of them with you today. This is a fun one that we have as our computer background right now. Just thought you might enjoy seeing it.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Noah Steven

There are so many in the world who need our prayers.

I don't know these people from Adam, but they are good friends of some acquaintances of mine. I've been following their blog about their newborn for a month or 2 now. It is very encouraging despite the monumental challenges they face.

I woke up with them on my mind and thought I would just put their link on this blog...you can be praying for them too. They need it.

www.noahsteven.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Out Of It

Today has been a VERY relaxing day for me. I got up with the kids around 7 or so. But, then Joel got up and I went to bed again around 10. I slept until almost 1. We put the kids down and I took a shower. Then, I went back to bed and read and relaxed until the kids woke up. It's been nice.

Yesterday I got all the last things we will need for the birth. I also did laundry. The only bummer about the guest house we are staying in is that there is no washer/dryer. So sad and inconvenient, esp. with toddlers, a home birth, and a newborn coming. For instance, when I got back from the laundrymat yesterday, the kids had leaked on their sheet during their nap. Laundry is neverending, but if that's the only inconvenience we have, we are doing mighty fine. We can deal with the laundry. But, back to what I was saying...got all the last things needed and went to the laundrymat.

So, I guess after a week's worth of working, working, working, my body was telling me to go to bed. All of the "stuff" we need is here and there are 8 meals in the freezer (that's all that would fit).

I've also felt very nauseous today...just yucky. I've hardly eaten, which is very odd for me. :)

Anyhow, just a quick little update. There is a worship concert at church tonight that we will be going to...I plan to go anyway. It'll be really good I'm sure. And, childcare provided...always a great thing.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Ezzo's Would Be Proud

So, I mentioned earlier about how we have put the kiddos on a more structured schedule. We have been doing it for 3 days now, and we are loving it. So are the kids. They are much happier and therefore, so are we. It is MUCH less work than I thought it would be (in fact, it makes for much less work than before) and it just makes for a more fun day spent with the kids.

I thought I'd give a sample day for the kids from the Ebersole's dry-erase board: :)

7:30 - wake, change clothes, make bed
8:00 - breakfast
8:30 - there are 2 options for this time: free play (where they get to just play
with whatever in the living room or in their room)...this gives us time to
clean up the kitchen and such, or blanket time (where they both get their
blankets and spread it out on the floor with some books and toys; they have
to stay on their blankets during this time); we alternate free play and
blanket time each day
9:00 - outside (at this point in the year, outside time is great...we are taking
advantage of just going outside to play as long as possible); they swing on
the swingset, go for walks in the woods (they built a fort with Daddy the
other day), take wagon rides, and yesterday they got to go swimming in the
Brockway's pool during the afternoon outside time
10:00- snack time
10:15- quiet time (this is when they both get on their bed and just look at
books...they must stay on their bed during this time)
10:45- the activity varies from day-to-day during this time; we can choose between
activities such as wrestling, cutting out shapes, playing with sticker books,
singing, exercising, water colors, etc.; it's fun; today we cut circles out
of construction paper using their new child scissors, which they loved of
course; Grady surprised us with some really artistic
cutting...seriously...very cool designs...and he was very serious about it too
11:15- highchair time, so lunch can be prepared; during this time we can choose
between playing with play-doh, coloring, drawing, looking at books, etc.
12:00- lunch
12:30- Grady time (one-on-one time with Mama or Daddy)
1:00 - Hadley time (her one-on-one time)...we alternate who gets to go first each
day, and at this time Grady will be playing on his own or looking at a book
or whatever...same with Hadley during Grady's time
1:30 - naptime
3:30 - snack
4:00 - outside again...like I said, really taking advantage of warm weather right
now...and really will probably be able to do this always when we're in this
part of the country except for maybe during January and February
5:00 - roomtime (where they can play with anything, but they are limited to playing
in their room...gives Mama a good jump on supper)
5:30 - again, highchair time, where we alternate between the above-mentioned
highchair activities...and supper is finished up
6:00 - supper
6:30 - bath
7:00 - family time, read, Bible time
7:30 - bed, lights out, parents leave the room (the kids don't usually actually fall
asleep until 8 or a little after)
*on Wednesday nights the schedule changes a bit in the afternoon:
4:00 - outside
5:15 - bath
6:00 - supper
6:30 - to church
9:00 - family time, read, Bible time
9:30 - bed

This may seem a bit hyper and rigid to some, but of course we aren't a slave to it. It is a guideline that keeps us on track and gives our kids some great things to do. For instance, we put them down for a nap at 1:30. That doesn't mean they go to sleep at that time. And, they don't necessarily wake up at 3:30, but whenever they wake up is snack time. Like I said, we've only been doing it for the past 3 days, but even since day 1 the kids have been SO less fussy (almost no fussiness at all) and MUCH more obedient. It's been great.

Since Joel is home these days and I've been SUPER busy getting meals frozen and setting up house and all of those other things, he's been doing about 90% (at least) of raising the kids this week. He's been so super all the way around actually. I have a hard time getting down on the floor these days, which is where we do most of our diaper changing, so he does pretty much all of that. He also gets up with them in the mornings and feeds them breakfast while I sleep or just get ready for the day. He does all the lifting of the kids. He has been the one taking them outside...pretty much everything. :) He's such a great daddy...and husband.

But, all of that to say (along with how great my husband is) that I'm not sure how this schedule will be done if/when Joel starts working again and we have a newborn. Like I said, we aren't a slave to it even now. Out of these last 3 days, at least 1 or 2 things have been changed each day, or the times changed around or whatever. But, hopefully even after the baby comes we will be able to maintain some semblance of a nice schedule like this. It's been great.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nesting is For Real

I used to think that the thing people called "nesting" was a bit overexaggerated. I mean, yes, you get things ready and together, but that's just the smart thing to do. It's important...it's responsible.

But, since I've not been able to "nest" this pregnancy, I have come to realize that, for me anyway, it is a very real need, not just a nice thing to do. I enjoyed my time in Saline and Boston and Brazil and then Boston and Saline again. But, I was very ready to get back to the Longview area (Kilgore to be precise) and nest.

On Sunday we got to the guest house where we are staying until after the baby is born. It is so cute and nice...we LOVE it. We wish it was portable and we could just take it wherever we go here in the states.

The first thing I did was unpack our suitcases completely. We've had our suitcases out and packed since we left for Dallas back in March...hello...that's a long time. I was itching to put those things away (the suitcases that is). I am very grateful for suitcases...they serve a great purpose. But, I definitely won't miss them for the next few weeks.

So, the past 3 days these are some of the things I've been doing:
1. setting up house - really about done with that except for the kitchen; but, it has been a lot of work for just a few weeks; I even put in drawer liners in the bathroom; I mean, I've been setting up house
2. went to the midwife on Monday afternoon - for those of you needing an update, I am perfectly healthy; the head is "way down there" in my pelvis; my cervix is soft, but no dilation or effacement yet; I have started to take some herbs...not to induce labor, but just to try to get my cervix more progressed for when labor does start...it would be nice to have some nice dilation and effacement before labor begins; on Friday, I will be 3 weeks away from my due date
3. went grocery shopping - had 2 carts full; this house was without some basics that we didn't bring along (pots/pans, measuring cups/spoons, etc.); I also got some stuff for the home birth and food for meals for the next couple of weeks
4. went grocery shopping again - planned out some meals to make to freeze for after the baby comes...had to go get everything for that; we are also putting the kids on a major schedule...they've always had a good routine, but we are really structuring their day (the information we read about structuring your child's day is found in the Toddlerwise book by the Ezzo's)...we've found that kids are fine and parenting is much more easy when you just pop in a video and let your kids veg. all day long, but usually they are SO FUSSY; and, you don't really spend time with them; don't get me wrong, videos are nice when you are super busy and don't have an option (one parent at home with the kids and also trying to pack up a house), but right now is a great time to get this whole structure down and hopefully reduce/eliminate the fussing, since Joel is home now too and we won't be traveling anymore for the next few weeks; so anyway, I got some things for that
5. ordering things for the birth - the spa-n-a-box came a couple of days ago (our birthing tub...it's a portable hot tub) and ordering the birth kit, etc.
6. making the new schedule for the kids and putting it all on a dry-erase board
7. making all the meals to freeze - I started a couple of hours ago and have one in the freezer and 2 more in progress...I have a total of 10 to do, although I'm not sure they will all fit in the freezer :(

Anyhow, other piddly stuff, but you get the idea...nesting galore. Ahhh...so glad to finally be able to do it. Just really hope that I get everything done and get my fill of nesting before the little one comes...I'm sure I will.

Welp, off to nest some more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bathrooms Are Gross

Yes, the 2nd thing that I don't enjoy...bathrooms. For those of you who know me well, you probably guessed that.

Public restrooms are just not cool. I think that most people across the board agree with me in their opinion of public restrooms. Most of the people who are thinkers in this world don't enjoy public restrooms.

When I was going through my germ-freakout phase, I wouldn't even step into a public restroom. Nowadays, I can use them of course, but I don't enjoy it. I can't provide a list of reasons like I did with the dogs...they are just nasty, that's all there is to it. But, I can give you an example of one thing that is just not acceptable to me: toilet water...on me.

Here's how it works: The new-fangled gadgets called automatic flushers, which were, in theory, supposed to be cleaner and more convenient I suppose...well, some tend to be so powerful that they spray water all up on you as they go off. If you are still sitting on the toilet, that means that you get nasty toilet water all up on your hiney. And, if your hiney isn't completely covering the bowl, you also get it up on your back and clothes as well. Lovely.

In attempts to avoid nasty toilet water on my hiney and back and clothes, when I hear the bowl about to go off flushing, I jump up and practically hug the door (although I don't really hug the door...I try not to touch anything in public restrooms, so no hugging of the door allowed). The problem with this is this...and it's happened to me on several occasions: The flushing system on these suckers are just so dang powerful that it goes outside the toilet bowl to the surrounding areas...even as far as the door...which, therefore, again...nasty toilet water on me (although, in this position, on my legs and feet). Again, lovely.

I don't enjoy anything about toilets, accept that they do generously provide a place to relieve yourself. But, I just don't enjoy them, even my own toilet. I don't even touch my own toilet. I think that most people are probably fine with constantly being in contact with their own toilet (and by this I mean leaning up against it, touching the lids and such with their hands without washing their hands, etc....touching it other than using it to go pee pee or poo poo), but not something I do...it is for waste...not interested in touching it. But, that's just me. The toilet itself (the outside of it) may not be dirty...but, then again, maybe it is dirty. I'd just rather not touch.

Also, people who don't wash their hands after they use the bathroom...um, disgusting. I even know girls who will change their tampon and never wash their hands. HELLO!! I mean, people...please wash your hands. You are spreading germs everywhere you go. And that is not the part of me speaking that was once considered a germaphobic...that is just plain common sense, Cleanliness 101. Washing your hands after you go to the bathroom (peeing, pooing...anything) is just a basic. If not for you, do it out of consideration for others. I've seriously known people who got sick and had to be hospitalized because of failure to wash hands after bathroom activity (for instance, a baby that was in a nursery with a sick kid...the caretakers weren't washing their hands after changing poo diapers and passed on a sickness that was serious).

Also, as far as bathrooms and me go, I'm sure it doesn't help that I've been trained in sterile technique. You see, if you touch something dirty, whatever part of your body (your index finger for example) you touched it with is now dirty also and shouldn't touch anything else unless you want to contaminate some more. So, therefore if you touch something dirty with your right index finger, you wouldn't want to turn on the water faucet using your right index finger...follow me? If you used your right index finger to turn on the faucet, then the faucet would be dirty...and therefore if you turned off the faucet without cleaning it first, you would cancel out the hand-washing that you just did. See what I'm saying?

Anyhow, just wanted to finish up my rantings and ravings about the 2 things that I have always found to be nasty and therefore don't enjoy...O.K., yes, I despise.

Now, on to new things in the next post.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Hate Dogs

Hate is a strong word. I started to call it a "dislike," or "strong aversion to," but, I've come to realize and accept...I just hate dogs. That's the only word for it.

I think they are cute when they are on TV, but that's as far as my appreciation goes I must say.

In my previous post I talked about how I had overcome an attack of issues with germs. But, there are 2 things that I have never enjoyed, in fact, I despise. In no particular order, the first thing is dogs and the 2nd thing...well, we'll get to that in the next post.

I have so many friends and family who are dog lovers. So, I don't mean to offend. But, this is my blog and I reserve the right to gripe about whatever I want all I want. :)

My reasons for hating dogs:
1. They slobber - and usually it's all over you.
2. They lick - which goes hand-in-hand with slobbering, but just another facet of dog irritation; also, it's usually right after they've licked their butthole or drug up something dead and decomposing in the yard or drank out of the toilet bowl or dug through the trash...um, disgusting. And we all know how dogs "drag" things...yes, with their mouths.
3. They clobber - this is often seen as a sign of friendliness and doted on since dogs are "man's best friend" after all; but, again...another facet of dog irritation; I for one do not want a big nasty beast even touching me, much less giving me a full-out jump-on hug.
4. They stink to high heaven - even inside dogs who are given baths regularly...and teeth brushed (yes, some people do that)...they still stink; there is always an odor, esp. when they open their mouth...ugh!; and, of course, they usually open their stinky old nasty breath mouths when they are begging for food at your feet right as you are about to take that first bite at the table...yuck!!
5. They bark - Whether it's the deep-throated bark of a big dog or a yappy annoying bark of a small dog, it's enough to drive someone crazy...esp. at 2 o'clock in the morning...and esp. when it lasts for 2 hours; or, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon when your babies are trying to take a nap; sometimes I am very tempted to go and buy a gun and use it.

So, obviously not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. I just hate dogs.

Some of you know that we had a kitten for a while this summer. Some would argue that cats are just as "nasty." But, #1 - our cat never went out of the house. #2 - if it did go out of the house (to the vet. or something), it got a bath. #3 - cats leave you alone...none of that clobbering, licking, stinking, slobbering, barking nonsense. Much, much better than a dog in my mind. It was still a stretch for me at times to even have a cat.

I've just come to accept that I'm a much happier person when dogs are far, far away. Why? Because I hate dogs.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Germs

I don't think that I've ever blogged about this. That in itself is a testament to what God has done. You see, germs used to be the bulk of what I thought about.

About 6 months after Joel and I got married, I started to be very aware of the filth of things. In reality, what really started to happen was that I believed a lie. And, after buying into that lie, I believed another lie. After that, another lie was told and I believed that.

Up to that point in my life, I'm sure that Satan had worked his ways with me, even if it was only to get me to think that he wasn't really around...he wasn't the cause for things. In fact, that is his most successful way of working here in the U.S....to lull us to sleep and blind us to the things he does. But...

"Be careful! Watch our for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour." --1 Peter 5:8

He hates to see things being done to increase God's Kingdom. Remember, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy!

And, he did. He came straight to me to destroy. I heard it once preached that the enemy likes to set up fear right over the door of our destiny. He succeeded with me. The things that I feel a call on my life to do...go to a 3rd world country to be a missionary, have many kids, adopt many kids (including street kids), etc....my destiny. Throwing a fear of germs over that door of my destiny would've stopped me in my tracks. The enemy would've won. How could I ever bring little street kids into my home when I didn't even want to touch them?

Thankfully, we recognized it for what it was quickly. We knew that it was a spiritual battle.

Many would say that I had "OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder." And, it definitely fit the OCD profile. I wasn't afraid of the germs making me sick, but I just thought of things as nasty and therefore didn't want to touch them...and didn't want them to touch me. Example: doorknobs in public places. Now, we can totally rationalize that. I mean how many hands touch the doorknobs/handles day in and day out at your local grocery store, mall, or restaurant? And then how often do you think that doorknob gets cleaned? But, you just can't live like that. I believed that "lie" and then I stopped touching doorknobs...then I would believe another lie and stop touching table tops at restaurants, etc. It just went on and on until I was a prisoner of the lies from Satan that I believed.

I dare say, though, that I believe that MANY of our mental disorders and cases like OCD are in fact spiritual. We so often run to a doctor for help that they can't really give. Sometimes they can put a band-aid on something, but the cause and the problem is still there, only masked. Sometimes they can't even do that. Most often what we need to do is run to God and allow Him alone to do the job.

Those of you that know me know that the whole germ-freakout was SO NOT LIKE ME. I could swim in any mudhole you put before me, sit down on the bed next to the most infectious patient I had, etc. Nothing bothered me. But, when it hit, it hit hard.

Joel was the most amazing man during that time. He would submit to my every request about washing this or that or taking a shower when he really wasn't dirty. He would tell me that he didn't agree, but that he just wanted to honor me. I would melt at that point and become more determined than ever to beat it...I didn't want him to be a prisoner too. We both knew that I had a problem and we were attacking Satan back through major spiritual warfare constantly, but it took a long time. And, Joel's actions and the way he "went along" with my craziness gave me more determination each time to fight and win. I didn't want to do that to him...I didn't want us to live like that.

Battling a satanic attack is hard and takes time sometimes. It's not always an instant, quick fix. We fought for about 3 1/2 years. It was INTENSE!! At the end of that time, I just supernaturally knew that it was all coming to a head...either Satan was about to win or this oppression would be broken over me. God won out. Praise the Lord!!

So many people don't recognize a spiritual attack. For them, everything that happens has a natural, physical, emotional, or coincidental cause. For that reason, many people, day after day, continue to live in bondage and the devil loves it. They aren't living up to their full potential in God because Satan has set up huge obstacles right over the door of their destiny. It's so sad...they don't even know to fight through and push through those obstacles. They don't understand spiritual warfare at all.

Don't get me wrong...I don't see a demon around every corner. And, I take full responsibility for allowing Satan to work in my life...believing the lies in the first place. But, through this my eyes have really been opened to the wiles of the devil and his workers. There is definitely a spiritual realm that is at work at all times. Some say that isn't reality, but indeed, that is the greater reality.

So, if you yourself or someone you know is going through a hard time...a spiritual attack...take courage. I've always loved the story in Daniel. I REALLY held onto this story while we were going through this battle. Daniel had started praying for something. He prayed and fasted for 21 days. An angel appeared to him and told him that the very first day Daniel had started praying, he (the angel) had been sent. But, he met up with great opposition as he was on his way. "For 21 days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way," he said. But, then Michael, another angel, was sent to free him so that he could get to Daniel to deliver his answer to his prayer. (Daniel 10) What would've happened if Daniel had given up before he got an answer...on the 5th day of praying, or the 12th, or even on the 20th day? So many times we want the answers, but we aren't willing to do the battle to get them.

We just don't know sometimes what is going on in the supernatural realm. We can't just rely on the natural circumstances to be indicative of what's really going on. So, be encouraged and pray and keep on praying. Your life and your life's calling might depend on it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Goodbye Boston

We are headed back to Louisiana this afternoon. We will be there until Friday or Saturday at which point we will head on over to the Longview area (Kilgore to be precise).

While in Saline, we will be checking out the housing situation. We have been offered a wonderful house to live in on the lake until we go to Brazil. We are so grateful for this offer and we love our neighbors there (the owners of the house offered). But, we are also checking out, as I've mentioned before, the possibility of long-term housing there in Saline...a house to buy. So, be remembering us in that the next few days if you will. It would have to be God (financially), but if it's of Him, He will provide.

Once in Kilgore, we will be busy at work preparing for baby. We are staying in another great house there offered by some really great people from our church. It's amazing how God has provided such wonderful houses through such wonderful and generous people. Please be remembering us in the preparation for the baby and the birth of the baby also. My due date is Oct. 6th, but the end of Sept. is sounding really nice to me. :) My friend Mitsy's birthday is Sept. 28th...I've always liked the sound of that date. :) But, whatever God has...I'm not one to "rush" a birth just because it is more convenient...it would be nice though. :)

We are also in need of a birthing pool/tub. Not sure how many of you that read this are into the whole natural, drug-free birth using water, but if you have any recommendations at all for a great birthing tub, please let me know.

O.K., off to pack up. Hope you had a great Labor Day.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Planes, Trains, and...Buses

In the past 3 weeks, we as a family have done the planes. We've done the trains. And, today we took a bus ride.

Grady has been asking for months to ride a bus. EVERY time we see a bus of any kind (including RVs) he says, "Ride a bus, Mama, ride a bus?" We've been promising a bus ride of some sort and today was his day. We rode a bus here in Beverly (where Joel's parents live...just north of Boston) and were on for a total of probably about 45 minutes. At one point (the end of the northern route before we turned back around) we had to just sit and wait for 6 minutes. We were the only ones on at that time, so the very gracious driver invited the kids up to check out things from her perspective. They got to push buttons, "drive," and honk the horn. It was great.

Also, FINALLY some pictures for you folks. It's just of today, although we have about 2 1/2 months of pictures to catch up on as soon as we get our website up and running (who knows when that will be, but we'll catch up). Anyhow, these were taken with our new super-great camera, a Canon Digital Rebel. We love it. Enjoy.

Oh, and a sidenote: It never dawned on me until we came up here and have been around Alexa, Grady's and Hadley's little cousin. Alexa was born with an adult head of hair. They cut her bangs regularly and have since she was probably a day old (exaggeration, but she has lots of hair). Some of Joel's family were surprised to find out that we've never cut Hadley's hair. And, to our realization, it does look like we cut her bangs too. But, just so you know (not that it really matters, just thought it was interesting), we have never cut her hair...the front of her hair just never has really grown. The back of her hair though, when wet and not in her little ringlets, is down to her shoulder blades. :) Funny. Now, on with the pictures.


A picture of the kids in the driver's seat. They really enjoyed themselves. It was such a treat.



A new favorite picture of Hadley. After we got off the bus, we walked to Dane Street Beach. On the way is a little park area. The kids got out of their stroller and ran around a bit. Joel shot away like a professional photographer. Hadley was cracking up the whole time.



Grady and Hadley posing in the gazebo there.



We had a picnic at the beach. Grady had tons of fun feeding the seagulls chips. The seagulls seemed to enjoy themselves too.



For those of you who want to see the H-Ruge belly, here it is. This picture doesn't do it justice though...it really is big. Most of my shirts are no longer able to cover it, including this one (I pulled it down just for y'all). As of today, I have 5 more weeks until my due date. :)