Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lucy's Birth Story...

Each year around Lucy's birthday, I like to revisit her birth story, so I wanted to share it with ya'll here on my blog.  This year feels different than previous years though, because not only does Lucy get to celebrate her birthday with her mommy and daddy, but she also gets to share it with her baby brother.  I often think of how thankful I am to Gabriel's birthmom for giving me the gift of being a mommy again, but today, it struck me for the first time that she also gave Lucy an incredible gift--the opportunity to be a big sister.  And oh my goodness, what an incredible big sister she is!  With each passing year, I grow more and more thankful for this amazing little girl God has chosen to be my daughter.  What a joy it is to see her grow, thrive, and develop, and I love looking back to see how it all began.  I hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane with me...
Friday, November 09, 2007

Lucy's Birth Story

As I warned in the previous post, this is REALLY long, but I just didn't want to leave anything out.  It was the most amazing day in my life, and I just feel so blessed and thankful every time I look back on each moment that led up to meeting my precious baby girl, and each moment afterward.  What a gift!!
The Birth of Lucy Shea!!!
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:14-16)

I was thinking of Lucy’s name the week before her birth, and how it means “luminous,” and the above verse is what the Lord gave me for her.  Through the expectation of her birth and through her arrival, I see how she’s brought light into our lives in so many ways, and I also see how God desires for her to be a light for Him.

First of all, she’s brought light into our lives through the miracle of her conception.After TTC for many, many months, I had become so discouraged.  I kept asking God why He would place a desire in my heart and leave it unfulfilled.  He began to teach me that it wasn’t that He was going to leave it unfulfilled, but instead He was placing that desire in my heart early on as a way to prepare me for the path He had already walked ahead of me.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, people kept saying “I’m sure you are SO ready to not be pregnant anymore!” and I would just look at them and smile.  Yes, I was ready not to be pregnant anymore because that would mean my baby would be in my arms, but not because I was unhappy in my pregnancy.  Not a day passed by, even with all of the sickness and discomfort, that I did not thank God for allowing me to take such an amazing journey, and I think had I gotten pregnant easily, I would have missed out on feeling that blessing.  I’m not saying that people who get pregnant easily don’t feel the same way.I just remember several years back getting really discouraged by how negative people were about being parents, and I remember asking God to give me a thankful heart once we were parents.  I truly believe that our having to “wait for Lucy” longer than we had anticipated was God’s answer to that prayer of mine so many years ago.

Lucy’s also brought light into our lives after some very dark times.  On December 30th, 2006 I received a call that my husband was going into emergency surgery and was then diagnosed with testicular cancer.  So many dreams seemed placed on hold or completely over, and so much of life seemed uncertain.  Before his surgery, I had been struggling with contentment—wanting to be pregnant, not liking my job, etc.—and within a matter of a few hours, nothing else in life seemed to matter other than making sure my husband was going to be okay.  God was using this dark time to teach me though—to teach me that there was a purpose for me being employed where I was (benefits to cover Michael’s condition) and there was a reason we had not gotten pregnant just yet: He was, once again, asking us to wait so that He could prepare us for the perfect time—HIS perfect time.

Lucy also has lit up a very dark time for my family, which was the passing of my Daddy in July.  I have heard so many people say how God often brings about a new life once there has been a death, and Lucy certainly has breathed new life into my family.  I still grieve more than I can express over not being able to see my Daddy with her and not even being able to tell him about her.But God is teaching me His sovereignty through this situation.  I don’t understand why it had to be this way, but I know that I can ultimately trust my Jesus, and the light of Lucy’s birth reminds me that I can trust Him not only in the good times, but also in the bad.

I can also see the bigger picture of how God desires for her to be HIS light throughout her life.  I don’t know what all that entails, but I do know I must continually be willing to give this precious gift back to the One who’s placed her in my life.  I must look to Him daily to help me show Him to her through everything I do and to guide her to Him.  I cannot wait to see what God has in store for my little girl!!

…But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself now, because I know you’re all very anxious to hear how she made her way into this world in the first place!So, here goes…

I couldn’t really sleep much the nights prior to Lucy’s birth—I was so anxious and excited and scared and nervous and…well, basically every emotion you can think of!  A friend of mine (Thank you, Angie!) sent me some scriptures to look over and I just poured over them that whole week.  And even with as nervous as I was, I had this amazing peace and confidence knowing that my Jesus had gone before me—anything that was about to happen He had ordained, so I knew I could rest in Him…easier said than done sometimes, but He continually reminded me of that truth even in my “fleshly” moments;-)

I got up around 5:40 on Thursday morning and took a shower.  As I stood in the shower I started praying, and the main thing I remember coming out of my mouth was “Lord, I just want to be thankful every single day of Lucy’s life—I don’t ever want to take her for granted or forget what a miracle she is.Help me to praise you in the good AND bad days…”

After I took my shower, I got everyone else up in the house and gave Michael his present—a green hat with the words “Lucy’s Daddy” stitched on the front.
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…I was STARVING that morning!  I couldn’t eat anything past midnight, and for some reason if I get up earlier than usual I’m REALLY really hungry.  I would later be VERY happy I didn’t give in and eat or drink anything though…

Before we left the house, Michael, Mom and I prayed for the event that was about to take place, and before we left, it was as if Michael and I both just stopped and looked into the house, realizing that next time we would be standing there, it would be with our little Lucy!

I kept staring down at my belly and rubbing it on the way to the hospital—what was it going to be like when she wasn’t in there anymore?  I remember being worried that I was going to get depressed about her not being inside of me anymore.It’s something I’ve really prayed about throughout my pregnancy…

We left the house around 7AM.Traffic was CRAZY, but we arrived on time.I had no idea it would take so long to get admitted though.You have to tell them your name and why you’re there and then wait for them to call your name to get in all of the paperwork.I had sent mine in ahead of time, so I figured they’d just send me on up, but that didn’t exactly happen.I was just so excited to get everything started!Soon after we had arrived, Michael’s dad, mom, and sister came in.  Here's us anxiously waiting in the lobby!  (I don't have a picture to show you of the dirty looks I gave DH for the leftover pizza he was eating in front of me! LOL)
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DH and I went back into a little cubicle area where they got us all registered and starting the multitude of arm bands that would soon be on my right arm.  One of the forms I signed was allowing the hospital staff to medically care for the baby, and underneath I had to write in my relationship to the patient: “mother.”  What a cool feeling!!  Then, the guy registering us put me in a wheelchair and we all headed for the elevator and the maternity suites—it was finally happening!I couldn’t believe it!

They wheeled us all into my room and we all sat in there for a bit before the nursing staff came in.

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The nurses came in and I got dressed in my “lovely” gown;-
After that, they started hooking the monitors up
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They did a quick u/s to see if Lucy had flipped—nope, still in the exact same spot.But they figured out what that “little knobby thing” was I had been feeling for months—she had her fists up over her face!(and she still likes to sprawl out like that)
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But I’m getting ahead of myself again:)

…I was having several contractions (nothing incredibly consistent) and I had also been having a BUNCH the night before, so I think Lucy was planning to make her appearance soon even if the C-section had not been scheduled.

The nurses came in after a bit and said another woman had come in who was scheduled to have a C-section at a later date but her water had broken, so my surgery got bumped back a bit.  I was actually kind of relieved—I did NOT feel ready to go into surgery yet!  Around that time they had me drink this cup of antacid or something like that—I can still taste it.  It was like a liquefied version of the sour coating on a warhead candy!

The IV getting put in was not near as bad as I had anticipated.  Definitely a big prick, but bearable.  It sure was uncomfortable once they got the fluid going though—it was so cold and stung.  And then came the catheter…*cringe*  O…my…GOSH!  No one had prepared me for how bad that was going to hurt….and that started my first big meltdown of the day.  For some reason it just sent my nerves over the edge and I started getting REALLY nervous and anxious.  Michael was amazing though.I had told him the night before that the one thing that really comforts me when I’m hurting or anxious is to have my head rubbed—and there he was, rubbing my head.  He kept encouraging me and telling me what a great job I was doing.His love and support was so amazing…I love him so much!

I met with Dr. R a bit before the surgery.  (Is it just me, or is it weird when you see your doctor in normal clothes/not scrubs?  She came in with a leather coat on and it totally threw me.)  I had really prayed she would get to deliver Lucy, so that’s another reason that the scheduled C-section was a blessing.  (There are 4 doctors in the practice, and if I had gone into labor on my own and she wasn’t on call one of the other 3 would have delivered RK, and the one lady on call that day was NOT my favorite doctor by ANY stretch of the imagination!)  Michael got his scrubs on—doesn’t he look adorable??!
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and then they started wheeling me back around 11:25 to the OR.  The family followed until we reached the waiting area.  Michael had to wait there, too (which made my anxiety increase even more, but it was something I was prepared for, and I knew they would bring him back soon.)  As they were wheeling me back I started having the worst feeling--it was an overwhelming sense of total dread.  I remember thinking, “I just do NOT want to do this—I don’t want to be here right now.”  I don’t know that I’ve ever had that exact feeling—it wasn’t that I didn’t want to meet my little girl, but I just remember wishing there was some other way.  But I knew there was no turning back.I was just so nervous to go through the surgery and especially anxious about the soon-to-come spinal…

We reached the OR at 11:28 (so the C-section was an hour and a half delayed.)  I remember looking at the clock and not being able to read it myself because I was so nervous and then glancing quickly around the room—there were these huge round lights on the ceiling and it was SO bright in there.  I remember noticing the operating table, too—it looks so tiny!It was covered with like a green sheet and there was a little pillow at the top.  They wheeled my bed right up to the left side of the operating table and then I had to move over to the operating table—NOT a very easy task when you’ve been laying flat and have a big round belly in front of you!  Also, the catheter was still very uncomfortable, and I was so afraid I was going to somehow rip it out if I moved the wrong way.  The nurse helped me roll over to my right side and then we slowly but surely got me over to the operating table.I sat up on the end of the table with the nurse in front of me, and the anesthesiologist got me all prepped for the spinal—when they say they’re going to rub your back down they aren’t lying!  It felt like I had an SOS pad being ground in my back (getting my tattoo was more comfortable than that!)  Then came time for the spinal.*shudders*  The nurse was so good about telling me to breath out the pain (although a part of me was thinking “seriously?  I’m actually going to breathe out this pain??  Yea RIGHT!!” LOL!  It did help keep me somewhat calm though.) and the anesthesiologist reminded me how I needed to slouch and round my back over and that I was going to feel some pressure/stinging.  Holy COW!  It was really intense burning and it lasted a lot longer than I had anticipated.  It starting kicking in almost immediately though.  I started feeling this crazy-warm sensation from my belly down to my legs and they quickly got me laying down flat (before I lost all feeling!)  At first, it actually felt pretty good.  I was tingly all over and somewhat numb, but I still had control over my body.After he finished the spinal though and I was getting laid down I had my second big meltdown for the day.  I just remember wanting DH in there with me.  And then the spinal REALLY went into effect.  I got to wear I could feel NOTHING and it was seriously one of the worst feelings ever.  I started getting very anxious and just wanted DH in there so badly, and I just had this overwhelming sense of “I REALLY don’t want to be in here right now...I don’t know if I can do this…but I know I have to…”

They got the big blue sheet put up (I don’t know that I was expecting it to be so close to my face), and then the doctor pinched me with some tweezers—which I didn’t feel at ALL.

DH finally got to come in and he sat to my left.  He grabbed my hand (the right hand was kind of strapped and the left was laid out flat as well but it was free for DH to be able to hold) and started patting my head and telling me, once again, what a great job I was doing.

I also had the most AMAZING nurse at the top of my head—she was so sweet and comforting and I felt so blessed that she was there with me.

I remember looking over to the left corner of the room at one point and seeing everything set up for Lucy—it was so weird to think that in a matter of minutes my daughter would be over there!
Michael handed over his camera to one of the nurses who offered to take pics and he had his ihpone ready to take pics as well.  Then they got started.  I just kept thinking, “I do NOT want to do this right now…I know I have to so that I can meet my daughter but I wish there were another way…”(have I mentioned this feeling before??Hehee:)

…And then I heard the words “Michael, you’ll want to look up—she’s got her butt up in the air!”  I saw some hesitation in Michael’s eyes as he looked at me and then finally peeked his head to look over the sheet.  He later told me he was glad he didn’t watch the whole thing as there was a LOT of blood.  Then the doctors said “She’s already PEEING everywhere!” and then she was OUT!  It was 11:55 AM.  The held her up over the sheet on my left side and I think we both started crying.
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…I remember thinking I couldn’t believe how BIG and chubby she looked!Was she REALLY inside of my belly??!  I was so overcome with emotion that my daughter had made her arrival—I just couldn’t believe it!  Even as I type this my heart is racing as I think of what an amazing moment it was to see her for the first time.It made it all worth it those feelings of “I don’t want to do this.”  I can’t say that I really would like to go through a C-section again, but at the same time I would do it again in a heartbeat to have my precious daughter here.

They took her over to that left corner of the room and Michael looked at me so sweetly and asked, “Can I go over there with her??”  Michael then rushed over there to meet his daughter—it was so precious!
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The nurse behind me then stepped in and started rubbing my head and talking to me.  She even pulled the left side of the sheet back so I could see what they were doing—and then I heard them say it: “8 pounds, 1 oz”!
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I couldn’t believe it!  I knew the u/s had shown her to be close to 8 pounds, but they aren’t always accurate with their guestimates.  Her head also measured at 15 inches in diameter.  The dr made a comment that it was good we did a C-section, because if she had flipped and I went into labor, we would have ended up doing a C-section most likely.  The dr also kept saying, “Your stomach is SO flat now!  You were all baby!!”  I didn’t really believe them when they said it, as I thought they were just being nice, but it sure did make me feel good to hear that!

DH soon got to bring Lucy over to meet me—he was so proud of her and I just couldn’t get over her—I kept saying it over and over, “She’s just SO pretty!”  They soon unstrapped my arms and let me hold her, too.  That was something I was NOT expecting to get to do, and it thrilled my heart more than I can even express.
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Her eyes were opened up wide and she immediately started staring into my eyes—it was the most amazing moment, and there are just no words to explain what I was feeling.  I couldn’t believe she had been inside my belly and now she was in my arms…amazing…  And DH was just so excited as well—he couldn’t stop staring at her either!It was so awesome to see him with her—it was something I had really looked forward to throughout my pregnancy, and it totally exceeded my expectations.  He instantly went into a Daddy instinct and has been so amazing with her—he’s actually better than anyone else at changing her diaper!  See in our first family photo how he is just staring right at her—so precious!
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They had to take her back over to the left corner of the room to check some other things and DH went with her (I wanted him to!) and the nurse asked me, “Are you started to feel nauseous?” and just as the words left her mouth, this horrible feeling of nausea overtook me.  She gave me a little tray in case I started throwing up (how do you throw up laying down anyway?!) and I leaned my head over to the left and just kept praying “Please, Lord, I don’t want to throw up—please let this pass.”  It was the worst case of nausea I had ever experienced in my life—like the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy all combined into a matter of minutes.  The nurse said it was totally normal at this point and it had something to do with what they were doing to my uterus.  She gave me something to try and calm it down.  I kept dry heaving and gagging, but it passed fairly quickly without me throwing anything up.  (Thank you, Lord!)  And that was when I remembered how hungry I had been up until the surgery and was SO thankful I hadn’t had a single thing to eat or drink

They started sewing me up and were almost finished when the dr peeked her head over the top of the sheet, “I’ve got you all sewn up but now we’ve discovered that we’re missing a sponge.  It’s probably laying around somewhere but we’re going to do an X-ray just to make sure.”  (Thank goodness they count all that stuff ahead of time—I had remembered when I first came into the OR they were counting all of the operating utensils—how many pairs of scissors do they really need??!  I quickly had turned my head in another direction to try and avoid thinking of what was going to be opening up my tummy!)

They sent DH and the baby out of the room while they did the X-ray and then the tech said it would be about 10-15 minutes when they’d call with the results.  I remember thinking, “I just want this to all be over with!”  They called and stated they found a drain—which is something that definitely was NOT in my stomach!  They were going to do another u/s and Dr R called them back and they decided it was probably the angle but that something was in there and they probably needed to open me back up to get it out.  This time, I could REALLY feel the pulling and tugging.  I’m not sure if I was feeling pain or not, but I had been in there for over and hour, and the spinal only lasts about 2, so they decided it would be best to give me some med to help through this last bit.  DH was back in the room with our precious baby girl at that point.  The nurse said, “This is what we use to make you sleep during surgery but we’re going to give you just a TINY bit to get this part finished up—you’ll probably go to sleep for just a little bit.”  I think I said “OK,” but that’s all I remember!  I woke up just as they had finished.  So, technically I had two surgeries that morning, and gave birth TWICE—first to a beautiful baby girl, and second to a bloody sponge!  DH later told me Dr R was pretty upset about the whole thing.  I guess the staff in the room is supposed to keep a better count on all of that stuff and just as she was finishing sewing me up the first time, someone said, “Um, we’re missing a sponge.”  She couldn’t just leave me opened up so they went ahead and finished sewing me up while they waited for the x-ray tech.

After it was all over (PTL!) they snapped a quick shot of DH, Lucy, and Dr R:
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and placed Lucy in my arms and then wheeled us back over to my room.  We didn’t think anyone would get to see her until after I had been in recovery for awhile, but since the waiting area was on the way to my room they let us stop for just a few moments.  As we turned the corner I could see my momma just jumping up and down and all excited.  I pulled her cap off so they could see her dark, curly/kinky hair and they all snapped several quick pictures.

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They all said how beautiful she is and I was still spouting off every few minutes “She’s just SO pretty!”

We didn’t get back to my room until around 1:15 (due to the birth of the sponge!) and I was getting very uncomfortable.  The spinal had almost all worn off by the time they got me started on morphine, so the morphine just was NOT helping.  They had to up my dosage of it two more times before it finally started helping, and by then I was SO doped up that I couldn’t really see.  I tried to post an update on things that night and I literally had my face as close to the screen as possible and I still could barely make anything out.


We spent time with family that afternoon, everyone getting acquainted with the newest member of the T household, and then DH and I spent our first of many sleepless nights with our little girl!  I don’t think it would have been so bad except I literally could NOT keep my eyes opened from all of the morphine I was on, and DH was dozing off as well.  One of the nurses came in around 3AM and said, “Why don’t you just let me take her to the nursery for a few hours so ya’ll can sleep, then I’ll bring her back in when it’s time for her to eat.”  (I had made it VERY clear that she was not to have a pacifier or a bottle!  I was a little hesitant—I kept thinking of this TV movie I had seen when I was younger called “Switched at birth,” and it’s been a huge fear of mine since that I would get the wrong baby.  We both desperately needed a few hours of sleep though, so they took Lucy to the nursery and wheeled her cart back in at 6AM…I say her “cart” because Lucy wasn’t actually IN it…  They have these security bands they place on the baby, you and your DH so any time she gets taken from the room they match the numbers on the bracelet to make sure you get the your baby…  Well, the nurse calls out the number and it didn’t match.DH gets up and goes over to her cart and says, “Um, that’s not our baby!”The nurse was mortified and was like, “This has never happened before.”  She took the baby away to go “find” Lucy.  I was panicked!  I couldn’t believe that had just happened.  Thankfully though, they brought Lucy back in, safe and sound.  Apparently, they had quite a few babies in the nursery and Lucy had gotten fussy so they moved her into a swing then mixed her up with another baby.  *sigh*  Looking back on it, I have to laugh that it happened, but deep down it REALLY scared me, and DH and I decided from that moment on that Lucy would be staying within our sight at all times!

It’s kind of funny when I look back on it all—the whole sponge thing and then the baby mix-up—you would think I’d say I would never deliver at that hospital again, but I really don’t feel that way.  (to insert a thought five years later, there is definitely no way I'd want to deliver there again! LOL)  The nursing staff was amazing—so helpful (except for one lady who kept questioning every time I asked for pain medicine and she wouldn’t give it to me every 3 hours like I was supposed to have it.  Grrrr….!) and very encouraging.  And even with all of the mishaps, I just felt such a peace about everything.  I knew God had gone before every step, so I just felt this incredible peace.

The doctors said Lucy was “perfect,” and my dr said my incision looked good.  Lucy goes in for her first appointment on Monday, and then I don’t go in for my first appointment until around mid-December.

We came home from the hospital early Sunday evening, and everything has been such a whirlwind.  I was telling Mom and DH today how it feels as if life has just been turned completely upside down in a matter of moments—but in the most wonderful way!  I just can’t believe this LO is ours and that we get to keep her!!  I had been really worried that I would miss feeling her inside of my belly, and while it is odd to have a completely different body now, I just love having her out where I can hold her and look at her.  It’s been the most wonderful experience.  And even through the sleepless nights and some problems with nursing, I keep thanking God any time I start getting a little stressed—I just can’t imagine a greater blessing in the world.  She is amazing, and all I can say is God is just SO, so very good!  Thank you, Lord, for lighting up our lives through Lucy!

Lucy's 5th Birthday Party/Trunk or Treat

It's hard for me to believe that this time, 5 years ago, I was waddling around with my sweet Lucy tucked tightly inside of my belly.  I went over to visit my blog that I kept while I was pregnant with Lucy and found this post from the wee hours of the morning of October 31st, 2007:

Just a little over one day until Lucy arrives!  I don't think it feels real that tomorrow is my last day of being pregnant...kind of sad about that, but also just SO excited about meeting my little RK!  Here's a few last preggie pics...
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It's so hard to believe that Lucy was right there in my belly, and now here she is today, at her Halloween party at SCHOOL!  ...Someone remind me again how my baby girl is already in school?! (On a side note, it's kind of funny she's wearing purple today since that's the color I was wearing in those pix:)

Lucy with her pre-k teacher, Mrs. Titus
I remember the night before Lucy was born as if it were this very moment. I remember feeling her kick, feeling contractions, the anxiety, the nerves, and the excitement. I remember being so thankful that God had chosen to bless us with a child. And on this night, five years later, I watched my "grown up" baby girl prancing around the parking lot at church, dressed as My Little Pony, and happily passing out candy to all the kids who came by our trunk. And next to her was a stroller holding her sweet baby brother, yet another precious gift God chose to bless us with after another long struggle of trying to conceive. I am so overcome with thankfulness in His perfect path and plan for our family. My belly was full five years ago, and now my heart is, too!

So, to celebrate this wonderful blessing of Lucy's birth, we had a party this past Saturday, October 27th. Since her birthday falls so close to Halloween, we usually let her chosen bday theme decide what we will dress up as a family, and we also invite all of the guests to come dressed in their costumes.  This year was a bit more difficult than our past costumes (Mary poppins characters, Peter Pan characters, and Peanuts characters) because she wanted a My little Pony costume, so we had to get a little more inventive (since even though DH is crazy about his little princess, there is NO way he is going to dress up as My Little Pony!)  I love the end result though: 80's cartoon characters! Lucy was starsong from my little pony (of course!) I was rainbow brite, dh was Clark kent/superman, and GP was Pete's dragon. So, for our trunk for trunk or treat tonight, we did "cartoon network," complete with a tv playing cartoons! Lucy's birthday was totally centered around My Little Pony though. I absolutely LOVE planning her parties each year, and this year was no different-I had a blast with it!

I used pink tablecloths and packing tape and DH helped me spread them out on the floor to create two "lanes" for the horse races we were going to have. We also did a balloon game on the two "horse tracks" at the beginning of the party. (Which was more of mass chaos, but oh well:)

My mom helped me make thirty (yes, 30!) hobby horses as the party favors for said pony races. It was pretty consuming, but it was also a lot of fun, and I think the kids all loved them! (There are a lot of boys Lucy's age, so it's always tricky to come up with a party theme that is girly for my girly girl, but has some aspect to it that boys will like, too. I figured stick horses were the perfect solution!) Our living room pretty much turned into a stable last week! I'm sure the neighbors were wondering why on earth
I had 30 hand dyed tube socks hanging outside
on the front porch to air dry! LOL:)

For the tables, I used pink table cloths and placed MLP cutouts on a dowel rod and put them in a vase file with water I had dropped some food coloring into. I also placed MLP coloring and activity sheets at each place setting.

Several months ago I saw a cute idea on Pinterest where you take plastic tablecloths to create a backdrop, so I did that and took pictures of each of the kids that came. One of the MLP is rainbow dash, so we kind of went with that "rainbow" theme for several things, like the backdrop.  We also played a version of pin the tail on the donkey (stick the cutie mark on the pony) and the kids also made fruit loop necklaces.

Instead of cake, my mom made these amazing rainbow inspired cupcakes-another Pinterest idea. (Seriously, what did we do before Pinterest?!) Don't they look incredible?!  We also had fruit punch and some chex mix.

Lucy seemed to have a wonderful time, and we are so thankful for the friends and family who took the time to come celebrate with us. She is one blessed little girl, and oh how very blessed DH and I are to get to be her parents. Lucy-mommy and daddy love you more than you will ever know, and baby brother is so blessed to have you as his big sister. May you continue to "so shine your light before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your
 Father in heaven."  Happy birthday, bugaboo!

18 weeks old...

So much to update on, so I may just have to write a few separate posts.  I'll start with the most recent...

Yesterday was a Tuesday, which means we celebrated Gabriel turning 18 weeks old!!  Seriously, I just can't believe how quickly the time has flown!  We truly have just tried to eat up every single moment with this precious gift we've been given in our son!  He is SUCH a joy!  A little update on what all he is up to these days...
    He has rolled over twice from his tummy to his back (it's kind of like a "been there done that" attitude with him.  I'm sure he'll start going it more any day now though.

    *He still loves being on his belly, but he also really enjoys laying on his back now on his activity mat and pulling on the toys that hang down.  He can grab them all the way from the top of the toy bar and pull them down towards him! 

    He enjoys being in his bouncy seat and playing what his big sissy refers to as "hit the boom."  It's basically just where he swats at the toys on his bouncy seat toy bar.  It's so sweet to watch Lucy play with him:)

    He's moved up to about 5-6 oz now at each feeding and he is definitely growing!  He is around 16 pounds now and is pretty much in size 6-9 month clothes already!

    He loves sitting in my lap!  He likes to "help" me practice the piano, and when he's fussy that is one way to get him to calm down.  (As you can imagine, that totally thrills my heart!)

    He's absolutely CRAZY about his daddy!  DH can get him to smile and laugh like no one else!

    Speaking of laughing, he is doing a lot more of that.  His sweet noises melt our hearts!

    He absolutely HATES being still in his carseat.  Picking up sissy from school is not the most pleasant experience as there is usually 10-15 minutes of waiting in line.

    He is quite the cuddlebug!

    Overall, he is just SUCH a good and content baby!  I call him my serious child, because he is quite contemplative, but when he smiles, it's with his whole face!

    He slept through the night last night and woke up in the best mood today!  Come to think of it, mommy was in a pretty good mood, too! LOL:)

    He turned 4 months old on the 26th, and yesterday we had our 4th post placement visit with our caseworker. We only have one visit left before our court date. I'm actually kind of sad about that-I always enjoy our visits with our caseworker. As I say this, I can't help but laugh at remembering how nervous I was about all of the interviews, home visit, etc. People often comment on how quickky/easily the process has gone for us, and while I am certainly thankful for it all, I promise you that easy is not a word that comes to mind! There's so much that I just haven't felt like I can share publicly on a blog. However, those aren't the things my heart dwells on or what comes to the forefront of my mind when I think of Gabriel and our adoption journey. The thing that consumes me each time I think of this whole process is total thankfulness-to our friends and family as they've come alongside us in so many ways, to our agency that has been just incredible, to our baby's precious birthmom who has give us the most amazing gift, and mostly to our God, who has orchestrated it all. So very many blessings are wrapped up inside this 18 week old bundle, and we are truly so very blessed!

    Happy Halloween!

    Happy Halloween from my 4 month old and my 4 year old (for one more day anyway!)

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    I have nothing to declare!

    I am HUGE Charlie Brown/Peanuts fan. I grew up watching the cartoons over and over. One of my favorites was "Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown." He gets to go overseas for a foreign exchange student program, and I always laughed when he went through customs. He got so nervous and said, "I have nothing to declare!" Every time we've traveled overseas, I've felt the urge to proclaim the same statement, as I always get super nervous, too. I'm not sure why, but there's something about it all that makes me question myself. It's the same feeling I have gotten when we've had to get fingerprinted for our adoption process. I know that I have a totally clean slate, but there's that worry that if they look hard enough, maybe they'll come up with something! Lol. Yes, I realize it sounds ridiculous, but I think you all know by now that I tend to be a bit ridiculous in general:) So on Monday, I revisited that scene in the Charlie Brown movie as I marched myself into the sheriff's office with my fingerprinting cards in hands. This time was different though, because I didn't just have my fingerprinting cards in one hand, but I also had a sweet three month old in my hands. The last time we were fingerprinted, we had not even been approved for our adoption, and now here we are preparing to consummate our son's adoption. It's truly an amazing feeling! I won't lie-I still have those moments of fearing the uncertainties of the situation, but God has also filled me with such tremendous peace overall, so rather than live in fear of the unknown, I'm trying to live in the joy of the present, and as I look at my sweet baby boy each day, I am overwhelmed by what a gift he truly is!
    After getting fingerprinted on 10/22--
     they do it the old fashioned way here,
    so boy was it messy!
    Can you tell we are a LOT more exhausted
    in this set of fingerprinting pictures
    than we were last time?  LOL

    So where exactly are we in the process right now? We mailed in our documents (fingerprint cards, something we had to notarize, etc.) and funds to our lawyer on Monday (10/22/12) and now we wait (a familiar word to us in this process) to hear when our court date is set. We are praying that the judge will waive the six month waiting period and that we will be able to consummate Gabriel's adoption in the beginning of December. Please join us in praying that these left steps are smooth ones!

    Family of FOUR!  Last time we went in the bank
    to notarize something, it was just the three of us!
    On a different note...can you believe that Gabriel is 17 WEEKS OLD?! He still hasn't rolled over any more, but he's getting more and more active-he loves playing with the toys hanging above his playmat and just in the last few days he's become very interested in the netting on his pack n play and rubs his hand back and forth on it for long periods at a time. It's pretty loud! There's also this one corner in the house that he finds hilarious. We cannot figure out why, but every time he looks in that direction he just starts smiling and even laughing-so fun! He absolutely hates sitting still in the car, so picking up sissy from school is a pretty miserable experience for him. But other than that, he continues to be a super content baby boy.

    What a joy you are precious Gabriel Paul! We are looking forward to your gotcha' day!
    sacked out after a long day in GP's favorite corner of the house

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Flower Picking...

    Lucy is such an intuitive little girl. She gets very concerned when she sees that people are upset or hurting, and the other day when I was sick was no different. Remember my not-so-grown-up reaction to my shot at the dr's office? Well, after the waterworks I entered our van where my little girl saw the tears streaming down my face. I love how she kept trying to brighten me up-such a sweetie! On the way home, this was our conversation:

    Lucy: "Mommy, I was going to pick a pink flower for you at the church, but it had forns in it so I didn't."

    Me: "Do you mean thorns?"

    Lucy: "Yes, the pokey ones."

    At the time, it definitely put a smile on my face, but as I reflected on it later, it also put a smile in my heart. You see, even my little Lucy recognized that often times, things that appear lovely and beautiful can contain the ability to hurt us or others. Lucy loves me, and she wanted to do something sweet for me, but once she realized that it could hurt me, she chose not to do it.

    It reminded me of Matthew 7:9-11:
    “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

    It also made me think of the things of this world. So many times, things entice us-they look good or fun or pretty, but if we take a deeper look, we see that they have the ability to harm us. Many people view Christianity as a bunch of rules, but God is merely trying to protect us from the things that could cause us harm. He LOVES us, and so He doesn't want us to choose things that would bring pain to our lives or others'. One example: As a wife, it's often easy for me to want to do things my way, but the Bible calls me to be submissive. Having the control may seem enticing, but if I don't submit to my husband I enter a very dangerous pathway that can profoundly impact my marriage, which then impacts my children as well. Our choices have consequences, and while we are given the freedom of choice, that doesn't mean we always choose the RIGHT choice. As a mom, it's my job to guide my children down the right path, and I do that by leading by example. It is my prayer that I lead them straight to the feet of Jesus!

    So yes, little Lucy, watch out for those pretty flowers along life's path that may have thorns sticking out of them, and always seek to bring people good and not harm...
    Lucy loving on me while I was sick (Yes, I realize this is probably why when one of us gets sick, the rest follow suit.  We can't help but love on each other though!:)

    You are what you eat...

    We've recently been dealing with a very picky four year old where food is concerned.  She used to be an amazing eater--loved fruits and veggies (you'll notice in many pictures of her when she was a baby that her nose was orange because of all of the carrots and sweet potatoes she would eat:) But somewhere along the road she decided to assert her freedom of choice, and lets just say that mealtime can often look more like a battlefield of wills in our household. I'm really not concerned about her going hungry-I know she will eventually eat if she's truly hungry. My main concern is I really don't want her to be so picky about what she does eat. When something is set in front of her, I want her to be gracious and thankful. It's more about the ATTITUDE behind her response to certain foods that concerns me, if that makes sense.

    It's also "funny" to note: I remember practically having a panic attack over starting Lucy on solid foods. I was so concerned with the best way to go about introducing things, and I put a LOT of thought into it all...and yet here we are and none of that worrying did me a bit of good! Of course, when did worry EVER do us a bit of good??

    Another funny sidenote: for "twin day" at school this week (spirit week for homecoming) Lucy and her friend Abby dressed up as chefs. I think that was also the day she hardly touched her lunch tray!  (See closing photo) :/ I was thinking about this whole food issue with Lucy the other morning and opened up one of my devotions. It centered around this verse:

    Matthew 5:6
    "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

    I had to stop and ask myself, what do I hunger and thirst after? What do I fill my plate with to bring me satisfaction? Do I yearn for the "junk" of this world, or do I crave what is good? As I seek to guide my daughter to make healthy choices in her physical diet, I pray that I can lead her in how to make healthy choices in her spiritual diet, too. After all, you know what they say: "You are what you eat." What are YOU filling yourself up with today??