Monday, January 31, 2011

My New Toy (aka free piano!)

piano edit

Our wonderful neighbors (Really, we couldn't ask for better ones. They loan us yard tools and invite us over for meals and bring up our trash can every week.) gave us this lovely old upright piano! They bought a house in the neighborhood where he grew up and are starting a local ministry/outreach/revitalization project. The piano was in the house and they didn't have any need for it, so they offered it to us. And helped us move it!

The piano tuner is coming this week to make it sound pretty. And then I will start practicing - we'll see how much of it comes back. Mom always told me I'd be grateful for those years of piano lessons someday . . . looks like she was right. Again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nine Month Photo

The dress has gotten a little shorter in front, but it made it through to the finish line! Oy, finish line! Can't believe our little girl will be here sometime in the next few weeks!

9 months edit

Now for a few random thoughts on pregnancy.

I've been reading up on birthing books and infant care; we'll see how this works in real life. I am excited about natural childbirth and working with my body, to give birth the way God designed me to.

I want to wear "real" clothes again.

I still walk five days a week, practice my yoga, and keep up with light weight training. My doctor said keep going as long as I feel like it, so that's my plan. I've had very few pregnancy aches and complaints thus far, and I'm attributing that to staying active.

Three things I've been waiting nine months to do:
- Drink a glass of champagne. And a margarita. I am thinking the first time the Gent and I go out on our own (thanks in advance, grandma) it will be for Mexican food and a margarita. With salt. YUM.
- Whiten my teeth. Doc was on the fence about whether it is safe to bleach your teeth while pregnant.
- Put a corn remover pad on corn that developed in my first month of pregnancy.
(I know, great stuff here - but aside from all the joy of having a newborn, these are the three things I'm excited to do!)

The closer we get to baby's arrival, the more excited I am about her birth and the less excited about the fact it will be in a hospital. My obstetrician and pediatrician have signed off on the birth plan, so hopefully I will get most of what I want out of the experience and be able to avoid some of the routine hospital protocols.

The thing I am most worried about is spending 48 hours in the hospital after our baby girl is born. I know I'm going to be tired and all, but seriously, what am I going to do for 48 loooooooong hours in a tiny hospital room!?! I'd rather be at home in my own bed. Argh. I should have a better attitude about this, I know.

I feel great, energized, and ready for L'il Bit to be here soon!

Mom and I finished the artwork for the nursery. I love this Scripture verse and pray it over baby's life: "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me." Psalm 138:8.

artwork edit

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Last Hurrah

This weekend the Gent and I went to Atlanta for a friend's wedding. We had a great time celebrating her marriage and reconnecting with old friends. And we enjoyed having one final weekend away before baby comes!

Not the best picture in the world, but the only one I have of the bride :)

We met in Bible study freshman year of college . . . I won't tell you how long ago that was!

Soon baby makes three . . .
Aaron and Kathryn

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Heavenly Anniversary

One year ago today, I was miscarrying our first baby. One year ago today, Noel Christian went to be with Jesus. One year ago today, we woke up knowing our lives would never be the same.

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I remember every detail about that day. I remember barely sleeping the night before, knowing what was happening in my body and that I couldn't fight it or change it. I remember waking up for good about 4am, and lying in bed crying for what I now knew would never be. I remember finally getting up at 6, answering some dog rescue emails and sending an email to my friend at work to ask her to tell the boss I was ill. I remember sobbing in the shower while the Gent sat on the other side of the curtain. I remember calling the nurse and scheduling an appointment. I remember how kind she was. I remember the dress I wore to the doctor's office. I remember the ultrasound and the doctor's gentle counsel. I remember how angry I was with the other young couple in the office, who were there for their first ultrasound, ooing and ahhing over their baby's pictures. I remember getting home by 11 and realizing it was all over and wondering what I would ever do to get through the day. I remember the Gent calling our parents to tell them the news. I couldn't do it. I remember emailing our Sunday School class and how supportive they all were. I remember spending most of the day on the couch, watching mindless television and just wanting the day to be over. Which, eventually, it was.

I remember going back to work the next day, needing to get back into routine as soon as possible. I remember going out for dinner with the Gent, and drinking a glass of wine. I remember going to the art museum with friends that night, needing to be out of the house, with people who didn't know what was happening. I remember all of it.

I remember wondering when the grief would ever end (it doesn't, it just gets more bearable). I remember all the questions I asked God. I remember the constant reminders of His faithfulness. I remember learning to trust Him all over again.

Job 1:21b
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.

What a year it has been.

Looking back, I still don't understand it. If I could change the outcome, would I? I'd have a five month old infant now. I wouldn't have this little girl who's growing in my tummy now. I would have been spared grief and anguish, at least for a while. I wouldn't have experienced the enduring faithfulness of God in a whole new way.

All I can do is thank the Lord for Noel's life. I rest in knowing our little one is safe in God's arms, that our baby will never know pain or grief, but only our heavenly Father's love.

Lamentations 3:19-26
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.”

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

P.S. I'm still not at any good at talking about all this. I cry every time. I am thankful for the written word, that allows me to express what I want without falling apart.

P.P.S. After writing this blog I started catching up on my blog reader. Jeannett miscarried her baby yesterday. Please lift her up before the Father today.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pork Loin with Parsnips and Pears

I found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I made it for dinner last week and was delighted to find it scrumptious, simple, and healthy!

1 1/2 pound boneless pork loin, sliced 1/2 inch thick, sprinkled with salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce
olive oil
3 to 4 small parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 pears, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pear nectar or apple juice

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add pork and brown on each side. Remove pork, cover, and keep warm. In same skillet, cook parsnips and pears for 5 minutes or so, until parsnips are crisp-tender. Stir 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and apple juice into skillet. Return pork to skillet. Cook 5 minutes more, or until pork is done. Remove pork, parsnips, and pears to serving platter. Boil sauce, uncovered, until slightly thickened. Pour over pork and serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our First Ever Baby Guessing Game

We thought it would be fun to play a little guessing game with our blog readers (and maybe encourage some of those silent readers to come out and participate). If you want to enter our first ever baby guessing game, leave a comment below! Take a guess at:

1. what baby's name will be
2. what day she will be born (we'll count days as 24-hour periods, from midnight to 11:59pm)
3. how much she will weigh

We'll see who gets the closest. Maybe there will be a prize for the winner. ;) Good luck!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nursery Time

Ta da! I love it. Practically everything in our little girl's room has a story. My mom made all the bedding, curtains, rocking chair cushions, basket liners, etc. I couldn't find anything I liked, so we ordered fabric samples and then Mom went to town! Didn't she do an incredible job?! (although I think she may be secretly hoping the next baby is a girl, too, so she doesn't have to make boy bedding, ha!) The rocking chair was my great-grandmother's. It was in my nursery when I was a baby. The dresser was in my dad's room when he was a little boy, and then was passed on to me. The wicker pieces were in my room when I was growing up. The crib is new, a gift from my parents. The changing table is the only piece of furniture the Gent and I bought (at a flea market).

The frame on the dresser was handmade by a friend and given to us as a shower gift. Soon it will hold a favorite photo of our L'il Bit!

I love this. The baby dress was worn by the Gent's Pawpaw when he was just a little boy. I painted the frame white (was dark wood) and modpodged a green polka dot scrapbook paper for the background. A special thanks to Granny for loaning it to us! I love all the family ties and history spread throughout the nursery.

The only thing I haven't finished yet is the artwork above the changing table. Obviously. It won't be white much longer, I have some ideas floating around.

This cross-stitched sampler was also in my room when I was little. Mom made it. The lamp was a gift from my mom's best friend - it was in her little girl's nursery way back when!

Basket of blankets, ready to go! One was the Gent's dad's when he was little, one was a gift from my grandparents, made by my great-aunt, the afghan was crocheted by my great-grandmother, and the pink one in the front is new, a shower gift.

The doll cradle and little rocking chair were also mine when I was little. Mom made new bedding and the Gent gave them a fresh coat of paint.

Her book collection is growing, but I am sure there will be more! The Gent and I love books and we can't seem to stop buying them. There are several more memories arranged on these shelves. The cross and pink piggy bank were gifts from my grandparents. The silver piggy bank was in the Gent's nursery when he was a little boy. The silver cup was in mine.

A peek into her closet. Think she has enough dresses? :) (Probably not . . . ) She has several new things that were gifts from family and friends, and lots of dresses that were mine when I was a baby. I am sure she will be one well-dressed little girl!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Events

It does get cold in the South. Last night our main water line froze. Thankfully the Gent was able to thaw it out fairly easily before the pipe ruptured. He got to play in the crawlspace, lucky him!



In other news, Zeke had surgery Tuesday. Poor puppy. He had to have his teeth cleaned and a benign tumor removed from his sternum. He is feeling fine now, but he has to wear a t-shirt for the next several days. The vet thought that would be easier than trying to bandage his stitches, since he has so much hair. So he is walking around in one of the Gent's old undershirts. I tied it on his back with a hairband. Zeke is living in an 80s flashback. :)



Monday, January 10, 2011


The Gent's youngest brother got married this weekend! The ceremony was lovely and we wish them a lifetime of happiness together. Here are some of my favorite photos.

Bridal luncheon

The bride and her maid of honor

Signing the wall at the teashop where the luncheon was hosted

The bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner

We all had a great time at the dinner; thanks to the Gent's parents and Granny for planning a beautiful party!

The three brothers

Pop D!

The brothers and their dad, being goofy

My best man :)

The middle brother and his fiancee (yay, another wedding!)

"Practicing" with Lily, the daughter of one of the Gent's best friends from home. She's such a cutie!

The wedding cake was delicious

Soon baby makes three . . .

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Birth Plan

This birth plan is intended to express the preferences and desires we have for the birth of our baby. It is not intended to be a script. We fully realize that situations may arise such that our plan cannot and should not be followed. However, we hope that barring any extenuating circumstances, you will be able to keep us informed and aware of our options. We appreciate your support.

• We are hoping for an unmedicated birth, with as little intervention as possible, and hope to have a nurse who supports and believes in unmedicated births.
• I understand that the baby and I must be monitored, but I prefer it to be done as little as possible. According to the ACOG standards is fine.
• I am not planning on using pain medication or an epidural. Please help me avoid them. Please do not offer pain medication; I will ask for it if I want it.
• I wish to drink clear and light colored fluids if I feel thirsty.
• I prefer a heparin lock to an IV. Please place heparin lock when doing initial blood draw.
• I would like to be able to change positions and labor outside of the bed, even if my water has broken. Also, I may want to push and deliver in alternative positions such as squatting, side lying, or using a squat bar. I prefer to use people for leg support.
• I would like to be able to take a warm shower for pain relief.
• I would prefer not to have my water broken; I prefer it to break on its own.
• Please help me avoid an episiotomy! Please use compresses and perineal massage to help avoid tearing.
• We are donating our baby’s cord blood to the public cord blood bank. My husband does not plan to cut the cord.
• Barring complications, please place the baby directly on my abdomen (skin to skin) after the birth. I would like at least one hour with our baby, undisturbed, to bond and breastfeed.
• We do not want our baby to go to the nursery at all. If the baby must be taken to the nursery, my husband will accompany the baby at all times.
• If our baby is a boy, he will not be circumcised.
• Our baby is to be exclusively breastfed--please do not give artificial nipples of any kind.
• If a cesarean delivery becomes necessary, please allow my husband to remain with me for my surgery and my doula to wait for me in my recovery room. My husband will stay with our baby until we can be reunited. Please allow me to breastfeed as soon as possible.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eight Month Photo

8 month edit

I feel baby moving around all the time and I love it. I can't wait to meet her in just a few more weeks! We have finished up most of our shopping and the nursery is almost complete (two art projects to go) and then I will post pictures, I promise.

I am definitely thinking seriously now about labor and delivery and life with a newborn and (gulp) parenting. We've gotten the doctor's approval on our birth plan and are starting to think through some other practical things - finding someone to take care of the dogs while we are at the hospital, adding baby to our health insurance, stocking the freezer with some healthy meals.

It is so easy to get caught up in all the doing, I'm trying to intentionally take time to rest and enjoy these last weeks of pregnancy. I like to sit in the nursery and talk to our baby girl, read her a book, pray for her.

I was reflecting last night on how thankful I am for this new little life. A year ago I was elated over a brand new pregnancy, our Noel, and so excited about what 2010 would bring. It certainly didn't turn out the way I thought it would. There was pain and grieving. And pleading with God to help us conceive again when the time was right. I remember reading and re-reading passages in the Bible where women interceded with the Lord for a child. I was especially drawn to the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel.

I spent the spring praying for a baby and it felt like the waiting went on forever. Looking back at that bittersweet time, I see how it drew me closer to the Lord and taught me more about trusting Him, leaning on His everlasting arms, drawing strength from Him and not from my circumstances. When I found out in June that I was (finally!) pregnant again, I was ecstatic and nervous and a million other things. Most of all I was (and am) so thankful to God for this new little one. I pray every day for her - that she will continue to grow strong and healthy in my womb, that her delivery would be uncomplicated, that God would give me wisdom as a new mother, and that she would come to trust in Jesus for herself.

P.S. Happy 2011, y'all!

P.P.S. The dress still fits! Wonder if it will make it through the nine month photo?!