Tuesday, August 30, 2011

just for fun

It is not easy trying to capture a video of the moving alien within me.  I say alien, because a baby moving in the tummy is as foreign as a being from another planet.  Trying to identify the body parts can be a challenge.

This video is just for fun.  While filming my own stomach, I caught a moment of baby movement, but also managed to capture a glimpse into our daily life when Annike tries to get right in the center of attention.  It is typical for me to reluctantly relinquish my agenda and eventually embrace her participation.



By the way, I want to send a special shout out to those of you who are praying for us as we near the end of this pregnancy.  Since my last post, I feel SO much less anxiety and recognize it is because of the many prayers that are being sent up.  I feel extremely protected, especially from myself.  Thank you for your help in that!

Monday, August 22, 2011

baby update

As we anticipate the arrival of our little baby girl, life has slowed to a pace that seems much more managable.  I am currently 37 weeks along, and finally feel like it would be okay if she arrived because we have actually had some time to get ready for another phase of babyhood. 

Reflecting upon this pregnancy, I feel prompted to elicit the prayer of anyone who feels compelled to lift our little family up.  In order to understand some of my prayer requests, it might be helpful to have a brief synopsis of my prenatal history.  Please know that as it currently stands, I am overwhelmingly grateful to have had an overall healthy pregnancy despite some concerns along the way. 

During my last pregnancy I developed high blood pressure around 38 weeks which resulted in an extra long hospital stay for me due to postpartum preeclampsia.  This time around, the doctor has been watching me closely (translation:  there have only been two weeks this entire summer that I have not been in for an appointment of some sort.)  When I entered my third trimester, there was some concern that my amniotic fluid levels were too high, which can be a sign of some birth defects or the baby's inability to swallow and/or expel fluid.  After taking a closer look, it was determined that Baby looks great and I just happen to have a lot of fluid in there for her!  On a whim, I asked the doctor how my measurements compared to my pregnancy with Annike.  It turns out that I had the exact same screening measurements in both pregnancies, they just never caught the high fluid levels last time because I was not being watched as closely with ultrasounds.  Annike turned out just fine and I have every confidence that her baby sister will too.  At 37 weeks, I have finally reached term in my pregnancy, and it would be safe to deliver this child any day now!  Thank You, Lord!

This profile shot shows the newest little bundle during a detailed 31-week ultrasound.


It is hard to tell from the picture, but Christian and I thought she looked just like Annike when we were watching the ultrasound.  There was a view of the bottom of her nose and the resemblance was incredible!  I know she will have her own little characteristics, but it is really hard to imagine having a baby that looks any different than our first... and I would not complain one bit if she came out looking exactly the same!


There are sure to be a great many changes in our home soon.  We would be extremely grateful if any of you prayerful individuals wanted to add one more item to your list, and petition our Majestic Creator for a safe delivery, a smooth transition, and a healthy child.  More specific prayer requests are itemized below:

Prayer Requests:
- A healthy finish to the pregnancy.  With only 3 more weeks to go it would be an amazing blessing if I did not develop high blood pressure or preeclampsia in this final stretch.  The preeclampsia I developed with my last pregnancy resulted in a hospital stay that was mentally one of the most difficult obstacles I have ever overcome.  I would like to not repeat it.

- Safe labor that is quick, but allows enough time to get me to the hospital.  My last labor experience was fast (two and a half hours long) and while that was a blessing in many ways, it also leaves me with nightmares about making it to the hospital this time around.  This is currently the source of my greatest anxiety.

- Just the right name for our baby girl.  Why does naming a child feel like such a weighty responsibility?  I feel confident that our little nameless one will exit the hospital named, and loved, but it seems worthy of dedicating thought and prayer to the subject.

- A smooth transition into parenting 2 children.  Life will be changing.  Though I know God has created me fully capable of raising a second child, I feel anxious about the unknowns in my future.  Namely, the demands on my time, the amount of help that I need, and how I will respond to the upset in the balance of my life.

- That Annike will feel loved and welcomed in the family despite the changes to her little world.  In my heart I believe that bringing a sibling into the picture is one of the best things for her character development that we can provide.  But I also know that there will be some tantrums and some feelings of rejection that accompany the new addition.  I pray for the wisdom to handle it all in the most appropriate way.

- The ability to raise two daughters in a Godly manner.  It seems like a huge responsibility to parent a girl in such a way that she will grow to be an adult who makes wise decisions, has godly character, and chooses to live her life in purity.  It feels like a huge responsibility because it IS!  We do not take that lightly.
Thank you for joining us in prayer for our family.  This next season is likely to be trying emotionally, a stretch in our relationship, exhausting, and at the same time one of the most wonderful seasons we have ever walked through as a family.  By praying for us, you too get to be a part of the amazing, life-changing, things God is going to do in our lives.

Friday, August 12, 2011

fishers

Camping is not something that should be done at 8 months pregnant.  I remember saying that the last time I was 8 months prego and went camping for a week.  This time around I had no excuse to complain, because I knew exactly what it was going to be like - and chose to go anyway! 


We did have some help as we went with my parents and their R.V. - which makes a big difference.  I still can't exactly describe the vacation as "relaxing", but we had some quality family time and made lasting memories together...

... like taking Annike fishing for the first time.


Courtright Lake near Shaver Lake/Dinky Creek area

She might have lasted a little longer if she had actually caught something.  Christian made up for Annike's lack-of-stamina with his grave determination to catch enough for us to eat dinner every night.  This desire did not exactly pan out.  Despite hours and hours and hours of genuine effort, there were only two trout left in all of Dinky Creek that allowed themselves to be snared by Christian's hook.

Of course, this greatly increased the joy of finally getting a good one!


Seeing the disappointment on Christian's face every afternoon that he returned to camp empty-handed, makes me think of the Biblical story of Jesus calling his first fishermen disciples.  Simon Peter must have felt just as doubtful and discouraged when Jesus told him to cast his net into the water one more time (Luke 5).  You can almost hear the frustration in his voice when he replies "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

In other words:  I respect you, so I will try it.  But I really can't imagine catching any fish right now... Just short of rolling his eyes. 

I imagine the frustration to have been tangible in Simon's countenance, coloring his ability to listen to what Jesus had been teaching about only moments before.  In his case, his ability to eat and afford a modest living was truly dependent upon his catch.  Oh so much more than a hobby. 

The bad luck of the previous night fishing, perhaps even the previous month, only increases his amazement at what happens next.  The number of fish was so vast that the nets broke, the boats began sinking, AND they had to call over their friends to come and help them.  How often did they catch so many fish that they shared them with other fishermen? 

Simon's reaction is beautiful.  He is immediately humbled by the miracle, and confronted by his own lack of faith.  "...he fell at Jesus' knees and said, 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'"  All of this to show the disciples that the nets will be breaking and the boats will be sinking when God sent them out as fishers of men. 

It makes sense to me that it might be hard to believe that people would want to listen to the truth about our Savior.  It makes sense that Jesus had to prove to the disciples that they could trust Him in their physical world so that they would also put their trust in Him regarding Spiritual matters, and intangible things.  Our God is not limited by the physical circumstances that limit us, so why should He be limited by non-physical matters?  Yet, my faith is often lacking most in those areas... like trusting Him to guide me as I pray... acting with integrity when no one is looking... believing people can change... believing that I can change.

The story of Jesus calling his disciples isn't really about the miracle of too many fish, but about the faith response of these humble fishermen. 
"They pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed Him."
(Luke 5:11)

Oh that my response would be the same.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

wedding

Did July go by as quickly for anyone else as it did for me?  We've been busy... mostly with wedding and family and the last minute fun that goes hand-in-hand with summer. 

The highlight of July was my sister's wedding, of course.  I believe it was everything she had hoped for.  In brief summary, here is...

THE REHEARSAL DINNER:
The capacity of our barn was tested... and passed!  There were almost 100 people present at the rehearsal dinner hoedown, and plenty of room to spare.  Of course there was great food and squaredancing for all ages!


Everyone dressed in appropriate attire.  Jillian sewed her own bridal hoedown dress.  Yee Haw!








































THE WEDDING:
Jillian was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen... yes, I am pleased to say she topped me!



Wade was the dashing groom.  We couldn't be more excited to welcome him into our family!



I was the {very} pregnant Matron of Honor.  Jillian picked this dress over another one because she thought it would be cuter on me at 8 months pregnant.  I believe her, but I am glad I never got to see the other dress.


Annike was the exhausted flower girl.  She was a champ during the rehearsal, and loved wearing her "purple princess dress"... but when it came time to actually walk the wedding aisle, she just couldn't pull it together.




Christian was caretaker to the flower girl, and reluctant picture-taker.


(but don't let him fool you, he still had fun!)


THE RECEPTION:
En route to the reception, Annike decided she was ready for the party to be over...


but for the rest of us, the party was just beginning!  Marriott in Monterey was a fantastic setting...





We lift up many prayers for you two as you begin your new life together.  As I said in my toast, I know that the future holds many unknowns for you.  But I am also convinced that God has fully equipped you to be great travel buddies as you embark on this next great adventure... the one called marriage.  We love you. 
Congratulations!

(Two little lovebirds atop the cake)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

mane

Everyone should have a daughter.

When I woke up this morning, my long hair was a mess, my eyes were puffy, and my loving husband says
"Oooh!  Mama has wild hair.  Look at that mane!  Does she look like a lion, Annike?"

Annike looked at me with a gentle grin on her face. 
"No," she whispered with awe. "She looks like a Mama Mermaid!"

I think I will keep her around for a while. 
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