Sunday, December 20, 2009

All I Want for Christmas...

Hannah wants a Barbie Scooter for Christmas. The three-wheel versions are all sold out. EVERYWHERE. They are out of stock at every single retailer in stores AND on the internet.
The only place I found them online were New Zealand & Australia, but shipping would take so long to arrive that it's not even worth it to try. I guess it will have to wait until her birthday.

This means that Santa is going to disappoint her for the second year in a row. Poor kid. I hope she likes this instead... it's what she's getting whether she likes it or not!

http://www.fisher-price.com/us/powerwheels/product.aspx?pid=47340

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas vacation

First, I need to apologize for my lack of posts.
Haven't had many chances to be online lately.

We just spent a week in PA and for the next 5 days we will be in Maryland.
Traveling can be really exhausting. Plus, when you add-in all those midnight snack breaks and trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.... well, I don't think any of us has gotten a full consecutive eight hours of sleep since being away from home.

But it's really nice to visit family and friends, and to spend time with everyone.

My kids are growing up and getting bigger.
It is really bittersweet to watch them grow so fast.
Aliah is still eating everything in sight.
As of 11 months old, she weighed 22 pounds.
It makes me sad that when people ask how old she is, I end up saying "almost one year old!" She isn't supposed to be that big - or at least it doesn't feel like it yet.

And then there's Hannah. She's such a smart girl. She can count to 40 or 50 on her own, and up to 100 with some help. So far her favorite Christmas gift is a Barbie... yeah, she's in that obsessed-with-Barbie stage that her father simply cannot stand.

Last night we ate dinner at an authentic mexican restaurant (I think my parents were feeling nostalgic for mexican food after their recent 10-day trip to Cancun). Mike and my parents had some really "good" (ie "really STRONG") margaritas, so I was the designated driver. Then we bought them a Christmas tree and drove it home by tying it on the top of our minivan. Good times.

Tonight we are having dinner with my parents and my mom's family.
Tomorrow... who knows?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wanna be my friend?

Ok, I have been avoiding it all this time, but tonight I have finally jumped on the bandwagon and joined Facebook. Let's see who notices me first. ((I'm gonna guess my mother.))

My Granny visited us this weekend. We had fun just hanging out at home, watching movies, pigging out on good food. She is disappointed that we won't be visiting them for Thanksgiving, for the second year in a row. But traveling this week is next to impossible because Mike only has 48 hours off between Tuesday and Thursday. It just doesn't work out. Anyways, Granny sent us a beautiful flower arrangement to say "thanks for your hospitality", which was very sweet of her.

This morning we had a playdate with some new friends. That was fun. Their 2 girls are about six months apart from Hannah and Aliah, so everyone had a playmate, and us moms got to have a little bit of grown-up conversation at the same time.

Aliah's eighth tooth is coming through this week. Tylenol helped her calm down last night, but I don't know if that's going to cut it for her tonight. We'll see.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Send Him to the Grocery Store

Marriage Rule Number 167:
Do not ever send your husband to the grocery store alone.
Even if he has a specific, detailed list, he will spend at least twice as much as you want him to.

CASE IN POINT:
Mike said he was just going to "get out of the house", and then he went out and bought over $500 worth of groceries this afternoon!!! Granted, he got enough food for a month and a half... but seriously, don't you think that's a little excessive?! 0ur food budget just is not that large. Money does not grow on trees or magically fall out of the sky these days, you know.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monster in the night

Chubby Monster Baby Aliah has been awake since 12:30.
We are going into hour number three now, and I want to rip out my hair.
This is a rare occurrence for her. Usually she cries for 2 mins and goes right back to sleep. But no, not tonight! Tylenol is helping her, to keep her from screaming.... but I am really running out of steam.
We need to sleep!

Edited to add: She just conked out. It's 3:45am.
Now I am wide awake. Ahhhhh!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Growing Up

To my dear Hannah,
You are such a sweet, loving girl! You are so caring and loving to your baby sister, and you are mommy's best-ever helper! I am very proud of you and all the grown-up things you've been learning and doing lately. But it is really bittersweet to watch you grow up.
There are many times, at the end of the day, when everything is quiet and calm and still, when I am overwhelmed by you. I might not always say it or show it correctly , but I love you so very much, pretty girl! I hope you know that. Even when I get frustrated or angry (especially when you scream and kick and cry about brushing your teeth!), I still love you just as much as ever. And during those quiet bedtime moments, when you are all snuggled up in your warm comfty bed, underneath pink & purple sheets, inside fluffy clean pjs, holding your favorite bear blanket - it is then, right there, that I want time to stop.
I just want more time with you. More time, just like this.
I ask if you can stay this age, this child size and shape, for always. And your reply is the same every time I ask: No mommy, I have to grow up.
You accept it as a fact of life, so simply and whole-heartedly. You think: Everyone grows up, so I will too. Then there is me, the grown-up, struggling to keep up with the reality of so much daily change and growth.
Even so, no matter how big you get, no matter how much you learn or how far you go, you will still be my little girl.
That's the way it is with children and parents.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Good news

MIKE PASSED HIS PARAMEDIC EXAM!
Now he will be cleared to work anywhere in the United States!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for him this week.
God heard and answered our prayers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crawling to DC

Aliah is crawling to DC, to demand change: a stronger law that will help keep our families safe and healthy, thereby protecting us from toxic chemicals found in household products. Go to this link to support Aliah's crawling efforts :)




My in-laws are coming to visit for the weekend! Other than following Hannah around downtown while she is trick-or-treating, I don't have any ideas of ways to entertain them while they are here. Poor Mike has to work 4 day shifts in a row, so he won't get to spend very much time with his parents :(

Also, Mike took his national paramedic exam last night. He has to wait one week for the test results. Pray that he passed (he is afraid that he failed)!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Duh!" moment

First, let me apologize for being MIA and not making updates over the past two weeks. Is it excuse enough that last week we drove over 1000 miles and slept in four different places within a 6-day stretch? (I still have yet to catch up on the monster pile of laundry that is lurking at the end of the hallway.)

I might elaborate on our lovely fall road trip another time, but for now let it suffice to say that we had a great time (despite Aliah contracting her first cold): camping with our college buddies was a blast, as was hanging out with my in-laws, playing with our adorable little nephew, and crashing at my parent's house in Maryland for one day.

What I really wanted to say tonight is this:
Tonight, Aliah said "duh" for duck! She has previously repeated a word or sound when I initiated, but never spontaneously said things on her own. She had just taken a bath and I was carrying her out of the bathroom. I turned around to flick off the bathroom lights. (Our bathroom is decorated with ducks, and the switchplate has 2 yellow duckies pictured on it.) Aliah reached up, and I thought she was trying to get the lightswitch - but then I heard her saying "duh duh duh." Ok, now I know that babies liek to babble, but this was a distincting different sound from the normal "da ba ba" baby-speak - and I realized that she was trying to say DUCK! "duh... k-k-k", she tried again. I think we stood there and pointed and talked to that lightswitch for a full five minutes. Hannah was wondering if Mommy had gone crazy... but honestly, it was a cute moment. And I knew that if I didn't write it out immediately, it will never ever make it into her baby book.

So there it is, Aliah's first word (other than Mama/Dada): Duck.

She also loves dogs (sometimes she even attempts to bark like a dog, screeching "uh! uh! uh!", while nodding her head, which is so cute, and absolutely hilarious!). Fittingly, she will be a puppy for Halloween.

Here is a sneak-peak of my costumed girls...

Ok, pardon the interruption, I just realized that the last four weeks of pictures are still trapped inside my camera. That meant downloading them all onto our computer before I could attempt to share them with anyone else.

So, attaching a picture took much longer than I had anticipated. Nevertheless, here are their Halloween costumes (not a wonderful photo of either of them, but you get the idea):



Goodnight, and have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tomorrow is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day.
http://www.october15th.com/

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sleep, glorious sleep.

Guess what?
Guess how much I slept last night?





EIGHT solid hours.





Wow, I really needed that.




Guess how long Aliah slept?





C'mon, take a guess!




Did you guess yet?




She slept TEN hours! 9:30-7:30!




Dare I hope that it will happen again tonight?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Can't believe that it's October now. It's gonna take some getting used to, writing "10" on the dates for everything.

Finances are not getting any better. Mike & I had a very long discussion about money today. If you know me well, you probably know that I don't like money: don't like talking about it, handling it, planning for it, budgeting, any of that. But, it must be done. At least we have a plan, and we have goals, and we're trying to get rid of debts. By next summer we should see some dramatic improvements.

After all that talking, Mike, Hannah, Aliah and I all ended up falling asleep for an hour (not all in the same bed though)! That was a rare treat. I can't remember the last time Hannah voluntarily went to sleep in the middle of the day!

I also had a deep conversation with a friend today, about why bad things happen to good people. It can be so hard to watch someone suffer or die, or see terrible things happen for an unknown cause. I know that God is in control of all things, but every day I have to re-surrender (is that a real word?) certain parts of my life, and give them back up to Him. Sometimes I really struggle with that. Especially when it comes to my children.

What are you struggling with this week?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nine months.




Aliah's nine-month-old check-up was yesterday. Here is what happened:

The nurse weighed and measured her, and... I was surprised to find out that she hadn't gained any weight since June! Well, maybe a few ounces, but not 2 or 3 pounds, as I had originally assumed. So, Mike was correct when he referred to Aliah as being 18 pounds - because she still is!

Her official stats are 18 lbs 13 oz, and 28 1/4 inches long.

So, all the nurses made a big deal about how she's dropped on the weight charts (went from 98% to 50%ish), and the doctor joked with me about it.... then quizzed me about Aliah's eating habits and "strongly suggested" that I add more protein to her diet. I had already started feeding her egg yolks last week, and had planned on giving her cheese/yogurt really soon. But seriously, if you have ever seen this child eat, you know that she is definitely not malnourished. Even if you've only seen her in pictures, it is obviously that her cheeks really couldn't get much bigger. But apparently her doctor thinks that she isn't taking in enough calories. How ironic is that?!





Because of this, Mike went out and bought 12 different kinds of jars of baby food. I am not exaggerating! ((Now please don't get me wrong, I have NO PROBLEM with jarred baby food... it is extremely convenient and fairly healthy. However, it is much more expensive than homemade baby food, which is what I've been doing lately, in the interest of saving time and money.)) However, knowing that we need to up the protein content in her foods, he bought all meat-flavored varieties of baby food. (Do you know how nasty they smell? I can't imagine that they taste much better than they smell.)





For those who might not know, I am a vegetarian. I have not eaten any meat since I was about 12 years old. Hannah does eat meat, but only because she chooses it (and no thanks to her mother, because I don't even cook it). Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with anyone who eats meat, I just don't do it myself. Suddenly though, the idea of feeding it to my infant is less-than-appealing. Seeing those jarred meat labels just totally grossed me out.

So, as it stands now, I AM adding dairy and protein to Aliah's diet, but only dairy products, not meat. Not yet. Maybe one of these days when she is home with Daddy, he'll resort to the jarred beef and vegetable dinner.... but I just can't stomach it.

Enough of that. I know my baby is healthy, regardless of what any doctors or nurses say.

In other news, Hannah's best friend and family are sick with the swine flu.
We are staying far, far away from them this week!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Almost Party Time

Aliah just fell asleep in her highchair during lunchtime. She had cereal and applesauce smeared all over her face, yet she slept on. Can you imagine it? I love those kids of baby pictures!

My youngest brother's birthday was yesterday. He just turned nineteen.... oh, that makes me feel so old! He was so little when Mike first met him. He was only 11 years old when we got married!

The big birthday party for my Dad/family reunion is tomorrow.
Relatives are flying into DC & Baltimore tonight. Almost party time!

Unfortuneately, Mike will miss the party. He had to drive home last night, so that he could make it to work today. He's had over 2 weeks off, and although I know he enjoys his time away from work, I think he was gettng restless and bored just sitting around. I think working hard for the next 3 weeks will be good for him. After this roration, we'll get to take another family trip to PA! I can't wait for this college reunion, I just know that camping with all our favorite Cal U friends will be so much fun!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Diaper stories

Two days ago, when I woke up on Monday morning, I heard some muffled noises coming from Aliah's room, so I went to check on her. I found her laying in her crib with her legs sticking straight up in the air (typical), and she was COMPLETELY NAKED! I had changed her in the middle of the night, and not bothered to her pants back on. BAD IDEA! She had somehow managed to get her shirt off too, and she was actually CHEWING ON HER DIAPER! Needless to say, she will not be wearing velcro-close diapers at nighttime anymore!!!

Mike's reaction: "You have got to write that one in her baby book!"

Speaking of nighttime and diapers: it's been one month since Hannah started wearing underwear to bed. She is still having an accident at night about once a week - but I shouldn't complain, because that's a whole lot better than multiple times a night! Whenever Aliah wakes me up in the middle of the night (which is usually once or twice per night), I will make Hannah use the bathroom, but half the time she doesn't even have to pee.
More news on Hannah: She is getting so much closer to reading on her own! She can sound out the letters, but she still sometimes has a difficult time putting them all together in the right way. She does have some words memorized, like "the", "stop", "and", "mom" and "dad".

I am taking bets on how much Aliah will weigh at her nine-month-old check-up next week. Any guesses? I think she will be really close to 21 lbs. Maybe 20 1/2 pounds.

We are visiting my family in Maryland for the next six days.
We arrived yesterday evening. Hannah is really bummed that it is too cold to swim today. She was very much looking forward to swimming in Yoma's pool one more time. This weekend we are having a big party/family reunion for my Dad's 50th birthday. My brother,aunt and uncle are flying in from LA right now, as I write this. It should be interesting!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It is 11:30 pm, and right now my husband is chasing deer through our neighborhood.
He just attempted to hit one with his car (and failed).
He told me that he wishes he owned a gun; if we did, he says we'd be eating venison this week.

I think he is insane.
What's your opinion?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

third tooth

Aliah got her third tooth today.... FINALLY!
I think she's been teething since June.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This afternoon, our driveway looked like a used-car junkyard.

Our MOPS meeting tonight went really well. There were five moms who showed up tonight. I am hoping for more moms to come in the future, but right now I am really happy with our little group. I also recently joined a Bible study that meets on Wednesday mornings. Our first real meeting is tomorrow - I'm hoping to learn and grow there as well.

I am afraid that Aliah is coming down with something. She has been vomiting/spitting up all of her milk, and she has had 3 diarrhea-like diapers today (although it might have been because of the avocado that she ate for dinner last night?). No fever right now, but we'll be keeping a close eye on her.

Mike spent 10 or 12 hours trying to fix our vehicles today. It took him quite awhile to figure out exactly how to change the brakes on the minivan. For awhile this afternoon, our driveway looked like a used-car junkyard. But he ultimately did a great job. Then he had to replace the starter and the battery in his old Chevy Lumina (which probably isn't worth more than $300, but he loves that broken old car!). Too bad we had to go into debt in order to make those much-needed repairs. All 3 vehicles need to be inspected really soon. And taxes paid, and registration fees.... oh, how I hate money!

It's only been 4 days since Mike last worked (10 more vacation days to go!), and already he is getting antsy and impatient being at home. Only two more days until we get another paycheck... I think we'll make it. Because ---

GOD is providing for all of our needs!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I hate money.

I have spent an hour online this afternoon, looking for more part-time work.
Money and finances have always been a sore spot for me.
Right now, Mike and I are struggling to pay all of our bills on time. I am trying hard to continue to trust that God will provide for everything we need.... but somehow we come up short every month, and our credit card debt is creeping up instead of going down. It is getting to be really hard to keep on trusting God.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful for all that we have... I'm just concerned. There isn't anything else that we can cut out of our monthly budget, yet our expenses continue to increase.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Eight months old.

ALIAH is now EIGHT MONTHS OLD!
She has recently learned new tricks, like clapping her hands, crawling, picking up tiny things with her hands, eating finger foods, and signing "more" when she wants more food! This kid is like a bottomless pit!
We just spent a week driving all over MD and PA, visiting for the grandmas birthdays. One of these days I will posts more pics of the kids - they are still stuck on the camera as of now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Church conversations.

Today I finally had that conversation that I've been avoiding (which I mentioned here). I kept it short and simple and to the point. I think it went over pretty well.... but only time will tell.

I am trying not to feel guilty about relationships that are and will be changing.
But at the same time, I still don't feel completely at peace about our new decision, which is this: I think we've found our new church home.

Nevertheless, we are moving forward.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Crawling... pictures!

It is sad that it's already the middle of August, and that the summer is almost over. I feel like it's only just begun!



I don't really know what to say - seems like we are so busy these days, it's hard to sit down and write any coherent thoughts. It seems that all of my days are just one big blur of motion and activity, with a time of trying to rest thrown in at the end.


Mike-the-workaholic has been working hard, long hours, many days and nights, to provide for our family. I'm really thankful that he has a steady, reliable, if somewhat unpredictable, job.


Hannah is now learning to read and write her numbers. She is good at recognizing them, but sometimes she still confuses 6 and 9. It's amazing to me, the way her mind works. Sometimes she remembers things even better than me!

We now have a crawling baby at our house! Well, let me clarify that: Aliah has certainly perfected the army crawl, but she does not yet crawl on all fours. Instead, she does the perfect imitation of an inchworm - but she's beginning to scoot around really fast! Hannah is really going to have to watch out for her toys and papers and things. Aliah's favorite noise is the sound of crumpling or ripping paper.











Sunday, August 9, 2009

hurt

Yeah, I know, I'm a big slacker.
Go ahead, tell me that I need to update more often.

Ever since Ally and the kids came to visit, I have been too busy & preoccupied to play on the computer. I still need to download all those pictures we took last week....

Somehow, last night I pulled (sprained?) a muscle in my left neck/shoulder, and it makes everything painful and difficult. Just picking up Aliah or changing her diaper hurts. Moving my neck hurts. Mike keeps reminding me to take some pain relievers, but so far Advil and Motrin have not helped at all.

There is a conversation I need to have that I've been avoiding. I'm hoping to take care of that within the next few days, and then I will elaborate on it a little more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New teeth, new diapers.

Everyone else is asleep, but my brain just doesn't want to settle down for the night quite yet. I have been awake with the baby since 5am, so it's been a loooong day for us. By 9pm I was getting frustrated that we (mainly, Hannah and I) weren't in bed yet, but now I think I've caught that 'second wind', and I'm looking around the house for things to do!

Aliah will be getting more teeth very soon. Tonight her gums were red and swollen and it took her about an hour to settle down for bed, instead of instantly going to sleep like she normally does. Orajel helped. Did you know that this little girl is wearing 12-month-sized shirts and 12-18 month pants???

Aliah has been exclusively wearing cloth diapers for about a month now, and I can't complain one bit! You do have to change them a little more often than Huggies or Pampers, and washing off the poop isn't my favorite part... but it's saving us lots of money! Mike was concerned that I would wear out our washer and dryer with the extra laundry, but he hasn't noticed any extra laundry, because I wash all the baby things together, so it's not any different. Besides, when was the last time he touched the laundry?!

My new ebay obsession is cloth diapers. This week I am getting 3 pocket diapers for $5.50, free shipping included. My next quest will be for nighttime diapers (in Hannah's size - then we wont EVER buy ANY diapers again!).

As for Mike's bizarre, awkward work situation, we are hoping that everyone will just forget about it and move on. He was able to confront his boss and asked that she not mention anything like this ever again. He will get some extra teasing from his co-workers in the weeks to come, but that's about it.

Thank goodness.

I'm going to try to get some sleep.
It might be a drama-filled day tomorrow.
I'll let you know...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mike at work.

Yesterday Mike found a tiny, starving stray kitten at work, roaming around behind the ambulance base. Last night he left plenty of food and water for it, and planned to feed it again today. This morning when he arrived at work, the kitten was dead, laying as if sleeping, underneath an abandoned truck.

Shortly after Mike got to work, his supervisor publicly accused him of having an affair with a coworker!!! He called to let me know about the situation, but... it's ludicrous that the supervisor would openly accuse him of something like this without any proof. Just terrible. (Poor Mike, all he does is work, and come home to sleep. He doesn't need this extra stress and pressure!)

I don't know what is going to come of it all, but I just keep praying that Mike can keep his cool, and that his name and his reputation will remain clean.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ChuckECheese, and other childhood adventures.

Our cute little Chubby Bunny is such a happy baby girl! Even with a bizzare rash covering most of her body (our dr. called it something like "pitoriosis"?), she will still smile at anyone who pays attention to her, and laughs and squeals at her parents and big sister.


Aliah ate peas for the first time this week. She did not have a high opinion of them. As you can see, she preferred her thumb more than the peas. Now we will be moving on to pureed squash.


Our Hannah-Princess is getting taller, and learning new things by leaps and bounds. She wore this outfit all around the house the other day... and to the store, and to the museum!




Yesterday we went to a friend's birthday party at ChuckECheese. This is one of my least-enjoyed places of the modern world, but Hannah loved the rides and games so much that we were the last ones to leave the party! I could not drag her out of the hamster tube play area (she called it an "inside playground.")

Mike is working too much these days, but I won't complain, because I know that God is protecting us and providing for us abundantly.

And yes, to those who are still wondering, we did get a new AC unit. After several thousand dollars and quite a few hours of hot sweaty labor, it has been installed, checked, and re-checked. Our house is now a decent temperature, even cool enough to sleep comfortably inside of it!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Leaving again.

We are going to my parents house for the weekend.
At least they have air conditioning!
Please pray for Mike as he tries to figure out a way to find and pay for a new AC unit, and begins another 28-day rotation at work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prayers needed.

Pray for us!!!
Our finances are already drained.
Tonight our AC died, and it is 96 degrees here.

I don't know what we are going to do...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Six months old!


Happy Six Months Old, Pretty Girl!
You are such a special, precious gift from God.
We are so excited and blessed to be your parents.
We Love You SO Much, baby.... and we can't wait to see you learn and grow even more in the months and years to come!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Krissy's picture game

Krissy's Picture Challenge: Choose your Top 5 pictures of baby's first year.
It was pretty simple for me to choose, because of the limitations I had: The pictures we have saved on our hard drive only go back to when Hannah was about six months old, so I only had 6 months of Hannah pictures to sift through, PLUS Aliah is not quite six months old yet, so basically I took my favorite picture from each month, minus February, when she was really sick... same with the both-girls-together pics. ENJOY!


Hannah's second time holding Aliah, when she was about 24 hours old. She is still such a proud big sister!


January 2009, when Aliah was about 2 weeks old.Hannah's favorite thing to do in the morning is to lay in bed with her baby sister. It's been six months and she STILL asks to do this every morning when she first wakes up!


So sweet. Hannah, 4 years old, Aliah, 2 months old. They are wearing matching outfits, which have since grown too small, but Hannah would ask to wear those ridiculously loud clothes allllll the time!


My happy girls! Aliah, five months old.


This week. Hannah feeding Aliah her first taste of baby food!




Top Five Pictures of Aliah:


one day old

About 3 weeks old

Two months old - a week or two after her RSV ICU stay.

Three months old

Five months old - I *LOVE* this picture!!!




Hannah's first time in a real, outdoor swing. I think she was screaming with terror, not happiness!

Hannah around 5 months old?


Hannah at nine months old


Hannah at ten months old. This was the first time that she walked while holding onto something. She spent the better part of an hour pushing that laundry basket all around the room!


Hannah at 12 months old, with her Daddy :)


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chubby Bunny eats baby food.

This week Aliah began to eat baby food.

Which do you think she likes better: baby cereal, or her own toes?!





Aliah just ate 5 oz. of baby cereal, in addition to her regular liquid meal.

That's a huge dinner! I didn't think her tiny tummy could hold so much food!

She's getting so big; I can't wait to see how much she's grown at her six-month check-up.




Last night I hosted a Father's day craft night for all of our little MOPS friends. It was fun, they all made gifts for their daddies/grandpas, PLUS it gave the other moms a break from their kids for an hour or two, AND Mike got to sit at home in a very quiet house until 8:30pm! Bonus, good times all around.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poor sad little Hannah.

Hannah is currently crying herself to sleep.
Actually, it's more like SCREAMING herself to sleep, and I'm afraid that she will wake up Aliah during the process.
I know she's had an exhausting day, but apparently she has reached the no-holds-barred, break-down melting point. During our bedtime routine, while I was helping her brush her teeth, she thrashed and bit and kicked so much that her gums started to bleed! I had to physically restrain her from throwing herself against the ground and banging her head up against the wall. Then I restrained her again when she repeatedly crawled out of bed, still screaming, with tears running down her shirt.
None of us has been getting enough sleep this week, Mike included, which only adds to our misery. Maybe tonight we'll all finally sleep more than a couple hours at a time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

random things

Eleven days ago, Baby Amber went to Heaven.
She was going to be five months old today.
I sent her parents another card this morning, just to let them know that I'm still thinking of them and praying for them.




In other news...

Today was Day 3 of Aliah eating baby cereal. She makes squealing noises, chews on the spoon, and sucks the food into her mouth. She's becoming really good at sitting up on her own. Hannah's new favorite things to do with her baby sister are taking a bath together and playing peekaboo.

Our exciting event of the day was going to our new local Walmart's grand opening. It really wasn't so special, and I spent more money than I should have for the week.

We're babysitting for eight hours tomorrow and it's gearing up to be a very long, tiring, HOT day.

On Friday I am hosting a MOPS craft night so that the kids can make some Father's Day gifts.

I just discovered the site wishuponahero.com and it seems like a neat way to help people who really need it!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The funeral

Amber's funeral service was yesterday. It was a beautiful message, but I sobbed uncontrollably through the entire thing. Their pastor did an amazing job of tying the sufferings of Jesus and the salvation concept into the eulogy. And after singing some worship songs, there wasn't a single person left dry-eyed when they played a slide-show of Amber's life, accompanied by Watermark's song "Glory Baby."

It is such a powerful testimony to the Lord, the way this family is rejoicing even in their pain and grief. I've been having a hard time praising Him through this sad time, yet Corey and Kristie seem to be filled with a grace and heavenly understanding that I don't quite have yet. I am fully certain that God will bless this family. I don't know the purpose of Amber's sudden, unexplained death, but it gave me chills when her aunt read the verse in Psalm 139, about how "all the days ordained for me were written in your book before even one of them came to be." We cannot know what God has in store for this family, but I am trusting in the fact that his plans are far better than any of our own ideas.

I haven't cried yet today. I haven't really gotten the chance to be alone with my thoughts. Aliah is now getting her second tooth, and Hannah has been grating on my nerves A WHOLE LOT this weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baby Amber

DURHAM - Baby Amber Grace Rasmussen, entrusted to the loving care of her parents, Kristen Hontz Rasmussen and Corey Drew Rasmussen on January 17, 2009, returned home unexpectedly to her Savior, Jesus Christ, on June 6, 2009.

In addition to her parents, baby Amber's family includes her sister, Samantha Kate Rasmussen; maternal grandparents, Duane and Diana Hontz of Newtown Square, Pa.; paternal grandparents, Kenneth and Mary Rasmussen of Cypress, Calif.; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. We anticipate with great joy our reunion with her for eternity.

The celebration of Amber's life will take place on Saturday, June 13 at 10 a.m. at The Summit Church, Cole Mill Road Campus, where the family attends. Dr. J.D. Greear and Pastor Will Roberts will be officiating. Interment will follow at Maplewood Cemetery.

Clements Funeral Service, Inc. in Durham is assisting the Rasmussen family.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baby Amber

I am heartbroken for my friend and her family.
Yesterday they celebrated a wedding, and today they woke up to find their daughter dead. She went to sleep and never woke up. I cannot imagine the horror of living through that. Please pray for this kind, sweet, God-loving family, who is terribly missing their baby daughter, Amber.
Amber was only 4 1/2 months old. She will be terribly missed.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How do you keep your child from picking their nose?

How do you stop your child from picking their nose? Hannah gave herself a nosebleed tonight because she kept sticking her finger up there! YUCK!


Can you tell that this girl is a big ham in front of the camera?

Aliah's tooth is pushing through and has been making her fussy.
Earlier today, she was sitting up on her own for about 30 seconds at a time.
It's not for very long, yet... but still, I think that's amazing, being that she's only 5 months and one week old!

Also, last night she slept from 2-9:30 am, so I got an awesome amount of sleep yesterday! I even got to take a nap this afternoon! YES! It makes me feel so much better, when I get enough sleep.

I actually feel like a normally functioning person this weekend, instead of frustrated, tired, sleep-deprived zombie mom. I even had enough energy to walk around the neighborhood with Hannah. We went about one mile (though Hannah whined the whole time. oh well. Can't please everyone).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Travelling, friends.

WE SPENT THE WEEKEND with my family in Maryland, and are now in the middle of a 5-day excursion in PA. Last night I got a rare treat: Girls Night Out! Dinner with some of my favorite college friends. It was great to see each of you, especially the newest addition! :) Thanks for helping me relax, my God's Girls!




Our chubby little bunny has done quite a few things for the first time this week, including meeting more relatives and friends, "jumping" on a trampoline, "swimming" in the pool, and drinking from a sippy cup, as seen here:



Did I mention that our miracle baby, at fuve months old, now weighs 17 lbs?!
AND - Aliah is also getting her first tooth as we speak! This has resulted in her first tastes of Orajel and Tylenol. She is stil as happy as ever; so far, her only complications are trouble falling asleep.

Have a good week.... we'll be back home on FRIDAY NIGHT!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Travelling

We're on vacation! We're spending the weekend with my parents in Maryland, then ten days in PA with in-laws and friends.

The girls are being totally spoiled by relatives, and Mike is trying to relax during his week off. My parents pool is calling my name - I didnt get to swim yesterday. Maybe I will, after breakfast. The water is still chilly. But Hannah wore her bathing suit all day long - she can really get around in the pool (as long as she's connected to some sort of floatation device).

Everyone else is still asleep around here - big party last night.
Hannah did NOT want to leave the party. (She has been extra-stubborn for the past two weeks.) She stayed up until 11:30pm! Most of the other people left around midnight.

The sunrise woke me up. Aliah gifted me with 6 solid hours of sleep this morning, so I dont feel quite as tired as I have during the past few days. Taking some naps this week will also help :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our days are filled with family, friends, and fun.

Lots of stuff going on. You know, the usual:
Babysitting, playdates, plenty of playgrounds, field trips to the library, museum, petting zoo, ect. Walks around the neighborhood, bike riding, hiking through the trails at the park, splashing in the river. Trying not to get sunburned. Teaching Hannah how to roller-skate.

We made a new mommy-friend today! Awesome. I think she really needs a place like MOPS, to get a few hours away from the kids and have adult conversations once in a while. I gave her all my contact info and we made plans to meet again next week. I really hope she follows through.

Tomorrow: Playdate with MOPS. Picking strawberries at a local farm. Potluck dinner with MOPS friends from church.

We just survived a week (4 days, actually) with Granny. It went exceptionally well! I honestly would not mind having her come back in the future! I was amazed that we all got along so well!

Mike and I get to celebrate our wedding anniversary this weekend. Can you believe that we got married six years ago? SIX?! My goodness, it doesn't seem like it's been that long already!

Planning a week vacation from May 29-June 5th. Aliah will get to see all her grandparents, and even meet some relatives for the first time. This girl is HUGE, she's now wearing size 9-12 month clothes!!! She is still wanting to eat 3-4 hours all the time around the clock - I feel like every week she goes through another growth spurt. Hannah is still a very loving, devoted, generous older sister for this baby. Aliah found her toes/feet the other day, smiles at another who will pay attention to her, laughs hysterically at peekaboo, and is beginning to try to sit up on her own. She'll be 5 months old next week! Eeeeek!

Why can't time stand still for just a little while?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another potty accident.

I don't want to become one of those people that only posts 3 or 4 times a month. So, here is an extra update from our house: Hannah peed all over the kitchen floor tonight. We were each getting ready for bed; I heard her run to the bathroom and flush the potty, and I thought nothing of it. Then Mike went into the kitchen for a drink of water and said "Hannah, did you spill water all over the floor?" Immediately, I realized that it was not water....
I have been trying to explain to Hannah about apologizing, and forgiveness. Tonight she was practically begging for mercy, but it took her a good 20 minutes to say she was sorry. (I know it was an accident, but we made her apologize, because it was a REALLY big mess.) She helped me clean up the mess, we read some stories and said prayers, and that was the end of it.

In good news, Aliah slept from 12-6:30am this morning!
I wish she would do that a little more consistently.
Our chubby little bunny is now wearing 9-month sized clothes!

Cleaning, church hunting.

This morning at church we took a congregational survey. The objective is to find areas of weakness, improve on them, and help the church to grow. It will be interesting to see the results. Mike and I are dissatisfied with our current church leadership. For this and other varying reasons, I will be church hunting next Sunday.

I have been doing quite a lot of praying and soul-searching over the past few weeks. I feel that God is trying to push me in a new direction, but I'm having a really difficult time determining precisely what He wants me to be doing. Should I continue leading MOPS? Should I keep serving moms and children? Am I missing something???

Cleaning is such a losing battle. I have mountains of laundry to fold. My Granny is coming to visit this week, beginning tomorrow, and Mike is constantly nagging me to "clean something." I know that not everything in our house is spotless, but I wish he'd be a little more specific. What exactly bothers him so much?

I hope this visit with Granny goes well. There always seems to be a lot of tension whenever we are around her for any length of time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The things kids say

Quote of the day from Hannah:
"Chickens and cows make chicken burgers and milk."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

new milestone

Sorry for my absence. I've had a cold/allergies for the past week.
Plus our computer hasn't been working - some kind of bizarre error that happened while Mike was doing our taxes... uh, but that's a very long story.
Anyways, we had a fun Easter, our friends from college got to visit with us for 4 days!
Last Saturday we went to the zoo.... it was an incredibly long, exhausting day.

And...
((drumroll
please!))
Aliah learned how to roll over today!
She is such a big girl.

I tried to d/l pictures but they aren't working right now. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another week gone by

Many thanks to everyone who responded.
Its been one week since I started taking Zoloft, and although I dont feel any changes yet, I do feel that something is going to give soon. I keep praying that I can hold myself together, with God as my strength.

We got home late last night from a whirlwind trip to Pittsburgh. Aliah absolutely HATED sitting in her carseat for nine hours. But we got to meet our new nephew, Baby Alex, who is totally adorable, and spend a few days with Mike's family. We even saw some snow yesterday!

I will upload pictures later. Tonight our friends Matt & Laura are coming to stay with us for Easter, and the house is a wreck! I've already done 3 loads of laundry and washed the dishes, but there are still a hundred other things to finish. I just told Mike: "I refuse to change out of my pjs until I get to take a shower!" He's out buying groceries for me right now, so that I dont have to lug both cranky kids through the store. Meanwhile, Hannah is doing an excellent job of distracting the baby so that I can fold laundry and clean the bathroom.... here I go again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Depressed.

I have PPD again. I am not surprised. ((Actually, I thought it would have kicked in sooner, like in February, when Aliah was so sick.)) But I am kind of worried, wondering how we will afford to get me the help I need.

Anyway, as of Monday, I am back on Zoloft again. I am so tired of putting on a happy face and trying to act like Im fine, because Im not. I am frustrated and fed-up and feeling guilty about every little thing I do. And I can't keep taking it out on the people closest to me. It is not fair to my family and it is not fair to myself.

Yesterday was terrible. We were scheduled to do nothing, but by lunchtime I had a houseful of FIVE kids! It was a really really really long day. We didnt get home from babysitting drop-off until 5:45, then I had to lead MOPS at 6:30 - and only one other person showed up. Bust.

To top it off, Hannah now has a really awful case of diarhea. Poor girl! I feel terrible for her and Mike is really paraniod that she will get Aliah sick again. Do you know how impossible it is to keep two children away from each other when you only live in a 1100-square-foot house?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Anniversary of a loss.

It's been a little over two years since my first miscarriage. I have not forgotten, but the pain and heartache is considerably less than it was in 2007 and 2008.

I remember feeling a whole lot of anger and bitterness at first. Now, it is just sadness, and thankfulness for what I do have.

On the anniversary date, I was kind of down, but didnt realize exactly why until almost a full week later. I think that is because, although I never will forget that day, I think of my losses as more of a season than a specific day: Spring for 1, Summer (Father's Day) for 2, and Christmastime for 3.

When I visited Maryland last weekend, I learned that a childhood friend had recently suffered through a miscarriage. It was her first pregnancy. It seems like she has a lot of support, and I am grateful that she does, because I remember feeling so very alone. She seemed to be dealing very well, especially since the whole pregnancy was a surprise in the first place. I'm glad I could talk with her about it, and that she opened up to me and was willing to share her story.

I am still working on writing my miscarrige book. The words come slowly, in little entires or essays here and there. I hope that one day I can make something beautiful and cohesive out of all these thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sorry Ive been MIA. Busy busy busy with the kids.

We went to Maryland, to see my family for the weekend. Aliah's first road trip - I had almost forgotten what it was like to travel with an infant. We had to stop about every hour for something or other. Not so fun.

It was a subdued trip, without my brother ("A") or my dad's side of the family around. And it was especially exhausting for me: between feeding Aliah, coping with her fussiness (she really hated being in her carseat for six hours, poor girl!), and dealing with Hannah's potty accidents - with all of us sleeping together in one room - I got very little sleep.

Needless to say, Hannah is not ready for overnight potty training yet. I had to wash all of her clothes TWICE, and we were only there for 2 nights! Yuck. Sometimes she will flat-out refuse to pee in the toilet. I dont know what to do with her! That girl is really stubborn. She only does things if and when she wants to.
My mom kept telling me things like "Be encouraging, don't get mad at her; she can't help it." But Hannah has been out of diapers for a year and a half! It's not like she can't use the potty. She just doesn't think it is important. She doesn't even seem to care if her pants get wet! Now it's just turned into a power struggle, and I really hate it.

It doesn't help matters that Mike scheduled himself to work a whole bunch of extra overtime this month. He is working 26 days in March. 26 days x 12 hours = a big paycheck, but it isnt worth it if you never get to spend time with your family. Maybe this weekend we'll get some time together - it's the one weekend in this whole rotation that Mike has off from work!

In other news, the girls are getting baptised on Sunday!

And now I need to fall in bed and go to sleep before Aliah gets hungry again. The rest of my laundry might not be washed or folded, but at least we all have clean sheets tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One year ago, I found hope renewed.

Exactly one year ago, I was down on my knees, in front of our whole church congregation, praying for an answer to the question "Will we ever have more children?"
(Click here to read about March 16, 2008.)
I was trying hard to make peace with the the fact that I had just suffered through 3 heartwrenching pregnancy losses in less than 12 months. I was this close to giving up on becoming pregnant again (I had already scheduled meetings with a caseworker and social services, about foster care and adoption possibilities).
I asked God to show me what to do next, and He did! I got pregnant a few weeks later. In April, I took a positive pregnancy test... and eight months after that, Aliah was born. Hannah gave me Hope, and with Aliah, I now have Grace (see why they have these middles names?).

It is so neat to be able to look back and see how God has been working these, and other, miracles in my life. It proves to me that all things work together for good, according to His purposes. And I am so very thankful for our precious baby girl!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eternal Questions from a Four Year Old

Lunchtime today: Our planned picnic was rained out, so Hannah opted to eat her picnic lunch in the car. I said ok, since I had to sit somewhere and feed Aliah, and I figured that was a good enough place to keep Hannah contained and dry for about 30 minutes.

Hannah suddenly turned to me and asked "Mommy? When can I go live with Jesus?"
I was a little surprised by this question. "You mean, in heaven?"
"Yes. When can I go to heaven?"
"Well sweetie, we can only go to heaven if we believe in him, and if we are dead."
"Well, when will I die?"
"I'd rather not think about that. Probably not for a very long time."
"Maybe in fifteen years! That's a long time! Or maybe even 11 or 12 years." (I think 11 has recently become her favorite number.)
"Maybe", I said, trying to eat my sandwich.
Then Hannah said "Grandma Pete died and went to heaven."
"That's right Hannah, she did."
"And it was sad."
"It was sad, and I would be very sad if you died."
"I would be really sad if you died too, Mommy. And it would be really really sad if Daddy or Aliah died."
I tried to explain that heaven is actually a very happy place, and steer the conversation back to happy things, but then she went quiet. And that was the end of it.

Well, that was our lunchtime conversation. What was yours?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beautiful weather. Fun times.

Yesterday it was really beautiful outside. We ate a picnic lunch in the backyard, read a pile of books outside on the swing, and Hannah decorated our front porch with chalk (too bad I didnt get a picture of that!) We left all the windows open last night... and when we woke up this morning, it was 55 degrees inside the house. It felt SO COLD!

Yesterday we climbed into the attic, Hannah and I, to unearth her spring and summer clothes. But first I made her put away everything that said 3t on it. This was not a very popular idea, and I was labelled "mean mom" because of it! Hannah threw a fit about putting away certain items, especially those that were purple and/or pink. The fact that we have about 87 new dresses sized 4-5t pacified her somewhat. And she had fun trying on some bigger shoes (I have GOT to get rid of those little sparkly princess shoes when she's not looking!). Unfortunately she refused to try on any of the clothes (except for a yellow "I Love Nemo" tank top), so I have no idea whick, if any, of the shorts or pants will actually fit her.

A happy moment - Aliah slept for six hours straight last night! Too bad for me, I was nervous that she'd wake up any second, so it took me a long time to relax and go to sleep. I slept about four hours. Oh well.

Here are my two favorite girls - check out Aliah's chubby cheeks!








Funny quote from Hannah: She just said "Aliah, stop that! Crying will not make you happy!" Hahaha!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Nice weather

The weather is BEAUTIFUL today!!!
I made Hannah run around outside for most of the afternoon.

Today I got portraits taken of both girls! It was fun! We did some individual shots and some together ones. The ones of just Aliah were not so good. I guess she didn't want to smile for strangers, only for me.

This week, I have to make a decision about leading the MOPS group for next school year. I have been praying and thinking about it a lot and Im still not sure what I should do...

One of my MOPS friends had a new baby boy on Wednesday! (She has also suffered through two miscarriages.) Praise God for a healthy baby! :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day!






Hannah and I had a lot of fun running around in the snow this morning. We made a snowman family... but it's melted now :(

Aliah's check-up had to be rescheduled for tomorrow. We are guessing that she weighs just over 12 lbs. What's your guess?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mindless Mom Moment

This morning I had planned all kinds of things for us to do: playdate at the park, picnic lunch, errands, groceries, shopping for birthday party favors, ect.

But nothing got done, because in the middle of our playdate, Aliah needed to be changed. And it was there, at the park, when I realized that I had left the diaper bag at home, in the middle of the living room! So we had to drive home at lunchtime to change a dirty diaper. And my energy and patience just sort of fizzled out after that.

Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

no fair!

Today I learned that one friend is pregnant, and another friend just had a miscarriage. Why? Why isn't life fair?




I have so many things that I'd like to say, so many things that I want to remember, but I never have enough time to properly record them.

Aliah slept from 12-5a, last night. I hope that trend continues.
I am not longer in that newborn-mom fog, but I sure could use more sleep.
I am, however, still in a fog when it comes to household chores like folding laundry and putting dishes away. I just can't seem to finish any of the tasks I start. It doesn't help that Hannah hasn't been extremely helpful lately, but still, thats not a good excuse.

Tonight, I had the wonderful opportunity to have my hair brushed by a brand new four-year-old. It was sweet. She brushed my hair longer than I've ever seen her hold a brush before (she is formerly known to have hairbrush-a-phobia). While that was happening, I was also holding the baby and reading the umpteenth Bernstain Bears book. Nice family moment. If only Daddy was around to take a picture of us (he's working the night shift this week).

We're getting ready for Hannah's birthday party on Saturday. She's excited to dress-up and play princesses with her friends.

I think we need to get out more.

PS: I forgot to mention about Hannah's four-year-old check-up. We went to the doctors with her on Tuesday. She still only weighs 31 lbs, but she is 41 inches tall! She had to get four shots in her legs. She was SUCH a brave girl, the nurses were all very impressed. She didn't even cry... until I got her into the car, and the nit was a major meltdown. But she got stickers from the doctor, and a temporary tattoo, and a new headband, AND I bought her a new book at the bookstore for being so good. Hopefully she wont be traumatized for life.
We get to repeat the process again next week, when Aliah gets her 2-month-old shots. What fun.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Four Years Ago....

Four years ago, at 10:15am, I became a mother for the first time. It changed my life completely. Hannah will always be our special little girl, no matter how many others come after her.
Becoming a mother was breathtakingly beautiful and pitifully painful all at once (as other moms know!). Having Hannah forced me to be more loving, more appreciative, more joyful, more relaxed, more responsible, more selfless, more protective, more playful, and more attentive to the little things in life.
Hannah continues to teach me values such as patience, gentleness, and love. She reminds me daily that I should have faith as simple and straightforward as a child's. That I should say, and show, my "I love you's" every chance I get, and that usually the process of creating something is even more rewarding and enjoyable than the actual product at the end.
I love how helpful she is how easy to please she can be. She's such a great help with Aliah, she absolutely adores her, and it is precious to watch. Hannah thinks eberything is better if you can hold someone's hand while doing it.
My favorite Hannah quote of the day: It is 11am. Hannah knows that today is her birthday. We are talking about how old she is. She tells me "Mommy. Im not four. I'm still three, because we didnt eat my birthday cake yet!" So I guess she didnt 'officially' turn 4 until 7pm, after dinner, when we finally ate dessert.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Visitors

Aliah is doing great, we had another check-up yesterday and the peds nurses couldnt believe that she'd just spent a week in ICU. She still has her chubby little cheeks and long hair and everything. She did lose some weight, kuz she wasnt allowed to eat for a few days while on the vent, but by the time we came home she was back to her originial weight from when we got admitted: 10 lbs 6 oz.

If she hadnt gotten sick, she'd probably be over 11 lbs by now!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I feel so terrible. Yesterday I got a fever, chills, sweating, throbbing headache, intense sore throat, naseau, ect. Went to the doctor. Strep test was negative. So was their flu test. So they dont know what exactly I have (a virus?), but it is wretched. I have no appetite. I just want to curl up on the floor and do nothing. but I cant.

Mike was working the night shift all weekend so Im also running on very little sleep. I feel really awful.

To make things more fun, my grandmother is coming to stay with us for the rest of the week. She is a very kind, yet stubborn and overbearing type of lady. This means that she and Mike don't always get along.
We've had people visiting us since Jan 30, and I really just want the house back to myself! How can we enjoy being a family of four if we are never actually all together?!

Hopefully Granny will be helpful, and not a hindrance.

Gotta go make lunch for Hannah. Gotta lead MOPS tonight.
All I want to do is take a nap!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

so many visitors

We have gotten a plethora of phone calls and cards in the mail, from all different places, all wishing us well. It's so nice to know that so many people are thinking of us and praying for us! THANK YOU!
Our church friends have been so kind and helpful. They gave us a beautiful flower arrangement when Aliah and I came home from the hospital. And they've been bringing us meals all week, which we very much appreciate.

My brother is visiting the east coast from his new home in California. He hasn't met Aliah yet, so my dad is driving with him to our house this weekend. They should be here in an hour or two. Just for one night (my father is very understanding, and great at not overstaying his welcome). Then, Mike's parents are arriving here Saturday, on their way home from Florida (I dont know how many days they will stay).
There is also an overbearing grandparent who wants to spend an entire week with us. I think that's a bit much. I truly love our family, but entertaining and feeding so many people will be absolutely exhausting!

Plus, to make it even more interesting, Mike starts working again tonight.
I think it's going to be a loooong weekend.

Honestly, all I want to do these days is take a nap. But that's impossible when you have an active four-year-old running around your house (poor Hannah). Right now, Hannah is floating water toys inside the bathroom sink.

I have to go; I need to clean more before everyone gets here!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day Ten - Last One!

We are getting released today!!!

WE'RE GOING HOME THIS AFTERNOON! :)

Doctors are filling out our discharge orders and finishing up paperwork.
I cant wait for the four of us to be all together again at home!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

GREAT NEWS!

At 1:30 this afternoon, they turned off the oxygen support. Aliah's o2 levels have consistently stayed at 96-98%, even when she falls asleep!
If I'd wanted to push for it, we could have probably gone home tonight - but Mike & I decided it would be safer for Aliah to stay here in the hospital overnight for observation, to be absolutely sure that all is well.

I am so relieved that this is our last night here, and I cant wait to get out and go home tomorrow!!!

God has been so faithful to us this week.
A friend of mne was talking about "grace" tonight, which happens to be Aliah's middle name. It also reminded me of the meaning of "Aliah": ascending, going up to God.
Aliah is our miracle baby, in that we struggled for a year and a half in order to have a healthy pregnancy - but now she is even more of a precious miracle, because of all we've gone through lately.

We are just so thankful that this ordeal is almost over.

Day 9 - Almost Home!!!

Right now, Aliah is on the lowest possible oxygen setting. The lead doctor said she'd love to see her be completely breathing on her own by tonight, or maybe tomorrow, at the latest. As soon as Aliah can successfully do that (the most difficult part is when she's sleeping), for at least 6-8 hours, without any setbacks, then we'll get discharged!!!

Im really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed later this week. My other favorite thing will be helping with Hannah's bedtime routine, reading her stories and tucking her in. I miss her so much, and I feel terrible that Ive missed the last week and a half of her life! Plus I know it will take a little extra work to undo the amount of spoiling that my mother got away with, while she was helping us here. Last time I went home to take a shower, our living room floor was literally covered in toys. My mom was a gigantic, indispensable help with laundry, washing dishes, and especially good at entertaining Hannah - she just didnt do a good job of setting any kind of boundaries. Its ok to have fun, but when you live in our house, you should still follow our rules. But, enough of that. Mom is home in Maryland now, back at work today.

Aliah is learning to self-sooth by sucking on her fist. Shes kind of funny - she hates pacifiers, and cant get ahold of her thumb, so I guess thats the next best thing? Sometimes she tries to stick her entire fist, all five fingers, right down into her mouth! At least it helps her settle down and go to sleep.

Ahh, Sleep - another commodity that I really need to catch up on as soon as possible. Last night I got two seperate 2-hour naps. She was awake from 2-5am, and I wanted to rip my hair out! But in a way, that is healthy, because its almost like her typical routine at home.

Please pray that our little girl stays strong and healthy, so that she can breath on her own, with no problems, very soon!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 8 in the hospital

Hi all. I would have loved to update earlier, but with everything that happened yesterday, I didnt have computer access. Sorry!



So, yesterday afternoon, we were released from the PICU!
THANK YOU GOD! Goodbye, intensive care!
Our room here on the children's recovery floor is much more private, has its own bathroom, and I get to sleep in one of those pull-out couch beds, instead of a rocking chair. I'd say that is a big improvement over last week.

Welcome to Day 8. Aliah is doing well. They are continuing to lower her oxygen level. Right now it is varying between .4 and .2 Ls. She needs more oxygen support when she sleeps. Doctors said that as soon as she's breathing on her own, then we'll get to go HOME for good! I would guess that might happen on Weds, at the earliest. We'll see. The most important thing is that she is continuing to get better, and grow stronger. Im trying to convince her to eat more often, because she still isnt eating as mocu as she used to, and is having some trouble latching on correctly.

My mom left today, shes driving back to Maryland right now. We'll all miss her, Hannah most of all.

Mike & Hannah were visiting us this afternoon. It was the first time that Hannah got to hold her baby sister in the last eight days! She was so excited, and so proud. We were really proud of her too, for wearing the gloves, gown and face mask without omplaining! (Yes, we still have to get all suited up to be in the same room as Aliah. It's a small price to pay for her health.)
I walked out to the car with them, while Aliah was sleeping soundly in her bed (but I felt guilty for leaving her in the hospital while I stepped outside for 10 mins!). Then I felt incredibly sad because Hannah had a huge meltdown and screamed "Dont leave, Mommy! NOOOO! Dont leave me! Come home with me!" in the middle of the parking garage. It was so sad!!! I was in tears as I walked back into the building.
I am really torn between here and home. This ordeal has been hard on all of us.
I want to go home soon. I want to sleep in my own bed.
I know there is an end in sight. and Im so so happy that she's getting better - it's just hard to go through this.

I just realied that Im supposed to have my 6-week postparden check-up in the morning - but Im going to have to rescheulde it - there's just no way that I can leave Aliah here for 3 hours by herself tomorrow. Compound that with the fact that my car is not here at the hospital, and its just not happening.

I'll let you know if anything changes tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Goodbye breathing tube.

Aliah is off the vent! They took out her breathing tube early this morning and she's doing excellent! She's still getting a tiny bit of oxygen through her nose, but they will be slowly decreasing that throughout the day. We should be able to pick her up and hold her really soon, amybe later this afternoon? If all goes well tonight, we might even get out of the ICU tomorrow! If not tomorrow, then we should be in a regular recovery room by the end of the weekend.

Right now Im at home, about to take a shower, wash my clothes, and spend some time with Hannah!

Tonight will be difficult because Aliah isnt allowed to eat anythign by mouth until she's been successfully breathing on her own for 24 hours. That means we cant feed her again until 9am tomorrow morning! Its going to be a really long night.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.

Mike and Nicole

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thanks for your prayers

Good news from ICU: Two other tiny infant RSV babies got their breathing tubes out today. Another patient staying in the room next to us was released into a regular recovery room today. Maybe we'll be next!

The nurses got my hopes up this morning, saying that she might get off the ventilator today. But after more careful review of Aliah's chest x-rays, they found out that the left lung is slightly weaker and still more congested than the right one. So they decided to wait one more day and try again. We will reassess things again in the morning, but hopefully Aliah will get her breathing tube out (and the fedding tube, too!) early tomorrow afternoon.
Please pray that she does well breathing on her own!
Nevertheless, Aliah has been incredibly alert and awake all day. And she entertained the staff by having lots of dirty diapers too.

Mike came to visit us for most of the afternoon.
Topday we had a male nurse. He was funny and it made things just a little more interesting.

I am missing Hannah a lot right now.

Pumping is getting really frustrating.

That's all the news I have right now.

update

Yesterday, Mike spent the afternoon in ICU while I went home to spend time with Hannah. For my birthday, my mom took Hannah and I to get new haircuts. It was a cute girly thing to do and it got us all out of the house for a little while. Even better, I got to take a shower for the first time in four days!

Aliah was awake for about three hours in the afternoon. It was so nice to see her bright blue eyes open and looking around. Mike is such a good father! He sat by her side for eight hours and barely left the room!

Now Im eating a midnight snack, and Aliah is AWAKE! This is especially exciting because normally at home she would be awake at this time, between 1-2 am.

The attneding dr said that the RSV virus should be running its course and ebbing away within the next couple days, and that we should start to see more recovery very soon. Her iron levels are still dropping. We have decided to supplement with vitamins first, to see if that helps, and wont worry about doing a blood transfusion quite yet. (Alisha, you are totally right about the hemoglobin levels! She is five weeks old and just barely beginning to produce it on her own. They explained it to me, I didnt know that.) Im sure im forgetting something, but these are the main things.

I was excuse from jury duty this week :) And my aunts/uncles left me a really really sweet birthday message a few hours ago that made me cry! In spite of all this, Feb 4th turned out to be a positive day after all. We are feeling much more optimistic right now about her recovery. I'll update more as we know more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poor baby

It's my birthday today. Not such a happy one.
Aliah is having some issues this morning.
Her core temp. went down to 95 degrees and stayed there for a few hours, so she is now under a big warming lamp. Her bp has been kind of erractic, and she didnt pee at all while I was sleeping from 1-5am.
They are also concerned that her iron levels are low and continuing to drop. (This is mostly my fault, since I'm an anemic vegetarian.) They said the usual course of action to fix it is... a blood transfusion. This seems a bit extreme to me, as a first course of action, but then again, what do I know?

My main concern right now is pumping enough milk to feed this kid. I am worried that I might not have enough supply for her. Right now she is getting about 3 oz every three hours. At home, I had no problem pumping out this much, but as it is, I am struggling. Maybe the stress is getting to me?

One good thing: she's still gaining weight! When we were admitted she was 4.78 kgs and now she is just over 5 kgs (sorry, I dont do metric conversions in my head).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pray for Aliah!

For those that dont know, Aliah is in intensive care. She stopped breathing on Sunday. It was a parents worst nightmare.
She has been diagnosed with RSV. Right now she is stable.
It has been the worst 48 hours of our lives.

Update for today: Mike is at home with strep throat! This means he cannot come to the hospital until he has been on antibiotics for at least 48 hours.
This morning, Aliah's chest x-rays were the same, not any better than yesterday. Last night around midnight she was very alert. But then she got a little too feisty and pulled out her breathing tube. Her feeding tube came out with it! It was a scary moment. I was right there holding her head while the nurse fixed her airway. We got her stabilized again, but because of that, she will continue to be sedated for the rest of the day. She still is not strong enough to breath on her own.

Poor baby.
Thank you so much for your prayers.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sick kids

Hannah shared her cold with Aliah, and now the baby is coughing and congested too. I am concerned for her, she is lethargic and not eating well. Mike keeps checking on Aliah, and listening to her breathing with his stethoscope. He says the cogestion is mostly all in her nose and throat, and that it's just a cold. I am still worried abut her though.

Today is Mike's birthday. He is one year away from thrity, and feeling very old. Last night we went out to dinner with my mom to celebrate. It was fun.

My birthday is on Wednesday, and Hannah's is a few weeks after that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One month old. Pictures. Sick kids.

Mike and I celebrated our birthdays tonight with his mom and dad. Here are some pictures from Hannah's point of view:
Can you guess which one of us is turning 26 this year?




Guess who is one month old today?
At her check-up, Aliah weighed in at 10 lbs, 5 oz, and was 22.5 inches long. She sure is growing - although I guessed that she would be closer to eleven pounds. Oh well, it just means she can fit in her 0-3 months clothes a little bit longer.

Poor Hannah has a nasty cough and a cold, courtesy of a friend, and she has now generously shared it with Aliah. Yuck. Yesteday she used up an entire box of tissues on her runny nose. Hand-washing has recently become part of our hourly routine.




My MIL, Mike's mom, has been such a gigantic help during her stay with us! She deep-cleaned our kitchen yesterday, and has been baking delicious meals for us all week.

Last night was Mike's first shift back at work - the night shift - and it was hard on all of us. Hannah has been so used to him being home at bedtime, so that was an even greater struggle than usual. Then Aliah stayed awake from 11pm-4am! I seriously just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, I was so incredibly exhausted (and already running on just 3 hours of sleep!) I considered driving her around the neighborhood, in the car... then thought about bundling us up to go outside when it was 30 degrees, and decided not to. Maybe I should have done it though, just to feel like I was accomplishing something. At least I got a small reprieve, when I didnt have to feed her again until 8:30am.

I hope and pray that we all get more sleep tonight!!!