Monday, April 29, 2013

fun on the tire swing

It's so much easier to capture two smiling, happy girls when daddy is home!

Photos - sickness and recovery

When I took this picture, both girls were on the mend, but I wanted to capture a very memorable week:) It took the girls about a week to fully bounce back to their normal selves. Since Abigail literally laid on the couch or in the bathroom for four days, they got to watch many movies (definitely not the norm!). Have I mentioned yet how thankful I am for wood floors and tile? We only have two carpeted rooms in the house, which escaped the fury of the stomach bug (praise God!!!).

I took the following pictures a couple of days before Rodney got home from China. Hannah climbed into Abigail's lap so she could read her a picture book.

Here are the girls enjoying their new bath towels.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Loved by the Lord

Confession: I am not a supermom.

Confession: I often think I'm self-sufficient.

Truth: My Lord and Savior is good and gracious, and abounding in lovingkingdness.

Truth: I am blessed beyond measure.

The past several weeks have been FULL of reminders that I'm in desperate need of the Lord's mercy in my life.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit convicted me recently about the lack of a Bible Memory discipline in my life. And so, I started memorizing several verses and taking seriously the verses that CBS encourages us to memorize in our Bible Study.

The first verse I memorized is from Isaiah 41:10

"So do not fear, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 

Little did I know how I much I was going to lean upon the truths found in that verse only days before I filed it away in the front of my memory.

Two weekends ago, Rodney left for China. We made it through our first weekend without him, participated in our normal weekly routines (shopping, library, Awana, and CBS). But come Thursday afternoon, as we were pulling out of the church parking lot after Bible Study, I started feeling nauseous. I figured my blood sugar was low and I needed some food, so we picked food up on the way home. But as I sipped on a milkshake, the queasiness only worsened.

Long story short, I soon started throwing up. I immediately texted friends and family asking for prayer. To keep the story short I'm going to highlight the many ways the Lord upheld me and sustained me during the next many hours.

  • My girls immediately fell asleep for their naptimes, something they had not done in two weeks.
  • My friend Jaclyn came and picked up the girls only a half hour after they woke up from their naps and even agreed to keep them overnight
  • My friend Kari came by with Gatorade and soup and kept me company until the early evening.
  • And my friend, Christy, took her place and stayed into the wee hours of the morning, even after my mom had arrived from WI.
  • My mom drove down from WI in the middle of the night (and in the rain!), even though she was swamped with her PhD homework and papers to grade. She canceled all of her important Friday meetings and served me all weekend, even though she ended up getting sick and falling even farther behind in her end of the year studies.

After almost 10 hours of throwing up, my contractions were regularly 3 minutes apart, which was particularly alarming since Rodney was in China and I was only 35 weeks pregnant! I had talked to my doctor hours earlier and he wasn't convinced that I needed to go to the ER. But around 12:30am, my mom and Christy helped get me into the car for the ER.

When I arrived at the hospital, the IV fluids and anti-nausea meds quickly began to do their work. Only my contractions weren't stopping or slowing as quickly as they had hoped. I was 2-3 cm dilated and then 3-4 cm dilated, which was concerning to the physician.  Finally around 6:30am, I stopped dilating and my contractions spaced to 5-6 minutes apart. I was cleared to go home.

Throughout the whole evening, I was comforted by Isaiah 41:10, and I was blessed by the Body of Christ in ways that I couldn't have even predicted. It was such a relief to not be alone, even though my husband was in China. It was a blessing knowing that my children were safe, loved and with a close friend. Abigail is still talking about her sleep-over with her friends. I was overwhelmed by the prayer support and encouragement of the people God has placed in my life.

Because my friend Jaclyn was watching the girls, my mom and I were able to get some sleep, truly a miracle since the painful contractions and vomiting kept me awake all night. 

My mom was able to stay through the weekend, leaving only when she started to become sick herself. And friends continued to pray for me and encourage me throughout the week.

Both of the girls did end up getting the sick, and it was even a blessing that they weren't sick at the same time.

And a friend from Bible study brought me several meals from Panera right about the time I was getting tired of eating soup and crackers and knew I wouldn't be making it to the store any time soon, especially with a vomiting 4 year old!

I am relieved and overjoyed to now have my husband home. I am thankful for renewed energy and strength. But I am also thankful that the Lord helped reminded me that He is all-sufficient. He is my provider. He is my sustainer. And He has placed me in the Body of Believers to bring Him glory and praise.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

just because

I am 34 weeks pregnant, my husband is traveling and gone most evenings, and my girls are adorable. I'm sure my blogging frequency will decrease in the months ahead, so enjoy the pictures while I have my evenings free!

First Ballet Recital

On Friday, Abigail performed in her first ballet recital. Every Wednesday this year, she's gone to dance classes at a Park District location close to our home. The class sizes are small - five to six girls - and the dance teachers are wonderful. She has enjoyed learning some of the fundamentals of ballet this year and often leaps about the house showing us her moves.

I wish you could have all joined us for the recital. Even Hannah sat well through all of the performances - young performers are quite entertaining! They had 2 year old performances up through grade school. 

I was a little bit nervous how Abigail was going to respond to a large crowd of people. There were about 250 very attentive people in the audience, equipped with flashing cameras and camcorders. She didn't smile at all during the performance; I think she was concentrating on all of her moves! But she did a great job and was adorable (of course). I was a very proud mommy!

Please forgive the blurry pictures. I have a little bit to learn about taking pictures in a dark audience!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Easter!

We snapped a couple family pictures moments before Mimi and Papa headed home and my girls headed to their beds for nap time. As always with two young girls, it was rather comical.

 We all think that Hannah looks like my mom and her side of the family :)

I think this picture is hilarious. Camus is about to escape but is enthralled by Abigail. And Hannah is enthralled by Camus.

...the classic "Hannah grumpy look"... and Rodney's, "I'm humoring my wife," look...

Balancing a squirmy almost 2 year old around my big tummy makes for interesting family pictures!

...and yes, I really am that large. I am 33 weeks pregnant this week! And considering my girls came at 38 and 39 weeks, I probably don't have that long to go (especially since Baby #3 is measuring big!).

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Can you tell this was an early morning activity? Everyone looks a little sleepy (except for the kids of course!).

Papa and Hannah making an "Illinois" orange and blue Easter egg:)

I think Hannah was permanently on someone's lap all weekend! She is such a snuggler!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter with Grandma and Grandpa

 Grandma and Grandpa came down on Thursday night to spend the first part of the weekend with us! Grandma and Abigail made Resurrection Rolls first thing on Friday morning while the boys were out picking up some project supplies at Menards. Meanwhile, Hannah was still sleeping and I was making breakfast.

The girls are always delighted to get to see their Grandparents and enjoyed opening a special Easter Basket Friday morning. And in typical Grandma fashion, she had a craft prepared and ready to do with Abigail, much to Abigail's great delight and joy!

This is a "classic" Hannah look. 

My parents ended up coming down as well for the weekend but did not arrive until Friday afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa headed back to Rockford Saturday afternoon because of church commitments. It was a blessing to have quality time with both sets of grandparents.

Between the Good Friday service, some unexpected house projects (cleaning out a blocked drain that has probably been blocked since we moved in), and having an extra four adults and two dogs in the house, the weekend flew by! I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked. I will have to remedy this the next time we get to see them.

Here is Hannah enjoying Salem's company. Salem enjoyed being outdoors with the boys working in our garden and protecting our fruit trees from the deer.