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Monday, December 16, 2013

Labor Encouragement Cards and 35 Weeks

I am having a hard time believing that in about a month we'll be the parents of a precious baby girl.  I mean, when I see my huge belly, it's not so hard to believe.

But when I stop to think about the details of labor, delivery, and nurturing a newborn, I feel like, "WHOA! Not so fast!"

I have begun preparing my labor and delivery encouragement cards so that I can actually study them beforehand this time in order to gain a deeper understanding of each verse, to apply it personally during labor.  I did this last time just about a week before delivering (sat down, wrote out the cards, then put them away until the big day came).  This time I am trying to do it earlier to make it more meaningful, and hopefully will be memorizing some scripture along the way. I have used these links (passionate homemaking,  my joy-filled life, and precious arrows birthing) to help me with it, plus just threw in several of my personal favorites that have a lot of meaning in my life. These are a few of my favorite verses I have on cards:

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I do like the option to buy the pre-made cards, but the elementary teacher in me has had fun writing and decorating them myself with markers.

I think all pregnant women should do something like this if words are encouraging to you in any way.  Even if you don't want Bible verses, you could do helpful quotes, and reassuring things instead.  I have a few of those too, for example I am going to put these on note cards as well because I find them inspiring:
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I also write starter sentence cards and have John complete them.  This is very encouraging for me to read in labor as well.  For example, I write:
"I love the way you.."
"I think you are pretty when..."
"I love it when we..."
"I think you are strong because..."
"Something I admire about you is..."
"I thank God that you..."
and then John fills in the rest of the sentence/card.

So then I have this cool little stack of about 25 cards with Bible verses, inspiring quotes, and encouragement from my husband.  I like to mix them all together and then read them often throughout labor.  It makes it very meaningful and personal.  I think even if you are planning on a medicated birth that these types of cards would be encouraging if words are meaningful to you.  Have you done this for labor? Did you have any other source ideas besides Scripture, famous quotes, and words from your partner?

This is a great website about non-medicated birth and other related things Birth Without Fear. I will also be putting together my playlist of music very soon!

We toured Huntsville Hospital a few days ago, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I had heard a lot of negative things about delivering at HH, however Crestwood is out of network for us (for now - we may change insurances in January).  On the tour I found out that they do in fact do most of the infant-care in the delivery room with mom present (unless it's a c-section, in which case you don't get to see the baby for about 2 hours).  They do encourage and allow immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.  They do the infant bath in the room with the parents, so that the dad can be a part of it!  I asked if they have squat bars, and the guide enthusiastically responded that "Yes we do! We have all sorts of different stirrups and things for you to put your feet in while pushing!"  So I'm not sure if she knew what a squat bar was, or if they have them, but I did like having that during labor last time.  They seemed supportive of our doula, and happy to have her as well.  The recovery room on the fifth floor is much smaller than the one we had at Germantown in Memphis, but it shouldn't be a problem. I think we are going to politely but firmly ask for no visitors while we're in the hospital other than the grandparents.  It's such a short period of time with lots of nursing and bonding, and in a small room it will begin to feel crowded quickly.

We are also being very vigilant about the TDAP vaccination.  I just got one at my last doctor's appointment, and John will get one soon.  We have asked all immediate family to please get vaccinated as well because whooping cough/pertussis has been causing several infant deaths in the past few years.  Having Jonah born in May, I wasn't very cautious of germs/viruses.  Having a baby born in January feels much more virally risky, at the height of cold and flu season.  I am trying to relax and not worry too much about this.  My main strategy is just going to be to breast feed to help her build those germ-fighting antibodies and to stay at home with her most of the time in the first few weeks.  Mommies - how did/do you keep your little ones as healthy as possible?

I measured 3 cm larger than expected at my last OB appointment yesterday, so the doctor is having me get an ultrasound at my next appointment (the day after Christmas).  I think this is funny because I have been telling John that I look just as big right now (35 weeks) as I did with Jonah the week before he was born (39 weeks).  Here's the proof in the same shirt:
Left - 39 weeks with 1st Pregnancy, Right - 35 weeks with 2nd Pregnancy
The doctor said it could be because the baby is just big, or because my body is making amniotic fluid for some reason, or it could just be nothing.  After spending a little time with Dr. Google, because that's always reliable (I hope you can feel my sarcasm), my greatest fear would be that I am measuring large because she is in a breach position, which would likely qualify me for a C-section.  I am praying this is NOT the case because I really really do not want a C-section after having such a healthy regular birth last time.  So, please pray with us for a healthy baby and a healthy, natural labor and delivery again. :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Third Trimester and Learning to be Thankful Despite our Joblessness

Wow! The THIRD Trimester is already here!  Crazy to think this little girl will be here in January! We took a 3 week family trip during the second trimester, and it wasn't until the end of that driving I felt the need to stop and use the restroom every two hours or less like clockwork.  This pregnancy has been very similar to Jonah's except that it's less emotionally scary because I feel her move so much more, and it's more physically uncomfortable.  I taught first grade and we had foster kids almost the entire pregnancy last time, so I know I was even more busy than I am now chasing around Jonah and trying to "keep house" while we stay at my generous father-in-law's.  However, I am finding it more difficult to fit in exercise/to be motivated for it.  Last time I know I did more strength training, and this time I have done more walking.  I pulled out my Prenatal Pilates DVD and remembered what a great workout that is, did it once and haven't done it again.  I am sure it would be ideal to balance walking and strength/pilates, but as the weather gets worse, this is less appealing.  I also like my doctor here, Dr. Edith Aguayo so much more than the practice I went to in Memphis because she is supportive of me going natural, and even trying different positions for pushing/delivery.   The sweet doula, Hannah Ellis, I have this time also has a lot of experience and I am enjoying getting to know her and preparing for labor and delivery.  I am very hopeful that labor/delivery will be shorter and easier than last time.  My biggest goals are to be Group Beta Strep NEGATIVE so that I do not have to get an IV at all, which will also help motivate me to not need any pain medication at all this time.  I am trying to follow this plan in order to help with passing the GBS test.  With Jonah I accepted Nubain after 18 hours of difficult labor and being at only 5cm and exhausted.  He was a total of 24 hours labor.  I am hoping baby girl will be 18 hours of labor or less, so I won't be so exhausted, and will make it with no IV, no medication at all!  Of course, if an emergency happens, I will be open to other options.

Thanksgiving is in a few short weeks, and the month of November is National Adoption Awareness month, but according to facebook it's National Post Daily Thankfulness Status Updates.  Haha!  Last year I did these two posts (First Half and Second Half) about things I was thankful for, totaling 30 items.

This year I am still thankful for much, but honestly struggling to say that I have no worries.  I am still thankful that God has blessed us in so many ways.  The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is so unfathomable.  The longer I am a mother, the less I can comprehend giving up my child for someone else.  I am also immensely grateful for our families during this time.  We are staying with John's dad, and we frequently visit both of our moms.  Jonah adores his grandparents and I love watching him play with them (because they love him and because it means I don't have to chase him for a few minutes).  I am holding tightly to a few verses during this jobless time as we pray for direction and leading.
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I keep telling myself, "We have food and clothing, and more, so we should be content."  I know that every other desire is worldly and not promised by God, but sometimes we struggle to not desire our own space.  A few times we've been asked, "How are you decorating the baby's nursery?" I wish I could say I just shrug this off, but each time it does sting a tad to admit, "She won't have one."  Jonah has a room and John and I have a room, and Karis will sleep in our room in the rock n'play sleeper for at least the first 3 months.  We're just hoping that after that we'll have more answers, and maybe our own space.  This puts it into perspective a little better:
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I mean, what's a nursery compared to that?

We have food and clothing, healthy babies, and all living and loving parents. Please continue to pray with us for a church in which to serve.  We are ready to serve the body of Christ.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cloth Diaper Review

The first time I was introduced to cloth diapering systems was 8 months ago.  Jonah was about 6 months old and I was seeking to increase my milk supply.  I went to this great little store in Huntsville called A Nurturing Moment, because my friend Kimberly worked there at the time and suggested I come in and speak with their owner/lactation consultant (Glenni - who is amazing and was very helpful). While she was with another customer, Kimberly showed me how cloth diapers worked.  I was very intrigued, but I knew we had a lot going on at the time, and I wasn't ready to jump in.  I also knew that my wonderful husband was not going to be interested in this new endeavor at all.  So, I put it on the back burner.  Now, in preparation for not having a job for an unknown amount of time, while we get ready for Baby #2, I decided it was time to invest in some cloth diapers and get used to using them in order to save money in the long run.  I also started to feel very guilty about the amount of diapers and wipes we are contributing to landfill waste.  Did you know it takes between 250-500 YEARS for each diaper to decompose?  That's a rather awful toll be putting on our planet, especially when our guy averages 7-9 diapers a day now, and we are having a newborn in January, who will go through several per day as well.

So, I did some research, and used all the information in this article from the Simple Mom (including links to other posts in the series) to ultimately decide on my very first cloth diaper purchase.  I bought my first order from Kelly's Closet just because I only wanted to make ONE purchase instead of using multiple sites to get things from initially while I tried some things out.  You may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere.  I was a little tired and overwhelmed with searching.

This is what I bought:

One Fuzzibunz Wetbag

One Fuzzibunz Size  Large Pocket Diaper that came with one microfiber insert

One BumGenius One Size Pocket Diaper that came with 2 inserts - one for newborn size and one for bigger babies

One Bummis Super Bright Cover size Large (I think this one is actually a little too big)

A Pack of 6 Bummis Organic Unbleached Cotton Prefolds
Modeled on the Fisher Price Monkey

A package of 3 Size 1 Snappies (they were out of the 2 snappy package or I would've gotten that one - see above picture on the Monkey)

As a bonus for spending so much money shopping there, I got a free Flip Diaper with one flat.

My boss' sweet wife also sews her own cloth diapers and sent over some of their used ones to try, so starting out I had a stash of enough diapers (the flip with the prefolds worked well too) to basically get us through an evening before having to go back to disposable diapers for nap and bedtime, and maybe one extra diaper a day. However, I had to do laundry every single day before we could use them again.
Unfortunately, I did not read about pre-washing the new diapers, and so I jumped straight into using them and Jonah did get a pretty bad red rash.  We went back to disposables for about 3 days while it cleared up and I washed all of the new cloth diapers 3 times (so that made a total of 5 washes - each with an extra rinse). You most certainly SHOULD wash your brand new diapers 4-5 times before using them.  At first I only used Soap Nuts (4 in a little pouch gets about 3 washes before I need to put new ones in), and they worked very well!  If the diapers went more than 24 hours being dirty, and there was a poopy one, then I put 1/4 cup of plain white vinegar in at the beginning of the wash cycle.  Then I dry the inserts and prefolds in the dryer and hang/line dry the actual diapers.  As far as I can tell it is OK to dry the cloth diapers in the dryer, it just shortens their PUL lifespan of being waterproof, and since I am planning on using all of these at least 2 more years, I have decided to do whatever I can to lengthen their lifespan.

I tried using just prefolds and the flip and bummis cover for a few days, but this made him break out.  I think some babies respond better to cotton than others.  Whatever lines the pocket diapers is fine, but the cotton prefolds seem to hold too much moisture next to his skin.  It is also difficult to put on him right now, so I have them put away for baby girl.  I have not tried the cotton prefolds with the disposable diaper liners though, I think that may work better.

Then Jonah peed out of 2 diapers in one day and John was pretty annoyed about it because both times, he just happened to be holding the sweet little guy who got pee all over his arm/shirt, so I got online and did more research to figure out to keep him dry.  I decided that Jonah would be classified as a "Heavy Wetter" even during the daytime (the kid does like to drink a lot of water - which is great for his system, not so great for diapers), and in an interesting turn of events I learned that cloth made from Bamboo is actually the most absorbent.  I then got on ebay and bought all of this stuff:

4 Kawaii One Size Pocket Diapers that came with 2 Microfiber Inserts each

1 Alvababy Bamboo lined Pocket Diaper that came with 2 Bamboo inserts

10 pack of Alva Bamboo inserts - sorry no picture, but they are beige in color and look very similar to the bamboo inserts that came with the Alva diaper above.

10 pack of Charcoal 5 layer Bamboo/Cotton/Microfiber inserts

I promptly washed all of the new materials with my next load of dirty diapers and just did one wash on tap cold with an extra rinse and a splash of vinegar, then left them in the washing machine when they finished and did another wash on hot with an extra rinse and fresh soap nuts.  I decided this was good with those extra rinses, and we tried them all out.

Here was my "Ah-Ha Moment:"

BAMBOO is Awesome! It really is amazingly absorbent!  I put one bamboo insert on top of one microfiber insert in each of his pocket diapers and it kept him SO dry and rash free!!! Yay! I found it fascinating that each time I changed him and pulled out the inserts, (before putting them on my baby, I put the bamboo layered insert closest to the front of the diaper/the pee pee, and then the microfiber layer closest to the back side of the diaper) the bamboo layer would feel almost dry and the microfiber layer would feel completely soaked.  I am calling this "Mommy Science Class" and loving it. I totally think some teachers could use these examples in school science explanations of density maybe/absorbency or something.  I don't know, but it's Cool!

Some things I have learned:

1. I suck at folding prefolds on my wiggling, impatient 28 pound toddler.  The snappy is harder to use than it looks with one hand.  I do like using the prefolds inside of the flip diaper though, and have gotten some more flip-type diapers so I can use the prefolds I have more often.  Maybe our newborn will be easier with this process. I think I also need the size 2 snappy for this big boy!

2. I like the pocket diapers a LOT! I have not been able to choose a favorite between BumGenius, Kawaii, Alva, and FuzziBunz.  I find them equally useful.  BumGenius seem a little less poofy, so his butt doesn't look quite so booty-licious, and I have since bought 7 more of them. However, the Kawaii, Alva and FuzziBunz both have 3 snaps as opposed to 2 (one for the leg opening I guess), and this seems to make them fit more snug for sleeping. I have recently ordered some SunBaby diapers as well, but they haven't come in yet.

3.  I like the bamboo liners inside the pocket diapers more than the pocket diapers with just microfiber.

4.  Disposable Diaper Liners are the BEST investment for cloth diapering!  This makes throwing away the poo super easy.  Instead of trying to dump the poo in the toilet then giving the diaper a "swirly," now most of the poo stays on the liner, and I can just flush the poo and liner together! GET THEM! This was the kind I was given by a friend, and they worked wonderfully.  I am going to try a different brand next time because these seem a little scratchy, so maybe a softer one would be better for the booty.

I read these two lists/instruction posts (a ton of different recipes and further review on why you use different ingredients on making your own cloth wipes solution and I made this:

Cloth wipes solution:
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons baby wash
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 drizzle eucalyptus peppermint massage oil
(I had no true "Essential oils" available)

However, the coconut oil kept on solidifying in the spray bottle (duh, Kelly), and so I just added 2 tablespoons of olive oil and kept shaking it up every time I used it. I later also added a few drops of Tea Tree Oil, and this stuff seems to be very moisturizing and great for his skin! No more rashes! Yay!  I cut up a few old t-shirts and receiving blankets and they work fine as cloth wipes along with the set of Fuzzibunz fleece wipes.  I keep the solution in a spray bottle and spray the cloth then wipe the kid, and toss the wipe in the wet bag. This is definitely better and far more moisturizing for his skin than disposable wipes.

I have also begun to line dry the inserts as well, because it helps them to smell fresher.  I alternate between SoapNuts and Seventh Generation laundry detergent for all of the cloth diapers.

I'll update you on the process once we have a newborn as well! I have purchased a few size 1 SunBaby and Alva girly pocket diapers I can't wait to use!

So, I'm still a newb at this after only one kid/3 months, therefore PLEASE feel free to comment and tell me what works well for you!  What's your favorite brand?  Any tips on prefold-ing older/wiggly kids?

How Parenting has Changed my Prayer Life

I guess it makes sense that at different times in our lives, our prayers will change according to our situation.  However, I have noticed recently just how much parenting has changed my prayers, and I am so thankful for how God has used Jonah to change my heart.

The biggest change has to be the amount of time I pray for my parents and my in-laws.  My little guy is 17 months old, and totally in love with all 5 of his grandparents.  He calls them all either "Nana" or "PawPaw" gender accordingly, and he knows the driveway of all of their homes, and recognizes them in pictures.  He will point at people who look like them and proclaim, "Nana!" or "PawPaw!"  This is a video of him looking for them while we were on our trip:

I love my parents and my in-laws, but now I value their lifespan SO MUCH MORE!  I want Jonah and Karis and all of our future children, to grow up with all 5 of their grandparents for as long as possible.  I pray for their health, physical and spiritual, far more than before I had a child.  Watching Jonah love his grandparents makes me love and appreciate all of them more, too.  Being a parent also gives me a greater appreciation for all the things our parents went through with us!

The other thing I notice, is that I pray for change in myself in order to be a better parent.  As a teacher, I prayed for all of my students by name daily on the way to school, and I would say something at the end like, "Please help me to love them and teach them the way they can learn the best."  As a parent, I pray, "God change my heart to be less selfish, to give more patience, more grace, to be the kind of parent you want me to be."  I think that whenever I go back to teaching, I will certainly still pray for my students, but I will continue to pray more for God to change MY heart more than my students, to make me the kind of teacher He wants me to be.

I think the most important change in my parent's perspective prayer life, is the way I pray for my husband.  John is a wonderful father and husband, but I used to pray very generally for him "Help him to be more patient," etc.  Now, I have made my prayers so much more specific for our lives, thanking God more for all the ways John is awesome, and praying God will help him with the exact things that he struggles with, and that the Lord will show me how I can help my husband.
In the morning, when a cheerful 27 pounds isn't that bad.
That afternoon he had to carry him for just over an hour like this while he slept.
Super Daddy!
This is one of those posts that I don't really know if it will help others, but that I need to take note of in my life to remember things the Lord is teaching me now.  Some days parenting is very difficult, but most days I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to mold and shape little people, who in turn, mold and shape me.

Speaking of "shaping," the third trimester has officially begun and Karis is growing and moving constantly!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Things I Learned in September

I love linking up with other friendly bloggers over at Chatting at the Sky with Mrs. Emily Freeman, however the last few months have been so crazy that I was unable to blog as much, and did not do an August "What I learned" post or much of anything web-wise in September.  So this will be shorter than most of my other monthly posts, but I just wanted to catch up some friends and family and remember this hectic but memorable season.

1.  Baby #2 is a Girl!

2.  Traveling with a 16 month old is just as difficult as traveling with a 4 month old.  Last year around this time we went to Boston and Jonah made us realize that traveling with a baby is COMPLETELY different than traveling alone or as a couple.  We thought it might be better if he was a little older, and so we attempted it again.  Not so much.

We broke down and got him a backpack leash.
3.  Out of the 3 biggest cities I've had a chance to really tour (Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C.), I am positive that D.C. is my favorite.  The layout of the city is very pretty, with gorgeous architecture, not crazy sky-high buildings, and has plenty of natural grass, trees, and, open spaces to make it not feel quite so concrete-jungle-ish as the other cities.  The Metro system of public transportation in D.C. and Virginia is also much faster, cleaner, and easier to navigate than the Subway, the T-Line, the PATH trains, and the AmTrack.
Jonah is photo bombing our picture. :)

Walking to the metro one morning.
4.  After touring so many big cities, I am also sure that I am not the kind of person who could live in one permanently.  I like open space, sky, nature, peace and quiet, and friendly smiles as opposed to blank stares and buildings.

5.  The Pennsylvania Dutch Amish people are fascinating to learn about, cook very delicious foods, and made our stay in Lancaster, PA, a very pleasant experience.

6.  Jonah prefers to stand rather than sit whenever given the option.  This made the open-air train ride in Lancaster very agreeable to him, as well as the Hop-On Hop-Off tour in D.C. in the open-top bus. However, if you are holding his hand he will become "boneless" and drop to his knees rather than walk nicely beside you.  "Terrible twos" have begun about 7 months early.  I'm hoping they will end early, too! (I know this is not likely, but I enjoy the hope.)

7.  Confessing, repenting, and working toward conquering sin with someone to help you and pray for you is much better than quietly trying to hide it, ignore it, fix it alone, or shove it into a dark place and hope no one ever finds it.

8.  Leg cramps in the second trimester are no joke.  Water, bananas, and lots of stretching can help.

9.  Cloth diapers are going well, but are difficult to use while travelling because you MUST wash them after 2 days.  We are kind of off and on with them right now.  When we get home next week I will finish my full review on all the brands we have tried and how successful it has been.

10.  We are so blessed with great friends!  This 3 week trip has only been possible because we've able to stay in the homes of gracious friends about 75% of the time.  We have stayed with a couple with no kids, a single friend, and a couple with a child, and met up to hang out with other friends along the way, and they have all been oh SO gracious and kind and welcoming to our family. I wish I had thought to get a picture with all of our sweet hosts.  It has been such a blessing and a great time to hang out with friends again after being so lonely down in Wabo.
Surprise Baby Shower with friends I hadn't seen in a long time!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's a GIRL! (and other life updates)

We found out this week that Baby #2 is a GIRL! Yay!  I really felt like she was a she the whole time, so I was relieved/overjoyed to find out I was right. :)

I told John it was his turn to surprise me, so I put him in charge of the entire gender reveal.  We were blessed with a great ultrasound in which baby was very cooperative, and we got good healthy reports on all organs/body parts, and the sweet tech showed John the gender and printed him a picture.  I also found out that my placenta is posterior (like closer to my spine) this time, which is why I feel the baby moving several times a day all over the place, unlike Jonah when my placenta was anterior (on the side of my belly in the front), and I only felt him one or two times a day.  After the ultrasound tech found the gender, John immediately took Jonah out (because A. it was nap time and Jonah was losing. his. mind. and B. John was really just there for the ultrasound, and he was OK with not meeting the actual doctor), and I got to meet our new OB/GYN.  I was overjoyed at her easy manor and relaxed, friendly bedside manor, and her total coolness about natural delivery and maybe even *gasp* unconventional pushing positions! Praise God for a good doctor who supports natural labor! I had really been praying about that a lot.

Then, after we left the doctor's office, we went to Party City and John went in there and got everything ready.  That evening we met with my parents, John's parents and his sister and kids at a restaurant in Huntsville.  John's surprise was inside a nice dark brown wicker hamper in the back of our car.  The hamper had a blue/brown polka-dotted cloth liner so I was thinking, "Poor guy, he's already given it away and it's a boy.  I guess God just called me to be a mommy of two boys, and that's OK." (Yeah, I was trying to psych myself up to be happy about a boy, lol!)  Then we got there, everyone ate, and it was reveal time!

 I went over and opened the hamper (in lieu of your typical big box).  Inside I was greeted by - BLACK balloons.  I was like, "Wha?"  John told me to pop one.  Out came SILVER sparkly stars and a tiny slip of paper.  I could only see part of the paper, but from up high I saw "BO" and thought, "Oh, it's a boy."  Then I bent down and picked up the note and it actually said, "The surprise is in the BOX."  Whew! I had to remove several layers of tissue paper - one blue sheet, then one pink sheet, alternating, just to keep us guessing even more to find a white cake box in the bottom of the hamper, under the balloons.  On top of the box were taped both pink ribbons and blue ribbons.  Inside the box was more tissue paper in blue AND pink, and then a bottle of silly string.  The silly string was totally wrapped in black Duct tape so no one could tell anything until I took off the lid and sprayed (drum roll please, da da da DAAAAA!) PINK silly string!  I was super happy.  John did a great job with his multi-layered gender reveal.  I need to set up ways he can surprise me more often, because he did very well with it.
My view looking down at my sweet 21 week belly bump.

As I think about how this little baby is a girl, I feel like there will be more pressure on me as a mom.  Not bad pressure, but change-yourself-for-the-better kind of positive pressure.  I feel like children emulate behaviors from both parents, but more frequently pick up on traits in their same-gender parent to follow for life-long choice patterns.  This means that Jonah is going to want to be like Daddy, do what Daddy does and says, both good and bad.  That pressure is on John, and he handles it well.  Now I think (and hope) baby girl will want to be like her Mommy.  This means I need to do way more self-reflection on whether I am the kind of person I want my little girl to admire and copy.  This leads me to want to work through some inner issues and really fix my self-worth totally in Christ, and let go of socially constructed definitions of "beauty" and "success".

We are naming her Karis Emily.  Karis rhymes with the capital of France, and is the Greek word for grace.  I love the name Grace for little girls, but it has become very common, and I don't want her to be Grace H. in Kindergarten because there are 3 more in her class.  Before I was even pregnant with Jonah, I remember John preaching once in Bartlett and saying it for the first time,
     "The Greek word for Grace that everyone in the New Testament would have said, was Karis...." and I knew right then I would name a daughter Karis.  Emily was my mom's mom - my Granny Em.  My grandmother died when Jonah was 12 days old, and I want to tell you all about her, but every time I start a post about her I end up in tears and just have to stop.  That's how much I loved her, how much I still miss her, how excited I am that I get to name this little girl after her.

I don't want you to think that I desired a girl so much because I don't love my son.  I love Jonah very much.  He has taught me about grace, and patience, and the unconditional love of the Father, more than anything else in my life.  I do love the way he is rapidly learning to talk, and adding new dance moves, and trying to do push ups like his daddy all the time.  However, with this uneasy move, his whole world has changed as well.  Although this means he has QUADRUPLE the amount of attention (hello 2 Grandmas and 3 Grandpas who ALL looooooooooove them some Jonah-man), this does not mean his hyper-silly-independent-rambunctious-temper-tantrum throwing behavior is any better or easier to deal with at all.  This sweet and real post about not liking your kids came just in time for me this week.

Since moving and then the fire, life has not settled down much.  We are almost fully moved into John's dad's house, but it has been a lot of hard work.  I had no idea what tedious, hard work laying hard wood flooring would be.  My husband worked so hard with his father to finish two big areas in the house so that Jonah can safely walk in there.  We have been rearranging furniture and cleaning and semi-unpacking, and trying to keep some sort of consistent daily routine for Jonah.  We have been sorting through things that were in the fire that are salvageable and those that just need to be trashed, and those that need to be washed 5 times so they will not smell like smoke any longer, and then proceeding to wash them. I have not had time to participate in some blog link-ups I was enjoying, such as Five-Minute Friday and the things we learn each month over at Chatting at the Sky.  We are looking forward to rest soon once we have finished "moving."

God is good no matter what.  Although we don't know what He's preparing us for now, in the midst of this strange season of our lives, we know that He has always used our other experiences to prepare us for what lay ahead, as He is even now.  I love the emphasis in this word picture below that all things will work for His purpose, not our own.  Great reminder.
photo credit

John has gotten calls from a few churches already, asking if he's still interested before they go further in their pastoral search, and of course he says yes each time. However, these are preliminary calls as the search committees basically narrow down old resumes from the ones still current.  It gives us hope that churches are looking at his resume, but not much promise in any of them.  I told someone the other day that we feel kind of like we are waiting in an airport terminal for our flight.  However, we don't know where the flight is going, or when, all we know is that our flight has been "delayed."  So, we will wait in this airport terminal of life, to figure out where the next flight goes. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers during this time.  It really does mean a lot to us!