Persecuted Christians in Iraq: Action Step 1

The Arabic symbol they use to brand Christians or "Nazarenes." Consider changing your profile pic on social media to stand in solidarity with persecuted Iraqi Christians.

The Arabic symbol they use to brand Christians or “Nazarenes.” Consider changing your profile pic on social media to stand in solidarity with persecuted Iraqi Christians.

The recent news of the militant Islamic group known as ISIS or the “Islamic State” has been alarming to read. In short, this group is attempting to implement Sharia law in Iraq by forcing Christians and other religious minorities to convert to Islam or flee for their lives. Last I read, 40,000 have been displaced and ISIS has killed upwards of 1,000 (depending on how much you believe their own reports). Not only are they killing innocent civilians, but they are beheading children, raping women, and branding the houses of Christians so that they will be killed if they ever return. Some reports have suggested that we are on the brink of a Christian holocaust.

Thinking of my own dear son and family, I cannot imagine going through the peril that these Iraqis are experiencing on a daily basis. It is easy to feel moved by these crisis in the world and even easier to feel powerless to do something about it. I read a blog a few days ago that I will share with you that included 5 concrete actions that one can take to help those suffering under the regime of the Islamic State. One of those actions was to write to your representative.

I scoured the internet to see if I could find a sample letter to a representative about the current crisis in Iraq. Why do extra work, right? But I was unable to find anything. Thus, I have written my own letter to my representative that I am putting out here for you. It is as specific as I dared make it (being that I’m no expert in foreign affairs or military strategy) but please make it your own. I know that it can be daunting to write to a politician which is why I felt compelled to share my own letter. I don’t in anyway think that I know the “way” to solve this very complex problem but I feel strongly that it is my calling as a Christian to take a stand against injustice. I hope that in some small way this letter will help you do that too.


Here’s a link to find out who your representative is and how to contact them. I copied and pasted my letter into my representative’s email form.

Here’s a link to the blog with further actions you can take on behalf of those persecuted in Iraq.


Maternity Photos (Better Late Than Never?)

We were so fortunate to WIN, that’s right, I won a drawing for a free maternity photo session with the super talented Mica Sansaver. She is based in Eastern Washington but does many a wedding on our side of the state over the summer so we were fortunate enough to take pictures with her at Discovery Park. If only she could have made me look a little slimmer…;) I believe these were taken only a couple weeks before Levi was born so they show me in all my swollen glory. Hope you enjoy!





























I ruined the heart...oh well...

I ruined the heart…oh well…

Apparently I needed to practice making a heart with my hands

Apparently I needed to practice making a heart with my hands


31 Things I Love About My Husband

Happy 31st birthday, to my love. This post is dedicated to you. The following is a list of 31 things that I love about you in no particular order… ❤


1. Your integrity. You are the most honest person I know. In fact, have you quit smoking yet? 😉

2. Your chin dimple. As Cosmo would say, it’s “swoon-worthy!” But I think it’s rugged and masculine and I hope that Levi gets a chin dimple when he grows up.

3. The way you lead. You have such a quiet confidence that makes following you easy…even for someone like me who likes to be in charge. I see the way you lead others at work and in your DNA group and it makes me so proud. You have a way of inviting people to follow you–because you have a good way to go.

4. The way you pursue Jesus. You are so thoughtful and dedicated in your faith. You are humble and yet quite certain of what you believe, and ready to stand up for it.I so admire the way that you desire to grow and the way you seek out deeper knowledge of God.

5. Your height. What can I say? I love looking up to you!

6. Your spirit of adventure. How many times have we set out on an adventure, I fearful, and you confident that I would have fun? How many times have I had fun? How many times were disastrous? I love that you give me the courage to do things that I would otherwise balk at.


7. The way you love your family. I don’t mean our family–I mean, your family of origin: Mom, Dad, Heather, and Guy. That was something I noticed about you early on in our relationship. You would do anything for any one of them. They are your family and you place the highest importance on that loyalty.

8. How you are as a dad. I love watching you with Levi. You are so sweet with him and so committed to raising him well. I feel so blessed to have a husband who partners with me to raise our child. You are always so willing to help and just as thrilled as I am watching him grow.


9. How you love to spoil me. Does it make me shallow that I love it when you spoil me? But seriously, gift-giving is a major love language of mine and I am constantly surprised at how well you get that! You are so generous to me and thoughtful in your gift-giving.

10. How easy-going you are–without being a pushover. I hope this doesn’t come out the wrong way, but I think it’s one of the things characteristic of our temperaments. I am rather opinionated and you are easy-going. I appreciate that when you have an opinion, you share it, and aren’t afraid to hold to it. But I also like that you are easy-going enough to let me have my way when it’s something that doesn’t matter as much to you.

11. How you warm up my side of the bed for me. If this were an ordered list, this one should be near the top. I love how you do this small act of love for me everyday. Between the two of us, there is enough heat to keep two people warm. My popsicle-toes thank you.

12. Your wit. Somehow you still surprise me with your jokes. You make me laugh everyday!

13. Your intelligence. Your intellect is one of the things that really attracted me to you. I appreciate your innate curiosity and thoughtfulness.

14. Your secret music guilty pleasure. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love me.

15. Your thick hair. You have hair that most girls would envy–thick, dark, with some natural wave. I love running my fingers through it! It’s so sexy!

16. Your romantic side. You love to surprise me, bring me flowers, serenade me with my favorite songs. Some people might think it’s cheesy, but from you, it’s totally sincere. And I eat it up!

17. What a good dancer you are! I miss salsa class with you. Going to Century Ballroom and Yogurtland afterwards. Defying the instructors by refusing to dance with anyone else. We’re just too good together.

18. Your work ethic. When people say this, they usually mean that someone’s a really hard worker. And you are. But you are also a smart worker. You maximize your efficiency so you can spend your free time to do what you want–not work overtime! I love that you are so good at the work-life balance. It’s something I have yet to master.

19. Your contentedness. What I really mean is your lack of complaining. I had to look up antonyms because I wanted this list to be full of positive attributes rather than stating things that you’re not. I appreciate how you take the good with the bad and you never look to place blame or lament your lot. I think I admire this so much because it is something that I sorely fall short in. But that’s one of the great things about this partnership of marriage–I see it modeled for me everyday. And hopefully one of these days I’ll be a little more content or, at least, quieter about my discontent. 🙂

20. Your philosophy of life. Perhaps this goes along with being content, but I always muse on this idea when I’m out in the world being offended by people. You say that if someone didn’t attack or try to kill you, you’re generally happy. When a box of diapers falls out of my cart and a perfectly able-bodied man standing right in front of me doesn’t offer to help me, I get annoyed.

21. Your fish-like swimming prowess. Athleticism is hot.

IMGP1261 - Copy

22. Your ability to relate to a variety of people. When I first met you, you kept insisting you were a nerd but I just didn’t see it. Well, I’ve seen it, babe, and, while I still love the nerd that you are (and glad that you love the nerd that I am!) I also like that you can turn off the tech-speak and translate nerd-culture for me. And, of course, I love that I’m picking up on some of it too.

23. The way that I fit in your arms. Love that I can stand right under your chin.

24. Your ability to grow a beard in record time. Remember when we were in Italy and all the men had that scruffy look and I thought, “my Italian hubby could pull that off…” and you were rockin it by evening next day. (And I love to trace the little whorl along your jaw-line)


25. That we are each others’ favorite. I am so happy that you enjoy spending time with me most of all. And I, you!

26. How you keep me balanced. You are always the calm in my storm. I love how you can de-escalate my emotional turmoil and bring me back to earth.

27. How accepting you are. You love me unconditionally. You never try to change me. You accept my faults and don’t expect any different, but inspire me to be the best me. I have never felt so free to be myself with anyone. You make me feel so safe.

28. Your smile. It seems remiss that I have gotten so far into this list and not mentioned your smile. It makes me feel all warm inside.

29. The way you roll up in the blankets like a burrito. Maybe it’s just the way you sleep in general, but it makes me feel like I can see the little boy you once were. And perhaps still are–deep down. I see so much of you in Levi and I’m so grateful to have such an incredible man as my husband, but also to be his father and role-model of what a man should be.


30. The way you are goofy… is the same way I am goofy.

31. That you bring out my happy dance. Living life with you makes me so happy. So happy, that I can’t contain it inside my body–I have to dance!










I love you, Adam Mitchell! You are the very best person I know and I am so grateful that you chose me. I look forward to each day with you and hope that we continue to grow in our love for one another and for Christ. Happy birthday!

Our adventures with baby-led weaning/feeding

I have to start this post by saying that I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel–you know, the tunnel that is not-sleeping-nursing-every-two-and-a-half-hours-stuck-at-home-all-day-bored-and-overwhelmed. Levi is now 7 months old and we’re occasionally getting to sleep through the night or at least, we listen to him wake, cry for 5 mins, and fall back asleep SOME nights. Other nights we (mostly me) have to get up and comfort or feed the babe. But I just say that because feeding your baby can be such an emotion-laden topic. For awhile, I was at a point where I felt like: “Dear Lord! I have to make Levi take a bottle, eat solids, and/so he/we can sleep through the night! But I can’t do it because I’m SOOO TIRED!”

Finally, by the grace of God I realized…all these things will happen in time. Part of this realization coincided with my new and necessary survival technique of going back to bed during Levi’s first nap of the day. I say “going back to bed” and not “napping” because I am a terrible napper and because I worked to stay sleepy until that “nap”–no coffee, nothing too stimulating. And I stopped worrying about him taking a bottle, because really, he’s at an age where he’ll start to eat solids and eventually won’t need that. Besides, he would take a couple ounces from a baby-sitter–enough to get by until we came home.

Now, I will get on to the whole point of this blog post. Solid foods! At around 4 months old, I began thinking about starting Levi on solids. Yes, 4 mos is younger than the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended 6 mos, but I believed the myth that with Levi being so big for his age, he must be needing solids and that was to blame for all the night-waking. So I asked his pediatrician and she gave me the go-ahead.

blueberry pancake

We started him on the baby rice cereal mixed with breast-milk per the instructions on the box. Levi couldn’t have been less interested. I was so desperate to sleep and thinking as I said before, that eating solids and bottle-taking were the key to relief I tried to force him to eat. We tried some pureed fruits next and had one, maybe two, successful nights when he ate several spoonfuls of sweet potatoes. However, my spirited son could not be coerced into eating from the spoon, and even when we let him “help” he didn’t care much for the purees or spoon-feeding.

green bean

I began as I always do to research the issue and discovered a book about “baby-led weaning” which is a lot more about starting solids than the name suggests. Basically, as I understand it (because I only read a handful of pages from the book), baby-led weaning/feeding skips purees and spoon-feeding and encourages babies to self-feed from the start. This does mean, however, that your baby must have reached certain developmental milestones first, like being able to sit with support, the ability to grasp things and put them in his mouth. Babies generally reach these milestones around 6 mos of age or later.


Interestingly, though we started baby-led weaning at around 5.5 mos, Levi didn’t really start eating the food until about 6.5 mos. I do think that the early start had some value: he learned to sit in his high chair for meals with the family, he got to touch and smell and examine the food and sometimes practiced picking it up and putting it in his mouth. He also gained some valuable experience observing mom and dad eat. One of the memorable aspects of the book I read explained that at first, babies don’t understand that food is consumed to satisfy hunger–they just see mommy and daddy putting stuff in their mouths and they want to copy them.


While I was very frustrated with the slow start (and went back and forth between BLW and spoon-feeding) a week or two after Levi reached 6 mos of age, it was like a switch got flipped. He suddenly was interested in the food we put on his tray and eagerly put everything into his mouth. One of the really great things about BLW is that you feed your baby whatever you are eating–within reason. We don’t give Levi anything that would pose a choking hazard or would prove too large or too tough for him to gum/chew and swallow. This makes preparing meals a lot easier! One thing that many BLW books/blogs say is to give your baby only whole, unprocessed foods. While I generally agree that eating processed foods is not good for you and especially not good for babies, I was worried for a long while that if I didn’t do only organic, single-ingredient foods (which is kind of the philosophy of the spoon-feeding camp) that I would somehow harm Levi. Finally, I realized that, while I strive to serve, whole, healthy and nutritious/unprocessed food to my family, I couldn’t obsess over it either or I’d never be able to give Levi anything! He has been doing great so far! He loves potatoes, yams, wheat bread, and these all-natural chicken breakfast sausages (gotta love Costco!). I feel so proud of him for being so grown up and for developing his fine-motor skills/hand-eye coordination–the other day he even picked up and ate a raisin!

Birch branch craft

Well, after months of threats that he was going to throw them out with the yard waste, I got my hubby to help me with a more “extreme” craft project that I’d been envisioning since we moved into our new house. We bought the house a little over a year ago and the former owners very conveniently left a huge pile of branches that had fallen in the yard from a (not-so) recent windstorm. Fortunately for us, the neighbors’ trees that dropped them are birches and have that lovely white bark on them–perfect for a craft project.

One of the unique features of our house is a small, shallow closet on the landing halfway up the stairs. The top of the closet forms a narrow shelf and above it is open space going up to the ceiling and skylight–perfect to mount a picture OR put an awesome birch tree branch sculpture/thing!

So, I had the vision, weeded out the best looking branches from the pile…and then they sat in our shed for about 9 months. I was pregnant–all the “creative” in me was going into baby!

Finally in November we got around to making the sculpture. A few steps may be missing as far as the pics go, but hopefully, it’ll be pretty self-explanatory.

spray paint (optional)
saw (or trimmer depending on how thick your branches are)
staple gun
25 lbs cement
bucket (for mixing)
drill with mixer attachment
expanding foam (hardware stores should have it–may be called “gap-filler”? I think it’s for plumbing/insulation?)
safety gear (mask, gloves, eye wear)

1. Purchase/paint your planters


I bought inexpensive plastic planters in a terracotta color and then spray painted them with a bronze paint, letting the terracotta show through at the edges to give it more of that worn/vintage look.

2. Cut and arrange your branches

We tried several different configurations making sure that the best looking side of the branch would show when all was said and done. We secured the branches in the planters using some 2x4s clamped onto the planter and some wire that was wrapped around the branches and then stapled to the boards. You could use rope or twine I suppose, we just had extra wire!


3. Mix and pour your cement (according to the instructions on the package)

Here’s where it was nice that my hubby was helping. Not that I couldn’t have done this myself, but drills and cement (things that can cause major damage) intimidate me a bit. We ended up using a gardening trowel to scoop the cement and were careful to clean it well afterwards so it wouldn’t be ruined. There ended up being just a thin layer of cement at the bottom of the planters, but we didn’t want it to be too heavy since we had to lift them 6+ feet.


4. Double check all your branches are in the position you want them in.

This almost seems silly to put as it’s own step, but we only sort of did this and later returned to find one branch was not how it was supposed to be (and the cement had already dried).

5. Spray in expanding foam

After the cement dried, we sprayed in this cool foam stuff. It is super lightweight and dries really hard (quickly). It helps to hold the branches in place but is much lighter weight than the cement. We did not use only spray foam because we wanted there to be some weight in the bottom to keep the branches from toppling over.



6. Remove 2x4s/supports and you’re done!

When it was completely dry, we removed all the supports and put it in position. My strong hubby climbed a ladder and lifted them into place for me since they were still a bit on the heavy side.




I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Thinking about maybe adding some twinkly lights, but wasn’t sure if it would look too Christmasy year round. We’ll see. Maybe next year! 😉

Levi’s Birth Story

As I sit to write this, I take a deep breath and wipe my clammy hands on my jeans. I guess they wouldn’t call it labor if it wasn’t difficult, and not to say that I’m THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER HAD A DIFFICULT BIRTH but this is not one of the Ina May Gaskin birth stories, where we all sang kumbaya to *magically* open my cervix when it wouldn’t dilate at the optimal rate. (Not to knock Ms. Gaskin–she’s actually really great). This birth story is real. And it has a VERY happy ending. But it was definitely the worst and best day of my life. So there’s my disclaimer for any first time expecting moms who might be reading this. I hope that you have exactly the birth experience that you desire and expect (like my cousin who gave birth naturally, imagining herself a dolphin swimming up the wave of each contraction) but that is not my story.

The morning of July 30th, I woke up, 39.5 weeks pregnant. I got up, ate breakfast along with some tums and headed to my water aerobics class that I attended twice a week throughout my pregnancy. I packed my gym bag with an oversized t-shirt and some athletic shorts and figured I’d go straight from my class to my 39 week check-up.

Because my regular OB was out of town, I was seeing Dr. Cook for the first time. As I sat in the waiting room, I remembered how I had joked with people that I would definitely go into labor the week my doctor planned to be gone. But here I was at 39.5 weeks, and no signs of baby showing up anytime soon. As any woman who’s been pregnant knows, I did the usual urine sample, weigh-in, and blood pressure. Only this time, instead of the doctor telling me everything looked good, Dr. Cook basically said, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. You’re going to have your baby today.” I was diagnosed with preeclampsia (like Sybil Crawley in Downton Abbey) and the doctor intended to induce me immediately.

I must have stammered a few questions because I was so completely surprised by this turn of events. I had thought I would go into labor at home; you know, have some contractions, bounce around on my birthing ball for awhile, take a long shower, etc. I do remember asking if I could go home first and get my things (I live only 5 mins from the hospital) and at first, they agreed. I don’t know why they changed their minds, but the doctor told me to call my husband and have him collect my bag before meeting me in the maternity ward.

Before I was escorted to my very own labor and delivery room, the doctor inserted a Foley ball into my cervix to begin the dilation process. After that, there was quite a bit of waiting around and answering questions of the nurse. My husband and later my parents arrived as they began the Pitocin drip. I don’t know the exact times of everything, but my appointment was around 10 am and I was induced in the early afternoon. My dad brought me a sub sandwich which I ate while waiting for the drugs to take effect.

One thing that sort of surprised me about myself in this experience is how determined I was. From the moment I learned that I would be induced, I made every effort to avoid any further interventions and to ensure that labor progressed at a reasonable pace. Over the course of my pregnancy, I read a TON about birth. I wanted to prepare as much as possible and I prepare through research. One of the things all the books recommend when you’re doing a hospital birth, is that you talk with your doctor about their expectations regarding time. The books say that OBGYNs (as opposed to midwifes) have a particular time-table for how labor should progress and that, if you exceed this time-table, you’re more likely to have a cesarean. And many doctors, like mine, will not say that they have such a time-table, but when you ask them how they determine when an intervention is necessary, they will say, “if labor is not progressing appropriately.” So, in fear of this unspoken race to beat the clock, I was determined to do everything I could to make my labor progress and avoid surgery.

Thus, during early labor, my husband and I walked the halls of the maternity ward, talking and laughing in between contractions, both of us excited to finally meet our son. At this point, I expected our baby to be born by dinner time, if not a little afterwards–after all, my mom’s first labor was only 6 hours and with me it was only 45 mins. When my contractions started getting a bit closer together, we returned to the room where I used the birthing ball for awhile. I told my husband that I couldn’t wait to have sushi the minute after Levi was born. My parents were in the labor room watching TV and visiting with us. The contractions seemed very bearable still, but were beginning to ramp up. The nurses turned down the Pitocin as they suspected my body had begun to take over.

However, a little while later, my contractions started to lessen in frequency. Things seemed to be regressing if anything. So they upped my Pitocin again. That’s when things really started to happen. My dad stepped out of the room for a minute and while he was gone, I went from talking and laughing with everyone to moaning from the intensity of the contractions (this was about 7 pm). At this point, I got into the labor tub and turned on the jets. I was beginning to have terrible pains in my back with each contraction and, at this moment, the anesthesiologist decided to do her consult with me. In my birth plan, I had stated my desire to use natural pain-management techniques, but that I was open to medical pain relief if necessary. I had discussed this, and my mild blood-clotting disorder with my doctor at length. So, to my surprise, the anesthesiologist said, “I’m so glad you’re planning to do a natural birth. We do not recommend you get an epidural as you’re at an increased risk of hematoma on the spine which could result in paralysis. This also means if you get a cesarean, we’ll do a general to knock you out.” WHAT?!? PARALYSIS?? I was already in active labor! Shouldn’t someone have mentioned this before? At about this time, the other doctors on-call (since my doctor was out of town) began asking me and my family all kinds of questions about the nature of my bleeding disorder. They seemed to be scrambling to get the information and the necessary drugs should I have a bleeding problem. Again, shouldn’t someone have brought this up BEFORE I WAS IN LABOR??? This incident definitely lowered my confidence in my own doctor and the professionals who were attending my birth.

So there I was, laboring in the tub, with this news that I really had no choice but to do a natural birth. I don’t know about you, but I like choices, and I probably would’ve ended up getting an epidural if I had had the option. Instead, I started cursing out the contractions. I never really swear, but it somehow felt good using every four letter word I know to tell the contractions that I was stronger. As a funny aside, I also asked Adam if I could bite him. (Imagine those old black and white movies where they do a medical procedure and the patient just has to bite down on a leather strap because there’s no pain-relief available). This happened apparently right when the jets’ timer ran out so my mom and the nurse who were in the room heard what I said through the door and had a good chuckle. After awhile, I couldn’t stand sitting still in the tub and I got out so I could walk the halls again. At this time, I realized I was having terrible back labor. In our birthing class, they taught the husbands to press on our backs as counterpressure helps manage the pain. I kept asking Adam to press harder (to me, it felt like he was giving a gentle love-pat to my back) even though he was using every ounce of his strength on top of his 175 lbs to push against me.

It was getting late when I asked the nurse for suggestions on labor positions to help move things along. I was reluctant to have anyone check my cervix as I had also read that sometimes just checking things makes dilation slow down. Plus, I honestly was afraid of hearing disappointing news that all these contractions weren’t really doing anything. So I did squats while contracting, and lunges on a chair. Yup. Think about that for a minute. And I did hands and knees and everything that the nurse told me to do. When they finally did check my cervix and said I hadn’t dilated as much as they expected (I don’t remember the details now) they wanted to rupture the amniotic sac (“break my water”) to initiate more progress. This news made me distraught as I again, remembered from my research that once your water has broken, the time-table is even more strict as there is a higher risk of infection for mother and baby. I asked them to hold off and take a wait and see attitude.

At some point, I transitioned to labor positions on the bed using the bar. I began to feel the urge to push but the nurse said I was dilated 9.5 cm and that I should hold off from pushing or risk tearing my cervix. Sometime around 5 or 5:30 in the morning I started pushing. My water broke with my first push. At that point, I was too exhausted and inwardly focused to even tell anyone until 5 or 10 mins later. After I had been pushing for an hour or so, I asked if I was going to die. It sounds really pathetic, and it wasn’t because of the pain. I honestly feel like at some point, I got over the pain. Yah, it hurts, but the main thing was the exhaustion. I felt like I couldn’t keep going and obviously, the baby had to come out so somehow, in my mind, it seemed logical that I was going to die. Of course, everyone immediately reassured me and then had me change positions.

Finally, at 8am the hospital had it’s shift change. Sweet, empathetic (and helpful) labor nurse left and no-nonsense nurse (and make-shit-happen doctor–who happened to be the one who induced me) took over. They turned on all these bright lights and another team of people came in preparing to take care of the baby (there was meconium in my amniotic fluid). I had been pushing for nearly 3 hours and Dr. Cook quickly saw that I would not last much longer. He kept telling me to push when I thought I was done pushing for each contraction. Adam and my mom said they could see the top of the baby’s head and that he had a lot of hair. “Is he out, yet?” I asked. “Not yet,” I heard in response. After some excruciatingly long pushes, Levi’s head finally emerged. The rest of him was a piece of cake by comparison. The whole latter half of labor I had my eyes squeezed shut, and so now Adam told me to open them and see our son. I looked up and Adam and my mom were crying and the doctor was holding up Levi–it was sort of surreal. Someone pulled down my hospital gown and put Levi on my chest. I remember feeling so relieved that I was done. I was just done. And I was upset because I didn’t have that instant “falling in love” moment when I saw my baby. I just felt relieved to be done delivering him. I was also upset because they put him so high on my chest, he was in my face and I couldn’t really see him. The next thing I knew, the doctor started pulling out the placenta and I protested, “I’m done! Stop touching me!” And so they gave me some drugs and stitched me up, and the other doctors took Levi to clean him up and check him out. And so suddenly, all the attention was on Levi (rather than me) and I just closed in again, so relieved to be done.

Tired and happy

Tired and happy

Levi was born at 8:23 am on July 31st after 22 hours in labor with a total of 3 hours of pushing. He was 9 lbs and 22 inches and had lots of hair–not just on his head, but a fine dark down all over his body. He was healthy and for all intents and purposes, so was I. I just had a lot of pain for the first 2-3 weeks, then some pain for another week or so and then, after awhile, I stopped even noticing it. But remember all that back labor and counterpressure I mentioned? I couldn’t stand up straight for 4 weeks after the delivery because my back was so bruised. But my nurse (the sweet one who labored with me all night long) happened to have another shift the second morning we were in the hospital and told me that Levi was probably posterior (not breech but facing the wrong way if that makes sense) which is why I had all the back labor and that doing all the labor positions that I did likely saved me from having a cesarean. Who can ever really know?

Brand new Levi

Brand new Levi

For the first 8 weeks post-delivery I would have said that Levi would be an only child because I never ever wanted to do that again, but now that I’m fully healed and I’ve seen how quickly babies change and grow, I know I have to have another one. And I have no qualms about it. I mentioned earlier that I didn’t experience “love at first sight” with Levi, but, that little boy has since stolen my heart in a way that I can’t describe–couldn’t even fathom before he was born. And I loved him then too. Ultimately, I believe that God gives you what you need when you need it. Strength and determination to persevere. An empathetic nurse to guide you through the long, dark night and a take-charge doctor in the morning when you’re ready to give up. Of course, the biggest blessing–your child. His smile brightens my heart after every frustrating night when I don’t get to sleep as much as I need to. God has also given me a partner to share in the burden of childcare too. So, that is my happy ending. Joy in the midst of pain. It is a most potent life to live.

Going home

Going home

From “play” to “zzz”

ABC Photobook It’s been a LOOOONNNGG time since I’ve posted, due to pregnancy tiredness/laziness and then the new babe! To kick off my return to blogging, here’s a photobook I made for Levi on Shutterfly. I’m super thrilled with how it looks! Just hoping it prints as well as it looks on the computer. I’ve been doing tons of crafts now that I have someone so cute to make things for! And now that we’re in the house for the holidays, I’m super excited to make decorations. I LOVE Christmas. SO MUCH! And having a child to share all the joy with makes it all the more of a magical time for me. Anyways, I hope to get those other crafts up as well and to write out my birth story. That may take awhile. Anyways, hope you enjoy the book–may it inspire you to do your own! Shutterfly has all kinds of coupons/discount codes active right now for the holidays!

24 Weeks

Hello, everyone! This may be a short post, but I wanted to get my pictures up before they’re too old! Recently, we went to the Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley. I forget the actual numbers but the area rivals Holland in the number of tulips they grow. Unfortunately, it was a typical Seattle Spring day, and it rained most of the afternoon. We did have a fun adventure though–it was definitely nice to take a break from housework/chores/errands and just spend the day together exploring.

Cheezy pic in the tulip field

Cheezy pic in the tulip field

I had my 24 week appointment this morning and as a follow-up to our last appointment, we got to do a short ultrasound and see baby’s face! He is adorable and definitely has his daddy’s nose.

Look at that adorable profile!

Look at that adorable profile!

In other news, Adam’s grandfather has been in poor health recently and his parents have been in Louisiana to help care for him. It is upsetting how quickly his health seems to be deteriorating–we continually pray for his comfort, peace, and guidance for the family members who must make decisions concerning his care. We appreciate all the people who are praying for PawPaw Roy and supporting our family. We love you PawPaw!

August visit with PawPaw

August visit with PawPaw

Below is the belly pic. It seemed like the belly (and weight gain) were slow going for awhile, but it certainly has picked up now! It is kind of startling how much I’ve gained so far, but I keep exercising and trying to eat right (but even if I wasn’t pregnant, I’d have to have the occasional indulgence) so I hope it’s all baby! My feet definitely notice the extra poundage. And back! Other than that, I’m still feeling pretty good.

Looks like I hid a cantaloupe under my shirt!

Looks like I hid a cantaloupe under my shirt!

22 Weeks and a Hat

Hope everyone had a beautiful Easter! Ours sure was great. Not only did we have fantastic weather the whole weekend long (which is unusual for Seattle in the Spring), but we got to spend a lot of time with family–our church family included. We had Adam’s parents and brother and sister-in-law visit us for the weekend, and enjoyed Easter brunch all together at my parents’ house. We celebrated the fact that Jesus is alive along with my brother’s birthday and mine (which happened to occur the same week as Easter this year). As it was my birthday on Friday, everyone pitched in to make the weekend fun and relaxing for me. It was really nice to be so spoiled! I didn’t have to do all the cooking and cleaning that usually comes along with house guests and I still got my regular naps in. 🙂

To celebrate my birthday, my mom, MIL, college roommate, and her mother went for pedicures. This day of pampering would not have been complete without a trip to Starbucks for a soy coffee frappucino (decaf of course) and some shopping (at Destination Maternity). I now have two pairs of maternity jeans! I am thrilled about having a second pair because as much as I wanted to rely on the belly bands I have and wear my same old pants, they really only stay up if I never bend or try to sit down. I also got treated to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the area. Check out our view!

Kirkland Marina at Sunset

Kirkland Marina at Sunset

For those of you who are not Facebook friends, we have some exciting news!

Baby Mitchell is a boy!!

Baby Mitchell is a boy!!

We were so thrilled to find out that we’re having a boy! The ultrasound was really quite an experience–we got to see our little boy’s heart, hands, feet. He definitely has his daddy’s big feet! 😉 And he was not modest at all as you’ll see in the ultrasound photos. He was however, “semi-cooperative” according to the ultrasound tech (which I know means he was also semi-uncooperative), as he would not move into a position where we could see his face. Fortunately, my doctor is generous and allowed me to schedule another ultrasound right before my 24 week appointment so we can try to get a peek at that cute little nose! (She knows what first time parents want! Pictures!!!). In the meantime, I have to satisfy myself by looking at his cute feet and feeling them kick me, usually most forcefully when I’m drifting off to sleep.

20 Week Ultrasound Pics

As far as projects go, Adam and his mom installed our new garage door opener, which is fantastic! Our old one was so unreliable. You had to wait and watch it go all the way down (and make sure it stayed down) and, as it neared the end of its life, my remote almost stopped working entirely. Not good for someone who perennially runs late! Our new GDO opens, closes, and even locks! I feel like our house is more secure with it.

Another development is a bit more unwelcome…We have a woodpecker problem. Any suggestions (other than killing it–which is illegal) are welcome. What sounded to me like hammer blows at the house under construction behind us, turned out to be a beautiful red-headed woodpecker creating a hole about the size of a tennis ball that completely infiltrated our siding. The bird ripped out bits of insulation that fell on top of our hot tub cover and blew around the yard. We, being very clever humans, put up a piece of metal flashing over the hole…only to find that the bird later came back and made two more holes (these ones at least don’t go all the way through the siding) in the side of our house. We have scared it off several times and it hasn’t been here since Saturday (as far as we can tell) but we’re still concerned that we may have a bug problem or nest inside the wall of our house. And the bird may still come back. Why the vendetta, Woody??

Speaking of projects, I have completed my first baby craft! I’m sure all of you have been wondering with a blog titled “Creately” why there are so few crafts actually posted on here. My main problem is that I always, always forget to take pictures with each step. And not that I have remembered to do so this time, but at least I can give you a decent pattern to replicate the baby bear hat that I knitted. I adapted patterns from and The hat was quick to knit up, other than the time it took me to make adjustments to the original pattern. According to iceblueberries, the final product should be about 14″ in circumference and fit a 3-6 month old. Mine might have turned out a hair bigger, but nothing that a little shrinkage in the wash shouldn’t take care of. Should be perfect for our baby’s first winter! Check out the pictures and the pattern below!

Front of hat

Front of hat

Back of hat

Back of hat

Baby bear hat pattern

20 Weeks and Poppin’!

Hi everyone! I am SO behind in blogging…it’s really shameful. It’s not that I’m too busy in general. Not working leaves me with plenty of free time. It’s just that the weekly bump photo is something my husband and I do together–i.e. he is the camera man. And we have been remiss in taking it because we’ve been rather busy in the evenings…and/or (truthfully) I may be in sweatpants and NOT fit to photo some evenings by the time he gets home. So, here’s my long overdue post and you may notice that my bump (taken at 19 weeks) is significantly bigger than the last one. For those of you who only know me through my blog, this may seem to be due to the fact that I haven’t posted in 4 weeks, but I must say, it really has gotten a lot bigger in the last couple of days even! I can definitely feel baby has changed position (more on top of my bladder than ever before) and is higher up then s/he used to be. Finally, I will get some belly cred! 😉 What I mean is, when I go to BabiesRUs to look at strollers, or when I peruse the Target baby clothes section, I feel like I usually have the smallest belly which somehow means it’s less “legit” for me to be there. Pregnancy is certainly the only time in life I will ever be excited to see my stomach grow and the scale tip a little farther to the right!

I haven’t had many “home improvement” projects lately, but I have been working in our yard! On the rare sunny day, I have made the most of it by getting outside to do a little work. I pruned our hydrangea, which had tons of brown/black dead flowers on it from last season. It looks so much better now! I tried to be brutal, but kept as much new growth as possible. I also spent a day weeding the front flower beds (wearing the gardening gloves my mom gave me), but found this proved a challenged with some weeds considering I have no trowel or fork to loosen the dirt with. Similarly, getting in the right position to pull the weeds was also difficult as I have not yet invested in a kneeling pad and, let’s face it, wearing old jeans with a belly band makes the whole pants-staying-up thing kind of a game. Speaking of yard work, we felt like true homeowners this last weekend when we bought our first lawnmower! We got it used at a good price and Adam immediately set to work mowing the lawn. I hadn’t realized how long the grass was until he was all done and our yard looked so much better! Now we just have to conquer the moss in the back yard…

Learning to garden!

Learning to garden!

Otherwise, I have been trying to get involved in some more volunteering. This has been a surprisingly lengthy process. When Adam and I moved, we decided to check out a new church closer to our new home. And this church isn’t just new to us–it’s a recent church plant that meets in a local high school. I found out about it through high school friends who I keep in touch with over Facebook. Anyways, we love our new church and are excited about all the great people there, but also the opportunities we have to be a part of something new that God is doing! I found out about a tutoring program at the school that we meet in which has apparently been trying to recruit volunteers from our church. I talked to the right people, filled out the forms, went to the orientation, and emailed the site coordinator. I was all set to go this week–and REALLY excited about it. Something to do during the day to fill my time! Something that uses my skills and passions! Something that gets me out of the house! Something that allows me to experience community with other people (grocery store interactions don’t count!)! So I was pretty bummed when I heard from the site coordinator that they were not having tutoring this week due to a Friday teacher in-service. I am just trying to be patient and put my trust in God’s timing!

My other volunteer project involves working with our homeowner’s association. When we first moved in, I noticed that there was a “Community Relations” position on the board open. I emailed to volunteer for it, but found out at the first HOA meeting that they’d already filled it by moving a few people around on the board. But, I got to meet the Community Relations person and she asked me to assist her in planning the neighborhood’s annual Easter egg hunt! I was so excited, I got on Pinterest and started going crazy! Of course, I heard back that some of my ideas are a little too involved considering our short timeline, but I’m looking forward to meeting with the board member to plan some more on Friday. I’m really hoping that the weather holds out for the kids–looking for eggs in the rain isn’t too much fun!

Besides Easter, we have some exciting things coming up in our lives. Next week we find out the sex of the baby!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only am I thrilled to learn this piece of news, but I am so excited just to see the ultrasound of our baby. The last one it was still so small and barely “baby-like” in appearance. It’ll be good to see him/her again! After that, we have my birthday at the end of the month, followed by Adam’s 30th near the end of April. I think I’m starting to get some good ideas for him…shhh… 😉

Blue or Pink? Find out next week!!

Blue or Pink? Find out next week!!

I know I usually do some Prego/baby stats and symptoms, but because it’s already a long post, I’m going to save that for next time. Besides, after we find out the sex, I’m sure to post again VERY soon (or I know there will be a severe outcry for ultrasound pics!) ;). So, without further ado, here’s the bump pic.

19 weeks and a few days...

19 weeks and a few days…