Friday, May 29, 2009

Is it time to take a nap?

I received this and thought wow, I really need a nap. Okay, I already knew I needed a nap but then I read it again and I thought wow, God wants me to take a nap (he he). I tend to push myself so hard typically doing silly little things when really I should be resting and saving my energy for those that matter the most - my family. My boys are so good about taking their daily nap and waking up SO ready to start the second half of the day. I only wish I would do the same. Thank you Brenda for checking up on me and for sending me this reminder to get some rest.

This is for all of you mom's and dad's out there that need a nap:

Is It Time To Take a Nap?

“In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested” (Exodus 20:11 TEV).

By :Rick Warren
From:PurposeDriven.com

Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just go take a nap. That’s because when you’re physically down, it’s hard to be emotionally and spiritually up. The legendary football (U.S.) coach Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” That’s true. It’s amazing how much better things look when you’re rested.

If you’re discouraged right now, it might not mean you have to make a change; it may simply be that you need some rest.

Farmers know that soil needs rest, so they rotate their crops and systematically leave a portion of their land fallow. They do this because land that has rested produces a greater harvest.

About one hundred years ago, a businessman named Frederick W. Taylor did a scientific study on the workplace and productivity. Do you know what his study proved? That people will produce more if they have periodic breaks; and from that, he introduced the coffee break.

Resting is spiritual. The Bible says God “enjoys giving rest to those He loves” (Psalm 127:2 MSG). You may need to put that verse on your refrigerator. The Bible says it’s vain for you to rise up early and stay up late.

The Bible also says, “You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed Your laws” (Psalm 119:73 LB). What are His laws for the body? Eat right, get your sleep, exercise, and relax.

Rest is so important, in fact, that God put it in the Ten Commandments. In essence, He said, “Every seventh day you are to rest.”

Don’t ignore what God established. A good night’s sleep makes a big difference. And even a quick nap can help you see things clearly.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuesday's OB appointment update - 26 weeks

This update is a bit late, but I wanted to post to document it and of course for those of you that didn't get my very brief text update on Tuesday afternoon. So, the appointment went well. It's always hard trying to find the right words to describe my doctors appointments or even my emotions lately. I guess it's fair to say that the appointment went good considering how it could have gone.

Disappointingly, baby girl was being super stubborn and didn't make it possible for the Dr. to get any cute pictures of her. This part was of course a major bummer as I consider the high tech, 4-D pics my bonus for having to go to such specialized doctors. She was however moving all around and kicking her legs - loved this part. Her feet still looked good, no signs of clubbing. There was nothing new with the spine defect location - still looks like L5 - S1. They are still categorizing her hydrocephalus as mild (which can change over time, but we as SO thankful for that category now). Her ventricles increased 1 mm since my last visit 5 weeks ago and is currently measuring at 13 mm. I asked what was "normal" and she said 10mm so we are just praying that it will be a very slow increase if at all over the next 10+ weeks until she arrives.

We are really trying to not focus on the what if's and stay focused on the positive as best as we can. It's been really hard but I do think focusing on the positive is what will get me though this last trimester half way sane. I have been actively researching local resources available, the different types of therapies she may need as well as where many of them are offered. I have also met (via e-mail) a local mom who's daughter has SB and hydrocephalus and she has been a huge help. Her daughter is 6 so she has so much experience that she has so graciously been sharing with me. She has been an amazing resource and I am so looking forward to meeting her, her beautiful daughter as well as the rest of her family. Connecting with these other mom's who have children with SB has been a true blessing. Although, it makes all of this even more real the more I talk/write about it they are all so supportive and encouraging. They have great stories to share about their amazing little ones. I truly believe life will be so much better once she is here and recovered from her surgeries.

Well, I'm tired and starting to ramble so I better get going. Thank you all very much for the continued love and support you send our way. We are truly blessed to have so many people that love us, our boys and our new baby girl on the way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jack's on the world wide web!!

Check out the Lakeshore website this week:
http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/home/home.jsp 

Jack is on the opening page.



SO COOL!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Butterfly Class today

The boys and I took a class today at the Nature Center and it was lots of fun - just what we needed this week. It was all about butterfly's. The kids got to make two butterfly crafts, wear butterfly wings or carry a Caterpillar puppet, walk along the trail on a nature scavenger hunt, catch a bug in a magnifying box and then set it free, help out with the felt board as the teacher read "The Hungry Caterpillar" and sing a few songs. It was a jam packed hour and a half and well worth the $15.00 it cost for the three of us to attend. Here's a few pictures and videos of our fun morning.




video


They really liked teacher Erica - so cute!

video

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jack's Preschool Open House

Tonight was Jack's preschool open house and his class performed an "Our Gang" style Variety Show. Each child was given the opportunity to either perform a dance, song, musical instrument or whatever they chose to do or they could help out in another way like taking tickets, or refreshments, etc. All of the children did a wonderful job! Jack has a lot of very talented classmates.

Jack decided to dance to a song from Cinderella - not sure of the exact name but we call it Cinderelly, Cinderally. He said he was wearing his Belle Beauty outfit (not really sure why). However, it doesn't matter because his high energy dancing and confidence on stage was just great to watch. Benjamin and I were in the audience cheering for him and we were so very proud!




video

After all of the individual performances were completed a group of kids went up and did the chicken dance and a few other songs (itsy, bitsy spider and head, shoulders, knees and toes). Jack invited his brother to join him - it was SO cute! Of course my battery on my camera died so I didn't get any video of Benjamin showing off his dance skills. I did get this cute video of the kids.


video

Feeling a bit overwhelmed :-(

I haven't posted in a while, I guess it's because I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with life right now. Nothing new is really going on, but I think the realities of the near future is starting to set in. I am feeling so tired and uncomfortable and I have to admit a bit grumpy. I can't stand feeling like this and I'm sad to admit that I have had very little patience with my little guys these past few weeks. That makes me feel the worst! I know it's not ALL me though - Benjamin could clearly be the poster child for "terrible two's". He can be SO sweet one minute than he turns into monster boy. Thank goodness he's cute and that I love him dearly!!

As if the pressures of raising 2 little boys and the unknown fears associated with having a 3rd child with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus wasn't enough I had to deal with our heath insurance company today - ugh! I was on the phone with them for almost an hour and I have to admit I really don't know anymore than when I placed the call. We are trying to assess how much it's going to cost for baby girl to have her surgeries. Of course the neurosurgeon is not a network provider so he will be out of pocket. Okay, I can accept that, but what does it mean when they say they cover 70%, of the 90th percentile of usual and customary in your area - what??? It was a very frustrating and confusing call. We are also really torn between having the surgery at Miller Children's Hospital or CHOC. Now it seems as if the decision may have been made for us. The health insurance website says that CHOC is a contracted hospital, but according to the lady on the phone that contract has expired so that might not be the case. We just need a straight answer!!!! We certainly can't go to a non contracted hospital to have a baby and two major surgeries with a non contracted neurosurgeon. I am just very frustrated. I know it could be worse and that I really shouldn't be complaining. It's just a lot.

My goal is to have a better rest of the week so I hoping that getting this of my chest will help me let it all go. The unexpected (and embarrassing) crying I did at Jack's preschool open house tonight should also help (oops) .

Wishing you a good week and continuing to ask for your positive thoughts and prayers.

Nicole

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vacation fun - from the mountains to the beach!

Or should we say from the rain to the sunshine................... We had such an adventure this past week and although it wasn't exactly what we had planned it was a great vacation after all. There was good food, great friends and the AMAZING sights and sounds of Yosemite. What more could we have asked for? Well, maybe for it to have stopped raining and to NOT be so freezing during the night. Yep, the weather didn't cooperate with us. We had a lot, well a tremendous amount of rain for the short amount of time we were there. In an effort to document our trip as best as possible I think I will just write it out like a vacation journal.

Thursday, April 30th - We hit the road a bit later than planned (11:30 am) but better late than never. The drive itself wasn't bad, it was all the potty breaks that we had to take. Between one preschooler, a potty training toddler and a pregnant woman we made several bathroom breaks :-o Once we hit the curvy roads of the Yosemite mountains we discovered that Benjamin gets car sick. He vomited twice in about 30 minutes - poor thing. He was a real trouper and barely cried, just said "sick momma" and "smells yucky". YES it did! We drove the remainder of the way to our campsite with the windows down. We arrived at about 7:00 pm and our friends were all there and thankfully had checked us in. The Wilson's had prepared a yummy dinner and we were very grateful to have a hot meal after that long drive. The campsite was really cool - 3 walled tents with a heavy curtain-type 4th wall. We all hung out until about 8:30 then headed in for bed. Ben and I slept in the double bed and Branden and Jack took the bunk beds. Jack was on the bottom and Branden on top. We actually slept pretty well. It started raining around 10:00 and kept it up ALL night long.

Friday, May 1st - The boys of course woke up super early, but that was okay. It was only sprinkling when we left our tent. We all went for a short walk past our camp and over a bridge. The boys were loving leaning over and looking at the swift moving river beneath. We had a BEAUTIFUL view of the mountains from our campsite and from the bridge. It was an amazing way to start the morning.


We headed back to our camp for a coffee refill and bathroom break. While standing at our camp visiting we saw two deer walking along the river. They were so close and peaceful looking. They were just walking along and then they jumped a little fence to keep on going. The boys (Branden and I as well) thought it was amazingl
y beautiful to watch.


After eating the yummy breakfast prepared by the Powers Family and visiting for a bit, Branden took the boys on a bicycle ride around the area. We are SO grateful to have borrowed our friends bike trailer to haul the boys in. They LOVED it! Thanks again Weems Family!


We all gathered for a nice hike to the Lower Yosemite Falls. Not sure how far it was - maybe 2 miles or so. Not a bad walk, especially since we were all together chatting and enjoying the beautiful sights. At one point our friend Jeff was pushing a stroller with 5 kids on it - 3 were his :-). It started to rain about half way into our walk, but we kept chugging along. It was COMPLETELY worth it once we reached the base of the Falls. It was an amazing sight. It was so strong and the wind was blowing pretty hard so we were getting even more wet from the falls. Ben loved it! Jack was cold and tired from the walk but I know he was blown away by the beauty of the Falls and by being so close to it. We were able to take a shuttle bus back to our camp which was a saving grace. We were able to get off our feet for a bit, dry off in the warm bus and see some more of the sights by bus. It was a really great morning!








The boys were totally pooped after the long hike and both went down for good naps :-) We were grateful! It gave me some down time, and Branden time to go to the laundry facility to wash Ben's car seat and all the yucky pucked on clothes! The rain continued to come down even harder and didn't stop. The ranger came by a few times to let us know that the Merced River, which we were less than 30 feet from was rising pretty quickly and that they might have to evacuate us (yikes!) We were all pretty much in limbo at the point trying to figure out what to do about the rest of our vacation. Thankfully we were still in good spirits and were determined to not let the rain and this news of possible evacuation ruin our trip. We all decided it was best that we eat an early dinner which was prepared by the Outten's with a little help from us (chicken fajitas and beans - yum yum!) to ensure that we weren't having to pack up during dinner. After dinner we all pretty much just stuck to our own tents since the rain was coming down pretty hard. We were VERY happy that we had thought to pack the laptop and a movie. We all cuddled up on the bed and Branden set up a movie for us. We watched Care Bears twice and Veggie Tales once during the short time we were in Yosemite. Jack and I even played our first official game of cards - war! It was a lot of fun and he is so good at identifying his numbers and determining which number/card is higher. It was really special "big boy" time that we were able to spent together.



Saturday, May 2nd - Although, we were never evacuated we knew the rain wasn't going to stop so we made the decision to pack up and drive home. It was sad but was the right decision. We didn't want to leave, but we also knew that 3 more days stuck in that tent with the boys was bound to turn ugly for all. So after a yummy breakfast prepared by the Mather Family with a little help from us (eggs and potatoes) we packed up the truck and headed home. It was LONG drive - took about 10 hours due to all the food and potty stops. Thankfully, we arrived safely and everyone went straight to bed.

We were determined to salvage the last few days of our vacation so we jumped on line and secured the last spot available at Bolsa Chica for Sunday and Monday night. So, Sunday morning we unpacked the winter coats and threw in our bathing suits and headed down to the beach . I will post more about that super fun and relaxing part of the trip soon.

Here's a link to snapfish if you want to see more Yosemite pics: http://www2.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=662678008/a=33561242_33561242/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day Tea Party

This afternoon Jack and I attended a Mother's Day Tea Party at his school. He has been SO excited and talking about it all week. He called it our special date to celebrate "Me". He told me that I needed to wear a fancy dress and that hats and gloves were okay too. He said he was thinking about wearing a tuxedo. He was a bit disappointed when I told that he didn't have a tuxedo. He is SO cute!

We drink tea and lemonade and had some yummy strawberry shortcake.


This is us posing with his wonderful teacher Mrs. Bailey - we just love her!

Here's some video of Jack and his classmates singing us an adorable song.

video

The children sang 2 songs and Mrs.'s Bailey read us a book. Love you Forever by Robert Munsch - one of our favorites. The children each presented their mommies with a hand made card and a beautiful pendant made by each child. This picture doesn't do it justice but I wanted to show it. It is a very pretty pink with lots of sparkle and shimmer.



The card was pretty funny. It was one of those fill in the blanks. Here's what it said:

1. I love my mommy because she is so nice and is very good.
2. My favorite thing to do with my mommy is to play amusement park with her
3. My mommy like to eat pasta with sauce
4. My mommy is 20 years old
5. My mommy has kinda blackish brownish hair
6. My mommy has brown colored eyes
7. My mommy's favorite thing to do is go to Fresh and Easy, Trader Joe's and write me cards
8. My mommy's favorite place to go is Knott's Berry Farm

It was a VERY SPECIAL start to my Mother's Day weekend. Thank you Jack!



OB appointment update

I had my 6 month check up today. It went well and the best part was that it felt completely normal. It just felt like a normal OB appointment where you sit and talk with your Dr. about your upcoming arrival. There wasn't a lot of heavy medical talk. It wasn't depressing or overwhelming like the last few have been. They drew my blood for my glucose screen and they took all my vitals. I seem to have moved past my issues gaining weight. I gained 6 lbs (yes, that's a lot I know!) in the last three weeks. I was pretty happy to have gained but know that I can't keep up that pace or I will be HUGE! She did a quick ultrasound - mostly because I mentioned a decrease in fetal movement. She reminded me that the baby is very small, probably only about 1 lb so I shouldn't expect to feel tons of movement. However, as as soon as our baby girl was on the screen she was moving and kicking all around. It was very reassuring to see her moving around so actively. Her feet looked good - no clubbing was evident. She was was opening and closing her hands and stretching her arms above her head - so cute! Best of all, the Dr. did a quick measurement of her ventricles and there has not been any change (increase) since my last appointment 3 weeks ago. This is very good news as we are praying that her hydrocephalus will not continue to grow and get worse.

Thank you everyone for all of your continued love and support - it means the world to us. I also want to thank my dear friend Cheryl who was kind enough to come over and watch the boys while I was at the appointment today. It meant so much to know that she and her daughter Megan were here with the boys. They had a GREAT time and she worn them out which meant they both took their naps :-) We love you Auntie Cheryl!!!