Monday, October 29, 2012

Savoring the moments??

Last week was a rough week in some ways.  On Wednesday, a friends son was in a car wreck.  He was 21 and died from his extensive injuries on Saturday.  Also on Wednesday, my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy; he lived 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Both incidents have been a major reality check for me. 

On that same Wednesday, I had been rushing around here trying to get house work done, laundry caught up, and getting ready to leave for our annual ladies retreat. I know I turned Elijah down, more than once, when he asked me to read a book or play with him.  I remember telling him that Mommy was just too busy.  Then the news reports and Facebook posts started coming through.  I was devastated and felt about 2" tall.  Devastated for my friends and family... and realizing how I take my own family for granted.

I've asked myself the same question over and over... if I knew my son would live to only be 21, what would I do different?  How would I handle his picky eating if I knew tomorrow he would draw his last breath? Would I hug him more?  Would I play with him more?  Would the way he picks on his baby brother really be that big of a deal?  I realize I still have to set boundaries for him, but honestly, you and I both know what the priorities would be if we knew our child's hours were limited.

The name of my blog is "Savoring the Moments".  Based on how I don't want to forget anything about their childhood.  First of all, I'm terrible about blogging so I can't really count on this being a good remembrance.  Second of all, who cares if I remember in 50 years?  I've realized that I need to live in this moment. Be grateful for today.  This moment, this hour.  If I can't remember the exact details, it won't matter.  But, if I can make a difference in the life of my child... if I can build a solid relationship with him today. Then tomorrow (or 50 years from now) the memories will be precious, and I'll rejoice knowing I lived in the present.  Oh I'll keep making notes on the calendar... I'll keep posting little incidents on Facebook... and occasionally I'll blog.  But my focus will be: God and my family. 

To the Armstrong and Tarrance families:
May God give you His peace that passes all understanding. 
May He wrap His loving arms around you as only our Heavenly Father can. 
Rest in knowing that Brian and Cooper will never hurt again. 
They are dancing together... rejoicing with the angels. 
And if they could speak to you, they would tell you:
"Keep going.  Hang in there. It will be worth it all in the end!"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 8

I cannot believe 8 weeks have already passed since Gabriel joined our lives.  He's been such a joy and blessing.  I'm already seeing him going longer between feedings.  He's now in size 2 diapers.  He smiles and coos in response to our talking to him.  He is just so stinkin' sweet!  I love kissing his chubby lil' cheeks and chin.

I'd intended to blog about the changes in our lives on (at least) a weekly basis.  But here it's been 8 weeks and I've blogged once? twice?  I must do better!  I want to treasure these days because I know they'll pass forever.

I'm loving being a stay at home mom.  It amazes me how quickly the days pass.  I seriously think they go by quicker now than when I was working.  It's unbelievable! It seems I should have all this extra time, but ha! What's extra time?  I was sure that I'd get my work done for the day and have the evenings and weekends to chill with my boys.  Ha!  I find myself doing nearly as much on the weekends and evenings as I did when I was working.  It's nice to have the extra support of Daddy while I'm cleaning like a crazy lady. :-)  I've made time for a few extra projects, but not like I'd hoped!

Financially God has blessed us incredibly.  No, we're not rolling in dough, but all our bills are paid.  Plus, when in drought, the lawns Chris mows weekly had dried up.  We were thinking we would have to do without that extra money when suddenly Chris got orders for multiple garage door installations and repairs.  Yep, the extra money we though we were giving up.  Then, when the garage door orders ran out, it rained!  Enough to make the grass grow and need mowed again!  Isn't God good?  I could never praise Him enough for all He's done.

Elijah has adjusted well to having a big brother.  He gets a little rough at times.  We have to watch him like a hawk.  I decided to try changing tactics.  He loves to 'help' with anything we're doing.  Today I talked to him about Mommy needing a helper.  Someone to put Gabe's pacifier back in his mouth when he started crying... or someone to gently rock Gabe's seat... BUT, that helper must be someone that was gentle with Gabe.  He loves to help and promised he could handle it.  I hope it works!  So far he's done super well today!

Chris is an incredible husband and father.  I love him so much and appreciate all the sacrifices he's made so I can be at home. He works so hard and still comes home and spends time with us.  His love language is "Acts of Service"; it's apparent by his daily service for us.  He hurt his foot terribly right before Gabe was born, which means all his extra work is done on that hurt foot.  I'm believing God will heal his foot completely. 

A couple weeks ago Chris and Elijah went "camping" in the back yard.  Elijah was SO excited!  Here's a pic - check out the excitement on Elijah's sweet face:

I should get off here and get dinner started.  Gabriel will be waking up any time needing to eat... probably about the time I get right in the middle of cooking!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gabriel's Birth Story - July 2, 2012

I wasn't going to take the time to type Gabriel's birth story... I mean, how exciting is a planned c-section?  But then I got to thinking about how much I've been forgetting lately!  I really don't want to forget one minute of either boy's births.  So here goes...

On Sunday night, July 1st, we tried to go to bed at a decent hour.  Granna and Papa (Miller) were her to keep Elijah for us since Chris and I needed to leave the house by 4:30 AM.  However, little Gabe wasn't about to let Momma get one final night of rest... the heart burn, his continual movement, and the continual contractions left me with about 3-4 hours of sleep.  We got up at 4:00 AM, July 2, to head towards Freeman Hospital in Joplin.  We couldn't figure out WHY on earth we had to be at the hospital two hours early!

We arrived and admitting directed us straight to the Birthing Center.  It was a bit surreal walking down those hallways knowing in a few minutes I would meet the little man we'd waited 10 long months for.  I remember walking to the nurses station and being told we'd need to head straight to the prep room.  We walked in and were greeted by two wonderful nurses whose names escape me at the moment.  (see what I mean about already forgetting?)  I think one's name was Melanie; she was still in training.  In fact, she was anxiously awaiting her bar results that day; she'd just taken the test the previous week. Still, her care was completely faultless.

It took right at two hours to prep me for surgery.  All the questions, the monitoring, the IV (ugh!), all of it took the full two hours.  Then I walked, yes, I walked to the OR.  I remember cracking jokes with the nurses who were already suited up and waiting for me.  All I could see were their eyes - in fact, at one time, I told them "I can't tell who's talking to me!"  We all had a few laughs... they asked how big my first baby was (8 lb, 8 oz) and wondered if I knew how big the doctor was expecting Gabriel to be.  I told them Dr Langer was expecting Gabe to be at least 8 lbs.  We also joked about the possibility of this baby actually being a girl!

Dr Langer walked in the room and within seconds we were ready to begin.  Chris had joined me by then and was tucked securely away behind the curtain.  The nurse who gave me my spinal gave me a "play-by-play" so we would know their progress.  It seemed to take forever, but really, was only a few short minutes.  I remember the nurse saying "Get ready Daddy, he's about to make his appearance."  About that time, I heard the most heart wrenching infant screams.  Chris stood up at this point and started snapping pictures.  He later told me that Gabe was screaming before he had exited the womb!  Which means, Chris got a full view of my guts when he stood up to get that first peek at our baby boy! 

It seemed Gabe screamed and screamed... and I cried and cried. I was thinking "oh boy, we got ourselves a live one!"  Somewhere between the screams, I heard the words "9 pounds" and boy, I was shocked!  I couldn't believe I'd had a nine pound baby!  But then the real surprise came when I heard "13 ounces"! That's nearly 10 pounds of baby!  Wowser.  (My total weight gain was 26 lbs) The first thing out of my mouth was "thank you God, I didn't try this on my own!"  I meant it sincerely.  As I laid there listening to him cry, I cried right along with him.  Couldn't help myself.  I was so happy he was finally here... Official arrival time: 8:01 AM.

It seemed forever, but in a few minutes I heard the crew coming bringing me my little man so I could meet him for myself...

What a precious moment.  Just recalling it brings tears to my eyes... so many emotions in that moment.  Of course, I had to kiss him.  I remember him immediately reacting to my voice - that's such a sweet moment for me. I know this sounds silly, but it just confirms that he's mine!  All mine!

The team, Daddy, and Gabriel moved on... Dr. Langer ended up needing to do some reconstructive surgery from my prior c-section which delayed my moving to the recovery.  However, once in recovery, they brought Gabriel back to me to feed him.  His blood sugar was very low - but feeding him brought it right back up to normal.  Thank you Lord!  He nursed like a pro for 30+ minutes! 

Of course, big brother, Elijah had to come meet Gabriel. 

I'm so thankful for the very short few minutes our little family had together in the recovery room.  Elijah was so excited and promptly proclaimed Gabriel as "so cute!"  He'd brought his gift for Gabriel and immediatly opened the gift.  It was a "silky" for Gabe.  (A fuzzy blanket with a satin ribbon edging - very similar to Elijah's "silky") 

The nurses from the Birthing Center then wheeled me down the hall to my room.  We made a brief stop by the nursery window and spoke with my sister and sister-in-laws.  Once in my room, the rest of the day became a blur.  There were so many visitors in and out all day long.  Mostly family anxious to meet our new addition. 

I do remember being so shocked at how good I felt.  Even when it came time to get up and walk, the difference is unbelieveable when compared to my first c-section.  (Which occurred after 20 hours of labor)  I actually walked to the bathroom - not shuffled as I had the first time.  My pain was managed so much better this time.  I took the pain meds faithfully with no apparent side effects.  I couldn't have asked for a better delivery.

I would love to go back and personally thank each member of the nursing staff at Freeman for their care of Gabriel and I.  However, I know I'd end up missing one or more of them.  One Nurse Tech that will forever stand out in my mind is Amanda.  She was my NT for three shifts during my stay there at Freeman.  She was so patient, so gentle, and kind.  She's the kind of nurse I'd want to take care of me and my family.  I pray God blesses her for her kindness to me.

I'd also love to personally thank everyone that helped our family during this time.  Whether it was keeping Elijah occupied, making a meal, coming to visit, etc... we are sincerly grateful from the bottom of our hearts.  "thank you" just doesn't seem adequate. May God richly bless each and every one of you.

Click HERE to see a full album of pictures.

Gabriel Josiah Beard
July 2, 2012
9 lbs 13 oz
21.5 inches

Friday, June 29, 2012

Good-bye Full Time Employment!

Today is the last day of full time employment and the beginning of full time Mommy-hood!  All those times I've joked about going to work to "rest up"... well, now I'm wondering if it wasn't just a joke!  Actually, I'm very excited and just pray God helps me with the upcoming challenges that SAHM's face on a daily basis. 

Let's get this day started!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I don't think I blogged about the recent 'battle' I had with our insurance company trying to get my doctor covered as in-network... it's a long story. One that I'll spare you now. Bottom line? I have a "new" doctor...

However, I'm not overly crazy about my new doctor. She's sweet, nice, and all the things a doctor should be - but as a doctor, I just can't figure her out for multiple reasons. She gave me the option of VBAC or C-section - but seemed frustrated that I chose C-section. I was leaning towards VBAC when my sister-in-law, in her great wisdom, reminded me that my original doctor, Dr. Chesney, hadn't given me an option. She reminded me that he was making his decision based off my medical history, my previous delivery experience, etc. The new doctor was making her decision based off statistics. In addition, she'd warned me (as had Dr. Chesney) that the complications I'd had with Elijah had a risk of re-occurring. So here's my theory... if there's a good chance it will end in C-section, why go through 1 hour of labor? Why not get it done and over with?

So I opted for C-section. It's scheduled for 7:30 AM on Monday, July 2nd. Of course, now that I've made my decision, doubts have plagued me. Have I made the right decision? Maybe I should attempt this delivery naturally? I decided to put my decision in God's hands. My prayer is that if I'm supposed to have this child naturually, I want to go into labor on my own and deliver without complications. I have to trust that God is in full control of this delivery!!

So, I have less than two weeks. Part of me can't believe it's already here... the other part of me wonders if the next 12 days will ever end? Nesting seems to be slowly but surely occuring. I think I'd be nesting in full swing if I wasn't so stinkin' tired after work! :-)

I can't wait to meet my little Gabriel Josiah!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elijah's Park

My lil guy is so excited to have his own "park"! A few weeks ago our neighbor sold us her sons jungle gym Last week Daddy and I set and cleaned it up under our trees in the backyard. We also moved his swing set to sit near the jungle gym. He's loving it!

He has three slides, two swings, and a tunnel!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why do I doubt?

I blogged a while back about how God was working in our lives, blessing our decision for me to stay at home after Baby Boy #2 arrives. Well, He hasn’t stopped yet. I’ve been wanting to post this – for two reasons: 1) to give the glory where glory is due, and 2) so I won’t forget!

Home Mortgage:
When we financed our mortgage 8 years ago, we got an outstanding rate of 4.87%. Fast forward a few years (still pre-FPU) we took out a Home Equity loan – at a whopping 7.99%. After FPU, we’d talked several times about combining the two, but just hated to give up that beautiful 4.87%. After baby #2, we decided to move forward – even at 5.5% we figured we’d be money ahead. Guess what – when all was said and done, our new mortgage interest rate is 4.5%! Not only did our financing come through without a hitch, we were given an even better interest rate! In this economy?? Yep, even in this economy, God is able!

401K – Part 1:
One of Chris’ stipulations was that I’d cash in my 401K after quitting. At first, I was adamant that I would NOT cash in over 10 years worth of savings. Then a Still Small Voice spoke to my heart and said, “Did I not promise to provide? Will you really reject My provision?” That made me stop and re-consider… And yes, we’re both aware of how Dave Ramsey would feel about cashing it in, but we both agreed this is what we should do. The funds would then pay off (or nearly pay off) our last two remaining credit card debts.

I mentioned this part of the plan to our HR Director; she advised me that our 401K could not be touched until the 1st quarter of the year. Something to do with the company 401K policies. Although disappointed, Chris and I were glad to know this ahead of time and set aside money to make those credit card payments for a few months.

Well, a few months later I happened to mention it again to the HR Director. She looked at me and said “oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I asked about that and found out it’s not in the company policy after all.” She’d found out that our CPA’s had advised the company to write the policy this way – but due to the cost of re-writing a 401K policy (and because our turnover rate is very low), the company had chosen not to make that change. Wow! That means our funds will be available within weeks after I leave.

401K – Part 2:
I received my 2012 first quarter statement a couple weeks back and was AMAZED at how much that it had increased over the past 6 months. We’d received our 2011 3rd quarter statement the day after I found out I was pregnant. In the past 6 months, my deposits are around the $360 mark – our interest has paid off several thousand! How? In this economy? Could it really be possible? I double checked the two statements and found that yes, even in this economy, God is still in control!

Chris’ pay:
Chris noticed he’d been getting several bonuses lately. His boss told him they’d like to do it for him on a regular basis – as long as they can afford too. Considering that 2011 was the company’s second best year on record, (yes, in this economy!) I know God is able to take care of the company – and keep those bonuses coming!

Chris has mowed yards for a few individuals over the past few years. Not really a full-blown business, but yet, a little extra money on the side. He’s picked up two new yards to mow – located within a block of our house. They pay well, and only added about an hour to his mowing time each week. In fact, after a few recent changes, all of the yards he mows, except one, is within a block of our house. This is extra income – but doesn’t cut into a lot of our family time!

“No” is still an answer:

There’ve been two things we’ve prayed for specifically and God has said “no”. I’m okay with that – because I know He is in control and can see the end from here.

The first was our insurance… it changed on 1/1/12 and my OB/GYN is no longer in-network. They claim to offer a new member benefit called “Transition of Care” which is a benefit that gives your out-of-network provider in-network benefits for a limited amount of time. I did everything I possibly could to get this benefit, but because I wasn’t 20> weeks pregnant on the date the policy took affect, they denied me this benefit. I have switched doctors and although I miss my doctor terribly, I remain confident that this has happened for a reason.

The second was my short-term disability benefit… I don’t qualify for the STD pay unless I pay for COBRA coverage – which is well over $500/month – and even then, the most I qualify for is two weeks pay. Nope – not worth it! Again, I remain confident that God is in control and will supply all our needs! He promised too!
The unknown is a bit scary. I’m not gonna lie. I have concerns and a bit of anxiety over this huge transition. But I can honestly say, I have complete peace about our finances. And those other fears? Well, I know that the righteous is never forsaken. Even in our darkest of darkest hours, we’re not the ones in control. God is faithful and my hope remains in Him. My Redeemer is always, faithful and true!