8 Months!

Wow. 4 more weeks have passed already and I'm now into my 8th month at 32 weeks! (You are actually pregnant for 9 full months, so I guess technically you can say almost 10 months).

So, here's the belly. It honestly doesn't look much bigger to me than the picture at 28 weeks, although it feels bigger. This picture also looks like the baby is lower now. Which I don't think it is. I can still feel it' feet in my ribs! (What I think is it's feet at least. haha).

32 Weeks
(8 Months)
  • Baby O. is about 4 lbs., and 17 inches long from head to toe and loves to make his/her presence most known at night when I'm laying in bed. 
  • My nighttime nausea is doing much better and I've only thrown up a couple times in the last few weeks. Phew! 
  • I'm still craving pineapple and juice is a must have! Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and just want a big glass of juice, although orange juice now makes me have heartburn. A glass of juice first thing in the morning is amazing! 
  • I am more tired these days than I ever was, even in the first trimester. There were a few mornings I felt like I couldn't even get off the couch. 
  • I am dreaming a lot these days. Nothing super bizarre, but I am dreaming of things I see on TV, things we've talked about during the day, etc. Usually, I don't remember my dreams, and when I do dream, it's not usually related to stuff in my everyday life. So now, CSI and Law and Order: SVU have taken on a whole new meaning. Haha.
  • As of last Wednesday at my appointment, I have gained a total of 19 pounds. 

At 29 weeks, I started seeing the doctor every two weeks. At my 29 week appointment the baby's heart rate was 162. And last week, at my appointment the baby's heart rate was 147. My doctor laughs every time we hear the heartbeat because it has been all over the board in terms of high and low, and many people are convinced it's one sex or the other based on the heart rate. But like my doctor said, even if that wives tale were totally true, this child isn't giving away any hints. 

Jon is currently convinced it's a girl. Awww, sweetness. Jonny would be so cute with a little girl. I'm still not completely sure what sex it is, and I go back and forth. I'd love a boy because he and Mekonen would be close in age, but I'd also love a girl because I don't have one yet and want to do the girl thing too. Haha. So either way, I'm good! :) Although we still have no boy names!! 
And my very round baby bump, with it's popped belly button and all! I loved my previous belly button and sure hope it goes back to normal! 
Fellow readers and bloggers, what birth books, videos, etc. did you find most helpful? Would love any input/thoughts you have! 


Mommy Update and Meko Milestone

Oh wow, what a week it has been. I'm hoping that it is finally safe to say I am starting to feel better! I thought maybe that was happening Monday night. But then I woke up on Tuesday and realized I was very, very wrong. I ended up feeling worse on Tuesday than I did Friday, which was my first full day of being sick. Something was just not right and I should've been feeling better by then with all the meds I was on. So I called my doctor back and he gave me a steroid inhaler, which I was a little annoyed about because it wasn't just my breathing, it was my head, sinuses, ears, back of my neck, etc., that were just horrible on Tuesday, getting worse by the day. All day long it felt like I had water up my nose while swimming in a pool. You know, that awful burning sensation. And everything on my body just hurt!

I went to my OB doctor on Wednesday and she walked in the door and was like, "Oh no honey. You look and sound terrible." Haha. Lovely. :) Thankfully my worries were put to rest about this illness somehow affecting the baby. He/she is doing great, strong heartbeat, and moving all over. So far, we're pretty sure he/she is head down with his back facing my left side and his front facing my right (which would explain the tons of movement I feel on one side of my belly and not the other). I'm 31 1/2 weeks now and will have another ultrasound at 35 weeks. Can't wait to see how much more baby-like he/she looks from the 18 week ultrasound! So anyway, I listed off the many medications my regular doctor gave me, and my OB added one she thought should do the trick. Boy was she right. I started it right away and within a few hours was already feeling better! So, I am hopefully on the mend! I'm sure Jon is glad seeing as though the poor guy had to resort to sleeping on the couch because my coughing was keeping him up all night! Mekonen will hopefully be glad that his mom doesn't need to spend the entire day sprawled out on the couch. Whenever he sees me heading for the couch he says, "Mommy sick?"

Thank you so much for all your prayers and notes. I really appreciated it. (And Jackie thank you so much for your two comments! I tried clicking on your name to send you a little reply, but it didn't send me anywhere with contact info. I'm so sorry!) :)

And enough of me and my lovely illness.... we had another little milestone with Mekonen. He is in a real big boy now! No more crib toddler bed! This transition went much better than the crib to toddler bed transition, which I think the "openness" of it freaked him out. But it was a good step between crib and real big boy bed. Daddy was home all day January 17th for Martin Luther King Jr. day, so he took the crib down, put it in the soon to be nursery, and set up the twin big boy bed just in time for Mekonen's nap. (We decided it would be best to keep Mekonen in his current room and put the nursery in the other room). Meko does great waiting in his bed for one of us to come get him in the morning or after naptime. This was the best sleep training decision ever! It gives me a few extra minutes to wake up myself, go to the bathroom, or even jump in the shower before he's up and running around.

First nap in his big boy bed! We always find him sleeping in the funniest positions. He loves to sleep on the edge with his arm around the mattress. He did this in the crib and toddler bed too. 
 First night in his big boy bed! We actually found him in a funny position, covers sprawled all over, like most nights. So after I re-arranged him, I took a picture. So sweet. 
 Sweet dreams baby boy! (or should I say, big boy!) 


Sick, Sick, and more Sick, For Real?

Wow. What a weekend. So last time I posted I said I wasn't feeling super well, like I was getting a chest cold/sinus infection. Well Thursday, I woke up in the middle of the night not able to breathe, gasping for air with really sharp pains in my chest. I have never felt anything like it and have never been so panicked before. All I could think was, "What is faster, an ambulance, or the car?" We almost ended up in the ER. I thought maybe I had pneumonia or something because I had such sharp pains and felt like I could not get a full breath in my lungs. I called my mom as soon as I woke up the next morning, and as soon as I heard her voice I just started crying. You know, something about wanting your Mom when you feel so horrible. She of course said to get to the doctor asap, which we did.

My doctor started asking me questions and I had a hard time getting through the conversation without having to stop and take deep breaths. They gave me a breathing test where you blow into this thing. I was supposed to have over 500 or 600. Mine was just under 250. Doctor said it was really good that I came in because life threatening is 150. (Which was scary to hear because it was way harder to breathe the night before in my breathing attack episode, which means it was probably even lower than 250).

The doctor gave me a breathing machine treatment right away and then the breathing test again, which I failed again. So they gave me an emergency shot of steroids, which they said should work immediately. So we waited several minutes after that, tried the test again, and I still failed. Ugh. And all the while, every time I did the test, I had a major coughing fit. It was horrible.

The doctor confirmed that I had a severe asthma attack the night before (which is so strange because I have never ever had asthma or breathing issues). He is pretty sure the asthma attack was triggered by a really bad infection (probably sinus or chest, or both). They couldn't do an x-ray for pneumonia because of the baby. But it's obvious I have a sinus infection and something going on with my chest. So I am now on three breathing meds and an antibiotic.... don't worry, all safe for Baby O., although I still get worried taking so much medicine.

Saturday night I had another mini breathing panic episode. I think that one was triggered by the fact that I started crying because I felt so terrible. Then I had to take the emergency inhaler. I go back and forth from feeling a little better, and then really bad, and tonight I threw up again, so I guess add that to the list of symptoms! I am sooooo glad Jon was home all day yesterday. I slept until 1:30pm and this Mom did get a sick day! Jon was awesome. Took care of Mekonen and cleaned the kitchen, cleaned out the fridge, and a million other things. What a guy! He even went into work late this morning to help get our day started, all after I kept him up half the night with my coughing fits.

SOOO... that was our weekend in a nutshell. And doesn't this face just make it all better?


Enjoying Some Winter Fun!

This winter, Mekonen has been loving the snow! Last year, the two times I put him in the snow, he cried. Not a fan! This year? A totally different story! When he sees the white fluffy stuff falling from the sky, he yells out the window "No!!!! No!!!" (his word for snow). So we tromp around outside as much as we can to let him play and explore. Here are a few picks from the snow the last several weeks.

Mekonen loves chasing the snowflakes!
 Trying to catch them with his tongue.
 Pure bliss!
 Mmmm...tastes good!
 Such happiness.
 Playing at the park across the street from our house. Mekonen was not a fan of the snow all over the slide. 
 Snowball fight with Daddy. Daddy got him right in the chest. Meko thought it was awesome. 
 Today, we have been getting lots of snow here in Indy, but I am not feeling well at all. Mekonen has a bad cold and I have a sinus infection and a chest cold. So I decided to stay in today and enjoy some "winter fun" inside. We did some snow crafts and read a book on winter. It was really fun. Mekonen was extremely excited and kept running around yelling, "Rafs!!! Rafs!!!" (His word for crafts).

Here he is....cheesin' away with craft number 1. (Notice, I felt too bad to even do his hair. And I was in my pj's all morning!) This craft was fun. A handprint snow tree. The white strip on the bottom is construction paper, and the snow "blobs" are granulated sugar. He giggled and giggled when I painted his hands brown. 

 Next craft...a snowman (which Meko calls "No-men"). He absolutely LOVED the little jar of buttons I got out for him to "pick" 4 buttons from. Well, I ended up picking them out, otherwise, we'd still be sitting there, at his little table, while he touched and attempted to eat, every single button in the jar. Haha. 
 Hard at work! 
Mekonen's FAVORITE part of craft time was punching out the white snowflakes with my snowflake stamper. 
 Ta-da!!!! Mekonen proudly displaying his morning of snow rafs with his Mom! 


How We Told Our Families!

I am 30 weeks! 10 more weeks to go!!! How crazy! I started writing this yesterday evening and originally wrote that my nighttime nausea and throwing up seemed to be getting much better... well, so much for that because last night was the roughest night yet I think. I was nauseous, threw up, and had some of the worst heartburn I've had yet. I couldn't even lay down. On top of that, I think I am just getting a bad cold or something. I can't sleep well in a "reclining position" so sleep was hard to come by last night.

My rib cage is also in some serious pain the last couple days. It is so weird how far apart my rib cage is right now. It's kind of funny. Right where my ribs meet my sternum is really taking a hit! I have to sit up ridiculously straight and almost arch my back to get any relief. Oh my.

But still, I am loving being pregnant with this babe... seeing and feeling him/her move all around is the coolest thing. You can even see it when you are looking at my belly on the outside. Baby O. is 3 lbs. now and between 16 and 17 inches long. Wow. My pregnancy calendar says I should be gaining about a pound a week from now until delivery. Um what? Yikes!

There are lots of things I'm writing and making note of for Baby O.'s baby book and realized I haven't shared many of them on here. So here's one of them! How we announced we were pregnant!!

Originally, we were going to wait to tell everyone about the pregnancy until 12 weeks. However, my Grandmother passed away in late July (when I was about 5 weeks along). Our entire extended family was there and we decided to break out the news then. That might sound a little strange... announcing a pregnancy at a family dinner before a funeral. But if you knew my Grandma it would make total sense. She would've been bragging to everyone that one her granddaughters announced the coming arrival of another great-grandchild on her day. It actually ended up being really special. It was a beautiful day in Kennebunkport, Maine, at one of my Grandma's favorite bed and breakfasts, and we were having a meal outside on the beautifully landscaped lawn. Kids were running around everywhere and family was catching up with each other. I eventually gathered everyone around and handed them each a special card!

I decided early on in the pregnancy this is how I wanted to share the news. I thought it would be fun. With a birthday party invitation! Here's the front of the card.

 Here's the inside!
After I handed out everyone's cards I told them that in honor of Grandma I wanted to share some special news with them. Everyone opened the cards...some people caught on right away, other people were confused for a second and didn't "get" the birthday card. There were squeals and cheers and tears, including mine. The Lord brought our Grandma home to be with Him, and sent us another addition to our family. It was special.

After arriving back from Maine, we told Jon's parents the same way. Mekonen handed his Grandma Magz the envelope, and before she opened it, she thought it was an invitation to Mekonen's Gotcha Day party. hehe. Jon's dad's reaction was really sweet as he couldn't contain his excitement. :) We went out to dinner to celebrate where I satisfied my huge craving for a big juicy cheeseburger of all things! haha.

So that is how Baby O.'s coming arrival was announced! We waited until 14 weeks to share the news outside our family. It wasn't supposed to be quite that long. We were going to tell at 12 weeks, but it ended up that I was going to see a close friend in Ohio just two weeks later. I would rather have told her in person so we decided that since we waited so long we could wait until after I told her. That ended super funny because she ended up with having to make a last minute trip about an hour away and I completely missed her! So I dropped the invitation in her mailbox and she had to find out that way! Haha. After I knew she found out, I posted to facebook, "It's a baby not a belly!" and of course, after that, the news was everywhere!

(On a completely separate note: Would you mind clicking on an article about toddlers I wrote for my blog job? "Toddlers: Training vs. Discipline."  I need to increase readership. They also like to see comments if you have any wisdom or thoughts to add! I'd really appreciate it! Thank you so much!! :) http://blog.clariity.com/newborn-and-toddler/toddlers-training-vs-discipline


Merry Belated Christmas!!

Well, finally.... Merry Christmas!!! It has taken me forever to get these Christmas pics up! Not sure why, it just has. Life has been flyin' by since New Years ended and I am finding myself more tired than I have ever been! But better late than never right? So here goes! (Look out, there's lots of pictures!)
Merry Christmas 2010
We started off our Christmas traveling with a stop in Lancaster, PA to visit some of our dearest friends the Witmers! We traveled with the Witmers in Ethiopia and experienced our children's hometown stories together in Dire Dawa. Amazing. We have such a special bond with this family, and yes, we have a pre-arranged marriage for Mekonen and Sosina already planned!
 These two have a special little bond. They are so comfortable with each other and always act like they have known each other forever! It's so sweet. 
 Mekonen joined Sosi in their church Christmas pageant as a star. They walked down the aisle together and sat in the Christmas scene. So cute. 
 Classic Christmas tree pic.
 And of course...smooches! (How long can we get away this?)
 Such sweet comfort around each other. Love it. 
 Big smiles from Meko!
 The six of us before we had to head out. 
We arrived at my parents the week before Christmas and it was so nice to spend so much time with family and friends! There is just something special about being "home"...  about walking into my parents house, especially at the holidays. So many memories, so much comfort, so much of "home." Here's my parents Christmas tree with presents galore! 
 Mekonen opening his Christmas Eve present...
 A Christmas tradition- Christmas pajamas to open on Christmas Eve! Now, after Christmas, whenever Mekonen wears these pj's he says, "open presents!!" Haha. So I guess he associates those jammies with Christmas morning presents!
Grandpa Jack and Mekonen
 Christmas Eve was one of my favorite days. We went to church with my sister and then enjoyed a quiet evening with just me, Jon, and my parents playing Dominoes and talking until my other sister and her family arrived around 1am. Loved that time with my parents. 
Mekonen's stocking- all ready for him to open! 
 Three cutie cousins busting with excitement Christmas morning! 
Aderyn, Manny, and Mekonen
 The boys: Manny and Mekonen

 Mekonen opening his stocking. His favorite.....CARS!!!

 Grandma opening gifts with Meko.
 Me and Jonny
 Cousins Natalie and Jane opening presents!
 After a busy, fun-filled Christmas day, we packed up the car and headed out the door for the 11 hour car ride at 4am the next day to have Christmas with Jon's family back in Indy. Phew!! What a whirlwind of a day. We were exhausted, but couldn't wait to have Christmas with the Orens! 
Daddy and Mekonen playing with his new tractor from Grandma Magz and Grandpa. He loooooves it! 
 Uncle Jeremy and Meko
 Presents, presents, and more presents!
So, in a small nutshell, that was our Christmas! Busy and filled with lots of love from friends and family!


Purposeful 2011

It’s 2011! A brand new year! I realize I still haven't posted about Christmas (which was awesome by the way). I feel like life has been a whirlwind ever since! But I will be getting to a Christmas post! :) But for now, my thoughts on the new year....
So New Year's. What's it all about anyway? A time for a fresh start and a new beginning right? It’s the time of year you start seeing billboards and commercials for things like self-improvement gimmicks and sale prices on gym memberships and workout programs. People start reflecting on what they want to change in their lives such as quit smoking/drinking, get organized, get out of a doubt, and enjoy life more. Then they resolve to make those changes stick. But most of us know that New Year’s resolutions are usually short-lived, most of them not making it past the end of January. I personally don’t ever make black and white New Year’s resolutions because I am too much of a perfectionist and don’t like handling the fact that I didn’t keep my resolution for all 365 days of the year. It messes with my mind. This year, I am committing to a different kind of resolution, one I would employ you to consider as well. My new year’s resolution is to live purposefully.
Often times, it is so easy to coast through life, stuck on auto-pilot, going about our day to day business without ever realizing the kinds of moments we have let go by. Living purposefully. That means living with intent, being direct and specific with how we go about our days and our relationships with our children, our spouses, and friendships.
How can we live purposefully in our roles as moms, dads, spouses, and friends
  • Do we find time each day to play with our children? I know Dad is at work all day, there are bills to be paid, and a house to manage. Mom, there are dishes to be done, errands to run, managing a home, maybe an outside job to commute to, and a million other things we can do. But being purposeful with our children means spending quality, uninterrupted time with them. If the children are young, sit on the floor and play what they love to play, engage in their imaginations and their world. If the children are older, find time to be purposeful with them in something they enjoy doing. If you don’t know what that is, pay attention and simply ask!
  • Do we spend our children’s waking hours distracted by facebook, texting, television, and internet browsing? Are we  living purposefully, with intent, when our children run aimlessly through the house with no direction, as they’ve said our name about 100 times already? Do we find ourselves snapping at them to settle down or be quiet so we can finish “our stuff.” What do we think our children would say to us if we asked them if we spend too much time on our computer (or other area of interest we have?)
  • Have we resorted to simply managing our children’s behavior to get them to do what we want on the outside, instead of being purposeful with them by instructing and engaging their heart? Does this take time? Absolutely. Anything with purpose takes intentional time. Purposeful instruction is talking about the underlying character issues behind their outward behavior and bringing attention to things like selfishness, pride, and discontentment, not just yelling out "Give that back to your sister! You need to share!"
  • Do we skip date night again because we’re too busy, too tired, or just didn’t get it put on the calendar? Cultivating a healthy marriage means spending quality time together, away from the children and responsibilities of life.
  • Do we allow our own grumpiness or bad attitudes to get in the way of a purposeful interaction with our spouse when they walk in the door? They say the first 3 minutes of the daily "reunion" set the tone for the entire rest of the day/evening.
  • Are we purposeful in meeting our spouse’s love language needs? Do we take care each week to be specific in meeting them? Do we even know what they are for our spouse? Different season's of life can change one's love language. Have you asked your spouse lately how they best interpret and receive love?
  • Are we purposeful in our friendships? Do we make an effort to stay connected to long-distance friends, are we making time to really know what is happening in our friends’ lives, do we remember birthdays and anniversaries (even if it’s just with a card?)
  • Are we purposeful with our hospitality? Are we too worried about a clean house and the right menu to invite others into our home to share in our lives?
This year, in 2011, I want to have purposeful living in the forefront of my mind. Each week, I want to be able to look back and say, “I was purposeful this week in this area by doing ____.” What a blessing purposeful living will be to those around us, and in turn, what a blessing it will also be even to ourselves.