Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10 Weekly Goals

Source:  http://moneysavingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/4564135255_23e3aee2ac211.jpg
I have struggled all throughout this pregnancy to get things accomplished in a timely and orderly fashion.  I make my "To Do" list every night or early morning and then proceed to maybe do one to five things (based on my nausea/energy) for the day.  There were quite a few good days throughout the summer and a few this fall, but overall, it's been quite discouraging to consider how little "get-up-and-go" I have in me (this is even more true in this 3rd trimester).  I've been a long-time reader of Money Saving Mom and she has been posting on Mondays her 10 Weekly Goals.  I really like this idea.  Now 10 might be too much for me in this stage of pregnancy, but I'm still going to try.  I like that they are "goals."  The word doesn't feel as constraining and I know if I don't get to them all, it won't be the end of the world.  I know that 3rd trimester is just a season and there will come a day when I regain my boundless energy (I can hope, right?!!!) and my nausea will fade to just a distant memory.

Pregnancy Goals:

1.  Continue reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to the little guy each night

2.  Relaxation/labor practice each day

3.  Finish reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way

4.  Set up interviews with pediatricians

Personal Goals:

5.  Exercise twice a day (no matter how little) for 5 days this week

6.  Finish reading A Thousand Gifts

7.  Morning Bible reading/prayer before I turn on the computer

Home Management Goals:

8.  15 Minutes of Decluttering each day

9.  Spend 10 minutes/day picking up the entryway, dining room, living room

10.  Get budget caught up and have budget meeting w/Ciaran

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Thousand Gifts: #201-218

My nausea has left me groaning and moaning on the bathroom floor yet again today.  It didn't set in until about 11am though so I was able to get a bit done this morning which was really nice.   Since I am feeling quite frustrated about my nausea, I figured it was time to chronicle all that the Lord has blessed me with.  I need an attitude change really badly right now. 

Thank you Lord for....

201.  My mom spending three days with us (cooking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, etc. in preparation for Baby).
202.  The comfort of being home when the nausea and vomiting becomes unbearable
203.  Seeing Baby via ultrasound on Wednesday
204.  Normal blood pressure reading
205.  Normal labwork results
206.  33 weeks of pregnancy so far for Baby to grow (even though I'm very weary of it at this point)
207.  Ice cold washcloths on my neck
208.  A freshly made bed
209.  A sweet husband timing my BH contractions for over an hour (just to make sure they are indeed BH)
210.  The sheer joy that comes from spending time in God's Word and in prayer
211.  Being able to pray for my church family, even when I can't be with them
212.  Warm,sunshiney fall weather (even when I only enjoy it through a window)
213.  Worship music playing in the background, always pointing me Godward
214.  The delight on Ciaran's face as our little guy pushes back against his hand on my belly
215.  Delicious sips of Coca Cola to help ease my nausea (don't worry, it's OB approved)
216.  Time to rest when the fatigue overtakes me
217.  Finding bassinet sheets that fit our Travel Lite crib
218.  Waking up with no alarm clock this morning

Monday, September 05, 2011

A Thousand Gifts: #186-200

Today I am clinging to the sovereignty of God as I write this post.  I am so grateful that it is He who reigns and not I.  And as it is Monday, I will continue to chronicle my 1000 gifts with which He has so generously blessed me.

186.  My husband's strong arms to hold me when I cry
187.  The wonder of our little guy kicking away so strongly inside of me
188.  God's sovereign rule over all
189.  Cool breezes through open windows
190.  Chocolate brownies this morning right when I'm feeling the most emotional
191.  God's Word to guide me
192.  The laundry clanging about in the dryer
193.  Warm showers
194.  Joy in sickness
195.  New worship songs to learn and memorize
196.  Leaves falling to the ground
197.  The shrill sound of whistles blowing at soccer games
198.  Cheering and encouraging soccer player parents
199.  My husband's calm, confident, and steady stance as he coaches soccer players from the sideline 
200.  The wonder and delight on my husband's face as he feels his son push back against his hand as it lays gently on my stomach.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

In the Valley

As I laid on the bathroom floor this morning at 5am, this song coursed through my mind and drew me Godward...where my mind should be focused as I endure this 3rd trimester morning sickness (and sometimes all day sickness).  Love this song!  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 2011: Monthly Financial Check-up

We're stepping out in faith this month.  My paychecks are coming to an end and we'll be living solely off of Ciaran's income.  Our savings goals are going to slow down considerably now, but I'm still excited about working slowly toward achieving them.  This past month we were able to finish saving for Ciaran's fifth and sixth graduate classes, set up an appointment to meeting with an investing ELP, and put some more money toward our house downpayment fund.  We're praying so hard that the Lord will continue to help us to be wise stewards of the funds he has allowed us to manage.

2011 Financial Goals

1.  Pay for Ciaran's first grad. class with cash 
2.  Finish Babystep 3 (6 months fully funded emergency fund)
3.  Meet with an investing ELP Meeting set for Thursday 7/14
4.  Begin contributing to a Roth IRA 65.8% saved toward initial investment
5.  Pay for Ciaran's second and third grad. class with cash
6.  Save for Ciaran's fourth grad. class (tuition due in December)
7.  Save for Ciaran's fifth and sixth grad. class (tuition due in April 2012) 
8.  Save $5,000 toward house down payment fund 20% done
9.  Pay for all birthing expenses in cash

Monday, July 11, 2011

Baby Names Update

On Tuesday, July 5, Ciaran and I spent about six hours in the car together so we had a lot of time to talk.  We have now narrowed our girl names down to one with the others being alternates in case our little one and the name don't quite fit.  And although we're pretty set on our boy name being Ciaran Jack and have been since the beginning, we added one more name to the pile. 

So our girl name is Claire Elizabeth (with Madelyn Sinead now an alternate, along with Emily Christine).
Our boy name is still Ciaran Jack (with Liam Carter, Eamon Louis....and now the new one which we both absolutely love Declan Gabriel available as alternates). 

**All middle names are family names.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A picture my brother sent me from Germany...

OK, so I know this doesn't represent what I am doing this summer since it's a picture my brother took in Germany, but I so love it and had to share.

Monday, June 27, 2011

1000 Gifts: June 2011 Edition #171-185

I was listening to a John Piper sermon entitled "Sustained by All His Grace" and this quote really stood out to me.  "The function of gratitude is to worship the Lord for yesterday's grace and in that worship to have our faith in tomorrow's grace strengthened."  And that is so why I catalog my gifts.  I find my faith strengthened as I read through my gifts.  I know that His mercies are new every morning.  And cataloging these gifts opens my eyes to Him and His work all around me.

171.  God's grace
172.  Adorable little baby clothes and toys from my students
173.  Softy, fuzzy blankets
174.  Pale yellow colors
175.  Peanut butter cups
176.  The crunch of green, green celery as I slice it up for salad
177.  Sermons online to listen to as I rest and as I work
178.  Strength to get work done around the apartment
179.  Encouraging Christian women
180.  Coupons and blogs to help me save us money
181.  Family stopping in to visit
182.  My husband making me dinner when I'm too sick to cook
183.  FlyLady to help keep me from becoming too overwhelmed
184.  Chocolate milk
185.  A full to do list

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reading the Bible in 90 days


 I have taken up a new challenge.  I'm going to read through the entire Bible in 90 days.  I have been praying about getting involved in a Bible study this summer, but all of the classes that I'm interested in here in my town don't start up again until the fall.  Then I read about the 90 Day Challenge on a blog I like to frequent and I knew this was the challenge for me.  Be praying for me, dear readers.  This is a huge commitment and I'm going to need a lot of prayers to keep me going.  But I'm so excited!  Anyone want to join me in this challenge?

Here's the link to the blog and the official sign-up post

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

My bucket and Febreeze

I was so sick today.   There is no air conditioning in my classroom and so my vomiting returned in earnest.  My bucket and Febreeze were my constant companions as I taught today.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Breakfast at Ciaran's parents' home

Ciaran's dad, uncle, aunt and guests from India (and me, preggy belly and all). 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thermometer for our House Down Payment Fund!

As we have progressed through Dave Ramsey's baby steps, we found creating wall thermometers to be really motivating.  Our first one was for our debt and we colored it in with red marker.  Then once we started working on our fully funded emergency fund, we switched to green (because we were finally paying ourselves instead of paying debtors).  For part one of our house down payment goal, we're doing green again.  It was so fun creating this today and then hanging it up in our little laundry area.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Another day of no school because of storm damage and my pregnancy sickness is now confined to only being severe in the morning hours...so I actually started to catch up on my couponing today.  So much fun!

June 2011: Monthly Financial Check-up

I have been meaning to post some updates on our financial journey for quite a few months now and have yet to find the time to do it.  Crystal over at Money Saving Mom gave me the motivation to finally do so.  At the beginning of this year, Ciaran and I came up with quite a few financial goals and we're still determined to meet them...even though we're now expecting our first child in November and I am transitioning from full-time employment outside of the home to SAHM status (i.e. no paycheck coming in any longer).  We so want to honor the Lord with the finances He has blessed us with. Here's our 2011 progress so far.

2011 Financial Goals

1.  Pay for Ciaran's first grad. class with cash 
2.  Finish Babystep 3 (6 months fully funded emergency fund)
3.  Meet with an investing ELP
4.  Begin contributing to a Roth IRA or an IRA
5.  Pay for Ciaran's second and third grad. class with cash
6.  Save for Ciaran's fourth grad. class (tuition due in December)
7.  Save for Ciaran's fifth and sixth grad. class (tuition due in April 2012) 89% done
8.  Save $5,000 toward house down payment fund 5% done
9.  Pay for all birthing expenses in cash

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We have power!!! Wonderful, glorious electricity!

We have power!  After 48 hours without it, I'm delighting in lamps that are cheerily glowing all throughout our apartment tonight.  Thank you Lord for electricity!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer 2011 in Pictures

I love pictures.  I am not very good at taking pictures, but oh how I love them.  I love how it's another way to chronicle the gifts the Lord has blessed me with.  I love how pictures can usher me into His presence, quiet my soul, make me rejoice in the beauty of the world He has made, and remind me of His unwavering faithfulness.  How do pictures do this?  Well...I hope to show you this summer.  Last summer I tried this little project with little success because I grew frustrated with my lack of quality photography skills.  I'm not going to be bound by perfectionism this summer.  I want to use these pictures to help me grow in thankfulness and it's hard to be caught up and held captive by my own perfectionism when I'm clinging and delighting in the perfection and beauty of Christ and not my own.

So my goal is to share one picture with you from each day of the summer, spanning from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2011.

So here's today's picture...on what I consider the first day of summer (even though the school calendar and my yearly calendar hanging on my kitchen wall say something a bit different).  :-)

This is where we woke up this morning...in a lovely Holiday Inn hotel room.  We lost power in a bad storm yesterday and since severe pregnancy sickness and no power don't go too well together, Ciaran checked us into that room for Sunday night and Monday morning.  Such a blessing!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Counting It All Joy

My nausea rages on.  Even though I am 14 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy, I woke up this morning yet again unable to even get out of bed without holding back vomit.  Ciaran had to once again trek out to the kitchen to grab me some ice cold lemonade to wash down my prescription anti-nausea med.  I then laid perfectly still for 30 minutes praying and focusing on all the ways the Lord has blessed me (this is the only way I don't begin to cry in frustration).  Once the 30 minutes had passed, Ciaran once again got up, fixed me some cereal, and still trying to lay perfectly still, I consumed said bowl of cereal.  Even with food in me, every movement triggered gagging.  All morning long.

It's easy for me to start throwing a pity party for myself and bemoaning why I have to be the unlucky one to be so ill in pregnancy when so many of colleagues and friends sailed through their pregnancies without vomiting even once.  I loathe our current morning routine.  I'll admit it...somedays I even resent the fact that I can't roll out of bed without gagging or vomiting.  But honestly, this does me no good.  It doesn't alleviate the nausea.  And it certainly doesn't make me a pleasant person to be around. 

So I've decided...I'm just going to count it all joy.  The Lord is growing a precious little child inside of me.  And if I have to be ridiculously ill every day of this pregnancy to bring this child safely into this world, then I'm going to count it as joy.  Every time I get sick, Ciaran reminds me I'm doing this for Baby and that this is just for a season. And he's so right.  I need to deeply ingrain this in my brain.  It's not as if I'm going to vomit like this for the rest of my life...it's just for a season.  So pray for me, dear readers, that I will count it all joy and serve the Lord joyfully in this season of pregnancy...a pregnancy that Ciaran and I have been wanting for a long time. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 14 weeks

And the nausea rages on, but I am so grateful to be at 14 weeks. Hopefully relief will be coming soon. I am so amazed at how much love I feel for this little peanut.  I can't wait to meet this little one!

Size of Baby:  Somewhere between 3 and 4 inches long and weighing about an ounce

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  I've started to gain weight!!!!  I'm fluctuating between 108 and 111 lbs; I'm so stoked!!!

Maternity Clothes:Going to be needed fairly soon.  The hair ties aren't working as well any longer to hold up my pants and I live for the time of day when I get to come home and change into loose fitting pants or shorts.

Movement:  Baby was kicking away at our doctor's appointment on Wednesday!  Woohoo!

Sleep: I'm still waking up about four times a night to use the bathroom and I still feel quite a bit of fatigue all day long, although it not nearly as bad as it was earlier in the pregnancy when I could have slept all day and all night.
What I miss: I still really miss my energy and the novelty of going through an entire day without vomiting or feeling like vomiting.

Cravings:  Simply Lemonade...I can drink an entire bottle of it through the course of one day!   And chocolate milkshakes.

Symptoms:  Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and headaches.

Best Moment this Week:  Hearing Baby's strong heartbeat and hearing the little peanut kick a ton at our OB appointment on Wednesday.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Transitioning Home

This all seems so unreal, but I am actually beginning to make the transition home.  At the end of this school year, I will relinquish my title of high school English teacher and become solely Ciaran's wife, expectant mother of Baby, and homemaker.  Sure, I'll wear many other caps, but those three will comprise my primary profession from here on out.  I have always vacillated between wanting to stay home and raise children and having a career.  When I married Ciaran though, something changed.  As Ciaran and I discussed and prayed about our future and as I began to delight in making a home for Ciaran (and experienced the great frustration when my teaching load pulled me away from that) I realized that being a stay-at-home wife and mother might be what God has for me in this season.  What always held me back was the stigma of the SAHM....and I'll admit it....my pride.

I've always been very ambitious about my career goals.  And I like talking about my work when I'm out socializing (introverts like myself have trouble socializing and work is always a safe topic).  But what happens when someone asks what I do for a living and I say, "I stay at home and care for my husband and children."  I've watched this play out before in the company of people who aren't supportive of the career path of a SAHM.  There's always an awkward pause...and sometimes a sneer....and almost always the overheard conversation later on where the SAHM is made fun of and labeled lazy...or the poor husband is pitied for marrying such a purposeless woman and glorified for carrying such a heavy workload so his wife can fritter away her time at home.  Which to me, incredibly sinful, specifically prideful, people-pleasing, incredibly ambitious little me is as good as a death sentence. 

Ciaran and I have discussed this a lot over the last few years.  And we both know this will be good for me.  I am going to have to cling even more tightly to the knowledge that my worth is in Christ as I work diligently each day on the home front.  And I'm going to have to be more prayerful about trusting the Lord to provide and give me continued purpose and conviction each day that this is what He has for us in this season.  We serve an awesome God and I am so, so fortunate to get to become a keeper of my home.  We are wholeheartedly convinced that this a good calling and this is a job I should delight in and be proud to claim. 

And thankfully I am blessed with a whole host of SAHM's whom I can learn from in the coming years.   I am surrounded by women who daily prove that this is a calling that is worth pursuing and pursuing diligently and faithfully.  Just as I have studied the work of high school English teachers in my school and across the country, I now get to study the work of SAHM's in my church, circle of friends, and across the country (through many different books and blogs). 

So as I begin to pack my things in my classroom and watch and savor the last moments teaching before a different crowded group of teenagers every 90 minutes during the work-day, I rejoice that God has made me a woman and given my husband a vision for our family, and that God has called me home.  I know it will probably be the toughest job I've held to date, but I rejoice that it's where my heart is and that God will equip me for each new challenge, just as he has done all throughout my teaching career.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Video: Gospel-Centered Parenting

Ciaran and I now spend quite a bit of time reading about pregnancy and parenting. You can imagine my delight when I recently found out that Elyse Fitzpatrick has a new book on parenting.  Ciaran and I watched this video yesterday and were greatly encouraged. 

Note:  We skipped the intro. stuff and started about 21 minutes in.  Enjoy!

Video: Gospel-Centered Parenting

Monday, May 23, 2011

1000 Gifts: May 2011 Edition (Part 2)

A new work week and a new start!  I love the freshness of Mondays.  Even when I'm not feeling my best and working from home.  Here are some of the gifts that I'm thanking the Lord for from the past week.  

155.  13 weeks of pregnancy!
156.  A fantastic, retired English teacher willing to sub for my classes to give me a two-day break to rest at home
157.  Relief from vomiting when I am laying still in bed
158.  The joy of prayer
159.  The calming presence of the Lord in the midst of physical distress
160.  Vision for a new chapter in life
161.  Green grass
162.  Leafy trees
163.  Syrup drizzled over pancakes
164.  The coolness of pineapple touching my tongue
165.  Focus for the moments
166.  Ciaran deeply engrossed in his reading of a book about Alex Ferguson
167.  The glorious sound of silence as we limit our TV consumption
168.  Learning new things about blogging
169.  Finding ways to pinch pennies
170. Little baby Canadian geese wandering by our back porch all fuzzy and cute

Monday, May 16, 2011

1000 Gifts: May 2011 Edition (Part 1)

Ciaran and I celebrated 12 weeks of pregnancy this Saturday so it is with great joy in my heart that I catalog my 1000 gifts today.  After losing our first little one in the early weeks of pregnancy in December, Ciaran and I delight and treasure every day that this pregnancy goes beyond the last. God has blessed us with gifts all around!

126.  12 weeks and 2 days of pregnancy!
127.  God as my refuge
128.  Emergency room doctors and nurses to get IV fluids and meds in me on Friday
129.  The subsequent relief from vomiting!
130.  My salvation in Christ
131.  My wonderful English II students who stay committed to learning and growing even when their teacher is consistently fleeing the room to vomit
132.  Being able to read of God's faithfulness to those who came before us
133.  Ciaran's spiritual leadership
134.  Ciaran's loving care and willingness to pick up my slack on the home front
135.  My mother's willingness to spend Mother's Day weekend with us, cleaning my apartment, doing laundry, finding food to tempt me to eat
136.  Being able to consume protein-packed foods without vomiting and the little surge of energy I get afterward
137.  A little miracle prescription drug named Reglan
138.  Online pregnancy resources to answer all of my many questions
139.  Working internet
140.  Satellite TV and Netflix to distract me from my nausea
141.  The hope and comfort I experience knowing God is sovereign
142. Finding a Bradley Method birthing class with 35 minutes of our apartment that is also offered right when we need it  (Saturday nights...which is actually the only evening we have available August through the beginning of November primarily because of soccer season).
143.  Ciaran completing his first grad. class successfully and beginning two more classes today (all of which we were able to pay for with cash)...Thank you Lord!
144.  Being able to go for a few short walks outdoors
145.  A sermon provided by a fellow blogger right when I needed it  
146.  The steady lullaby of rain outside the bedroom window
147.  Brown sugar toaster pastries served with cut up pineapple on the side (all eaten in bed)
148.  Worship at home with Ciaran laying by my side
149.  The sizzle of pancake batter on a hot griddle
150.  The warm light of my bedside lamp
151.  Cheery birdsong outside my bedroom window
152.  YNAB budgeting software to keep us focused on being wise stewards of the finances the Lord has blessed us with
153.  Grace and strength given to get me out of bed in the way too early morning hours 
154.  Strength to make it through showering

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 12 weeks

Well, I'm twelve weeks today and I still feel pretty miserable.  But that's ok as long as little Baby is still doing fine.  Our next OB appointment isn't until May 25 so I have a way to go before we'll get confirmation that Baby is doing well.  Here's my latest pregnancy update!

Size of Baby:  According to most websites, Baby is about the size of a plum at this point.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I'm still below my pre-pregnancy weight.  Ugh.  Stupid vomiting.

Maternity Clothes:  Not needed yet.  I am able to wear my work pants by threading a hair tie through my button hole and fastening it around my button.  It gives an extra inch or so in the waist.  So nice.

Movement:  Not feeling anything yet obviously, but according to most websites, Baby is already quite the acrobat at this stage.

Sleep:  If I could, I would sleep every hour of every day.  Unfortunately, life and work don't allow this.  I'm struggling more and more to get comfortable and stay asleep at night which is quite frustrating.  Oh well.
What I miss:  All of my energy. Completely crossed off "to do" lists at the end of the day.  An orderly apartment.  Cooking without gagging or vomiting.  Being organized in my classroom.  Driving to work without vomiting on myself.  Being able to drive anywhere without feeling like vomiting.

Cravings:   Fruit, fruit, and more fruit.  And Edy's strawberry popsicles.  And strawberry milkshakes.  And colby jack cheese.  And cottage cheese.  And orange juice...particularly McDonald's orange juice in the early AM.  Oh, did I mention that my cravings have fully taken over?!  :-)

Symptoms:  Ugh, nausea and vomiting.  2nd trip to the ER was required yesterday for severe dehydration.  The ER doctor mentioned that I may have to look into a PIC line because I'm not responding very well to anti-nausea meds and I may just have to focus on staying hydrated via IV fluids since my vomiting and nausea aren't letting up.  He said to give it a few more weeks before we start to make decisions of that kind though.

Fatigue is still a pretty big issue, but I think it's more from being so dehydrated all of the time.

Best Moment this Week:  Two moments this week:

1.  Signing up for our Bradley method birthing classes (starts on August 6 and runs for 12 weeks).  Oh man, does it seem official and real now!  Woohoo!

 2.  Discussing baby names with Ciaran and allowing ourselves to get really giddy about this baby.  We are REALLY getting excited!!!  And the baby names we're considering at 12 weeks are as follows:

Ciaran Jack (he'd go by Jack around family/friends so as not to be confused with my husband)
Liam Carter
Eamon Louis

Madelyn Sinead
Emily Christine
Claire Elizabeth

For those of you who know us and our family really well, you're probably noticing the trend with the middle names.  Yes, they are all family names.  The first names are not family names except for my husband's.  He doesn't want to name our firstborn son after himself...but I love his name so much, so I'm trying to convince him otherwise.  :-)  And I keep reminding him if we went with that name, the little one would be called Jack most of the time (after my beloved grandfather), so it wouldn't be that big of a deal.  The other two boys names we love equally as we do the three girl names so we'll see what we end up deciding upon come Thanksgiving weekend!!!!   So exciting!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 10 weeks

Well, everyone.  Ciaran and I are pretty stoked.  We've made it to the double digits!!!!  I'm 10 weeks pregnant today and my chance of miscarriage has dropped to 5% (according to my OB on Wednesday when I had my first "official" pregnancy appointment with him).   And my baby bump made it's grand debut this week.  I thought maybe I was just a little bloated, but Dr. assured me that I do indeed have a little baby bump already...my tiny frame and where I'm carrying the baby is the reason for it.  Fun stuff, huh?  It was a bit frustrating trying to find pants to wear to work this week...I may be wearing skirts and dresses for the rest of the school year.

Size of Baby:  According to most websites, Baby is about the size of a prune at this point

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I'm still below my pre-pregnancy weight.  Ugh.  Stupid vomiting.

Maternity Clothes:  Not needed yet.  I just need to go up a size in pants or wear skirts or dresses from now on.  :-)

Movement:  Not feeling anything yet obviously, but according to most websites, Baby is already quite the acrobat at this stage.

Sleep:  If I could, I would sleep every hour of every day.  A little miracle drug called Phenergan is helping me sleep through the night and has been a real life-saver!  Previously, my nausea had been keeping me from getting the sleep I so desperately wanted and needed.
What I miss:  All of my energy.  I used to be such a motivated and industrious individual.  For the past six weeks all I live for is surviving my work day and coveting a place on the couch or in my bed.  Weekends are now devoted entirely to sleeping. 

Cravings:   Oreo cookies, McDonald's Bacon, Egg, and Cheese bagel meals with orange juice (I remove the bacon...I like the flavoring of the bacon, but can't stomach the actual consistency of it), and chocolate cupcakes.  Chocolate milk shakes are also desired at all points and times of day.

Symptoms:  Nausea with vomiting is now confined to no more than three times a day.  Woohoo!  False alarms (gagging and hanging over the toilet) are still ever present.  Nausea exists pretty much 24/7 still.  Fatigue is present (although not as extreme).  I've also experienced some aches and mild pains as my body has started to shift things around to accommodate Baby.  Mood swings are the newest addition to my symptoms.  Ciaran probably feels as if he has whiplash from the extremes that I have fluctuated between this past week.  His "trooper" as he has referenced me as a number of times earlier in this pregnancy is no longer a good trooper.  I'm tired of feeling sick and tired.

Best Moment this Week: The sun coming out on Friday and the fun of watching the royal wedding on TV on Friday night (recorded from earlier in the morning).  Such cheeriness and beauty after being so utterly miserable for so long!  It was a welcome sight...both the beauty of the sunshine here at home and the beauty of the wedding across the pond. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

So, so, so sick

I'm 9 weeks into this pregnancy and I'm sooo sick.  Today's been the worst day so far since I got my anti-nausea meds.  Even with the anti-nausea meds, I haven't been able to get out of bed.  Thankfully, I live in a time when I have tons of encouraging resources at my fingertips so I've spent most of the morning listening to sermons, praying, and meditating on Scripture.  Then, thanks to the wonders of Netflix, I spent the afternoon watching Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.

I've also been reading through the first present we got for Baby to celebrate 9 weeks!  It's called The Jesus Storybook Bible and I'm absolutely loving it!   I cannot wait until Baby can hear.  I'm going to love reading this to our little one.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 7 weeks 4 days

I've decided to share my news with my online friends. I'm pregnant!!! I was reflecting about how soon I wanted to post this and since my miscarriage in December, I was feeling a bit hesitant. Then I realized that I want to celebrate this little blessing for as long as we have him or her with us. Friday we heard our dear little peanut's heartbeat. It was absolutely amazing. On Friday, our peanut was measuring exactly as he or she should so my due date is still November 26.

So I want to have memories from this pregnancy so I thought every few weeks I would keep a record of what's going on.  I barely journaled during that first short pregnancy and I'm finding that I'm forgetting a lot about my time with that little one and it breaks my heart.   So this is me learning from last time and treasuring the moments.

Size of Baby: On Friday, was measuring just about a centimeter (seems so incredibly small!!!)

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I've lost quite a bit of weight from really bad morning sickness, but Zofran came to the rescue and now I'm able to keep food down. Hope to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight soon and then starting GAINING when the time comes!

Maternity Clothes: Obviously not needed nor have I looked at them yet (except for glancing at Old Navy maternity bathing suits).

Movement: Too early. Very cool seeing the heart beating on Friday's ultrasound though!  The flickering of the heart in our tiny little peanut was so unbelievable.

Sleep: Even though I am exhausted all of the time, I'm struggling to fall asleep at night.  Once I'm out, I'm out which is nice (minus bathroom breaks).

What I miss:

My church family at RBC.  Before I experienced pregnancy sickness I was sick with a nasty flu bug and stayed away from church so I didn't infect pregnant women and small children.  Then as soon as the flu bug retreated, I got sick again (surprise, surprise....it wasn't the return of the flu...it was little peanut!!!)  But it's been so long since I've seen my dear RBC brothers and sisters, I just ache for the moment that I can tolerate a 35 minute car ride and get to church!!!

Enjoying eating. I loved eating pre-pregnancy and now I dread it. If it weren't for Starburst Jelly Beans (which I eat as an appetizer and all throughout the day), I probably wouldn't eat at all....that is, until today....(see below).  Ciaran just bought two more bags for me yesterday. 

Cravings: Had my first real craving today. Despite horrendous nausea this morning I woke up thinking about Subway and how much I wanted a sub. I thought about that sub literally ALL DAY! I was acting out a scene from Arthur Miller's The Crucible for my students today and I was so afraid I was going to randomly insert "Subway turkey sub" into my lines. I refrained though, thankfully....my students already think I'm the craziest pregnant woman they have ever met with me popping Starburst Jelly Beans every five minutes to keep from gagging in front of them as the nausea sweeps over me.  Then of course, there's always my mad dashes out of the room so I don't throw up in front of them to keep them thoroughly entertained or completely grossed out (depending upon the student).  Thankfully Zofran has kept those mad dashes to a minimum.

Symptoms: As previously illustrated--nausea....every moment of every day. Vomiting until Zofran came to the rescue on Friday night (if I miss a dose, vomiting returns very quickly), intense fatigue, motion sickness when riding in the car (I drive with my windows down and barely survive my 7 minute commute to work), and then there are a few other unmentionable symptoms. Pregnancy is a bit icky.

Best Moment this Week: Hearing our little peanut's heartbeat. Ciaran and I can't stop talking about it. It was the most amazing moment of our married life so far. We were absolutely in awe and in love!!!!  2nd best moment was on Monday when I returned to school after spring break and all of my students were grilling me about how Baby is doing.  When I told them that we heard the heartbeat, each block cheered and clapped.  Teaching high school students has its fun moments.  A student in my first block had a baby just a few weeks into this semester.  She's back in class now and she's been a huge help in giving me tips to quell my nausea too. 

Well, that's my pregnancy announcement and update.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Favorite 2011 Super Bowl Commercials

For those of you who know me really well, you know I'm not a big fan of American football.  I love real football (aka soccer).  But every year, I usually have the Super Bowl on in the background as I do homework, grade papers, lesson plan, etc.  And every year, there's usually a commercial or two that I enjoy.  This year I really enjoyed two commercials.   The first one is the "Volkswagon: The Force" commercial.  I love, love, love this commercial and I've watched it quite a few times today.   It makes me giggle so hard.  The second one is the "Chrysler--Imported from Detroit" commercial which I love because I'm a Michigan girl.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lessons from the Kiln

As the remaining hours of a turbulent semester of teaching wind to a close, I am in a reflective state of mind.  What was the purpose of this hectic, exhausting, emotion-filled semester of teaching and personal struggle?  What was God teaching me through the midst of chaos, frustration, and grief? 

And as I reflect, I am gently reminded to pray.  To commune with my sovereign Lord.  God recalls to my mind that He is my true portion.  He was my strength when I was completely unable to press forward and teach.  He was my comfort when I felt like a complete failure.  He reminded me over and over again that I am always clothed in His righteousness and not my own.  And ultimately that this feeling of displacement that I experienced so frequently this semester was because this world is not my ultimate home. 

I love these whispers of love when I bow my head in prayer.  These are what keep me moving forward.  Sitting at his feet and drinking in His Word...that's what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.  This reminds me of all He has taught me in these soul-wearying months.  How I know Him as my God so much more intimately than I did before this semester in the kiln began.

Ultimately, I don't definitively know what the purpose of this semester was, yet it has reminded me and humbled me and drawn me to the Lord who is my true portion in this life.  He is my joy.  He is my hope.  My delight is in Him.  It's so easy to forget this when the pressure mounts and expectations rise all around me.  And it's so easy to forget this when I fail.  And this semester has felt like the semester of failure.  But as I close the final page on this semester on Sunday evening, I do so not in defeat, but in victory.  Victory, because my Savior lives and He has redeemed me as His own.  And because He used a rough semester to sand out some very rough edges in me and draw me closer to Him, my truest portion in this life.

So with rejoicing, I will enter into this next semester and glorify Him with my moments.  He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). 


Monday, January 17, 2011

1000 Gifts: January (Part 2)

As the month stretches on, I am finding myself growing more and more optimistic.  Chronicling 1,000 gifts truly does change us.  Situations and circumstances that used to discourage or deter me are now not so bad.  There are blessings in so many places and joys to be found in disappointment.  God is so good.

102.  My job which gives me endless opportunities to learn patience and perseverance
103.  The sense of accomplishment after decluttering an area of my classroom
104.  A weekend of fun with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law now that they are living in Michigan
105.  Watching my husband create a beautiful piece of furniture out of a pile of wood
106.  Don Pablos leftovers to reheat on a Sunday afternoon in my classroom
107.  A cheery lamp that a colleague gave me to brighten my desk on dreary January afternoons
108.  Tons of teaching/lesson plan ideas circling in my mind
109.  Layers of freshly fallen snow
110.  A tidy apartment
111.  A toilet that flushes
112.  A shower that streams hot, clean water
113.  A warm classroom
114.  Freedom to read my Bible without legal consequences
115.  Watching EPL soccer on a Saturday morning
116.  Internet that works
117.  XBox Kinect for a great workout
118.  Cuddling with Ciaran
119.  A washer and dryer in our apartment
120.  Sweetwater's doughnuts
121.  My sister-in-law's homemade bread
122.  The Psalms
123.  Warm scarves, gloves, mittens, etc.
124.  Dragonfruit Febreeze
125.  Energy that comes after a great workout

Monday, January 10, 2011

1000 Gifts: January

These past several weeks have flown by with so many whispers and shouts of God's love that I don't even know where to begin, but begin I must, completely aware that this list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of His goodness and faithfulness to us.

71.  The close proximity of my OB/GYN and blood work facility (both less than 2 minutes from our apartment complex) for my many appointments I had in December.
72.  The blessing of supportive family, church family, friends, colleagues, secretaries, and students.
73.  A bouquet of a dozen roses hand-delivered to our apartment by a few of my students
74.  Encouraging words sent just when I needed them the most
75.  Joy in being a follower of Christ
76.  Joy in being a wife
77.  My husband's compassionate and tender care making me smile and feel warm again
78.  A cozy, snug apartment with glowing Christmas tree lights illuminating the darkness
79.  A slow-paced, steady routine those last few weeks of December in place of the frantic, chaotic schedule I've been keeping for almost four months now
80.  Delight in small, simple things all around me
81.  Hope/Ideas for redeeming the three months between now and when we can begin thinking about getting pregnant again (I won't deny that this has been the toughest one)
82.  Anticipation and excitement for the next boys varsity soccer season which I'm now (Lord willing) going to get to view since we won't have a newborn at home
83.  Joy in exercising without fear
84.  Drinking caffeine and eating cold deli meat
85.  My bright and cheery classroom
86.   A joy-filled Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior
87.  My grandmother's wonderfully peaceful home
88.  Spending time with my awesome niece and nephew
89.  Lots of fun and laughter with family
90.  Tons of new Chelsea gear from my brother
91.  My new Pandora bracelet
92.  A peaceful morning looking out at the beauty of the snow-covered woods behind my grandmother's house
93.  Returning home to an apartment filled with work for me to do
94.  Strength to survive my 14 hour first day back at work
95.  Coming home from above-mentioned 14-hour work day to an XBox 360 w/Kinect all set up and Ciaran dancing in the living room
96.  Endless fun with the XBox 360 w/Kinect
97.  Long workouts
98.  The stability of a work routine
99.  Lots of fast food available when I'm too tired to cook
100.  Precious fellowship at RBC
101.  Joy in gathering to worship our great God with fellow believers and the privilege of sitting under godly teachers.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

More Like Me Again

Source:  photoxpress
 Today the sun is shining and I feel like myself again. It's been a long time since I have felt like this. After weeks of morning sickness, intense fatigue, and then the intense grief over the loss of our unborn baby on December 11th, I haven't felt like me in quite awhile. Getting back to my work routine this week and starting my new exercise regiment (Your Shape on XBox360) has been really good for me. Then getting over 13 hours of sleep last night and all of the water I've been drinking lately has made me feel so good today.

But above all, I am so grateful that I worship and serve a sovereign and loving God, who has taught me so much about himself in the past few months.  He truly is my Rock and most worthy of worship.  He is my compassionate and wonderful Healer who gives me a hope for the future and joy in the moments.  I can't wait to share my gratitude journal on Monday with all of you.  It will be a long one, so be prepared. 

Have a happy Saturday and a wonderful Lord's Day tomorrow.