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!