Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday's Fave Five #16

Read more entries over at

Living To Tell The Story

A day late! :)

Sorry I've been MIA for so long...every Sunday, I'd suddenly go, "Oh, no! I forgot my Friday post!!" Life comes atcha fast!!

#1 is of course that ETHAN IS FINALLY HERE!! :)

He arrived at 8:12a.m. on Tuesday, May 12th weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. and measuring 21.5". I had an amazingly wonderful (natural) birth experience and he is perfectly healthy in every way. He's a great sleeper and eater (which is all he does, anyway) for which we feel very blessed. As of 2.5 weeks old, he has already gained a pound!

You can check out pictures from these prior posts:


First days home

Week 1

Here's a good recent one of "Mommy's New Man" at about 11 days old.

#2 is that we've been house-sitting for my hubby's aunt, two blocks from our house, for the past 10 days. She has cable TV and a pool so we've been camping out over there and having a blast! It's been nice to have evenings of just hanging out and enjoying each other instead of the inevitable chores and to-dos at home.

Andrew has especially enjoyed his "night swims."

#3 is that we got to host Memorial Day at the aforementioned aunt's house for my folks and my brother and his family.

Here's Ethan in his patriotic outfit.

And my and my two boys!! Yeah, turns out I don't own a red shirt.

Here's the whole fam enjoying the pool. Perfect Memorial Day weather!

#4 is that I've been anxiety-free for a week now and have even had my appetite back for the past several days. Food tastes good again!! I am very grateful to be feeling back to my normal self. Now I've just got to focus on staying healthy and eating well for my hungry baby!

#5 is that I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight already. That is, my pre-pregnancy weight from 3.5 years ago!!

The last two months of this pregnancy were marked by anxiety, profuse sweating and a lack of appetite. The only upside is that I dropped the actual pregnancy weight within a few days, and was back to my weight from 3.5 years ago (that was after a lot of effort on Weight Watchers, by the way) within a week or two. Of course I still have the "jelly belly" but at least I don't have a bunch of poundage to lose. Here's me, two weeks postpartum. Yes, I'm showing off a little.

There are about a million other wonderful things I could mention about the last week and we truly feel so very blessed to be in this season of life right now. I love my boys!!!

I look forward to catching up with all of your latest now!! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baby, baby

Hi, all!! Nope, there's not a whole lot else going on over here except lookin' after this little guy and keeping Big Brother entertained. I doubt I'll be blogging about much else for a while!! :)

Here's some recent photos from days 6 & 7!

It's a naked baby!! He looks so big to me!! One week old.

His feet with Big Brother's.

Heading to the pediatrician, 1 week old.

Us! don't I look dopey with happiness?? :)

Little monkey face.

Sleeping so soundly. Don't worry, I only let him sleep on the Boppy when I'm right there with him.

8 days old. He looks so chubby to me in this picture! He's already changing--eek!!! Oh, how time flies...enjoy every moment, that's what I'm trying to do!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

new baby pictures

First day home.

Brother love.

Puppy pajamas.

Adored by his brother.

Owl outfit.

"milk face"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baby pictures!!

Here he is!!!

Just born!!

8 lbs. 6.4 oz.

Snuggle with Daddy

Andrew meeting his little brother for the first time.

My three boys.

Naked before his first bath.

Mama love in recovery.

Heading home!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ethan is HERE!!

Hooray!! Ethan Ryan came into the world at 8:12a.m. on Tuesday, May 12th weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. and measuring 21" in length. His Apgars were 9 and 9 and he is by all accounts completely healthy. We are now home with him and enjoying settling into life as a family of four.

Wow, that seems weird to even type that..."family of four." Aaaaahhhh....

I'm uploading all 300 pictures we've taken in the last two days so it may be a while before I post any! :)

I had a really great birth experience--almost the complete opposite of the last time--with a labor that started out at 7:00p.m. Monday night. The first "real" pain wasn't until almost 3:00a.m. (after I slept restlessly through minor "cramps" for several hours) when I woke my husband up to help me time them. I was in triage at the hospital by 6:00a.m....admitted and in a labor/delivery room by about 7:00a.m....started pushing at about 8:00a.m....and then there he was!! It was truly an amazing and blessed labor and birth, thank the Lord! I'll probably post a more detailed version on my pregnancy blog soon, for those who are interested (I'm usually one of those).

I am thrilled to no longer be pregnant and so happy with the experience we had. Plus, I have a beautiful baby boy to show for it! He is gorgeous and the first baby born into our family in a very long time that has a head full of light hair!! It is exciting to get to know him.

Andrew loves being a big brother and is quite happy that we all got to come home together. Seeing my three boys just fills my heart with joy!!

Now I hear him...gotta run! :)


P.S. I'll also be reporting on the results of the "baby pool" soon and let you know who got the best combination of gender/date/time/length, etc. It's pretty funny!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pregnancy update

No, Ethan is not here yet! My pregnancy ticker is now counting my days PAST due!!

Check out the latest news

on ProudgritsIsPreggers

Oh, and these may be our last official photos of the Family of 3 (from May 9th):

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2008

No, that's not a typo. I just woke up from a lovely mother's Day nap that I almost didn't even take...and just as I did, I felt like the Holy Spirit was nudging me to tell this story today. Good thing I took that nap.

Last Mother's Day was a lovely day by all accounts. Church, lunch, presents, cake and plenty of celebrating. I hugged Andrew extra-hard all day and probably shed a tear or two.

Last Mother's Day, May 11th, I had a miscarriage. Mother's Day will always be marked by that event. Technically, I didn't actually miscarry until two days later on May 13th. It was a very sad few weeks but we knew that God would use it for good and after a few months, we started "trying" again, trusting in God's perfect timing.

Low and behold, we got pregnant on the first try. Our "family number" is 11 and I found out I was pregnant on September 2nd (9-2). I wrote that date on the pregnancy test and thought, "Hm, I wonder if that's significant." Then I realized that 9 + 2 = 11. "Oh, that's funny, Lord," I thought, knowing His fingerprints would be aaaaalllll over this pregnancy. A couple days later, I calculated my due date as May 13, which was the date of the actual miscarriage. I thought, "Oooooh, Lord, I knew you were up to something."

God has, indeed, shown up many, many times during the last nine months. I have grown more spiritually in the past year that I had in entire five-year spans in years past. He has taught me so much about trusting Him, abiding in Him, how to pray, how to rest and so very much about PEACE. Everything I've been through has been more than worth it.

A few weeks ago, the Holy Spirit also gave me this verse and said, "That's your verse for this pregnancy." I fully expect there to be dancing on the day Ethan is born!

Jeremiah 31:13 "For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow."

To me, the way the miscarriage and this pregnancy all played out have REDEMPTION written all over it. God is all about redemption. I am so very grateful to be redeemed and that my God loves me enough to extend redemption to me, sometimes even in creative and unexpected ways!

BUT...the story isn't over yet. Here we are on Mother's Day 2009. A Mother's Day when I am four days past-due with a baby boy and VERY anxious to meet him. What will his story be? How will this story end? Of course, when this story ends, a new one begins. Will he be born on Mother's Day? On the 11th? On the 13th?? Maybe on a different day? No matter what, I now can rest in the knowledge that God has it all figured out and all I have to do is wait for Him to write the story.

And as of 4:30p.m., the story continues...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Fave Five #15

Read more entries over at

Living To Tell The Story

This one will be short and sweet, no pictures, mainly because I'm actually tired of being on the computer after the week I've had. There are plenty of things that were praiseworthy and of good report, however, so away we go!!

1. My friend Chrissy, came through the surgery to remove a tumor on her brain on Thursday and I'm told she is "doing well" and they were able to remove it all (so no radiation, yeah!). Continued prayers are appreciated, of course, as she recovers. I've been the one reporting her updates to our church family, her church family, our Bunco group and others, so it's been a bit taxing but I'm very happy to do it. I also believe that God is at work in her life and in the lives of everyone that has been rallying around her, so it will be exciting to see what He is up to! The post about her whirlwind week is


2. I got to my due date so we know Ethan is fully cooked!! Oh, my, the waiting is getting hard!! Besides just being eager to meet him and being so ready to be done being pregnant, I've had some hormonal issues, problems with my appetite and the usual ups and down of the end of pregnancy to handle this week but, again, God has been SO good to me and is teaching me some wonderful lessons about relying on Him, prayer, resting, etc. etc. that I'll have to share after Ethan's story is done being told!! :) Pray that we will continue to be patient, for a restful weekend coming up and health for Ethan and I.

{P.S. If any of you have some positive stories about past-due pregnancies, feel free to comment!! I'll take all the encouragement I can get!}

3. I had my "Blessingway" on Saturday with my mom, two sisters-in-law and dear friend. It was a tremendous blessing, indeed, and I hope not only for me, but for all who participated! Blessingways are just a "mother-centered shower of love" so if you want to check it out and see pictures (there are some of my henna-painted belly!) go to
This Post

4. God has really been teaching me some amazing things this week that I can summarize in one word: ABIDING. I've been really focused on that word/idea/concept for a while now and it's amazing to see how He will teach us things when we ask. I'm learning how to better love others, how to pray, how to take my thoughts captive, how to take life one day (and even one moment) at a time...and so much more. I feel like I'm really "in the flow" for a change and it's really cool. I love it that He is so interested in a relationship with us and wants to show us Who He is and what He can do...we just have to be willing! I have to admit that, at times, it seems over-whelming and "heavy," which you can pray for...but I'm also getting use to the idea that it's totally worth it. Whatever we go through, when God is with us, it's worth it!

5. Having quality time with Andrew this week. We've done Lego's, played trains, sat outside for hours, watched's been nice to just slow down and spend time together. The three of us have also done some projects and taken trips to the park, too. I know I'll cherish these last few days as a family of three!!

I know I'll have a nice pick-me-up when I read everyone else's lists for this week! :) Hopefully, next week's will involve our new son!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

due date & prayer request

Yes, it is my due date and NO, Ethan is showing no signs of coming out soon. Every day puts me closer to meeting him, though, and I know he will be born in God's perfect timing!!

Mt prayer request is for Chrissy, my dear friend and former boss. Here's us at my baby shower (which she graciously hosted).

She has suffered from intense migraines for over 10 years and back in March, she was getting several per week, which prompted her to take a hard look at her lifestyle and start cutting back on things that were causing stress. Since then, she's seen several doctors and tried different dosages of a medication, but was still suffering a migraine at least once/week and as many as every-other day. Plus, the medication was giving her severe side effects and didn't seem to be making much of a difference.

Well, Tuesday she was scheduled for a CAT scan and the news was that she had a MASS--in fact, a brain tumor--that was inoperable and fatal. This was shocking news. Later that day, she went to a different hospital and an MRI revealed that the tumor was, in fact, operable and completely treatable. They also found it to be non-cancerous. Can you imagine that roller coaster ride??

Of course this is terrible news (my 30-year-old friend has a brain tumor?!?!), but the corresponding news has all been good. The tumor is in a spot that won't affect her motor skills or her speech, so her rehabilitation should be minor, if any. The type of tumor has a name: "meningioma," which is commonly benign. They plan to operate tomorrow (Thursday) in a 4-6 hour procedure.

Chrissy is a Christian and we had just had a conversation on Monday, having no idea what was to come, about how God was going to see her through this chapter of her life and that she would look back on this as a major turning point, not just physically, but spiritually. We know God is with her and has His hand in this situation. The amount of prayer being lifted up for her is amazing and already, God has shown great mercy and grace.

Our prayer now is for the wisdom of the doctors treating her as they plan the surgery, and for the surgery itself, of course. And peace and protection for Chrissy and her family (she has two kids, ages 2 and 5).

Will keep you posted on both--thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

due date

Today is the day before my due date so my countdown calculator will probably say "0 days to go" tomorrow and after that--it's anyone's guess!!

I saw my OB today and her bet is that Ethan will make his arrival "in the next few days." If not, I go back Monday and we take it two days at a time from there on out. I'm hoping to see her AT the hospital BEFORE Monday!

If you're interested in the full OB report, visit

My pregnancy blog

I'm sure I won't be able to blog until we return home from the hospital so I won't be able to share the news until a couple of days afterward--so I'll try to update daily before then. Maybe I'll do a last "heading to the hospital" post before we leave so no one worries! :)

Either way, our son was 6 days past-due--that's a week from now. We're having this baby SOON--and we are soooo ready!!

All of your prayers are appreciated--I'll keep you posted!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Blessingway Celebration

There's nothing better to do to pass the time in the final month of pregnancy than to throw yourself a party!

This was the end result and really what it's all about. Being surrounded by the people who love you the most!

This weekend, my mom threw me a "Blessingway" and I thought I'd share some of what we did. We really believe that life passes by too quickly when we don't take time out to celebrate life's big milestones. Maybe these ideas and images will inspire some of you!

So "What is a Blessingway?" you ask? It's truly BLESSING a mother on her WAY to motherhood. It's sort of a mother-centered "shower," where you pamper, pray for and honor the mother-to-be. It's meant to bless, prepare and empower the mother and invoke God's blessing on the pregnancy, birth and new baby. I also viewed mine as a way to thank those who have been there for me most during my pregnancy and mommy-hood.

Mine was a very intimate gathering of my mom, my dear friend Jen and my two sisters-in-law (my husband's sisters).

My mom is my second-best friend and supporter, second only to Drew, my husband. If she weren't my mom, I would still want to be close friends with her!! She will be present at the birth and is very anxious to meet her third grandson!

Jen and I met through church and she's been my "pregnancy buddy," and is due in July. More than just complaining about our various pregnancy symptoms, we've been able to celebrate our pregnancy milestones together and she has faithfully come over to keep me company many times when I've needed it most...and has taken me shopping or our for Starbucks when I've needed it, too! She has become a wonderful friend and I am so glad she was able to celebrate with us.

Drew's sister, Laura, is the oldest of the sisters and we used the same midwife with her middle son, who was born just two weeks before Andrew. We have a lot in common and I adore having her for a sister. She is smart and sassy--kind of the female version of my hubby.

Sarah is the one who introduced Drew and I and has lived with us for going on 6 years. I call her "the other half of my brain." That's saying a lot these days, too. I can't honestly imagine my life without her in it and she is a tremendous blessing to our family.

So for the actual event, my mom did ask for my input for some parts but she's really the one who came up with the agenda and the "ceremony." A lot of her ideas came from

This Blessingway Book on Amazon

She wanted as many of the elements as possible to be natural (from God's creation) and that also had meaning for me.

We were going to save the feasting until the end but with two hungry pregnant women present, we ate first!! We wanted something light, healthy and delicious. The menu of curry chicken salad, fruit, a wheat roll and an iced berry-chai drink fit the bill!

Here's "the spread:"

And here's my plate. Doesn't that look scrumptious?? The drink is a mixture of strongly-brewed chai tea and berry juice. So refreshing!

My mom also made blue hard-boiled eggs. Eggs, because, well...that's how Ethan started out!! And they represent fertility, of course.

The ladies (and my niece) ready to chow down.

Once our blood sugar levels were nice and stable, we started the ceremony. First of all, my place of honor was sitting in my great-grandmother's rocking chair.

The first thing Mom did was bless everyone there by sprinkling us each with "lunar and flower infused water" (using flowers from her yard), saying "May the Lord bless you and keep you."

After that came the "smudging." Laura and Sarah were taking their turn in the above pictures. The "smudge stick" is actually sage, which smells so earthy when lit--like nature's own incense! Incense is mentioned many times in the Bible and the sage in particular is used historically to purify a space. For our purposes, the smoke was meant to protect those it brushed. Each of us held the sage up to various parts of our body, asking God to bless the words of our mouth...bless our hands to do His make our hearts strong for Him...and to bless our feet to "walk worthy" of His calling.

Once we were all blessed, it came time to pamper the mother. Mom first used the infused water as a foot soak.

The idea was for me to release all my fears about my labor and birth into the water and replace them with great peace.

Sarah's job was to pull my hair back and secure the wreath of flowers (another natural element). And, hey, it's just fun.

That's one relaxed Mama.

Mom also used lavender (another natural element) foot lotion to massage my feet. Aaaahhh. Lavender is my all-time favorite scent.

Next came my favorite part: The "Mehndi" belly painting and each lady's chance to put her hands on my belly and speak a blessing over Ethan as a way to "welcome the soul of a child." Evidently many cultures "ritually prepare a woman's body for rites of passage", my passage being the one to "mother-of-two-hood."
Plus, Ethan will get to read these someday, to know what was being prayed for him, even before he was born.

Sarah started us off by painting a tree. Y'know, to go with my whole thing of "Roots & Wings." Plus we are adding to our family tree.

Then Sarah read her blessing for Ethan. We were amazed that her pre-selected verse talks about a tree and she even drew a tree on the card (all before I chose the tree for my belly art). I told ya we're in tune.

It's the same verse my mom has prayed for my father every day for over 30 years, from Psalm 1:1-3

"Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper."

I love that.

Laura added the butterfly and read her blessing.

Jen added the leaves and flowers to the branches and read her blessing.

Mom added a flower to the bottom and read her blessing.

I needed a mirror to see the final result!

Pretty neat, huh?? "Roots & Wings," indeed!!

I look like such a hippy!! :)

Then everyone laid their hands on my belly for a final prayer. I love this shot.

Then we did the "Birth-day" candle lighting. I chose blue candles because blue represents inner peace and stimulates inspiration, creativity and spiritual understanding. The shells are Coquina from St. Augustine, my favorite city.

We each lit one while saying a prayer for the birth itself, sung "Happy Birth-day," then I lit the big one and blew them out. Each lady took one votive home to light when they hear I've gone into labor, as a reminder to pray for me.

About that time, my hubby returned with Andrew and our nephews, so we let the boys blow a candle out, too.

Then...cake & coffee time!! Nothing significant about that, except that this has been my favorite cake for about 10 years! It's a white cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese icing. Oh, yeah!!

Andrew and his cousin enjoyed the cake, too.

My niece also seemed to enjoy it!!

And after that, we all just hung out and relaxed and everyone else got to get some henna body art. That one $3 cone lasted through all of us with plenty left over--I highly recommend it for your next girls-only event--it was a blast!!

My mom got this dragonfly "anklet."

Jen got this butterfly design on her foot.

Laura got a butterfly on her back.

Sarah painted this on her own foot.

And gave me a little daisy anklet. I figure I can focus on it, and remind myself of this beautiful event, when I'm pushing Ethan out!

Then Laura drew this tree (Sarah is into trees, too) on Sarah's back.

Even Andrew got a worm on his foot--he always has to be in on the action!

And here's us, all painted up!

And a close-up of our feet, including Andrew's!!

And there you have it. I really did feel blessed afterward and feel all the more empowered and peaceful for my upcoming birth. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable evening for me, and I hope for the ladies, too.

If you have any questions about what we did or need any additional resources, leave a comment--I'm happy to help!