Saturday, August 30, 2014

Man Cub and Layla

Layla is currently Man Cub's only cousin, and they finally got to meet this afternoon! Sweet Layla adores babies, and she was thrilled to have another one. They'll get to be all kissy face again on Monday and then in a few weeks when we keep Layla for a few days. We're so glad the four legged kiddos love Man Cub so much too!

Brunch at Brennan's

Today is Laura's mom's birthday, this past Wednesday was David's birthday, and Mondaynis my dad's birthday. We decided to celebrate all at once and have a big family brunch at Brennan's.  We had such a grand feast and a lot of fun with each other. I think this needs to become an annual tradition!

Man Cub was absolutely perfect for the meal and wooed everyone with his sweet coos. I'm just thrilled that he does so well when we go out!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1st Aggie Game Day

Tonight the Aggies take on the Gamecocks in their first 2014 game.  Man Cub got in the Fightin Texas Aggie Spirit today.  He was too focused on what plays to yell out during time outs to give me any smiles, but he's still such a cutie! Gig 'em!

And Mommy had to include this last one. I'm supposed to do what at the end of Yell Practice?! Whoa!  Teehehe.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August BarkBox

This mess of fun arrived last week, and this was my favorite themed box yet!  Lobster, lobster, and more lobster.  I suddenly became very achy for Boston....

Jolly Pets Romp N' Roll ($13.29) I forgot to take an individual pic of this one, but it's the red ball with the rope in the above photo.  Aggie Belle had great fun with it for about 6 days playing tug-o-war and whipping it around, but it met it's demise yesterday.  Fun toy, but not the most durable.

Pet Rageous Lobster ($8) Water fun heading our way!  This toy is made for the water, and I can't wait for our beach day in September for Aggie Belle to try it.  I've put it away until then so she doesn't get it confused with her land toys.  :)

Bocce's Bakery Lobster Roll Treats ($9.50) Lobster in a dog cookie sounds a bit extravagant, but my two love these!  They make me want a trip to New England so badly....

Grandma Bowser's Cheddar Biscuits ($13.20) What's a lobster boil without cheddar biscuits?!  I mean, really!  These are a little crunchy for Bailey's smaller, older mouth, but Aggie Belle has been scarfing them down.  They smell good too!

These two love BarkBox, and now want a trip to Boston with Mommy!  This month's box cost us $19, but has a value of $43.99.  Can't beat it!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Man Cub: 1 Month

Precious Boy,

Daddy and I couldn't be more in love with you if we tried!  You're sweet demeanor has us charmed, and neither one of us can get enough of your cuddles.  We are so glad you are a cuddly baby!  Each prayer we've prayed over you the last month has been answered by God.  He's seen us through two yucky weeks of colic, getting you back to your birth weight,and granted us more sleep than we ever thought possible so soon.  Your Lord is faithful, Man Cub, and we continue to pray that He grows you into a man among men for His glory alone.  

At first, you slept about 3 hours at a time at night.  In the last two weeks, you've begun sleep 4-6 hours at a time at night.  Mommy is stoked about this!  Keep it up, dude!  You got rid of the swaddle wraps at 1.5 weeks.  Those were so not for you long term.  We also saw you start sleeping better when we started letting you sleep on your tummy in the heirloom cradle in the sitting nook in our room.  Naps during the day are hit and miss.  If something is going on or you know people are around, forget a nap.  Thankfully, you don't get cranky if you haven't slept.  I'm ok with you getting 30 minute cat naps here and there as long as you stay so happy!  I do hope to have you start taking naps in your crib soon.  You make the cutest coos when you sleep, and sound much like the puppies.  Sometimes we aren't always sure who's dreaming without looking in everyone's beds first!

You are a nursing champ and have been since you were an hour old.  Once Mommy believed the lactation consultant at the hospital that we really were doing it right, there hasn't been an ounce of worry once.   During the day, you nurse every 2-3 hours, and at night you nurse every 4-6 hours.  Daddy and I laugh at you constantly and call you Shark Baby while you eat.  It's obvious you love your milk!  You will eat so fast and furiously that you forget to breathe, which makes us laugh too.  So sorry that our entertainment is at your expense, but we love you!  You will also take a bottle without any problem.  It's so nice to be able to pump a bottle and know you'll be ok if it's just you and me out and about or for the couple of times Mommy and Daddy have stolen away for a date.  

You have been able to hold up your head since you were born.  You can roll from your back to your side and from your tummy to your side.  You learned to smile when we talk to you about two weeks ago.  Your Geno (my dad) also got your first laughs out of you on Saturday during our church's 40th anniversary celebration.  What a hoot!
Laying in your boppy, being sung to, hearing music at church, being at church (you've made it 4 of 5 Sundays; your first you were still in the hospital), showing us how strong your legs on by standing on our laps, being read to, rides in the car (unless you're hungry), the swing, the sling, being outside on walks with the dogs, when Aggie Belle kisses you, when Bailey snuggles up next to you when you eat, being held, bath time, when Daddy flies you around like Super Man, when Daddy does anything with you, eating, your elephant Wubbanub Paci
Dirty diapers, being hungry, laying on your back for more than a few minutes

One Month Stats:
Weight: 9 pounds, 5.5 ounces
Length:  22.5 inches
Eating: nursing (every 2 hours during the day and 4-6 hours at night)
Bedtime: when we go to bed, so sometime between 9:30 and 10:30
Awake: sometime between 6:30 and 7:00
Naps: in between nursing times, but how long you sleep depends on what we're doing.
Diapers: newborn
Clothes: newborn

Interrupted Winnter!

The winner of a copy of Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted is Katy!  Congrats!  I'll be contacting you soon. 
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Jen Hatmaker's Interupted and My Great Adventure

When a little email popped up in my inbox in early July looking for bloggers who are readers of Jen's to review the updated edition of her book Interrupted, I knew I had to jump on it!  Jen's honesty, transparency, and sarcasm have made me a fan of her writing for years.  She's not afraid to tread the path Jesus calls her to, even when the world would roll their eyes and think she's a nut.  Eh, we need more nuts.  Thank you, Jen, for leading the way!

The irony of the title had me in stitches as much Jen's sarcasm did.  From the time Interrupted arrived on my door step and I finished reading it, my water broke all over my mom's guest bathroom (nothing like a mom who will laugh it off and come in running with 409 and paper towels), my hubby and I worked together through labor and delivery, welcomed home our first born, and entered the throws of newborn colic. "Interrupted" is the theme of our lives right now.  So while Man Cub likes to interrupt our routine, we want Jesus to interrupt our hearts.  This is how we've chosen to live the 5 years of our marriage, and finding Jen's heart in the same place was a balm to this mommy's tired eyes.  Half my Kindle edition is a highlighted mess, and I have bits of quotes all in my head because truth just doesn't fade, even in the midst of exhaustion.

In the introduction, Jen writes, "If you are plagued with tension or discontent or a nagging sense that there must be more-that there has to be a faith somewhere that rings true and hopeful and gracious, a faith other than this mean, ugly partisan, judgmental, self-indulgent version of Christianity, which has to be total bunk-then get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars.  God has blessed you with this inner conflict.  He isn't leaving you in complacency and boredom to check boxes and do church.  He has enlisted you in the cause of your generation and is calling you forward. You lucky thing.  You will not be left and lost, wondering what all the fuss is about, wishing things would never change."

Um, yes!  I love church.  I love worship and sermons and Sunday School.  But let's be honest.  How many people come in off the streets into your church on a whim each Sunday morning?  Probably not many.

Jen and her husband Brandon chronicle the journey God led them on in starting a church in unreached South Austin that was much, much more than just worship, sermons, and Sunday School.  They joined with friends and like-minded believers who fully embraced St. Francis' command to "Preach the Gospel.  If necessary, use words."  The Hatmakers saw that it was their actions, the ability to build genuine, authentic relationships with people, that would draw people to Jesus.  They're right.  This was so much of Jesus' ministry: meeting people where they are, learning about them, sharing life with them, and then inviting them into His flock.  Jesus knew He was too radical for folks to just fall inline with Him without watching Him live what He preached.  And it worked...2000 years later, and folks are still being knocked off their feet and blown away by the love, mercy, redemption, and adventure that is knowing and following Jesus.

"Raise up in me a holy passion." Jen's prayer to God before their church planting journey began.  I've prayed that prayer.  Have you?  God tends to take that prayer and interrupt everything that seems normal, doesn't He?  I prayed it before my first trip to Zambia in 2010.  For those of you who have been around the blog long, you know God shook up Isaac and me and made sure there was no turning back as we followed Him into the world of advocating for families staying united in Zambia, for the unification of orphans into families.  As we've built authentic relationships on both sides of the Atlantic with those who see this as something that is living the hands and feet of Jesus in the flesh and fulfilling James 1:26, we've been unable to go back to our little American dream of a life.  And that's ok.  The prayer rose up again this past fall when we found out we were pregnant after thinking it was impossible and being floored that this was what God wanted for us.  And now, as I type with a colicky baby in my arms, I realize that God's most recent interruption was to fulfill something we didn't even realize we wanted.  And I don't know what Man Cub is going to think about it, but he's going to learn now that while he's a precious interruption, this is how life as Jesus' disciple is lived.  We meet people where they are.  We love those who are different and who don't agree with us.  We let Jesus work on their hearts while we work on being His heart on earth.  When we make living out of our comfort zones normal, less and less can interrupt us because we're living more and more the way Jesus did-less of me and more of the Lord (John 3:30).

Are you ready to join me, to join Jen?  Really, are you ready to join God where He's already at work?  Do you long to see all people given a fair shot at knowing who my beloved Jesus, the most radical man I know, really is?  Read Interrupted.  Breaking free from self doesn't happen overnight.  It took a life time to learn to live for self, so it will take the rest of a lifetime to break old habits.  But it's worth it.  Living in Ground Zero for Jesus in your city, in your work place, in your apartment complex, half way around the world, is the greatest adventure I've ever known.  I'm grateful for the interruptions.

So, Jen did send me a copy of the book to read on my Kindle and a hard copy to give away.  All opinions are mine of course, but I do share Jen's heart.  Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Interrupted.

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Linking up with Jen and her other blog reviewers today!  Go show them all some love!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Baby Dedication

August 10 was Baby Dedication/Parent Commitment Day at UBC.  Our Preschool Ministry has a time during the worship service each quarter for parents to dedicate their children to the Lord.  Each child is given a Read-to-Me Bible, and the parents are given a certificate to sign indicating their willingness to train up their little one in the ways of the Lord.  This is always such a special time to me, watching parents declare in front of their brothers and sisters that they will do all they can to lead their littles to Jesus.  In return, the congregation commits to help the parents in this.  It takes a village, y'all.

While Isaac and I had prayed over Man Cub and dedicated him right back to Jesus the night he was born, it was so special to stand in front of all those who love us so deeply.  It's vital for us to remember that this little boy belongs to the Lord and is on loan to us from Him.
We dedicated the altar flowers to God's glory for our 5th anniversary and Man Cub's birth.  They added calla lilies for me just like our wedding. 

After church, we had all the family and a few dear friends over for lunch.  Mom and Nanny made us quite the feast.  David even made us a Coke-a-Cola cake!  I did a horrible job taking photos during lunch, but I have a newborn!!

We so appreciate all the love we've been shown lately!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

Today, these two love birds celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss! Aren't they just the best?  I love my grandparents!

Today is also our 5th anniversary.  I cannot even begin to fathom that this was 5 years ago.  Some days it feels like yesterday, and other days I can't remember not being married to this dreamy man.

These 5 years have been such as joy as God has led us closer to Him as we learn what it means to truly serve Him and others.  He's breaking us free of ourselves constantly and teaching us how to be His hands and feet.  The Lord keeps giving us what we don't even realize we want and keeping us from the things that would ultimately steal joy.  Then there's the very cliche but completely true fact that I've fallen in love with Isaac all over again watching him with our son.  Just amazing. 

The four of us in March on our early anniversary cruise:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Man Cub is Here!

I can't believe our little boy is nearly two weeks old!  It's time you dear readers were introduced to him!

I woke up July 24th at 4:12 in the morning having contractions, two days past my due date.  I laid in bed the next two hours timing them.  By 6:00, they were 7-10 minutes a part, and I was ready for breakfast.  By 7:00, they were 5-7 minutes a part, so I called my doctor.  She said to go on in to the hospital and get checked out. Isaac and I took our time getting ready, and left the house a little after 8 and arrived at Texas Children's a little after 9:00.  That might have been after a stop at Shipley's.....

The assessment center hooked me up to monitors and my contractions had slowed to 10-15 minutes!  What?!  And I was only at a 2, which is where I'd been for two weeks.  Ugh. The doctor there told me I was definitely in early labor, but not near enough to delivery to stay.  They sent me home with orders to rest and drink lots of water.

We decided to head to my parents' house since they live closer to the hospital and Mom had already gotten the dogs for us.  After lunch, Isaac and I laid down for a nap.  At one point, thunder woke me up, so I got out of bed to see the approaching storm.  Just as I was about to crawl back in bed, I felt a snap and ran to the bathroom.  I just knew it was my water, and I was totally correct!  At least I made it to the tile floor of the guest bath instead of the carpet of my mom's guest room before it went everywhere!  Ha.  I called the doctor's office again, and as of 2:50 when my water broke, that put me on a 24 hour clock to have our sweet boy. 

We arrived back at the hospital around 4:00.  My contractions were about every 5-7 minutes now, but since my water had broken, I felt them amplified significantly.  Wowsers.  I also had back labor the entire time which was not a fun thing for me.  I think I could have gone without that. I was bummed from the get go I didn't get to use the labor tubs that each L&D room has because my water had already broken.   When the doctor came to check me at the assessment center, I was only at 4.  Boo!  Pitocin started getting tossed around, and I about lost it.  I wanted to have my Man Cub drug free, and my water breaking so early into labor was just about to ruin all of that.

In the car on the way back to TCH, Isaac and I talked about the very possible reality of me needing an epidural since my water had broken, making the contractions worse.  I wanted to use Young Living Essential Oils to aid in progressing labor, pain management, and calmness during my L&D.  Isaac knew this.  He supported me 100%.  But, I had to start facing the fact that my vision wasn't unfolding and God had a different plan to get Man Cub to us.  Once we were situated in an L&D room, Isaac got out oils to rub on me and diffuse in the room.  I was able to handle the contractions for about two more hours.  By 6:30, they were so intense I was in tears, and I knew the Pitocin was probably going to be coming soon.

At 7:00 that evening, I was checked again and was at a 7.  The oils were working-yay!  However, the doctor really didn't want me in labor more than 12 hours after my water had broken, and really wanted me start Pitocin.  I had prayed for weeks that if the need arose for any drugs, God would give me peace and let it go since I was pretty sure I wouldn't be in any frame of mind to make decisions rationally in the moment.  I was able to calmly ask for the epidural before the Pitocin drip began.  Knowing I wouldn't be able to labor freely around the room/on the birthing ball/etc once the Pitocin began also influenced my decision.  Anyway, all my fears about the epidural needle and having a horrid reaction to the epidural just dissipated as soon as it had all been ordered.  God answered prayers, and I wasn't allergic to the epidural.  That had been a cause for much concern for months!  The anesthesiologist was amazing.  He prepped my back during a contraction so I'd be able to hold real still as soon as it was over.  My nurse that I had the whole time was incredible.  My-lan kept me calm and kept me up to date on all that was happening.

Once the epidural was in, I sent Isaac to go find himself some dinner, and I tried to rest.  By 10:00, I was at a 9, so we called my parents to come on up to the hospital.  We wanted my brother and sister-in-law there, but it was so late that it just wasn't going to work out for them with having to go to work in the morning.  By 11:00, I was at a 10, and we just had to wait on my doctor to arrive.  I was so grateful Dr. Davis was on call that night!

My parents were able to sit on the couch in the L&D room and quietly visit while Isaac helped me push for an hour and a half.  I don't know if Isaac, the nurse, the resident, intern, and Dr. Davis were just being kind, but they said I was made for pushing out babies.  Ha.  I'm good with not training for that 'sport' anymore, but it wasn't hard.  I had stopped pushing the epidural button around 11:00 so I could feel to push, and I'm glad I did.  I needed a small episotomy, but my doctor was on top of it, so I didn't tear, and now two weeks out, I'm healing nicely, if not still sore.  Dr. Davis rocks!
Waiting on the doctor to arrive.
Ready to start pushing!  I wanted to see my baby so bad!

At 1:36 am on July 25th, our sweet boy decided to join us.  Best. Thing. Ever. Daddy cut the cord, and the 3 of us cuddled and I nursed for a while.  I finally got a blanket for him so Isaac could take him to the couch to meet my parents.  Then the Isaac and my parents took him across the room to the warming bassinet to be weighed and such.  He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces, but he was 20.75 inches, so he looks so skinny!

Meeting Mama and Geno for the first time.

I called my grandparents while Man Cub was being weighed to tell them they had a great-grandson.  They were so excited, despite the late hour.  :)

My parents left for the night shortly after, and around 4:00 am were taken to a postpartum room.  First off, let me just say how fun it is that TCH has Temper-pedic beds in their PP rooms.  Just, yes.  Anyway, our new nurse bathed Man Cub while Isaac helped me settle in.  My left leg was having a bit of trouble waking up (no biggie...just stayed 'asleep' a few extra hours), so Isaac was focused on me for a bit.  When I was finally handed my clean, tiny boy, Isaac pulled out the Frankincense, and we anointed his tiny head and dedicated him to the Lord.  There is no way we could forget that Man Cub is God's child on loan to us, and it just felt right in the darkness and stillness of the night to let Man Cub and God know we hadn't forgotten who had made all this possible.  Tears flowed freely and unashamedly.  I think around 5:00 we finally got some sleep, all three of us, but then Friday started in full swing and that was the end of that. 
First bath
 There is nothing like watching your husband support you through L&D and then loving on your child in its first few minutes of life.  I'm falling in love all over again in new and special ways.  Amazing.

1st family photo, minus the furs at home, around 4:30 am

For weeks and weeks Isaac and I prayed about my L&D.  I was so scared, but God answered every single stinkin prayer we had and filled me with such peace every step along the way.  He is faithful.  Always.  He finishes what He starts.  Always.  Resting in His arms is just bliss.  Amen and amen.
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