Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Well I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving - the food, the family, the fun of just relaxing, watching the parade or some football game.  But this year it has even more meaning because I have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  Especially my baby girl!!!  We are so thankful for this new little life that God has given to our family.  I am thankful that I had a healthy, fairly easy pregnancy, and that she arrived safe and sound exactly 4 weeks ago!  

Right now I'm sitting at my mom's house, borrowing her computer, watching my wonderful husband hold Kirsten on his chest.  What a sweet moment.  Meanwhile the TV is playing some movie and the hubub of family is in the air.  I am so thankful for all of these things.  I am thankful for having a place to live, a bed to sleep in, a source of income, our wonderful friends, our funny pets, and so much more.  Most of all, I am thankful for a God who loves me and gives me grace and salvation freely.  Every good and perfect gift comes from God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yummy Squash & Carrot Soup

Last night I decided I better use the squash that someone gave me before it went bad. So I searched online for a recipe and then made a few alterations. The result was delish, so here's the recipe if you wanna try it!

1 butternut squash (original recipe said 1/2 a squash - I used the whole thing)
3-4 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste (I used 4 cloves)
4 cups water (I used 5 cups but it would've been better with just 4)
salt & pepper to taste
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place 1-2 tbsp. butter in the seed cavity. Roast in oven for about 1 hour or until squash is soft. Scoop squash out of skin using a large spoon and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook, stirring until onion is translucent. Pour in water and add squash and carrots. Bring to boil and cook for at least 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.
3. Puree mixture in blender or using an immersion blender. Add boiling water if necessary to thin. Season with salt and pepper and cinnamon. Serve with a swirl of cream if desired. (I actually added the 1/4 cup cream to the soup and stirred before serving).

I also made some basmati rice and ate my soup over the rice. Yummy, and great for a cold fall day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Empty Me

I have a bunch of jumbled thoughts that I want to try to get down, but I am not sure how coherent they will be. I feel that God has been teaching me so much in the past 2 and 1/2 weeks as a new mother. I always knew things would change once our daughter arrived - I just didn't know how or what would change (other than sleep deprivation... which is definitely the case). Anyway, over the past few weeks I feel that God has been speaking to me through His Word, through a book I'm reading, through Sunday School & Church, through friends, through my husband, and through my beautiful Kirsten. The theme that I am hearing from God is His desire to fulfill my every need - His desire to be everything to me. He desires that I empty myself of all the stuff that I've tried to find fulfillment in and fill myself with Him.

In Sunday School we are studying Ecclesiastes. Not the most exciting book to read, but there is a lot to be learned. Essentially it boils down to this - you can search for fulfillment in all areas of life, but you will not find it except through a relationship with God. And the book I'm reading, I believe it's called "Tender Mercies" (from my dear friend Amy), is all about how God wants us, especially as mothers, to find our strength and our source of everything by being filled up with Him. However, we so often look to other things - our husbands, our children, our work, our friends - to give us a sense of value or importance in this life. We want to be praised for all we do. We want to be recognized and valued as a person. I don't think that's there's anything inherently wrong with that - it's just that we should instead be relying on Christ to give us our value and sense of importance in this world. It is only because of Him that we can even do the things we do every day. And without Him, without His love, we would be nothing. All the things we do do not really matter unless they are done with a heart that is honoring Him. And ultimately, it's more important that we KNOW Christ and have a relationship with Him than doing all the wonderful things we might do in our lives. If we know Him and are filled up by Him, then that will spill over into every other area of our lies, and I believe, those areas will be more blessed because of that.

As I am learning these things and trying to implement this concept of being filled with Jesus, I recognize that there is no magic formula and it doesn't happen overnight. But my prayer is that He would empty me of myself and fill me with Him, as this song states:

Holy Fire burn away,
my desire for anything
that is not of you and is of me,
I want more of you and less of me, yeah.
Empty me,
Empty me, yeah,
Fill, won't you fill me,
with you, with you, yeah.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And the diapers have arrived...

I have finally made my first cloth diaper purchase. I ordered my Fuzzi Bunz from Everyday Diapers on Thursday night. Michele, the owner, called me Friday morning since one thing I ordered she was out of, so we changed my order slightly, and then she shipped them out that same day. I received them today! Talk about great customer service! I got several diapers as well as a couple wet bags to put the diapers in while they are waiting to be washed. I haven't been able to use them with Kirsten yet since they are a tad big. However, we have tons of disposables to use in the meantime. I am definitely looking foward to starting to use these, though, and I'll be sure to report on how it goes! In the meantime, if you are looking into the cloth diapering option, be sure to visit Michele's online store.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Photo Time

Here's some more photos of our beautiful baby!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Kirsten's Birth Story

I wanted to share Kirsten's birth story with anyone who wants to read it. Warning: there are labor details which you may or may not want to read. So it's your choice!

Kirsten Jael's birth story:
I had my midwife appointment on Monday and I was about 2-3 cm dilated. Debbie (my midwife) said she wouldn't be surprised if I didn't make it till next Monday (my due date). Monday night I was waking up almost every hour. No contractions, just couldn't get to sleep and had to keep going to the bathroom. Tuesday morning I decided to stay home from work since I didn't sleep well Monday night. I took a bath since I was all achy from not sleeping. After my bath I was headed upstairs to get changed but I felt a little trickle coming out. I went back to the bathroom and wondered if my water was breaking. Over the next 15-20 minutes I continued to have more trickles and I realized I was definitely NOT peeing. I called Scott and then Debbie. Debbie said to come in to her office, and so Scott drove home from work and we headed to her office (after hurriedly throwing in all the last minute items in case we wound up at the hospital). I was not having any contractions and felt fine. At her office she confirmed that my water had broken and I was now at 3 cm. We discussed the various options but since it was around 10:15am when my water broke, Debbie was suggesting pitocin because she didn't want me to go past 24 hours due to the risk of infection. I REALLY didn't want to do pitocin so as Scott & I got into the car to head to the hospital, I had a bit of a meltdown. We agreed that we would discuss it further when we met Debbie at the hospital. I also called my doula, Janel, to let her know we were on our way.

We got to the hospital at about 12:45pm. At the hospital, we decided not to start pitocin but I did have to have an IV for the antibiotics for group B strep. After this I started to walk around the floor with Scott & Janel. I was having a few contractions but they were not real consistent or strong. Around 4:30, Debbie checked me again and I was still at 3-4cm. We discussed the pitocin again, and although it was not part of my birth plan, Scott & I agreed to it after discussing the pros and cons. The pitocin started around 5:15pm. After this contractions definitely got stronger. I couldn't leave the room anymore due to having external monitoring and the IV pole attached to me. As things progressed, my contractions got stronger and I had to really start to focus. I used music and Scott & Janel did a lot of massage, talking to me, and encouraging me. As it got more intense, I began to moan with each contraction. Somehow this turned out to be my main method of managing the pain, along with breathing. Scott & Janel also helped me to stay relaxed because I often would get my face scrunched up and this would cause me to be more tense. They often told me how great I was doing and that was really helpful. I also tried to just focus on one contraction at a time. I used the birthing ball a lot, as well as the squatting stool, getting on my hands and knees, standing holding Scott's neck, etc. At one point the nurse recommended that I get on my hands & knees with my head down to try and turn the baby since she was still face up. I did this for a while and the next time she checked me, the baby had turned. Yay!

Around midnight I was about 8cm or so, and then about 12:30am I was 8 and 1/2. I was getting really shaky and tired. Not to mention that I ate some pineapple earlier that day, so I was burping the ENTIRE time! Anyway, Debbie came back a little before 1am and after a series of really intense contractions, she checked me again. I was fully dilated! I was so excited, because I had been feeling the pressure to push but I couldn't until I knew I was at 10cm.

I began pushing around 1:00am. It felt good to push and it was different from the contractions. At one point, Debbie told me she felt she needed to do a small episiotomy because I was so tight and the baby's head was not going to be able to come through. She said she knew I would tear and that doing a small cut would probably allow the head to come through ok. I originally did not want an episiotomy but at that point I just wanted to see my baby! I agreed and she did a quick snip which I felt somewhat but it wasn't bad (she did numb it but I still felt it a bit). I kept pushing with Scott, Janel, the nurse, and Debbie all coaching me and telling me when to push and counting for me. I kept my eyes shut the entire time I was pushing as this allowed me to focus. It was intense, but I felt like I was making progress which was helpful. I pushed from 1am until 2:28am, when Kirsten Jael entered this world! It was the most amazing feeling to see her and touch her and hold her. I was totally in awe! They cleaned her up and I was able to breastfeed right away. She latched on quickly and did great! My mom & stepfather joined us in the room after a while to say hi to Kirsten. My mom is extremely excited to be a grandma!

Scott & I are so thankful to God for a healthy, beautiful baby! She is unbelievable and every time I look at her I am just amazed that she was inside of me just a few days ago! She weighed 7 lbs, 12 oz and was 20 and 1/2 inches long. Debbie felt that if I had gone another week or two, I might have ended up with a C-section due to the size of Kirsten's shoulders. So I am so glad that she was a few days early! And I got through it without doing an epidural or pain meds, which was one of the key parts of my birth plan.

We are so thankful for all of the prayers and well-wishes we have received. Kirsten is doing wonderfully and we are so in love with her!!