Titus 2:3-5

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A few seasonal favourite recipes.

A few friends have asked for some of my seasonal favourite recipes so I thought it would be easiest to just share them here.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
(This has become one of our favourite Thanksgiving traditions in our home, and a nice alternative to pumpkin pie.)

1 cookie/biscuit crust in a springform cake pan
(in the USA normally Graham Crackers, in the UK normally Digestive Biscuits. This year I used homemade ginger biscuits [recipe to follow] which added a nice flavour.)

2 x 8oz pkts cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp each of ginger & nutmeg
1/8 tsp (pinch) cloves
1/8 cup flour
4 eggs, room temp
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin

1. Combine cream cheese, sugar & vanilla.
Add sour cream & whipping cream
Beat until just smooth

2. Mix in spices & flour.
Add eggs one at a time, beating in between.
Beat in pumpkin.
Do Not Over Beat, it will make the cheesecake sink.
3. Pour the mixture onto the crust evenly.
Place in the middle rack of the oven.
Put a pan of water on the lower rack.
Bake for 15 min at 350f/180c/gas4
Then lower to 300f/140c/gas2 for 70min.

4. When done turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for about 30min.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Cover with cling film/plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Shah Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)
I got this recipe when I lived in Malawi. It came from a lovely missionary wife called Betsy Mann who had previously been a missionary in the Lebanon, where she got the recipe. She is also the wonderfully wise lady who taught me to keep balls of cookie dough in the freezer ready to bake at a moments notice when unexpected guests arrived. Thanks Betsy.

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp syrup
2 cups flour
1 level tbsp soda
1 level tbsp ginger
1 level tbsp mixed spice/allspice

1. Cream together the butter & sugar.

2. Add the egg & syrup, mix together.

3. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

4. Roll into small balls.

5. Place on a tray at least 1 inch apart.

6. Bake at 300f/140c/gas2 for 15min.

7. Cool on a wire rack.

If using these for the cheesecake you might want to bake for a few extra minutes, otherwise they might be too chewy to crumble for the crust.

Cinnamon Swirl Cookies
The smell of these baking in the oven always reminds me of Christmas. They are a light crunchy cookie/biscuit that are perfect for a mug of steaming hot coffee or a nice cup of tea.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp b. soda
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

For filling
softened butter
1 cup brown sugar

1. Beat together butter & sugar, beat in the eggs.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients until just combined.

3. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or over night.)
(For the next step it is easier to divide the dough in two at this stage.)

4. Roll out dough on a floured surface, then refrigerate for another 10min.

5. Mix together some butter and the sugar from the filling.
(I use about 2-3 tbsp of butter.)
Spread evenly over the rolled out dough.
Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.

6. Roll the dough into long logs and chill again for at least an hour.

7. Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices.
Place on baking tray about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350f/180c/gas4 for 20 min. (or until only lightly golden brown.)

Hope you enjoy these treats. I'll try to add pictures later as the baby has woken up and I need to tend to him.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's all change around here.

The last few weeks have seen a lot of changes for us.

Aiden said his first real word this week. It was "Dada." I asked him where his Dada was and he looked at Rob and said Dada. Our precious little boy is beginning to talk. It is so cute.

Aiden with his Dada

He is also changing his nap pattern yet again. Just when we think we can plan around naptime it changes. This is a change for the better though. Aiden is taking at least one of his naps as a long nap of two hours or longer. This is hopefully the start of the transition to two longer daytime naps instead of the current four nap routine. We might even be able to leave the house occasionally once we get into a two nap routine. However I am grateful that he even naps for an hour, as only six weeks ago he wouldn't nap for more than twenty minutes a few times a day.

The biggest change for us however is that we have moved. We were planning on this for a while. We have also downsized too, which suits me a whole lot better. We were previously in a large 2300sqft. single family home. It was on two floors and the high ceilings downstairs made for a lot of stairs to get up to the second floor. Keeping such a large house was fine until Aiden came along.

Then we ended up camping out in the family room. Because of my emergency c-section we moved some key pieces of nursery furniture downstairs. Most never made the return journey back to the nursery. It was much easier to just leave it all in the family room. We only went upstairs to go to bed, and so the chores up there got pretty much neglected. We rarely got to sit down at the table to eat together, as one of us was always attending to Aiden, so the dinning room also fell into disuse. Like I already wrote, we basically lived in our family room and adjoining kitchen.

It was an expensive house to not be living in most of it. And after Aiden still showing signs of remembering our spiritual trial at the end of October, we knew moving was the best thing for all of us.

We have moved to a cosy little two bedroom apartment. Its on the ground floor so we don't have any stairs to deal with any more. It has a total of 1100sqft, which is less than half of what we had before, but we still managed to fit everything we actually use, and it doesn't look over crowded. It will also force us to keep our life simple, as there is no room for storing any extra "stuff" just because we might use it one day.

Now I can keep on top of the chores, and keep our home as clean as I used to. Aiden is sleeping even better, and is all around even happier and more contented. Even Rob is more relaxed now that he doesn't have any yard work to do, but still has a patio to enjoy and grill on.

We have wonderful community facilities including a heated swimming pool and 24hr access to a gym. In our first week we have met more of our neighbours than we did in three years at our old neighbourhood. Everyone in this new neighbourhood is really friendly, and they have regular community events to help people get to know each other. I feel more at home here in just a week than I ever did in our previous place. It just shows that having a large home isn't always the best.

I know for most people the idea of downsizing seems impossible. For us it makes sense in so many different ways. It is more economical, easier to keep, friendlier, and more relaxing for all of us. Less space also means less possessions, which means less temptation to purchase things we don't really need. This in turn will save us more money. Every way we look at it our new home is one of the best decisions we have made together.

We have been so blessed to find this new home. We have been blessed to have Aiden adjust to it without any problems. We are so blessed to have such friendly neighbours. We praise the Lord of all blessings for leading us here at just the right time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guarding the home

There has been a lot happening in our home recently. Much of it has pushed me and my darling husband into a time of seeking the Lord in a way we have never done as a couple. November was a month that has changed us both deeply, and for the better. Perhaps our biggest lesson has been about how we, as a couple, guard our home.

Through a spiritual trial that effected our 6 month old son we realised just how easy it is to let our guard slip, and let the world (and the enemy) slowly take over our home. Through a long series of events during our first two years living in the same home we had let our guard down. The cable TV had been connected, our DVD collection, while mostly classics, contained many films that we should not be watching (just the use of blasphemy alone, even once, whittled down our collection by over 70%), books, music CD's and even vacation souvenirs all had brought the world into our home.

With a lot of prayer and humility we went through our home and cleansed it of all the items we knew we should not have. Some required some research to find out if they had pagan origins, and therefore wrong spiritual influence. The enemy is a legalist, and anything we freely bring into our home with ungodly associations give him ground to enter too. So we tossed the souvenir lei from our vacation to Hawaii last year. That was all the easy part.

Now comes the more difficult task of keeping our home guarded. As the festive season approaches there is a lot of temptation to bring back in many items that have pagan origins and ungodly influences. The most obvious for us was the Christmas tree. We will now be a tree free home in December. I've kept some of the tree decorations and arranged them in bowls to decorate our table instead. Yet there are so many parts of the Christmas celebrations that have pagan origins it is difficult to know what to keep and what to eliminate. Yet it is worth the effort to figure this out for our family.

I know many will think we are being extreme in some of the choices we make as we walk this path. I freely acknowledge that this is extreme compared to most, and certainly compared to everyone around us. It may not be the path the Lord leads others down, but it is the path to which He has led us. Rob and I are still processing what it means for us as a couple, and us as a family. Yet always we keep in mind why we are doing this. Our wonderful, precious 6 month old son is totally dependent on us for everything, including his spiritual well-being (for now.) He is a gift from the Lord, for us to take care of. It will be years before he is old enough to understand he is a sinner, and that he needs saved from the punishment of his sins. Until he reaches that point we have to guard him from ungodly influences and keep his heart tender to respond to the Holy Spirit.

It won't be easy. There are no guarantees either. Yet with prayer and vigilance we will be doing everything we possibly can to make sure our precious baby never has to go through a month like last month ever again.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Thanksgiving!

I'm not quite ready for Thanksgiving to be over and Christmas to be rushing towards me.

Don't get me wrong, we're organised for Christmas. The presents are all purchased, or ready to put together. The overseas gifts have been mailed.

I just want to linger in the glow of Thanksgiving (and Autumn/Fall) a little longer before I plunge into Christmas, New Years (and Winter) and all that it entails.

I have so much to be thankful for this year.

My darling son is six months old today.

Aiden is the sweetest baby boy we could ever hope for. Keep him rested, fed and dry and all you will hear are giggles and shrieks of delight. The child just oozes joy and contentment. I am learning so much from him every single day. He is sitting up without support, and his favourite toy this week is his feet. I'm not sure if he realises they belong to him, but he loves to play with them anyway.

I have a wonderful, loving husband. Rob is so much more than I could have dreamed my husband would be. He is a strong leader and proud to be the head of this home and family. He goes out to work every day to provide for us, with never a word of complaint about the long commute or the unreasonable expectations of those he works for. He is more than happy to be the sole bread winner, and allow me to stay at home. He enjoys coming home knowing that we are here to greet him and tell him how much we have missed him.

I have a supportive family, even though they are so far away in Scotland. Thanks to the internet (and Facebook) we are able to keep up with each others lives.

I have amazing friends scattered all over the world, who love me enough to have kept in touch through out the years as our journeys have led us to different parts of the world.

These are blessing indeed, and riches beyond compare. Yet they all shadow into nothing compared to the love I have from my Saviour and Lord. I have been saved from the punishment of my sins by the shedding of His blood at Calvary. I have restored fellowship with the Creator of the Universe because of His sacrifice. I have eternity in His presence to look forward to when my time on earth is over. One day He is coming back, and I get to come back with Him.

I am blessed.

I am humbled.

I am loved.

I am thankful.

So please indulge me a little longer, if I linger just a bit in the glow of Thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for, and no rush to finish saying it.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We are almost finished our Thanksgiving preparations.

Pumpkin Cheescake was made yesterday. I added a new dimension this year by using homemade ginger cookies for the cookie base instead of graham crackers.

The whole house has been cleaned.

The dinning table has been polished and redecorated for the Thanksgiving feast.

The turkey is prepared with a spice rub and sitting at the bottom of the 'fridge, waiting for my darling husband to deep fry it tomorrow.

Pecan pie is about to go in the oven.

Vegetables are in the 'fridge, chopped etc ready to cook tomorrow.

Even my heart has had an overhaul this morning.

I wasn't very thankful when I first woke up this morning. Our sweet little baby boy had me up four times during the night. Each time was just for a minute or so, but disturbed sleep is disturbed sleep. Then he heard his daddy in the shower at 4:30am. Knowing daddy was up gave Aiden the impression that it was time for him to be up too.(He had gone down to sleep before 6pm last night.) So as Rob left for work at 4:45am this morning I was left to get up with Aiden.

I dragged myself out of bed, muttering to myself about what a ridiculously early time this was to be up. It wasn't even 5am yet. Meanwhile Aiden went from crying to smiling as soon as he realised I had come to his cradle to get him up for the day. I continued complaining to myself all the way down the stairs, while my happy early bird son smiled at me and babbled and giggled and smiled some more. Then as I switched on the kitchen lights, with my son still safely in my arms, I stopped and just looked into his innocent eyes. They were beaming with joy and energy for the new day. I realised that I am so, so blessed to be the mamma of such a wonderful, contented, joyful little boy. I am so blessed to be forced out of my bed before I am ready to care for this young life. I am blessed that I even have a nice comfortable bed to get out of.

I don't know why the Lord didn't make me a morning person like everyone else in my family (both the family I came from and the new one I am in,) but just because I take a while to truly wake up after my feet hit the floor doesn't mean I have permission to be grumpy about it. Thanksgiving isn't just a day. Thanksgiving should be a way of life.

Have a wonderful, thankful day tomorrow.


I just read this wonderful post over at Domestic Felicity

Anna is answering questions about feminism, and I don't think I could have answered any more articulately than she did.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Resident Aliens

Last week I received approval the have the 2 year conditional status of my residency removed. This is because I received my immigrant status through marriage, and had been married less than two years when my residency started. As part of the application process to remove the conditions to my residency we had to prove that we still had a genuine marriage. I think our son's birth certificate said it all.

I was surprised that my application was processed so quickly. Removal of Conditions applications are one of the lowest priorities for processing. Many people wait over a year to have their conditions removed. After our initial immigration application (while having to live in different countries) took a year to complete with high priority (only below naturalisation and dependent children under 21) I was expecting the removal of my conditions to take at least as long. Instead it took less than four months from posting our application to receiving my green card, which arrived in the mail today.

I am now officially a immigrant resident, otherwise known as a legal alien resident. The surprising good news about my immigrant status has caused me to pause and reflect about what it means to be an alien in a foreign land. As a christian I am an alien in this world, just passing through on my way to eternity. As a foreigner and alien in the land in which I live there are plenty of areas in my life that show my alien status.

My darling husband gets great amounts of amusement out of one of the most obvious differences. Although we appear to speak the same language (English) in truth neither of us speak proper English. My beloved speaks American English (along with everyone around me) and I speak mostly Scots, with some British English thrown in for good measure. I use words like creche instead of nursery (which to native ears sounds like crash) and car park instead of parking lot. One of my friends loves how I use the word post instead of mail. Rob can always tell when I'm talking to my family on the telephone because then I use Scots words instead of English ones.

But it isn't just the words that make the difference. Its the figures of speech, the songs I sing to Aiden and the small unimportant traditions I bring with me that for me are second nature, but for those around me are strange and meaningless. Who knew there is an actual difference between porridge and oatmeal. I found out the first time I served porridge to Rob. He didn't know Thomas is a Tank Engine and not just a Train. The Mr Men, Roald Dahl, The Famous Five, Ali Bali, Wee Willie Winkie and Bagpuss never had a part of Rob's childhood. My frames of reference for raising our son are so different to Rob's.

These differences are also a reflection of how as a believer my frames of reference should be different to the world. As a foreigner I get to choose how much I immerse myself in this new land. Do I blindly and completely immerse myself in everything? Do I cling to the ways of the old country no matter what? Or do I choose carefully and wisely what I keep and what I adopt from the new? There has to be some adaption, especially in my language, otherwise I would never be understood by those around me.

I have to live in this world, but how much it changes me is my choice. It isn't easy being a foreigner and always being a little bit different from everyone around me. Neither is it always easy being a christian in a world that no longer accepts absolutes. I want to be relevant to those around me, to be understandable, that I may share the good news of the gospel with them, and by example lead them towards the Lord. Yet I don't want to be so alike that they don't see any point or need to change and seek after God.

Just as I want to find a balance between the Scot and the American I also want to find the balance between the world and holiness. Are either of these going to be easy? I don't expect so. Will it be worth the extra effort? Most definitely yes.

I am a foreigner in a foreign land, it is only by the grace of God I navigate my way through.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The miracle of good naps

Ever since Aiden came home from the hospital a little over five months ago we have struggled to get him into a good nap routine during the day. He is a champion sleeper at night. Within the first two months he had developed the routine of sleeping ten plus hours at night. When he first started extending his night sleeping I was a little worried that he was going too long between feeds. I needed to nurse him at night more frequently than he awoke to feed. We both adjusted and I was surprised at how well he slept at night with no effort on my part.

Being just like his dad Aiden knew that when it is dark outside it is time to sleep, and to stay asleep until it gets light again. Right now he wants to go down for the night by 6pm. With the long dark nights upon us he will happily sleep for between eleven and twelve hours during the night. Yet daytime naps continued to be a struggle.

No matter how tired he got, Aiden just would not stay asleep during daylight hours. Every day was another battle to get him to nap for more than fifteen or twenty minutes. I always lost. He would take four naps but together they would add up to little more than an hour of sleep.

Then at the beginning of last week it changed. Rob and I had been doing some spiritual spring cleaning. We decided not only to unplug the cable (which we had only connected for the teenagers who stayed with us last school year) but we also removed it altogether. Along with the TV went to home theater system that had survived from Rob's bachelor days. His extensive DVD movie collection went too. We removed the world from our home and it resulted in a miracle.

We are now half way through our second week of the miracle of good naps. Our little boy now has a one hour nap after breakfast then a two hour nap before lunch. Later in the afternoon he will have another one hour nap. That's four hours of daytime naps. And he still sleeps all night long.

Finally I can get caught up on chores. Finally I can once again feel organised. Once again my darling husband can come home to dinner on the table and other delights like freshly made cookies. My son is happy. My husband is happy. I feel so blessed.

I am at peace now that I have order again. I am calm now that the distractions are gone. We are more together as a couple and as a family. I am reinvigorated with an energy I haven't felt in a long time.

The Lord is so good to us. He is patient and merciful. He was willing to wait for us. Then once we were ready to do whatever He required, He met us and transformed us.

Rob and I have agreed that from this point on we have to be a lot more careful about what we allow in our home. We have a responsibility to protect our son (and any other children if the Lord so blesses us) and guard his heart until he is old enough to guard it himself.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dedication and staying spiritually clean

Last Sunday we had our official "Baby Dedication." We took Aiden forward during church and dedicated to raising him to know and grow in the Lord. The Pastor then prayed over us, asking the Lord to provide us with grace and wisdom to raise Aiden. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the blessing of a first born son, and to vow to raise him to be a godly man. Rob's family came to church to be there for the dedication and to celebrate with us after at home.

In the process of preparing for this special dedication Rob and I have also been discussing some of the ways we need to put this into practice. Keeping our lives and our home spiritually clean is one of those important ways. As we discussed it further we realised that this is a task that takes constant vigilance and determination. We are parents who are also sinners. As sinners we often sin and fall short of the Lord's perfect will for us. We make mistakes, and sometimes we let a little bit of the world creep into our home. In this day and age it has become so easy to allow worldliness into our lives without even noticing.

We realised that we need to spiritually spring clean our home on a regular basis. We want our home to be an oasis of peace and purity, but it won't stay that way unless we guard it. We need to evaluate everything that has already made it into our home and decide if it is worthy of staying here. We also need to evaluate everything that comes our way and decide if it is worthy of being allowed into our home in the first place. And those items that are no longer welcome, they go straight into the trash. If it isn't worthy for us it won't be worthy for anyone else.

This principle is true for our individual lives as well as our home and family in general. What I allow into my life will affect my heart. Focusing on keeping a pure heart involves different details for each of us, but the principle that holds true of keeping the Lord at the center is always the same. Anything, no matter how good, that distracts me from keeping the Lord first, my husband second and my parenting third is something that is keeping me from being spiritually clean.

Although there are many things I'd like to spend time blogging about, my time is precious and there just isn't enough to spare to blog as often as I want to. Life with an almost five month old who is learning to become mobile keeps my days fully packed just trying to keep up with household chores. Nap times are for showering, time with the Lord and chores I can't do when Aiden is awake. Evening and weekend hours are for my husband (and family time) with Sunday set aside as our Lord's Day, where we shut ourselves off from the world (no internet, no dvds, no stores or restuarants etc) and just go to church and spend time together.

In saying all of this I need to finish as my son needs me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mashed Banana Delight!

Last Saturday we hit two new milestones for Aiden. In the morning he managed to stay sitting upright for several seconds at a time without support. He was very cute trying to stay up before slowly leaning over on himself. How quickly the time seems to be going now that he is sitting up.

Then after several weeks of watching us intently every time we eat, and fussing even after a full 6oz bottle we decided to try him with some mashed banana as his first solid food. Not only did he take to it straight away, in less than a week he has started to realise that the food is on the way and gets so excited. He leans forward into the spoon eager to get the food, and fusses when I take the spoon away to put more food on it. He is so eager to eat he gets a lot of it over his face. Mashed banana has been a delight for our almost five month old. This weekend we will introduce sweet potato for a new taste and texture and see how much he likes that one too.

The most interesting outcome of introducing banana to Aiden's diet is that he is finally becoming more predictable in his daytime naps. Until this week he rarely slept during the day for more than 30 minutes. Now we are getting at least one 2 hour nap and another almost 2 hour nap. This wasn't the reason we added food to Aiden's diet, but it sure is a nice bonus. And he still sleeps 11 hours every night too, so now his sleep patterns are about as perfect as we could ever hope for.

We have such an easy contented little boy it makes parenting him a real pleasure. What a blessing and a joy it is to be Aiden's Mamma.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Epiphany

Last week I had an epiphany moment. I had fallen into the first time new mother trap of pushing my husband down the priority list. I hadn't intended to neglect Rob, in fact I thought I was doing a fairly good job of paying attention to him. I knew that looking after Aiden's needs had been very time consuming, especially the first couple of months, but we were finally turning a corner with an established routine and more time to get "stuff" done.

So last week I finally had reached a point of having enough time to get bored of always having "mommy hair." Right now my hair is almost half way down my back in length. I like my hair being this long. Rob likes my hair this long. I don't want to cut it into a more practical "mommy do," so most of the time it gets twisted up in a hair clip. It is the minimum effort, out of the baby's way look. Four months into this I had enough of doing the same thing every day for the sake of easiness. Then one day last week I decided to actually style my hair. When Rob got home he immediately noticed and smiled at me. He commented several times at how pretty my hair looked. The next day I again styled my hair, then just before Rob got home I managed to put on a little lipstick. Again my husband's reaction was one of pleasure at the sight of his put together wife. It was then that I realised just how much it ministered to my husband when I make just a little effort to look good for him. He had never complained during my four months of the grungy new mom look, but I knew right at that moment not taking just 5 minutes to prepare myself for his arrival home I was telling him that he was not as important to me as our son was.

My goal now is make sure Rob never again slips on the priority list. Fixing my hair and applying a little lipstick, wearing clean feminine clothes (rather than yoga pants and a baggy t-shirt) and preparing for Rob coming home from work takes only a few minutes. It only takes a few minutes, but how much nicer must it be for Rob when he doesn't come home to a frazzled looking, spit-up covered wife. It is a small, but important way that I can say "I love you and you are important to me" to my husband each and every day.

Sorry there isn't any pictures yet. I'll try to take some in the next few days and get them posted.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

First Cold and other developments

This week Aiden had his first head cold. Fortunately it was very mild. We took Aiden to Rob's office on Friday so Rob could show him off. I had to wait in the reception area, as Rob works for a company that sometimes does work on Defense Contracts. They have a big sign that states in big red letters "No Foreign Nationals." Since I am still just a permanent resident I couldn't go any further than the security desk. We think it was this visit to the office that infected Aiden, even though Rob didn't let anyone actually touch him.

So Aiden and I have had a very laid back week, with lots of snuggles and longer than usual naps. He is already becoming more independent from me. He plays on his own for over half an hour at a time, amusing himself with a ring of teething toys and a see through rattle. He no longer needs Mamma for constant amusement. It is a small step forward compared to all that he will accomplish by his first birthday, but shows just how short the time is when Aiden will be happy to snuggle on his Mamma's lap. He is sitting with support, and can move around the floor in circles using his arms and hips. He doesn't like being on his belly so hands and feet crawling is probably not going to be his thing. Rob scooted on his bum as a baby and we think Aiden is going to be the same way. He is also working on rolling over from his back to his belly, although I'm not sure what he'll do once he succeeds, probably cry for Mamma.

I am still filled with awe each and every day as I watch this little person called Aiden. He is such a sweet natured child who finds himself almost as amusing as his Dad does. He loves to chat, and giggles for no apparent reason, much to the amusement of his parents. It is such a privilege to be trusted with the nurture and raising of this precious child. I know I am greatly blessed to be his Mamma, and I hope and pray that we receive a whole quiverful just like him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The joy of motherhood

I am so blessed with a sweet natured baby, yet he is so time consuming I can't believe how quickly the time is passing by. The last month has seen a few changes for both of us.

The first one is a sad one for me. Aiden has stopped nursing and is now bottle fed with formula milk. From about six weeks old Rob and I had several conversations about the possibility of Aiden being Lactose Intolerant. He had most of the symptoms, except weight loss. Instead his weight gain was very slow, especially considering his healthy 8lb 7oz birth weight. It all came to a head on Thursday evening when Rob came home to Aiden screaming in pain yet again. It had been building up for several days, but he had reached a point where he would not sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time during the day, and would wake up screaming, obviously uncomfortable. I started to do some online research and found that Aiden's symptoms matched all the criteria for Lactose Overload. We decided to try formula for a few days to give his body an opportunity to get some relief, meanwhile I expressed to keep up my milk supply. It was during the week that I was expressing and storing my milk that we realised the problem was my milk. It had no fat in it. No matter how much milk I expressed there was only ever a weak, watery milk coming out. After speaking to Rob's aunt I discovered this was not normal, that expressed milk should have some rich fat, that if left standing with separate to the top. In the weeks leading up to this Aiden and I had already instinctively tried feeding from only one side per feeding and then block feeding for several hours on one side only. It never worked. Aiden was always hungry, and with no fat to slow down the digestive process, he was also always in pain from the lactose fermenting in his intestines. Now that we have switched permanently to formula milk Aiden is no longer screaming, and is finally gaining weight that is more in line with his size. I miss nursing him, but I'm also aware that to continue would have continued to keep my son in pain and with a constant hunger.

A happier change is the amount of interaction we are now having with Aiden. He loves to sit on my lap and sing nursery rhymes with me. It is so sweet to here him try to sing just like his Mamma. He is spending more time sitting up and lifting up his head when we put him down on his tummy. I know it won't be too much longer until he starts trying to crawl. He changes so much each day, that I try to just soak in these baby days. I know they will pass too quickly. I waited so long to become a mother that I want to make the most of each and every day.

We continue to work on Aiden's daytime sleep patterns. He is such a good sleeper at night, still sleeping 9-10 hours every night. Most of his daytime naps don't last much past half an hour. I usually will only get one longer nap out of him (which is what he is doing right now) and so have to try and squeeze in as many chores as I can during that time which can last from only an hour all the way up to two and a half hours. The longer naps are a true rarity, in which I might even get to enjoy a few sips of coffee before he wakens up.

My favourite part of the day is always when Rob comes home. As I here the door I always tell Aiden that "Daddy's home" which is always replied to with a huge smile. I love that our son enjoys his daddy's return home as much as I do. It is a joy to watch the two of them together reconnecting at the end of the day while I finish getting dinner on the table. Rob interacts with Aiden in a very different way than I do and it really blesses my heart to see Aiden have the balance of both parents investing in his life and development.

I can hear Aiden begin to stir from his nap, so I will finish and get this posted before I go and see to him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Single Income Living, a new category of post.

I have decided to start a new category of post here on my blog. As a family living on a single income in South Florida, where the cost of living is expensive, every penny counts. While neither Rob nor I thought we had an extravagant lifestyle, we are still finding ways to cut our expenses. I thought I would share some of them here on the blog.

Today I want to share my latest experiment. I made my own liquid laundry detergent. I was very surprised at just how easy it was. I got the recipe from the Duggars website (since I don't know how to directly link here is the web address - http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html )and used Ivory soap, which was very easy to grate on a manual cheese grater. I made 10 gallons for about 60 cents. The one thing I did notice is that this laundry detergent does NOT froth the same way commercial detergents do, but it actually cleans BETTER. Both Rob and I are very impressed at how well it has worked, and how much money it will save us. $12 used to buy 1 gallon of detergent, but $12 in supplies will yield 20 batches of 10 gallons each.

I don't think we will ever purchase commercial laundry detergent ever again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Schedule! What schedule?

I can hardly believe Aiden is two months old already. The time seems to be flying by. After the first few weeks, we started to get more sleep. Aiden quickly worked out a night schedule where he woke up only twice to feed and have his diaper changed. He would fall asleep for the night as soon as it got dark (between 8-9pm) and would wake between 12-1am and again 4-5am. His only issue was going back to sleep after a feed. He would often be awake for over an hour and a half. During the day was a completely different story. He would only cat nap for about 20-30 minutes at a time, and only while he was being held. The very second I put him down in his cradle he would wake up and start to cry. So it was back in my arms again. Aiden would also like to feed for about an hour at a time, any less than that and he would start rooting again in about half an hour. In the first month we had three growth spurts where Aiden would eat almost all day long, but continue with his night schedule as normal.

Then almost two weeks ago it changed. Aiden started sleeping for 8-9 hours at night, still falling asleep for the night just after sunset. Finally both Rob and I were getting a full night of sleep every night. The last few nights it has been 10 hours of sleep. So last week I decided it was time to start working on a day time schedule. Holding Aiden all day just is not practical. I still have a home to take care of, and meals to prepare, not to mention basic necessities like showering, eating and drinking. My darling son has a radar for when I try to eat. It seems the second I put food towards my mouth Aiden will start to cry with some urgent need, usually a dirty or wet diaper. So back to the schedule, my goal is to get two daytime naps of between 1-2 hours at a time for a total of at least 3 hours of day time sleep. I have so far got one nap set into Aiden's day, but then he is still cat napping later in the day. So this week we are going to work on that second, afternoon, nap.

Hopefully once we get Aiden's day time schedule worked out I should be able to get back to blogging more regularly, maybe even about more than just motherhood, which is about the whole of my existence right now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Introducing Aiden Thomas

We are finally parents. Aiden arrived on Tuesday 1st June 2010 after a very long labor and emergency c-section. It wasn't the homebirth we had planned, but we definitely gave it our best try.

Below is the detailed birth story.

Labor started just before 1am Monday 31st May (Memorial Day) when I woke up to my waters breaking. We called the midwife to let her know and then tried to go back to sleep. About twenty minutes later the contractions started, immediately coming only 5-8 minutes apart. Both DH and I figured it would be a reasonably short labor at this point. By 2am we were both wide awake, so DH made us some steak for a middle of the night "breakfast." At 3am with the contractions consistently no more than 5 min apart we called our midwife again. She came to the house about twenty minutes later. I continued to labor for the rest of the night.

At 10am our midwife decided to check my progress. We were all surprised to find I was only 2cm dilated and 90% effaced, with the baby at -2 station. This was our first indication that our labor was going to be a lot longer and slower than we had expected. By 3pm dilation had increased to 3-4cm, and the midwife then manually stretched dilation to 5cm. We tried everything we could think of to help progress the labor. I used the tub twice, walked up and down the stairs, walked around the block. Eventually we even tried some homeopathy. By 10pm I eventually reached 8cm dilation, still 90% effaced, and baby at 0 station. Our midwife did notice a change in the baby's position, as the head had turned to a more difficult angle.

At 11pm our midwife let us know that we were close to timing out at home. Legal restrictions meant we could only continue at home after 24 hours from the water breaking if I was already pushing and making progress with pushing. At 1am I was checked again, and there had been no progress since the last check at 10pm. We now had to transfer to the hospital. Our midwife called ahead to get us admitted, and then grabbing just my tooth brush and tooth paste we drove to the hospital.

I have to say at this point that our midwife and her assistant could not have done more for us. They exhausted every resource they had trying to give us the homebirth we had planned. Our midwife also stayed with us at the hospital.

Once we got to the Labor & Delivery department I was admitted straight into a room, and after taking my details I was put on an IV. It took several attempts to get the IV in, but after that i was put on fluids, pitocin, and a mild pain killer was given through the IV too. My second night of labor continued in this way. Then the external contraction monitor was swapped for an internal monitor that would not only measure the contractions, but also there effectiveness. DH, being an engineer watched the output of this, and could see that the contractions were not doing anything. Exhausted, and now in more pain than I could handle because of the pitocin I finally conceded to an epidural. Our midwife finally had to go home at 7am. Once I had the epidural I could finally get some rest. I was put on a catheter too as I now couldn't feel anything below my waist. The nurse would increase the level of pitocin on a regular basis, until they had it at the legal limit.

Just after noon the baby finally started showing some signs of distress. I was still only 8cm dilated, 90% effaced and the baby was stuck at +1 station. Finally there was talk of a c-section to complete the delivery. DH and I already knew by this point that surgery was on the cards. I had not progressed in over 14 hours, even with all the medication. I had now been laboring for over 35 hours. We had to wait a little before we could have the surgery as there was another mother currently having a c-section, so we had to wait until her procedure was over.

Just before 2pm I was taken to the OR. At 2:23pm on Tuesday 1st June Aiden entered our world. We could hear him cry as he was pulled out of my womb. He sounded cross. It seemed like a few minutes before we finally heard the words "Its a boy." It was at this point the reality really hit me. We had a son.

DH went with Aiden to the nursery to be cleaned up and checked over, while I was stitched back up and eventually transferred to recovery. About ten minutes after I got to recovery DH came in with Aiden, and I got my first proper look at him. I tried nursing him, but we were both so tired and drugged that it didn't happen. After an hour in recovery we were transferred to the mother & baby department for our postpartum stay. DH got to room in with Aiden and I for the whole of our stay. This was crucial, especially for the first night as I couldn't get out of bed or pick up Aiden, he had to be placed in my arms. We continued trying to nurse Aiden without any success.

The following day I was finally able to get out of bed, albeit very slowly. Then once I was able to go to the bathroom three times my IV was removed. From that point it got increasingly easier to move around, although I was still on pain meds every four hours.

We were discharged on the Friday. Aiden was being formula fed after failing to latch the entire time we were at the hospital. We rented a breast pump from the hospital for 10 days, so we could work at transitioning Aiden to breastfeeding. I am glad to say that by Saturday morning Aiden was off the formula and feeding from his mummy. He has improved his latch and is thriving now as a breast fed baby.

We've been home just over a week and life is finally beginning to settle into a routine of sorts. We have a wonderfully contented baby. We have survived DH's first week back at work, and the departure of my parents last Monday.

Now the real adventure of parenthood begins.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

38 Weeks, Now its all about waiting!

Today sees us 38 weeks pregnant. We turned full term and had our home visit from our midwife last Thursday. After months of being concerned about preterm labor forcing us into a hospital birth I've had a week of knowing that whenever this baby decides to arrive I will be able to stay at home.

As part of our preparation process we had a childbirth class with our midwife, and had a couple of DVD's to watch. This was a wonderful learning process for my darling husband. We then decided as a result of this learning that we are going to try for a water birth at home. The advice of our midwife was to have some trial runs ahead of time. This will then give me positive relaxing memories than I can focus on when it comes to the actual labor. It has also allowed us to figure out how to use our tub in a way that maximises my relaxation ahead of time too. I'm so thankful Rob had the insight to have such a deep tub in the master en-suite.

So far I've had several false starts with contractions. Yesterday they even got to less than five minutes apart for almost an hour before stopping yet again. Then nothing for several hours. It has been this way for almost two weeks, with each time getting just a little more intense than the time before. I know it is just my body gearing up for the real thing, which will happen when the baby is perfectly ready for it to happen. Meanwhile we wait. Wait for labor to start. Wait for our baby to arrive. Wait for our lives to change forever. In waiting we draw closer together and closer to the Lord too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Loving Memory of Papa Reid

Earlier today at 9:30am ET (2:30pm local time in Scotland) my last grandparent, Papa Reid, passed away. My Papa had been ill for many years with acute emphysema caused by a lifetime of smoking and working in the foundry of an iron works. He was taken into hospital last Tuesday with multiple organ failure (lungs, kidneys & heart), and the doctors finally stopped treatment on Friday. So today's news was not unexpected. Rob and I were already at Church, setting up for our Sunday School class when my mum called me to let me know. I was fine all through Sunday School, but had a bit of a cry in Church during the worship time.

My Papa has always had a special place in my heart, and I in his. I have so many wonderful memories from childhood of times spent with my Papa. He always brought me and my brother a treat home with him on a Friday evening on his way home from work. There were always loose coins in his pocket for his grandchildren. Later on as I grew into adulthood there were days spent together where he would tell me stories of his younger years, and the wonderful love story between him and my Gran. In the last months before I left Scotland to live in Florida with my wonderful husband, my Papa started to tell me about some of his experiences during World War II. My Papa volunteered at the very beginning of the war in 1939, as an 18 year old, and he saw action on several fronts throughout the entire length of the war until 1945. He never talked about the war, until those last few months we spent together.

He was a colourful man by any description. Born during a difficult time in British history, just a few years after the Great War. He grew up in what would now be considered poverty, leaving school at 14 years old to go out to work. He was a very intelligent man who never had the opportunity to further his education, but those were the times in which he was raised. As already mentioned he saw action for the entire length of WWII. He came back home after the war to work in the iron works, where he worked until he turned 65, when he then retired. He was a heavy drinker in his younger years, but by the time I came along he had calmed down and in later years would drink much less. My Gran was the love of his life, that he said goodbye to when he became a widower nearly 11 years ago. He was a very loving grandfather, and great-grandfather. He loved children, and I know he would have loved to meet this child I carry within me. However that was not to be. If this child is a boy, we will use my Papa's name in his honour.

I know I'm mostly rambling. The reality that my Papa is really gone is still sinking in. It has been difficult to be so far away from the rest of my family this past week, and it will be difficult to miss the funeral, but I can't fly transatlantic this far along in my pregnancy. Instead I have to take comfort in knowing that my Papa knew how much I loved him, and I would have been there at his bedside if I could possibly have been.

I love you Papa, and will miss you always.

Thomas Reid, 15th December 1921 - 11th April 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Update at last

I know I'm a bad blogger. I DO mean to keep this blog up to date and make regular posts, but somehow life seems to get in my way.

I can hardly believe it is April already and weeks since I last wrote anything. I guess the best place to start in catching up is to let you all know how the baby shower was. I really had not been looking forward to it. I had very mixed emotions, partly because in the back of my mind there is still that little voice reminding me that there is still time for something to go wrong with this pregnancy. A couple of hours before the shower I had an emotional meltdown, which my darling husband handled very well and reassured me that everything would be alright in the end.

It was nice to have three other ladies to share the shower with, all of them seemingly as reluctant as me to be fussed over, so everything was kept low key and none of us were put on the spot.

There was a lovely devotion, a few games and of course food.

We were each given a gift basket related to the devotion, which included some handmade items (my favourite)for our babies. I am glad to say I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to. The biggest surprise however was in how generous the ladies in our Church were to each of us.

In this economy, and with four ladies to split the money between I really didn't expect much, but we each got nearly $300 to use for things we need for our babies.

The following day our Sunday School class surprised us with another smaller baby shower, this time with gifts from the registry I had put together at Walmart to remind myself of what we needed. It was a truly unexpected blessing that has greatly helped us with bedding and clothing along with some other items.

The last month has been a busy time with much of my energy focused on nesting and preparing for the arrival of our baby. I am glad to say we are now almost ready. We got the nursery set up a few weeks ago, and the only thing missing from there now is a chair for nursing. The chair will be the last major item we have left to get.

We were also blessed this past week with the gift of a cradle for our family room. It is a beautiful wooden cradle given to us by a friend who used it for her teenage sons when they were born. She though we might have to replace the bedding as it was very discoloured from many years in the attic. However after stain treating it and washing it with a cup of bleach it all came out as good as new and is now set up in the corner next to me as I type. (Sorry I haven't got around to taking a photo of this yet.)

Rob and I have also had some illness. I started off with an ear infection in my left ear that was so painful Rob took me to the doctor's office to have it looked at. I was given antibiotic ear drops to clear it up, but just as it was getting better it spread to my right ear. At the same time both Rob and I came down with a head cold, which we both think we probably picked up at the doctor's office. Being infected and congested at the same time I have developed hearing loss in my right ear, which still has not completely healed. Usually congestion related hearing loss corrects itself in a few days for me, but I am now in my second week like this and it is still showing no sign of leaving. I am praying both the ear and the congestion will clear up soon, as I wouldn't like to be approaching labour still feeling like this.

Now that most of our preparations are done for the baby's arrival I am finally looking forward to that day, whenever it may be. I will be full-term on May 6 and could deliver any time between then and June 10. That's five weeks of potential labour starting at any time. I know statistically first babies are generally 5-7 days past the estimated due date. This particular baby has already tried to engage three times, eventually coming back up a little, much to my physical relief, as it isn't very comfortable for the baby to be that low down. I have thought for a few weeks now that this little one might come a little early, especially when they seem so eager to get out already, but I know that this baby will be born when they are good and ready and not a day sooner or later.

Anyway I need to end for now as I've still too much to do in preparation for Easter tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guilt free, never fail, Chocolate Cake

As requested on Sunday by some of the ladies in our Sunday School Class this is my guilt free, never fail Chocolate Cake recipe.

Sift together: 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 heaped tablespoons cocoa

Make 3 wells in the mixture and add in:
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
6 teaspoons oil

Pour in 1 cup of water and stir mixture well.

Bake in a 9inch by 9inch cake tin in a moderate oven (Gas 5, 350f, 180c) for 25 minutes.

I like to top with either chocolate water icing or chocolate buttercreme icing.

I've been using this recipe for 17 years and I've never had it fail me yet. I've even used it as the cake base for novelty cakes, including an Elmo cake for my sister's 21st birthday.

This cake is guilt free as it has no dairy products, no butter, no eggs, no chocolate. I have tried substitutes for the sugar but the chemistry that makes this cake so light and moist just doesn't work so well with anything but white sugar. It does make 16 portions so I feel that 1/16 cup of sugar is not really so bad for such a yummy cake.

I did experiment with this cake for a friend who could not eat cocoa. I substituted 6 heaped tablespoons of dessicated coconut for the 3 tablespoons of cocoa, and added just a little less water. It also needs to bake for 40 minutes instead of 25. I like the coconut version topped with lemon water icing, as the lemon flavour goes very nicely with the coconut.

Both versions can also be made up as cupcakes, just reduce the baking time a little.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Showers and Belly Rubs

Today I reached 27 weeks on the 40 week journey that is pregnancy, so today I'm indulging in some baby blogging.

The last few weeks have seen an increase in the frequency of the "are you excited yet?" question from gushing females. All of them react with complete surprise when finding out that I am not yet at the "excited" stage of this pregnancy.

I am by nature more pragmatic than excitable. At this point all I can see is the most enormous to do list lurking before me. I have too many constraints getting in the way of that list to leave any room for excitement.

At the same time I do acknowledge that I have chosen to live in a culture that loves to gush and get emotional over everything. Therefore I am the one who needs to make the adjustment and align myself with the cultural norm I live in. This brings me to the title of my post.

Firstly I'll mention the "belly rubs." While I have started to rub my belly when alone with the baby I was not prepared for other people to walk up to me for the sole purpose of rubbing my pregnant belly. I'm not sure what it is about pregnancy that makes my body public property, but around here that certainly seems to be the case. My baby bump seems to be open access to all and any hands that want to give it a rub. I know that it is a display of affection, so I try not to squirm when it happens. I guess Scots just have a bigger personal space barrier than Americans.

The other big cultural difference for me right now is the "Baby Shower." We don't have these parties back home in Scotland. Babies are celebrated once they have safely arrived. It is in fact seen as "bad luck" to do too much before the arrival is out of the way. One of the ways this can be seen is that the baby's pram (baby carriage) is not fully paid for and brought home until after the baby is born. I guess you could express it as not counting our chickens before the eggs hatch. Here the ladies love to celebrate the pending arrival of the new baby by throwing baby showers for the mom. In many cases it helps the parents-to-be by providing some of the items they need for the new baby. In that regard I can understand how it has become increasingly popular and even essential to many new mothers.

Our church is throwing a baby shower for four of us mothers-to-be on March 6. Because there are four of us all due within weeks of each other it is a joint shower. And because it is a joint shower it is not going to be a gift shower. Instead those attending are giving monetary gifts that will then be split between us four ladies to help us towards things we need for our babies. So they are calling it a "Towards Shower." I'm glad that I won't be the only mother-to-be, as then I won't be the centre of attention, and won't be the only one having their belly rubbed.

It is going to be an afternoon of trying to find a good balance. I am aware that several of the ladies involved have so far been unable to get or stay pregnant. They would give anything to be in my position and be the centre of a baby shower. Still they will come along and celebrate other women's pregnancies and the new lives that grow within us. Yet at the same time I'm going to have to deal with all those hands trying to touch my belly, and fussing over me, and expecting me to be all gushing and excited. That is not going to be all that easy, when I'm uncomfortable from the baby's head wedged into my pelvis, and lacking sleep from constant movement and kicking.

So 8 days and another milestone will be reached, and the baby shower will be over.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Cold Sore!

This past weekend was a bit manic for my husband and I, but yesterday topped it all off.

On Saturday my darling hubby took his truck to Orlando to get fixed, he didn't get home until late and half way back the truck was worse than ever. So the truck is stuck in our garage and we're operating with only the car.

So my darling husband is doing the school run this week on his way to and from work. he hadn't been at the office long before he got a phone call from the school. One of the boys had been pulled from class because he had a cold sore. Rob explained the transport situation and asked if there was a work around. The school then called back an hour later to say that this same boy was in the office and would not be able to go back to class until he had been cleared by a doctor as not being contagious to the other students. This was a first for both my husband and I. Neither of us had ever heard of a cold sore keeping a child out of school.

However this was not as straight forward as just taking our boy to a doctor. As host parents we are not legal guardians. The boys are not covered on our health insurance, they are foreign students who have to have their own insurance. Of course being minors their parents have all their information and didn't send any copies with them. So Rob got stuck in the school office waiting for mom to fax over copies of health insurance documents and a letter authorising us to agree to medical treatment.

Then there is the ordeal of getting the medical treatment. None of the walk-in clinics take the Bahamian health insurance, so we have to pay for the treatment up front. Several telephone calls to the Bahamas later we get checked in at an Urgent Care center. Even the staff at the Urgent Care center are not sure how some of the paperwork should be completed. An hour later we finally get taken through to a consultation room where more medical history, and basic checks are done. We are moved to another consultation room and wait for another 10 minutes before we see a doctor. He takes one look and tells us that it is indeed a cold sore, offers a prescription and disappears for another 10 minutes. We are then sent back to the reception area to wait for the prescription and letter for the school. Another telephone call to mom and the decision is made to purchase an over the counter cold sore ointment rather than paying for two prescriptions that won't make recovery any quicker.

So my darling husband looses more than half a day at work, the boy looses a day of school and last baseball practice before today's home game, and mom in the Bahamas is out by $140 all for a letter from a doctor that says it is safe to go to school with a cold sore.

After all that my wonderful husband and I looked at each other and said the same thing, "that's another reason to homeschool!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Down to double figures

Today I got down to only double figures until our due date. 99 days to go until May 27. I'd love to say I'm getting excited at the arrival of this baby. Instead I just keep thinking about all the things we still have to do and still have to buy. We do have a bit of plan to tackle both of these lists.

Firstly we have a date for when we can start at the very latest on preparing the nursery, guest room and birth room (our bedroom). Our "boys" will be moving out by April 17 at the very latest, which is a Saturday. We plan to empty the two rooms that day and shampoo the carpets. Then I can work on washing all the windows, baseboards, doors etc before we start putting furniture back into the rooms. Rob thinks we may have to touch up paint as well, which he can do while I clean. However this all has to be done in only two weekends so that it is ready in time for our midwife's home visit at week 36.

Then there are all the things we still have to buy. We are committed to spend as little money as possible for the arrival of this baby, but we are still looking at about $1500 for EVERYTHING. We are going to focus on just the basics, but as I've been listing it all in a baby registry to keep myself organised I got a shock when I totaled the cost of it all. Fortunately most of it is a one time expense we won't have to repeat for any future babies. Any future babies should only cost a few hundred dollars, as everything we will have will be gender neutral and therefore able to be reused again and again. Even the diapers (nappies) will get reused as we have stocked up on cloth along with one size covers. As soon as our tax refund money comes through we can get shopping for everything in plenty of time before our due date.

At this point I have to give some recognition to my wonderful mum. Even though she is 5000 miles away in Scotland, she has been an amazing blessing to us as we prepare to become parents. My mum & dad bought our crib for us, along with a very good mattress. My mum has also been buying up all the gender neutral clothing for 0-3 & 3-6 months that she has been able to find. She is also having a baby shawl made especially for us. As my parents are coming over two days before our due date we decided it will be easier and cheaper for my mum to just bring all the baby things with her in a spare suitcase. She did offer to sent it over before hand, but since she'll be here I thought it would be easier for her to just bring it.

I have been a little surprised at how difficult it has been to find baby clothes that are truly gender neutral. Even the neutral colours tend to be embellished with butterflies and flowers, turning them into girl clothes. The baby clothes market here seems to reflect the current obsession with everyone finding out the gender to their babies as early as possible. Every time we are asked if we know what we are having, and we reply "a baby" we are responded to with surprise. Older people like that we are doing things "the old fashioned way" while younger people always ask about how we will deal with a baby shower if we don't have a definite gender. Since we are not planning or aware of any baby shower for our baby this is definitely not an issue for us.

One thing I do have completed early. I have everything together for the birth kit. It was something I could work on that didn't require a lot of storage space, and that was necessary for our 36 week home visit. It was good to be able to focus on completing something towards the baby's arrival, to have an item marked off the very extensive to do list. It is also a comfort to know that whenever I do go into labour we have all the supplies we need for the actual birth. Even if the baby comes a little early we are prepared enough for that first day. Right now the only things that would be considered essential if the baby were to arrive a little early would be crib bedding and a car seat, which if need be Rob could always just run out to get after the birth if we don't have them by that time. But as we are planning on doing our big baby shop by the end of April that shouldn't be a problem.

Hopefully my next post won't be so full of baby thoughts.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pregnancy Brain Strikes!

I'm such a bad blogger. I vowed at the start of the year to blog more regularly and already I'm failing miserably. My head is turning into mush. I used to think that pregnant women exaggerated about loosing their minds, but now I know its turn because it is happening to me. The desk in our bedroom has stacks of paper with sticky notes attached to remind me what I need to do with them and when. My wonderful husband has to constantly remind me to complete tasks, or I don't get them done. If I don't do it right away then I forget and it doesn't get done. Yet I have an amazing ability to remember everything I've been learning about childbirth and caring for a new born. My pregnancy brain is filtering out EVERYTHING that isn't baby related.

It is hard to believe that we've made it to six months already. In many ways this pregnancy is going by faster than I though it would. I feel like we have too much still to do and buy before we'll be ready for this Little One to make their first appearance. We have a crib (thanks Mum & Dad!), cloth diapers (nappies) with snappis and covers and a couple of newborn sized onesies. It is a start, but we have so much left to get. We must have the car seat fitted in time for our home visit from the midwife at 36 weeks. We also need to have everything for the birth kit by then too. I've got most of the birth kit together, just a 4oz bottle of olive oil to go.

We are now in the process of working with the school and church to find new homes for our Bahamian students. They have spring break the week after Easter, which will also be a week before our deadline for them to move, so it would be ideal if they could move to their new families during spring break week. That way they could get resettled without having to be in class everyday. We spoke to the boys last week to let them know what would be happening and that our decision was purely because of the baby coming. We continue to pray that the right family for each boy will come forward to take them on, not just for the rest of the school year, but also for the next 2 & 3 years until they graduate high school.

I have been keen to get started nesting, but we can't get the nursery ready until we have moved the boys. It will also be nice to get the guest room ready for my parents arrival in May. It will be so good to have my Mum around for a few weeks around the time of the baby's birth.

At church we are up to six babies being due this coming summer. There is another mom due in May, two more in June and another two in July. There are also several ladies that have so far been unable to conceive and it is my prayer that these ladies will be able to join in our baby boom for 2010. It will be great to have so many other babies around our Little One, especially in a church that has so many retired people. It is like a new lease of life being breathed through the whole place as all the women show excitement at the prospect of so many babies.

With only 15 more weeks to go, I know this pregnancy is going to be over before I realise. I am trying to enjoy each moment, and this second trimester has certainly been very enjoyable. It is closing with my belly continuing to grow and my movement becoming slower and clumsier. I know that is only going to continue as the weeks go by, so enjoying every moment is definitely a must for me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What a week, and its only Wednesday!

I have intended to be more diligent with blogging. I really have meant to keep it more up-to-date. Yet life has a habit of getting in the way. Like it has this week.

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr Day, so the school was closed. The boys still had baseball practice in the morning, at 8am to be precise. They weren't too happy to be up that early, so dragged their feet, and we finally got there only 15 minutes late. I then came home to try and get some laundry and chores done before picking them up. Two hours later and I'm back in the car to go and pick them up. On the way back home the transmission went on the car.

Now our car was 17 years old. We bought it only because we had the boys. It did run well, and had a great engine. Yet in October, less than 2 months after purchasing it we had to replace the radiator. It is part of the price for buying such an old car. However I was also a new driver. I only sat my driving test in September, and having such an old car helped me to get used to driving without getting stressed. That first car for me was just like getting a car for a 16 year old.

Then on Monday the transmission went on the car. We managed to get it to a mechanic we trust, but Rob lost several hours of work to come and help me. We kind of already knew it wasn't going to be a cheap repair, but we hoped and prayed. Then we spent Monday evening researching for the possibility of replacing our car. We both agreed that there would be no more old car purchases. We wanted a car that would have good gas mileage, and not be too expensive to purchase. Because we wanted high gas mileage we knew it would be a smaller car, and after some comparisons, we decided we liked the stats on the Nissan Versa the best. It comes as a sedan or a hatchback. The hatchback looked like a better fit for us, with a little more space in the trunk.

Then yesterday we got the call from the mechanic to say that the whole transmission would need to be replaced. This would cost us more than we originally paid for the car back in September. We knew that we also needed to put new tires on soon, and the car had so many electrical problems that could never be fixed. So we decided to not fix the car, and just walk away from the potential money pit. However this still left us needing another car to replace it.

Then yesterday afternoon, as I was finishing our ironing I got a surprise. My darling husband had come home from work early. He has a very detail oriented job, and was finding it difficult to concentrate with the car issue on his mind. We talked it over and had a look online for a new or nearly new car. Just a few minutes into our search we saw our car. It was a 2009 Nissan Versa Hatchback, at a dealer only 40 miles away. It had 21,000 miles on the clock, so is still under manufacturers warranty. Rob called to see if it was still available, and then we got in the truck to drive down and have a look. Rob took it for a test drive and really liked how it handled.

Three hours later we left the dealership with a new car. I got to drive it home, in the dark, in rush hour, in South Florida. It was the furthest away I've ever driven, and it was in a new car I was unfamiliar with. By the time I got home in one piece I was quite proud of myself. Airport runs to Orlando won't seem so bad now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We've got a Tiger in there.

Yesterday was my scheduled prenatal appointment with our midwife. At 20 weeks and 4 days it was time to try and listen to the baby's heart beat with the fetoscope. Just before we checked on the heart beat I was asked if I had been feeling any movement. Our midwife was surprised when I said that not only was I feeling lots of movement, but that Rob has been able to feel the baby several times too. Then she listened for the heart beat. It was a good strong heart beat that she found straight away. Then she gave the fetoscope to her assistant to listen with. The assistant made one vital mistake. She pressed down a bit too hard for the baby's liking. At the exact moment she put her ear down to listen the baby gave a big strong kick, right where the fetoscope was pressed down. The poor lady jumped at the unexpected loud noise that resulted from the kick. They both then joked that we have a bit of a tiger in there. I did then mention that the baby doesn't like being prodded. I can always be guaranteed a few kicks or punches if I prod my belly, or bend over a bit too much.

I have also discovered the delight of afternoon naps. I had naps Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I haven't napped in the afternoon since I was a toddler, but I am understanding why they are so universal. Having to get up multiple times during the night, and getting up for breakfast between 4am and 5am most mornings, I was beginning to get a little sleep deprived. Now adding in a nap is allowing me to make through until bed time without loosing my mind. It makes me glad that I have the wonderful privilege of staying at home. I don't know how I would cope if I was trying to work full-time outside the home while adjusting to this new sleep pattern.

It is wonderful to know that this is all part of God's wonderful design. At just over the half way point of this pregnancy my sleep routine is already being prepared for after the birth. I'll be used to sleeping in small increments and will be used to taking naps during the day to top up the amount of sleep I get. I am so in awe of the wonderful way that everything is designed to work perfectly and in an orderly way, so that it doesn't come as a sudden shock to my system when the baby is safely here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sleep, food and turning into my husband!

For a couple of weeks now my darling husband and I have been commenting on how this baby seems to be a clone of him. I jokingly refer to the baby as "His" child rather than "Our" child.

For the last four weeks I've been getting up at about 4am every morning. This morning I woke up at 2:14am and never managed to get back to sleep. After visiting the bathroom I become very hungry, too hungry to ignore. Thus I have to get up and eat. Then it is time for the baby to start their morning exercise routine. My beloved is enjoying the change to my morning routine. He has always been a morning person, and he gladly gets up with me and cooks me breakfast.

But breakfast is only the start of what has become an eating frenzy. No matter what I eat it never seems to be enough. Every hour or so I get so ravenous it feels like I haven't eaten in a week. All day long I go from one snack to the next. I have always been a three square meals a day kind of girl. While my darling is a grazer. He actually thinks it is amusing that I've started eating like he does every day.

And so this baby is turning me into my husband. I wake up in the middle of the night. I eat all day long. I am ready to go to bed as soon as the sun sets. So my beloved gets amused and I have a new routine I need to get used to.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Unplanned break is over.

I didn't plan to take a break from blogging, but it has done me some good. The last month of school before the Christmas break was a very busy time for our entire household. Rob was working crazy hours at work trying to meet all the pre-Christmas deadlines. The boys had a week of exams at the end of the semester. There seemed to be activities at Church almost every day. I had a few health issues that got me a little too stressed, and had a major shift in my sleep pattern.

Then the boys went home to the Bahamas for the Christmas break, and Rob had almost two weeks of vacation from work. We both spent the time resting, hanging out together, visiting family and friends and generally enjoying each others company. We wanted to enjoy our last Christmas as just the two of us. It was a refreshing break from the frantic pace of the last four months.

At almost the half way point in our pregnancy we finally started planning for the baby's arrival. We got some Target gift cards as Christmas presents, so we did our first baby shopping. We bought 4 dozen cloth prefold diapers and a couple of newborn sized gender neutral outfits. A couple of days later we made our first venture into BabiesRUs, where we looked for a crib and purchased some waterproof covers for the diapers. I'm feeling a lot more calm now that we have a few of the basics.

The pregnancy is going well. About three weeks ago I had some very light spotting. I did get a little scared, but it was just a few hours before my scheduled prenatal appointment. Rob came home from work to come to the appointment with me. Just having him there helped to calm me. Our wonderful midwife was very reassuring. She checked the heartbeat, which was good and strong. The spotting stopped the following day, and then a couple of days later the midwife called to say my labs had come back that I had a UTI. She gave me a choice of going to a doctor for antibiotics or trying cranberry pills. I discussed it with Rob and we agreed to try the cranberry first. I'll find out after my next prenatal appointment in a week if the infection has gone, meanwhile I'll keep taking the cranberries and lots of fluids.

I've been feeling the baby move since half way through the 16th week. At first it was just internal twitching, but after two weeks it became much more distinct movement. At that point Rob was able to occasionally feel the movements. The baby has also developed their father's sleep pattern. I am now waking up about 4am every morning with a very active baby and the strongest hunger pangs I've ever felt. Rob is enjoying having company again for breakfast. As a natural night-owl I didn't enjoy this change of routine much the first week. Three weeks later I'm finding that my day is much more productive when the chores are done immediately after Rob leaves for work. This morning the weekly laundry was already half done by the time I'd done the morning school run.

I've also been enjoying more stable emotions the last few weeks. The worst of the pregnancy hormone roller coaster seems to be behind me, and I'm back to my normal positive self. With this in mind I have made the decision that 2010 is going to be a less stressful, more positive year than 2009. The success of this is going to be entirely my choice in how I respond to what happens around me. I'll also be trying to blog more regularly. The plan for now will be three times a week, probably Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as those are my at home days.

So that's the latest here and I look forward to sharing 2010 with you all.

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Baby Mordecai

Our blessed first baby, Mordecai, gone to heaven on July 23, 2009 at 13 weeks gestation.

You will never be forgotten by us.