Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My favorite Blessed by Birth quotes…

I know I’m of course biased but really, I LOVE this book. Every time I am looking for something in it for marketing purposes, I wind up getting sucked into one of the stories (even though I’ve read them each probably 20+ times!) and I am very much looking forward to re-reading all the stories in the bathtub during my third trimester of this pregnancy. 

I know it might not mean as much coming from me, but I so highly recommend this book! The stories are funny, touching, give-you-chills-amazing… we’ve got all kinds of beautiful births from 12 different women, all of them pointing to God and the ways his hand was at work through it all.

"At one point I told my husband, “Do not ever let me say again that I am not beautiful! My body is doing an incredible thing.”"
(One Heart-Wrenching Eternity of a Second by Sabrina Dees)

"My arms were strapped to short metal bars with leather straps. My feet were strapped to stirrups.
Every push was so strenuous that I would slide down to the end of the delivery table! My arms would be behind me, held in by the straps, so nurses kept having to pull me back up.
Because I was strapped down and had a Pitocin IV in place, I wasn’t able to change position at all. I made myself focus on the fact that soon I would get to hold my baby."
(He Wasn't Going to Give that Boy Anything but Love by Huberta Kayrene Knoll)

"My first labor and delivery experience is almost indescribable. It’s like I can picture every small detail, but at the same time, I can’t really explain any real details. It's all so unbelievably fuzzy and out-of-body-experiencey that I prefer to just summarize it by saying: It was supernatural. The Holy Spirit was in that room, and I met a piece of God Himself that day. He showed me something beyond my human brain's ability to process."
(My World-Changer, My Bliss by Stacia Ray)

"I’d been in labor since 3 a.m., so it had been a long 18-hour day. When everyone left, including my husband, they brought my baby to me and it was just the two of us. I looked into his eyes and he was looking back at me. I couldn’t believe I had a baby boy."
(The Happiest Night of My Life by Renee Kemmer)

"She was a deep bluish-purple and she was not making any noise. A few brief moments felt like an eternity as she was taken from me to be examined. I heard her being placed on oxygen and she finally started to wail."
(Zoey Alexandra by Barbara Williams)

"Our son was not breathing, not responsive, and very blue. Sure, he was born, technically, but our precious baby boy was lifeless and limp. He looked…dead."
(Our Frightening Miracle Baby: How God's Love Transcended Fear by Stacia Ray)

"The last trimester of my pregnancy was such a long stretch of time to me. Let's face it: when you are carrying your child for almost a year, your body is not your own. The little one inside you is pretty much calling all the shots.
Yes, my body belonged to my baby, and believe me...she made good use of the cramped quarters she inhabited."
(Sara Blesses My Life by Cindy Knoll)

"Within the next hour or so my labor continued to progress, and I entered the “transition” phase.  That’s the medical term for “absolutely miserable dry-heaving nauseating pain that rips you apart and makes you feel like you’re dying” stage. I can see why they shortened it to transition. It’s easier to say."
(My "Rainbow" Baby by Tamara Ashby)

"For the whole week before I delivered, I prayed and told God I knew it was in His hands — however it all would go. It is hard to have faith that everything will go perfectly well when your fear creeps in and reminds you of all the horrible circumstances that could happen. I will say that I walked out of the hospital with more faith than when I walked in."
(My Firstborn, My Sunshine by Amanda Anderson)

"I just wanted to be reassured that everything would be okay. I was scared for my little girl. I felt helpless lying there attached to the monitors, just listening to her heartbeat and praying she would show some movement. The stress was too much for her so they decided she was coming out by C-section."
(My Favorite Valentine by Taevyn Fueller)

"I had been dilated to four centimeters for a couple weeks already. Everyone always told me, ‘You’ll know when you’re in labor!’
I remember crying on my living room floor for hours because I had no idea if I was in labor or not."
(My Saving Grace by Jenny Rose Smith)

"I somehow convinced myself that I was going to die while in labor. I'm pretty sure that I actually went through the five stages of grief. Some nights I would pace back and forth until the early morning hours, so mad at my husband because he was peacefully sleeping. Didn't he know I was going to die soon?! Didn't that mean anything to him? It was almost like he didn't take my imminent death seriously."
(The Gift I Never Wanted by Deanna Fike)

"I didn't have a bag packed and most of all, I didn't have a way to get in contact with my husband.
Bart is active duty Air Force, and of course the day I started to give birth he was out in the field for training,
(Ryland Austin, by Barbara Williams)

"His face turned somber, his excitement turned to concern, and what fell out of his mouth next would haunt me for the rest of my life.
“Something is very wrong with your baby.”
Words I will always remember."
(The Hurricane Before the Rainbow by Stacia Ray)

"On Friday, May 11th — more than three weeks past my due date — my doctor, now back from his vacation, called to congratulate us on our new son. When I told him I was still pregnant, he told me to come in on Monday morning so I could be examined."
(Always Late? She was Born Late! by Huberta Kayrene Knoll)

"I spent as much time fearful and praying for my son’s life as I had when I was pregnant with his sister. I still believed at that time that if I was obedient enough, if I was good enough, God would spare my son and I would be able to raise him."
(Two Under Two by Tamara Ashby)

"The nurse soon discovered that the baby was sunnyside up, so I spent the better part of an hour doing various pilates and yoga moves from the comfort of the hospital bed, all while feeling the brisk air coming in from the gap in the back of my glamorous hospital-issued gown."
(Picking Favorites by Deanna Fike)

"I called my mom and sister, letting them know it was a girl and everything seemed fine. Before we could call anyone else, the doctor who had delivered her told us we might want to hold off calling anyone else until the pediatrician looked at her because she suspected Down syndrome. 
I actually laughed at her. I thought she must not know what she was talking about. I knew she must be wrong."
(A Baby Like You, the Heart of Our Family by Renee Kemmer)

"When we pulled up to the ER doors, I did not wait for him to get the kids out or even see that my mom had pulled up right behind us. I got out, shut the door, walked right up to the triage desk, gave them my information, and instructed them to call that epidural man — STAT!"
(Those Fools Believed Me! by Tamara Ashby)

"I had low blood pressure and was very anemic throughout the pregnancy. I couldn’t rock the other two children or I would get dizzy and nauseous and feel like I was going to pass out.
I was worried that I would pass out and leave my four-year-old and two-year-old without my assistance or supervision. I told my son that if Mommy decided to take a nap on the floor, he needed to go get the neighbor."
(What do you Mean, Don't Push?!" by Huberta Kayrene Knoll)

"It was March 17th, and I did everything I could think of to get him out that day. Spicy foods, tons of walking, pineapple…short of castor oil, I'm pretty sure I tried it all, including begging my OB to induce me that day. It was a no go. No St. Patrick's Day baby for me."
(Brenton Alexander by Barbara Williams)

"As soon as I had a diagnosis, my doctor immediately called in a steroid for Lincoln (who wasn’t due for two more weeks) to help prepare him to come out and meet the world."
(Sweetness by Amanda Anderson)

"Each day, I would ask if he was able to be held yet, but the nurses would kindly apologize and tell me that I could hold him soon, but not today. I would just continue to talk to him and pray over him, waiting for my opportunity to finally hold him close."
(My Own Personal Unicorn by Cindy Knoll)

"They’re trying to resuscitate our baby?!
I couldn’t think straight, and I couldn’t see anything from my vantage point on that operating bed. Voices talking. Bright lights shining. But no baby crying."
(Our Frightening Miracle Baby: How God's Love Transcended Fear by Stacia Ray)

Did you relate to any of those quotes? Did you find any of them wildly intriguing?! We’d love to hear about it. =]

The book is currently available for purchase as a paperback via Lulu
and as an eBook via Lulu // Nook // Kindle // Kobo 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We Stood Upon Stars

My husband and I have adventure running through our veins. We just can’t quench our desire to see new places and explore new things. We like quiet and quaint downtown areas, bustling cities, secluded campgrounds, waterfalls, lakes. We like winding mountain roads, packed-down hiking trails, amusement parks, libraries, coffee shops, caverns.

Sometimes the desire to go explore something new turns into a strange kind of desperation, like an itch we can’t scratch. We start to plan a big trip, we spend a Saturday checking out a new-to-us area in the next town over, we find a trail we haven’t hiked and we make a day of it.

We recently started planning another Yellowstone trip and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I started reading We Stood Upon Stars and I might have gone crazy if I hadn’t already known there was something waiting in the wings for us.

Roger W. Thompson writes in a way that makes me a little crazy. Waiting for another adventure now, after reading his descriptions of fishing holes and small towns and big cities, sounds nearly impossible. On top of that, this book is peppered with tales of the way his travels have brought him closer to God or have shaped his relationship with his sons, and it all feels so much bigger than just a little trip now. It feels important, even necessary, if we’re going to raise our children the way we hope and plan to.

It was equally as fun to read about his experiences in places I had never seen as it was to compare and contrast my own experiences in the places we’ve both been… and then it was only natural for me to reflect on all the other places I’ve been, places he may or may not have ever visited.

The author lives and primarily travels around the west so we had quite a few common travel destinations—including Yellowstone—and I admit that probably made it far more exciting.

If you’re at all into adventures, and especially if you also see profundity when you explore, this book is absolutely for you. Happy reading!

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this (completely honest) review.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dia del Padre

The kids made their father’s day cards for Ryan this year, and then I interviewed them and wrote down their answers inside the card. Some of their answers crack me up so I thought I’d share here…

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? 
A: Um, play lions.
B: um, hang out wif Daddy.

What does Daddy always say?
A: ‘I love you’
B: Um, he say ‘no go outta here.’

What does Daddy do for fun?
A: Play superheroes.
B: Um, play outside.

If Daddy was an animal, what animal would he be?
A: Um, a lion.
B: Um, um, uh, a lion.

Can you tell me about Daddy using only one word?
A: He’s really kind.
B: Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Hmmm. Um, playin’.

If you could do any kind of date with Daddy, what would you pick?
A: Um, uh, mmmmm, go on a swimming date.
B: Oooh, library date!

What kinds of things does Daddy love?
A: Um, me.
B: Um, Daddy loves playing outside! An Daddy loves playing bears and cars annnnnnd and and aaaaand playin’ at da park wif kids aaaaand, and, and, and, and, and Daddy loves to watch a movie, he loves to do music… huh, Mommy?

Happy father’s day to all the dads out there, and to the single mamas too!

I especially want to say it to my sweet husband, who is truly the best father I know. He’s everything you could possibly dream of when you’re imagining the kind of father you’d like for your children…
And to my own dad, who taught me to ride a bike, who wore a bolo tie at my father-daughter western dance, whose feet are permanently damaged from all my stupid LEGOs, who claims he bought an entire Toy Hauler just for me, and who once got a phone call from a paramedic letting him know I had rolled my vehicle and was alone in the ER.

Happy father’s day! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Counting my blessings

I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and became determined to come up with 1,000 blessings of my own each year. That’s only 3ish blessings per day if you really keep up with it, definitely very doable. That doesn’t stop me from being wildly behind for 2017 so far but it really does keep me grounded and grateful for my life so I’m still trucking and I still highly, highly recommend that you do it yourself. If nothing else, it’s a great way to bullet journal or keep a one-line-a-day journal so you can someday look back and short snippets highlighting the happiest parts of your life. 100 of my most recent…

Little super hero taking himself very seriously.

After a man broke into my grandparents’ house in the middle of the night, carrying a knife and a baseball bat, a concerned A had all kinds of questions that made me think he was picturing a colorful spandex-clad bad guy with an evil pet bat. “What color was the bad guy?” “What was his name?” “What was his bat’s name?” “Well no bad guys came to our house last night so that’s good.”

My grandparents’ safety through that very scary ordeal! Mother’s day! Waking up to a sweet snuggle and a “Happy Mother’s Day!” A singing me an original mother’s day tune… “Mommy was a little girl, wrapped up in a blanket! E-i-e-i-o! Her mom and dad loved him! E-i-e-i-o!” Flowers, chocolates, and the sweetest cards Adventure in the next town over! Announcing Baby Bell IV! Comfortable shoes.

A dressed as a pirate by turning his cowboy hate sideways. B in a tutu shouting “I a PRINCESS pirate!” A introducing himself to his new playdate friend over a full hour after playing together. My morning devotional speaking to my soul. Rain! Sweet girls insisting on matching sweaters. Coloring with my big kids while the baby naps.

Tiny baby feet barely poking over our kitchen table's bench. Reading to my babies. A mini hike with my monkeys. Breastfeeding comfortably again now that the first trimester is ending. C’s deep excitement for Daddy coming home from work. All three babies huddled together and looking at books. Bedtime snuggles. A gorgeous mountain view.

“Breppast” instead of “breakfast.” Kids trying their new water table and LOVING it! Feeling great after a good workout. B’s hair getting curlier and curlier as summer comes. Writing a pirate story with A. A few chapters of Beauty and the Beast with my sweet babes. Free homeschool books from the thrift store! A new-to-me prenatal exercise DVD. C bringing me her favorite book.

B calling herself “once excited durl!” instead of girl. The big, bright smile C gets when she plays with her xylophone. Living room dance parties. The ability and means to put together healthy meals and snacks for my family. C folding her hands for prayer. “Amblience” instead of “aliens.” Comfy pajamas. C playing peek-a-boo in the curtains. B coloring a rainbow on her belly with markers :0

Reading in the backyard. Gorgeous purple flowers in my front window. Cold glass of water. A following up my reading a Winnie the Pooh book with “Well that was a very good book.” Alone time! Getting all three kids to bed just a hair after on-time, then curling up to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls and ignoring the laundry.

Fuzzy posters. Salad bar with all my favorite fixin’s. Chai tea. The smiles on all three of our babies’ faces at the Seattle aquarium. Seat otters. Gluten free mozzarella sticks! My sweet boy saying “amn’t” instead of “aren’t.” Blessed by Birth showing up on the Nook listings. B “reading” to us… “He said, um ‘How you doin,’ buddy?’ an’ he said, ‘iss time to go!’”

Mint + chocolate. Goofy Mr. Potato Head creations for hours. Bookworm babies. C’s cute uneven smile—four teeth on top, three on bottom. Video postcards from cousins and my kids’ excitement over them. Baby kicks fluttering in my belly. Love You Forever. B climbing into my lap and singing me the Love You Forever song. A re-telling his baby sisters the story of Humpty Dumpty. The kids singing the Fruit of the Spirit song.

Waking up squished and uncomfortable with all five of us in one bed. Spending half a cloudy afternoon in the backyard with my babies… playing basketball with A and soccer with B, and smiling at C’s smile when I help her down the slide. One-on-one dates with my sweet children. Packing my husband’s lunch. A cautiously slinking into my room with his pillow hugged to his chest and a question in his eyes… still so in love with us he wants nothing more than to be near us at night.

Puzzles in the kitchen floor. Family stroller walks. A and B jumping in puddles in their rainboots. The perfect age gaps for our family. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The way B says A’s name. A soft, comfortable t-shirt. Planning my day quietly while my little snuggles with me. Playing the bead coaster with my baby. Our sweet morning ritual… reading a toddler devotional and praying for our day while my babies eat their breakfast. A few minutes spent chatting with a sweet friend. Library summer reading programs. A little time with my fella on his lunchbreak. Making father’s day plans with my kiddos. Adorable daddy interviews for my husband’s card. A dressed as a cowboy, B dressed as a superhero, and C with a bandana on her head because hates to be left out.

Orchids on my kitchen counter. A big pot of broccoli-potato soup. Watching ripples in the puddles on my back patio. Family dinners at the table every night. A’s cute, toothy smile. C in my favorite old romper of B’s, sitting on their tipped-over toybox. Our sweet bedtime book routine. Tucking my babies into warm, safe beds. Hugs, kisses, and bedtime prayers. Nights spent hanging out with my husband. A job that lets him work a day shift!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tot Travels: Seattle!

Seattle has been on our list for YEARS! Ryan had to go for work so the kids and I joined him at the end of the trip. Ryan worked all over the Seattle area and the kids and I got a really late start on the day we drove in, so we basically spent one day there.

We got in around 8:30pm and put the monkeys straight to bed. The next morning Ryan went to work and I excitedly spent a little alone time doing some Blessed by Birth marketing until everybody woke up, then we all ate breakfast. Since we don’t have cable at home, A always begs to “watch a couple kid shows” in the morning on days we stay at hotels… and unfortunately, on this day I obliged. I had really wanted to go “hike” around West Hylebos Wetlands Park together, both to explore all the greenery and to check out the historic cabins, but I wrongly assumed we’d have time later that day so I let them watch Curious George AND Daniel Tiger before getting them dressed and getting us all out the door. 

We ran an errand, accidentally got on a scary freeway (big cities, man), got stuck at a light for almost 20 minutes because I was turning left and everybody going straight kept gridlocking the intersection so that nobody could go when their light was green (big cities, man), had to detour a couple of times because of road construction, and then finally (over an hour after I had expected to be there!!) grabbed lunch at Marlene’s Natural Food Market & Deli in Federal Way, which is where the hotel was. There was also a branch in Tacoma, FYI. Health food stores are of course expensive as a rule, but this one really wasn’t too bad. I needed baby wipes and was pretty surprised to see that the price was fine, plus their smoothies were cheap which is NEVER the case as you probably know. 
After lunch I ran another errand, got a little lost even with the GPS because of road construction, and then somehow it was already almost 3! Big cities, man.

We pulled into the parking lot of the West Hybloes Wetlands Park, but then I got a call from Ryan saying he was off early because of a change in plans and that he’d be working elsewhere in the morning so we should actually head into Seattle NOW if we wanted to see it at all. So we hurried back to the hotel to change everybody’s gross smoothie-covered clothes, do the potty-diaper boogie, and fill up lil bellies with snacks… and then we were off, to the Seattle Aquarium!

There was lots more traffic and scary freeway driving (luckily with Ryan driving this time), and lots more road construction… and parking was a bit crazy. But we did eventually get there! And I was only accosted by one person asking for money!

The kids loved the aquarium! Favorites were the harbor seals, the sea otters, and the octopus. A touched a star fish, which he thought was awesome, and C was generally enamored with all the fish. (We went to a pet store the next day and she excitedly shouted fiiii! Fiiii! when we got to the fish area!) One word of advice… we were there in time for both the octopus feeding and the seal feeding, but both of our big kids were really disinterested in the feedings and honestly kind of just annoyed by all the grown-ups hovering around them so they couldn’t see the animals very good any ways. I’d say skip the feedings if your kids aren’t ultra-interested.

We got to Pike Place Market around 5:30, which is apparently not a great time to get there since they close at 6, but still. 

There was supposed to be a cool gluten free restaurant inside but we couldn’t find it so we ended up just walking around a little and then heading to dinner at an Italian place called Razzi’s.

Razzi’s, you guys! Oh man. This is the first time we have ever encountered gluten free calzones OR gluten free mozzarella sticks, both of which were excellent. Even re-heated. =]

We opted NOT to walk in the Space Needle with the kids but did want to see it in the evening skyline… but of course the Canon’s battery died before we could take a picture =0

I debated even sharing but I guess I just will because it’s my blog and I can say what I want here!
Seattle felt REEEEEEALLY overrated to us. We both agreed that it would probably have been very different had we not gone with kids. Pike Place Market had a lot of quirky and interesting things to see, but we just perceived it as crowded and stressful because were trying to all stay together. The aquarium was neat, but definitely nowhere near as cool as others we’ve been to, and yet it was the most expensive we’ve ever been to. It cost us $70 to all get in but it felt a lot more like a $40 aquarium. We had to pay to park by the aquarium, then got a $43 parking ticket for getting back to the car four minutes late. Then we had to pay to park for our dinner too. Big cities, man.

Seattle was expensive, crowded, trafficky as heck, and felt generally unsafe. I don’t mean that in a na├»ve, small-town way. I’ve lived in Phoenix and I’ve visted big cities many times. Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, Austin, Salt Lake City. I walked alone with my baby in downtown Minneapolis at 1am once, and let me tell you, I felt 20 times safer there than I did in downtown Seattle with Ryan by my side and in broad daylight.

This isn’t something I say often but I’m going to say it now: I personally do not consider Seattle a great place for family travel.

Have you been? If so, did you have a (hopefully!) completely different experience?

Roadschool: We prepped for this trip with a few fun books… The United States of America by Millie Miller // What’s Great About Washington? // Goodnight, Washington State