Thankful Thursdays {Gratitude:8}

Thankful Thursdays are a rare moment during which the only thing I focus on are my points of blessings – of things I never even knew I wanted but received from the Creator anyway, in answer to my heart’s cry. And, more importantly, of things that are often times forgotten as I focus on what’s missing instead of what’s present. Not today.

I’ve been silent this week because I’m in the middle of a big project of transitioning my blog to my own domain, reworking the whole set up, and starting it up with a big bang! (More details to come on that soon.)

But, the one thing I can’t ignore is a moment to stop and be thankful.

…Thankful for friends who stop literally everything to send you a text, email, phone call, wall post that just simply says, “Thinking of you.” You have no idea what that means, y’all. It means we’re not standing alone in life. It means we have a community who lives life out with us, even in the midst of some crazy stuff. THAT changes everything.

…Thankful for the beginning of autumn, even if it is quite unlike the ones we are used to in the north. This year, we will find our own new traditions in the south as we continue to make this area our home for our family.

…Thankful that in approximately a week, I will be able to send a text to the phone of my favorite Soldier who has spent the past year in a foreign land, rather than calculating time differences, watching the news to make sure her area is still safe, and hoping that Facebook alerts her to the new message I sent.

What are YOU thankful for today?! Come on, if you can’t think of anything, you are thinking too hard! Concentrate on the small things – there’s where the beauty lies!

And now, on to dancing the day away….

(If you would like to join me on this journey, I’d love to provide a link to your gratitude project on my blog, so let me know! I’m sure we all have a lot to teach each other about thankfulness!.)

Thankful Thursdays {Gratitude:7}

Thankful Thursdays are a rare moment during which the only thing I focus on are my points of blessings – of things I never even knew I wanted but received from the Creator anyway, in answer to my heart’s cry. And, more importantly, of things that are often times forgotten as I focus on what’s missing instead of what’s present. Not today.

Today, I am thankful for moments from last night.

Like this:

And this:

And I really love this:

And, for a word picture that I can’t possibly take with a camera, I am thankful for people who come around and support us, love us, care for us, and lift us up to the Creator in whispered prayers. Even in the midst of uncertainty and challenges, they help to make us strong and brave, and that is a gift I will never take for granted. Y’all know who you are.

And now, on to dancing the day away….

(If you would like to join me on this journey, I’d love to provide a link to your gratitude project on my blog, so let me know! I’m sure we all have a lot to teach each other about thankfulness!.)

Wandering Wednesdays {14 September 2011}

Wandering Wednesdays are a time when – through photography! – I explore the goings and comings of my past, present, or future life. 

It’s the Marine’s __th birthday. As I posted on Facebook: Because my life would be a joke without a punch line, a canvas without paint, and a violin without a masterpiece, I am eternally grateful that several years ago today the Creator gave my husband to this world. I love you forever, Cowboy. In honor of this momentous occasion, a picture:

That’s our wedding day. Now, it wasn’t much of a wedding, as far as traditional long dresses, tuxes, and crowds go.  But, it was the day we committed to “for better or worse”, to growing older together, to weathering life’s changes as partners, and to celebrating each others’ moments together. That’s a day I’ll never forget.  (And the fact that we only spent $200 for the entire day made it much less stressful!)

Here’s to the next many years of learning how to partner with one another, watching our children grow up and move on, and kissing each other good morning as often as we are able. You will forever be my inspiration to become a better person. (Yes, that’s Red Lobster. It was good food, good wine, and a good set of friends beside us.)

Just in case you wanted to, but couldn’t catch a glimpse of the ring, there it is. And yes – even that was within our $200 expenses for the day. Auctions are awesome! And, we rock!

ilu, Gorgeous. You and none other. Forever. Amazing.

 

Murphy Mondays {12 September 2011}

Murphy Mondays is my chance to catch y’all up on what’s been going on in our lives here.  When I was a kid, separated by many miles from our closest friends and family, my dad wrote a “Monday morning email” to tell everyone what we were all up to.  This is that very thing, only a bit more technology is thrown into the mix with blogging :)

I truly don’t have much to write about, but I didn’t want you to think I had forgotten this little Monday. The man is working insane hours. He comes home exhausted and basically ready for bed, and sometimes he stops at the table to eat first. That’s basically that.

The little one and I are having fun with our Homeschooling adventure! You can read about her first week here!

After spending way too many hours at the hospital on Thursday, I must do it again today.  While I could ask you to cross your fingers and say some prayers that all will go well, it looks like the writing is on the wall: baby and I are arguing about how to keep mommy’s blood sugar and blood pressure low. I am thankful every day I get through that he has baked a bit longer.  Stress of the past week definitely did a number on me and we were experiencing full-fledge contractions there for a bit! Prayerfully, we can hold off a few more weeks on that one again!

The weekend was fairly relaxing in our little home. I experienced this one very amazing special moment that I photographed and thought you might enjoy seeing and hearing about.

This is the Marine, for the first time ever, watching the 9/11 Memorial Ceremonies. Why? Because he’s been working or deployed almost every other year – except last year, during which he was attending a race. He snuggled up with his baby girl in his arms and watched the duration. He was surprised at how long it all was and Rhyan was a bit taken back by the sounds of the bell’s toll. We sat together in utter silence during each moment of silence. Tears streamed down my face, and his expression was unchanged. This is a man of great determination, integrity, commitment, courage, and honor. Not unlike the heroes of that horrible day, he too runs in when others would run out. I felt a breath of fresh air reminding me again of how truly amazing my life with this Marine is, and for that moment, I am forever grateful.

Until next week …

Homeschooling: The Beginning

I have long dreamed of taking control of my children’s education, rather than sending them off on a bus to a faraway place to learn a lot of things I know nothing about. It bothers me that I would put my gifts from God into the hands of someone else for educational purposes, when I am fairly well-qualified to deal with at least the younger kids without much issue. I’ve never quite had the support system until now to do so, but this week was our kickoff!  Now, it was a weird week because of Labor Day on one end and a monumentally long doctor’s appointment on the other end, so we didn’t get a lot of “class time” in, but it was quite successful! Follow along with us!

These are the signs of the beginning and the end of the day….

This week we learned all about the color red, and the circle shape. She *almost* drew a circle here on day one. By the end of the week, she is now drawing circles repeatedly, though I don’t have a picture to prove it.

I also had her go through my sticker box to find something that was red and/or a circle. She managed to do this without any prompting, and was delighted to be able to play with stickers on her own!

This was her finished “project” for the week. Now, it’s not much, and I’m a bit bummed out that I didn’t get more accomplished with her as far as class time goes, but my health took a bit of a priority seat this week. And, at the end of the week, she points out everything she sees that is red and a circle, so I think we were successful.

A few people have asked me how I got started with this process, and the very simple answer is that I have no answer! I have a box full of goodies, a weekly lesson plan for the school year (which will be fully interrupted with the introduction of a little brother at some point), and a few creative talents to put to use. Here’s what I’ve got going on so far:

This is my box full of goodies and my binder to keep us organized. -Ish. Of course, I HAD to play with vinyl and decorate everything, especially because “school” is in our dining room, but, really – I had the container laying around and the binder cost me $1.00 at Target.

EVERYTHING in this box, we had before. The only money I spent to start was on that cheap binder in the previous picture. Oh, and another $4.00 which I will explain in a minute! The good news is: a 2 year old learns best through what she’s most familiar with. The other good news to a creative like me is that she learns best through hands on creativity. *sigh* I’m in Heaven!

This is our schedule for the first 11 weeks of school. It’s already been a bit scribbled up, as I’ve had different ideas (primarily for the art projects I want to tackle, OF COURSE), and I’m sure it will change, especially because this time frame goes right up to the time we expect Mr. Colt to make his appearance. Something tells me I’m not going to be concentrating on black and octagons right about that time, but that’s okay!

We will be doing some of our learning on the go, thanks to a lot of upcoming doctor’s appointments, so I put together a back pack of supplies for her. (Thanks, Aunt Bel-ay-ay, for not giving up on the search for that perfect sized backpack!) This is a small VERY SIMPLE flip book I made for her out of an old cereal box, scrap paper, and some letter stickers. No, seriously – RIDICULOUSLY simple. I had planned for it to be prettier, but then we were suddenly on our way out the door yesterday and I needed to finish it quickly.

So, we’re sitting in the waiting room yesterday, waiting (for a very.long.time), and I grab the alphabet flip book for her – the first time she’s seen it. Immediately, she opens it and starts pointing to letters and telling me what they are. I’m not the kind of mom to brag, but I think this kid is going to be knocking my brain power out of the park very quickly.

These books are in her backpack too. Well, they go between her backpack and the small stack of books in the living room, because she *loves* them. Oh, right – and this is the other $4.00 I’ve spent on this endeavor. FOUR.DOLLARS! For these *beautiful* books, from the Target $1 bins! I am in LOVE with them! (I swear I’m not lying about that, but I just went to find y’all links to purchase them, and it turns out they want $4.99 per book at Amazon. You may want to jet to your local Target, to see if they’re still available.)

This is “Two Hippos Upon Sticks” and it teaches counting.

This is “Sleep All Day, Play All Night”, all about opposites.

“Purple Jellies Fall Asleep” teaches colors. I will admit some of the “colors” are easily confused with others, but she loves the pictures and lets face it – sometimes purple looks more blue or pink in the real world, so she might as well learn it now!

This book, “Can a Cat Quack?” has Rhyan laughing that beautiful deep belly laugh every time! She shakes her head, says “NOOOOOO!!” and then tells me what noise the animal makes, instead!

We are having SO much fun in our new endeavor, complete with some field trips (the best we can do in a one-car family anyway!), and learning on the go. Yesterday, because I knew we’d have a horribly long day ahead of us, I took her to McDonalds for lunch and play time, where we counted chicken nuggets and apple slices, and then moved on to her first ever experience in a play land.

She didn’t go very far into the play land, and I couldn’t help her much, thanks to this expanding belly, but she had SO much fun. And see that BIG RED CIRCLE at the entrance?! YES!!! I love it when things work out and you don’t plan them out at all!

Thankful Thursdays {Gratitude:6}

Thankful Thursdays are a rare moment during which the only thing I focus on are my points of blessings – of things I never even knew I wanted but received from the Creator anyway, in answer to my heart’s cry. And, more importantly, of things that are often times forgotten as I focus on what’s missing instead of what’s present. Not today.

I received a phone call yesterday for which I will be forever thankful.

The conversation reminded me to live absolutely each and every moment to the fullest, reminding those around me of my love for them, my appreciation for them, and my thankfulness to the Creator for placing them in my life.

Because, life is short and fleeting, and tomorrow may never come. And when that happens, I need to know that I lived every moment as if it were my last with words of thanksgiving, praise, and love on my lips.

Having a Marine return home in dress blues, rather than in cammies can – and will – absolutely shake one’s world, but it is what is done with the next moments of life that speaks volumes to the person they are.

I am ridiculously thankful to have been reminded of those truths and to be living life with that perspective.

And now, on to dancing the day away….

(If you would like to join me on this journey, I’d love to provide a link to your gratitude project on my blog, so let me know! I’m sure we all have a lot to teach each other about thankfulness!.)

Experimental Life {Update 7}

It has been quite some time since I’ve written about this Experimental Life.  For those of you who are curious, you can read through my journey, starting with that link up there, and then moving forward in this order:

Update 1 | Update 2 | Update 3 | Update 4 | Update 5 | Update 6

Okay, my last update was 22 June. So, that means there are a few things I must catch you up on, in case you don’t keep up with me on Facebook. First and foremost, we’ve had 2 ultrasounds now, during the first of which I severely argued with the technician because I couldn’t believe what she told us literally 5 seconds after I laid down:

We are absolutely ecstatic, can’t believe our blessings, and can’t wait to meet this little guy!  In the meantime, however, he and I are going to be struggling with one another.

Up until now, there’s been nothing to update – yes, that’s well over two months! – because the journey has been SO smooth.  I have been eating within our Paleo diet almost completely, except the few carbs that I’ve gotten in emergency situations (my blood sugar has often gone too low over the past 2 months). I have been so ecstatic, especially when I realize I have gone 3+ months longer than with any other pregnancy without insulin shots! I have felt good and I wasn’t even looking that pregnant! Those two things are amazing blessings, if I could only show you comparisons from past experiences!

However, things have changed recently.  My blood sugars are suddenly spiking without a diet change.  This was bound to happen. I’m sure I’ve shared before that eventually mommy and baby start arguing about how to utilize resources and it becomes a constant balancing act.  I have, apparently, entered that stage. My fasting numbers are high (this morning, for instance, was 127) and my post-prandials have freaked me out a bit (the highest was yesterday at 242). I have an appointment tomorrow with the doctor, and we will most likely start with the small step of increasing my Glyburide intake.  If past experience compares to current experience, I believe this won’t last long and I will be on insulin shots before the end of September.

Now, this IS depressing me some. It’s not easy to handle those shots, especially with the risks they pose to baby and mommy, and the small sneaking feeling that I have “failed”. I can’t get rid of that yucky phrase in my head. However, I am continually amazed at how well everything has gone until now, and must remind myself: I’m in the home stretch, and I will be holding this baby so very soon, and that it is all worth it!

The other risk I face in pregnancy – the one that actually has caused me to be induced with two 32-weekers, a 36-weeker, and a 37-weeker, is severe pre eclampsia.  There’s some scuttlebutt in the medical community that gestational diabetes, high triglycerides (which I struggle with outside of pregnancy), and pre eclampsia are all interrelated. The kicker is, they haven’t figured out HOW yet, so all a doctor can do is nod his head and say “I assumed so” as I go down my list of issues. Some day – long after I’m done birthing babies – they’ll have it all figured out, I’m sure!

At any rate, the pre eclampsia (high blood pressure, intense swelling, and protein found in urine) is starting to rear it’s ugly head. I can feel it in the swelling in my ankles and hands. I can feel intense swelling in my wrists actually, as the carpal tunnel begins to set in again. And I assume it’s coming – the moments when I’m rushing to the hospital because the swelling is intense, the headache is pulsing without relief, the hot flashes overtake me – and the doctor says, “It’s time to have this little guy”. The risk with severe pre eclampsia, in case you don’t know (and sometimes I forget that my experiences have educated me so well!) are things like blurred vision, lack of blood flow to the placenta, even the risk of seizures to mommy. After 32 weeks gestation, the best treatment for severe pre eclampsia is delivering the baby.

So, I will continue to do the best I can do with diet and exercise. I will be thankful that I have amazing doctors who are looking out for baby and mommy, that we will be delivering this little guy in a hospital with a good NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit), and that one of my dearest friends has been a NICU nurse for a very long time and helps talk me through all of those experiences, should they occur. (God knew what he was doing when he hooked Tory and I up 22 years ago!)

I’m still a firm believer that Paleo is the way to treat gestational diabetes. It has done AMAZING things for me in this pregnancy, as compared to previous pregnancies! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would love to help you learn how to go Paleo, too!