Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas in review

Christmas was a weeklong event this year:-) We opened presents early on Sunday the 20th since the next day we were travelling to Colorado and didn't want to take the gifts with us. Dan's enjoying his new iPod Touch and I love my accompaning radio/docking station. Russell was given a new Bible and board games.

The next day we flew to Colorado, rented a car, and drove to our friends' house. They moved from the Bay area in August and we've missed them dearly ever since. They graciously hosted us for two nights. It was so wonderful to see the kids together again and to just relax in their home:-)

Wednesday morning greeted us with six inches of light, powdery snow. Very unlike the snow in B.C. that I am so used to. I don't think Dan even broke a sweat while shovelling. After packing up the car, we drove up to Fort Collins to visit Dan's sisters and their families. The drive was a slow go in all the snow and wind but we made it safely. We stayed at the in-laws' house until Monday morning when we returned to Denver and flew home:-)

Miss A.

The in-laws open presents on Christmas Eve, which was different for me. The cousins opened their stockings on Christmas morning and even made a stocking for Russell to open:-)

Dan's parents holding Camille. They had driven up from Tucson for a few days. It was their first time meeting Camille.

We really had a nice Christmas week. For a few days it was only 18F which is frigid for a gal like me who loves beaches and warm weather. The wind was something I've never experienced before. Whew. We landed back in the Bay with a balmy 56F day:-) Ah. There is no place like home!

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just a quick post

We're still here in Colorado! We arrived on the 21st after a good flight with two very calm children. The day after we arrived it snowed six inches of nice, light, powdery white stuff. Since then, it's been extremely COLD. When I step outdoors I forget to breath for a few seconds since it almost hurts. The wind is the worst. We had a wonderful Christmas with Dan's family and it was a fun time to be had. We'll be home on the 28th:-) Will post pictures then... hope you all had a relaxing Christmas season!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Joyous Welcome

Three of my in-real-life bloggy friends had their new babies this week:

Anne: had baby girl Mary Adair after two years of secondary infertility (on the 18th)

Amber: had baby Boy (yet to be named)... after three years of every bad prognosis and IVF (on the 19th)

Marcia: had baby Kai after quite the long labor (also on the 19th)!

Please stop over and give these women a shout of support. Every baby has been dreamed of and loved for so long. May each of these children grow to love God and be a blessing to all they know.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Checkin' out the Christmas Lights

On Monday night we met up with some friends and went to check out the light display in one of the neighborhoods. We've gone for the last four years and this year was relatively warm in comparison. The first year, Russell was 11 months old and in the stroller. Now, Miss Camille is in the same stroller. Sweet times.

Russell and Maddie. One friend (Mel!) noted it was strange to see the decorations without any snow but almost every Christmas I remember on Vancouver Island didn't have snow so it doesn't seem too out of the ordinary. Last year, the Island was buried under snow and I'm sure we'll have snow in Colorado this year. (Anyone besides April notice our blog is snowing?? I love it!)

Aw! Ann with her newbie son, Cole. Lots of 2009 babies in our group of friends.

PS- our bill from the hospital arrived yesterday. Any guesses on the amount of a healthy, non-intervension birth?


Thank-you, God, for Dan's job and health insurance. We only pay $100.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A post about not posting

Sorry for the lack of entries lately. Any time I've had to sit in front of the computer has been to Christmas shop at my favorite store Where else can you get books and diapers and gadgits and gizmos all in the same place?? Plus, I love it when the mailman hands me my new box of goodies and I haven't had to shop with two kiddos in tow (one of which refuses to enter any store at the mall unless you count Starbucks...). Besides, with tax at almost 10% locally, I'd rather get more bang for my buck online.

We're off to Denver next week for Christmas. I'll try and post something before next Monday but if I don't, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Happy 30th to Me!

Yesterday was my 30th birthday:-) My mom flew down from Victoria last Tuesday just in time to help celebrate American Thanksgiving with us and Dan's cousins in Sacramento. She left for home this morning but was able to be here for my birthday... the first birthday we've celebrated together since 2001 when I moved to the States. We had a wonderful dinner at The Fish Market and cake for dessert. I was blessed with many cards from abroad and my answering machine was flashing with kind messages. What's not to love about birthdays?

We loved having my mom in town. An extra pair of hands does miracles with two kids. No wonder families hire nannies. We stayed local during this visit as we did a lot of driving together when my mom and dad came to visit in the summer. Russell liked seeing my mom play the guitar and she even started to teach him a Christmas song/hymn. I totally underestimated his ability to memorize! Glad they had something to bond over.

Thanks for visiting, Mom! We miss you already.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My little lady

Camille's one month appointment was today. She now weighs 8 lbs 15oz and measures 20.5 inches and is 50% percentile in size. She's really a lovely baby. She isn't nearly as fussy as Russell was and only cries when she is bothered by a hungry tummy or burps. She certainly can work herself into hysterics, though, when we let her cry-it-out but promptly falls asleep when comforted. We are completely in love with our little princess. I love to lay down and let her fall asleep in the crook of my arm and listened to her sleepy breathing and feel her warm body. Every tear we shed was worth these moments.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three Weeks Old

My friend Sue (a Victoria native) came to visit today- with camera in hand! Her husband is a professional photographer and she loves photography as well, and she asked to take some sweet pictures of Camille. Of course, I said yes:-) Sue and her husband and two boys are moving to Victoria in two weeks. I'll miss them but I'm so glad I'll get to visit when we are on the Island!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making Time for Russell

Russell adores his little sister but I find that he's acting out in other ways that show he knows that the family dynamics have changed: he trys to talk over me when I'm on a phone call (he used to NEVER do this) and pesters me (i.e. hit) when I am trying to feed Camille- as he knows I'm not going to jump up and discipline him immediately. Grrr. He's had ample discipline lately and we'll preserver but I also want to make sure that I am giving him special time during the day that is interactive and not just co-existent.

One thing Russell loves to do is help with the baking. He can already operate the stand-mixer and follows directions closely when I show him how to scoop ingredients. Today we made chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Yes, they tasted as good as they sound! The apron Russell is wearing was a take-home party gift from another child's birthday party. It was nice to have some positive time with Russell instead of feeling impatient with him and worn out by repeated warnings. I wonder how families with so many children function??

Friday, November 06, 2009

Big Brother, Little Sis

At the same time Camille was born, Russell came down with a head cold. True to form, with the cool days and cold winds, his cold turn very quickly into croup (we'd seen the ped that afternoon and she said he was fine). Dan ended up taking Russell to the ER since it was the worst case of croup he's had so far. Since then, the croup subsided into a barking cough and head congestion- enough to be banished from Sunday School and play dates for two weeks now:-(

Needless to say, we've tried to keep Russell from loving Camille too closely but he just adores her and likes to be up close and personal. Amazingly, Camille has stayed healthy despite the germs being blown her way. This is the first picture of the kids together, this afternoon, as it was the first time I let Russell hold Camille. He was SO excited, he actually sat down for a picture!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

My 'Twins'

Camillle & Russell: 3 years 8 months 3 weeks and 1 day apart. Who'd known??

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A few pictures of our growing family

After coming home on Wednesday from my OB appointment (0%, 1cm), I never dreamed that only 24hrs later we would be meeting our daughter for the first time. What a shock!

At 4:20 am on Thursday morning, I awoke to use the bathroom and my waters broke. We grabbed the overnight bag and woke up Russell (who was only too glad to be awake). I called the hospital to let them know we were coming in and we were there by 4:50 am (50%, 3cm). Russell was so excited to finally visit the hospital he'd often asked about.

The nurses started the antibiotics for my GBS+ and then Dan took Russell to our friends' house for the day. Unlike my delivery with Russell my contractions did not start immediately. Finally, six hours later they started (at 10:30 am) but I could barely feel them. I began to get anxious that I'd be in labor for the dreaded '20 hrs' that sometimes happens.

At 1:30 pm, the contractions were only a 2 or 3 on the pain scale and by 3:30 pm, they were at a '5' (80%/ 5 cm). Literally, between one contraction and the next, I couldn't handle the pain and asked for an epidural. If my labor had been so drawn out already, I feared I wouldn't have the strength to push when it came time. At 3:50 pm, I began to feel the need to push (100%, 10 cm) and the nurses started calling for the OB to come. The epidural didn't have time to work but it was nice to know if the labor had been longer, it would have helped. The OB ran into the room at 4pm after the nurses had told me not to push for the last ten minutes- which, is very difficult to do! After two contractions (4 minutes), Camille was born. The cord was wrapped around her neck and the OB quickly undid it. Dan cut the cord and placed the baby in my arms.

I momentarily held Camille and then asked the nurses to take her. I wanted to make sure the bi-lobed placenta would be delivered safely and I would not be at risk for hemorrhaging. By God's complete grace, the placenta came out in one piece and the OB assured me that there was nothing to be afraid of. I think he was as relieved as I was. It was then I started crying in relief and joy over Camille's birth and in sadness for the losses we had experienced and the realization that Camille could have been a 'loss' as well, had it not been for God's infinite plan.

It is surreal to have a little one in our arms again. Two to three years of sorrow are not easily erased and I pray with time, our hearts will heal over the past. For now, we are savoring as much as possible because we know with time, Camille will be an active little girl running through life.

Russell loved the cafeteria once he realized they sold chocolate covered doughnuts!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

She's Here!!

Just the stats for now!

Name: Camille Elizabeth
Date: 10/22/09 @ 4:05pm
Weight: 6 lb 14oz
Tip-to-toe: 18.5 inches
Looks likes: Russell!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Still, no signs...

Yes, Baby Girl has decided to tuck herself in for the long run.

I noticed the Christmas items at Target this week, jammed in behind the current Halloween display. It occurred to me that Mary, Jesus' mother, rode on a donkey for 60+ miles before arriving in Bethlehem and delivering Jesus later that night in the stable.

Hmm, anyone have a donkey?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 38 and counting

According to the doctor's exam this morning, Baby Girl has no intention of coming any time soon. A little discouraged? Yes. With Russell, my body had prepped itself for two weeks before I went into spontaneous labor. This time? With only two weeks left before the official due date, I'm guessing this one will want to be overdue. I don't know if I can handle another full two weeks. I'm already getting short and impatient with Russell and some moments of the day I can barely walk because my pelvis hurts so much. Ugh. I haven't complained much during this pregnancy but I feel like I can (a little) right now.

In other news, we all continue to be healthy, yeah! Russell's gotten used to washing his hands immediately when we come home from shopping, etc. Nice not to have to fight him on that one. We had 2-3" of rain yesterday from the storm left over from Japan. It's 72F today so everything is drying out quickly. Russell was excited to use our umbrella- you can tell he's a Cali kid;-)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October... already??

It's difficult to believe that our first RE (fertility specialist) appointment was last September, thirteen months ago. We were scheduled for an October appointment but a cancellation allowed us to be seen in September. We had two more losses after seeing the specialist, and then January came around. Now, here we are, very pregnant and yes, very nervous about the next chapter of our story as a family.

I saw my OB yesterday and according to the check-up, baby will not be here for a little while yet. We discussed how the birth would proceed ideally, and then discussed options if anything went awry. Trust me, it's easier to discuss options when you're not contracting and in intense pain! I remember having to sign papers during my labor with Russell, and I remember thinking, "are you kidding me? Now?" I could have signed away anything at that time and I wouldn't have cared.

My pregnancy and delivery with Russell was ideal in many ways. We'd never had a loss and I never considered anything would go wrong. This time, I've read too much and 'met' too many women online that have had deep sorrow in their lives. We treasure each and every prayer for us during the remainder of the pregnancy and especially, the delivery.

Other than that, life has been quiet here. After seeking high and low for canned pumpkin, my friend Elizabeth (THANK-YOU!), dropped by and delivered two cans which she found at another store I had not yet checked. I've been told by stores that canned pumpkin is a 'seasonal item' and won't be stocked until later in October. After all this time of living in the USA, I still am not used to Thanksgiving in late November, only four weeks before Christmas. Totally wrong. I wish they'd bump it into October like the Canadians did. All that to be said, Russell and I made pumpkin spice bread with maple cream cheese frosting. Mmm. At this point in the pregnancy, I don't eat as much anymore since my organs are jammed into my lungs, but it sure is nice to have a tasty treat in the house when hunger does happen:-)

That's all for now, I suppose. Thanks for checking in with us!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just some thoughts

It's mid-September, the 23rd, today. Thirty-five weeks of baby growing done, thirty-five days to go until the golden 40-week mark. Russell was a little early (2 weeks) so I'm hoping for a repeat with this little one. A friend has offered to take care of Russell while we're in the hospital, for that I'm so grateful. Russell keeps putting stuffed animals down his shirt and calling them his 'babies.'

I'm enjoying seeing the faux fall foliage in the store fronts and Russell gets excited when he sees pumpkins because we've told him that pumpkins mean the baby will be born soon. I'd love to do some fall baking of spice breads and pies but when it is 85F-90F outdoors, it kinda kills the romance of it. I've ripped out pages of the recent Pottery Barn magazine because next October I'd love to host a Harvest Party with all the trimmings.

For many reasons, the verse posted on our blog has become overly relevant this past month. "Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep." Romans 12:16. We've celebrated the birth of several baby births and still anticipate more celebrations as other babies come due. We anticipate our own miracle. Yet, around us, life has not been so sweet. A dear friend's father died last week, unexpectedly. Another friend's husband was laid off from work within weeks of their expecting child #2 (thankfully, he was compensated). An acquaintance from high-school has been fighting cancer for the last two years and was just given a 'terminal' diagnosis.

Over the past few years, we've shed many tears. At those times, friends and the Church body have rallied around us to petition in prayer and love. Now, some of those that rallied with us have a serious need of intercessory prayer and support. Like Christ emphasized, we were expected to live in community and not to live isolated lives. It's easy to float alone when times are easy but when the sky seems to shatter in, we can not survive in isolation.

As time moves forward even when we feel like crawling under a rock, we have to believe that God is in control. I've learned that I don't have to understand God, I just have to believe in Him. For those of us who are in a season of joy, remember those that are in their season of weeping. For those who weep, there will be a seaon of joy. Thank God that He is in control and no one else is.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Anniversary #7

Seven years ago we were married in Point Roberts, Washington. The weather was perfect and the day was sweet. Here's to many more years together through the thick and thin!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sister's visit in town

My sister, Candice, came to visit this past week. I couldn't be much of a host since the awkward stage of pregnancy has hit like a ton of bricks but we still had a nice time. Last time she was in town (3 years ago), we visited all the tourist sites so I think she was okay with not having to visit the same sites again.

On Labor Day Monday, we spent the day at the beach and had a picnic lunch, complete with a stop at McD's on the way home for cones:-)

Although Ghiradelli Square is downtown SF, it now only hosts a shop and dessert bar- and many, many tourists. The chocolate is now made in San Leandro so we visited the factory store and found some great deals (and some, not so great). Yum, yum! My favorite are the 60% cacao chips.

We also visited Stanford for a short time. It's difficult to pack in a full day when stores don't open until 9:30am or 10am and then we have to be home by 12:30/1pm or Russell will crash and burn with his appetite and nap schedule. I guess at this age, I'm just glad he still takes a nap!
Thanks for coming to visit, Candice! I know it's not easy putting up with a toy filled house and a noisy 3yr old nephew and a pregnant, tired sister. Have a fun time in Edmonton visiting Andrea!! Too bad we all live so far apart.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The last weekend in August...

Friday and Saturday of last week had blistering temperatures. Yes, 95-100F is blistering for anyone, even me, who prefers the sun over cloud any day. On Saturday afternoon, we headed to the beach along with most of the surrounding population. The drive was slow but the car had a/c so no complaints. The closest beach was packed and had no parking spaces left... let alone grills for BBQ'ing.

We then drove south another 10 miles to another state beach and although it was crowded, there were parking spaces and a few grills open. A dinner of hot-dogs and chips and s'mores was just what we all need to end our last weekend of August. It was 99F at our house and only 69F at the beach:-) The fog started rolling in about 7pm and the temps just dropped after that.

My man:-)

Next weekend is Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. I have really enjoyed this summer since the last two summers were spent in a fog of confusion and sorrow. Here's to an autumn of new beginnings and joy...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photo Shoot at the Beach

My long time and dear friend Alysun came to visit this past week for a few days. She is gaining notoriety for her photographic work in Oregon and although I don't think she is planning on marketing in California on a permanent basis, we were totally blessed to have her do our shoot.

Once Dan came home from work on Thursday, we headed out to the beach (10 miles away). The weather really was a miracle, because although it routinely is 80-90F in the Bay Area, the coast and the fog remain in the 50-60F range... with no sun. For our photo shoot day, the sunlight was perfect, the winds were calm, and the evening was warm.

Russell kept busy playing in the sand but scampered close by a few times, enough for Alysun's quick shutter lens to capture a few pictures of us together:-)

Thank-you, Alysun, for coming to visit!! Don't worry, I won't ask you to do the infant shots in October... you'll be busy enough with your own infant;-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

By request...

28 weeks, 30 weeks
(trust me, the scale says I'm definitely bigger!)

One thing I dreamed of doing during the season of all our miscarriages was to have a professional photo shoot of maternity pictures. We never did that during my pregnancy with Russell. I guess I learned that you never know what the future will hold. This season of a woman's life is so fleeting and I wanted to have it captured. I've contacted a photographer in the area whose rates are resonable (i.e. less than $300 per sitting). We're still working on the details with that.

In addition to that, my long time (no, not 'old'...) friend, Alysun, is coming to visit next week. She'll be 35+ weeks pregnant by then. What a friend! As a photographer, I'm sure she'll bring her camera as well:-)

This Year's Trip to Pismo Beach

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Visit from the Folks...

My parents drove down from B.C. two weeks ago and stayed with us for 5 days. Russell and I and my parents spent the week doing 'day trips' in the area, from Oakland to Carmel. Fun times!

Russell at the Carmel Mission fountain. I now need to carry more pennies instead of dimes and quarters so he can optimize his 'tossing' into the waters.

My child- the child who tries the hardest to be the least photogenic... Don't expect a Christmas card this year with all of us smiling and sitting pretty. We'll have to PhotoShop Russell into it somehow.
(Yes, there is a white herse in this picture. There was a funeral in the church and we had to wait until it was over to visit inside the building.)
For lunch, we drove to Monterey and ate at our favorite spot on Cannery Row. Usually, we don't visit Monterey at the height of summer so it was busier than I thought it would be. Russell loved the ocean!

Later in the week, we visited 'Filoli Gardens'- a mini-Butchart Gardens, except that this garden was accompanied by a mansion of a residence.

The last day of the week, Dan took the day off and we drove to Treasure Island and then to Oakland, to tour the USS Pontomac- the 'floating White House' that FDR owned in his day...

Once Russell got over his fear of being on the boat, he really enjoyed the experience. We ate Subway and had Ben & Jerry's ice-cream for dessert. This picture was taken before Russell realized I had the camera in my hand.

Thanks for coming to visit, Mom and Dad!

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