Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Fall!

Yes! It is! And I wore my very first sweater of the season today!  

Since our apartment complex has lots of trees and green grass, it especially feels like fall with all the leaves on the ground.  Living in Arizona....well, it doesn't always feel or look "fall-ish" all the time, depends on where you are in the state :-) But it's absolutely perfect here, let me tell you!

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Is it possible to replace your water intake with coffee instead?  I'm living off it these days.  (Yes, even breastfeeding....I chug it down in large quantities and it doesn't seem to phase Elenna.  I think she'd probably go into withdrawel if I stopped drinking the stuff, since I drank it my entire pregnancy too!)  With all the late nights and long days, I need something to keep me awake :-)  My double chocolate creamer is actually my favorite part of the whole coffee-experience he he :-)

Last week at church, we got Elenna dedicated!  It was really special.  My family even came into town for it, which was really great! 

Elenna slept through the whole thing!  It was really special to have both pastors there.  Pastor Al (left) has been my pastor since I was 12, and Paster Joonho has been our pastor since a few years ago.  They have both been very influential in our courtship and marriage, so now having them both pray over our daughter was very meaningful.

The last two weeks have been some of the most exhausting I've experienced in a long time.  (Maybe ever.)  David has worked 5 and 6 days in a row recently (and his shifts are like 14 hours!!), and my school has been especially challenging.  After bombing my last big test, I've been studying SO SO hard for this next one.  I spent almost every spare minute I had studying and re-studying the material.  Lots of late nights and really early mornings, trying to study before Elenna wakes up. And when she naps during the day, of course is an ideal time to study.   

The test was yesterday, (Monday), and I haven't gotten my grade back yet.  I feel like it definitely went better than the last one....but.....honestly I'm scared to see my grade.  :-(  This 2nd year of nursing is a whole new level of hard and really kicking my butt.  It is TRULY the most challenging thing I've ever done.  But it seems like the harder it gets, the more I want it.  It makes me realize just how badly I really want to be a nurse.  So I just keep trudging on.  :-/

The last few clinicals have been pretty darn good though!  I got to catheterize someone, administer Reglan IV push (IV PUSH peoples!!  Something only an RN can do eeeeekkk!!!!), and put in some IV's.  So I've been getting some good experience under my belt, finally!

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Other than school, my days are filled with snuggly baby-ness :-)  Honestly, the last few weeks or so I have started to really enjoy Elenna more and more.  I'm bonding with her more each day and love her to pieces!  She's so cute!  All her little faces she makes, and her impromptu-smiles that are getting more and more intentional with each passing day.  She's just amazing. 

I've noticed though that I can't seem to stop hearing phantom baby-cries wherever I go.  Even if I'm not around her, I think I'm hearing her cry! Ugh!  Or if she's napping in the next room, I keep thinking I hear her crying, when she's totally dead asleep.  Weird huh.  I'm so incredibly tuned in to her little noises that I hear them everywhere lol.  

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I'll never get tired of her baby-smell either.  *yummy*

I'm finally back on the running-track.  Now that I'm 5 weeks post-partum, I'm totally back to normal and so thankful that I've healed well!  And I'm SO GLAD to not be pregnant anymore!  Nothing hurts, pulls, strains, or kicks haha!  It's great.  I went on a 3 mile run the other night and it felt fantastic.   I can't wait to start increasing my mileage again, too.  I figure if I ran 5 miles the day before I went into labor, I can do anything lol!

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Sweet daddy-daughter time :-)
And now, I really do hear her starting to wake up from her nap, for real haha!  So I better go feed the little stinker!  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Life With a One Month Old

I can hardly believe it's been a whole month since this little sweet pea came into our lives!

  Its been probably the most hectic months ever, getting used to everything a new baby brings.  I'll be honest and just say that although having a brand new baby to hold IS amazing and special, these first few weeks haven't exactly been a joy-ride.  Not everything was snuggles and coos right at first (like I sort of expected lol)!  

It's only been the last week or so where things are starting to feel normal, sleep is returning as a regular part of my life again, and I finally have a sense of knowing what to do with this this little bundle!  

Especially now that I'm feeling mostly back to normal, I feel like I'm finally able to enjoy my little girl.

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This week especially, it seems like Elenna is finally getting into some sort of a dependable sleep-schedule.  She's now only waking up once at night (usually around 1am or so) which is wonderful.   And, loveliest of all, she's entering the stage of baby acne and dandruff.  So she's quite the little awkward princess right now lol!  But still super cute :-)

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Even though I've babysat infants before, I feel like I've had a major learning curve with Elenna this month.  Everything is so new and there have been so many things to figure out.  Like...who do we pick as a pediatrician? How do I trim her lil' fingers without making them bleed? (major mother failure which occurred yesterday.) Why does she get so much lint caught in her teeny tiny toes? Has she eaten enough or does she need more? And, ( most often questioned at 3am when we're both exhausted)......


Yes.  As one of my friends (also with a new baby) put it recently, I now understand why scorpions eat their young.  Seriously.   

But like I said.  It's getting better :-)

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With this adorable little girl, we've entered into a world of pink bows, blowout diapers, baby-smell (my favorite!!), spit-ups that look more like cottage cheese than milk (what is my body actually making here...), spontaneous smiles that just light up her face, and moments of wonder where I look into this precious face and just think, wow.

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And then....there's the less glamorous side of things. Like leaky boobs.  Hauling a breast pump with me everywhere I go. Getting scratched by very sharp little fingernails (ouch, seriously). A house that smells like poopy diapers no matter how much Apple-licious air freshener I spray.  Weird twinges and soreness still lingering around my incision.  No longer having quiet dinners, just David and me.  The inability to just mindlessly go browsing through a store on my own.

Yup, we've entered the baby-world.  
But this is how it's supposed to be!  It's wonderful, and hard.  Exciting, and exhausting.  Super fun, and sometimes super frustrating. It's one more link in the chain of learning how to die to self and life sacrificially for others.  

This body - even though it's no longer carrying a little life inside?  Is still not my own.  Now it's a full-time Le-Leche machine lol :-)  

I guess I'm trying to learn how to stop and see the good in the hard.  Living each and every moment to its fullest, even with all the difficulties and challenges and "I can't" moments that life brings. Finding beauty in the places where I feel frustrated and defeated.    Reminding myself, when she's screaming at 1am (and I feel like screaming), that this too shall pass.  And pretty soon I'll be missing these days. :-) 

These precious newborn days.

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Daddy and his little girl!  I love seeing them together!  I love knowing that she is a little part of us.

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School.  What can I say?  I've gone back and forth in recent weeks, feeling one moment as if I'm just DONE and ready to quit, and the very next minute feeling a surge of excitement when I start working the floor during clinicals and realize that in just one more semester I will be a registered nurse. 

I'm two weeks away from passing my 8-week MedMath class!  That's one huge worry out of the way, since passing with an 80% determines each semester if you even stay in the program or not.  Even though I have an A in that class, I still have my nursing stuff to figure out.  Each test is a huge anxiety producer.  The most recent test last week, our class average was a 58% - so I'm feverishly preparing to hopefully do WAY better on the next one.  Yuck. :-/  It's so much information to process.  This last test covered Cardiac (which includes EKGs, heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart blocks, and dysrythmias) and Fluid/Lyte and Acid/Base Disorders (which includes knowing the values of every electrolyte out there and their corresponding imbalances/symptoms/treatments/complications, as well as interperating ABG values, a nightmare in itself).

Completely abnoxiously totally 100% WAY TOO MUCH to remember. (Hence the D I got.)  Ugh.

All in all though, life is going well. :-) Laundry may not be caught up.  Dishes may be piling in the sink. I probably have no plans whatsoever for dinner tonight (sorry David).   I may not have even brushed my teeth or gotten out of my pj's today (it's 1:45 pm). 

But.  God is good.   (And so is the sugar-free totally healthy pumpkin pie I just ate while blogging, mmm!)  Coffee is readily available.  It's fall and the temps are cooling.  I got to paint my nails today.  My beauteous new jogging stroller in calling my name....and I have a sweet baby girl and kiss and snuggle :-)

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I'll leave you with this funny little picture that makes me laugh every time :-) So stinkin' cute :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nothing Without Him

'If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.'
- C.S. Lewis

I found this quote today and think it's absolutely beautiful.  

Because even though life is wonderful, and there is so much good in the right now for me, I still have desires that aren't fulfilled.  I have longings that aren't met.  

Even in all the beauty of today - a new daughter, a great husband, a cozy home and my physical needs met - there is still a great void in my heart that won't be satisfied until I see my Jesus face to face.  

Honestly, this is what I'm longing for more and more these days.  I want to see Jesus.  I want to be there.  I want to start the eternally-living-in-His-presence today.  Because no matter how many things or people come into my life, it will never fully satisfy.  

I know myself well enough by now to admit that I have this crazy notion that the "next thing" will finally be it.  You know.  Having a boyfriend.  Getting married.  Having kids.  Finishing nursing school.  Even that new outfit.  I keep tricking myself into thinking that once I achieve that "next thing", I will finally have arrived into some sort of permanent fulfillment and happiness.

But guess what?  Doesn't happen!  Sure, I am happy.  I am fulfilled.
But not completely.
Something is always missing.  

Because apart from Jesus, nothing will ever be "enough".  

And that's why having Jesus in my life is so incredibly important.  He is the Beginning and the End.  The great I Am.  The whole point of living at all!  He's what brings meaning to this sometimes difficult life.  He's what keeps me going.  He's what promises that there is more. 

Without Him, I am nothing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

She's Three Weeks! (And I'm Exhausted)

Hard to believe that tomorrow, miss Elenna will officially be three weeks old.  
Three weeks ago today I was in labor (during lab at school, of course).   That was an adventure of its own.  Hanging piggy back IV bags while having contractions was how I spent Wednesday, the day before she was born.  That and studying in the library and having random people ask me if carrying all my books in my backpack helped to kind of "balance" things out since I was pregnant.  

Um, no?  Does that even make sense?  lol *dumb questions people ask of pregnant women*

And let me just say that first of all, it is SO nice to have that whole thing behind me (labor is called L-A-B-O-R for a reason, folks), and second, it is SO nice to not be pregnant anymore!!! I loving getting to wear my old clothes again (and shop for new ones in the juniors department instead of the maternity section).  :-)

At her last appointment, Elenna had gained almost a whole pound!  That was two weeks ago so I know she has gained more since then.  Tiny as she still is, you can definitely notice she is chunking up a bit.  Her lil' tummy is filling out and yes.....yes....she has a double chin.  He he :-)

Now that this little stinker is out of me, I'm encountering many new experiences (some good, some, well.....some just are what they are).

1. I'm able to breathe again.  No more baby parts getting lodged under my ribcage at night!!!  It's glorious.

2. Now that I can breathe at night, it would be equally nice to sleep as well.  :-) Kinda differs every night as to how much we sleep but....some are better than others.  It'll taker her a while to get her days and nights straightened out, I guess!

3. Why do people keep coming up to me and asking whose baby that is?  Does it not cross their mind that it *might* be....um.....mine?  I must be pulling off the teenage babysitter look or something. 

4. Nursing? Hurts.  Just sayin'. I now understand why many moms switch to formula.  

5.  Hearing Elenna make little baby noises when she dreams is SO cute.  Sometimes she'll smile while she's sleeping too :-)

6.  I did not previously know how long and sharp baby fingernails can be! *ouch*

7. Giving Elenna a bath is one of my favorite things.  She smells sooooo yummy afterwards.

8. It is advisable to wait to change into a nice outfit until after you have fed, burped, and de-pooped your baby.  I went through three pairs of jeans yesterday in under ten minutes. 

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After three weeks of Elenna crying almost non-stop unless she is held or sleeping, I finally wised up and bought a sling (Infatino).  And let me just say, it has already revolutionized my days.  She's pretty much just hunky-dory if she is right next to me or in my arms 24/7 - so this sling is awesome because it makes this possible while still keeping my hands free! (Like right now, I'm blogging and she's just chilling out in her sling!)   *mommy freedom* !!

We are gradually getting back into the swing of things.  David went back to work full time this week, and I'm finally feeling good enough to be able to actually clean the house and do my regular stuff.   I never realized that recovering from a C-section would take so long :-/  But thankfully I'm doing much better. 

School is going ok so far -  I've had to miss four clinical days, so I'll have to make those up by the end of the semester.  But I've been able to keep up with all the tests and not do too badly actually.  Right now I'm just looking at school as one day at at a time - if I think about the whole semester I just....can't.  There's so much!  So it's back to Elizabeth Elliot's motto, "Do the next thing."

This morning was pretty much like this:

4am - feed Elenna
4:30 - Elenna back to sleep, and I stay up to get some much needed quiet time in.
5:30 - I go back to sleep
6:45 - feed Elenna
7:15 - baby bathtime! then I get dressed and do my makeup.
8:00 - inhale a bowl of honey nut cheerios.
8:05 - we went out to take pictures this morning!
9:00 feed Elenna and put her in her sling because she's crying
10:00 - right now.  Almost done with this blog post, and she's sacked out.  

I still have a lot to get done though.  Laundry is calling my name (it never stops, actually), and so is Medication Math and an EKG quiz that's been looming over me for two weeks now.  Tonight we're having homemade Maccaroni and Cheese (Pioneer Woman's recipe, yumm!!!) and chimichangas, and possibly if I have time I'll make banana cream pie.  (I said possibly.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What I'm Loving About Life

I had my beautiful little Elenna on August 27th at 2:25 pm.  

5 1/2 pounds of absolute sweetness.
(And sorry that these pictures are kind of blurry! My tablet doesn't take the best quality pictures!!)

The last few weeks have been filled with sleepless nights, 2am feedings, not knowing how to get a newborn to stop crying, painful days of recovery from an un-expected C-section, a messy MESSY house, etc.

 But they've also been filled with precious moments of snuggling my Elenna for hours on end because honestly, we've both been exhausted :-)

David has been exhausted too!  He took 2 weeks off of work once she was born.  Since I had a c-section, the first week especially he did almost everything for both of us.  All the diaper changes.  All the food prep.  All the laundry.  All the grocery shopping.  

(Awesome husband, I know!!!)

Now that she's 2 weeks and and 2 days old, I'm up and about and doing almost everything again.  It was so hard to just lay around the first week and recover!  But praise God, most of my pain is gone, my incision is healing, and all three of us are slowly getting into the swing of things.

I'm loving that I feel good.  I'm loving that I have a healthy and beautiful little girl.  I'm loving that my running paid off and I'm now actually a few pounds below pre-pregnancy weight.  I'm loving that I'm getting the hang of breast-feeding and pumping.  I'm loving that I'm getting back to school.  I'm loving that I was up to making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins today.  

I'm just basically loving life right now.  It's hard, and I'm tired.  But these are days I'll never get back again, precious newborn days.  And I'm loving every minute of it.

More to come - especially new pictures, I promise :-)  For those of you who are on Facebook you've seen all of these, but I wanted to post for those of you who aren't!!  I'm hoping to share Elenna's birth story soon and then get back to regular posting.  :-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

40 weeks 4 days

Over the weekend, we went to David's family's house to celebrate his mom's birthday party!  Alot of family was there and they were all shocked I was still pregnant.  (Trust me, I am too.)  We had a great time though - good food and catching up with everyone!

David is going to make such a great daddy!!!  Although these bump pictures have been fun, I am SO looking forward to having pictures of the three of us together.  I can't wait to see how our little family looks :-) 

Me at 40+ weeks and David's cousin Nora at almost 20!!  Super exciting that we're both expecting. 

I feel good most days, and still able to run about 15 miles a week (I'm happy with that for now).  The only thing I HATE about being past my due date is analyzing every little twinge or cramp, thinking, "is that it!!!????".   I think I'm giving up on ever having this baby.  And for those of you who have asked, no, I am definitely not opting for an induction.  I'm not that impatient!  

Food-wise I feel like I've been starving recently.  (Though that was supposed to decrease or something the last few weeks?)  So I've been eating more, at least it seems like it.  Smoothies with chocolate protein powder in them are my favorite right now, as are crackers with avacado and cheese on them :-)   I also experimented making my own frozen yogurt last week and WOWZA! It was good!!!  

My ending weight gain at this point seems to be about 9-10 lbs (so hard to tell with water-weight and stuff).   My doctor is completely fine with that, and I am very happy with it as well!  It's been a challenge, but I have worked really really hard at eating clean and working out this entire pregnancy, more than I ever thought possible.  That coupled with this being my first baby, I think getting back to my normal ole' self shouldn't be too much work afterwards!  

Which is good, because I started school yesterday and yikes - my schedule is full this semester.  On top of having a brand new baby, I feel like sleep will be my ultimate priority, not working out :-/  I'm trying to really up my water intake too, as it's been super hot out and the more dehydrated I am, the more Braxton Hicks I have and the more crampy I feel (yuck).   I never thought that I would have this many Braxton Hicks, or that they could be so intense at times!  I know they aren't the real thing, but they can sure suck the breath right out of you!

 I'm so tired of being pregnant!!!!!  I haven't loved it most of it, honestly.    But I spend the majority of my time these days dreaming of what it will be like to look into my daughter's eyes for the very first time after all these months of waiting and preparing.  I know it will be totally worth it at that point.