30 May 2011

Backyard Adventures

The kids really love to play outside in the backyard. Since we have put the gazebo up, it has been so nice to be able to go out and be in the shade. And the kids end up playing under the gazebo a lot of times, which is really nice (and one reason that we got the gazebo).

I just wanted to post some pics of the kids play outdoors for family members who are far away.

Galileo, our Impost-Jack, loves to hang outside with the family, and so far hasn't tried to escape at all.

Edward loves to pat Galileo, who sometimes likes it, and sometimes doesn't.

Got to love playing with the ball!

Sophie and Edward are very productive little diggers in the yard.

And I have to post some indoor adventures too. The kids love to play under the table that serves as our desk. (Please excuse the mess.) At least one time every day, they go under there and sit, usually before nap time or after dinner time with their sippy's, and play. It is really funny to watch them, especially since a lot of times they are just laughing and laughing with each other.


First picnic of the summer

Mike got home early from his TDY on Saturday night and as we were driving to church yesterday morning, he said that he really wanted to go on a picnic today (Memorial Day). What he really, really wanted was to go hiking on some trails in the mountains with the family, but because I'm on pelvic rest, that was sort of out of the question.

I knew of a park that was fairly close to the Manzanos Mountains, so I mentioned it and we decided to go there.

We got off to a late start, having intended to leave around 0945 or 1000, because I woke up cramping and I stayed in bed for an additional two hours after I woke up at 0800. After I came down and ate breakfast, I packed a simple and light lunch for the family in the diaper bag and we set out on our excursion.

I think that Mike was irritated that we left so late, not getting to the park until about 1100, but he didn't say anything. He knew that I needed to stay in bed and that was what was best for Daphne.

The park was really nice, and though the playground area was not covered, there were several trees nearby that offered some very nice (actually chilly) shade. The wind wasn't too bad. We had one really bad gust that literally blew the stroller about six feet away, even though one wheel was locked. (No one was in it.) We had a really nice lunch and the kids pretty much just swung on the swings the entire time. There was a slide and lots to climb on, but they just wanted to swing on the swings. I pretty much just sat in the shade, watching, since I'm not supposed to be doing much standing. Luckily the kids weren't splitting up and running in opposite directions constantly!

Here are some pics of our little adventure:

For those who are worried I might be overdoing it - I didn't carry anything and we didn't walk very far to and from the car and I pretty much just sat down and watched the entire time. It felt good to get out in the sun with my family. :)

My garden is alive!

Yes! It is actually alive!

Okay, this is take two because take one of my garden died. :( Except for a few plants, okay more like 1 plant. Out of many. Click here to see the beginning of my garden story.

Well, I am happy to say that my garden seems to be thriving! Apparently we are in a drought here, and it has been horribly dry, even for the desert. A friend told me that we've only had a few tenths of an inch of rain here officially since 1 January. That's not a lot . . .

I write that to say that despite the daily temperature swings (cold at night, hot during the day) and the drought, my garden is actually alive! As my husband encouragingly said a few months back, "If you can garden here, you can garden anywhere." (He's so supportive!)

And my garden is actually starting to produce. I have already used almost all the herbs in cooking dinner at least once, and I have a strawberry on one of my strawberry plants and I have some small tomatoes coming in. There are still really green, but they are there! I'm excited! And my onion plants are growing too, although I have no idea when to harvest them . ..

So here are some pics:
My lily. The pot got cracked when the wind blew it down. The lily survived though!

Some pansies (I think), flox and a few other things. I was hoping my flox would have flowered by now, but they aren't. The spots on the table are water spots from the sprinkle.

My first strawberry! Yay!

If you look closely, you can see some tomatoes starting to come in on my tomato plant.

My garden. :) As you can see from the ground, the soil here is mostly sand. And if you dig down about 6-8 inches, you hit rock. So I planted in large containers I got on sale for $3 each at Big Lots.

Upclose of the flowers on the table.
I really can't wait for my garden to really start producing. I'm trying not to expect too much since it is so dry and windy here. I have to water the plants just about every day and even then, sometimes the soil is already dry. And of course, I have to keep the kids out of the plants when they're playing outside. :)

Hopefully I"ll have another positive report next time!

A New Dessert Concoction

I have been making a few new dishes lately (I may actually have checked off one of my 101 in 1001!). Potlucks with PWOC are a great motivator to make something new (and fancy).

This is Pampered Chef's Red, White and Blueberry Trifle, in the Trifle dish, of course (minus the stand). This is not actually the one I made for PWOC, but this is one I made for my husband who discovered that he had missed out on my concoction for the PWOC potluck. At his request, I made another one. And the kids absolutely love it too! And it doesn't bother me to give them bowlful after bowlful because it's made with yogurt and fruit, for the the most part.

The recipe, courtesy Pampered Chef, is as follows (with my variations):

1 prepared angel food cake (13 oz) - I used pound cake (thawed) because the commissary here was out of angel food cake
1 qt fresh strawberries
3 cups blueberries (I used a 16oz bag of frozen blueberries, thawed and drained, to save money)
1 container (16 oz) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
4 containers (6oz) blended strawberry yogurt
1 pkg (3.4 oz) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling - I used french vanilla because the commissary apparently does not carry white chocolate instant pudding mix
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping, divided

1. Cut cake into 1 inch cubes; set aside. Hull fresh strawberries and cut into quarters. Set aside 1/2 cup of the fresh strawberries and 1/2 cup of the blueberries for garnish. In Classic Batter Bowl (you know Pampered Chef has to promote their products in their recipes), combine remaining fresh and frozen strawberries, mix well.

2. In Stainless Mixing Bowl, whisk yogurt, pudding mix and lemon juice until smooth; immediately fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

3. To garnish, fill Easy Accent Decorator fitted with open star tip with remaining whipped topping. Pipe whipped topping over top of trifle; garnish with reserved berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*I omitted the last step, because, well I felt like. I do have the easy accent decorator, but I had to tend to the kids. The whole thing took about 20 minutes to make. Not too bad. :)

And there you have it - one trifle ready to eat! :)

29 May 2011

Memorial Day

Is Memorial Day something that you say "Happy Memorial Day" to someone, or is it a different kind of holiday altogether?

A memorial is something that is designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc per dictionary.com.

As usual, over ambitious commercialism pushes its greedy way into the spotlight, overshadowing the real reason for the holiday.

Memorial Day is not about just having an extra day off work, hosting a BBQ, ushering in summer or buying a mattress, a car, or sheets and towels on sale. It is a day to remember the fallen in our military. And not just the present day military, but all those who served, and fell, in all previous military times.

Why remember the fallen in our military for the last 143 years? (Memorial Day was first recognized after the Civil War in 1868.) Because those fallen men and women sacrificed everything - family, a beloved spouse, their own freedom and ultimately their very life  - for something they believed in - this country - this great nation of the United States of America.

What is so great about this nation? One word: freedom.

We possess the freedom that so many millions of others long for, yearn for, and die for.  It's one reason we have so many immigrants flocking to our nation for the past 200+ years. In their old country, they don't have freedom, and we do. So they come here.

Freedom of religion -  to practice whatever religion we want without fear of persecution, even to the point of death. We don't have to gather in basements and secret hide-aways to worship the Almighty God and say His name and hold a copy of the Bible in our hands.

Freedom of speech - we can say what we want about our government leaders without fear of retribution or death. We can write about any topic that we like without fear that we will be jailed because the powers that be don't agree with us or see our view as harmful. We can say that we don't like the President and his politics without fear that his secret police will come and kidnap us in the night and take us away from our families.

Freedom of press - this goes along with freedom of speech - we can write what we want in the newspapers without fear of retribution. We have the choice to tell the news like it is and not how the government wants us to perceive it. We have the choice to write about any part of the news without someone hovering over the reporters and newspapers printers' shoulders menacingly saying "Don't tell that story; it will make us look bad."

Freedom of Assembly - we can gather, for whatever reason, without worrying that every person there will be arrested because the government doesn't agree with the reason that we are assembling. Think of all the political rallies, the religious mass gatherings and so on - we do not have to go to those in fear.

Freedom of Petition - we have the right to petition the government for help without having to worry about being punished because we brought such a request.

Freedom of the Right to Bear Arms - we have the right to own weapons and keep them in our homes. We have the right to defend our families, our homes and our lives if we feel called to do so (say you're house is getting broken into, etc.) And ultimately, we have this right so that if the government gets out of hand, we can defend ourselves by having a militia of our free state.

Freedom from Quartering of Troops - civilians do not have to worry about having the military stay in their homes and towns for a season (say a winter) and having to feed them out of their pockets - all without a say. We have the freedom to not have to worry about this. It used to be that this wasn't so. And whatever food or other supplies you had went to the military and you didn't have a say. Now that isn't the case.

Freedom from unnecessary Search and Seizure - we have the freedom to say you have to have a warrant before searching (and ransacking) my home and belongings and taking whatever document, etc you want. Now the law has been modified to have due cause, but we don't have to fear the police coming in and doing whatever in our homes and taking whatever they want, for no reason.

Freedom of a fair trial - including having a jury hear your case, not being subjected to double jeopardy, not being forced to be a witness against yourself and freedom to not be deprived of life, freedoms, property, etc without due process of law. We have the freedom to walk the streets of our country without worrying about being arrested for whatever and then sentenced by a single person. We have the freedom to have a trial with a jury of our peers, freedom to have that process of law in place. We have the right to a fair and speedy trial, a public trial - not some secret trial behind closed doors where we could get locked away and no one knows anything about it. We have the freedom to not have excessive bail set upon us in the event of arrest, or to have cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.

Freedom to vote - any person, man or woman, of any race, who has not committed a felonious crime, has the freedom to vote. To put in governmental power that person whom they deem to be the best and wisest choice for the position. This, in theory, is the very essence of what our country is about - by the people and for the people. The people, the ordinary citizenry, get to choose who runs the country, who writes the laws, who judges the lands. We don't have some king or tyrant who comes to power by lineage through birth or comes to power by control and force. We choose our leader, for better or worse. What some populations around the world would give for that! What some rulers around the world dread about that!

These freedoms and what they personally mean to every person are the reason that men and women have joined the ranks of the military and served our country. They believed in the greater good, they believed that every person should be entitled to these freedoms, not just a few persons, and they believed in our nation.

For some, the United States itself is a symbol of freedom - freedom they may yearn to possess. Freedom they may only dream about, but never see in their lifetime.

Remember those who died, in the three wars we fight now: Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Libyian Conflict; remember those who died in past wars: the Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, in World War II, in World War I, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, the Mexican-American War, the War of 1812, and the American Revolution.

All of those wars came about because the leaders of the people, in one form or another, believed that our freedoms were at risk - and in the case of the American Revolution - to establish those freedoms in the basis of a new country, set apart from England.

All of these freedoms that I wrote about are stifled in other parts of the world - all of them. Think about that and what that means. How to live a life like that.

And most importantly - do not forget where your freedom came from or how it came about. If you don't know the history, then research it for yourself. Don't take your freedoms for granted. There are people around the world who have never known freedom such as we have and live in fear of persecution, retaliation and general fear and distrust of their government. If you like that you can choose how to worship, and who to worship, if you like that you can say what you want about the government and leaders, if you like that can have a trial, if you like that you have the option to own a weapon, if you like that you can vote for who you want in office without duress, if you like that can write whatever you want or say whatever you want, if you like that you can sleep peacefully at home without worrying about something happening to you or your family because of something you said or did or work on - then you need to thank a solider and remember those who died.

With all that I am, I thank those who serve or served in the military. I remember those who fell, who gave their all and I thank you so much for giving me and my people (Americans) the freedoms that we have today.

21 May 2011

Hospital Trip Take 1

So in my last post, I wrote that I had some light cramping and spotting last weekend . . . but when I went to my appointment on Tuesday, everything was fine.

Well, on Thursday afternoon, I woke up from a great nap and was feeling fine. I took the kiddos downstairs and started to get dinner ready. While I had the meat marinating, I took the kids outside for a little bit, and then came back inside to start working on dinner.

At some point during the preparation of dinner, I started having a lot of cramping (ok, I was doubled over in pain at one point) and a lot of pelvic pressure. I'm not sure if I was having contractions at that point, but looking back, I probably was. I made it through dinner and got the dishes all cleaned up and the kitchen too. I say "made it" because the cramping/contractions were hurting quite a bit. I did drink 3-4 glasses of water during this time, and I think that helped to slow things down a little bit.

I had told Sierra that I would watch her kiddos (who are always so great) that night, so I didn't say anything when she and her husband dropped them. The kids were great and all played together, so I was actually able to spend a lot of time resting on the couch, which I probably wouldn't have been if my friend's kids hadn't been there. I know, it sounds weird - get more rest when you double the amount of children 3 years and under . . . but it's true. :) When Sierra picked her kids up later, I told her what was going on. I was still debating whether I should call my midwife or not because I knew they would want me to come in and get checked out. Sierra strongly suggested I should call.

After Sierra left, I called Mike and told him what was going on and he said that I should call too. So I did. And they wanted me to come in and get checked out. So I called my friend Tammi and she was able to come over and watch the kids (who were already in bed) so I could go to the hospital. I am so grateful that she was willing to come over, especially not knowing how long I would be at the hospital. (The reason I had to call a friend to come over is because Mike is TDY right now - of course. Never fails, something happens when the husband is gone . . . not that Mike can help it. I know he wants so badly to be here, especially now. )

Since talking to Mike and then driving to the hospital, I was definitely having contractions and they were a bit close together. I made to the hospital with no problems (it is literally a straight shot from the road outside the base gate). They got me in a room immediately and got me all hooked up the monitors and got my vitals and all that.

About 15 minutes after I got there, the nurse came back in and asked me if I had heard of a drug called tybutriline (I'm probably spelling that wrong). I had, and asked if it was to stop contractions. She said it was and said I was having quite a few - turns out I was having contractions two minutes apart. That's pretty close . . . way too close. So the nurse gave me the injection to stop the contractions. It did space them out a lot, but I was still having some minor ones until I left. A little later on the midwife came in and did an exam and a Fetal Fibronectin test and did some tests to make sure I didn't have an infection. The FFT came back negative, which was good. A positive FFT is an indicator that labor is imminent. I didn't have an infection of any kind and my cervix was closed. Which is good - so I wasn't in pre-term labor. She said I was having early onset of contractions. Which can or can not lead to pre term labor.

Being in the hospital, having contractions 2 minutes apart and being 27 weeks (at the time) and being alone was hard in some ways. In some ways I didn't feel alone because I knew that the Lord was there with me and He was taking care of me and of Daphne. I talked to Him a lot while I was there and even though I was scared, I felt peaceful that it wasn't Daphne's time to come yet. And being a military wife, sometimes you just get used to doing tough things by yourself. Sierra did offer to come and be with me at the hospital, but I knew she would just be there sitting with me (and I didn't get there until 2230) and as long as I wasn't going into labor, I felt okay being by myself. I found out later that if I had needed to stay at the hospital, i.e. if I was admitted, that her husband was going to take off work the next day to watch Sophie and Edward and she was going to come up to stay with me. It's hard to describe how touched I was by their generosity and kindness and love. When I told Mike about that, he was also very moved by their friendship.

The midwife asked me some questions about daily life (kids, etc) and after I explained that I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old at home and that my husband was gone and we didn't have any family in the area (because we're military and we're just stationed here), she said that I should "stay on the couch as much as possible", but didn't put me on any restrictions, per ce (like pelvic rest or bed rest or something). After keeping me on the monitor for a while longer, I was able to go home with a prescription for an oral med to stop contractions at home. I was told to come back with the usual stuff - 4+ contractions in an hour, bleeding, water breaking, etc.

So . . . that whole taking it easy and staying on the couch as much as possible thing . . . yeah, turns out as much as possible with a 2 y.o. and a 1 y.o. isn't really a whole lot. So I am in the process of enlisting the help of friends with the kids and meals and stuff like that. So far the Lord has really provided and I have had some very generous friends help out already, with the kids and housework and meals.

I am a bit discouraged because I am still having cramping and have had some contractions (not many) and have had to take my medicine yesterday and today. I was really hoping the contractions would just be a one time thing and I wouldn't really need to take my medicine, but that hasn't been the case. And it doesn't help that I have a history of this with Sophie's pregnancy.

And the fact that I have had more cramping and contractions and have had to take the medicine also has me worried. Will I make it to full term? I just hit 28 weeks yesterday, so I have 9  more weeks before I hit full term at 37 weeks. What will happen if I don't? What's going to happen in the mean time? Most of the cramping/contractions I have comes after I have to pick the kids up. How can I not pick up my children when they need me to hold them? I am trying to pray a lot and remember that Daphne is in the Lord's hands and He has a plan for her. I am trying to rely on the Lord for day to day things and so far He has been very faithful in providing. I am reminded of the sparrow that does not fall without His notice and the how the fields are clothed in beauty. If He cares about the sparrows and the fields, how much more does He care for us? A whole lot more. Much much more than we can imagine, I have no doubt.

My prayer is that I can carry Daphne as long as possible, and that that length of time is to full term. And that she be born with no complications. I know that whatever comes though, the Lord is my God and my Rock and my Refuge, my Salvation and my Hope and that will not change, no matter what.

17 May 2011

Baby update

It's that time for another baby update! yay! In case you hadn't noticed, I usually write these after an OB appointment. :) So now that I'm 27 weeks, I'll be writing more updates because the time has come to go in every two weeks for a visit. I can't believe it's already that time! Wow - time flies!

As for how Daphne is outside of the OB's office - she is very, very active. You can see her kick and turn and move around if you're watching closely. She's not as active as Sophie (who never stopped moving all day), but pretty close. I wonder if that's any indication that they'll have similar personalities. 

I have a new food aversion lately - chicken. It doesn't nauseate me to the point of vomiting, but definitely does not make me feel all pleasant and good inside. On the hand, I have really been craving beef - especially steak.

I saw a new midwife this week because my usual midwife doesn't have appointments on Tuesdays, which is when the kids are at La Petite. Her name is Gail Rothfork, CNM, and I really like her. Best yet, I think.

So anyway, Daphne is doing very well. Good, strong heartbeat. I'm measuring a week bigger than what I am, but that is still within the normal range, so no worries there. I didn't ask what my BP was this time. I gained five pounds this month (must be all the chocolate morsels. And ice cream. And cinnabon. And apple streusel. And carne asada quesadillas (lunch yesterday and today and dinner last night)). Hmm . . . anyway, so that makes a grand total of fifteen pounds for this pregnancy so far. Daphne was moving too much for the midwife to be able to decipher exactly where her head was. Daphne, apparently, was not in the mood to be measured. All my blood work came back normal. My hemoglobin was a little low, but still in normal range for a pregnant person. I don't have to take an iron supplement now, but I might have to later. I need increase the leafy greens. (Must be why I've been craving steak!)

I found out that Presbyterian's policy for episiotomies is to not do them unless absolutely necessary, which I was very relieved about. I absolutely do not want an episiotomy - I would rather tear. And having birthed an 8 lb baby without tearing at all, I don't feel that I would need one. Lord willing, something won't happen where the midwives delivering Daphne disagree with me. Either way, it really put my mind at ease.

I did bring up a concern that I had. I started spotting very lightly on Sunday afternoon and I thought it stopped by dinner time, but then it came back later in the evening. I also had some mild cramping and then a full fledged contraction before I went to bed (ouch!). And the spotting continued until Monday afternoon. After I brought this up with my midwife, and given my history of a placenta abruption with Sophie plus pre-term labor at 28 weeks following the abruption, she was a bit concerned. Normally spotting in pregnancy isn't a big deal, but because of my history, I'm supposed to call if it happens again. And she did check my cervix to make sure I'm not dilated, which I wasn't and there wasn't any active bleeding. So that's good. But now I'm on what I call "the watch" again, probably for the rest of the pregnancy. What I call "the watch" is the following: I have to call if I have any more spotting (which probably means an irregular visit with an exam) followed by ultrasounds; I have to call if I have 4 or more contractions in an hour (which probably means an irregular visit and a fetal fribro-nectin test, which I'm not sure what would happen if that was positive); I have to watch for my water breaking. Basically stuff that you shouldn't have to worry about until you're 36 or 37 weeks along - not 27 weeks. But she didn't put me on any restrictions or anything, so that's good. So I'm hoping that the rest of the pregnancy is nice and quiet like Edward's pregnancy and that there are no more problems.

I have to admit on Sunday afternoon after I started spotting, I got really freaked out and my mind sort of started running away with me. I mean, you never want to see any bleeding of any kind when you're pregnant. Unless you're full term and you're waiting to go into labor. But in my mind's eye, I immediately went back to when I had the abruption with Sophie and how I was in the hospital for 3 days and then on pelvic rest for the rest of the pregnancy. What on earth would I do if that happened again? Mike is TDY right now (of course) and I have two toddlers. So then I started to think about who I would call and what I would do and if I should tell Mike because I don't want him to worry and I don't him to be taken off the mission because of me (unless I had to have the baby). I was very fortunate when I had my abruption with Sophie in that it was very minor - some abruptions end in still birth and others require immediate c-section, no matter how far along you are. I was able to carry Sophie to full term, with restrictions. So I tried to calm myself down and it really wasn't working. I texted my friend Sierra and asked her to pray for Daphne and I, which she was kind enough to do, and I called my friend Abby to talk to her and just calm down, which really helped a lot. Abby had lots of spotting in all her pregnancies and she was very optimistic and encouraging. I am very grateful for my friends - very grateful.

Since then I've had another dream that I delivered Daphne early and didn't remember anything about the labor and delivery. I've two other dreams like this earlier in the pregnancy. Basically they were the same theme (different small details like place) in that I woke up in the hospital and had given birth, but I couldn't remember anything about the labor or delivery. I asked the nurses how it went and they said I did really well, but I still couldn't remember anything. In the first dream, when I asked about the baby (and in both dreams it was a girl, but I don't think I had found out yet), she was in the NICU and I couldn't go see her yet. In the second dream, the nurse kept giving me the run around and so I called Mike on the phone and he said the baby didn't make it. In the third dream, which I had this week, I dreamed that I had her, and again couldn't remember labor and delivery, and she was in the NICU and I was posting on FB that Daphne had made her arrival early, at 27 weeks.

I chalked the first two dreams up to fear of not being in control during labor and delivery (probably from not feeling anything physically with an epidural). Have I mentioned how much I hated having an epidural with Edward's birth? I've had some sort of premonition about something happening to Daphne since early in the pregnancy, but I was also severely depressed in the first trimester. What depressed person doesn't think about stuff like that? The dream this week I attribute to just fear from the spotting and my mind trying to work things out. And a good friend of mine had her baby yesterday and she was posting pics on FB. She hadn't had the baby when I had the dream, but I knew she would be posting pics on FB after she had her daughter.

So anyway . . . I am putting my trust in the Lord that He will protect Daphne and keep her safe, just like He did with Sophie and Edward. We serve a faithful and merciful God and I want to worship Him no matter what happens. I know that He is in control of my life and all I can do is try to give Him the glory in whatever it is that I do, in whatever situation happens.

2 Tim 1:7 "For the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind."

08 May 2011

It's About Time and a Second Round

Today is Mother's Day!Yay!
 The Mother's Day Recount: Into :)
First, I would like to say how grateful I am to my Mom, my Mother-in-law Ruth, and my Step-mom Karen. These ladies are wonderful gifts from the Lord that I am so thankful to have in my life. I have learned much from them, and hope to continue to learn much from them for many years to come. They are all different from each other in many ways, and in some ways, are alike. They are all loving, thoughtful, intelligent, kind-hearted, selfless and giving of themselves to others. Thank you so much for all that you have done and all that you do! :D You are a gift from the Lord to be treasured!
This year for Mother's Day, I did ask Mike for flowers along with a card. I am not really a gift person and I would much, much rather receive a card with a special note personally written than a gift (and yes, I keep my cards). According to The Five Love Languages, I am a Words of Affirmation person and score very low on the gift giving. The downside to this is I'm not very good at giving gifts . . . I digress. Anyway, I asked Mike for flowers this year. 

Last years' Mother's Day was just a terrible day, for me and for many of my friends. A dear friend had just lost her daughter days before and personally I could not fathom celebrating Mother's Day in any way when my friend had empty arms. So I went to church, and cried, and then I came home, and cried. The injustice and tragedy was just too much.

This year I anticipated celebrating Mother's Day. I've just been so happy to be a Mom lately, especially since coming out of my depression, and I am so thankful for Sophie, Edward and Daphne, even though she hasn't made an appearance yet. So I asked Mike for flowers - fresh, bright, pretty - a reminder of new life that comes with spring after the cold death of winter. A reminder that the Lord is faithful, merciful and loving. What a gift He gives the world every spring in the beauty of flowers! He didn't have to do that. 

So Saturday dawned, and Sophie woke up shortly before 0700 as she normally does and Mike immediately got up to get her and get breakfast for her. And I got to go back to sleep until 1000! Awesome! I hadn't really been sleeping well lately because, well, you get to a certain stage in pregnancy, and you just don't sleep well anymore. What with the big belly, and round ligament pain waking you up (or is that just me and my lack of calcium in the first trimester - make sure you take your calcium in pregnancy ladies!!!) and anyway, I have just been really worn out lately, physically.

So I came downstairs, greeted the children who had been happily playing outside (slathered in sunblock and wearing their sunhats - Mike is such a great Dad!). I ate breakfast and had planned on going to the commissary and taking Edward with me. But it was too close to lunch, so I decided to wait. And then spur of the moment, I decided to go to the BX and get plants for the garden. I asked Mike if he wanted to come with me and he did, so we loaded up the kids and all went to the BX. I was so happy that Mike wanted to come - I love family shopping outings.

I put Edward in the cart, and Sophie rode in the umbrella stroller and I went to the garden section. Mike disappeared somewhere with Sophie while I took my time picking out plants for my garden. Luckily I had brought my garden schematic with me, so I knew what and how much to get. :) Edward enjoyed looking at all the flowers and we had a good time enjoying the fresh air.

I got all checked out and found Mike at Cinnabon sharing something yummy-looking with Sophie. Sitting on the table was a box with a flower arrangement in it! He said he wanted to surprise me with it on Sunday, but couldn't figure out to hide it on the way home. I was glad he didn't wait. Oh, and the Cinnabon thingie he got, which I ate the rest of, was awesome!! It was the middle of some cinnamon rolls with a cherry topping. Yummy!! Especially since this pregnancy I have been craving cinnamon rolls!

Here is the flower arrangement Mike got for me. I love that they are in a tea cup! That is so awesome! My husbandwy knows me very well! :D

So we got home, and then Mike went back out and got some lunch for me and him while I fixed some lunch for the kiddos. So we had a yummy lunch and the kids went down for a nap. While they napped, I went to the commissary and I saved $21.75 with coupons! That really helped make my day too! I know, I know . . .I'm weird . . . what with the garden schematic and my love of couponing and cinnamon rolls and shopping with my kids. . .

So when I came home, Mike started setting up the gazebo, and I started working on my garden. :)
The Gazebo Story
Last year, shortly before we left Oklahoma, we used part of our tax money to buy some outdoor furniture since we really love being outside. Since we were about to move, we didn't want to set up the gazebo, table and chairs that we bought (and that I saved over $750 on at JCPenny's - yeah!) and then have it taken down and risk having it damaged in the move. Furniture damage happens in PCS moves. So we left them in the original boxes and decided we would put them up when we got to New Mexico.
Sophie was also a big helper. Here she is carrying around the watering can for the garden. Mike is in the background working on setting up the gazebo.
 Things did not go according to plan when we arrived in New Mexico - and we ended up not putting up the gazebo, etc. We were sad about it, but we knew we would have it for years and we could set it up as soon as it warmed up in the spring. 

Did you know that once in warms up in Albuquerque (which isn't until at least the end of March), dust storm seasons begins?

With the onset of dust storm season (as I call it), which includes regular 65 mph winds or higher, often accompanied by blowing dust up to 10,000 feet high (we can't even see the mountains on those days), we decided to wait until the end of that season, which is supposedly only about a month long, before setting up the gazebo. Wouldn't want it blowing away right after we set it up, would we?
 Yesterday, we finally, finally, were able to set up the gazebo. Here is Edward being a big helper to Daddy. The sun is pretty hot here, even though the temp isn't that high, so the kids get to wear their sunhats whenever we go outside now. I think Edward likes it - most of the time. :)
 Of course, we had to set up the table and chairs as well. While I was fixing dinner, Mike set up my flowers on the table - he is so thoughtful! Honestly, I would not have thought of putting my flowers on the table like that. :)
Another view of the table and flowers.
The Garden Story
While Mike was setting up the gazebo with the kids, I worked on my garden. Unfortunately, thanks largely in part to the winds, dust and a few late frosts and a May snow shower, I only had one surviving plant that I started from seed. (Have I ever mentioned that I have a brown thumb?)
So anyway, I had bought some containers and some potting soil and was waiting for it to warm up enough that I wouldn't have to worry about bringing my plants inside in case of a late frost. So now that I had bought some plants, I could work on my garden and get them planted! Yay!
My sole survivor, a bell pepper plant.  A friend gave me some advice to use plastic containers instead of wooden because it's so dry here, they help retain moisture. It helped that they were only $3 at Big Lots. :)

I had previously put in compost and 2/3 of the dirt, so I added more dirt and water and mixed it up really well. Then it was time to move the plants into their new home! It took me a while, even though I didn't have too many plants, but it was worth it! And it was fun. It was hard to keep Edward out of the topsoil (we had an incident the night before where he ate some potting soil, which resulted in a little call to Poison Control. They said he was fine since it was hardly any), but I managed. It helped that he wanted to help Mike put up the gazebo.

Just before dinner, I finished getting all my plants into the containers and then went in to make dinner. We had a lovely dinner of cantelope and leftover beanie-weanie (read: no cooking). After dinner, it was the usual bath time, story time, etc and putting the kids to bed.
Here we have parsely, tomato, onions and basil.

German thyme, my bell pepper, yellow squash and zucchini.

More tomato and German thyme.

Vacationing at Home
After the kids were in bed, I made a pot of peach tea for Mike and I, opened my new book from Book Sneeze (exciting!), took out the cushions to the chairs and tied them on and we headed outside for some really nice relaxation time.
 Mike had decorated the table with my flowers while I was fixing dinner. I think it looks wonderful! :D
I absolutely could not have asked for a more thoughtful, loving and wonderful husband. Mike - you are so awesome. Mike is definitely my biggest answer to Jeremiah 33:3 (see the top of my blog).
 This just seemed like the perfect ending to a really wonderful day. Mike surprised me with so many little things and he did such a wonderful job putting up the gazebo. He was a huge help with the kids and they were so well behaved yesterday too. 
Thank you again to Ruth for the Japanese tea set - I really love it! As you can see, it gets put to good use. :)
 We had a beautiful New Mexico sunset too. The picture really does not do it justice. The evening temp was just absolutely gorgeous - a truly perfect night for sitting out and relaxing.
 Mike insisted on taking my picture even though it was the end of the day and I was really tired physically from the gardening and errands and everything, and Edward had pulled my hair several times (which is why it is so disheveled), but anyway, for Mike - here I am. I'm 26 weeks pregnant. (Yeah, already!) :)
Thank you Sierra for giving me the idea to do my hair in two braids. Mike really loved it - he immediately commented on how beautiful I looked when I came downstairs in the morning. :)
Then Mike and I had some great conversation over our tea, and read our books and just relaxed. I felt like we were away at a bed and breakfast somewhere and not at our house. 

I have never considered myself to have the gift of home-making, but Mike disagrees. I'm glad he likes how I have decorated our home. And just a few weeks ago, Mike said something that I took as an extremely high compliment - he said he loved being at home because it was a relaxing haven for him (one of many reasons). I am thrilled that he thinks so! I have to admit that I have strived to make our home a place of love, nurture, growth and relaxation in many ways, one of which is through decoration. With the help of the Lord (who knows my heart and the unspoken requests), I have been able to do that. And I know I have still have much to do. 

Anyway, it has really been a fantastic weekend, much more than I could have hoped for, and I am so grateful to Mike for making it happen. :D

01 May 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead!

Just have a few minutes to write. I wanted to write this for posperity, so to speak.

Osama bin Laden, the man behind the attacks of 9-11 has been killed by the US military in Pakistan and we have his body in custody. Yes!!

Will most more with links to articles tomorrow.

Where was I when 9-11 happened? At work at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Accounts Payable department. Heard it over the radio of a co-workers desk.

Where was I when Osama bin Laden was killed? At home in New Mexico just about to go to bed. Very thankful for my friend Bryant who sent me a text message about it, because I had turned off my computer for the night. Talked to my brother and my Dad about the good news.

This will be a huge moral booster for the troops. However, we need to be all the more vigilant as military and as a nation for retaliation attacks which are most likely to come.