Tuesday, September 17, 2013

32+ weeks!

The title says it all - I am 32 1/2 weeks pregnant with little Miss Cora. Just about every day I find myself wishing I was closer to 'the end' of my pregnancy, or feeling like it is just going by too slowly. But yesterday I stopped to reflect for a moment. I was remembering the night I took my pregnancy test just 'to see' if anything showed up. We had been trying starting about one month before we actually conceived Cora, and I was dying to see if our efforts had come to fruition. :) We ate dinner at Red Robin earlier that night, meeting up with some friends. They had arranged the get together to 'catch up,' but, really, to announce that they were newly pregnant. I was SO excited for them! Consequently, this meant my mind was wandering a little bit to know if I was or not. It was still a few days too early to get a super accurate reading, but I made Brian stop at the Dollar Tree anyway. I took them immediately and could see the double lines, but Brian didn't believe me. :-p

There's our little story about finding out we were pregnant. I had to document this moment today though, because honestly that day didn't seem very long ago. If 7 months ago seems like days, then I guess the next 8 weeks will fly by also. *Hopefully 7* I have this desire to have Cora on November 1st. It's kind of random, but a. it's 1 week early b. it's All Saints Day c. I would go into labor on halloween night, a good excuse to not have to celebrate d. it's my older sister's birthday - so special!

That's all I have to say for now, I guess. I am so excited to have this baby girl!! UGH the thought of Ruby having a little sister melts me! The thought of nursing a new baby melts me! The thought of not being pregnant any more MELTS ME! :-)

20 Months!

My Darling Ruby,

You are very quickly approaching the 2 year mark - wow! I thought the first year flew by, but this second year is really taking me off guard. I love you so much, my girl. I've noticed your attitude changing quite a bit in the past couple of months. You definitely know what you want. If you cannot have something that you want, you are NOT happy with me at all. There have been a lot of fun things you've learned and grown in since I last wrote about you, but this new determination is really a challenge to your momma.

I'm realizing more and more everyday how much of a job it is to be your parent, to be the one to teach you what is appropriate or not, what is respectful and what is not. I find myself being reminded each and every day that Jesus' grace is sufficient for me, that his power is made perfect in my weakness. I feel weak a lot, and like I am not suit to be your mother. But his grace has astounded me more and more as I lean into him for wisdom and strength. I couldn't do this without the grace and love of Jesus.

You still love animals and babies. Unfortunately, you've caught on to how frustrated Izzie makes mommy, and you now know how to yell at her, "Izzie, stop!" It's adorable, but I know I haven't been loving toward our doggie in front of you all the time. I don't want you to learn bad habits from me. Your love and gentleness toward animals is so sweet. You not only know SO many different animal sounds, but you're learning how to say the name of different types of animals! It is so fun to watch you.

Even though you do not know that you really have a baby sister coming to meet you in a few weeks, you still know that when I ask you to "feel baby sister," you are to touch my belly. You so gently place one or both hands on my belly and wait, even though you don't know what you're waiting for. I

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dr. Lara Knudsen

Hello my lovely friends! I wanted to take a brief moment to share with you how amazing Ruby's doctor is. Neither Brian nor I have a primary care provier due to us having different insurances. So for now, Ruby is the only one with a primary physician. Her name is Dr. Lara Knudsen, and she is wonderful. If you are ever looking for either a doctor for your child or for you, please look into partnering with Dr. Lara. She has a private practice, and her own small office. She has no other staff besides herself, and makes a point to have long appointments with her patients. She does this intentionally to really get to know her patients, and give them plenty of time to ask questions or express concerns. Check out her website here to get a little more information about her.

The main reason for this post is to share how much of a blessing Dr. Lara has been to us. One huge thing is that she has not been super pushy with vaccines, knowing that we carefully weigh out our care choices for Ruby. While she is in favor of vaccines, she is very respectful of our wishes, and that has been such a huge relief.

ALSO, she is willing to barter or trade with patients for her services! This is my favorite part! Ruby is currently off insurance (I know, bad us), but Dr. Lara has offered to do trades with us to help with the cost of Ruby's recent visit. Either this will reduce our bill tremendously, or completely. I wanted to share with you what I have decided to barter with her...

-small bouquet of roses from our yard
-fresh baked loaf of spelt bread
-3 local, fresh picked zuchini
-1 pint homemade canned apple sauce
-1 pint homemade canned apple butter
-1 pint fresh picked black berries
-1 batch homemade granola
-1 batch homemade oatmeal raisin cookies
-1 gallon homemade laundry soap (not pictured)

I am so excited about this, and the best part is, so is she! While I don't have much to offer, I can bake! So I did, and I cannot wait to deliver her basket of goodies today. Brian also has offered to help her a little bit with her website. Her willingness to barter with me has truly come at a perfect time. Please check her out if you need a doctor, she is gentle and kind.

Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Morning Glory

I woke up only about 20 minutes and I wanted to capture my thoughts before the day becomes busy. It is Monday morning, our favorite morning of the week. Brian's day off! Early this morning - about 5am - Ruby woke up crying in her room because her binkie was on the floor. Normally I would just give it back to her and she would fall right back asleep. However, this morning I wanted to snuggle our little girl. I had a bad dream last night about not being able to find her, so I was glad she woke me up when she did. We snuggled in bed, then once 8am hit, I could not sleep any longer. In some ways I would say I am a morning person. So, I got up, started some diaper laundry, tidied up the kitchen a little bit, and am currently cooking steel cut oats for the family when they awaken.

Little Miss Cora has been actively kicking since I woke up this morning, and that gives me such joy. I think she is telling me it's time for breakfast. :)

Brian and Ruby are sound asleep at almost 8:30 in our bed. It's one of my favorite sights to see. The morning is still cool, the sun is shining in my kitchen window, I have a burst of energy, and all is well in my world. I am feeling very thankful for this day.

Psalm 118:24 "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cora Delight

In case you missed it on Facebook, we found out last week that we are having another precious baby girl!! Both Brian's and my heart are truly delighted by this gift from God. Brian's response (as he was trying to keep Ruby entertained) at the 'private part' of the ultrasound was, "Another girl! Ruby you get a SISTER!"

I think it was during our pregnancy with Ruby that Brian and I consciously decided that children are a blessing from the Lord. Not only sons, and not only daughters. Children are a blessing - God's gift to us. Realizing this, we decided that we need to no have preferences on the genders of our babies. Each baby is a gift, each baby is a life. What an incredible thing! Why set ourself up for disappointment if our baby isn't the gender that we had hoped for?

Since we found out about Cora, we have been amazed by the responses we have gotten from a lot of friends. "Oh, so will you try next time for a boy?" or "Poor Brian." or "Oh....... well you want more, right? Maybe you'll get a boy later." WHAT?!?!? This has been quite bothersome to both Brian and I. I respond graciously, but in my mind I'm thinking, "Our DAUGHTERS are a blessing!!! There is nothing wrong with having more than one girl!!!!" I wouldn't say it is hurtful to hear these things, but it is really shocking, especially to hear from Christian friends who know what the Bible says about children. Ok, end rant.

The more that the reality is setting in that in 4ish months we will have a sweet baby girl in our arms is so pleasing. Her name couldn't be much more fitting. I get butterflies in my stomach day dreaming about what she will look like. Will she have more or less hair than Ruby? Will she also have green eyes (like Ruby), or blue (like dad), or brown (like mom)? Will she be as big as Ruby or smaller? Or bigger? How will her birth go? I am so thrilled to discover each and every one of these things.

Praise you, Jesus! I pray that this little girl would grow healthy and ready to meet us in about 4 months. I pray now that you would be working on her heart. Lord, with Ruby and Cora both, I plead that you would draw them to yourself. Jesus, give them the desire to spend their lives with you, here and into eternity. Help Brian and I to train them well, in spite of our short comings. I love you so much.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

He Provides

Over the past week or so I have been in awe of how the Lord has used people to provide for us. I was amazed during my pregnancy with Ruby at how generous people were. I was loaned maternity clothes, given loads of baby girl clothes, given a crib, given a dresser, given a changing table, and SO much more.

We are at a stage in life where we do not have much extra money to buy a lot of fun / unnecessary things. I do not want to sound like I am complaining, though. We are abundantly blessed, even with a modest income. We have enough to get by, absolutely, and we are debt free (except a mortgage), and have savings. Even though there's not a ton of extra each month, we are learning to be wise with the money we do have, so we aren't just treading water. {SO thankful for Dave Ramsey.}

Anyway, I have been almost brought to tears over this past week with how above and beyond blessed we are. I've been given TONS of maternity clothes this time around. So much so, that I almost get overwhelmed with all my clothing options each day. :) That's a good problem for this changing body of mine!

I made a trip to Albany last week to pick up a box of maternity clothes from a gal who is done having babies now. I picked through and chose a bunch of tops, and ended up with a packed full box. As if that wasn't wonderful enough, she gave me a semi heavy duty sling that has an adjustable shoulder strap. I wanted one of these!!! She wanted it out of her house, so mine it is! Then she told me she had a double stroller in the garage, and really wanted to get that off of her hands. I will be honest, at first I was hesitant. I had just started a registry online, and registered for a beautiful, heavy duty, double jogging stroller. I had a prideful moment.

When she told me it was passed down to her, I thought about that beautiful brand new stroller I had found online. I told her I would take it, but had every intention of giving it to Mother Goose Resale or Goodwill. The day after I got home, I took the stroller out of my car. I thought I'd take it out back and clean it up and just "see" what I thought about it. The more I scrubbed, the more I began to like this old double stroller. I scrubbed and scrubbed and this thought ran through my head probably dozens of times, "God not only provides our needs, but sometimes He provides our wants." I kept telling myself this. After spending time cleaning out this stroller and really checking my heart along the way, I had an epiphany. I needed to overcome my pride! I needed to drop the whole idea of a brand new jogging stroller, when this perfectly good used stroller was given to me. This might seem kind of ridiculous to most of you, but it was truly a heart checking experience for me. God gave me a stroller. I don't technically NEED a double stroller. I could use our other one, and a front pack for the baby. Or many other combinations, I'm sure.

Even typing this I am watery-eyed. God uses the most normal, even simple, experiences to change our hearts. He does this to me a lot. While I am emotional that my heart even needed to be checked in a situation like that, I am so thankful that it was. I have learned that there is no need in the Christian life to be attached to any THING. While I know that in my head, the Lord is always reminding me about this in my heart. There are a number of things that I have grown attached to (though probably wouldn't have admitted it at the time) that the Lord needed to teach my to let go of and trust Him.

Thank you, Jesus for always changing my stubborn, prideful heart. Help me continually to learn to have an open hand with things, and to not be attached to anything but You. Teach me to be generous like You are generous.

Thank you, wonderful friends and family, who have been a vessel of blessing from the Lord to me. Each and everything that has been handed down to me has touched my heart deeply.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baby Names

As we are nearing the 18-20 mark of pregnancy, we are thinking more and more about names. We get to find out so soon what we are having - wow! Time has really flown by, and I love it. We have the first names picked out for a boy and a girl, but middle names are still up in the air. Without further adeu I will share the names we are working on.

Girl first name: Cora
Girl middle names: Rose or Delight. This is quite a narrowed list for what I had for middle names. Almost anything sounds good after Cora. I was set on Cora Rose for the longest time, but now I am pretty in love with Cora Delight, especially with a sister named Ruby Joy. So that one is pretty set. Brian really loves Delight as the middle name as well. Score!

Boy first name: Judah (Meaning: the praise of the Lord, confession. Also, the lineage that Jesus came through)
Boy middle names: Rei (Pronounced "Ray" meaning: my companion, my friend), Reid, Gene, Otis, or Owen. Where to start on this one! My #1 favorite is Rei. It also is biblical and I love the meaning. I think Judah Rei has a great flow to it. Brian's #1 choice is Gene to keep the family name going. I think it sounds alright with Judah, but it's not my favorite name. Brian's dad's middle name is Gene, his mom's is Jean. His middle name is Gene, and his sister's middle name is Jean. So, you can see why he would like to keep the tradition going. The other day we both decided Otis is a very cute, old fashion name. I'm not sure if it flows well with Judah, or not.

What do you think? I would love to get some opinions! I have been hesitant to write this post, because I've been afraid of my names getting stolen. ;) But, we will use these names either way, so there is no use in fretting. And I would love to get some *positive* feedback. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

16 Months!

My Ruby Joy,

You are 16 (and 1/2) months old now! You are getting close to a year and a half. Amazing! Time has flown by. Your first year of life I got really emotional with each passing month that you were getting so close to one year old. Now, each month is exciting to me. I enjoy watching you learn and grow so rapidly as time passes. You are my precious girl, and I love spending time with you. I want to take a minute here and document some of the mile-stones you've come to since my last update.

Recently you....

Have been talking more: You have known a few words for a while now (mama, dada, other basics), but lately you have been surprising me with more. The other day I asked you to dance to some music and you, clear as day, said, "dance!" I was so surprised! We have discovered that you really like to snack on pistachios. Whenever you see the bag of pistachios you say to me, "nut!" It's so sweet, and I'm glad you like to snack on nuts! It is a win-win. I called your name, looking around grandma and grandpa's house for you, and I heard you say to me, "Ruby." You pronounced your own name - clear as could be! I was shocked, and had to pause for a moment to soak that in. I haven't been able to get you to say it again, but that one time was so special. You love your Auntie Becca. Next to mom and dad, and occasionally "nana" (grandma) you know she is your Aunt "Gocca." The way you say her name is so precious! You are also getting very good at animal noises. There's a select few you really like; horse, dog, and gorilla. Whenever you see a picture of one of those animals (or something that looks like it) you get really excited and make the noise of that animal. It is sweet as could be!

You love being outside: It has been extremely sunny the past few weeks here in Salem, which has been amazing! But ever since I introduced you to playing outside, that's all you want. You love walking around the front yard and sidewalk, picking flowers (daisies from the yard, or flowers from my potted plant) and smelling them. You usually like to have one flower in each hand.

You love babies: Whether it is a real baby at church, a baby crying at the store, or your baby doll, you want to take care of it. You have a routine at our house and at Grandma Miller's house of putting your baby down for, "ni-ni" with a blankie. After you lay the baby down, you sit there and wait for about a minute, then get the baby up and feed it a bottle. It is SO sweet to watch your tender heart and personality unfold. I was the same way when I was little. I have a feeling once your little brother or sister is born, that you will learn how to nurse your baby doll. Just like mommy will nurse her baby. I know you will be a wonderful big sister!

You are sensitive: When mommy or daddy catch you doing something you shouldn't be (usually something dangerous), we sternly say, "NO!" You do not like this word. As soon as you year it you hang your head in shame, drop what you were doing, and a minute later start crying. You get embarrassed that you were doing something wrong, then pout about it. It is precious and we usually scoop you up with lots of hugs and kisses. We are only looking out for your safety and well-being, little Miss. One day you will understand that.

You love animals: Along with babies, you love animals. So far you've only been around cats and dogs, but you run toward them with open arms. This is precious, especially since your momma has never, ever, been a fan of animals. When momma was little she was scared of animals, and still doesn't really like them. I am glad that you are braver than me. However, I know this means we need to keep a close eye on you around strange animals. They won't always be as loving toward you as you are toward them.

You were dedicated to our church: Last Sunday, Mother's Day, we got to dedicate you in front of our church. There were lots of your little friends who also got dedicated that day. While this probably won't mean much to you, but it means a lot to daddy and me. When we dedicated you, we were making a proclamation to the church that we will do everything we can to raise you to love the Lord. We will love you (by His grace) like he loves his children. We will discipline you like he calls us to. We are responsible in these short years we have with you in our home, to show you the love of Jesus, and pray that he will draw your heart to his own. The church, in response, will help us when we need help as parents. They will counsel us when we need advice, or when we are doing something wrong. Ruby, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Those are some of the big updates for now. We love you so much, sweetheart! Keep growing and learning as you are, and we will get to enjoy watching it happen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To My Little Sweetie

Sweet Baby Bradley,

This is my first letter to you so far this pregnancy. We are now 13 weeks long, little one! You are now about 3 inches long, and as of this week, you have finger prints. I am already amazed by your sweetness. I am so thrilled to be carrying you as you grow and develop. We only have about 6 months left until we meet you face to face - how amazing! I think about you all the time, little one. Even though I am busy with your older sister, I don't for a second forget you're there.

About two weeks ago I could feel your little movements. I feel you at least once a day, already. Most people probably wouldn't believe me, but I know it's you. Those little bubbly flutters are undeniable, I know it's nothing else. I always pause and smile when I feel you, but the movements are so quick I don't have time to savor it. I can't wait until you're just a little bit bigger, and I can feel your distinct kicks, wiggles, punches, and hiccups. What a miracle you are.

Your daddy and I are so excited about you! Your daddy is treating me so well as I am growing you. He goes to the store when I need him to, and he lets me sleep-in when he possibly can. He believes me when I tell him I feel you. We can't wait to find out if you are a boy or a girl. We look forward to calling you by name. Hopefully in about 5 weeks we will know if you are Judah or Cora. So thrilled either way!

Love you Baby,


Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Well, this is a long and over-due post. As ya'll know from Facebook, we are pregnant with baby #2! WOW. I was telling Brian yesterday that every morning when I wake up I remember that I'm pregnant, and it's like a surprise everyday. It is so surreal to me. Boy, are we SO excited! I feel so honored to be pregnant again.

Today, I am 12 weeks 6 days. Almost out of the first trimester - it seems to have flown by. I am kind of dying now to find out what we are having. :) Seriously, we would be thrilled either way. We both would adore another daughter - how sweet to have two little girls! A boy would be incredible too, a little man for Brian to rough house with. Couldn't be less biased, and thankfully my husband has the same attitude.

Last week we had our second prenatal appointment, and we were able to hear baby's heart beat. How absolutely incredible! We only plan on having one ultrasound, the anomoly screen around 18-20 weeks, which is when we will find out the gender. I am really going to push for 18 weeks, because I am so excited to find out what our little one is! We are having our prenatal care and birth at Bella Vie just like we did with Ruby. I love their preventative approach and focus on nutrition, so that common high-risk issues can be prevented. (i.e. high blood pressure / pre-ecclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc.)

There's a very quick update on our lives. I need to blog more! I hope to be on top of it during this pregnancy, but we will see. :) Thank you, sweet friends, for reading.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

End in Sight?

Our house is painted, our house is PAINTED! This is one of those huge projects that we needed to accomplish as we finish up our house. Brian and I are SO excited! We have stepped outside so many times to keep checking on how it looks. The trim will be white, that is supposed to get done on Tuesday. Hiring a crew of guys has been one of the best decisions we've made for finishing this dang house.

I mentioned in one of my last posts that we are able to look at buying a bigger house now. Well, unfortunately that exciting step is on hold for now. We have decided to completely finish this house before looking to buy another one. As much fun as it is to look at houses now, the reality of affording two mortgages is not doable for us. Another reason to grow in being content.

Like I've mentioned before, I like having this blog as a source of remembrance of phases of my life. Not going to lie though, I do love when people read my posts and comment. It's a special thing. :) Having said that, I am going to write out the projects that have been accomplished on this house, and the things that need to be finished yet. My husband has really been working hard (mostly by himself) on this house for the past 5 years or so, and it has really come a long way.

Some facts:
-House was built in 1946
-House is 611 sq. ft. (included in that is the current laundry room which was an addition, probably in the 1970's!)
-House had the strangest lay out when Brian moved in
-House had lath and plaster walls which bowed out
-House has a two-story shed in the back which is original, seems to be the same size as the house
-Houses' only update was a new roof when Brian bought it

Projects that Brian has accomplished on this house:
-Tore out weight-bearing wall that separated the living room from the kitchen. As tiny as this house is, taking that wall out has opened up quite a bit! Now the kitchen and living are only separated by an island. You would walk into the living room, go through a door into the kitchen, go through a door in the kitchen that went into the first bedroom. Go through a second door in the first bedroom into the bathroom. Go into the second bedroom from the bathroom, go through the second door in the second bedroom into the living room. It was built to be a big circle! There was no way to get into one room without going through a bunch of others. How funny is that?!
-Tore down all the lath and plaster walls to studs, and rewired all the electricity in the house. Rebuilt all the walls with sheet rock. Mudded, textured, and painted all the walls.
-Put in new vinyl windows.
-Put new doors inside and the doors that lead outside. New door frames and base boards.
-Tore out old cabinets, and kitchen wall and window. Replaced with new window, sheet rock, and cabinets.
-Replaced kitchen and bathroom sinks, new bathtub / shower / toilet.
-New tile in bathroom.
-Re-did plumbing.
-Tore out old carpet / checker-tile flooring and put in hardwoods.
-Built half wall / island in between the living room and kitchen.
-Tore down the old siding on the house.
-Put new siding on the outside of the house.
-Built eves for the front and back of the house.
-Put new shed in back yard (we currently have 2 sheds:))

Those are the things that I recall on my own, but he would probably list more things. He's done all this while successfully running a business with his dad, and being a pastor at our church. He is truly hard-working and amazing. As easy as it is for me to grumble that it isn't finished yet, I  am so blessed to have such a hard working man.

Ok, now, for the projects we have yet to finish:
-Replace sewer line
-Paint trim on house
-Tear down old fence, and replace with a new one.
-Tear down the old 2-story shed
-Replace 3 broken tiles on the bathroom floor. :(
-Finish sheet-rocking the laundry room, then mud, texture, and painting it.
-Put shelving up in laundry room
-Build corner closets in bedrooms
-Put up back-splash in kitchen
-Fill holes in base-boards around the house, and painting them.
-Touch up paint

Wow, the list of "To-Do's" seems a lot smaller after remembering all that has already been done. Listing all of this has really done a lot of good for me. I almost feel like there is an end in sight with this house - and we will be able to look into something more spacious for our eventual growing family. If any of your readers are handy in any of these areas, or have handy husbands you'd be willing to share, feel free to let us know! We could probably feed you as payment. :)

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Finding Contentment

I don't have a lot of time to write before my sick Ruby wakes up from her nap, but I need to share what's on my heart. I started a study of Ruth with a women's Bible study at church yesterday. I am already loving it so much as well as learning and feeling convicted. I am embarrassed to admit how often I lose sight of the beautiful inheritance I have in Jesus Christ. I mean, I have been given eternal life, at a high cost to the God of the universe. Yet, I find room to whine, complain, and feel discontent? This is a horrible problem I have been facing for the past few weeks - being discontent. Feeling as though I am not as blessed as other people I know, and that somehow God has forgotten about me / doesn't care for my needs. I am making my stand now to say that I lack absolutely nothing, but am abundantly blessed. Even if I was never given another gift for the rest of my life, I have been so incredibly blessed by my Savior and Lord. He is my portion, and I need nothing more. Discontentment has no room in my life when I have been given grace so freely.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The italics are added by me, those are the parts of this passage that are really blessing my souls right now. I am so thankful to be reminded by scripture and the Holy Spirit that He is my everything, and that he holds my life in his hand. Thank You, Jesus, for caring for me! Thank you for offering me eternal life and drawing me to Yourself. Remind me that You are my portion each and everyday, and because of that I need nothing more. Thank You for giving me joy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preparing for Birth

No, not preparing for my birth, unfortunately. ;)

I am excitedly preparing myself for three good friends births. As I've mentioned a hand full of times before in my blog, I am passionate about child birth. It is about the most normal thing... ever. I love pregnancy, birth, and brand spankin' new babies.  A few years back I did a doula training course in Puyallup, WA. While that course was only the first part of becoming certified as a doula, it taught me SO much. I haven't furthered my training, unfortunately,  except by getting some experience at births. Becoming certified is only for the purpose of wearing a name tag from the Doulas of North America (DONA) and looking official. While eventually I'd like to finish up my certification, experience is really what will teach me more.

I am anxiously awaiting my best friend's birth that could be ANY DAY now. Her due date was yesterday. I am honored and blessed to be a part of her big day. She is having a home birth with a midwife and her apprentice, who are amazing. She's got the tub all blown up and ready to fill with hot water. This will be an incredibly comfortable setting for a birth for everyone involved. Homemade food, candles lit around the house, dim lighting, and a set of midwives who will be working hard to keep the house spick and span. Since it is my best friend I will feel right at home spending all those hours with her laboring.

There are two other gals from church whose due dates are one day apart. :) They are due in just about 4 weeks. Their births will be very unique as well. One is delivering her baby at the Salem Hospital which is right down the street from me (convenient!). It is her first baby and I am so excited to be a part of this experience with her and her husband. My other good friend is having her baby at a hospital in Stayton that does water births! This is a very rare thing for hospitals to do, so it'll be fun to be a part of that. While most hospitals let you labor in the water, they will not let you deliver in the water. This one does with the supervision of one midwife - my friend's midwife! I am very much looking forward to seeing the different dynamics of all of these places of delivering babies.

I can't think of many events as huge as welcoming a new baby into the world. I am so honored to be a part of welcoming these babies into the world, while looking out for the physical and emotional well-being of the mothers. Having gone through labor and birth for myself now, I have a whole new empathy for new mothers. Birth is such a vunerable time, and women need as much loving support as possible. My job is to help the husbands my teaching them hands on techniques of comforting their wives as well as doing those things myself. We work together and I do not take the place of the husband by any means.

That's it for now - if anyone reads this has any questions about what a doula is or why they are needed I'd love to talk about it! Like I said, it's a passion of mine. Please leave any comments you may have.

Blessings to you, readers!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weaning and Sleep Training.

I have wanted to journal this mini-journey in my life about weaning Ruby and really training her to sleep through the night. While I may do that, typing it out seems a lot more convenient at the moment. Sad, I know. I've become so lazy with journaling that it hurts my hand to write much at all. And my hand writing is terrible. So here goes my virtual journaling...

I am still breast feeding Ruby between 3-5 times per day. This number is actually substantially less than it was a couple of weeks ago. While I started introducing solid foods to her at around 6 months, I didn't do it much. Not for any particular reason, other than it is messy and nursing is much more convenient. However, now that she is 12 1/2 months old, I feel like the time is right to really begin training her to rely on solids for her main source of nutrition. In the last 1-2 weeks I have really buckled down and made sure to make her meals 3 times per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She has done incredibly well with this! As long as my girl has a full tummy, she stays happy. So as of right now I nurse her first thing in the morning (other mommies know WHY that is important...;-)) and before nap and before bed. So, that is the progress I've made with teaching her to eat solids. A lot more of a seem-less transition than I thought it would be! Thankful for that.

At the same time that I decided it's time to start feeding Ruby more solids, I also decided it is time she starts sleeping straight through the night. While I am not a fan of the "Cry It Out" method of sleep-training for little babies, I've come to a peace of trying it with my one year old. I started trying this out about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and it was ROUGH at first. Before this, Ruby was waking up on average 3 times per night, and I would nurse her back to sleep each time. I am so thankful that she's never had a problem with going back to sleep! So, over the past 1 1/2 weeks I have toughed it out and let her cry in the middle of the night. The first few nights I let her cry as long as I could stand it, which was about half an hour each time. After letting her cry for half an hour, I would nurse her back to sleep. Finally, Sunday night we had break through! Both Brian and I were able to fall asleep even though Ruby started crying in the middle of the night. Putting a pillow over my head was the best trick I found. :) That night she cried for a little while then went back to sleep at some point. Didn't wake back up until 7am. I was so excited the next morning, it worked! Then the next two nights went the exact, and last night was even better... she never even cried! She slept straight from 8pm - 7:30am. Victory!

My biggest motivation behind making her sleep more and nurse less is that I have the privilege of being a doula for 3 good friends in the next two months! That will mean lots of hours away from my girl, and I absolutely needed to make these changes to make it possible to be a doula. I am so blessed that Ruby is catching on quickly, and that I will be able to be an encouragement to my friends as they deliver their babies. The first one, Tara, is due any minute now and I am pumped!
*Feeling high on life*

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

12 Months

If you are friends with my on Facebook or Instagram, you know by now that my baby girl is one year old! I post way too many photos of her, and lots of photos of her birthday party. I thought I should write a blog post of my thoughts at this time, and of her party. So here I go!

I've been particularly emotional in the  2-3 months leading up to Ruby's first birthday. It is bazarre, I do not understand why I felt so teary all the time, but I did. Now that she has had her birthday, however, I am a lot less emotional about it. I am so blessed and grateful for the past year I've had with my Ruby Joy. It has been so full and fun. I can say with certainty that I LOVE being a mommy! It has changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined. I feel like I have an entirely different heart, and outlook on life. It really is true that becoming a parent changes you forever, that you experience love like you never thought possible. While I feel like more of an emotional mess than I was before (mostly just more sensitive), I am grateful for the change that's happened in my life.

Along with Ruby's birthday (December 31st) comes a re-cap of my entire year. While Ruby floods my mind as being the biggest focus of mine this past year, there have been many other amazing things to happen in our lives.

-Ruby and I have traveled in airplanes, twice now! Both times were trips back to Ohio where my dad's family lives. We went in April to visit for a few days, knowing it was the end of my grandma's life. Then we went again in October with Brian and the rest of my family, for my grandma's funeral. I could go on about how I have viewed death so differently and so much more than I ever have before this past year, but I'll keep those thoughts to myself for now. While the reasons we traveled were very hard, it was sweet being able to see all the family. We were very blessed to be able to make those trips.

-Brian has now been employed at Outward Church for 2 years! His position at church is "Executive Pastor." While he does get the privilege of preaching on occasion, that's a very small part of his tasks. Brian helps run a lot of things that are more behind the scenes. He is in charge of training all of our Outward Community group leaders. We have between 10-12 Outward Community groups all around town, and Brian trains / teaches / encourages the leaders of each of those groups, in addition to leading a group himself. We have been blessed this past year of ministry to see 3 people in our community group come to Christ. It has been such a joy to see people come to the Lord!! We are so thankful to have this one of our jobs. Praise God!

-Last year when Ruby was only a few days old, Brian started tearing down the old siding on our house and preparing to put new up. One year later, that job is complete! Yes, it takes a while, especially for a 611 sq. ft. house. But my husband is the busiest person I know. I have definitely been taught patience, with this house especially, since we've been married. Now that our siding is all done, we have a crew who have prepped it, put gutters up, and are going to be painting this week! (Hopefully).

-As you can see in the third house photo, we have a new (to us) car. We no longer have the Jeep Grand Cherokee....*tear* but are proud to say we own two cars free and clear. No car payments for us! This is a huge victory to us. The best part is, both of our cars are the exact same! 1998 Chevrolet Cavilers. Mine is blue, Brian's is black. Mine is automatic and 4-door, Brian's is 2-door and manuel. We pretty much just laugh about our cars all the time. However, the black one was given to me a few years back from my uncle with about 60,000 miles on it. The blue one was sold to us from my aunt on the other side of the family, for $500. So, $500 for two cars that haven't given us any problems is a win in our book! Also, the blue car had 60,000 on it when we bought it. Too funny!

-Now that Brian has worked at the church for 2 years, we can officially start looking to buy a new house! We needed 2 years proof of income from that job as well as the business, since Brian has 2 incomes. We will be renting out this one out once we finish the updates needed. I AM SO EXCITED!! We get to move into a bigger house! Which means... we get to have more babies! ;-)

There is a quick re-cap of the Bradley's 2012. It is always so good to look back and remember how far the Lord has brought us. I am really going to try to step up my blogging game soon. Not necessarily just to gain viewers or popularity, but as a way to document big and small events in my life. It is so fun to look back and remember my thoughts at certain stages of life. Thank you for reading, dear friends!