Friday, October 29, 2010

And then there were three...

I've been MIA. I know. But you understand.

Life with three little girlies is going well. Madison and Eden adore Leila and shower her with kisses and beg to hold her all day. Usually they are happy to hold her for a just a minute or two. Of-course, Maddie keeps insisting she is old enough to hold her baby sister without assistance but Mommy disagrees. ☺

Leila is a hungry little thing and growing like a weed. A pretty weed though. ☺

She has a cranky period every evening from oh right about now (8pm... Daddy is on duty at the moment) until um... 11pm or midnight... or 1am. We have had a handful of really good nights... meaning she slept soundly from 11pm until 3am and then slept until 8am. But we've had as many, if not more, not so restful nights. I'm working on scheduling her, and she is in a natural 3 hour feeding pattern right now. My challenge is motivating her to get a good full belly before conking out. If I don't encourage otherwise, she would be "snacking" all hours of the day instead of really filling up and being content for a few hours. For the most part, she is a happy fun baby with lots of personality already. ☺

It is my intention to end every paragraph of this post with a smiley face, whether it is warranted or not. ☺

In the midst of our newborn occupied life these days, I decided Eden was more than ready to be potty trained. She was going through about 20 diapers a day since she can NOT tolerate being the least bit wet. At 2 yr.s and 5 mo.s, she was VERY ready and was MUCH easier to train than Madison was. And boy, am I grateful!!! My approach was different this time around... for starters we offered no incentives. Simple praise and cheering was enough to please her, and I really think the M&Ms were more of a stumbling block for Maddie than a help. Maybe it's because she is such a sweets lover (I know who she gets it from...) and she became totally fixated on the candy rather than focused on the potty. And if one day she decided than she just wasn't in the mood for M&Ms, she would just not go on the potty. Grrrrr.... Anyway, with Eden there were no charts, no pull ups, no demonstrations with baby dolls. We just put undies on her and said "We really need to keep these dry!" and she agreed. When she did have accidents (usually she's go a bit and stop herself) she was completely devastated. She is a wee bit dramatic, my little Maureen O'Hara impersonator. I can only hope Leila will be as easy in a couple years...

Oh, excuse me! I forgot: ☺

Maddie and I also celebrated birthdays since Leila's arrival. Maddie turned 4 yr.s old on Sunday, the 17th. The oddest thing happened on her birthday: After Sunday dinner, we were about to serve her birthday cake and let her open presents from her Grandpa, Nana and a couple aunts and uncles when suddenly, the poor birthday girl had a mental breakdown! She became so shy and withdrawn (detesting every pair of eyes that looked upon her) that she burrowed into her Daddy's shoulder for the entire "Happy Birthday" song. She didn't even emerge long enough to blow out her candles! And then... you're not gonna believe this... she did not even want to open presents. I mean I've heard of shy kids but I've never heard of a four year old who did not want to open her presents!!! I was at a loss of what to do. I was embarrassed that she was being so ungrateful so I considered sending the gifts back with the givers. Finally, after I opened one for her and revealed a nifty sit-n-spin, she decided her curiosity was stronger than her timidness and she started to open them for herself. ☺

A few days later, I turned... shall I say it? TWENTY SEVEN. Wow. That's awfully close to 30, isn't it? ☺

So while I may not be posting with any great frequency these days, know that I am doing well. I'm often found nursing my little cutie or cleaning up messes made by my other cuties. And sometimes... only sometimes... I'm found sleeping. ☺


Friday, October 22, 2010

Expressive little Leila

Leila makes the most expressive faces!


Happy again...


Sleepy some more...

I'm in love. ♥


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leila's Birth Announcement

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Leila's Birthday

A beautiful baby

Leila's birthday story actually begins on Saturday, the 9th when strong contractions started. I had been very busy all day, amid mild contractions, and by 9pm, was heading off to bed. After about the fourth time of waking up to good long contractions, I let Seth know I was starting labor and got up to shower and finish packing my bag. Seth said it was great timing... by the time she arrived, it would be 10-10-10 AND he had the 11th off from school for Columbus day. He then said he would nap until I was ready to go. ☺

A happy Daddy

But, to my great disappointment, all contractions ceased once I started getting ready. Bummed out, and confused (I thought contractions were supposed to get stronger with activity?!), I went back to bed. We went to church as usual, though I was having random mild contractions all day. After our customary Sunday family dinner, I went home for a nap and began to feel quite yucky. Not like I was going into labor... but yucky. I debated whether to even go to the evening service... and since I've probably missed 5 evening services in the last 10 years (for reasons other than a sick little one), you know that I was not feeling hot! I decided to go, and truthfully I did feel a little better once I was there.

After church, my father in law invited folks out to McDonald's for food and fellowship but I asked Seth to drop me off at home because I was just too tired, even for my favorite fancy restaurant. As soon as I was cozy in my jammies and firmly planted on the couch, contractions began again with consistency. After a half an hour of contractions averaging to be about 2-3 minutes apart, I called Seth. You never know what time these Baptist pastors are going to come stumbling home after a late light grease run....

I didn't realize it, but quite a few people were gathered around my husband when he received "The Call".... the much anticipated you-need-to-come-home-'cause-I'm-having-a-baby call.

After getting the girls settled at their grandpa's house for the night, we headed to the hospital with contractions, though not super strong, coming every 2 minutes without fail. After being admitted, the contractions actually slowed down and I began to fear that this was going to be a very long delivery... and I was right. Even when contractions picked up again, they just didn't seem to be strong enough. Maybe my memory had exaggerated the details, but I seemed to remember contractions hurting much much more in the previous deliveries.

A relieved Mama

I started to bring up my concern to the nurses.

"I'm not crying yet. I think I should be really in pain by now."

She laughed at me and said to count my blessings.

I waited a while, while studying the monitor to see if they were growing stronger or not. My impatience mounting, I asked again.

"Is there something we could do to speed things up? I'm still joking and smiling... I shouldn't be able to do that!"

By the time I warned her that my IV wasn't gong to work where she was doing it (which I was wrong about...) and had complained about 5 more times that I just wasn't hurting enough to be making much progress, the nurse and my husband had a conversation about what a control freak I am while I was using the restroom.

"I can hear you, you know!!!" I laughed as I re-emerged.

Finally, I began to really feel the contractions working their magic and asked for an epidural. he he he Not happy without pain, not happy with it! ☺BUT to my GREAT disappointment, the epidural man didn't do a very good job. After THREE tries... yes THREE attempts with a big ugly needle stabbing my back... it only numbed my left side. Oh well....

Hours and hours and hours passed... 12 to be exact... before she was born. I actually stalled very late in the process and was given some pitocin, and another attempt at the epidural. Once it was time to push, however, life was a breeze.

A proud big sister

With my eyes still closed, ready to bear down again, I heard Seth say, "Open your eyes!"... and there Leila was, being held up to me. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was not the 8 pounder that the ultrasounds had led us to believe. At 6.9 lbs. and 21" long, her lanky skinniness replicated my older girls completely. She has great color in her skin, auburn hair and dark (at this time) blue eyes. She's delicious!

An ecstatic Nana

Just as her delivery was totally different than my previous babies, so is her personality so far. She has a fairly big cry for such a little girl, and she is not shy at all about using that cry to let me know when it's time to nurse! Both Maddie and Eden had to be coaxed to eat during their first week but Leila is a hungry girl! I had terrible difficulties with latching while nursing my other newborns but Leila seemed to be a pro right from her first few minutes of life. I am soooo glad. I had been praying for a smoother nursing experience and the Lord definitely answered that prayer.

Another difference is her tendency to spit up. I am not sure if this is due to her being in the birth canal for only about 30 seconds and is working out some mucus, or if she'll keep this habit. I hope for the former!

An emotional grandpa

Leila and I came home Tuesday afternoon and I think we're off to a good start. I am bless with a wonderful extended family who have been so helpful in watching after Maddie and Eden. Madison, for one, is really enjoying getting to spend time with her grandparents, aunts and cousins. And both of the older girls are completely smitten with Leila. Eden prefers to use her full name "Leila Christine" and is constantly keeping track of her. "Where the new baby?" she'll ask when she doesn't see her. Maddie enjoys holding her and keeps commenting on how cute she is. ♥ Don't they know that they were just this tiny and captivating just a little while ago?
A blessed family

So there you have it. Another precious member of our family. It already seems like she was always one of us... like we never were without little Leila.

A gift from Heaven


Tuesday, October 12, 2010



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lessons from the Womb

My husband brought these portions of Scripture to my attention.

Ecclesiastes 11

5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Psalm 139

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Truly, the chapters in their entirety are well worth reading (what part of the Bible isn't?!), but I just included some key verses in this post.

As Seth and I discussed Ecc. 11:5, we found ourselves amazed at the fact that the child in my womb now, and every child who has ever been in the womb (which, in case you're slow today, would be all of us) is actually a work of God.


I have read everything I can get my hands on regarding pregnancy and the development of a baby. And the conclusion I (and I believe many) have come to: no one can really explain exactly how and why a baby transforms from a few tiny cells into a small little person. Sure, they know what cells are required, what role hormones play and at what point different events occur in the process. But what makes those cells divide in just that way? How does a woman's body communicate within itself to make provision for a new life? What makes that itty bitty heart spontaneously start to beat all on it's own? How do the eyes end up in just the right spot? Why does it always take the same amount of gestation, within a matter of days or weeks, for a baby to form?

There is only one answer.

It's baffling to ponder. Our God is so creative. (Maybe that's why we call Him "Creator"?) Who else could take the same basic elements... eyes, nose, lips, ears, skin... and make millions and millions of humans with those same items and yet each one be unique.

As I think more about the fact that my baby, and every baby, is a work of God, I felt a new sense of sadness, and even a bit of indignation when people choose, or rally for the right to choose, to disrupt God's work. I think most, if not all, of my readers see the tragedy in aborting a baby so I won't belabor the topic.

Then God smote my heart with the thought I can be guilty of interrupting God's work as well. I've never stepped foot in or near an abortion clinic, but is it possible that I have aborted God's working in my heart... in the heart of another? Have I ever failed to respond to the Holy Spirit's prompting to share the Gospel message with someone who needed it? Is it possible that my words or actions, or lack or words and actions, hindered the creation of a new life in Christ? Do I have spiritual aborted babies somewhere?

Sobering thoughts.

Looking at Ps. 139, I think verse 14 is most commonly know and quoted. And it is a beautiful verse... and a convicting one when our insecurities over physical imperfections get the better of us. But I really love verse 13.

13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

To me, whom you surely know by now, is not a Bible scholar or expert, this verse speaks of God's direction and protection. His providence.

I want God to possess my reins. I want Him to make gentle gestures or instructions and I instantly obey. Is this always the case? You know the answer to that... because if you asked yourself, it would also be "no".

Like defiant horses bucking against the bit in their mouth, we pridefully think we know better. Our way is the only way we are interested in.

I've decided there is tremendous security in simply trusting and obeying... in letting God possess my reins. I remember being a young adult facing all the important decisions young adults face: what to do after high school, what path to pursue, who to date, who to marry, etc etc. I felt so frustrated with the choices I faced that I would joke that I wish we were all born with a tag secured to our ankle... like some old baby dolls I had... with their name and occupation written on them. I would have like my tag to have my future spouse's name on it. No choices to make. To options to weigh. Just look down at your tag and do as it says. Easy... and safe.

It is not always that clear cut, of course. But I do see now that decisions where not as complicated as I made them. The more I heed God's prompting, the easier it is for me to hear it.

I'm grateful for the "work of God" in my womb at this moment. I'm grateful that God has had plans and an interest in her before I even knew she was there!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes!

It's October! We're inching closer and closer to the holiday season, which of course translates to.... baked goodies!!! =)
I saw this idea in a magazine recently... though I don't remember which magazine! Between weekly doctor's appointments and weekly ultrasounds, I sit in waiting rooms and flip through magazines a LOT these days!
Maddie and I had a fun time (and it did take TIME... seems like we worked on them off and on all day!) making these for the kids at school.

A box of Duncan Hines yellow cake (I personally think Duncan Hines is the BEST), two tubs of pre-made vanilla frosting (one dyed green, one dyed orange) and 2 dozen donut holes. Plus sprinkles... Maddie would be so sad if we hadn't used sprinkles!
To make the orange frosting smooth over the pumpkins, just microwave for about 30 seconds after mixing in the food coloring. I tossed a donut hole in, rolled it around and fished it out with a toothpick. The cover the hole made by the toothpick with a butterscotch chip. I set them in the fridge to set up while putting the "grass" and fall sprinkles on the cupcakes. After the orange coating is firm, pipe green vines on the pumpkins and plop them on the cupcake.

My official taste tester seemed to like them!

A few days ago Maddie rather seriously and factually informed me that Dad was just better than me. But as we made these, I was smitten by the words "You're the best mommy of all the mommies". ♥

Cupcakes. They do more than create cavities. ☺


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thank you BUT...

Thank you to anyone who has ever told me that I look like I swallowed a:

But I must tell you that I actually feel like I swallowed:

A 7ft 1 in. 340 lb. basketball player.
Though I don't think the one in my belly is bald... or black for that matter.


Friday, October 1, 2010

We're home now from my husband's grandmother's funeral. Both Seth and I were surprised by how emotional we were during the service and burial. I guess I (and I think Seth as well) had been looking at his grandmother's passing as more of a happy event than a sad one, simply because she had been very much looking forward to Heaven for the last decade of her life. It was all she talked about... and we really are glad for her to enjoying all that was waiting for her. But today I was reminded again that tears come for many reasons, not just pure sadness. I'm not even sure I could explain some of the tears that passed between us today. I know that the recent death of Seth's mom surely contributed... being in the same funeral home, seeing our church filled with flower arrangements again, being at the same cemetery again, only one month later. It all reminded me, and I'm sure many of the other moaners today, of someone who still seems oddly missing. Looking at Grandma Berg's 3 other children standing together, it seemed as though Christine could have just been standing behind someone taller than her, or finding a place in the background to blend in as she was so good at doing. But the reality is that she was not there. She was not there crying with us... she is on the other side, part of Heaven's welcome committee.

Someone joked that Christine must have spent this past month in Heaven lobbying for her mother's release from the bonds of this earth. And I can imagine Grandma Berg's surprise when she arrived to find her daughter already there! "How'd you get here first?" I can hear her saying. =)

I have news about funerals and calling hours: it's exhausting. If you've never experienced them before, I'm just informing you. My family in California did not follow the same traditional funeral protocol that we do here in New York, so I had never experienced it before and therefore did not know what to expect. So in case you, like me, did not know, now you do: by the time it's all said and done, the family members are totally spent.

Maybe it is the fatigue or maybe I am in a pessimistic frame of mind, but today I feel as though life is a series of knowing people, loving people, and burying people. If Seth and I live a typical life span, we will spend the next 50 to 60 years, doing those three things over and over again. I sat in the church today, looking around at people around me and thought, You could be next. I could be next. Either I'll bury you, or you'll bury me. There will be more burying though. Sometimes, and it's been the case lately thankfully, we know the person lying in the casket had accepted Christ as Saviour and were in Heaven. And that is good. Sometimes, sadly, we don't know and they might be in Hell. And that is bad. In both cases, though, the rest of us stay here, and repeat the process of knowing, loving and burying.

I really do not think this is all morbid negativity... maybe it's just part of growing up (can I still be "growing up" at 26 yrs. old?) and accepting mortality. The mortality of others and myself, and the fact that life truly is fragile. It's a cliche but it's a true one. Life is fragile and not to be taken for granted. Life is precious.

Along with the grim thoughts, I have also been overwhelmingly grateful today. Grateful to my husband's grandmother and to the God who saved her and directed her steps. It's baffling to think about the effect one person can have on so many. I know that each of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many other people who were touched by her life could probably tell better than I of how important she was. But for myself, it think it's amazing how a girl born in 1921 in Utica, Ny, who trusted Christ as Savior in 1942 would influence the life of a girl born in 1983 in Southern California. How did she influence me? She was instrumental in her husband's conversion, who then helped her to raise 4 children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The third child in that family grew up with a firm Christian foundation, and then married a preacher and had a family with him. The youngest child in that family, who was strikingly handsome, I must add, grew up in a godly home and was taught the Bible and it's truths every day. He then met the girl from all the way across the country and lost his mind long enough to marry her. Grandma Berg did not really know me, or usually remember that I was Seth's wife when we visited her. But by virtue of the fact that my husband has a goodly heritage, and therefore so do my children, I am so grateful to her.

"For the hand that rocks the cradle - Is the hand that rules the world" - William Ross Wallace

Never underestimate the power of a godly mama. =)

What could be more precious
than Grandma's special love?
She always seems to know the things
That we are fondest of.
She's always ready with a smile
Or a loving word of praise,
Her laughter always brightens up
The cloudiest of days...
She has an understanding heart
that encourages and cheers.
The love she gives so freely
Grows deeper with the years.
Her wisdom and devotion
are blessings from above-
Nothing could be more precious
than Grandma's special love.