Thursday, December 30, 2010

24 Weeks

I may have to truncate that picture soon by cutting out some of the weeks.  :)

I wanted to zoom in more closely on the past 4 weeks, so I did this one, too:

(Ok, if you are really observant, you will notice that the 20wks' picture above is different than the 20wks' picture below in that I was wearing completely different clothing.  I must not have been happy with the angle of the photo and retook it so it would fit better in the lineup.)

Technical discrepancies aside, hasn't the shape of my tummy changed???  He was breech at my 20-week ultrasound.  At 23 weeks and again yesterday I saw the chiropractor.  I feel that the adjustments I received may have loosened things up enough so that he turned (or perhaps he just turned for the fun of it and is turning all the time).  Whatever happened, there was a little bump at the top of my tummy that sort of dropped down in the last picture.  Also I am feeling kicks in different places and more strongly than before.  I thought that may have indicated that he has turned, but then I read somewhere that baby is most active between 24-28 weeks.  So it's possible that I'm just feeling him more because it's normal!  Mitch got to feel him kicking and moving.  He didn't seem impressed, but I was glad to pull him in and share.  :)

I saw the doctor today and my total weight gain so far--gasp--is 29.8 pounds.  Yikes!!  She is not worried about it, and I have pants that fit so neither am I.  =P  She also measured my tummy today and it measured a week ahead (25 cm).  This is consistent with the ultrasound measuring 10 days ahead, so again we are not worried.  Our guess is that the date of conception is actually sooner.  And it will matter more at the end--we just don't want to end up going to 42 weeks (not that I've ever gone to 40 weeks for that matter).  ;)

I feel great for the most part.  Last month I was having some lower back/hip pain, particularly when I bent over.  The chiropractic adjustments are taking care of that.  I have been having quite a bit of reflux--not so much painful heartburn as it is just "stuff" refluxing up into my throat after I eat.  One night after supper I was sitting on the couch and the baby happened to kick (or punch) in just the right spot and it sent the contents of my stomach all the way up into my mouth.  NOT pleasant, let me tell ya!  So the doctor said that I can take prevacid--yay.  The past couple days I have been conscientiously trying to increase my water intake.  I love my pepsi--12 oz for breakfast, 12 for lunch--and I tend to 'forget' to drink water until later in the afternoon (when I'm thirsty...which is actually a sign of dehydration).  So I set myself the goal of drinking 8 oz every hour.  That's actually very easy to do--8 oz slurps down in just a few gulps.  If I do that all day, then I'll easily consume enough water.  Only 2 problems with this:  1) The full 8 oz in my stomach means that I'm refluxing every hour as well and 2) I need to pee remarkably often--like, every hour!  Craziness.  Wonder if I could just drink 80 oz at one time and get it over with?  No?  Oh well...

Our whirlwind week of appointments is buzzing along nicely.  Only one left to go--the dentist for me.  ::cringe::  Good thing I've been studying hypnobabies.  I plan on switching my "lightswitch" off when the hygienist insists on flossing my teeth.  Mitch bravely took all 7 kids to the dentist yesterday.  Everyone looked good except for our sugar boy Malachi.  He's got some spots we need to worry about--brushing regularly and flossing every day, especially flossing.  They will develop into cavities if we are not more persistent.  Tirzah was not impressed and had to be held down.  Glad I missed that one!   I took Micah to the chiropractor on Monday.  He had an x-ray that was very interesting.  The curve of his back is exaggerated.  His posture is bad because he slumps his shoulders.  She said that she could examine a hundred 13-year-olds, though, and find a similar situation, partly because their abdominal/lower back muscles are so immature at this point.  We learned some very simple exercises that will strengthen his lower back and abdominal muscles to help keep everything aligned.  He was lying on the table on his tummy and she called me over to point out how one leg appeared to be shorter than the other.  It was very noticeable, and certainly made me suck in my breath!  As soon as she had adjusted him, she told him to lie back down again.  This time his feet matched up perfectly (without her touching or shifting him).  It was VERY cool.  This is a new chiropractor because our old one retired this summer.  She specializes in pregnancy and children, and came highly recommended by my friends.  I really like her!  I think I will try to get Tirzah in next for an adjustment, but I need to let my appointment schedule calm down a little--I need a break from "appointments"!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I know I'm a few days late...but we have been busy having very much fun and celebrating!  Now I'm going to blast you away with lots of great pictures and a story of how we celebrated.

We started celebrating on Thursday night by having over some exchange students and their families.  

 We had great food...
 and games!  Snow was the only thing that seemed to keep us from partying all night long...we were taken by surprise--a clipper that wasn't supposed to hit us at all dropped a snowfall worth shoveling...
 ...only we didn't shovel it.  On Friday, Christmas Eve, we hung out inside and stayed warm (and possibly a little bored).  It was great!  My only regret is that we didn't pack ourselves up and go to the Christmas Eve service at church. 
 Later Friday evening,  Mitch and I got the kids started on a movie while we went downstairs to "do some laundry".  Hehehe.  We had a Christmas surprise up our sleeves.  On the day after Thanksgiving I bought a set of flannel sheets and a set of fleece sheets for our king sized bed.  This is the first time we've had fleece sheets.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.  Mitch does too.  We started talking about it, and decided we should purchase sheets for the kids' beds too, especially since they sleep downstairs where it is colder at night.  We thought they would love them.  We found some on sale, and I had secretly washed and stacked them in the laundry room (they must have thought it was random piles of fabric, or else they are as unobservant as their momma).  I made the sheets for the crib/toddler mattresses, since those are smaller and I have gobs of yummy microfleece here (VERY EASY to make crib sheets!!!).  I also made pillowcases for the extra pillows.  So Mitch and I stole away downstairs and got all the sheets changed on the beds.   After that chore was done, I pulled out some fleece and got Mitch and Kathi started making a fleece tie blanket.  We didn't tell Kathi it was for her.  See how hard they are working???  Not distracted a bit by the movie...

 After the movie and blanket were finished, Mitch hid all our throw blankets that were in the living room.  No one noticed until we sat down to do our Advent story.  Hmmm...I'm cold!  Where are the blankets???  Soon Mitch disappeared to a back bedroom and came out carrying armloads of new blankets.  We had a new blanket for each child (we bought on clearance when Wal-Mart was moving).

 The excitement was contagious.  It was so hard to get them to calm down and be quiet so Mitch could read...
 After we were done and ready for bed, we took all the kids downstairs to help us do some laundry.  We told them to put their blankets away....and....that's when they discovered their new sheets.  I don't know if they were more excited to go to bed because of the sheets and blankets or because it would make Christmas come faster, but wow they were ready for bed!!  (Some people stayed up until midnight playing games, I just don't remember who or what...every night since then has been late...)

The next morning, the kids were excited to find "baby Jesus" wrapped in cloth and lying in the manger [my homemade cardboard worked out well!]...

 We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of pancakes made with red and green sprinkles.  Very festive and yummy!

 Then we lit the Advent candles and finished our Tabitha's Travels story.

 Finally it was time to begin opening presents!!! 

 Tirzah opened this present first, and she couldn't have cared less if she got another present the rest of the day.  I swear she didn't need another thing.  :)  This is a little doll that we picked up at Wal-Mart for $20.  It has a soft face that actually moves and "sucks" the bottle or pacifier.

 The next set of pictures here will help you get a glimpse of the excitement that occurred with nearly every package opened...we gave lots of presents to the entire family rather than to each individual child.  This was a big one, so we had everyone gather round to open it together.
 I love the look on Eden's face as she sees what it is ...
 ...a bow and arrow nice of the big kids to let the littlest kid pick it up first...
 ...and they all explode with excitement!
 Kathi with a cool MN t-shirt from our friend Cathy of a couple gifts she received from our friends!
 At this point I could have posted many more pictures, but I haven't.  There are just too many.  We have been at it for hours (opening only one present at a time).  Mitch had each present numbered, so as we brought out a gift, he needed to locate the number on his notebook and let us know who should open that particular gift.  We had lots of fun small stuff wrapped also (and Kathi had lots of fun gifts for us from Germany--thank you!!), so it was really taking us a while.  It was so much fun!  Finally I crawled under the tree and drug out all the presents that were left to open.  I thought we must be getting close--but nope!  We seriously had less than an hour to finish, me to get a shower, clean up, and get lunch ready.  We were running out of time, LOL. 
 Tirzah pooped out before we even made it to lunch time.  I suppose that was a good thing.  She wouldn't let go of her baby the entire time.  I'm telling you--present of the year.  :)
 In the afternoon, Paul & Marilyn, Eva, Holly, Kyle and kids all came over for lunch, more presents and games.  It was a wonderful, full day!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was making videos on the elf yourself website.  We laughed and laughed.  Here is an example starring Hailey, Eden, Caleb, Micah, and Zeke:

On Sunday after church we went to Paul & Marilyn's for a play date. The kids rode snowmobiles around the yard and I stayed warm inside playing games. I discovered that I definitely should not play the game Blokus. ;) Games that are all strategy and have no random elements are not good for me (I prefer Sequence, Uno, Gin Rummy, word games, or social games such as Apples to Apples)! I'm such a sore loser. Mitch got the driveway shoveled out on Monday when I left to do my weekly shopping and run errands. That brings us up to today, Tuesday! The rest of our week is full of appointments (dentist, doctor, chiropractor)'s a good opportunity to get caught up. We are hoping to celebrate the New Year with friends. Kathi is off to the cities for a Campus Crusade for Christ convention.

Oh, one more thing before I go. Mitch and I exchanged gifts too. He surprised me with an ipod touch (64 gb, 3rd generation) that he scored (gently used) on ebay. I surprised him with a camera of his very own that I got for a great price on Amazon. I found a good website that reviews the cameras I was looking for (lower-end point-and-shoot cameras): I was specifically looking for something small, less than $150, with good reviews, and easy to use.  I ended up purchasing the Panasonic DMC-FH1, but my second choices were the Panasonic DMC-FH20 or the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS.  It was REALLY hard to choose!  In the end, price won me over.  I got the FH1 for a mere $89.  :)  I think he likes it.  I know I love the ipod touch.  Yikes--my productivity level just plummeted.  :)

I hope your Christmas was equally wonderful!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jingle Bells

So, we recently figured out that Tirzah likes to "sing". She also tries to dance. It's pretty cute. One day she was running around shouting "hey!" and I finally figured out what she meant--she was trying to sing Jingle Bells. Enjoy the video, in spite of the very dirty lens on my camera and her crazy stripes on her shirt:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I just wanna know...

this mess???

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: If God Is Good


I feel so privileged to be able to review Randy Alcorn's new book, If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil.  This is a hefty book, which takes on a weighty topic and I must admit that I felt a little overwhelmed when I considered 494 pages of text lay in front of me.  But now I really don't think a single page could have been omitted!  How else can one cover this question sufficiently?

It is hard to put into words the impact of this great book.  Alcorn has done significant research and gathered it here.  He covers many angles and quotes many authors from Aristotle to Richard Dawkins to John Piper.  He ties all the information together beautifully and in a comprehensive manner.  As I consider all he has read in order to collect this information, I find it staggering.

The book is organized into 11 sections, with several chapters per section.  This organization not only progresses the reader along in a functional/logical manner, but it also helps find the information quickly later.  A scriptural index and a topical index at the end also aid.

As I read, there were many points I wished to discuss with others.  This book would make an excellent study group topic, for groups who are committed to the in-depth reading.  It is a must-have resource for pastors, counselors, or anyone walking beside someone who is grieving.  It is excellent for every Christian who is actively sharing the Gospel, as the topic is critical to understanding our Faith and meeting the needs of those around us.

I highly recommend this book, all 494 pages of it!

Please enjoy the following resources from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

If God is Good by Randy Alcorn (Chapter 1)

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, for review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My comments and thoughts express my own opinions.

Rank my review:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life Application Bible NLT contest from Tyndale

I just got an email from Tyndale about a fun new contest.  The details are as follows:

I wanted to fill you in on an exciting contest that is currently being run and sponsored by the New Living Translation.  We’re highlighting three ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Oasis International, and The Dream Center, (click on the link to learn more details about these ministries) and by voting for one of these ministries you’ll be entered to win one of many prizes.

To enter, visit the NLT Facebook page by clicking here.

There are several levels of prizes you can win, here are the details:

With the Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway:
    • Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.
    • Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.
    • Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.
    • Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website and they could win five NLT Study Bibles and $250 worth of NLT products.
    • One Grand Prize winner will enjoy a unique trip customized just for them and their family (or three guests of their choice), to Wycliffe Bible Translators world headquarters and the WordSpring Discovery Center where they will experience firsthand the exciting world of Bible translation. The Grand Prize winner could also choose to donate the value of the trip--$2000--to Wycliffe instead.

I think my favorite part is that the ministries (Wycliffe, Oasis Int'l, and The Dream Center) are the real winners here.  Become a fan so these ministries can receive cash donations!!  How easy is that?  :)


Beautiful fluffy snow that was falling yesterday morning as we headed to church...
You may have heard about all the snow we've gotten up here, but the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) actually got the lion's share of it. They didn't share all that much with us! We have a nice amount on the ground, but it's not too bad.  Micah is itching to go snowmobiling with Papa.  I actually had to tell him 'no' last week because of a discipline need.  :'(  It made me cry to make that judgment call. We're expecting another storm tonight. Hopefully I can get outside soon and take some pictures. Hopefully next time Papa calls, Micah will be able to go!

The young school-agers practiced for weeks to lead worship in church yesterday morning.  This included Eden, Caleb, Zeke, and Josh.  They did a great job being on stage in front of our packed-out church service.  I took all these pictures during the rehearsal time so I could sit back and enjoy the service later.
Josh is in the front center of the above photo (in red sweater) and Zeke is on the back left edge (in an orange plaid shirt).

Eden and Caleb are on the left end of the above group of kids.

I like this picture because it shows the nice open foyer we have in our church.  It's beautiful!

Next up are a couple pictures from Mitch's classroom.  His class is reading The Castle in the Attic and The Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop.  Micah read them, too, and says they are a lot like The Indian in the Cupboard.  Mitch created this mural from cardboard with the help of his class. 
Wouldn't you love to be in Mr. Theis's class???

Finally, I was 22 weeks last week and I'm 23 weeks this week, but I never managed to get this posted last week:
I'm still feeling great!  I am loving the Hypnobabies Home Study course.