Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making lists checking them twice

Some recent baby's firsts:

  • Meeting my BF from college, Rachel. We had such a wonderful time hanging out here for a couple days before heading to NoDak for Christmas. It's becoming a wonderful tradition to pick Rachel up from the airport and eventually end up dropping her off at her home that's on the way to our's. I'm ever thankful for her dear friendship.
  • Christmas. Trevor and I had a blessed time celebrating Christmas with our precious Baby K and lots of family. The week flew by with special meals, a beautiful Christmas Eve service, lots of visiting and running around. And sleepless nights, to be honest - poor girl seemed to know that in her crib she was not, and many nights I was up out of bed close to a dozen times to comfort her back to sleep. Ah, Karis - when I wake up in the morning the nights don't seem so bad. But in the middle of the night I feel I may be going a little crazy. And then I comfort myself with a piece of chocolate, which seems to help. When that doesn't help, I admit that I sometimes elbow Trevor - which of course doesn't help anything except that I feel I have companionship in the sleeplessness (especially doesn't help anything because Trevor falls right back asleep. Bless his heart, of course!).
  • Rolling over. What a fun sight to see! We all crammed around Karis and watched her ever so gracefully turn from her belly to her back, and are continuing to love watching her discover her rolling potential.
  • Exersaucer experience. In this contraption, I feel we got to see Karis's full and unbridled energy potential. I think I'm up for it, and it's fun to watch her kick her legs and bat at (and try to suck on) the contraptions within her reach.
  • Bumbo sitting time. All these contraptions and places to put Karis are wonderful. They are also completely taking over our house. Not that we seem to mind . . .

A recent first for Andrea:
  • I rear-ended someone this week. Thankfully it was just a fender bender and no one was hurt, but . . . one of my new year's resolutions is to not talk on my cell phone while driving. I wish I could say this is an easy thing to do, but it's definitely going to take some discipline. This accident was a good reminder to slow down, focus, pay attention to what's before me - driving, yes, but in a litany of other areas as well.
Some New Year's celebrations and resolutions (which I really feel a need for this year!):

  • First, some New Year's Eve memories: We enjoyed watching "Lord of the Beans" Veggie Tales movie (gift to Trev from his college roommie!). Karis apparently wanted to ring in the new year as well, she had a pretty tough time going to bed! New Year's day Trevor and I headed to a mall for a walk and then to get some Caribou. I think we intended to talk about goals and such, and we did get as far as resolving to read (together) the 1 year Bible. I'm already a day behind (I think he is, too). Anyone care to hold us accountable to this resolution? We also loved having all of Karis's godfathers (i.e. our brothers) in town for the New Year's weekend. We're so blessed by their love for Karis, I appreciate how they ask to hold her, the way they talk to her and always include and acknowledge her. What a loved little lady!
  • I was trying to explain to Trevor (during our New Year's Caribou date) that I really feel I need to "try harder" this year. I started listing things, like try harder to have quiet devotional time every day. Try harder to be the wife I know Trevor deserves. And then at one point, I said I need to try harder to relax. Hmmmm, a little ironic, huh? I laughed a bit at said irony, but it's left me thinking. Can the two exist together, or do I need rather to resolve to receive the grace that is mine for the asking - grace to make mistakes (of which I make many), to be an imperfect wife and mother. So maybe I need to also try harder to receive grace, and maybe that grace will cover all. Well, I know it will cover all, it's the receiving it that can be hard. May 2010 be a year of grace. And trying harder. Probably both at the same time . . .

Friday, December 18, 2009

One year ago

Exactly one year ago we were packing up and getting ready to head home for Christmas. Exactly one year ago there was a snow storm hitting our area. Exactly one year ago we were rescuing stranded friends from the airport.

Exactly one year ago I took this little test that you can't really pass or fail unless you're hoping for a certain outcome. The outcome is measured only in positive and negative. I was indeed hoping, so I did indeed pass the test. Exactly one year ago (at 5:30 am!) Trevor and I found out that Karis was growing inside of me. Thank you, Lord, for the best Christmas present we've ever received.

I'll always remember yelling, "Trevor!" . . . who rushed out of bed to join me in the bathroom (where he assumed I was sick because he already had a hunch I was pregnant). We stared at the plus sign on the stick on the floor and then rejoiced.

Exactly one year ago we were thanking God, and we're thanking Him still for Karis's precious life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New things

Such an original title for this blog post, right? I, as usual, am trying to not let the hustle and bustle of this time of year distract me from the really important, lasting things (like writing, spending quality time with people, focusing on the REAL reason for the season). As usual, I'm struggling, but finding some good victory along the way in letting things go (as in, no Christmas card, no birth announcement - shame on me! - little cleaning, using lots of gift bags so I don't have to wrap presents, ha!). I am struck of course that a year ago I was intentionally not writing a Christmas card because I felt that nothing significant had really changed/happened over the past year. Little did I know . . .

This Advent season has been precious as I look at Karis and realize that Jesus was a baby. He was every bit as dependent and helpless and beautiful and growing and, well, everything baby, as Karis is. And to think of Mary! How wise of her to "treasure up all these things and ponder them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) Having a baby really can change one's perspective on so many things.

Some new tricks from Karis:

  • She is grabbing things and bringing them to her mouth - I'm thinking maybe she's ready for a "blankie"!
  • She is BUSY. Always moving, sucking on her fingers and fists, kicking, looking around.
  • This weekend Trevor belched quite loudly, which caused Karis's face to scrunch up which then turned into a full-on wail. It happened twice, and as not fun as it is to hear her cry we couldn't stop laughing. I think we have a very well mannered and polite girl on our hands.
  • Karis continues to be my funny honey. She just cracks me up! The way she sticks her tongue out when she smiles, the coos and little giggles she offers (she even smiles in the middle of crying sometimes). She loves to be looked at, talked to, and to look at and talk to people.
  • Karis is wearing cloth diapers. Yup, we actually had four months worth of diapers given to us that recently ran out, so it seemed like a logical time to start. So far, so good - I'm even a little self-competitive about it, seeing just how exclusively I can use the cloth. i.e. I'm trying very hard to use them at all times except for when Karis is with a sitter or during nighttime.
In other random news, Trevor and I had our fourth and so far most successful date this past Sunday. We reminisced about the previous five Christmases we've shared during our marriage, we're blessed with many memories and we look forward to "baby's first Christmas" in less than two weeks.

There's so much more, but my bed beckons me. It says, "Andrea, your baby is asleep so you should be too . . . " Okay, okay, I'm going!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Prepare to be surprised

That's what Dan says. You know, Dan in Real Life. Ah, Dan, he is always right!

Actually, my husband is always right, but more about that later.

This past week was a blur, we (by we, I mean Karis and me) fell into a nice groove with some lunch dates and even got out to a book club discussion. Oh my was it wonderful to talk about a book in good company on a cozy evening!

I spent parts of Thursday and Friday preparing for what I thought was a youth group girls' sleepover/going away party for one of our dear girls that I thought I was planning. Oh yes, I shot off e-mails to coordinate food and to make sure I knew who all was coming. I ran to Sam's Club for breakfast goodies and snacks for the guys' game night that was happening at our house concurrently. I spent the week feeling the invigoration that comes from doing things that you love, and also anticipating the events (read: I couldn't wait to PARTY. I love a good party, especially a good girl party!). Friday afternoon came and I packed up the car to go to the sleepover destination (a youth grouper's amazing house!) while Trevor changed Karis . . . and off Karis and I went to get there early to help set up for the taco bar that the girls and some of the moms would enjoy to kick off the night of fun and honoring Megan (said farewell party gal). I got there and the gorgeous hostesses had already set everything up, streamers and bowls of pink m & m's, fun dishes to assemble the food. I thought, "How sweet of them to go all out for Megan!"

I went to use the restroom right before dinner, and when I came out they were all standing around the table just staring at me. I assumed they were just waiting for me to pray, so I apologized and said, "Okay, let's pray so we can eat!" And they came back with, "Surprise! We turned it into a baby shower!" To which I just laughed as in, "ha ha, that's funny." And they said, "No, we're serious!" And sure enough, in the 2 minutes that I was in the bathroom they had placed a diaper cake on the center of the table, whipped out a corsage made out of baby socks (so cute!) and placed gifts by my chair. WHAT?!? I have never been so surprised in my life, I still can't believe it happened! It's humbling and beautiful to receive such love, these girls and moms had been planning the event for some time (you know, the event I thought I was planning), and had pulled Trevor into it too. They played my favorite music (Dan in Real Life Soundtrack, of course), we had dinner and cake and ice cream and then Megan and I took turns opening gifts. The sweetest thing was when the girls all went downstairs "to work on some things" after dinner while the moms dished out cake . . . they were down there writing out the most precious cards. The party continued with some hilarious games, including "baby catch phrase" and "baby pictionary". A riot to be sure, the laughter was raucous and some of the drawings for pictionary were too. Those girls all give me great hope for raising a daughter in this world. More on that later. Anyways, what a memorable evening and I can hardly wait to one day show Karis the pictures and tell her the stories of how people lavished love on her as a baby.

This weekend we also took part in a tradition I've been doing since college days: Operation Christmas Child. The only difference about this year is the number of boxes I was able to pack: in 90 minutes I packed about 1 1/2 boxes. The rest of the time was spent holding Karis and feeding Karis. If I'm being very honest, many of those minutes were also spent talking to people - including a gal I recognized from my previous employer, she had done contract work and I think I only met her once there. Crazy!

One last weekend story begs to be told. I mean, you all need to know why Trevor is alwaysright. We had another date on Sunday afternoon. I was less traumatized about leaving Karis this time, but apparently still slightly traumatized because I spent most of the date very crabby (or maybe I was crabby because we started the date talking about our finances and then another part talking about Christmas shopping, and then most of the parts were spent in malls which are rarely the happiest of places for me). Sounds like a long date with so many parts, doesn't it? So anyways, per tradition of our dates we went to a fancy mall to spend some gift certificates we had. We proceeded to get some coffee from the Good Earth Cafe that tasted like hot water (read: increase crabby-ness, I am admittedly a coffee snob and feel some kind of right to have really good coffee whenever I pay money for it). Then we went to JC Penny's (because of a great coupon that had to be used by that day - which is another topic altogether, the need to spend to save). So I thought we could find some gifts for our dads . . . and Trevor said, "Oh, we should get them _______". I wish I could write what the item is because it would make so much more sense when I tell you that my response was, "That's a horrible idea. They're like $40 and they don't even sell them here!" Crabby, crabby, crabby. I huffily decided I really needed a redemptive cup of coffee from Caribou so we rounded a corner to go down the escalator, and what would be RIGHT THERE but the item Trevor suggested. Not only did they have it, it was on a crazy good sale. Crabby-ness started to abate as I almost laughed and told Trevor I owe him an apology. He said, "Yes, you do. And I think you should get down on your knees." So I did. I got down on my knees in the middle of JC Penney and apologized for telling him he doesn't have good ideas. And I really was sorry. And I really do like our dates. For some reason the best stories are manufactured in JC Penneys. Weird.

The redemptive coffee was delicious, and I was quite satisfied at having spent money to save money on some stellar gifts. We were both very excited to pick up Karis, and both very thankful for those couple hours together. I am especially thankful for Trevor who loves me so genuinely that he doesn't resent my crabby-ness. Thank you, Trevor.

We of course have so much for which to give thanks . . . I pray you all have a beautiful celebration wherever you are. We'll be back in NoDak, thankful to be with our families!

Here's my funny honey . . . hours and hours of entertainment this girl is!

The party gals . . . Megan graciously shared her party with me (please notice the adorable corsage made out of baby socks!)

I love these girls (and their moms too!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to . . .


I hope that I'm now a mom, I have a new appreciation for my own mother. I definitely feel more appreciative - but this is not about me today, this is about her!

Because . . . to my mom, nothing is about her. She is the most selfless, most generous, kind-hearted, compassionate, thoughtful, servant-hearted, optimistic, wise, purposeful, faithful, beautiful-inside-and-out women that I know. There are too many qualities to list, too many anecdotes to share, too many ways to show how completely amazing she is. And I cannot tell you how proud I am to say that she is MY MOM! My mom is constantly celebrating others, and I pray that she had a beautiful day of BEING celebrated like she deserves. How I wish I could give her a hug right now!

My mom is always doing special things, especially for her children - just this week I got two pieces of mail from her of pictures from Karis's baptism. Ever since I've not lived at home, my mom has sent me "tidbits" - articles from the Bismarck newspaper, recipes, pictures, & greeting cards. My mom makes every day unique and fun, and always lets her children know how much she thinks of them. When we go home, she stuffs our closet full of goodies, and it's always so much fun to discover the treasures she's collected as a way to show us her love . . . candy, magazines she's finished, shoes she's passing along to me, candles, cooking supplies, and now little things and outfits for Karis. Really, she makes every day just fun! I have memories of working with my mom around the house - whether going through closets, organizing, or cleaning - she would make sure we took breaks to enjoy a treat or just sit and relax. I treasure those memories. My mom taught me that life can be crazy, but sometimes you just have to turn it all off and have a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate and enjoy rest.

My mom is the most incredible and attentive listener. She genuinely loves to hear people's stories and is accepting of everyone, appreciating where they've been and encouraging to where they're going.

My mom makes the simple things extraordinary. I have one specific memory from elementary school when she went upstairs and wouldn't let us come up until she came down to get us . . . we went upstairs to find the counter laden with makings for banana splits. It's those little things that stick out in my mind of all the thought my mom takes into seizing each day and the way she takes delight in her family. I've never known anyone so loyally devoted to her family - I have never once doubted her commitment to us all.

I love that my mom loves music and reading and traveling and bargain hunting shopping and baking and cooking and homemaking and exploring and walking and drinking coffee (all things I hope I've learned from her to appreciate!).

Have I mentioned what an awesome wife my mom is? She teaches by example how to honor and love and respect her husband, such a gift to me.

My mom is wise and thoughtful and she can always find silver lining in any situation - she trusts God's goodness even in the midst of difficult circumstances or pain. I've seen my mom weather some very tough times with grace and composure.

My mom is the hardest working and most efficient person alive, seriously. She can organize a HUGE fundraiser for Thanksgiving Day and STILL have a massive turkey dinner on the table only hours later. She's basically superwoman. Because she's still smiling at the end of the day!

These past months as I've watched my mom be a grandmother, I've seen her heart explode to new capacities. I can see in her eyes and hear in her voice her adoration for Karis, and I am humbled to no end to think that God would bless our family such depths of love. A recent memory that blessed me so much was when I called my mom as I walked into the hospital as I was in labor - the elation in her voice really made me think, "Okay, I'm ready. I can do this - I'm going to me meet my little girl soon!"

Can it be that I was once my mom's little girl in that way? Thank you mom, for being the best mom always.

I can only pray to be even a fraction of the mother that my mom is to me . . . thank you, mom, for showing me how to love. I love you SO much and am celebrating you today and always.

And Karis says Happy Birthday, too!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Karis's Baptism

How can I even begin to sum up Karis's baptism? Many months ago when Karis was just a little bump in my belly we went to a class at our church that examined the sacrament of baptism and its great significance in our lives. We went to the class wondering if we would baptize or dedicate Karis (thus wait for her to make her own decision to be baptized at whatever age that would be), and our subsequent discussions both felt a great peace about baptizing Karis as an infant. To be honest, for the first time in my adult life I gave serious thought to my own baptism as an infant, and memories came flooding back to the way my parents yearly celebrated my baptism day by lighting the candle they received after I was sprinkled with the water as an almost 3 month old. I became incredibly grateful that my family committed me to the Lord as a baby and promised to raise me in His ways. I became incredibly grateful for how they kept the promises they made at my baptism. And I began to really thank God for the mystery of baptism and thank Him for His promises that He has fulfilled in my life.

Trevor and I had a lot of peace about having Karis baptized as an infant . . . and speaking to Trevor's baptism - well, I was at his baptism in our high school years, and it was so special and beautiful to watch him profess his faith and be immersed in the cleansing water. He was also baptized as an infant, which was also meaningful to our decision.

Have I mentioned lately what a joy it is to be a parent with Trevor? Making decisions in the interest in and love for Karis is a new and wonderful stage in life's journey together.

We were thankful to have both our families here for the weekend to celebrate Karis's special occasion, we love watching them delight in our little girl!

One of the most significant parts of the weekend for Trevor and me happened Saturday morning. Grandma and Grandpa watched Karis while we snuck away to have a date (which of course equalled errand running that revolved around Karis). From Sam's Club (to pick up pictures of Karis) to Target (to get flowers and a card for Karis), we spent the time talking about . . . Karis and baptism, and Karis's baptism. What it means to us, and what we pray it will mean to her. Something that struck me as I was processing it all is the words we use to describe her baptism: as in, we did not "get Karis baptized" but rather "Karis was baptized". I think those words bear an important distinction, or they do in my mind at least. The act is not one that we initiated or completed, but one that God did.

Anyways, that hour that Trevor and I had together was so precious because Sunday was mainly a blur of getting ourselves and Karis ready for church, changing not one but TWO quite dirty diapers within 10 minutes of getting to church (seriously hilarious, it's like babies just know the "best" time to get "it" out of the way - we were thankful it was at the beginning and not in the middle of the service!). The service was beautiful and our pastor referred to Karis multiple times through the sermon as he spoke of baptism and All Saint's Day. One thing unique to the baptism service is that all the children are welcome and encouraged to come to the altar and witness the baptism close-up - we're blessed to be part of a faith community that esteems children to the highest degree and enfolds them continually as part of the congregation - because they ARE! The act of baptism was memorable, being up at the front of the church and speaking the liturgy feels just so different when it's for your child. The renouncing of evil, the proclamation of good, the promise to raise Karis to also proclaim God's goodness. One moment that sticks out in my mind is when our pastor blessed the water, watching him make the sign of the cross in the water, and then sprinkling the water on Karis's sleeping head. She truly is a child of God, dearly loved by Him and so many others. I was so humbled to think that God would entrust us with this dear child who brings so much joy to countless lives already.

We then were asked to read the verses we chose for Karis - they are the verses that I read every birthday celebration that I have, to me they're a poignant reminder of God's intricate love for each person and remind me always of His design and delight in each life:

Psalm 139: 13-16

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

The celebration continued with a little reception at our home where we were thrilled to welcome friends and family - the whole day was such a blur, and I'm having fun remembering it in the details that come back to mind. Karis was gorgeous, and the sweet spirit we've prayed for her is evident in her shining eyes and expressive actions. We love this little girl more than we thought possible, and we're reminded that God loves us all even more than the love we could ever feel or experience.

I just realized about a week ago how significant the date of Karis's baptism is (November 1st) - it was exactly one year ago on that weekend that Trevor and I earnestly started praying about growing our family . . . how amazing! Also special to the occasion of Karis's baptism is that the gown she wore was the one I wore, AND that my mom wore before me. Maybe Karis will have a daughter who will adorn the garment one day.

Lighting of the baptism candle

Great Grandma Carole got Karis a special bib to wear over her gown - smart move, saved the gown from the inevitable spit up
LOVE this picture
Karis slept through most of the service, the sprinkling of the water woke her up
Karis is blessed to have 3 Godfathers - my brother and two of Trevor's brothers

Monday, November 9, 2009

An update to the previous post

1. Karis refused a bottle on Saturday! Any advice anyone?

2. I wanted to add to my thoughts on having some guilt at my place in life right now . . . I heard a great blurb on a radio show I listen to that spoke to this issue. The encouragement was that when we feel guilty for blessings, we really need to just focus on sharing them, giving where we can. So whenever I start to feel those icky guilty feelings, I think about what I have to give right now - a meal, a visit to a friend in need, a phone call to an old friend, a letter out of the blue to someone who needs it. So yeah, there's my addendum to that thought. Oh, and one more, I read a great article about transitioning from full time work in an office to full time work at home, I found its wisdom helpful. You can read it here if you'd like!

And here's another picture for fun. I call her my "funny honey". What a smile!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Because what time I have lately is spent doing what I truly love - preparing for hosting, executing hosting, cleaning up from hosting, writing thank yous and letters and cards to mail, hanging out with other moms and their children, and most importantly spending time with Karis and Trevor (yes my life is crazy wonderful)- I thought I'd cop out on a very thoughtful post and instead copy an interesting thing I read a couple days ago:
Avocados, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Is THIS why I craved avocados like a crazy woman for most of my pregnancy? FASCINATING! I've read that they are also some of babies' first foods (which is a topic on my mind lately, I'm excited by some new perspectives I've been learning about babies and introducing them to food - perhaps another post later, I'm very excited at my recent discoveries).

Quick bullet points of happenings around here:

We were blessed beautifully to have all our families here this weekend to celebrate Karis's baptism (for SURE its own post hopefully sometime soon, such a memorable and miraculous event).

I pumped enough milk for a couple bottles of milk but have been too much of a wuss to actually give it to Karis, and so the milk sits in our freezer. Maybe this weekend when I host a baby shower Trev can try. Again, I never thought I would be "this" way!

Karis started really talking to us, it's a delight to hear her "ooohs and cooos". Her smiles are more brilliant every day. She's also sucking on her hand whenever she can find it, and drooling like crazy (the two usually go hand in hand, and it's so funny to see her face smeared with all her spit). We are pretty messy these days, I fear that I'm becoming immune to the smell of sour milk and might leave the house one day without changing my spit-up sopped clothes.

Other things going through my head:

I NEED to meet my friend N's daughter, Viv. It's been torture to be this far away, and yet I am so thankful for a dear friend who is just so precious that I could miss her and her family this much!

How can I relax into motherhood? I have a cloud of something - guilt perhaps, but that doesn't seem like the right descriptor - that keeps me from fully reveling in this stage of life. I LOVE being Karis's mom, I LOVE spending every day with her, I LOVE how our weeks flow. However, when Trevor comes home and asks what I did that day, I feel funny saying, "Well, we had tea with other moms and daughters, ran errands, did house stuff, wrote some e-mails and cards, and . . . " It all just feels incredibly indulgent. And yet I firmly believe I'm where I'm supposed to be. So really, I guess it's a matter of discontent, perhaps a lack of confidence in that perpetual game of comparisons. But then I look at Karis and spend even a minute with her and these thoughts are all but gone. Life sometimes seems too good, and I thank God for the blessing of where we are right now, with our little girl in our arms.

Karis did not dress up for Halloween, I wonder if I'll regret that someday?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A first date

Trevor and I took our first date as parents today (I know, Karis is 11 weeks old. Another thing I always said I'd "never" be - the mom who has a hard time leaving her kids. So much for that). As it turns out, this date day produced some stories.

Last night landed me on the shorter end for sleep, and I admit to waking up feeling a bit anxious about leaving Karis with our neighbor lady. I confessed my thoughts to Trevor, and the one big worry I had for some reason is that she'd be tempted to feed Karis something or give her juice or water (since I'm not pumping for bottles yet). Well, after a lovely morning at church and youth group Trevor and I sat down to eat our pre-date lunch and I caught him putting a tiny spoonful of yogurt next to Karis's mouth. I hope I can blame my over-reaction on raging hormones and sleep depravation - I ended up saying something to the effect of "I cannot go on a date now". I mean, after just telling him that morning of my worries and then seeing that he was doing the thing I feared, well, it was a bit much for my frazzled self. We both said some apologies.

I finally agreed to still go on our date (grumpily). In true "us" fashion, our date plans were simple and involved trying to spend as little money as possible - using a Caribou gift card and making a return to JC Penny (which is really like making money, ha!). We get to JC Penny's after a pretty amicable drive to the mall. We find a customer service counter and the nice lady assesses our return, a little girl outfit (that we didn't get to use before the season change - a whole other topic being the complicated nature of correctly matching size of clothing to season!). Well, the nice lady says, "Obviously you haven't had the baby yet" (with just a hint of question in her voice inflection). To which I say, "Actually, our daughter is 11 weeks old". To which she says something to the effect of, "Um, oh, sorry, I wasn't sure, I mean you look small . . . open mouth, insert foot." Quite the day maker! Trevor and I walked away laughing (Trevor was thinking he was sure glad it wasn't his foot in his mouth). Apparently eating reeses peanut butter cups during 4am feedings isn't conducive to losing the last of the bulge. Whatever. They taste good, I feel good, and Karis is growing. However, isn't this another reason to take your baby everywhere? No questions asked, no foot sandwiches.

We continued on to The Children's Place store to spend a gift certificate on some cute tights for Karis (are you loving how our date revolved around our daughter? Typical, right?). We walked out remarking how surreal the experience was, just how much our lives have changed in so many beautiful ways.

The date continued at the in-mall Caribou. Trevor got this gift card at work, and then he re-gifted the card to me. I for some reason thought he said it was for $25, which of course had me SO excited about how many cups of coffee for which I could stretch it out. Well, I handed the card over to pay for our americanos and the guy had the nerve to tell me that I owed him money. What? There should be $20 left on that card! Nope, it was a $5 gift card. I laughed, and then I thought I should maybe just go home and go to bed.

Go home we did, feeling very proud of ourselves for not talking too much about dirty diapers or to do lists or budgets. We even took the long and slow way home to enjoy the foliage, and we even reminisced about some "former life" dates.

A gift was awaiting us when we came home, a memory that I'll always treasure. We left our home with one dear neighbor watching Karis and we came home to three dear neighbors watching Karis. It's like they all snuck over for a peek at her while we were gone - precious! A lovely way to end our "first" date.

Moving on to a baby report, some significant things happened:

1. Some of our very best friends welcomed their dear daughter to the world. I cannot stop looking at pictures of Vivian (thank God for Facebook), and during one of Karis's 4am feedings I was literally looking up plane ticket fares because I feel I cannot wait to hold that dear girl and share motherhood stories with my loved friend. Welcome to the world, Vivian, you've already brought much joy to so many who have been waiting for your arrival!

2. Karis went to her first baby shower (where she proceeded to spit up on the guest of honor's beautiful black dress - so sorry!)

3. Karis went to her first apple orchard (with our youth group). How stinking adorable is her little bear snowsuit?

4. Karis got her first cold. =( It breaks her mother's heart to hear even the tiniest sniffle! Poor girl. She did also share the cold with me, so this week was a bit sluggish.

5. Karis went to Chipotle for the first time, significant because since she was born we've called her our little burrito. Please notice that the burrito is almost as big as her (and probably weighs almost as much too)

6. This is kind of old news, but I forgot to mention that Jim and Pam got married. I almost cried at their wedding. Pathetic, I know.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Yes, I do still blog. At least, I think about blogging almost every day. And then I get pulled away and forget all about it until the next day and the pattern repeats itself. I figured the days as a mom would fly, but man do they fly. Karis is of course a joy and every day spent with her is such a gift. Every time I look at her in someone else's arms, I still think "Are you really our's?"

I feel like a few distinct things have come full circle in the last several weeks. First, Trevor told me back in week 2 or 3 of Karis's life that someone told him we'd look back on the first month and realize what a fog we were really in. I remember replying (with probably a hint of defensiveness in my tone) that I really didn't feel like I was in a fog. Well . . . as we enter the start of Karis's third month of life I can say that I didn't realize what a fog I was in. Ha!

One full circle was going to Bismarck for a wonderful visit with friends and family. We got to introduce Karis to more aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends, and every time I had a distinct flashback to all the moments we had in Bismarck over Christmas telling everyone that I was pregnant. And now our daughter is in our arms! Karis loved her first trip to Bismarck and all the time in grandparents' arms - so much so that she started smiling that weekend! There were as always memorable meals, LOTS of pictures taken, and laughs had. One of the hardest laughs I had that weekend was when my mom, Karis and I went to get my haircut. Grandma Nancy was holding Karis and talking to us and she said, "Andrea, I think she filled her pants." Well, Karis has about one such thing happen a day and you can usually really hear it, so I somewhat dismissed it. Not a couple minutes later my mom said, "Andrea, I think she leaked." Sure enough, yellow all over Karis and all over my mom's jeans. Oh my gosh, how can you just not laugh at poor helpless babies who don't know any better? Ah, Karis.

Another distinct full circle was this week when we went to Lucia's, one of our favorite little restaurant/coffee shop, with some dear friends for evening treats. I sat there enjoying my chammomile rosehip tea, sea salt caramel, and the pleasure of fine company . . . and all of a sudden realized I was supposed to go to Lucia's for lunch the day Karis was born. That morning I sent an e-mail to my friend and told her I wouldn't be at lunch because I was going to have a baby!

Yet another full circle has been something a little more personal and obscure, but here it is. When Trevor and I were engaged, I started reading the Anne of Green Gables (you know, only about 10 years behind of when little girls start reading them . . . but they were on the shelf and I felt somehow they'd be good for light fiction reading during my senior year of college). Anyways, the first three books in the series fit so perfectly into all that I experienced that year - Anne's adventures intertwined with her deep friendships and her falling in love with Gilbert Blythe offered so many parallels to how I was feeling about finishing school, leaving behind friends, and starting a "new" life with Trevor. I remember pulling out many quotes and sharing them with my best friend, and also weaving them into a story I wrote for Trevor during our engagement.

So after having Karis I was again in the mood for some light and fun reading, and what do I stumble on but the 4th - 6th books in the "Anne series" (not sure how I missed those the first time around?). I just finished the 6th this morning, and am again amazed at how the stories had parallels in my life for this season of motherhood. I read about Anne's blissful days with Gilbert in their house of dreams, then about the start of their family, and about her adventures as a mother (to six children - certainly that can't be a parallel, right?). In any case, it's been very special to read these books during such distinct times in my life. Books are such treasures.

And so I'll end for now with an Anne quote:

Anne's son, Jem, says, "Mummy, will you tell me a bedtime story that will send a cold chill down my spine? And sit beside me afterwards till I go to sleep?

Anne says, "What else are mothers for, darling?"

Indeed. It's so good to be a mom.

One of the first smiles

Karis in a gown and bonnet made by her great great great Grandmother on the DeKrey side (over 100 years old! The bonnet and gown, that is)
Napping buddies, so precious

A play date with baby Turner

This morning with dad

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cliches are true for a reason

I fell asleep last night laughing to myself, thinking of all the things I said I'd "never" do as a mother (before I became a mother, of course):

I said I would never have our baby sleep in our bed.

I said I would try to never use a pacifier.

I said I would never be the mom who can't leave her baby for more than an hour.

I said I would never cut my hair short after becoming a mom.

I said I would never be the wife/mom who knows it all and needs to correct her husband when he is doing something "wrong" in the baby care department.

I said I would never (well, hardly ever anyways) use disposable diapers.

Well, now I say, "Never say never".

Karis sleeps so well in the boppy in our bed (where I can, of course, hold the pacifier to her mouth in case she spits it out and fusses as she falls asleep). So there's the first two nevers - when one needs sleep, one is SO excited to learn that a pacifier really does pacify.

I can hardly go to Target alone without wanting to rush back and just look at Karis and hold her and make sure she's okay. Some days I think it would be nice to go sit by myself for a cup of coffee, and then after a said Target run without Karis in the back seat to keep me company, I don't think I could sit still in Caribou long enough to finish even a small decaf.

I have a hair cut appointment this coming Monday, and all I can think about is how good it would feel to do something drastic to my locks. It's hard to do anything drastic to hair without chopping a good bit of it off.

I admit to (hopefully mostly gently but unfortunately not always as gently as I'd like) correcting Trevor's ways of diapering, soothing, holding. I try to refrain, really I do. My will is so weak.

We were given generous amounts of disposable diapers, so why not use them, right? I love them, really I do. I am asked often "How is cloth diapering going?" and I either answer honestly, or use the cop-out that "Karis is too small for them right now." Which, she is. Kind of.

We're all doing well here, loving every day with this dear daughter God has gifted to us. She's more expressive every day, and we think her first smile will light up her face any day now. Our days fly by, and we've enjoyed fun things like a tea party here with a couple dear moms and daughters, former co-workers came over for dinner one evening, visits to see Uncle Drew, and other random occasions. Now we're packing up to head back home to spend a long weekend with our families. We can't wait for Karis to be with her grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, cousin, and friends.

I mean, doesn't this just look cozy?

Summer dresses have been so fun for dressing Karis

My stunning cousin Hope on her wedding day

Karis looks very thrilled to be going to church

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Proud Parents

Oh my the weeks fly. This week especially has been one of firsts for Karis:

Her first photo shoot. My dear friend from college came to our house and shot some awesome pics of Karis. Check them out at her photography blog. We think Karis is quite the stunning model.

Her first airplane ride took place a couple days ago as we flew into Bozeman, MT for my dear cousin's wedding (hopefully more on that later - it was truly the most amazing wedding I think I've ever been to). Karis was amazing! She hardly cried, she nursed on the way up and down and the pressure didn't seem to bother her a bit. I held my breath the whole time, of course.

Her first wedding, as mentioned above. Again, she was amazing! Slept through the wedding and part of the reception, woke up a bit for part of the dance and showed her beautiful bright eyes to many who held her.

Her first major blowouts. Some changes of clothes and a bath were very necessary. Uff da!

We're loving our little vacation in Montana, the grandparents are loving on her with hands and hearts and I think Karis has been held 24/7 for the past few days. What a blessed life!

And Hope, if you should read this, congratulations and thank ou for letting us share in the joy of your wedding. It was the most precious time for all of us and we are so thrilled for you and Joey!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to school

Yes, it's that time of year . . . sharp pencils, new boxes of crayons, crisp and colorful notebooks - all packed into a brand new backpack. Getting textbooks for subjects like math, spelling, reading. Organizing all the classes' syllabi. Meeting your new teacher. Back to school.

I've decided I'm back in school, too, but my supplies are diapers, onesies, butt paste, and moby wrap - all packed into a little diaper bag. My textbook is google for subjects like colic, infant massage, and healthy sleep habits. My syllabi cannot be planned and is dictated daily by my daughter. My daughter is my teacher!

This is surely the most fun school there is, the most rewarding, and at times the most challenging. The lessons are never ending and classes go from morning to night and then through the night. Karis is a wonderful, albeit very demanding teacher. The lessons I'm learning:

It won't be this way for long (yes, Darius Rucker, I know it's true). The statement is true in many ways, both the good and the less than ideal. I won't be able to fall asleep with her on my chest for long. She won't cry from 8 to midnight every evening for long. She won't sleep in the bassinet at the side of our bed for long. She won't be a baby for long! Karis changes every day, she has rolls on her chin and dimples in her elbows. She flails her arms, and she seems to focus in on me when I talk to her. I wake up often and think, "How can I be so blessed to be the one who gets to play with this little doll all day every day?" She fits into different clothes all the time, dislikes diaper changes, and usually enjoys tummy time where she can show off her strong head lifting skills. Karis enjoys morning walks, she usually is alert and content as we stroll the neighborhood. She's recently enjoyed meeting many of her new friends - young and not young. Baby Everett came by for a morning, little Julia and babies Caroline & Jessa are already some of her favorite gals and I know she will be seeing more of them all in the future. Karis also enjoyed her first experience at Caribou coffee with Beth & Lindsay, she loved it (like we all knew she would). Karis went to her first big picnic for Trevor's work a couple weeks ago (where mom had her first public nursing experience - let's just say I'm glad I brought a sweatshirt. Uff da), and last weekend went to her first party with her uncles. She's definitely a people baby!

I'm learning what's truly important - I'm still desiring of wanting to have lists, to cross things of them, to get thank-yous done immediately, to have a clean house, to keep in touch with people, to make sure my brain doesn't turn to moosh with baby talk. BUT, Karis is the most important thing, which is making prioritizing pretty easy lately. I've been surprised at how life seems more simple now . . . I used to think children made it more complicated, but the more I learn from Karis, the more my perspective shifts. A good friend just this week said she feels like through her daughter she's getting to experience life on a whole new, deeper level. I of course agree.

I'll admit that the first couple weeks, I thought - "This is easier than I thought it would be! I mean, she just sleeps all the time!" Well, those thoughts rapidly fled as my dear daughter woke up and found her voice! There were a couple days when I was feeling a frazzled and frustrated thinking, "I seriously can't even fold the laundry or write one thank-you a day. I'm home ALL day. How is this possible?" I ended up reading a couple of things that were (and are) such a blessing to me in answer to those thoughts. One is a post from this blog that I regularly follow, speaking about slowing down, putting aside to-do lists, and enjoying our families (incidentally, the blogger has a daughter named Karis! A friend passed along the blog to me after we'd decided on the name, so I find this to be very serendipitous and feel an interesting connection to the author). I also read a book given to me by a wise woman called Living on Baby Time. As I read the simple chapters, I kept thinking "I AM this woman!" The author wrote about exactly what I was thinking/struggling with an addiction to feeling productive and literally seeing results of what I'm doing. Well, I'm starting to think that a double chin and dimpled elbows are a beautiful tangible result of my days at home. Anyways, the battle with to-do's does and will continue, but I know the lessons and help will continue as well. Like I said, Karis is a good teacher (and God, of course!).

Other things Karis has done lately, besides you know the usual eating/sleeping/pooping/crying more): Karis has been enjoying church, and especially all the loving attention she receives there. She makes funny noises, some of them sound like she's laughing or like she's a billy goat. She seems to be focusing more, we love to watch her bright blue eyes. When sleeping, Karis is so peaceful. When awake, she loves to be held and cuddled and swaddled. And of course, we love when she gives that little passed gas smile - even if it is just a reflex at this early stage in her life.

We introduced Karis to our favorite movies, Elizabethtown & Dan in Real Life. Let me tell you, those flicks look different through the eyes of parenthood! That is, we will not let her watch Elizabethtown until she's at least 25. And Dan in Real Life gives a glimpse into parenting adolescents. We also introduced her to The Office (I know, we're horrible parents!). Trevor feels Lord of the Rings would be too intense right now, so we'll wait on that fave. All this to say, we're enjoying some relaxing evenings, as well as the luxury of kind of just taking her wherever we are. I'd like to start reading her the Chronicles of Narnia soon . . .

The rest of the uncles came to meet Karis

Karis's first big picnic/work party/luau

Give me a "K"!

On the way to church . . . (this pic is the most recent)

Hanging out with uncle Drew

Bathtime with dad

Showing off on the changing table

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And the next Pope is HERE! Part Duo: Birthday Parties

(I definitely started this post on the date above! Time really does fly, it's hard to believe Karis has already celebrated her 2 week birthday by the time I actually get this up!)

I think I mentioned way before the a tradition in my family of celebrating birthdays for a month. We're off to a great start in August and will certainly be celebrating Karis's birthday for even longer than a month! We've been so blessed the past couple weeks to have many family and friends join us in the celebration . . . here's just a few:

Uncle Drew has been a champ for us - he brought us dinner from Quizno's shortly after Karis was born, AND when we got home from the hospital we discovered some birthday gifts: he had cleaned our house! I just about cried to see the vacuumed floors and clean dishes! Even more sweet, he left a card for Karis in her crib to welcome her home, along with an adorable rattle toy. What a guy!

Wonderfully crazy enough, Karis was born on Uncle Steve's birthday! Steve, Aunt Deb, Grandpa Jim & Grandma Linnie came the evening of Karis's birth, she slept through that party but even though the celebration was grand.

Shortly after my dear friend and coworker (okay, former coworker I guess - weird) Kwenen and her hub Jon stopped by. And not only did they stop by, they brought gorgeous flowers and a terrific tub of fresh cut watermelon. I was in heaven (first because of their company, and next the flowers and watermelon!).

The next morning my friends Jen & Alyssa stopped by with their dear daughters Caroline and Julia - sadly, the picture of Jen was taken with a full memory card. =( But here's Alyssa and Julia. So adorable, and Karis already has such great little friends!

Drew, star that he is, brought us lunch again . . .

And that evening our old and treasured friend Dave came by with his girlfriend Betty (again, memory card full. Grrrr.).

The parties continued, first with the Grandma Lorie & Grandpa Bob and cousin Courtney. They brought us lunch and Momma Lorie took Trevor to Target to help with getting groceries and got us more disposable diapers (she's too teeny for the cloth ones, and really, I just can't stand the thought of starting them yet!)

And then Grandma Nancy & Grandpa Kirk, who gracious helped both their children immeasurably during their time here with food (for us) and home projects (for bro). I can't describe the joy in introducing Karis to ALL her loving and doting grandparents. This girl is SO blessed! As are we.

The parties continued with friends and neighbors coming and going . . .

And now for some Karis details:

She changes literally every day. Most recently was the momentous occasion of her umbilical cord stump falling off. AND, I think I got almost 6 hours of sleep (on and off of course) last night. This girl is AMAZING. Can this sweet contentment and sleep patterns of hers last? Well, she'll still be amazing even if they don't.

A memory to treasure: my mom watched Karis on Tuesday while I ran to Target. First, I have to say how odd it was to walk around in public without my pregnant belly. People are SO nice and attentive to pregnant woman, and I'll admit that I enjoyed it. Okay, so the other day in Target I was just a paunchy really tired looking girl who still walks a little funny. Ha! I was excited to get home to Karis and Grandma, where I found Grandma walking around with Karis all alert in her arms. Grandma said she was like that the whole time, and when I walked in the door and she heard my voice, she immediately calmed down. I really am a mom. We all just want our moms!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

And the next Pope is HERE! Part Uno

(the following was written over several days . . . time really is different with a baby around!)

Karis (pronounced "care-iss") Carole Pope made her grand appearance to the world on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 at 2:14 p.m. She weighed a lovely 6lbs 4oz, measured 19 inches long, and came out crying. And now I'm crying as I even write this sentence - it's just too much, God's provision is simply amazing and we feel so humbled that he would entrust us with this gift of life.

As I write, this new family of three is sitting in our living room in a quiet house. Trevor is reading The Hobbit to Karis, and she is loving every minute being wrapped up in her daddy's arms, feeling his heartbeat, hearing his voice, gathering his warmth.

There's so much I want to remember about the past few days, so many intricate details that I'm scared I'll forget. So I'm going to just write and post in increments - more for us than for anyone else, but I hope whoever reads this enjoys the boring details.

There's the technical "stuff" of going into labor of course (and I'm all about being real, so if you can't handle the graphic details, please just skip this paragraph!): my water broke at 11:30 pm and woke me up. However, it was simply a "gush" (you know, not exactly what they show you in the movies!), and I started to get what felt like contractions about every 20 minutes. I kept Trevor posted, but to be honest we were both in complete denial - I mean, we had plans for the next week, you know? I kept saying, "It's probably nothing" and Trevor kept saying "Yeah, it's probably just a leak. It'll repair itself" (I'm sure we read somewhere that can actually happen, I don't know?). Well, by 7am Trevor convinced me to call our midwife. She let me know that I had tested positive for Group B Strep, and said I needed to pack my bag and come in right away to get started on an IV. She said most women will go into full labor on their own, and they would give me a certain amount of time before augmenting my labor with drugs. I wilted. I went to the bedroom in tears and told Trevor what she said as I grabbed my backpack and started stuffing it. Trevor did the same and we just kind of moved around the house in a fog, I sent off emails to cancel all the plans I had with people the next couple days (I finished work last Friday and had packed the next couple weeks with all sorts of "play dates" for myself with friends, hosting people here, bringing meals to friends with babies . . . ). My contractions got a little more regular and I was having to stop in the middle of them and try to relax to get through them. My bro was eating breakfast and we really shocked him with our news! I'll never forget seeing him get choked up when I said, "One way or the other, we're going to have a baby within the next day or two." It was beautiful to see his emotion and helped me get excited for our change in plans. One of the last things I did before leaving the house was to crumple up my current "to do list" and toss it in the garbage - very liberating! I felt like I was saying hello to our new life and letting go of all that I thought "needed" to be done before Karis arrived.

Around 9am we pulled into the parking lot. I'll always remember talking to my mom as we pulled up, hearing the absolute joy and excitement in her voice was such a gift to me and continued to help me get so excited to meet Karis. We proceeded to the hospital triage area where they make sure you're not just faking labor (ha!), and man did they take their time in giving me the ph test to see if my water actually broke. Contractions were getting more regular, praise God, and I was starting to envision a quick labor and started thinking they better get going already. Well, they didn't - we were there for almost 3 hours! Still feeling pretty good, we enjoyed our time snacking on bananas and almonds, texting all sorts of people, just enjoying each other. And of course, getting more regular contractions - the nurse was rather discouraging and kept saying, "Well, hopefully the contractions are doing their job and making your cervix dilate". I was like, "Lady, I get how labor works - don't squash my hopes, okay?" Anyways. They finally hooked me up to my IV for antibiotics because of the Group B Strep risk . . . and then finally the midwife came in and said we'd move to my room soon. By this time, contractions were about 6 minutes apart and it was getting harder to relax through them. No more texting by this time.

Nurse Kelli came and guided us to our room - that walk down the hall must have triggered something, contractions came every four minutes starting then and their peaks were more intense. Trevor was AMAZING and just kept massaging and coaching me to relax. Our midwife, Pat, set up about four stations around the room for different ways I could labor in a rocking chair, birthing ball, window ledge. She was so respectful of our birthplan, and didn't check my cervix yet (I'd been reading how it can be discouraging to be checked often . . . if you're not progressing you can start to regress, etc.). This was maybe around 12:30pm. Pat left, the nurse went through a bunch of papers for us in between contractions, then Pat came in and out and helped Trevor coach me through some contractions ("Deep low noises! Relax after they peak"). Pat came back and maybe around 1:15 checked my dilation for the first time since arriving at the hospital: 6cm. Over half way there, and as I started to get more miserable (now resigned to bed on my side, grabbing the bed bars during contractions) she said, "You'll probably dilate a centimeter and hour from here - I think you'll have your baby by dinnertime!" And I was thinking, "Um, I can't take this until dinner time." It was getting seriously intense. Not long after that, I was shaking and sweating and having contraction one on top of the other and saying, "I can feel her RIGHT THERE!" And then I thought I had to go to the bathroom (which I knew is a classic feeling for being through transition and ready to push, but I was sure I couldn't already be fully dilated). I got to the bathroom, and the nurse said, "Don't push!" and then she left. And pretty soon I was screaming "I can't not push! Help me help me help me!" Trevor ran to the hallway, the midwife came back, she checked me again and said, "You're fully dilated and ready to start pushing!" That was maybe 1:45. In an instant there were several more people in the room prepping who knows what in a frantic way, it was obvious they were all very surprised (nurse Kelli later told me "I'm still getting over how fast that was"). Anyways, so push I did. Trevor tells me I completely calmed down after that and went into a real zone, resting between contractions and pushing with them as they came about every four minutes. With a few pushes Trevor could see Karis's head and I could feel it! I had heard that the sensation would feel like a ring of fire, and I would say that's exactly right. Pat said I wasn't going to be able to stretch enough for her head to get through without major tearing, so she strongly recommended an episiotomy. And I just said "Whatever you have to do" (so I like to think we had as natural a birth as we could have with no augmentation or pain relief . . . just needing some anesthesia at the very end when she was cutting). Within a few more minutes and a final push, Karis entered the world in one long sweep, crying beautifully as she was placed on my chest. As I write this, I would give anything to go back to that precious moment of seeing her face, looking at Trevor, and instantly knowing that she looked just like him (which I had SO been hoping for - truly!). Trevor said he cried as he watched her come out.

As I was being stitched up, Trevor went with Karis to the other side of the room to be weighed and to change her first diaper - it was beautiful to watch them, listening to Trevor talk to Karis, calling her "buddy" (to which the nurse, Paula, said "You can't call her buddy! Call her buddette!" For the record, she's still "buddy" to Trevor). He changed her first diaper, and then Karis came back to nurse, which she did for a full hour, a sweet time with Trevor by my side, holding the phone up for me as I called my mom and just savored those first moments of bonding. Then Trevor took his shirt off and put Karis to his skin. Next I was in the tub, then Trevor packed up our stuff and we followed nurse Laura to the room where we'd be staying the rest of our time. We got a little settled, and then went to the nursery to be with Karis when she got her first bath. I just fell in complete love with her desperate cry, her trembling lips, her fuzzy hair, the smell of her clean, soft skin. Words can't describe the feelings, the exhaustion, the elation, the complete joy of our first hours of being Karis's parents.

Trevor putting on Karis's first diaper. What a guy.

Can I say again how awesome Trevor was (and is, of course)? His support and encouragement and his love for his girls is overwhelming.

And lest this all sound fluffy, I should also mention the pain was horrible, I screamed like crazy, and many times yelled, "I can't do this!" And the miracle of birth is that I would do it all again.

And I will admit that the initial thoughts of "we have PLANS" were very real and that I felt very not ready. But it didn't take long to see that this was and is THE PLAN, and Karis came right on time. I can't imagine having had to wait another minute to meet her.

On the way from labor room to our "stay-over" room

First bath, how traumatic!

Home from the hospital

Trevor here. Andrea is the most "self-less" person I know, so time for a bit of info about her. We had attended the "Bradley" classes, had a great teacher, and prayed for, hoped, wanted a birth without drugs to support Karis in health, so Andrea could fully enjoy the feeling of holding our child right away, and minimize any side-affects that may happen. Andrea was unmedicated except for the antibiotic for infection, and did amazing. The hospital staff asked her if she was a runner, after seeing her heart rate and Karis's heartbeat through the birth. All the vital signs were good throughout. In the completely uncertain event of childbirth we take nothing for granted; length of labor, complications, health of mother and baby; it's a praise for how things went, and I will leave it at that.

So, I'm probably supposed to discuss my "feelings" and "emotions" and other things like that during the whole experience. My expectations were scant - who could know except when it happens? The night before, packing bags, driving to the hospital, walking down the looooonng hallway to the elevator, checking in, and sitting in the triage unit were all pretty chill. My mind was a bit unfocused, overwhelmed, but taking in every bit. Things got serious about noon in the birthing room as Andrea felt stronger contractions. She took it like a champ, through some of the worst pain I've seen someone go through. Glory to God, it was short lived, but the intensity looked pretty bad. All in all, I felt a bit useful throughout, as I spoke through contractions with Ang, constantly gave her water, snuck her bites of granola bar, guided her when she moved, and timed contractions to know when the next one might hit and how frequent they were coming. I cried when Karis came out. Not blubbering, just completely overwhelmed with love and awe. Spiritual is a word you could use to describe it. Other words might be getting hit with a train of love, or dumbstruck. Karis was so alert when she came out, looking around everywhere and not crying except 5 or 10 minutes when she first arrived and got cleaned up. As the nurse and I checked some vital signs she stared, gripped my finger, and looked to be loving life.

And now - we're 6 days into the adventure with some tired eyes and overflowing hearts at this child. She has continued to amaze us with how cute she can be, mustard diapers, and daily changes in appearance. Walks around the block have a new meaning. Eating dinner is secondary to the life laying in the bassinette. Getting out of bed... is still not fun. We're thankful and having so much fun with Karis.

Thank you for sharing the experience with us.