Monday, February 24, 2014

Lucy's Baptism

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
Genesis 17:7

Yesterday was Lucy's baptism into the Covenant of Grace.  It was such a special day for our family.  Brian and I were emotional from the very first song in the service.  It just tears me up as I ponder what God promises to do in the lives of our children as we raise them in the faith.

 I love that Lucy's daddy is her pastor so that he has the privilege of baptizing her.  

Aidan was all eyes; this was an excellent opportunity for him to learn about baptism.  It was fitting because his catechism question this week was, "What is a covenant?"

A blessing for Lucy.

We invited all the family to celebrate this wonderful occasion with us.  Unfortunately, my parents were sick and brother & sister-in-law were on vacation.  They were missed!

Aidan and his cousin, Sophie
They have such fun together!

While the ladies were preparing lunch, the guys did a mini-photo shoot.  I haven't yet found a great one of just Lucy in her dress so she'll have to get dressed up again this week.  I just loved her dress; I told Brian the next big, white, frilly dress we buy will most likely be her wedding dress...*tear*.
 Papa Jake and Lu

 Daddy and his girlie

 Lucy & Bop John

 Bop John with all of his grandchildren.

I know, it's no fun being at the kid table...alone.

 Her beautiful cake.

Afternoon fun.

What a special and blessed day for our family.  I will always remember it and cherish the memories.  Thanks to all of those who shared it with us.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations...
Psalm 119:90

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nine months!

Guess who is 9 months already!?
Lucy Jane!

She weighs 20 pounds, 12 ounces. 

Aidan wanted to be in the nine month photo shoot too.  At 3 years & 7 months old, he weighs 35 pounds, 2 ounces. (We were at the doctor yesterday so I know their exact weights.)  
Aidan's big news is that he is potty trained!  Yay!  Aidan was the quickest learner - it took just a day and he's had no accidents since.  I am so proud of him!

He has been the best big brother; he prides himself in being able to make Lucy laugh her deep belly-laugh and being the only one who can get her to open her mouth when she doesn't feel like eating solids.

Lucy's baptism into the covenant of grace is this Sunday, February 23.
Brian came home during our photo shoot yesterday so we could get a picture of Lucy for the bulletin.

The boys were being so silly; Lucy wasn't too sure what to think!

These two love their daddy.  I do too - he IS the best.

I believe this is the picture Brian used for the baptism announcement:

I love Genesis 17:7 and what it signifies for children of believers:
(And isn't my pastor-turned-graphic-designer-husband so talented?!)

I just wept as I stared at her picture and pondered God's promise to be her God.  It's grace nearly too amazing to comprehend.

Oh, Lucy-girl, I just pray so fervently that your baptism is a blessing and not a curse; that you will love the LORD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength all of your days; and that you love the law and the One who has perfectly fulfilled the law, treasuring Him above all else.

We have family coming into town in honor of her baptism; we look forward to celebrating with them.

On another note, a huge snow storm hit north Iowa last night.  It was great fun; we played outside in the afternoon.  It was the first time I'd bundled Lucy up in her snowsuit and wore her in my sling (your name was mentioned, Naomi Ching!).

Aidan made his way over to the church playground, but the snow was too wet & heavy for him to slide down the slide.  Instead, he sat there eating snowball as if it were an apple.  We seriously couldn't interest him in anything else!

Leo is home!
My parents took exceptional care of him for 9 months, and we couldn't be more thankful for all the love they gave him.  Now I finally am energetic enough to keep up with two kids and give the dog the attention and exercise that he deserves.

Love this man!

Once we coaxed Aidan from the slide, he helped Brian make snowmen.  They are so cute!  It's fun to see the expressions on people's faces when they drive by.

Our power went out just before 9 pm; it was thrilling to use candles as we put the kids to bed.  It's something about candlelight that makes story time so cozy.
I was relieved, though, when I woke up at 6 to all the lights on! And it was warm!  I'm very thankful to the crews who worked in the treacherous weather to restore our electricity.

It is so beautiful outside.  Leo and I romped around this morning, but it was so deep we couldn't move very quickly.

I've heard so many people say that this has been the longest and weariest winter.  It's comforting to know I'm not the only one feeling that way.

I'm so grateful to the LORD for my family and warm home.  We've been playing lots of games; Aidan's favorites are Old Maid, Memory and Hi-Ho Cherry-O.

Lucy loves this mini-gym and so often gets herself twisted up.  She's such a mover & a shaker.  In the picture below, she's totally collapsed it.  She is so hilarious.  I just love her spunk.

That's the winter update!  Thanks for taking the time to read my neglected blog. :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Christ the Rock

Well, I thought we were on the verge of getting out of "zombie" mode, but this week Lu decided that she's not ready to fall asleep until midnight.  Brian, Mr. Night Owl, has been fighting a nasty cold so he's gone to bed early each night, leaving me up with a spunky, ready-to-party Lucy-Lu.

There's a pesky tooth struggling to come through her bottom gum - I think that's the culprit to our sleeplessness.  Despite her discomfort, I'm so thankful for her happiness.  She is such a contented baby.

Nevertheless, I decided that THIS is the week I was going to get up early to spend time in the Word and prayer each morning.  That time to reorient my heart and mind before the throne of grace is what I've missed more than anything since Lucy was born last May.  Girltalk recently wrote a great post answering this question How do you get up early when your kids are up all night?  Yes, those suggestions are excellent and have helped sustain me these last 8 months, but there's nothing as sweet as meeting with Jesus in those early morning hours, coffee in hand.

Our church's women's bible study has enjoyed Nancy Guthrie's Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament studies.  Because there hasn't been a women's bible study at church yet this year, I decided to order Nancy's The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy and study it myself.  Today I was immensely encouraged and just had to share what I read.

I love it when I have the "ah-ha" moments when studying God's Word.

The chapter I studied this morning was "Salvation & Provision" from Exodus 13-17.  

The Israelites continued to wander in the desert, quarreling with Moses (17:2), and Moses cried out to God asking Him for advice, for the people were ready to stone him (17:4-5).  God said, "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink," (17:6) (emphasis mine).

Nancy Guthrie helps us see how opposite this is: God is standing before Moses.  NOT Moses standing before God.  Here, Moses is the judge. God identifies himself not as judge, but as the rock.  He instructs Moses to strike the rock.  "He [God] will stand in the place of the accused, identifying himself with the rock, and he will bear the judgment the people deserved for their rebellion.  Instead of receiving punishment, they will be flooded with the mercy of a gushing stream of water flowing from the rock," (pg. 107).

We see, as Paul saw, that God (in the person of Jesus Christ) stood on the Rock and was struck with God's just rod of punishment for a guilty people:
For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
I Corinthians 10:1-4

So long ago, using a rock & steam of water, God demonstrated to His people His plan for salvation: strike Christ for sinful rebellion while saving guilty sinners like us.  Wow.

Nancy writes, "Are you seeing that the physical salvation of the Israelites at the Red Sea  provides a picture for us of the spiritual salvation available to all who trust in Christ?" (pg. 108).

So, if we're trusting in Christ the Rock, what is our responsibility?  "Drink. Drink. Drink the living water that flows from Christ alone. Believe in him; enter into a trusting, ongoing relationship with him in which he daily fills you with his own overflowing life and joy," (pgs 107-108).

Today I am drinking deeply.
This is the sweet gospel.
Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lucy is 8 months old!

Lucy Jane is 8 months old today! As I reflect on her life, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness.  I know all things in life are true gifts from God, but every single time I look into her lovely face, I am reminded of God's goodness, mercy and love in not only sparing her life, but in causing her to thrive.

At her 6 month check up a month ago, she weighed 18 pounds, 4 ounces (73rd percentile on the normal charts!).  Again, so thankful.

Lucy is spunky, fun, and a joy to be around.  I love her squeals of delight when we dance in the living room and her shrieks of happiness whenever she sees her brother.  Brian and I find ourselves laughing at her so much - she shouts for only a second if she's in a position she doesn't like; she very forcefully pushes her bottles away when she's had enough; and she grunts "Bah" when she hasn't been looked at for a few if we've forgotten she was there!  I am thankful to the LORD for her very fun, magnetic personality.

Lucy has always been very a mover and a shaker.  About 3 weeks ago, she began rolling over like crazy.  I'm thankful for a video monitor because she rolls over in her crib, even when swaddled, and needs to be repositioned often.

She loves sweet potatoes!  Shortly after Christmas we began with avocados and rice cereal, neither of which she is a fan of.  Today was the first day she ate an entire frozen cube of food.  I'm thankful for the progress!  No, she doesn't have teeth yet.

While I was on bedrest last May, a friend (also the mom of a preemie) sent me an online poster-thingy via FB that said, "I'm the mom of a preemie.  What's your superpower?"  I didn't understand, at all, the true meaning of that at the time, but now I do...somewhat.  Having Lucy eight weeks early nearly did me in.  It's only been in the last couple of weeks that I've finally felt like a normal human being.  Those early months of feeding her every 3 hours around the clock were incredibly difficult.  Since last week, she's been going to sleep at 7:30 pm, enjoys a dream-feed at 11 pm, and sleeps until 7:30 am.  It's simply glorious.  My eyes are still red and the black circles remain, but I have energy!  

With this energy I am planning to blog again, Tweet, rise early to spend time with Jesus, and do "school" more regularly with Aidan.  I'm thankful to be out of the survival mode.  Today I started my first online course through Morningside.  It is the first of three classes to obtain my TAG endorsement.  Yes, I still enjoy teaching 7-8th grade TAG for two hours/week.

Thank you to those of you who have continued to pray for us on this journey with Lucy!  Who could have imagined how amazing the outcome would be!?

And we can't forget about my favorite boy.  Aidan is doing so well too.  He prides himself in the ability to make his sister laugh, enjoys his tumbling and music classes, loves memorizing Bible verses and catechism questions, and is a HUGE ball of energy.  Both he and I are anxiously awaiting spring's arrival so he can burn energy off outside.  He also enjoys playing games (Cheery-O, Dominoes, Old Maid, etc.) and putting puzzles together.

Here is my boy on one of our recent dates:
Love him.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lines of a Story

Having just had a baby, this post was super encouraging and has changed how I view this sticky-out belly, disgusting purple spider veins, and two scars across my lower abdomen:

I am thankful that God used this body of mine to bring two of His children into the world (even if it will never be the same again!).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Let's Go Home

Last Friday, the neonatologist switched Lucy from all tube feedings to one bottle per shift.  However, with her daddy visiting and feeding her, Lucy was a champ and downed every bottle fairly quickly.  Doctors then switched her to bottle "as tolerated" and Lucy basically eliminated the need for her tube feedings within two days.
 It's been so wonderful to watch her grow.  She began with 7 mL of milk and now averages 50 mL from her bottles.  This excellence in bottling is what enables us to go home today!  It's been 38 days of grace; I'm elated at the thought of being reunited with Brian & Aidan.
 My parents came for a visit earlier in the week.  We went to Target - my very first outing since April 30.
 Today's home-going brings lots of goodbyes.  This nurse, Tara, was one of Lucy's primaries and she was absolutely wonderful.  I'll miss her and our daily chats.
This is Lucy's night nurse, Debbie.  She, too, is just excellent.  Because of her expertise and attentive eye, I felt comfortable sleeping through the midnight & 3 am feedings to get some much needed extra sleep.  Thanks, Debbie!

I ventured up to the antepartum unit to say goodbye to my bedrest nurses.  Everyone here at Abbott has been simply amazing - they make a difficult situation endurable.

Yesterday, my sewing favorites and my in-laws swarmed our house.  Brian says it's cleaner than it's ever been.  They even set up the crib, dresser, and picked up the chair for Lucy's room.  That is a true gift; I just can't believe how wonderful my Garner friends have been throughout this ordeal.  And our parents - we couldn't have managed without their help with Aidan and Leo.  So so thankful. 
Here's a quick preview of her room:
 I can't wait to paint, put up Roman Shades & curtains, and purchase things for the walls - Hobby Lobby, here I come!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lucy Update

Lucy Jane is two weeks old today!

A lot has taken place in her first weeks of life:
-She is now receiving all of her nutrition from breastmilk so she no longer needs the IV fluids.
-Her bili levels went down so she is no longer under the lights.
-She is able to regulate her own body temperature; therefore, she graduated to a bassinet.
-She is taking most of her feedings (39 mL) from a bottle.
-Her neonatologist mentioned the word "HOME" today; he's hoping Lucy can be discharged by the weekend, but it all depends on how well she continues to bottle.

We are so thankful; we continue to see the LORD's gracious hand at work in her sweet little life.  She is just so strong; my heart sometimes aches as I watch her fight to drink down the milk from her bottle.  She'll choke and then sound nasally.  It's so easy (and peaceful for her) to have it go in through her tube, but I know it's best for her to drink it - that's what will enable us to go home! Lucy is such a trooper - I am so proud of her.  Doctors normally say preemies go home around 36 weeks.  If Lucy is released this weekend, she will be barely 35 weeks.  A true testament to the hundreds of people we have praying for her!  Thank you!

Today she weights 4 lbs, 8 oz.  

Brian & Aidan were here this weekend.  I can't get over how much Aidan has grown in the last month.  He says such wonderfully hilarious things and is just so grown up!  We had a grand time of riding in the wheelchair, playing in the Sibling Playroom, running in the tunnel to find the "ice cream factory" (aka McDonald's), and cuddling on my bed watching Mickey Mouse Playhouse.  I'm hoping that last Saturday night was the last teary one - maybe this Saturday we will be home together!?

The doctors have also said that it's best to avoid "enclosed public places" with Lucy for the next 2-3 months.  There are so many things to learn about having a preemie - our summer will look dramatically different than I had anticipated.  But God is always faithful and He will continue to carry us even when we are discharged.  And on the upside - Brian's sermons are now recorded so I won't miss the much anticipated Titus series.

Thanks for your continued prayers - we'll keep you updated.

Last, but not least, Happy Birthday to our Leo!  He is two today.  Grammie gave him ice cream and lots of outside playtime.