Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Capture: Family

So, there's a fun photo meme going on at I Should Be Folding Laundry. Actually, it seems that it's been going on for quite some time, but this is my first time to join in the fun. The topic this week is family, so allow me share some pictures of mine. 

We went up the mountain for Memorial Day, which was a nice break from the desert sun, but overly crowded. Apparently we weren't the only ones who were trying to escape the desert heat. But we had a very nice picnic up there, ran around a bit, and then made our way home. 

Our 3yr old took this photo!
Juju was fighting sleep on the drive back home down the mountain. 
I took the girls to a local splash park yesterday. We had so much fun!!

And that's all there is! To see how others have captured their families, take a peek here.
Grace and peace y'all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

God's Masterpiece

So I am actually borrowing this from a friend's blog, as it touched my heart so deeply...especially when He said, "most of my children really like to talk." There was something so profound about this video, a reminder of the intimate relationship that is available to us with God. He really does hear everything we say, and treasures us more than we know. 

Praise you God for who you are. 
Praise you Father for who you are. 
Thank you for your unending love. 
Thank you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I am learning to live frugally

So, if I were more tech savvy, I would have come up with a cute button of some sort to say "I am choosing to live frugally," but alas, I am not, so I cannot. So I will simply state it here in a non-clever manner. I am choosing to live frugally. It actually didn't start out so much as a choice, but more of a necessity, but now it has evolved into a choice, and even a challenge, of how I can tighten things up even more. 
For anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time, you will recall that I had to go back to work back in October, as this economy had taken a toll on our finances. So at that point, my challenge began, to get the finances in better order, and get us in a better position for me to be able to stay home once again. 
So now I am home on maternity leave, and am once again loving being able to be home with my girls. We are doing a "dry run" with our budget cut down to one income, and are looking for more ways to cut back.
I have to confess that one of my weaknesses comes in the form of eating out. I love to eat out and have really struggled to find joy in cooking at home. But these days, I have been learning, and enjoying, cooking at home. Now granted, we have had dinner meals delivered to us since the baby was born, and for that I am eternally grateful. It has given me the opportunity to regain strength after Hannah's delivery, and start to cook lunch everyday for my family. Now I know that some might smirk at this, but for me it is a huge start! We haven't been out to eat for lunch in 10 days! Seriously, y'all, for me this is huge!
So, I would appreciate your ideas for frugal living, as I learn how to do this. Thank you, Lisa, for all the recipes and ideas that you sent to me. We made the crescent beef burritos for lunch today and they were a huge hit!!
Anyhow, that's where we are. I'm learning to coupon, though I'm not very good at it yet. But I am enjoying learning how to save money. Seriously, I would welcome your ideas and thoughts, things that have worked well for you and your family.

Grace and peace, y'all.

Thoughts on pregnancy

A few things that I do NOT miss about being pregnant:
1. Morning (all-day) sickness that lasts for about 3 months. For me, it was a low-grade nausea that lasted all day.
2. Extreme fatigue to go along with the all-day sickness, that leaves one incapable of functioning in any sort of normal capacity.
3. Having to tuck pillows on all sides just to find some sort of comfort while sleeping. 
4. Not being able to sleep on my belly.
5. Not being able to breathe due to a big fat baby pressing on my diaphragm.
6. Hourly bathroom breaks throughout the day and night. 
7. Not being able to see anything below the top of my abdomen.
8. Feet and ankles that swell up to the same width as my thighs.
9. Heartburn with every meal.
10. Being about 10 degrees hotter than the people around me.
11. Gestational diabetes!

A few things that I DO miss about being pregnant:
1. hmmmm...
2. No, really. Hmmmm...
3. Ok, I guess there is a small window of opportunity where pregnancy is nice, where the baby isn't so big and her movements and kicks are cute and heart-warming rather than brutal. Small window.

Needless to say, I am enjoying not being pregnant. I am also thoroughly enjoying my sweet Hannah.

Grace and peace, y'all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Have you ever seen an angel smile?

My precious Hannah is now 6 days old, and exhaustion seems to be the theme around the house right now, other than the preschooler and toddler who just keep going and going. During the night, I feel like I just hit a good REM sleep when the baby starts to stir, smack her lips, and then cry to be fed, yet again. But then last night, there was a saving grace. 

It was around 3am when Hannah awoke again, crying to be put back on the breast. I grumbled as I rolled over in bed, rubbed my swollen eyes, and got up to appease her. She nursed for what seemed like an eternity, as I struggled to just keep my head up. When she finally came off the breast, she rolled her head back into my arms with such peace and satisfaction in her face that it overwhelmed me. And then, in the wee hours of the morning, with just enough light to see her face, my sweet little angel smiled. It wasn't just a little smirk or gas smile, but a full on smile, with almost a little giggle to go with it. And not just once. She smiled, giggled, rested, and then smiled again, as if some sweet conversation was blessing her ears and she just couldn't contain it. And I just sat there marveling, wondering Who was talking to my sweet little angel as I cradled her there. 

Do you ever wonder at what point we stop hearing the voice of our Creator? I mean really hearing His voice? Scripture says that He created our inmost being; that He knit us together in our mother's womb. It was His doing. He hand-crafted every single one of us, tailoring every aspect of us to carry out the purpose for which He was creating us to begin with. Do you ever wonder what the ears of babies really hear, as their Creator is shaping them? Is He just talking to them, comforting them, calming and loving them the whole time?

I heard a story once of a toddler who asked her mommy and daddy if she could talk to her newborn sister alone for a few minutes. The parents reluctantly agreed, knowing that they could listen to everything that was happening in the room on their baby monitor. This precious toddler walked into the baby's room and closed the door gently, as the parents leaned in closer on the baby monitor, straining to listen. They could hear their precious toddler walk across the room, approaching the crib where her new sister was sleeping, and then they heard these words: "Remind me what His voice sounds like. I've almost forgotten."

The tears running down my cheeks now remind me that I still have lots of hormones on board, but then again, the words from the lips of babes convict my heart and draw me to my knees. There are certainly days when I have forgotten altogether how precious is the voice of my Creator. I forget to cry out until I have gone too far and remember my own inadequacies. I run out of time to listen for His response, but simply rattle off a list of my requests. How patient and kind is our God. 

But this morning, my little angel smiled, and I knew that the Almighty had spoken something so sweet and so precious to this tiny little treasure that all I could do was praise His Name. 

Grace and peace y'all, as we tune our ears to the sweet musings of our Lord.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Allow Me to Introduce to You...

Well, the pregnancy is finally over, praise Jesus! And we have a beautiful baby girl to show for all the hard work. My doc decided that induction was the best option, as the baby was quite large, my fluid levels were very low and her movement had decreased drastically. So, here I am at 39 weeks, dropping the girls off with their grandparents as we head in to the hospital.

Mercy, my belly was heavy!!

Meet Hannah Imani Okongo, born May 5th, 2009 at 8:44pm.

She weighed 9lb, 13oz and was 21.2 inches long!

I can't believe all that was packed into my belly! It is truly amazing!

This is my doctor, who is amazingly patient and compassionate. She has been there for the births of all three of my girls, and has just been a pure blessing to my heart. The other lady in the picture is a very dear friend, who has also been there for all three births. All of my girls were threatened with admissions to the NICU after birth due to complications with my gestational diabetes. Jamie has kept my girls out of the NICU, and for that I am eternally grateful. 

I love snuggle time! Hannah has a great latch-on and LOVES to eat!

Proud daddy.

Ahh. This is a common pose. Daddy holds baby. Baby falls asleep. Daddy falls asleep. 
Well, that's what I have for now. The girls love their new sister and have enjoyed "holding" her and petting her head. They really have done so well with her. We are getting settled in to having a newborn in the house again, and I seem to be recovering fairly well, just praying for more sleep. 
Grace and peace y'all.