Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We did it

As of Monday morning, I have been free to move about as I please and I'm sure you can imagine our family's joy in hearing this news. The scenario certainly existed in which I could have been told to go straight to labor and delivery but The Lord was good and gracious to us all. While we were told progress was surely underway, it wasn't enough to warrant a stay and off we went!

We headed straight for one of our favorite breakfast spots and enjoyed a nice meal together, just the two of us. To walk, sit at a table and move amongst other folks in town, order my usual latte treat and spend time with the man who has held our entire family together during these difficult 98 days---words cannot describe the joy. 

My hope throughout this process was, that should I get the opportunity to move around before Isaac arrives, I'd love to go on a date and enjoy a nice dinner with my husband. And since our doctor appointment had been moved to the morning, I resigned to the fact that breakfast was likely our best chance. But the day progressed and still no sign of baby and I felt as though we'd get our chance. Sure enough, I found myself thanking God once more for his kindness in allowing me to spend some quality time with Elliot at the park (short-lived though--that humidity, whew!) and indeed, make it through a lovely dinner with my love and no labor interruptions.

 This little cutie (wet hair and all!) was happy for us, too

And so we've made it not just one, but two days without going into labor! Something I hoped for but truthfully, never thought would happen. The most surprising part of this new phase is my physical stamina. Well, the fact that I have no more muscle is certainly evident and I knew it would be difficult to get back on my feet. My body is certainly trying to adjust, supporting all this weight upright, but not just that. It's the pure deconditioning---the inability to walk (or just stand for that matter!) and talk to someone at the same time. Hilarious to witness, I tell you! 

I'll return to the doctor Friday for another check-up, should I make it. We all have bets around here as to when this little one will arrive. I've already surpassed my guess. Elliot told us "Thursday", Grant is holding tight to Friday and my new prediction (and hope!) is for today. I would love for my doctor to see me all the way through this journey and he only delivers on Wednesdays! 

It goes without saying that aside from the good Lord and my patient husband, I could not have made this journey without the love of so many friends and family. I've been brought to tears by the graciousness of others many times in the last 3 months. We are truly blessed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

home stretch

Endless hours on the couch often leaves one with endless hours to reflect (a little too much, actually!) about everything under the sun. And as time continues to pass, Ive thought to myself, "what do you have to show for the last 3 months on your back?!"

Some part of me believes I should have several tangible things to prove my productivity and worth while on the couch but I'll be honest, I just don't have that many. In fact, only one. But, I've certainly ventured into almost everything thats come to mind.

So, here you go. Some of the ways I've kept myself busy and attempted to remain sane the past 12 weeks.

TV: I began here and after a week of binging, I was done. For awhile at least. But here's what I've started and/or finished since week one. Consider most of these a recommendation if you find yourself stuck to a couch or in need of a little guilty pleasure.

-Greys Anatomy: previous fan, but started over at season 1 for fun, making it all the way to 5 before cutting ties.
-Alias: skipped through several episodes in each season but I finished all 5 seasons netflix offered
-Lost: another series previously watched live, but started over for fun. Skipped around to the good episodes. And by that I mean, the ones involving heartthrobs Jack and Sawyer. Duh.
-Orange is the New Black: (netflix original series). Beware! grossly inappropriate, but such a great storyline and hard not to fall in love with the characters. One season completed in 2 days.
-GIRLS (HBO): another fairly inappropriate show and not really for me but I watched several episodes to tide me over a few days.
-Revenge:  Just as good, if not better than Scandal. Approaching season 2 this week.
-Parenthood, Downton Abbey, and Mad Men all received my attention, too but I have yet to complete a full season.
-And then there's the random things I found myself into at times like Storm Chaser tornado specials, CNN crimes of the century, Dateline stories and HBO sport specials. Just because I'm a dork like that.
-MOVIES: I'm not sure it's worth naming them all, but I've essentially watched every suspense movie available on the HBO go app and Netflix, as well as several romantic comedies.

BOOKS: thankfully we have access to Grants library at school (online and hard copy), the Memphis Library, ibooks and my nook. Several sweet friends gave me iTunes gift cards and I used them to purchase a few books. I've finished these so far and recommend them all. If I were you, I'd go for the Amanda Knox Memoir first. I could not put that thing down- 2 days y'all! (thanks to my friend, Jesse who clued me in on it's goodness!)


        Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life  -     By: Emily P. Freeman

And I'm still working on these:


 One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  -     By: Ann Voskamp

I've also taken an interest in knitting and crochet but there's not much to show for it, other than a dinky little hat that I'm pretty sure I'd never let our baby boy wear! Grant has taught me a few things about the ukelele and I've been practicing with his Beatles book occasionally. But don't expect much from me in that department, either. I can barely play one song. But, it sure has been fun to practice!

What's really kept me going are the gracious friends that have stopped over for lunch, an afternoon visit and several times for dinner. I don't know what I would have done without these moments.
When my family is home, I don't have to rely on any of these things for entertainment but for the many weekdays and occasional weekend days that have passed, these things have kept me from having a nervous breakdown.

However, in the past 2 weeks, I've come pretty close to losing it, people.  As I near the end, it's become surprisingly harder to remain calm and positive. The anticipation of freedom is killing me and the desire for some kind of normalcy in my life adds to my lack of patience these days.
But, I can't believe it. I'm less than 3 weeks away from getting off this couch and 2 weeks away from knowing just how much I'll be allowed to move around.

We found out he was breech at 30 weeks. A surprise to us all, as he has been head down for all previous (and numerous!) ultrasounds. If his position does not change by next week, I'll likely be looking at a C-section birth and a little less freedom before he arrives.

But! A change back to the right position will allow for the original plan to remain in place: stitch removal in less than 3 weeks and FULL freedom (at home-- no return to work) until
James Isaac Burke decides to make his debut. (Yes, we finally have a name!)

We are overjoyed with how far we've come and thankful the Lord saw fit for our little Isaac to
keep growing in utero. We're praying He can help us get through this week, allowing us to reach the second milestone on Sunday---35 weeks!

Monday, May 12, 2014

baby shower

One night last week, my dear friends put together a little shower for baby boy and me, thoughtfully catering to my presence on the couch and lifting my spirits beyond words.

While so many people have been kind enough to visit me during the week, text or call, there are still times when I'm left feeling like my life is passing me by. This feeling is hard to describe to others for some reason. But there's just something so wonderful about having all your friends in one place. It's a party! And something I think I was craving more than I realized. 

 It was a little strange to have a gathering at the house and not prepare one thing or run around with last minute to-do's! But absolutely humbling to sit back and watch my friends transform what I've come to think of as a boring, plain room into something so lovely.

The good camera was out of commission and we did our best with a phone, but you get the idea!
Cute little hanmade banner (that I think we will use in his room!) and the most beautiful flowers cut from the gardens of a couple friends. Just look at those peonies. They came from a 100 year-old peony bush and the whole arrangement smelled heavenly. I'm still enjoying them!

I had such a great time catching up with these ladies and thankful for each of them. I cannot wait to visit outside of this house, though!

A huge thank you to all of these lovely gals (and those not present for the picture!) for helping organize such a lovely shower and for all your love and support throughout the past 2 months. Only 6 weeks left! Couldn't have gotten this far without you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Five weeks ago I was sent home from a routine doctor appointment on full bed rest and no clue what was in store for baby boy and me. I remember my OB's exact words. "Honey, if you can just make it to 28 weeks I will be thrilled."

And here we are!!! I cannot begin to express the joy I have knowing that he has a good, fighting chance if he were to arrive anytime soon. He is healthy and has measured well so far. And while his lungs are not fully developed, they are much better formed than five weeks ago!

I saw my OB this past week for the first time since that visit and surgery and the look on his face was priceless. He was smiling as he walked in the door and just sat there staring at me with this silly smile. I truly think he was surprised to see me still pregnant! It was such a satisfying moment for me too, knowing I have done my part for my child. I have obeyed every rule (kicking and screaming some days) for five weeks and it's working. Thank you, Lord.

The plan remains the same. Lay low until 37 weeks (week of June 23) and I'll have my stitches removed. Only the Lord knows if he'll come that day or give his momma a few days to get off this couch before his arrival! I tried to bargain with my doctor for a slightly earlier removal the week before, but he's sticking to his guns. And I respect that.

Elliot has finally grown accustomed to our new little routine at home and her behavior has improved greatly over the last 2 weeks. She has been so helpful- grabbing things off the ground for mommy or getting an extra pillow, cleaning up her mess (in mommy's area at least!) and picking out clothes from her drawers. She has always been an independent little girl but we are noticing that even more now. I think she is going to be a wonderful big sister!

Both of my loves were a little under the weather this past weekend and boy was that hard to lay around watch! But Grant, being the trooper that he is, made sure Elliot had a good Easter weekend anyway. I am so thankful for this man!

Grant and Elliot had a packed Easter morning together with church and a family brunch while I had my own little celebration at home. We ended the day with a little egg hunt in our backyard with my toosh reclined in a chaise lounger. It was such a beautiful day and a great way for us to celebrate Easter and 28 weeks pregnant together!

My dear friend, Leslie snapped a picture of my two loves at church- thank you! Can't wait to be holding another little bundle of joy for next year's photo.

And just look at how Elliot and one of her little BFFs, Jules! They have grown so much in the last two years! 

The easter bunny (grammy) hid some "monies" as Elliot says, in a few eggs this year :). This girl loves coins for her piggy bank!

Not quite the Easter weekend we planned for but just as happy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

the truth

Let's just be transparent shall we. This whole bed rest business isn't for sissies. Don't trick yourself into thinking itd be fun to be bound to a couch where you can watch tv all day, sleep and have people wait on you. Not that you would, but hey, most people think to themselves how great it'd be for someone to force them to rest. But for an unknown (though hopeful) 3 month span? Yeah, now you're squirming.

Today is just one of those days for me. When I can't shake the thoughts of all I'm missing out on. Pick-up hugs with Elliot, giving her a bath, taking her to the park, picking her up from school, making her dinner, playing with her, girls night, bunko, small group at church, worship on Sundays, lunch with friends, dinners with friends, birthday parties for dear friends, walking outside, working out, sitting up for longer than 30 minutes, play dates, date nights with grant, preparing and organizing baby boy's room, dedicating specific time and activities for Elliot to enjoy before we become a family of 4, cooking, grocery shopping. the everyday mundane things that you take for granted but help you feel accomplished as a mother and person somehow.

Life at home with a toddler who is trying to wrap her mind around mommy being a couch potato in conjunction with a husband who works full time (plus a nightly part time gig here and there) trying to take care of said toddler, his couch potato wife and the house is chaotic and stressful to say the least. And to be confined to the couch where your only option is to listen and or watch all that's going on without any control? Yikes. Because I'll tell you folks, nothing will squash your mommy power over your child like being surrendered to the couch. All verbal control or ability to grasp your child's attention for a teaching moment has passed for the time being.

There you have it. Some of the ugly truths about bed rest. So if you're temped to spit out the proverbial "just enjoy your time resting, you'll never get this chance again", maybe you'll think twice now. (And if you've already said this to me, no worries! I still love ya).

Thankfully, our gracious God does not allow suffering in such thought forever and so timely provides someone or something in front of me to uplift my spirits and help me remember that this is temporary and absolutely necessary for the life growing inside me. And then the mom in me is guilty for even having such thoughts or complaints. Ha, It's a cycle of emotions.

Despite these truths I've confessed, there's also been many great days and thankful moments that keep me going.

I am not at the hospital. I have a loving husband who has taken on so much and rarely complained. We have an enormous support group of people helping make life possible and sacrificing of themselves for us. I am still pregnant and we are all healthy otherwise. I can count on one hand the number of days I've spent lunch alone during the week and man, what a blessing that has been. The same goes for dinner that has been provided or will be provided during this time. The sweet phone calls or texts each day. The time I've gotten to spend with my baby boy, understanding all his routine movements and patterns throughout a day that I would otherwise have overlooked due to an everyday busy life.

So I don't allow myself much time to wallow in the negatives. Because there's just way too many things to be thankful for. And if you ever hear me start in with any negative thought, do me a favor and steer me back into all that is good (after I finish my rant of course!). :)

Okay, I'm seriously going to tackle this crochet thing. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Here we go again!

Let's not even talk about how long it's been since I've updated and move right to the present. We have been busy running after and being entertained by a toddler and loving every minute of it. I just wish I had documented more of our adventures.

We found out last fall that we are expecting another little one and recently that we're having a boy! It took me awhile to grasp the fact that I'd see a little boy running around my home. We have thoroughly enjoyed having a girl (though she's not much of a girly-girl and honestly, we like it) but are thrilled to have a boy and start a new adventure. Elliot wasn't
sure what to think in the beginning as she only talked about having a little sister. But she's excited to share with her little brother her love for the Grizzlies and all their names. Honestly, that incentive is what helped her accept that a baby boy was going to be sleeping in the room next to her!

This pregnancy has been different from the beginning.. more nausea and sickness overall, more pressure/discomfort and surprisingly not much weight gain in the beginning. I fully expected to have similar issues with my body this time as I did with Elliot regarding her arrival and the need for bedrest. But we learned of problems a lot sooner this time around and I had a small procedure last week to help thwart the possibility of delivery in the next few weeks.

So, here I am one day shy of 25 weeks and on full bedrest with the following privileges:
-to and from the bathroom
-shower less than 10 minutes
-sitting at table (or anywhere) at 90 degree angle for no more than 30min/day

Kind of harsh, but so far it's working! We've almost completed 2 weeks now and received a great report from the doctor this week, so I will continue this routine until I deliver. We've been given encouragement from the physican that we have a good chance to make it to 37 weeks and we are clinging to that!

Elliot is learning how to spend time with Mom a little different these days

We're slowly finding what works so that I can help with Elliot's routine and spend time with her. We read together every night, say our prayers as a family from the couch and I sing her songs through the monitor at bedtime. (And naturally, watch a few of her shows together). Whatever gets the snuggles at this point! It's not exactly the way I'd like to do things, but each day I'm thankful I'm at home on bed rest rather than at the hospital. And most importantly, that our little boy is still growing.

We have been blessed by many friends and family already that have helped make this new phase as smooth as possible and for that we are so very thankful. Grant is doing a great job as Mr. Mom and keeping Elliot entertained, too. It's hard to miss out on the fun but I'm thankful she is happy and keeping her routine as much as possible. 

Grizzlies Party at Putt-Putt

We appreciate all the prayers on our behalf and well wishes we've received and ask that you continue to pray for us during this process. 

There's a master list around here of all I'd like to accomplish from the couch in the next possible 15 weeks and maybe I'll share that next time. But for now, hit me up with your favorite books and television series I might access from Netflix! 

Monday, December 31, 2012

food blog addiction

It's no secret, I LOVE food. For most holidays, birthdays or any occasion really, I've asked for a cookbook. I currently have 30. But there's about 15 new ones on my wish list this very minute. Ridiculous, I know.  Lately, I've been getting my inspiration from various blogs, rather than turning to my beloved cookbooks. My google reader is filled with so many "food" blogs right now, I can't keep up.

I check reader most every day. Considering this is usually done in the mornings or on my lunch break, I star the titles that look good to me and I go back later to take a peek at the recipe (I can't help but read friends' posts right then and there, though).

So, in the spirit of what several avid bloggers do around this time of year, I'd like to share my favorites (from their blogs!) in 2012. Most of these recipes were made more than once, even twice at our house this year. And the remainder are our more recent favorites.

In no particular order.

1.  Baked Tex-Mex Pimento Cheese Dip   via Annie's Eats. This is my go-to cheese dip now. It's different than the usual and has an extra kick. It doesn't last long, either!

2. Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Bake via Picky Palate. Working full time has me looking for easy meals during the week and this has been one of my favorites. And it's easy to substitute for a healthier version, too.

3. Taco Pizza via Real Mom Kitchen. Now, this one is far from healthy but easy and delicious. If you're like my husband and enjoy Taco Bell (I'm betting few of you) then this is your meal. I have not adjusted this recipe for a lighter version, but there could be a few things done.  Try it, you'll love it. I mean, who doesn't love crescent rolls?

4. Mexican Lasagna via Annie's Eats. There seems to be a theme here, I guess. This family loves mexican food and meals that will last more than one night! This is actually a low maintenance meal, though it looks time consuming. And its so, so good. Just read the directions carefully and remember to put foil on the pan before baking, or your noodles will get hard and burn pretty quickly. First time mistake I haven't made twice.

5. Orzo with Kale, Corn and Sausage via Family Bites. I absolutely love orzo. And kale is one of new favorite veggies. This is easy, delicious and pretty healthy. Especially if you go with whole wheat orzo. We've eaten it as a main dish, a side to a larger meat and most definitely for weekly lunches.

6. Brown Butter Funfetti Snickerdoodles via une gamine dans la cuisine. As far as cookies go, Snickerdoodles are generally off my radar. Sure, they're good. But you know, just the same ole, same ole. These are different, I tell you. And its definitely the brown butter. If you put enough sprinkles in, there's a little crunch, too.

7.Cinnamon Clove Coffee Cookies with Irish Cream Frosting via bake your day and BHG. These cookies are so good. If you love coffee, you've got to try these. The cookie itself is very similar to the Irish Cream cookies (linked within the frosting) I made for a cookie exchange a few years ago but the cinnamon/clove in this one really gives it a kick. And you can never go wrong with Irish Cream Frosting!

8. Jamie Oliver's Vegetable Soup via Jamie Oliver. This was brought to us by a dear friend while I was on bedrest with Elliot and I've made it so many times since then. Its easy, healthy and delicious! (Even Elliot loves it!).

In addition to the blogs above, I also frequent the following and suggest you take a peek sometime, too. Or add them to your Reader :)

-Espresso and Cream: Madison is a successful food editor and provides a wide range of recipes on her blog. Plus, other good (non-food) related reads. She's also the one that helped me win the cookie exhange a few years ago with her Iced Eggnog cookies!

-My Baking Addiction: There are some serious desserts here. I can't get enough of this one.

-Channeling Contessa: I've just recently come into this blog via Joy the Baker. Like me, she loves Ina Garten. And she recently got the chance to meet her, along with Joy the Baker and Willow Bird, below. If Ina has invited these ladies over for a cookie exchange, then I gotta see what they're all about.

-Willow Bird Baking: Also a part of Ina's cookie exchange this year, Julie has so many great recipes on her blog. I've loved every one of them. Including her rosemary thumbprints with clementine curd.  Very different, but good!

-Confections of a Foodie Bride: One of the most delicious from-scratch strawberry cakes can be found here.

-Kitchen Confidante: This girl, Liren can really cook. And she's got several awards/honorable mentions to show for it, too. Plus, good photos that make you want to prepare each recipe she posts.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. Hope you enjoy these recipes and blogs as much as I do!

P.S. We had a wonderful Christamas and the proof is coming!