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I can hardly believe it’s been a year since we brought this little guy home from the hospital.  He has grown and changed so much!  He was a chubby, wobbly, helpless little hairy thing who was almost always asleep and now he’s a rambunctious little blur of a boy.  He’s officially a toddler.  Wow, I have a toddler.  It just blows my mind.   Read the rest of this entry »

Summer is definitely coming to a close.  The air is turning crisp, the leaves are beginning to change and we’ve even gotten a rain or two.  Soon there’ll be a calmer pace to our days, but for now the frenzy of summer continues with food preservation and preparing the homestead for the colder days.

I haven’t posted much so I thought I’d give a little recap of what’s been going on in the homestead this summer.

I didn’t think it would be possible, but Hezzy got even cuter.  He learned to sit up, stand, army crawl, loves to practice walking, jump, and can say mama and dada.

We went to the Scandinavian festival in Eugene and to Florence (the coast) in the same day.  It was Hezzy’s second trip to the coast since he was born.  Thankfully, he didn’t get a cold afterwards this time.

We went to the Zimbabwe Festival in town and got to see a lot of hippies in African clothes attempting to dance.  You must go see hippies dancing to African music if you get the chance. Read the rest of this entry »

Hezzy, 5 days old

DISCLAIMER: These are the events as I remember them, which may or may not be the way things actually went.  I have a terrible memory, you see, and it’s been nearly 5 months since this happened.  Oh also, I was drugged up most of the time. That said, I’m sure this is pretty close to the actual events.  Ok.

To be able to accurately tell the story of Hezzy’s birthday, one must start way before the day he was born.  We must go back to when I was 19 weeks pregnant.  After my check-up with the midwife I knew that I had gestational diabetes.  I put a plan in place to eat right (including my Reliv shakes) which worked well in controlling the disease until the latter part of my pregnancy.

Read the rest of this entry »

How great it is to be a new mommy!

We still have a lot to go, as far as sleeping schedules and my learning to make the best use of my time, but it has been wonderful so far and I keep looking forward to what’s to come.  In the meantime, I’ll sleep when I can and hope I don’t mess up too much as a parent.

Here are some pictures I took recently of me and the boy with the laptop.

I’m crazy in love with this little boy.

PS: If I haven’t been writing lately, it’s because all my brain cells seem to have gone on an extended vacation and I hardly have the mental ability to function on a day-to-day basis.  Someday (maybe soon?) my brain cells will return and I’ll have something more fascinating to share.    :)

John Hezekiah Crall was born January 7th at 6:41 pm via c-section.  He weighed 11 lbs and measured 22″ long.

We finally came home from the hospital the evening of the 10th (Sunday) and I have been slowly recovering from the surgery.  John has been a champion eater and sleeper, giving us a few 4 and 5-hour stretches of sleep at a time already.  He has excellent neck muscles and has been holding his head and upper body up for short periods of time since he was three days old.

I expect to be fully recovered in a few weeks, but for now I spend most of my time sitting in bed nursing our  sweet boy and not doing much of anything else until my incision heals.

Many of our friends have been kind enough to bring meals over to us, and I’ve got to say I’ve never eaten better in my life with such little effort on my part!  It’s something I could get used to, if it weren’t for the fact that I would miss cooking very much.

He is very much admired by his grandmas and will be missed greatly.  My own mother has been calling almost every night since she left.  She calls him her “piojito” and was of great help to me while I was in the hospital.  She held him and rocked him and sang to him while waiting on me hand and foot and helping me get around.  Poor woman didn’t get much sleep, although I tried to let her have as much as she could get.  She’s an amazing mother and I know she will be a wonderful grandma.  My husband’s mother was also here helping out in my house while I was in the hospital.  She cleaned our house to perfection and cooked a couple meals for us to have on hand in case we needed something in a hurry.  What would we do without the grandmothers?!

Though the birth did not go as we had planned, and in fact was quite the opposite of what we wanted in almost every aspect, I saw HaShem’s hand in it all and His plan is always better than our own.  Had we not had the c-section, I’m sure both his life and my own would have been in jeopardy.

All in all, we are very blessed.

Hanukkah Sameach!  Happy Hanukkah!  Erev Shabbat candles.

Friday night was the first night of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Dedication or the Festival of Lights.  Did you know Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah?  He not only celebrated it, he made a special trip to Jerusalem for the festival, according to John 10:22-23.  So what is this festival all about?  It’s about the preservation of a remnant of faithful Jews, at a time when many were assimilating with the Greeks.

There was a ruler at the time, Antiochus IV who called himself Epiphanes “God Manifest”,  whose goal was to Hellenize all the Jews.  He didn’t like it that they worshiped only their own G-d and that they had a special diet.  His plan to Hellenize them included building a gymnasium by the Temple, then desecrating the Temple and erecting a pagan god in there.  They were also forced to sacrifice pigs daily on the altar.  Antiochus’ army went from town to town forcing the Jews to renounce their G-d and to eat non-kosher meat and bow down to the Greek pantheon.  Many were willing to do it for the sake of not losing their lives, and “keeping the peace”, however there was a small band of faithful Jews who would not , regardless the cost.  There are stories of some famous martyrs, including a woman who watched her seven sons die and was killed herself for not renouncing their faith.  These mere 4,000 Jews fought Antiochus’ huge army of over 40,000 for three years, and in the end they won back Jerusalem, including the Temple.  It was a miracle by the hand of G-d.  They may have been few, but G-d always manifests his power through the faithful few.  Remember the story of Gideon?

So anyway, the faithful Jews entered the Temple, cleaned it out and wanted to rededicate it to G-d.  They only found one bottle of holy oil that was untampered with for the Menorah, which would only last one day, but they went ahead and used it anyway, even though they needed it lit for eight full days.  They story goes that the oil lasted the full eight days, yet another miracle by G-d.  This is why it is also called the Festival of Lights.  So the festival is observed for eight days every year beginning on Kislev 25.

As we celebrate this holiday, we are remembering and recalling G-d’s faithful hand in preserving His people, we are remembering the importance in not allowing the little things of the world to turn us away from G-d’s ways, we are remembering the martyrs of our faith, and we are remembering our role in society today.  Afterall, Yeshua said we are to be the light of the world and that our light should not be hidden.

Latkes!

As is usually the case with Jewish festivals, there are many fun ways to celebrate this holiday.  There is food, of course, which is usually fried food to remind us of the miracle of the oil.  Traditional are latkes, or potato pancakes, and sufganyot, or jelly-filled doughnuts.  Chocolate gelt, or coins, is also traditional.

Second night of Hanukkah

There is the 9-branched menorah called the Hanukkiah, with a branch for each of the eight nights, plus the middle branch, which is for the shamash, or servant candle.  It is interesting to note that the hanukkiah would not be lit if it weren’t for the servant candle, for it is this candle that gives its light to the rest of the candles on the hanukkiah.  Just so, it is through Yeshua’s light that we can be the light of the world, and it is through the servant that we can have light.

There is also a game the children enjoy playing which retells the story of Hanukkah.  It’s called dreidel, and it’s a four-sided top with a letter on each side for each word of the hebrew phrase “A Great Miracle Happened There.”

Since it’s only me who keeps the holidays here, I made us a fine dinner of roasted chicken and roasted veggies, latkes and beet salad.  Then I had vanilla ice cream topped with vegan peanut butter cookie crumbles.  Delicious!  The hubby always enjoys the latkes and has been asking for latkes since I made them last year during Hanukkah.  Maybe next year we will celebrate the festival together as a family, or with other families.

Top left: 31 wks, bottom left: 33 wks, top right: 35 wks, bottom right: 36 wks

It’s 6:15 in the a.m. and I’ve been up since 4:30, after only 3 hrs sleep.  This sleep deprivation thing must be nature’s way to prepare you for after the birth.  On the upside, this lack of sleep comes from heartburn, which may mean that my baby’s finally growing hair.  Or so they say.  Since I haven’t had much heartburn throughout my pregnancy, I welcome this (sort-of).  I always thought my baby would be born with a headful of hair, so I was a little surprised when I didn’t complain of heartburn throughout my previous months of pregnancy.  I don’t usually believe in old-wives’ tales but this one is one that has stuck with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against having a bald baby, I just never really thought I, miss hairy peruvian girl, would have anything but a monkey-hairy baby.  And I’m totally fine with that. Now that the heartburn is here, I feel like I was probably right and there’s a certain comfort to it.

UPDATE: I tried once again to fall asleep around 7 a.m. and it finally worked, even though light was beginning to appear outside.  I got another three-hour stretch of sleep and I’m feeling pretty good right now.

The midwives made a house call on Monday, which is good since it’s nice to know where your client lives before they go into labor.  We talked about many things, one of which was my belly.  I have not grown much since last week (which is a relief to the midwives who would have ordered an ultrasound otherwise) and there is less fluid in there now, which makes the baby easier to feel.  This time they could clearly feel limbs and butt and back and head.  The baby is still in the pelvis head-down but it isn’t too far down, it seems.  I may yet have a couple of weeks!

I know I keep saying I don’t think the baby will last long in its watery world, but I’m still really hoping it will hold out until January 1st.  I really think that would be the coolest birthday ever and don’t mind one bit if I don’t get the tax write-off everyone is so excited for us to get this year.  I can totally wait another year if it means my baby will be a 01-01-10 baby.  No one would ever forget that birthday!

There isn’t much left for us to do before the baby comes.  At least, nothing of super importance.  The birth equipment is prepared, we know our birth space (or where we would like it to be), all our diapers and clothes are washed and ready, and recently received our car seat, strollers and cradle.  The cradle is super sweet and sitting next to our window in our bedroom for now, until we decide we need it.  I had to leave the swinging mechanism activated instead of holding the cradle in place because the I knew the cat was secretly hoping to make it her new sleeping quarters.  She got in once and it swung her about and she rushed right out of there, hopefully never to jump in again.

I have a third baby shower this month on the 13th thanks to my Soroptimist club.  I feel very blessed to have so many people in my life who wish to celebrate my baby with me.  There isn’t much left I need for the baby at this point, but I went ahead and updated my registries at target.com and weebunz.com.  The little things I can think of that I could use still are a bathtub, nail clippers, bulb suctioner thingy, and a changing pad for the dresser.  There are a few other little things, but they aren’t all that super necessary.  Oh, and baby socks.  I need baby socks.  My baby will be born during the coldest months of the year and I have only a couple pairs.  Poor baby.

Some of the things I’m still working on are a baby afghan I’m crocheting (as if I really needed another!), a few baby carriers such as a pouch sling, a ring sling, a moby or a mei tai, some nursing covers and I’m sure I had something else I wanted to do but it’s not coming to mind.  Pregnancy brain, I’m told.

If there are any men reading this, you’ll just want to skip this paragraph.  Seriously.  Are you gone?  Ok.  I’m pretty sure I’ve started leaking colostrum.  Last night I thought I had spilled water on my shirt when I got up in the middle of the night, but it was suspiciously in a very specific area.  It eventually dried and then a few minutes later I felt moisture again.  This morning there is proof on my shirt.  Is that even possible?  Doesn’t it seem too early to be leaking?  I hear that’s pretty important stuff so I hope not to lose any more until the baby comes.  :/

The baby is active as ever and my belly is getting more and more sensitive to its movements.  It’s a strong baby for sure.  Since it’s so active right now and since it will eventually become more space restricted as time goes by, I’ll try to put up a video of its movements while they are still big and dramatic.  Hopefully in the days to come.

Now is the time I want to prepare for the birth by making meals ahead of time and doing anything else that would make a baby’s entrance smoother for our family.  There is a post by Tammy from tammysrecipes.com that shares what she did to prepare for her second baby.  It has a lot of good information on it so I will be doing some of that in the weeks to come.  Cooking is getting harder, but I suppose it will be a lot harder with a new baby if I don’t get things rolling now.  :)

I’m so excited.

I woke up absolutely famished this morning at 6:30 a.m. despite my late night run for chicken nuggets last night with the hubby.  Yes, I know that isn’t the best of foods to be eating during pregnancy but every once in a while it’s good for the wifey to participate in naughty food runs with the hubby.  It encourages affection.

This waking up famished has been happening a lot recently, although usually it’s at a more reasonable hour, say 8 a.m. or so.  It’s such a strange feeling, knowing that you’re soooo sleepy, but you’re also soooo hungry that it’s keeping you awake.  Not to mention the kickboxing going on in your belly.  So  you’re almost hoping the baby will be content with whatever nutrition it can sap from your body for the next hour or so until you feel like getting up and making a good breakfast.  No such luck.  Your mind joins forces with your stomach, making you feel guilty for making your baby starve.  You’re half-dreaming of scrambled eggs and toast, both sleep and hunger fighting for your attention. Your time limit has run out.  It’s now 7 a.m. and you’re still not asleep, so finally you pull yourself up out of bed (getting out of bed normally is no longer an option) by holding on to the headboard as you hoist your upper body up in a slanted position, a new skill mastered in the third trimester, and you sit and wait at the edge of your bed for a few seconds while the blood catches up to the rest of your upper body before standing up.  Getting up is a such a production now.

I was hoping this getting up too early thing wouldn’t start for a few more months, but it seems that  getting adequate sleep in the third trimester is a rare thing, too.  Mostly because the belly makes it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position, but I would also add the stuffy/runny nose thing makes it difficult to breathe, which makes it difficult to sleep.  And then, if you get a bloody nose, that keeps you awake as well.  Which I do get.  Fairly often.  At least once daily.  I didn’t used to think it was a big deal but it’s getting really old now and I think I might follow hubby’s advice and get my nose cauterized soon.

The swelling in my feet still happens, but I’m definitely blessed to be able to put my feet up whenever I want to.  My fingers are swelling, as well.  Making a fist is almost painful from the swollen tissue around my fingers.  It doesn’t look too bad and I can still close my hand, I just can’t make a tight fist.  My wedding rings haven’t fit in at least a month and a half.

I still have pains in my lower back after standing too long, but I got a prenatal massage finally, which although made me hurt a little, has kept the pain away from my back for almost three days.  That’s quite a feat.  It could also be attributed to the pain patches I wear on my low back, though.  In any case, it was fun getting a little professional attention.  I’m always so hesitant to do these things and then I’m always happy to have done them.

The baby is growing well, and at last week’s appointment the midwife said there was practically no uterine growth, so we are no longer concerned about twins or having to get an ultrasound.  You can believe my side of the family is a little bummed.  I think they really wanted the ultrasound pictures.  I feel blessed that I don’t have to worry about making that decision anymore.  So now I’m only measuring ahead by four weeks instead of five and I hope it was only due to some kind of fluid exchange or something like that.

The child is definitely an active little one, making my belly do all kinds of acrobatics during the day.  Earlier this morning (and even right now) the child was doing some kind of stretching, where it slowly but forcefully stretches out its little legs and makes my belly expand in a lopsided manner.  The shape of my belly changes constantly throughout the day.  It seems only I can tell the difference, but sometimes it’s easier to see than others.

I often ask the hubby to put his hand on the belly and speak soothing words.  When he does, the baby calms down and I think it falls asleep.  It’s cute to think the baby’s already reacting to it’s daddy’s voice.  I can’t wait to see how that works out once the baby is here in our arms.  We are both very excited to meet this little one already.  It seems it will have lots of personality.

Only about six weeks left to go!

Not related, but something pretty to look at.

Unrelated, here are some pretty flowers I received a few weeks ago.

I knew that I was coming down with a cold on Monday.  I had that familiar tickle in my throat and my strength ran out pretty quickly that day.  Tuesday I woke up sick indeed and although I attempted to take good care of myself and rest in bed, I wasn’t able to sleep until 4:45 a.m. Wednesday morning and only until 9:30 a.m.  I really hate trying to fall asleep with a stuffy nose, but it seems to be so much worse when you can’t get comfortable in bed with the big preggo belly.  Thankfully the hubby was awake with me from about 11:30 p.m. until I fell asleep.  We stayed up watching episodes of The Office online and we cooked up some chicken legs to eat around 2 a.m.

Though I’m incredibly tired and cranky, I’m still very thankful that I don’t have to worry about calling in sick every morning I don’t feel well, trying to convince some superior that I really am sick and worrying about calling in time to find a replacement.  Worse is when you worry whether or not you have enough sick pay left!  If I’d had to wake up at 7 a.m. to call a supervisor to call in sick, I would not have gotten the additional two hours of sleep this morning and I would be worse off right now.

Last night with the hubby, we were both so thankful that we could stay up without worry of what obligations we had in the morning, because we had none!  That really is a relief after so many years of having to get up to go to work.

What a blessing, despite being sick!

Though I’m thankful in my own way, I still think being sick while pregnant stinks and I hope to get better quickly.  I hate not being able to sleep, tired though I am.

I wonder how long it will take to get better this time.

This is my new title.  I am finally able to say that I stay home during my days, taking care of my home and husband.  No longer am I confined to a desk for nine hours a day, whittling away my time in return for a check.  No longer do I come home from work exhausted, swollen and bloated from sitting for so long.  Nope, now I get to be active and productive at home.  This is such an exciting time for me.

So how did it happen?  Well, simple really.  I got laid off work.  At this point people usually say, “oh no, I’m so sorry!” but I say, don’t be.  Why should you be if I’m not?  You see, I’ve been *hoping* to get laid off for months now!

For a few years now, HaShem has been doing interesting things in me.  He’s been changing many things about me, including turning my heart towards home.  First he turned my heart and I was left wondering how I was going to fulfill this new desire within me to come home.  How could I when we needed the money, when it was socially not very acceptable for a woman to stay home, when my husband wanted me at work…?  Slowly, I began to look for ways in which I could fulfill this new calling.  I began to learn a lot of different ways to live more simply so that it wouldn’t be “necessary” to have two incomes.  My husband too, was learning new ways to do this, totally on his own.  We came together to discuss these new things excited about being “on the same page” about simplicity, but the hubby was still not sure about me not having a job.

Slowly, over the last few months, hubby has had his heart turn towards home as well.  HaShem has been preparing him as well as me, for His timing.  This year, my work has had many layoffs.  At first, my husband was very worried over them and thankful that I “survived” them while I sat there thinking, is this the time, L-rd?  Am I supposed to quit or get laid off?  Is this your plan?  But he always said “not yet.”  As the months passed, the hubby began to accept the idea of my getting laid off and even started getting excited at the thought.  I couldn’t believe the change in his attitude over this, but then, that’s what usually happens when HaShem changes a person.  

This time, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that it was my turn.  From the outside it might seem to be bad timing.  After all, I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy and surely I need the health insurance coverage, right?  Thankfully, we chose to go with a midwife, which means the rates are substantially lower than hospital bills would be, and anyway we can get cobra at low rates for nine months.  Not only that, but getting laid off means I can rest and prop my feet up whenever I need to, not have to ask for permission to use the restroom (which we all know is quite often for pregnant ladies) and feeling bad making someone cover for me for a few minutes almost every hour.   It means I can get unemployment benefits for a time, while I look for something I can do from home to bring in a small income.  Not that we need it, but it’s been the plan for a while for me to have some kind of backup income should something happen.  With maternity leave there is no pay at all!  They just hold your job for 12 weeks.  It means not having to get up at 5:45 a.m. to catch the 6:50 a.m. bus so I can get to work at 8.  It means not getting home so late and tired that I can barely force myself to make dinner, and not getting to eat it until after 7:30 p.m. the doing chores and getting to bed late.  I mean, seriously, how is this not so much better?

It’s been amazing for me to see how HaShem’s plans develop in my life.  They really are better than anything I could have planned for myself and His timing is impeccable!  This is why I have been such a happy person since my layoff.  You wouldn’t believe how giddy I was that day and the days immediately following.  It’s over a week later now and I’m a little shocked to feel *so comfortable* in this new role.  I feel like I’ve been doing this forever and it’s even hard now for me to imagine having to get up to go to work!  

So yes, I got laid off, but it’s the best thing that has happened to me in months!  It’s a blessing! And we are doing fine.  We are both happy I’m finally home.  

Baruch HaShem for this and all His blessings in my life.

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