Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Steals and Deals: Send a Hallmark Card for Free

Just in time for Mother's Day, Hallmark is offering a free 5x7 paper card. Follow these simple easy steps:

* Go to
* Choose any 5x7 paper card (without sound)
* Personalize it (even add an optional photo)
* Use the promo code CARD4MOM at checkout
* Hallmark will stamp and send your card - FREE!

Orders must be placed by May 1st for delivery in time for Mother's Day. Already mailed a Mother's Day card? Choose any other style of 5x7 card (birthday, graduation, etc.) and reserve delivery for a later date -- still FREE!

photo credit:
tip credit: Bargain Briana

Steals and Deals: Free Carvel Ice Berg

Tomorrow (April 30, 2009) from 3-7 P.M., go celebrate Carvel's 75th anniversary with a FREE 8 oz. Ice Berg -- "your favorite soda flavors blended with ice and vanilla flavoring and topped with a scoop of premium soft serve ice cream." Click here to find your nearest Carvel location.

(One per person, no coupon necessary.)

photo and tip credit: Money Saving Mom

Steals and Deals: Free CroisSONIC Breakfast Sandwich

Sonic has expanded their breakfast menu by offering the new CroisSONIC breakfast sandwich -- "your breakfast favorites on a soft, buttery croissant." Go here to print a coupon for a FREE CroisSONIC sandwich with the purchase of a large fountain drink.

(Not valid during Happy Hour. Boo.)

photo credit:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Deals of the Day: Diapers and the Pink Pack-N-Play

This was not a good weekend for hitting the garage sales. Our weekend schedule was already very full, so we knew we'd be limited on the amount of time we'd have available to spend out hunting for bargains. Also, both highways leading out of our neighborhood were going to be partially closed all day Saturday for a bridge repair, making traffic a beating and leaving us unwilling to be out in it. Fortunately, our neighborhood sale was this weekend, and we had the opportunity to explore the garage sale preview when James got home from work on Friday night.

For some reason, our neighborhood sale is never very good. Really, we could just skip it altogether and not feel like we missed out on anything, but with nothing else going on on Friday, it didn't hurt to drive around. As we expected, we didn't find much, and some sales were so poorly executed, we didn't even stop the car. Despite the disappointing excursion, we did pick up a few odds and ends, some books, a remote control puppy for Grace, and a super cute mini Pack-N-Play for the baby.

Pack-n-Play's have come a long way since our big kids were babies. Back then, there was a standard design, no bells and whistles, and the color selection ranged from light blue to dark blue. This little one is fairly basic with regards to the shape, but it's smaller in size than the ones we used to have -- a bonus for someone like me who prefers floor space to clutter. Plus, it's pink gingham with ruffles! Squeal!

It has a very sturdy bassinet addition that snaps in all around, instead of being perched precariously atop the unit, as were the bassinets of yore. It really has no bells or whistles to speak of (some other styles and brands have tilting mattresses, vibration settings, built-in music, etc.), but that's not a deal breaker for us. It has wheels, and a little umbrella topper, and ruffles! I was sold before I ever stepped out of the car. Better still, I brought it home, carrying case and all, for $15. Squeal!

On Saturday, we went about our day as planned and stopped at Walgreens on the way home. I picked up something in the back of the store and unintentionally cut through the baby aisle on my way to the register. There, tucked away on a bottom shelf, I noticed some Walgreens brand diapers clearanced from $4.99/pack to $1.09/pack. Without hesitation, I bought every pack available in my local store -- 19 packages in all -- and would have driven to all the neighboring Walgreens if we weren't already on a tight schedule. I spent $20.71 on diapers instead of $94.81. I saved $74.10! Though we're expecting to cloth diaper this baby, we were already planning to use disposables for those exhausting newborn days and on those occasional super-busy away-from-home days -- now we can at a discount.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby.
Two years later
and my heart still aches for you...

photo credit: arskavaan

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homeschool Recess

Around our house, we've all got a touch of the Spring Fever. We're longing for pools to open. We're itching to be outside. It's so hard to focus when the sunlight streams into our school space, and consecutive days of warm Texas weather does not help the cause. We needed a Homeschool Recess.

Today, we gave up the fight and spent the afternoon with some friends at one of the sandy beaches at a nearby lake park. The water was still too cold (and brown and gross) for swimming, but the kids peeled their shoes off, rolled their shorts up, and waded in as far as we Mommies would let them. They admired jet skiers, a houseboat circling the shore, and fishermen casting their nets. They collected shells and threw rocks. They built a complex system of rivers and tributaries and floated small plastic toys to a pool at the end. When we came home to finish our lessons, writing assignments were influenced by the day's activities with frequent repetition of the words "fun," and "cool," and "best day ever."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Shoes: Thoughts on Loss and Being Pregnant Again

I am a huge fan of shoes. That's not always been the case, but somewhere around age twelve or thirteen, something changed in me and I've loved shoes ever since. My mom would indulge me as best she could by buying me shoes I loved in varying colors. My first job was next door to a shoe store, which meant I brought home no money for anything else.

As I've gotten older, my shoe selection has changed. I have an array of flip-flops and Crocs. I own shoes sensible for walking long distances. I have heels chosen carefully so they don't rub blisters or cause undue pressure. I have a pair of surgical shoes I hobbled around in all last summer after hurting my desensitized feet. My shoe collection these days is not glamorous, but it is reliable, and most of all, safe.

Why such a safety girl? Last summer, I wore a pair of my favorite flip-flops to Six Flags and developed large blisters on the bottom of both of my feet. Because my feet are so insensitive, I couldn't feel the blisters developing and remained unaware until they burst and bled. I was driven out of the park on the Medic Cart (embarrassing!) and spent time in Urgent Care. Despite constant care, the wounds didn't heal well, and later, when we suspected infection, I spent time in the ER. That led to weekly appointments with the podiatrist who literally sliced away sections of my sole at every visit. He also banned me from walking as I was accustomed. He made the wounds and my entire situation worse to help my feet heal properly, and without that treatment, I was at a serious risk of loss.

I learned my lesson last summer, pain was my teacher, and now I'm very conscious about my shoe choice in relation to my environment. I take measures to protect myself and to keep myself completely intact. Though I am better and can now walk with ease, I don't ever fail to remember the situation I found myself in and the measures I can take to prevent a recurrence of that experience. That doesn't mean I spend my life in fear of hurting myself or losing my feet, it only means I'm being aware, conscious, responsible, taking measures to protect myself and to prevent a loss.

Regarding shoes, I have a pair of metaphorical shoes: the shoes of my life, the shoes only I walk in every single day. The shoes of my life are lovely indeed. They were provided by a generous Giver who knew just what I needed. There are bows and buckles right where they belong, with beautiful children, wonderful husband, and better friends than I could have ever dreamed. Financial security and a host of blessings make for a good stable fit. Varying hues are the lives I have touched and the lives that have touched mine. I could not create for myself such an amazing pair of shoes.

But the shoes of my life also represent days that are unusual and often not-so-easy. There are woes from my childhood and the days of my youth. There are family and relationship issues common to all. There's a history of pain and of grief and of loss. These are the things that rub blisters and cause scars. These are the things that, if ignored, could fester and grow infected and could lead to further pain and further loss. These are the risks of walking at all, and while the pain can be intense and inconvenient and hard to understand or take seriously, these are the moments that should never be forgotten.

For those who know me, my story of loss is well-told. We've had four first trimester losses, including a twin in this pregnancy, and I had a son, born too early, who lived on the Earth but for a moment. An interesting thing about my pregnancies is that each loss revealed an issue resolved in the next pregnancy. Were it not for my losses, there is no way I would still even be pregnant with this little girl. Medically, it has been vitally important to consider the past, and just as with my feet, I don't ever fail to remember the situations I found myself in and the measures I can take to prevent a recurrence of those experiences.

All of that to say that I got an e-mail this week that really, quite honestly, ticked me off. I know that sounds mean, but I'm just keeping it real. It came from an acquaintance of mine, really a friend of a friend, and while it was well-meaning (I'm sure), it frustrated me to no end. Here's a portion:

I have been asking God to send you a supernatural cloak of peace. May you not be moved by emotions or thoughts from your past. God is doing a new work.
Not so bad, right? No, probably not. Still, I'm irritated.

(I'm also hormonal, but that's beside the point.)

First of all, I've never been close to this e-mail sender. We're not friends now, nor have we ever truly been friends. I hear a little about her life through our mutual friend. In the same way, I'm sure she hears about me. She has had some minimal and limited involvement in my kid's lives as a nursery worker, but she's had very minimal involvement in mine. Moreover, we haven't even laid eyes on one another or spoken in two whole years. On top of that, her life has been wrought with different struggles -- never fertility issues and recurrent pregnancy losses. How, then, is she expert enough to even presume to guide me in my current situation? Who is she to tell me how to walk in my shoes when she's never tried them on for size?

If you know me in real life, if you read my blog, if you keep up with me on Twitter or on Facebook, if you pick up the phone, if you e-mail me and actually ask how I'm doing, or if you bother to actually involve yourself in my life for even one moment, you would know that while there have been times of wonder and struggle during this pregnancy, I have personally been awed by the peace that consumes my heart. I expected to be an utter wreck by now, and to my delight, I am not. Even when concerning things happen, I'm consumed by peace. That doesn't mean that I allow myself to be oblivious, or that I cancel medical treatments in the name of faith, or that I disregard what my past reveals about my present. It means that I walk out my present in light of my past trusting God all the way.

I'm twenty-four weeks pregnant now. I'm carrying a baby who could quite possibly live outside of the womb. I have reached this gestational age to my great surprise, and I do not take one ounce of the credit. God has sustained me all along. Even more surprisingly, I am this pregnant and still upright, which has never happened for me -- ever -- and that, too, is a miracle. Even with all these good things, I still walk out my present in light of my past, realizing that each moment I have with this child on the Earth is a blessing.

Babies die in the first trimester, and hearts are still broken.
Babies die in the second trimester, when all should be safe.
Babies die when they are born too early, just like Zachary.
Babies die from cord accidents all the time.
Babies are carried with the knowledge that they won't live.
Babies die for no reason at all.

Am I a fool to remember my losses and to let them influence my attitude in this pregnancy? No -- I am the wise one. These tumbles and hiccups and bumps in the night may be all I know of my daughter for many years to come. That's a truth I know all too well. These children are gifts to us, treasures, and we would all be fools to take even one portion of their existences for granted. Some people realize that without having had their hearts obliterated. My knowledge has grown deeper by walking a much harder path, still, these shoes are mine, and though they are stained and tattered and sometimes broken, I think I wear them well.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scoring at the Saturday Sales

I love garage sale season, particularly when I have specific things to buy. Lately, I've been looking for a few baby things and some furniture to redecorate the girl's room. I found a lovely convertible crib at a thrift store a few weeks back and bought it for $27. I picked up an Arm's Reach Cosleeper (with leg extensions and two sheets -- normally nearly $200 altogether) on Craig's List last week for $20.

This weekend, I was on the hunt for a twin bed for Gracie. Gracie had a black metal-framed day bed, but for the new room decor, I wanted something in wood, not a daybed, and something in white or something that could be painted. The crib (which looks very much like this one, only without the curved back) looked more modern to me with its straight lines and wood planks, so I went out thinking that's what I was looking for. No.

We pulled up to a sale this weekend and saw the loveliest shabby chic changing table there in the driveway. It's an antique dresser that's been converted, but the conversion isn't that noticeable unless you're really looking. The tag read "$20 OBO," and the lady happily took $15. I'm not going to tell you how hard it was to fit into the back of the CR-V, particularly considering how much shopping we'd already done. Let me just tell you my husband was far more patient with me than I ever expected he would be.

James said we could not fit another thing in the car -- forget about more furniture! -- yet he stopped at one more sale. A sale that had a wood twin bed frame with a matching night stand for $7. A furniture set that had precisely the same curves and lines and shapes as the changing table stuffed in the car. James knew he was in trouble as soon as he put the car in park. He tried voicing his complaints once or twice, but knew the fight wasn't his to win. It took some maneuvering, but surprisingly, I got all the furniture in the car. I left just enough room for the kids to make their way home, and they didn't even mind how crowded it was.

I'm excited to paint the bedroom set, particularly since I just found a tutorial that should make painting those spindles quite simple. I may have to reconsider the more modern bedding set already picked out and find something more traditional, still I think it's all going to look so lovely.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009: Celebrating Together

We had a wonderful time celebrating Easter together as a family.

Nanny came over to spend the night on Saturday and, in honor of tradition, colored Easter eggs with the kids. Nanny's always been such a part of the egg coloring experience that last year when she had to work on Easter, the kids didn't color eggs at all -- and they didn't even notice. That made the task even more fun this year.

We used a combination of dye made from food coloring and vinegar along with egg paint, and applied the color by soaking and by using sponges and "ear whackers" (Gracie's unusual and unexplainable term for Q-Tips). While the eggs were drying, we learned from another blogger that Lava soap or toothpaste and a nail brush help dyed skin quickly return to normal, so fortunately, no one went to church with blue fingertips.

Sunday morning, the kids woke up to find their Easter baskets full of goodies. Just as we don't celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus, we don't celebrate Easter with the Easter Bunny. On both holidays, they know the goodies come from Mom and Dad, and they like them just the same.

I was really excited about this year's baskets. I love blessing my children with good gifts, but since I'm a cheapie at heart, I found extra joy in the fact that every single thing in their baskets was either on sale or on clearance. Am I terrible or what? Here's the breakdown:

Gracie's Basket:
Camel WebKinz (After sale/markdown at Justice: $7.60 -- normally $16.50)
BlowPens (On Clearance at Walgreens: $2.49 -- normally $9.99)
Super Miracle Bubbles (On Sale at Walgreens: $1.99)
Rolling Easter Stamp (Clearance at Hobby Lobby: $0.09 -- normally $0.99)
Jelly Belly Smelly Pens (On Sale at Walgreens: $0.25 -- normally $0.59)
Various Easter Candies (Coupon at Walgreens: $0.35 each)

Bub's Basket:
Gorilla WebKinz (After sale/markdown at Justice: $7.60 -- normally $16.50)
Nintendo DS Race Game (Clearance at Walgreens: $3.49 -- normally $14.99)
Super Miracle Bubbles (On Sale at Walgreens: $1.99)
Rolling Easter Stamp (Clearance at Hobby Lobby: $0.09 -- normally $0.99)
Jelly Belly Smelly Pens (On Sale at Walgreens: $0.25 -- normally $0.59)
Various Easter Candies (Coupon at Walgreens: $0.35 each)

After beginning the day with chocolates and fun new toys, we went to church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ -- the foundational experience of our Christian faith. Jesus' rising from the dead sealed the deal as far as His sacrifice for our sins is concerned. Because of Christ and the blood He shed, we have the opportunity to be forgiven and restored to God, and Lord knows I need it! Thank God for Jesus. I love that we have the freedom to worship such an amazing day together with our fellow Christ-followers. There are so many people in the world who are denied the right.

Gracie has been asking Nanny to come to church with us nearly every time she sees her, but this Easter was Mom's first time to come. For the last two or three years, she's been required to work most Sunday mornings, but this year, Easter was an exception. When Mom told Gracie she was coming to Easter services with us this year, Gracie was beside herself with excitement. While James and I served as door greeters for the Saturday night service, Gracie told our children's pastor, Mister Rob, that her Nanny was coming the next day. Sunday morning before Mom was allowed to do anything else, Gracie dragged her Nanny to meet Mister Rob (who welcomed her graciously, of course). It was so exciting to bring Nanny, Gracie's now determined her little neighborhood friend will come to church with us next.

Our Little Evangelist in her Easter Dress

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009: Jesus Christ is Risen!

"It was now about the sixth hour,
and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour,
for the sun stopped shining.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Jesus called out with a loud voice,
'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.'
When he said this, he breathed his last.

"The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said,
'Surely this was a righteous man.'
When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight
saw what took place,
they beat their breasts and went away.
But all those who knew him,
including the women who had followed him from Galilee,
stood at a distance, watching these things.

"Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council,
a good and upright man,
who had not consented to their decision and action.
He came from the Judean town of Arimathea
and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.
Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body.
Then he took it down,
wrapped it in linen cloth
and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock,
one in which no one had yet been laid.
It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

"The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee
followed Joseph and saw the tomb
and how his body was laid in it.
Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes.
But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning,
the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this,
suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground,
but the men said to them,
'Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; He has risen!'

Luke 23:44-56, 24:1-6a

photo credit:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter 2009: Neighborhood Easter Egg Scramble

This year, our neighborhood hosted its first "annual" Easter Egg Scramble. The sponsors kept saying there were over 7,000 eggs in each age group, but there were no where near enough children our to collect so many. James did the math, and in our kid's age group alone, there were over 200 eggs allotted per child. Fortunately, we brought average-sized baskets and we just couldn't take home near that many.

Having so many eggs available, the kids took home tons of treats. They also enjoyed baked good provided by generous neighbors and the HOA. The Easter Bunny made an appearance and the kids had fun seeing friends and former classmates all at one time. The experience was such a success, I'm hoping we have a second "annual" Easter Egg Scramble, and when the time comes, I hope the kids aren't too big or too cool to participate.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Texans in the Springtime

Texans in the springtime can be found along highway medians, on steep hillsides and in random fields as frequently as, say, bluebonnets, which is precisely the reason why they're found in such places. The Bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and it blooms for about nineteen minutes right between the tricky Texas winter and the hot Texas summer. As the first sign of blue shows up over green grass (or burnt brown, as it were), friends call their friends who call their friends and the population of the entire state rushes out to photograph their children next to the single sign that springtime in Texas does indeed exist, regardless of its brevity.

We've been in Texas now for just shy of five years and I've not once (1) perched on a steep hillside, (2) taken a photo by a bluebonnet, or even (3) seen a bluebonnet up close. I have seen them and admired them, but only when I'm traveling 73 miles an hour down the highway from one place to the next. I've thought about stopping, it's true, but by the time I've taken the time to schedule a time to photograph my children next to a busy highway, the premature summer sun has come and fried my chances to a crisp.

This year, though, some friends of some of my friends found a field -- nay, a veritable sea -- of bluebonnets, and after word traveled through the grapevine to us, we made it over for some springtime photos.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Free DVD Offer: Fisher Price Precious Places

What little girl doesn't love to play with all things princess? I know my little girl does, and I anticipate my new little girl won't be any different. To answer the call for new, delightful princess-y fare, Fisher Price is introducing the Precious Places line of toys. Go now to the Fisher Price website and score an absolutely free -- no shipping charges or anything -- copy of the new Precious Places DVD. There's a good chance the DVD will make your little girl beg for all the Precious Places toys, but since there's a good chance she'll do it anyway, you may as well get a free DVD out of the deal. Enjoy!

photo credit: Fisher Price

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

That Day and This Day

On the day Zachary was born, I was twenty-two weeks and one day pregnant, which is precisely where I am in this pregnancy today.

That morning, I woke up as a patient on the antepartum wing of the hospital and was rushed to the OR for an experimental procedure in the hopes that we could rescue my child from death. This morning, I rushed out the door for an early doctor's appointment with enough spare time to grab a chicken biscuit along the way.

That morning, the procedure failed as a surprise to me and I agreed to lengthy bedrest in Trendelenburg position. This morning, I was certain that there would be another failure, leading to bedrest, and was surprised to find out I was wrong.

That afternoon, I met with the neonatologist to discuss ethics and hospital policy and decided on a timeline for life-saving measures and respite care. This afternoon, I ate tacos, had a progesterone injection, laid around on the couch and caught up on Facebook status updates.

That evening, I was sent to labor and delivery because as that day progressed, my water broke, the baby's cord prolapsed, and there was nothing more we could do to to save him. I was given Cervadil and what was left of the cerclage was removed. For some reason, American Idol was on the TV as I labored. This evening, I intend to watch American Idol with my family at home, safely and happily still pregnant.

The whole experience of losing Zachary was a whirlwind. At every turn, I remember thinking I'd get out of it somehow -- somehow everything would work out and both the baby and I would be okay. Sure, maybe I'd require all sorts of intervention, but miracles were neither impossible nor improbable. Instead, by that evening, I marveled at how tiny his perfect little body was, and by the next day, I was making arrangements with a funeral home.

After such an experience, it was no wonder that I expected there to be something wrong when I went in today for a routine ultrasound at the exact same gestational age. It's true that I've had an extraordinary amount of peace throughout this pregnancy, but when your "normal" has been something so heart-wrenching, it's difficult to change your mindset. Still, I don't even think I realized how internally convinced I was about there being problems until my sweet doctor came into the room and the tears (mine, not his) started flowing.

Today, though, was a joyous day. Instead of having my unfortunate expectations met, I was surprised to find that my pregnancy is still progressing nicely. My current miracle is ongoing. My cervix is fine and remains stable in spite of vacation walking and a sporadic seasonal allergy cough. The baby has grown and is still measuring ahead -- she's measuring over 24 weeks around her tummy, and around 23 weeks everywhere else! Today, I marveled at how big her perfect little body is, and instead of making funeral arrangements, I think it might be time to get serious about decorating the nursery.

Zachary at 22 weeks 1 day

Little Miss Priss at 22 weeks 1 day

Cross Posted on About the Baby

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Free Magazine Subscriptions: BabyTalk & American Baby

Click HERE for Your Free Subscription to American Baby Magazine

Click HERE for Your Free Subscription to Baby Talk Magazine

photo credit: Baby Talk Magazine and American Baby Magazine

Monday, April 6, 2009

Free Sample: Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers

I'm hoping to cloth diaper this baby, however since I anticipate some C-section soreness and new-baby fatigue, I may not get right on that in the first few days after birth. That said, we'll need to stock up on some disposables. Today, I ran across a link for a three-pack sample of the new Huggies Pure & Natural Disposable Diapers and wanted to share. Click here for your free sample, and enjoy!

photo credit:

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I know the title of this post seems to be a clever play on words since we just went to Vegas, but I promise this post has nothing to do with the game of Blackjack. Rather, it has to do with the fact that while we were in Vegas, I hit twenty-one weeks in this pregnancy.

From the beginning of this pregnancy, I anticipated I'd be in major freak-out mode come 21/22 weeks. In both of my pregnancies that have gone so long, twenty-one weeks is a major turning point for me. When my pregnancy with Gracie hit twenty-one weeks, my cervix began changing, I had a rescue cerclage placed, and began 15 very long weeks of bedrest. With Zachary, twenty-one weeks was the beginning of the end with a cough that wouldn't quit and a cervix that would.

Here I am again at twenty-one weeks, and surprisingly, I'm not freaking out. I am very aware of my body (I notice every twinge and tug) and I have thought of visiting the doctor a time or two for another sonogram (just out of curiosity, not out of warranted concern), but I've held steady. I've held steady primarily because I have a regularly-scheduled sonogram at 22 weeks, but moreso because I know sonogram or not, I'm completely out of control when it comes to the outcome of this pregnancy.

I'm doing everything I can to insure a healthy baby at the end. As you can imagine, I've done my research, I've asked my questions, I'm following orders. However, it's been nearly two years since Zachary died, and in those two years, I've become more aware that no matter how much a gestating mother does to insure the life of her little one, life is still fleeting and can slip through fingers when least expected.

That's not to say that I'm expecting an end to life or that I wouldn't be absolutely beside myself if it happened to me once again. I cannot imagine surviving such a loss more than once. I don't even want to think about imagining it. Still, it happens, and it's in light of that reality that I find myself completely at peace.

I'm not at peace because I know the outcome of my pregnancy. I have no idea how this journey will end. I have hope of how it will end. I'm preparing for a positive end. Still, I know no matter what, God holds both me and this wiggly baby girl in the palms of His kind and capable hands, and regardless of how our individual days are numbered, He will be faithful to care for us both.

I'm at peace because I've experienced both the miracle of life and of death. I'm at peace because I've survived. I'm at peace because I went through something so extraordinarily devastating and relied on a God who is extraordinarily faithful. He was present with me through the good moments and the bad. He carried me, He comforted me, and He personally mended my shattered heart.

"O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things..."
Isaiah 25:1

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
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,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13-16

"Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust...
Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40:4a-5

Cross Posted on About the Baby

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Babbit the Blue Rabbit Goes to Vegas

Babbit just returned from a lovely few days in "The Entertainment Capital of the World," otherwise known as Las Vegas. In preparation for the impending addition to our family, James and I decided a little getaway was in order. We tossed around a few ideas with regards to travel plans, and after having gone to the beach twice in the last ten months (Florida and Hawaii), we opted for something a bit different.

We thought we'd go to NYC, but after considering all the walking I'd be doing in light of the weekly injections I take to prevent preterm labor, we decided that wasn't a very good idea. Instead, we opted for Vegas where there is so much less walking. *snort* (Note: We did rent a car, but considering that our hotel alone had over 4,000 rooms, a lot of walking was still required.)

The kids stayed with my mom, the dog went to the kennel, and James and I flew out very early on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, on Friday before we left home, the weather changed dramatically and I left Texas with a head cold as a carry-on. I was hopeful the drier, warmer Nevada weather would dry up my congestion, and it might have were it not for the fact that every other human being in the entire state was a walking smoke stack. Needless to say, I carried Kleenex everywhere and ate Benedryl like Lemonheads.

Because of my seasonal/smoke allergy fogginess and the resulting lack of creativity or care, Babbit made it out for only a few candid shots. He saw the Stratosphere, the Eiffel Tower at Paris, Freemont Street, New York/New York, and the Las Vegas Strip at dusk.

At the Luxor, they have on exhibit things pulled from the wreckage of the sunken Titanic. While we didn't go through the exhibit, I did check out the gift shop. There Babbit saw the World's Tackiest Souvenir: a paperweight comprised of a floating Titanic and the iceberg that sunk it. Touching.

I, on the other hand, saw something at the Stratoshere that made me oh-so-thankful to be pregnant and incapable of taking on amusement park rides. See this ride hanging off of the side of the tower? As if the Stratosphere roller coaster perched about a thousand miles in the air isn't bad enough, now you get to pay good money to dangle inches from your perilous death. Were I not pregnant, it might be an inescapable challenge.

Instead of tempting fate, James and I took the time to take naps, see a couple of movies, and check out Trader Joe's in Summerlin. We went to see Carrot Top at the Luxor and the Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah's. We ate breakfast in Paris, shopped on the Miracle Mile, went to the falls at the Wynn, and saw the biggest butterflies in the gardens at the Bellagio. It was a lovely trip, and we had a great time escaping reality together.

Dear Tooth Fairy...

Gracie lost her second tooth about a week ago. She'd had a wobbly tooth right in the front for some time, but was afraid to pull it. I was afraid to pull it too, concerned that the flow of blood on her part would induce a flow of vomit on my part. So we left it, hoping it would spontaneously fall out. To our great surprise, it did come out on its own -- right into a slice of pizza.

Gracie's New Grin

Gracie forgot to put the tooth under her pillow the night it came out, so the next day she put the tooth in a snack bag and attached it to an explanation:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

My tooth came out. I was eating pizza and I felt something drop and it was this tooth. It fell out at 6:30. It was on top where you could see it.

My mom says you're real and my brother doesn't believe her. Are you real?

Sincerely, "Gracie"

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