Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All in a Day's Play Pt. 2

Come on, Mom! Let me show you how the afternoon went, too!

It's time to show off my sliding skills!

First, sit down carefully.

My arms are just long enough to keep hanging on!

But it's time to let go...

...and push off!


Gettin' up for another round!

Hm, I've never looked under here before.

Looks interesting...

I'm goin' in!

Coming out the other side!

I seem to be a bit stuck....

There we go!

Back on the slide!

And that's how it's done.

I'm a big boy in my big chair! Thinking of what to do next....

Let's play with my ball! You can roll it down the slide...

Throw it....

Push it....

And even take it on tryke rides!

But one of my favorite things to do in the day is when Daddy gets home. We take a walk around the yard. Sometimes Daddy pulls me in the wagon, and sometimes I pull something else in the wagon!

All in a Day's Play

Hm...what to do today? Let me sit in my thinking spot and think.

Think, think, think.

I think I'll take a drive!

Check out my sweet wheels! But time to get off....

...to rush the photographer!

Maybe I'll do a little sliding....

I love to slide, and can do it by myself now!

Take a break to say hi to the puppy next door.

Tuning my piano....

Brushing my hair with the brush...never mind that it's a paint brush!

Back to work on some tricks on my tryke!

I wonder if I could get this open...it sure would be nice to go visit Daddy.

Here's a pretty flower! I think I'll pick it.

And give it to Mommy!

What a great day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

16 Weeks: Kicks and Gender

Little Newbie2 is 16 weeks old! Well, gestationally speaking.

The biggest excitement of this week is that I felt the little guy kick for the first time! I kept waiting for the butterfly tap-tapping feeling, but felt more of a rolling instead, so I wasn't sure if I was feeling baby or not. Then, last Thursday, *thump!* a sound little kick! Hey, little guy! I've felt him a few times since then as well.

Speaking of "him," we're pretty sure we're having a boy. I know, I know, where's the drama and the polls and the guessing, right? Well, we had a sonogram at 14 weeks (yes, I've had this information for over 2 weeks), and we're pretty darn sure we've got a little boy in there. We'll have another sonogram on Wednesday and hopefully we'll confirm that.

A boy! On the way to the sonogram appointment, I had a fleeting thought, "I've been wanting a boy, but if I had a girl, it sure would be fun to get all that attention!" I know, so motherly, right? Well, I have to admit a very slight bit of disappointment that we would not be swimming in brand new pink fluffy things and reveling in the joy of bringing the first girl grandchild on either side of the family. But I felt a huge sense of relief about trying to figure out sleeping arrangements, and I'd say Newbie2, as the fourth boy in the family, is pretty well set in the way of clothes and toys. So exciting.

Of course, that brings up the naming issue. We have a girl name all picked out; we decided it when we decided on Caleb--back before we were even married! But a boy name? Nothin'. Nada. Clean slate. Since we didn't have to deal with the name game when we were pregnant with Caleb, this is new territory for us. I think we've made pretty good headway as far as narrowing things down. Jon wants a name with a good story. I like "Jack" but it doesn't come with a good story, other than it's the name of a great uncle I never met. "Jackson" on the other hand, might qualify, as he was the greatest general of the Civil War, according to my husband (whom I will never question in regards to Civil War facts). We used to laugh about naming our son "Jackson Lee." Talk about a story to tell!

To back up a few paragraphs, you might be wondering about our insurance situation and why I'm having frequent sonograms. First, the sonograms: a friend of ours at our church volunteers once every two weeks at the pregnancy crisis center here. Since she is such an infrequent volunteer, she doesn't get much of a chance to do sonograms. She wants to stay in practice--staying familiar with how to measure head circumference, calculate age, and take other measurements that are routine in a sonogram. So, she offers free sonograms to anyone pregnant in the church. We've been able to get sonograms every two weeks starting at 10 weeks. She'll stop doing them around 20 weeks, because at that point the baby is too large for her to take the measurements she would normally take for a new pregnancy. Best of all, we've been able to record every sonogram! It's been so neat to see how much Newbie2 has grown each time we go in, and to see him stretch and wiggle...and even scratch his heinie once. Yes, eventually that will make it up on the blog.

It's been such a blessing, since we have not been able to see a doctor since we've moved here. Every two weeks we check in on our little guy, see his heartbeat and how much he's grown, and we know that things are okay.

On the insurance front, we have good news! The company we'd applied with (that denied us) has an alternate plan that will work well for us. We're approved for it, and it won't be any extra cost to us. It's like we'll all be on individual plans, so the premium will go up when Newbie2 arrives, but for now we'd be paying about the same. Jon's appeal to the denial is still under consideration, so there's still a chance that we could be approved for the family plan. Either way, we have insurance! Praise God! I'd been researching midwives and bracing myself for doing this thing the old-fashioned way. I'm not particularly opposed to a home birth, but it seems like the kind of thing I need to be gung ho about for more reasons than just financial.

And how am I doing at 16 weeks? Based on my calculations, I've gained 11.5 pounds, though that seems to fluctuate some. Looking back at my progress with Caleb at 16 weeks, I'd gained 5 pounds by this point in my pregnancy. With that pregnancy, I started out about 15 pounds heavier, so I'm not sure if that factors in or not. I'd also just switched all my normal clothes for maternity at this point, whereas I'm not quite to that point this time around. I've got a couple pairs of maternity pants that I've been rotating, but the others are too big, and maternity shirts are still out of the question. Maybe in the next week or two. It'll be fun to pull out all those clothes again and see if Karen has added anything...though she's still in some of them, too! I can't believe that the two of us are sharing our stash of maternity clothes, and I've still got a huge Rubbermaid bin full! We are blessed.

Our family is blessed! I am continuously grateful for the Lord's provision in our lives!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Being the Mom

Today began like a normal day for us. It was busy for Jon as he's preparing for our youth mission trip/retreat that starts tomorrow. Caleb and I went through our normal routine. I spent his first nap fixing his crib bumper; a few of the ties had pulled off and I was replacing them with ribbons. Caleb's second nap was much shorter, and I didn't get much of a nap myself. When Jon got home, Caleb and I were playing on our bed; I was pretending I was getting rest and Caleb was pretending to talk on the phone. Jon broke the news that he'd finally heard from the insurance company, and we'd been denied.


And it wasn't even because of my pregnancy; it was other mundane stuff that I'm wondering would mean we'd be denied anywhere. I never really expected to get turned down. We're healthy people, we don't go to the dr. very often, and it just didn't cross my mind. But now that we're not on a group plan, the requirements are more stringent, and that's that. Denied.

We can appeal, which we will do, but I'm not sure it will work. We still don't meet their requirements, but the lady on the phone suggested we appeal that those requirements aren't necessary. Okay...if that works, then I'm not sure why they're requirements in the first place, but we're willing to try. We're not sure what other options we have.

So, there we were this afternoon, a little shell-shocked and more than a little on edge. Caleb's normal antics were met with quick disapproval from us. I was happy to send he and his Daddy out to play while I thought about things and worked on dinner.

I stepped outside to discuss dinner with Jon. We ended up having a quiet conversation about insurance. We both felt a bit hopeless about it. Watching Caleb roam the yard was comforting. But then it happened. Caleb's feet tripped up underneath him and he fell. His chin hit the edge of a large ceramic pot on our patio. His eyes widened in surprise and pain, and then cries came that would not be subdued for quite awhile.

I rushed toward Caleb as Jon identified blood inside his mouth. We had a short yelling session--neither of us angry at the other, just not knowing what to do. Jon looked me in the eye and said, "You need to calm down!" So I did. I wanted a mom. What would a mom do? Oh my gosh, I am the mom. Think. Do something. Blood, spit and snot were all coming from the general area of Caleb's face, and I couldn't tell exactly what was coming from where. I sent Jon for a juice pop--a homemade ice pop made with fruit juice that we use when Caleb hurts his lip. I quickly realized I needed water and a towel, and yelled after Jon to bring that. He didn't hear, but came back with what I needed the second time. On his third trip I'd thought to ask for Ibuprofen.

Caleb was inconsolable. He wanted nothing to do with the juice pop. He got off my lap and walked a few feet away. He stopped crying. But then he stood there as if the movement caused the pain all over again. He looked around, lost, then began crying again. I brought him back to me. We tried to use the water to wash the blood out of his mouth and see what had happened. Sure enough, there was a small red crescent on his tongue, just the shape of his top four teeth. I couldn't tell, but Jon thought he could see a cut on the bottom of Caleb's tongue as well. Caleb's chin was bleeding, though it looked more like a sharp bruise than a cut.

Jon and I both had in our minds that Caleb had bitten through his tongue...and we had no insurance. This is why people never go without insurance. It's for those moments that no one ever expects. And here we were with nothing. Nothing but a cup of water and a juice pop.

Thankfully it didn't take long for us to realize that the bleeding had subsided. Caleb's tongue, though hurt, had not been cut through enough to need stitches. Caleb was done with being outside, and we finally stopped his tears by allowing him to play with the water in the sink to his heart's content.

I was happy to see that Caleb ate his dinner and drank his milk with no problem, and though he did fuss a little more than normal as he went to sleep, I think he'll be okay. I'm thankful that it's taken almost 16 months of Caleb's life for me to be in this situation, where I had to be the mom who knew what to do. I'm so grateful that I haven't had to do this sooner. And I am extremely thankful that it ended up being a minor incident.

It has, however, shone a glaring light on our lack of insurance, and I feel like staying home and wrapping Caleb up in pillows until it's all worked out. I'd appreciate your prayers of peace and protection for our family, and for a minor miracle to occur for us to be approved for insurance, hopefully by the company with which we've applied, since it's the only one we've found that will cover pre-existing pregnancy and since it would probably take quite awhile to go through the whole process again with another company.

Diamond Mine

Jon asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I asked if we could go to the diamond mines. It's called the Crater of Diamonds, and it's a state park a little over two hours away. It's a state park, so there's no admission, and if you actually find a diamond, you get to keep it! It sounded like it would be a fun day outdoors, and it really was!

There was a chance of rain, but we braved it anyway, and the weather ended up being just perfect. The worst part was the drive up Scenic 7, which is the main road up to many of the major places in Arkansas. "Scenic" here means very twisty-turny, and even the strongest stomachs don't make it on that road. I was driving so Jon could study, which meant that I was fine and Jon was not! Jon didn't get to study long, and had the cold air blasted in his face at the end of the drive. We were very glad to get out of the car when we did!

When we bought our tickets, Caleb got his first hand stamp. He's an official miner now!
The "mine" is not really a mine at all. It's official name of "crater" is a bit better, but really, "field" would be the best way to put it. It's a very large open area of dirt that is plowed up into very deep furrows. The best time to hunt for diamonds is right after the plow comes through, or after a big rain. We had neither of those working for us, by the way.

First we went into the learning area to we could find out how to find diamonds, what diamonds looked like as opposed to normal rock crystals, etc. We brought supplies--a shovel and spade, a bucket, and various items like snacks and sunscreen. We rented a couple of sifting screens.

Caleb is demonstrating how a turn of this wheel turns the diamond-laced wheel inside the box, which cuts into a slab of quartz.
Jon is ready to find some diamonds!
...or fight off the rabid miners once we find the Big One!
Jon shows Caleb how to sift the dirt through the screen. Look for anything shiny; it might be a diamond!
Caleb helps with the spoon we brought for him.

He may have used that spoon to try some of the dirt, as well.... I bet he ate the diamond we never found.

It looks hot and miserable, but the weather really was perfect for a day outside. It was actually even a bit cool in the morning.

Jon eventually realized that the likelihood of finding a diamond was very small, so he just settled himself into a furrow and relaxed. Caleb joined him. It was the most relaxing day we've had in a long time!

After a while we retreated from the field to the shade of the trees, where we enjoyed a great picnic lunch. After all, this day was for MY birthday, and I can't think of a better lunch than a picnic lunch!
We went back to the task of hunting for diamonds after lunch. Or at least I did--Jon and Caleb were happy just relaxing!

In the end we came home with a couple of quartz crystals and some other clear-ish sort of rock. No diamonds, but it was still a perfect day!