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Category Archives: Pregnancy

Clover Joy

Boy, it’s been a while. Almost half a year. About enough time to break the silence, I suppose.

When I wrote my last blog post, we had already done an IUI and I was on all sorts of fertility drugs to help ensure and maintain a pregnancy.  I’d been seeing a chiropractor for months and was doing acupuncture.

And of course I repeated the pineapple trick to help soften up my lining for optimal implantation if there was a baby.

Toward the end of our endless two-week-wait to find out if the IUI was successful, I ran across this photo in my Facebook memories and shared it for Saint Patrick’s day.

I found these beautiful four-leaf clovers when I was newly pregnant with Joshua, after a lifetime of searching for them, and trying to conceive him. I mentioned on my share and that I was waiting again to find out if I was pregnant, and a friend said I should go see if I could find another. So I did, and my heart was beating wildly the entire time. Like this was the pregnancy test or something, LOL! And I did find one. The awe and joy I felt, you would have really thought I was looking at a positive pregnancy test.

I was astounded and overjoyed when I got my first positive test soon after finding that little clover. So excited! I tested early on a dollar store cheapie test, and the line was so light I practically sprained my eyes trying to see it, but it was there, and a line is a line!

I dressed Joshua up and took pictures and made cards to tell Dennis and our close families about the baby. I surprised him the next day with this card on the fridge, with a darker positive test inside.  He was just as astounded as I was. Because while we were taking actions to achieve this pregnancy, having been disappointed so many times, it’s hard to really believe it’s true when it actually works.

I was in bliss for about a week. Until the day before Easter, and I started cramping and spotting just a teeny tiny bit.  But a bit is still blood and it was scary.  I didn’t feel well.  We were travelling for the holiday and I was so upset, thinking that I might miscarry while we were at my in-law’s home. I was scared but still hopeful, as I remembered cramping a lot with Joshua in the first weeks of pregnancy.

When I woke up the next day, I felt much better, I wasn’t cramping any more and while spotting a little more, it was really very little. Like a dime-size amount at the end of the day. Not enough to spell disaster, or so I hoped.  We had a very nice Easter with Den’s family.  We came back home that evening and the next morning, I went in to get my second beta to see if my numbers were doubling properly. My first beta number was a lot lower than with Joshua so I had already been scared before the cramping and spotting.  I was on pins and needles to know what was going on.

Before we left, Joshua touched my stomach and said “baby.” We hadn’t breathed a word to him about the pregnancy and it caught me by surprise. I now feel like it was a special moment between siblings, where he recognized the child at the end of its life. He hasn’t mentioned a baby since.

After my beta, then the more than just spotting happened. I bled more than a normal period, but since there was hardly any cramping, I still managed to hold out hope that all was well.  I got a call with the beta results, and the number had increased, but had not quite doubled.  Depending on the standard being followed, it still fell into a normal range, but they wanted to see it completely doubled. So I had to return in two days.

I was in complete denial at this point and was convinced that the bleeding did not mean a miscarriage, and that our baby was still hanging on for dear life.  I couldn’t imagine or accept that the thing we’d wanted so much and had done everything we could to get, could be gone after only having it a few weeks.  But it was.  At my next beta, my HCG had dropped from 234 to 40. And that’s when I knew, I really had lost the baby on Monday. And I still had to go back to get another beta because they monitor the number back to zero.  Going in just to watch the number go back to zero, the number I’ve been at most of my life, was really hard.

Losing that baby, despite only being just shy of 6 weeks pregnant, was really hard.  It wasn’t only losing something I really loved and wanted, that was hard enough. It was also losing something that we put SO much into. Our hopes, dreams, energy, prayers, and money.  Money that we’d worked months to raise, along with a lot of our own money.  We weren’t the only ones invested in this dream, our friends and family now knew so much about our journey and our struggle, and they were following the journey, praying for us, and had donated money to help us.

It was also knowing it was our last shot that made it difficult. Saying goodbye to the only chance we had for a sibling for our son.  We put so much extra into this single attempt, things like a $500 prescription for Crinone that I barely touched, that by the end, we had nothing left for another try.  While my brain frantically raced to figure out a way to try just one more time, feeling that I could bury the pain of loss with another pregnancy, we both knew we were done pouring money into the attempt, that we had to stop.

In the depths of my grief, I cried to Dennis, “I wish we’d never tried.  Why did we have to go through all this just to lose a baby?  If we hadn’t tried, this never would have happened, and we could have done something practical with the money, like get new carpet. ”

Dennis replied, “But if we had given up years ago, we never would have had Joshua.”

So true.  So true.

We decided to name the baby, as friends who’ve suffered miscarriages advised that it helped the healing process.  Of course, we can’t know the sex of our baby, but we felt it was a girl. I’ve wanted a girl since I was a little girl myself, and losing this chance makes the loss all the more difficult.  I lost my dream.  The one I’ve had almost my entire life. Gone.  I’m fairly dogged about achieving my dreams, so this is possibly the hardest part of losing our daughter.  That we were so close, and I was grasping the dream, until it turned into smoke in my hands and disappeared.

While we probably wouldn’t have given the name to a living child, the name Clover Joy came to mind immediately.  For the tiny little tattered four-leaf clover I found that felt like a whisper from God, before I even knew I was pregnant. And Joy for for Dennis’s Grandma, and also because of the Joy she brought us for a short time.

A group of dear friends pooled their money together and bought me this necklace, which rests against my chest while I type now. It’s so special to me to have this reminder of the baby that I never got to meet. To have this necklace close to my heart, when I can’t have her. A physical thing that says she existed. And she mattered.

Our beloved church family gave us a pink rose bush to remember her by which is just as special to me. I don’t know that many would even consider losing a baby at five weeks a real loss, but they never questioned my grief. They empathized and validated my feelings, and I’m thankful for that.  To have this rose bush grow year after year when I can’t watch my daughter grow, it’s a comfort.  It’s not a replacement, but it’s a comfort. Validating her life is a huge comfort as well. She was real, and she mattered.

My sweet mother-in-law, who I can’t say enough good things about, brought me these wind chimes to remember our angel baby by.

I don’t know why we got to have her only to lose her so quickly. I don’t know why. But her brief existence has helped me find a peace with having an only child that I couldn’t find before.  Her life brought a sense of finality to our journey.  Without her, I would have felt unbearable unrest for the rest of my life. I would have always wondered, “what if?” if we hadn’t tried. And felt uneasy that we didn’t give it our all. But we did. I wish down to my down marrow that I could have kept her and held her and watched her grow up, but her life was not in vain. And she will not be forgotten.


Meet Joshua Isaac

Surprise! My water broke before work last Friday and although my labor started a few hours later, it was slow-progressing and I was induced later at midnight.  Joshua Isaac was born happy and healthy on November 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm, weighing 6 lb. 14 oz and 18 1/2 inches long.

Praise the Lord! I’m so in love with this little man that I can’t stand it.  I’m just so so thankful for this precious miracle.  I have so many pictures but will share a few for now.  I’ve discovered that new parents sleep on average 1 hour a day (or at least, that’s my average since my water broke), and the rest of the time is taken up with caring for baby and figuring out how to do this parenting thing.  It’s overwhelming and wonderful at the same time.


Iron-Woman Ginger Cake

I don’t usually post on Saturdays, but I’ve had the honor of being a guest contributor for, a site I go to every week to see my baby’s progress!  I really hope you will visit to check out my recipe for Iron Woman Ginger Cake.  It’s so nice to have healthier options (especially ones that taste good) during the holidays, and this cake definitely fits the bill!



Thankful Thursday #120: God’s perfect timing

I’m quickly closing in on three years of Thankful Thursdays, having started them after Thanksgiving 2010.  Hard to believe! If you ever wondered how it got started, you can read the first one here.

Today I’m really excited to announce that my husband was temporarily promoted to a Team Leader (TL) position at his work place.  And yes, this means a pay raise!  (If you ever wondered what he does, he works at an inbound call center selling life insurance.  Now, instead of being on the phones, he will be supervisor over a group of other insurance salesman).  The timing of this is really uncanny, or perhaps I should say divine, because it so perfectly coincides with me taking unpaid maternity leave.  He starts training on Monday, and his first higher paycheck will come the week Joshua is due.  *shiver*

I have not shared much about my plans for working after baby comes, and that’s because my plans aren’t set in stone.  I will be taking unpaid leave, and during that time we will be able to see if we can handle living on one income with a baby.  If so, I will be resigning rather than returning to work.

Though Den isn’t getting a staggering raise, it will help a lot!  And since the promotion is temporary, he will be able to see if being a TL is something he could do/would want to do permanently.  We’re both hoping and praying that opportunity presents itself, which it very well could from what he’s heard, because the raise would be much higher and help compensate for the income we’d be losing without me working outside the home.

When you’re waiting and hoping for something, it can be hard to appreciate God’s perfect timing.  Before we got pregnant, I felt almost panicked because it felt like it was already too late and I thought maybe children weren’t part of the plan for us at all.  But then my workplace announced it was closing and almost exactly a month later, I was pregnant for the first time in my life.  One of my first thoughts was that with the REC closing, this was the perfect opportunity to stay home with a baby (my hearts’ desire–I want to be there for all his firsts!), if we could swing it financially.  I also couldn’t help reflect on how there was never another time when things were so perfect for us to have a baby.

For one, Dennis wasn’t ready to be a father until this year.  He was willing for my sake, but not ready.  He told me he was ready just three months before we got pregnant.  Two, we didn’t have insurance when we were younger, and our income was even more pitiful.  Three, I had some health issues that didn’t completely resolve until about 2011 and would have made having a baby more complicated.  This year, we both have jobs, both have insurance, both were ready (OK, so I was over-ready! lol!).  Perfect timing!

But me not working is so scary.   I could possibly keep my job for up to another year, and voluntarily resigning before I actually have to is a scary thing.  I have the higher income, so to see it completely disappear is intimidating since we’ve relied on it for so many years.  Add a baby into the mix, and it borders on the impossible.  So it just really seems like a God-thing to have Dennis get a promotion right in the nick of time!  And I’m just so grateful.

It can be hard to take a leap of faith, but these examples of how God provides helps a lot.  I honestly feel like we’re going to make it, no matter what.  Thank God for his perfect timing.

37 weeks: he mooned us!

Joshua mooned us last Monday!

How cute is that tooshie?! :)  He’s weighing in at 6 lbs 12 oz (an estimation based on the sonogram), which is in the 80th percentile for his gestation, but otherwise measuring right on schedule.  My doctor was happy with how normal everything is, as he was expecting a larger baby (can they really get larger than this at 36 weeks? Yipes!) with more fluid because of my diabetes but everything pretty much looks like it would if I wasn’t diabetic, though he  might not be as large. He’s not pushing me to induce early, at least not yet.  I really would prefer to let this baby come in his own time if possible (I think God knew what he was doing when he gave women a 40 week pregnancy-lol), so I’m OK with that, but the good news is that I’m finally feeling (almost) ready for him if something happens or I have to be induced.

Speaking of my diabetes, I had another A1C test (a test that determines your average blood sugar for the past 3 months) and it was 5.6, which translates to an average blood sugar of about 111 (90-100 is normal) and last time it was 5.5, so I’m still rockin’ it!  Before pregnancy, my lowest A1C was 6 but usually closer to 7, so I’ve really stepped it up for baby’s sake.  I really didn’t think I could lower my A1C like I have because I hate the low blood sugars that come with trying to keep them at a normal level, so I’m pretty proud of myself! It hasn’t been easy, though, because you need so much more insulin when pregnant and I have to adjust it and increase it almost constantly.  I know this won’t mean much to non-diabetics, but if you’re familiar with insulin, it might shock you to know I have gone from 48 units (long and short acting combined) to 140 units a day now.  Yipes!

After last Monday’s post about my worries, this week has been a balm to my soul.  Not only because of your comments and my Mother-in-law’s reassurance (bless her!), but mostly because of Joshua himself.  It’s hard to explain, I just feel like I’ve bonded even more with him the last week (I think it really helped to see a brief glimpse of his face during the sonogram – it was so fat and sweet I just can’t wait to kiss those fat cheeks now!), to the point that I’m looking forward to meeting him more than I want to keep him inside.  Not that I’m eager for labor and delivery, just more ready for it.

And a cute thing I have to tell you about Jessie!  This girl hasn’t wanted to let me out of her sight the last couple weeks.  Remember the way she was looking at me in my week 36 photo? I think she knows it’s getting close to the end.  She will not let Daddy take her on a walk without Mama now, although she used to without a problem.  She doesn’t want to leave me at home alone!  Too bad she doesn’t realize that when I try to stay home, it’s because I really need to rest.  And I can’t go on a full hour-long walk any more (too painful in the hips/pelvis and back), but if I try to go turn around without her noticing, about five minutes later she’ll catch up, pulling her Daddy behind her.  And then yesterday she sniffed all over my belly, which she has never done before, and I looked at Dennis and said, “She better not be sensing impending labor.  You’re not allowed to sense that for at least another week, Jessie.” I haven’t packed my hospital bag yet!  #1 on my to-do list for this week.

The nursery has been modified a bit with some of the wonderful gifts we’ve received from my showers.  We hung the Joshua letters that Andrea painted, along with two picture frames we got from Jill through Joan’s Aunt Shower.  Do you love it?  Oh and the thing on the crib is a sound machine (lullabies, ocean, heartbeat, etc.) that also projects images onto the ceiling that go round in a circle for the baby to watch – it’s so rad.

Momma D had to come over to help me situate all the decals after Dennis and I removed them to make room for the letters.  I just couldn’t do it – I knew it would just be all wrong if I did because they were so perfect before! So she came and saved the day.  And brought something else with her…

Check out the red rug on the floor! Really helps tie the room together to have the splash of red down there.  I’d been planning to buy one myself, so that’s one less thing. Wahoo!

You can see more changes in this corner, with the second picture frame (the frames were gifts from the Aunt Shower from Joan’s friend, Jill), a diaper cake also from the aunt shower (I can’t bear to take it apart, but do plan to use the diapers–check out the aunt shower post to get a better look at it in all its glory), cloth baskets to organize the changing table from Phyllis, my MIL, a toy bag we’ve already filled (though some of them are my toys-lol), and a block box (also filled with toys & teethers).  You might recognize the truffula trees on the bookshelf from my Dr. Seuss shower!

Having the nursery almost completely finished helps me feel a lot more ready for Joshua.  I didn’t realize it, but knowing there was so much to be done in there was actually stressful and it wasn’t until the decals were up again that I felt relief.  Dennis still needs to fix the bookshelves and we have one more picture to hang, but it’s at a point where it feels done enough that I won’t freak out about it if I have to put a baby in the room with only those things left to do.  The room being ready helps me feel ready too.

Now to get the rest of the house ready.  As my friend Stephanie said she felt about her own home when she brought her new baby into it, it suddenly feels like a baby death trap! LOL!  It’s actually not too bad, just as long as we confront it we can have it ready in a week.  But there’s so much to do!  I gotta mail my cookie swap cookies, make friendship fruit cakes (my fruit was ready yesterday after the month-long process, but I didn’t have the time or ingredients yet) and freeze them so I have some Christmas goodies even if I don’t have time to bake after Joshua comes, update my pregnancy journal (because I know I won’t have time once Joshua’s here and I don’t want to forget my pregnancy before I have the chance to record everything for him…and me), make cupcakes for an order I have this week (I don’t talk about my cupcaking any more, but I’ve been doing it all along), and let’s not forget that all important hospital bag.  Plus I want make these and have them in the freezer for when I get home from the hospital, and I don’t even have aloe vera or witch hazel yet.  Or even groceries – I gotta go grocery shopping. And get gas.  Oh yeah, and work 40 hours and go to two doctor appointments.

OK, not feeling quite so ready now!! LOL!  I’ll be fine, but please pray for me. :D

Dr. Seuss Shower #2

With my hostesses, Teri and Sharon.

When we found out we were pregnant, we told our church family before anyone else because we needed their prayers and support the most while we were waiting for a safer time to announce to family and friends.  God surely has answered those prayers, bringing us this far!  Teri, our preacher’s wife and my good friend (I kind of think of her as yet another mother on my long list of mothers-lol), was the first who asked if she could throw me a baby shower.  Sharon, another sister, was second!  While I knew I’d have to  have one in Wichita (Teri initially wanted to do it at her house in El Dorado), I though a smaller shower with my sisters in Christ would be so nice and happily agreed.

Me and Teri after a long day of pie baking!

We actually ended up having the shower in Wichita after all, at Sharon’s house, so that everyone could make it, but I was actually grateful to have this separate, more intimate shower.  We could have easily fit everyone into my Lil’ Pumpkin Shower, but that one was fairly large as it was, and it’s just a lot harder to connect with guests when there are so many.  With this smaller one, it was so fun, so relaxing, and my face literally hurt afterward because I laughed and smiled so hard the whole time.

As you can see, this was my second (well, third if you count Joan’s aunt shower) Dr. Seuss baby shower!  I guess everyone knew our nursery theme. :) 

Teri made the punch and Sharon had a co-worker make the cute cake.  Are you eying that decadent punch like I did?

Chocolate Mocha Punch, people! That’s what I’m talkin’ bout.  And while I do have a cup of coffee at least once a week (my doctor approved one cup a day), I didn’t have to worry about caffeine because Teri used decaf coffee.  I couldn’t even tell!  Soooo delish.  Definitely sharing this recipe next week!

Sharon started us off with games, and I know the picture’s fuzzy, but the yellow thing hanging from her hands is a tape measure.  She measured my waist and everyone had to write down their guesses as to how many inches my waist is.  Usually people cut off pieces of yarn or lengths of toilet paper as long as they think will fit around the mother-to-be’s waist, but this way was faster and actually a lot more fun, because Sharon read the answers aloud.  The answers ranged from 24″ (Awwww, my sweet girl Tara guessed that one and Teri rightly said, “We’re not talking about her ankles!” HA!), all the way up to 150″.  YIPES!  We were laughing so hard!  Of course you wouldn’t want to play the game this way if the mother-to-be is the sensitive type.  I’m not at all, or at least not with my sisters.  We have so much fun joking around.  And if you’re wondering, my waist is a honkin’ 54″.  Wow!

See what I mean about the laughs?  They were just nonstop. :)

This is me and my girl, Tara (the kind soul who guessed my waist was 24″…which actually got more laughs than the one who guessed 150 – ha!).  I’ve mentioned her a lot on my blog because she is a great self-taught artist and I’ve shown off some of her work, including how she pimped my stained jeans, won a ribbon for her artwork on Den’s guitar, and most recently, made me a “Cupcake in the Oven” shirt.  She also took most of these pictures for me, and also the pictures in the video I made about our “Happy Ending” of us announcing at church and the subsequent hugs and tears that followed.  This girl would do anything I asked her to – she is just the sweetest.  And it just so happened that I opened her gift first.

I took my time studying the picture before I showed everyone else.  Once what I was looking at sunk in, the tears started.  Take your time and really look at the images from left to right in the second photo below.

My son’s life…seeing him grow up and grow old with his wife in a single picture frame…was just so touching.  It also made me realize that wow, we’re bringing another life into this world that can bring more life and one day, he’ll be old with someone (we hope) like we are today. :)  It’s a beautiful keepsake that will always be on our walls, and some day his.

Again, gift-opening photos are so boring, so here are some collages.  I got a lot of wonderful, useful gifts. Yay for more diapers and a flexible plastic bib that catches food!

This quilt was from Judy (Tara’s Grandma, who managed to escape the camera), and all her Granddaughters helped by putting the ties on each square.  This quilt is just like the ones my Grandma Davis used to make and the kind we grew up with, so it really takes me back.

I got a rag quilt from Teri with a musical theme since Dennis plays guitar and I sing, a “dog gone handsome” sleeper with dogs on it from my Mother-in-law (she sent it with me from the last shower since she couldn’t make it, and Joan sent a gift too because they’re the best EVER), some cash from Susan and on the card she wrote “I didn’t know what you needed, but cash is always useful.  Rex and I use it to this day.” LOL!) and a sweater wrap that Marissa knitted for Joshua when he gets a little older.  Dennis says it looks like something Anakin Skywalker would wear so he appoves. LOL!  I got a lot more gifts but I think you get the idea.  It was a wonderful shower and a wonderful closing to all my showers.  God has blessed us so much through the people he’s brought into our lives and I just couldn’t be more thankful.

And I’m officially done posting showers!  *phew*  Come back next week for some recipes from my showers. :)


Thankful Thursday #119: A Dr. Seuss Baby Shower

It’s appropriate that I’m posting this shower, my third (but not final), on Thursday, just in time for Thankful Thursdays!  I’m so incredibly grateful to God for giving me the most wonderful second family I could have ever imagined, and for all the wonderful, loving people in my life that made four showers necessary!  I may be spoiled at this point, but I do so appreciate all the love, encouragement, and support we’ve gotten since finding out we’re pregnant – in the form of comments, cards, prayers, words, and gifts.  I love that so many are celebrating with us! :)

This shower was thrown by my family-in-law– cousin Andrea spearheading it with help from her three sisters, her Mom, and my sister-in-law, Joan.

Hostesses & sisters Andrea & Jessica with their beautiful baby girls.

~Photo by Katerina~

Aunt Becky (Andrea, Jessica, Katerina, and Tessa’s Mom-you can see why they’re so beautiful!) and Auntie-to-be, Joan.

~Photo by Katerina~

~Photo by Dennis~

I was so impressed with all the creativity that went into this shower!  I was in love with everything on the food table and it took me a while to look past the food and notice the letters spelling out Joshua’s name, painted to match our nursery.

~Photo by Katerina~

~Photo by Dennis~

I had these letters pinned on my Pinterest registry and hoped I could talk an artist friend into making them because they would have cost quite a bit from the Etsy artist who was selling them (not that they’re not worth it, but I’m thrifty).  I never did ask anyone since Momma Donna put vinyl decals over the crib, but I’m so glad Andrea saw my pin…and made them herself!  I had no idea she was an artist, let alone an amazing artist!  She surprised the heck out of me.  I cried, especially when I saw that she managed to incorporate a Bible verse into them.

My only regret about our Seuss theme is that there are no good Seuss quotes about or connection to God or the Bible, but she nailed it with this translation of of Psalm 127:3, which could have come straight from a Seuss book, and she made it even better by putting a cross in the middle of it.  If that isn’t the most wonderful, creative thing, I don’t know what is.  Thank you so, so, much Andrea!  You are a treasure.

~Photo by Katerina~

I know I tend to focus on food, but like I said before, this is a food blog after all, so I figure if you’re reading, that’s what you’re most interested in too.  Each thing on the table had a cute Seuss-y label.  These seasoned crackers (“fish food”) were made by Auntie-to-be, Joan.

~Photo by Katerina~

“Who Food” by cousin Katerina (Andrea’s sister).  She cut the cheese into fun shapes. :)

~Photo by Katerina~

Did you just die? Because I almost did when I saw these Lorax Nutter Butters and truffula trees made with chocolate wafer rolls and coconut marshmallows melted onto square cookies (possibly Lorna Doone shortbread).  Andrea did these, of course, as well as all the signs and the truffula trees in the jars with the signs, made with fancy spiral straws and pieces of feather boas!  I could just die.

~Photo by Dennis~

I can’t get over them.  Sorry, moving on beyond these cookies are hard.  But I’ll try.

~Photo by Katerina~

Green Eggs & Ham Pretzels? Seriously?  Too much cuteness!  Becky and Katerina made these together – just some white chocolate melted on top of pretzels with a green M&M in the middle.  Love.

~Photo by Katerina~

So colorful and cute! They were the perfect size and even had little sprinkles inside. Not to mention delicious!

~Photo by Dennis~

Pink Yink Ink Drink made with diet 7-Up and slices of lemon, lime and orange.

~Photo by Katerina~

~Photo by Katerina~

Each table had books with covers made to look like Dr. Seuss books, drawn by Andrea’s daughter, Faith.  I guess we know where Faith inherited her talent from!

~Photo by Dennis~

We started with games created by Tessa, who helped from afar while on her mission trip in SE Asia.  I thought that was really neat that she could help from so far away so that all the sisters were involved!

But filling in the blanks on Seuss books was HARD.  I’m sure I’ll be a Seuss expert in no time, but I hadn’t heard of a single book on the game.  I had to get creative.  “I will not kill anyone today.”

~Photo by Jessica~

Dennis stayed for about half the shower, then escaped with his Dad to a gun show (how funny that he did the same thing at my Lil’ Pumpkin shower, leaving with his Dad to go to the shooting range. Men and their guns! ha!).  We were blessed that his old friend, Stacia, could make it, and he got to spend some time with her.

~Photo by Joan~

If it weren’t for Stacia, Dennis and I never would have met.  I’m about to go off on a tangent here, and hope you’ll bear with me…or you can just move ahead and skip this paragraph.  To make a long story short, she was in a bad car accident (she has been a paraplegic ever since) and was in Wesley hospital at the same time Kirstie Alley’s father was there for an operation.  Kirstie connected with Stacia while visiting her father, and then gave her some Dianetics and Scientology books (she’s a Scientologist and started the mission in Wichita, if you didn’t know).  Stacia wasn’t interested, but when Dennis came to visit, he took Dianetics, as he loves to learn and read everything.  He was intrigued, and one thing led to another, and he ended up on staff at the Church of Scientology in Wichita.  Not long after, I filled out a personality test they’d put in the newspaper and ended up taking my first class there, and eventually ended up on staff too.  We married two years later! I know that’s a crazy story (and I didn’t even include the part about dating Dennis’ best friend first-lol), but basically we have Stacia to thank for bringing us together!  And it was so worth all the grief we went through as Scientologists in our early days.

~Photo by Joan~

Stacia is one of the most loving, truly sweet people you could ever know.  I was so glad she was able to make it, as we hadn’t seen her (or her daughter, behind us in the picture above) for about ten years!

~Photos by Dennis~

Gift-opening photos bore me, especially when they’re of myself, so I made a couple collages so I wouldn’t bore you too much with them.  I started off opening the  big gifts (with some help from little Madalee, Den’s third cousin) since they were closest, and just feel so blessed we got the few big things left that we really needed!  A gate with a swinging “door” to block the stairs leading to the back door and basement once Joshua begins to crawl.  The door you can swing open on it will make letting Jessie through it to go to her doggy door and outside so much easier!  A bunch of Den’s family chipped in to purchase it, along with the high chair/booster seat that I wanted instead of a regular high chair. It came highly recommended to me by three Moms because it doesn’t take up extra space (you put it on a regular chair), it’s easy to clean, and you can travel easily with it.  So glad to have that!  And Phyllis, Den’s Mom, also got us a car seat.  We had bought a used one from our neighbor but feel so much better having a new one that we don’t have to worry about being out of date or having any issues, plus it’s padded better for an infant and doesn’t have any sawdust on it (we’re having some sawdust issues right now-lol). Hurray!!

~Photo by Dennis~

We got a lot of cute baby clothes, a lot of useful things like wipes, a lot of special things like handmade blankets, burp clothes, and  bibs, and on the left of the collage above I’m opening a gift of big, thick books filled with Seuss books, fairy tales, and Winnie the Pooh stories.  I have to say books are one of the most exciting gifts for me because I loved my Mom reading to me and plan to do the same for Joshua.  Jessica also gave me some Seuss books too and Joshua’s library has grown so much that Dennis has to re-install our bookshelves to make sure they’re stable enough to hold the weight (he thinks the brackets were put in upside down).  A good problem to have. :)

~Photo by Joan~

This blanket was made by a woman I’ve never met!  Do you remember Janice? Well her Mom made it for me – mind blowing!  See what I mean about me getting spoiled?  :)

Just had to share this lovely photo of my Mother-in-law and Aunt Becky (Aunt Lois in the background) – Katerina takes such beautiful photos.  And I also wanted to share it because right now, on this Thankful Thursday, my gratitude for my second Mom is filling my heart.  I just got the most wonderful letter from her yesterday and while I know I will never stop yearning for my own mother to return to the more reliable, there-for-her-loved-ones person she used to be, Phyllis more than makes up for my Mom.  She’s like two Moms or more in one.  She’s even saving money for a hotel so she can stay in Wichita for a while after Joshua is born to help us out with cleaning and cooking while we’re settling into a new routine with him.  Wow.  (For the record, I offered her our couch, but she wants to give us some alone time with Joshua even while she’s here – see how thoughtful she is?)

It’s really hard for me not to want my Mom to be excited, and to want  her here with me, or at least have her want to be here with me, and doing the things she did for Lacey when she was pregnant with and had Owen.  But I have to be fair and acknowledge I’m blessed beyond what a lot of women are in that I have four Moms and they are so great,  it’s really like having ten Moms.  It doesn’t take away the pain, but it adds a lot of joy.  Thank you Lord, for this gift of Mothers.  <3

Can’t believe I’m going to be one soon! :)  Check in tomorrow for one final shower if you can stand all the showeryness! :)

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