Tuesday, December 27, 2011

At 8 months you...

*have five teeth
*have just starting "dancing" and moving your head to music
*can move yourself into a sitting position
*can pull yourself to standing
*enjoyed your first Christmas and got a pig, a sled, a xylophone, and a dress from Mommy and Daddy
*finally got the idea of jumping in the Johnny Jumparoo instead of just swinging
*pretty much eat anything if it is mashed to your liking
*are more interested in walking with help than you are in crawling

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

At seven months you...

*have four teeth
*love to eat solids, if it doesn't include green things
*chatter and sing constantly
*can support your standing weight once helped up
*like to knock down your daddy's block towers as fast as he puts them up
*can give high fives
*like animal sounds
*are mobile around the house in your walker, following people to different rooms and seeing what you can reach
*enjoy books and toys
*understand "no", but don't always choose to follow the instruction

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Book Review: Heaven is for Real

I just finished Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo, courtesy of BookSneeze.  It is a story about just-shy-of-four-years Colton who was very critically ill and had a crazy experience.  After he had recovered from his illness, he began sharing that he had been to heaven briefly while he was in emergency surgery.  The story is told by his father, and you get to share in the experience through his eyes.  Colton shares things he saw and learned in heaven, meeting his miscarried sister, long dead relatives, getting to know Jesus. 

At first, his parents were understandable skeptical.  But over time, Colton shared too many things to have been "coincidence".  He revealed things in his childlike language that lined right up with what Scripture tells us heaven is going to be like.  He seemed so innocent in his descriptions, and it led credibility to his story.

I can't help but admit I was very skeptical myself when I started reading the book.  I always have to battle the demons of skepticism in myself, and I'm still not quite sure what I think about Colton's story.  But I do know, if this story is true and it is not some guy just trying to make a buck by pulling at people's heartstrings, it is incredible.  What a fearful privilege it would be to look into the eyes of Jesus, to meet those gone before us, or to see Satan and the battle that ensues for the souls of men.

Overall, a really good addicting book.  I loved turning the page to hear in the broken language of a child truths about God, Jesus, and heaven. 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

At six months you....

*are so inquisitive (hence the sideways "I-have-to-see-what-this-is" picture)
*can sit unsupported
*have tried a handful of different solid foods and like them, though you make lots of funny faces
*can inch forward to get things
*have taken your third airplane trip to attend your eighth wedding
*are very amused by other children running around
*talk, sing, and shriek just to hear your own voice
*need infant clothes to come in the "tall" variety, measuring in at 26.6 inches and 16.4 pounds
*have a little bit of sassiness to you
*have complete taken over your mom and dad's world

Monday, September 26, 2011

At 5 months you...

*have two teeth, and are working on more
*are a rolling machine
*are giggly most of the time
*often hum or moan when you're going to sleep
*like throwing your arm over your eyes or putting your bear over your face to go to sleep
*like to play peek-a-boo
*squawk and squeal and talk a lot
*like being thrown up in the air
*have been to seven weddings, and have another one next month
*like to play the piano with your feet

Monday, August 29, 2011

Love You More-The Divine Surprise of Adopting my Daughter

I recently read Love You More-The Divine Surprise of Adopting my Daughter. It chronicled Jennifer Grant's journey in adopting a little girl from Guatemala.  She described the emotions of realizing she was being led to adopt, how her older three children adjusted to the new person, the pain of waiting, and lots of other engaging stories.

Frankly, I loved it.  Couldn't put it down.  Maybe it is because I'm a new mom, and the feelings she expressed regarding her love for her child are so fresh on my mind.  I could completely identify with how she fell in love with this child and wanted to know/feel/hear/see everything about her.  Maybe I loved it because I hope to adopt a child someday, and I find the process intriguing, frustrating, ridiculous, and glorious all at the same time.

Grant delved into some of the misconceptions about adoption, as well as some of the ugliness.  She brought to light how adoption is a way to make big money in some countries, and how finding the right agency that does it's homework is key.  I cannot imagine the terror of finding out your child, the one you have come to love and call your own, was not really without a family in the first place, but was abducted, sold for money, or some other atrocity.

Grant includes a list of resources in the back, that I intend to check out and hope to find useful.  I liked the way she told her story, though I occassionally got confused because it didn't exactly go in chronological order.  Overall, a definite recommendation, particularly for those interested in adopting.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

At four months you.....

*giggle all the time
*like to stand up with someone holding you
*like sitting in the bumbo seat
*are very intrigued by the person in the mirror
* rarely don't have something in your mouth
*love the exersaucer
*wiggle, scoot, and kick yourself into different places
*can reach for and hold objects
*sleep 8-9 hours straight at night
*weigh 14 lbs, 13oz, and are 64.5 cm long
*drool incessantly
*have brought so much joy to my life

Friday, August 05, 2011

Just for funnzies.....

(She is totally asleep in this video.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

At three months you....

*love to talk and squeal
*almost always have your hands/thumb in your mouth
*can roll from your tummy to your back
*give giant smiles and giggle
*can grab and pick up some things
*enjoy playing with toys, books, and magazines
*have grown out of another outfit every time I turn around
*are a tad slow to warm up to new people

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Place Called Blessing by John Trent

I recently read A Place Called Blessing by John Trent.  It is a story about a boy named Josh who became an orphan early in life, bore the guilt of a terrible tragedy and was separated from his two brothers, all within a few years.  He "graduates" from the orphanage a bitter, solitary man and tries to live a recluse-type life with little human connection.  He has just about hit rock bottom when he ends up renting an apartment from Mike, a co-worker, and his mom, Anna.  They completely take him in and love him, and slowly he starts changing in response to their love.  He then undergoes several other tragedies that test his new values.

Overall, I liked the book.  It was a quick, easry read.  There was one twist I totally didn't see coming, but several events in the book were quite predictable.  It was encouraging to think about how someone's life might be changed by interaction with mine, if I took the time and effort to offer them the "blessing," a concept of meaningful human interaction that was presented at the end of the book.  The overall message was inspiring, and I enjoyed the story.  The author outlines what he means by "the blessing" at the end of the book, and he included good thoughts for anyone dealing with other people even if you didn't make a commitment to give someone "the blessing" like the author recommends.   It wasn't literary brillance, but I would recommend the book to someone who wanted an easy, feel-good type story.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, June 26, 2011

At two months you...

*seem more grown up all the time
*give big smiles quite easily and frequently
*are generally really happy in the morning
*are generally cranky in the early evening
*have flown on an airplane twice
*still stretch dramatically all the time
*love to kick
*are waking up one to two times a night to eat
*like to try to "talk", especially with your daddy
*have found your fists are great to suck on
*are wearing mostly 3 month sized clothes
*love bathtime where you splash with your feet

Monday, May 30, 2011

A word of advice from Bethel......

(Be careful not to meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crispy and good with ketchup.  -from How to Train a Dragon)

At One Month You...

*babble some
*stick out your lower lip so far when you are unhappy
*like riding in the car
*enjoy your playmat, the swing, and the moby wrap--to a point
*like getting your diaper changed
*have been to your first wedding of four this summer
*have been on two long car trips
*are turning into a chubby kid
*go 3-4 hours between feedings
*are pretty interactive and fun when you are awake

Monday, May 16, 2011

Newborn photos

Here's the link to the sneak peek version of our newborn photo session.  I am so in love with this girl.  I have probably looked at this album 20 times already.   Enjoy!

miss bethel

Monday, May 09, 2011

Bethel's Birth Story

I figured I would be a little overdue, as a lot of first time moms are.  I hadn't quite planned on going long enough that most in the medical community would recommend starting labor artifically.  But, alas, that is what happened, and at 41 weeks and 3 days, I went in to the hospital to be induced.

We got there around 7:30am, and it took about an hour to get checked in, meet with the midwife, and make a plan.  I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for days, but nothing sustained or painful in the least.  When they checked me that morning, I was 2 centimeters dilated, and 90 percent effaced.  A tiny achievement, but not enough to get this baby coming.  So first, we tried a dose of cytotec, which takes four hours to see if it works.  It made my contractions come more frequently and closer together, but still, nothing sustained or painful.   Bob and I just hung out in our room, ate some brunch, watched the movie "I am Sam", and Bob caught a nap as we'd not slept much the night before due to anticipation.  I worked on knitting my baby blanket (which may or may not ever get done).   Four hours later, the midwife checked me again, and we really hadn't made much progress.  Still 2, maybe 3, cm dilated if she was generous.  So we went to pitocin next.

It took a while to get that going as our nurse got busy.  The pitocin started infusing around 2pm.  Since I was being induced, the general guideline is that you stay hooked up the monitor to make sure the baby is tolerating it.  They tried two different portable monitors on me, but couldn't get them to work, so I was relegated to stay in/near the bed.  That was one thing that was so different from what I had prepared in my mind for labor to be like.  I had planned on walking, getting in the tub, using the birthing ball, etc.  But I couldn't.  Not that I was really uncomfortable at all at this point.

The nurse would come in and turn the pitocin up every half hour per protocol.  It took a while for it to have any noticable effect.  But somewhere around 4pm, the contractions really started to intensify.  Somewhere around 4:30pm, they were enough to bring tears to my eyes.  That was another thing that was so different than what I had planned.  I thought I would build up to the labor pains, with them gradually getting stronger and stronger.  Oh, no.  It felt like one minute I was fine and the next minute I could barely see straight from the pain.  At this point, I did sit on the birthing ball next to the bed, still hooked up to the monitor.  Then I started vomiting.  And shaking.  And felt so ridiculously cold it felt like I was outside in Minnesota in January wearing nothing but a swimsuit.  I got back into bed because I didn't think I support my own weight anymore, and they covered me up with warm blankets.  We thought my water broke around this time, but realized later it didn't fully and was probably more of a slow trickle.  Around 5:30pm I was still freezing and having rigors, and they had stopped increasing the pitocin (thank goodness).  It became apparent I really wasn't tolerating it.  So the midwife stopped it completely, and that allowed me to be off the monitor and get into the tub.  My body continued on with labor despite having the medication off.

The warm water felt excellent.  For about 5 minutes.  Then I switched from feeling like Minnesota in January to the Sahara desert in full sun.  I was so hot.  Had to get out of the tub quickly.  I don't know how long the contractions were lasting, but they were very close together.  Maybe 15-20 seconds of rest before the next one started.  At this point, I decided that even though I had hoped to do this without pain medication, I was quickly becoming overwhelmed and it was too much pain too fast and I couldn't keep up.  So I asked for an epidural. 

It took a few minutes to get the epidural in place and working appropriately, but when it did, it was glorious.  That was around 6:15pm. I could still feel when I was having a contraction, but it wasn't bringing me to my knees like before.  And with the pitocin off, my temperature started to regulate itself a little better.  I returned to being cold, but I wasn't shaking out of my skin like before.  Warm blankets did the trick now. 

The midwife checked me again around this time and I was 6, maybe 7 centimeters dilated.  Progress.  She discovered my water really hadn't broken and we decided to go ahead and rupture the membranes in hopes of bringing the baby down lower.  After she did that, my belly was about half the size it was before.  There was some meconium staining in the fluid, so there was a little concern Bethel would have some troubles when she came out if she had aspirated any of it.  They would have the pediatric team there when she was delivered just in case.  It was shift change for the midwives then, and we changed from Candi to Pat. 

Once the midwives finished report, we decided this could be a while since I was not quite 7 centimeters dilated, and I sent Bob across the street to get a sandwich.  He really didn't want to go, but I knew he should eat.  While he was gone, I had the undeniable urge to push.  I told the nurse, and the midwife checked me again even though it had only been a few minutes.  10 centimeters.  Amazing.   The nurse and midwife started getting things ready.  Bob walked in, and they said, "She's ready to push."  His face was priceless.  Needless to say, he didn't get to eat his sandwich right away.

I started pushing right at 8pm.  The contractions were very close together, and I just had time to take a few quick breaths between them.  Bob was awesome.  He was such a supportive, faithful coach.  I was still pushing at 10pm.  The first hour was good, very satisfying, and I had a nice sense of accomplishment.  The second hour started getting tiresome, and though I could tell we were making progress, I was beginning to wear out.  The epidural did a great job of covering the contraction pain, but I was able to feel a lot of the pain from pushing.  It was not quite as painful as the contractions had been, but it was up there. Around 10pm, I asked if they could give me an idea of where we were and how much longer they would anticipate I would need to push.  I had no idea where the baby was.  The nurse and midwife looked at each other and said, "Maybe about another hour?"  I am sure my face dropped.  I was not sure I could keep this up for another hour. 

At some point, some of Bethel's hair became visible.  That was fun.  Soon after, I was able to reach down and feel her head.  She was living up to her pet name "Wiggly", as she was turning her head back and forth  when all you could see was the top of her head.  Bob, the nurse, and the midwife thought that was cute.  I, however, did not find it very cute.  Whatever she was doing hurt like crazy.

At exactly 10:30pm, Bethel Lucille Blanshan fully entered the world.  She came out vigorous and crying, so the concern for meconium aspiration became null.   She had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice, but the midwife quickly reduced it.  Bob annouced she was a girl, and they laid my bright-eyed, squirmy, beautiful little daughter on my chest.  I was in love.  She promptly pooped and peed all over me.  My hands were so shaky and weak I had a hard time holding her in place, but the nurse helped me get her to nurse right away. 

I was kind of oblivious to all that happened next.  I ended up having a little hemorrhaging, and got some extra IV fluids, a nice bolus of pitocin, and a lot of not-so-comfortable abdominal massage to help my uterus contract.  It resolved without much other action.  By the time we got back to our postpartum room, it was after 2am and we were so tired.  But we had this cute little thing with us that made it really hard to try to sleep.

Bob was great.  So encouraging, attentive, and tireless.  He was so proud of me and of his daughter.  I love that man.

Isn't she the cutest?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

At one week you.....

*have the softest skin and hair
*kick your way out of a swaddle as soon as you can
*are getting better about falling asleep on your own
*nurse like a champ
*do not like having a dirty diaper at all
*like it when your daddy sings to you
*like getting your hair washed
*give lots of little smiles and oh-so-cute facial expressions
*stretch quite often
*like being skin to skin
*have impressive neck strength
*like kicking your socks off
*do a really good impression of a tree frog
*will break your momma's heart if you get any cuter

Friday, April 29, 2011


Bethel Lucille Blanshan
Born April 26, 2011 at 10:30pm
8 pounds, 13 ounces
20.5 inches long
Practically perfect in every way.

Friday, April 22, 2011

At almost 41 weeks

*am not surprised at all I am past my due date
*am a little sad the baby wasn't born on my mom's birthday
*feel pretty good
*am a tad tired of people saying "no baby yet?!"
*took today off work and am not going back
*will be induced next week if baby doesn't appear before then
*don't really waddle, but have more of a slow saunter :-)
*get random contractions, but nothing sustained or particularly strong
*finished the nursery except for hanging one mirror
*wonder how I'll do through labor
*got to see some of the baby again on ultrasound today
*get a slight kick out of making Bob really nervous every time I call him
*wonder what kind of personality "Wiggly" has
*really hope this is the last pregnancy picture

Saturday, April 09, 2011

At 39 weeks I....

*am ridiculously huge in the middle
*have an insatiable thirst
*can tell the baby has dropped some
*still get out of breath doing simple things, like talking
*get a few short practice contractions a day
*have little appetite for anything except fruit, smoothies, and milk
*am enjoying the last few days as a family of two
*still can't sleep, but feel really good
*have a hard time focusing on anything not baby related
*show up to work every day to have multiple people say, "You're still here!"
*really, really want to know whether it is a boy or girl
*have my hospital bag packed and ready to go
*am ready to meet this little critter

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Non-Baby Related Post

For my birthday, Bob got me a really big present, or I got him a really big present for his birthday (as we're only two days apart) --A 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Love it.  I can't tell you how nice it is to have space after living out of a small pick up truck for the last few months since the Honda died.  I went to the grocery this weekend, popped open the back, and piled two weeks worth of groceries in with no problem, no stacking, no holding-the-eggs-in-my-lap-on-the way-home craziness.  The best part: it only has 34,000 miles, so it should be good to go on many a trip.  I'm sure I will miss the rockin' gas mileage the Honda had, but after two months of car shopping, I think we found a good deal.  Ours is a slightly different color, but I've neglected to take a picture of it yet.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I am one blessed gal

Yesterday I was the fortunate recepient of one of the most fun baby showers that ever has been.

It was Dr. Seuss themed.  I love Dr. Seuss.

Guests got to sign the handmade guest book, guess how many inches around my belly is (37.5 if you're curious), and play a Dr. Seuss finish-that-line game.  Everyone had a great time, and most decided that they actually did like green eggs and ham.  Everyone got to decorate a white onesie using fabric markers, and there were some really cute results.  The afternoon was topped off by words of wisdom shared by Great-Grandma June Blanshan, with a few bonus tidbits of advice thrown in by other moms.

A few highlights from what Great-Grandma shared as she prepares to welcome her 23rd great-grandchild (whom she also blessed with a sweet quilt pictured below):
*Love your children.  Hug them.
*Don't compare your kids to someone else's, or to their own siblings.  Each is different and special.
*Sing to your children.
*Your children will react to things the way you do.
*Write things down: important days, funny things they say, etc.  You think  you will remember, but you won't as time goes 
*Teach them all about God-your most important job.

Babe-B racked up in the gift department.
Special thanks to the Blanshans: Linda, Jessica, Betsy, Carrie, Polly, and Peggy for making me feel so loved!
Thanks to everyone who came!

Friday, March 11, 2011

At 35 weeks I....

These pics in the link below are really from 34 weeks, but close enough!  These are the sneak peek images from our maternity photo session--better than anything I'm going to take myself!  And don't even think about making fun of my belly button.  :-)

Maternity Pictures

*think the pregnancy after 20 weeks has gone so fast...before 20 weeks seems forever ago.
*am gearing up for an all-day "get things ready" day tomorrow: wash baby clothes, organize nursery drawers and closet, pack a hospital bag, etc.
*am excited about my dad and sister coming after baby arrives
*have experienced killer reflux and really don't enjoy the taste of Tums
*think the baby *might* just succeed in poking a hole in my belly wall sometimes
*enjoy watching my entire torso contort and twist when it moves
*often have a little butt or head or heels or something right under my rib cage, making it hard to sit straight or breathe deeply
*am really looking forward to maternity leave
*had a comical experience trying to paint my toenails
*am so curious as to the gender
*have a least one person a day tell me they think it is a boy, very rarely do people think it is a girl
*can't sleep.  ever.
*can't wait to snuggle this little person

Friday, February 18, 2011

Art Project

I have always wanted to be a crafty, creative person.  Alas, I'm not, naturally, so I have to try really hard.  I wanted to do something special for the nursery, though, and this is what I came up with.  And I admit, I'm quite proud of how it turned out.  I haven't gotten it on the walls yet, but here's what I did, with the whole thing made mostly of fabric scraps....

*Painted a "sky" on three panels of canvas

*Added some grass and planted a tree

*Made a few animals and attached them with decoupage

*Added some details
*Decoupaged over the whole thing....

Now, to finish the furniture so I can decide where this project is going to hang....

(shamelessly inspired by Andrea and Betsy )

Saturday, February 05, 2011

At 30 Weeks I.....

*have one more prenatal class to attend in the series, plus a breastfeeding and car seat class
*can't sleep well, between the baby moving fanatically and the inability to turn over easily
*finished an art project for the nursery walls (pictures to come)
*have made little to no progress on the knitted baby blanket
*have been busy knitting other things for my other pregnant friends
*am growing in confidence of my body's ability to give birth
*have a healthy level of anxiety about the whole process
*can't eat much at one time, leading me to be hungry very soon afterwards
*have to get a 3am snack on a regular basis
*enjoy playing with the little feet that make a frequent appearance on my belly wall
*am mulling over baby names
*feel the nesting began a long time ago
*enjoy the borrowed maternity wardrobe from the ever-generous Betsy
*wonder how the weeks have gone so fast
*like talking to the baby, wondering out-loud what it is doing, and what it is thinking about what it sees/feels/hears

Sunday, January 02, 2011

At 25 weeks I...

*have really grown a lot in the last few weeks
*am surprised at how much and how forceful the baby moves at this age
*have a little back achy-ness
*have gained 15 pounds
*am putting together ideas for memory making and nursery decorations
*can eat with the best of them
*start prenatal classes this week
*wear the same 4-5 maternity shirts over...and over....again.
*have gotten too big for one pair of my materity jeans (oops!).  Thankfully I only paid $3.50 for them and still have two to choose from.
*have hot flashes multiple times a day...in the dead of winter....in Minnesota.
*have a gut feeling the baby is a boy, but really am not aching to find out what it is yet.
*think Bob is the cutest dad-to-be in the world and am looking forward to seeing a tiny bundle in his long arms.