Category Archives: family

My First Mother’s Day

This weekend was my first official Mother’s Day! I say official because I’ve been a mother of furry babies for quite a while, but now I’m the mom of a fabulous, super intelligent, totally adorable little boy!

Gazing lovingly up at his daddy

I absolutely LOVE being a mommy! God has been so good to us and given us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4)

I had a wonderful day – went to church (where they gave out chocolate to the moms, always a good thing!), lunch, stroll around the mall and relax with my family. My gift was a beautiful glass pandora bead addition to my charm bracelet. Just beautiful!

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Real Life

Sorry to be MIA from the blog world for a bit… we had a little dose of real life – my husband had to have back surgery. Check out the details on our ministry blog.

The good part of it was that my sister came over to help me with Isaiah. It was an unexpected trip and a nice treat for her to see Isaiah at this fun stage of development (5 months). Our home church sent her (they take such good care of us!) and it was a huge help! I could be at the hospital with Greg and have no worries since Isaiah was in such good hands! And he took to her right away. He saw her when he was just a month old, but of course could not remember that. We do look alike, so I joked the first day when I came home from the hospital that he realized – “wait, there are two mommies!”

Aunt Sonja and Isaiah

So now both Greg and I have experienced hospitalization in South Africa (me when I gave birth to Isaiah). The crazy thing is neither of us have anything to compare it to since we were never in the hospital in the States (unless you count tonsils removed when I was little, but I don’t remember it).

One thing that is different is the strict visiting hours. In the States, at least where we live, spouses could even spend the night if they wanted to. Here, I had two hours (at different times) I could see Greg. The first night when I stayed just a couple minutes pass the end of the visiting hour, the nurse asked if I was going to stay and nurse him all night. I said, “Sure.” She was kidding. I wasn’t.

Out to eat with my sis the last night she was here

He’s back home now with a big cut along his neck that is healing up nicely. One more week of (almost) total rest, then he can go back to a little more activity. It’s been an interesting season. Since February, Greg’s been battling something – first severe tonsillitis (three rounds of antibiotics to kick it!) then the back injury. We are declaring health and healing in our house! Thank you God for seeing us through!

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Reflections on Mommyhood

My heart is so full and happy being a mom! I’ve been voicing my gratitude to God lately in all my prayers. I’m just so thankful to finally be a mommy! And I just love that little boy so much.

Along with all the smiles and cuddles come some “fun” mommy moments where my mommy fortitude has been tested and I realize just how much is out of my control and requires humility, grace and a good sense of humor.

My hubby is away right now and I had to go to the bank to make deposit (so I could reserve a cute little cottage near the sea for a little holiday when he gets back – our first proper vacation in 2 years!). It was the first of the month, so there’s a long line.

My adorable little one of 3 months is doing great sitting up in his sling resting his head on my chest. All of sudden I hear him grunt. Oh no. He grunts again. Yes. He’s decided, right there in the bank line, to make a dirty diaper. He proceeds to turn pink then red, a common occurrence when he’s working so hard.

A sweet African lady turns and comments about how red he is. “He’s so hot! You need to put a wet towel on his face,” She exclaims. (Umm, second time this week his “redness” has elicited such responses!)

I assure her he is ok and not too hot. Did not really want to go into the explanation about WHY he’s so red.

So we just stand there. Waiting and grunting.

We finally finish our business (at the bank) and head to the grocery store. By this time little boy has snuggled into the sling so he can lay his head back and is sound asleep. I vaguely smell something but decide to just carry on with grocery shopping and not stop to investigate unless he wakes up.

He sleeps the whole time we are shopping. By this time I think my nose has gotten acclimated to the smell and I forget UNTIL we pass a mother with two young children and one of them says – “What smells?!”

Uh-oh. I think it’s us.

Then we go down the cleaning aisle headed for the check out lane and there’s a person peddling – of all things – air fresheners. Now I’m getting paranoid.

We finally get home and sure enough, it was us smelling up the grocery store.

I’m just glad it wasn’t where I normally shop.

Would love to hear about the “fun” moments your children have given you?

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Learning About My Little Man

One of the best things about being a new mommy is how fun it is to discover your little one’s personality. I love taking personality tests and talking about categorizing personality but I figured all that would happen when he was older. Little did I know there is a lot to learn during those first few months. I’ve learned so far that…

Isaiah hates to be wakened up. Most people do, but he really does and will let you know.

Chillin out in the tub

Isaiah loves water! In the bathtub he is hilarious. He just leans back and chills. I hope he’ll enjoy swimming one day too.

Isaiah gets warm easily. Here in Africa, for some reason many people bundle their babies up against any chill. We’ll be at the mall and see parents in tank tops and shorts but their child in the stroller has a fleece blanket bundled around them. Crazy! Isaiah gets hot very easily and dislikes it a lot. Many times I’ll pick him up out of his car seat only to find him sweating on his back. So we love onesies and very light blankets.

Isaiah loves music. A friend gave us a lullaby cd – he loves it! Anytime music is on, he’ll quiet down and listen.

We just navigated through a 6-7 week growth spurt. Hoping to come out on the other side with the ability to sleep through the night – we’ll see. This motherhood thing is challenging but the most fun job ever! Can’t believe I get to raise this little boy – so precious!

What did you learn early on about your little ones?

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A Christmas Meme

Just found out that this is called a “meme” (rhymes with “theme”). What’s a meme? I asked the same question – according to Chrisg.com – it’s what you call all those internet quizzes and surveys that I usually see on Facebook. I decided to include this one that I got from a blog – StuffParentsNeed.com – since it is Christmas season and I love it!

This year has been a bit different with the birth of our new baby but I’m sure I’m going to get right into the spirit when my sister, brother-in-law and brother arrive in a few days.

So, I’d love to see your answers too –  feel free to answer the questions in a comment or on your own blog and leave a link!

1.  Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? HOT CHOCOLATE! Every year I try to pretend that I like Egg Nog only to not be able to finish a mug. But I love all things chocolate!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Both! When I was a girl, my parents would leave the big things unwrapped but wrap some small ones probably so we had something to open. Have no idea how we’ll do it when Isaiah is older… should talk to Greg about that!

3. Colored or white lights on tree/house? White. I do like the colored ones but have always chosen white for my tree and house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No

5. When do you put your decorations up? Soon after Thanksgiving. Right now we don’t have many decorations – hardly any – but I hope to add some every year. All my decorations are still back in the States slowly coming over in the extra space of friends and family who come to visit us.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Karbonader – Norwegian meatballs we grew up eating on Christmas Eve at my house. Yum!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? We had a tradition of all gathering around the piano to sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve. My sister and I would start preparing weeks ahead of time by dividing up the carols concerning who would accompany the singing on piano. For most of the songs, we had our favorites and would just agree on who played it best, but for a couple of them we both wanted to play. So then we would practice until try-out time. My mom would judge who played the song the best and they would win. It was probably the best piano practice we got all year!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Actually discovered my parents putting together Easter baskets one night after we were supposed to be in bed. I was under 10, probably 7 or 8 years old. I put 2 and 2 together and figured if the Easter bunny was really mom and dad, Santa and the Tooth Fairy must be the same. I continued to play along for my little sister for a while. Not sure when she realized it, but then we had a much younger brother (11 years younger than me) so Santa continued to come to our house for a long time!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As kids, we opened all our gifts from the family on Christmas Eve. As a married person, we’ve had different Christmas’ each year, so we don’t have a set tradition yet.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With ornaments from my childhood and special places we’ve traveled as a couple.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? LOVE IT! But I’ve always lived in the South where once or twice a year was a big deal.

12. Do you remember your favorite gift? I can’t really think of a favorite gift. As a child, I was so excited about my Barbie RV. As an adult, my husband gave me a beautiful tennis bracelet on our honeymoon – that’s a favorite!

13. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Spending time with friends and family and just celebrating God’s gift of Jesus and another year to live for Him.

14. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I used to love our traditional Christmas Eve as a child – we did the same things in the same order and ate the same food every year. But as an adult, I’ve come to embrace new things. I do still love Christmas cookies – especially the Norwegian family recipes since we rarely make those cookies any other time.

15. What tops your tree? A star

16. Which do you prefer – giving or receiving? I love to give gifts – especially when they are special to the person.

17. Candy canes: Yuck or Yum? Yuck. Can’t seem to eat a whole one.

18. Favorite Christmas show? It’s a Wonderful Life – I cry at the end every year!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells. My high school’s elite choir ensemble would perform it every year at their Christmas concert. There’s nothing better! Wish I had it on cd!

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One Week (or so) to Go

39 weeks pregnant… only one week till the due date. I’m very excited but nervous too about this huge life change.

I know with any addition to your life it takes a little bit till it feels normal. The beginning always feels very stretching and challenging, but then you settle into the “new normal.”

I’m praying for a happy baby who eats and sleeps good. I’ve read all types of books and we attended classes, but I doubt I’ll ever feel totally prepared. But families forever have been having babies, so I know we can do it!

I wonder, those of you who have children… what was the biggest surprise to you – good or not so great?

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Cocoa’s Turn

We had a traumatic evening Monday night. Everything was great – cooking spaghetti and green salad for dinner, beautiful evening, and the dogs were running happily around the yard. Our neighbors pulled in their driveway and our dogs went crazy. They love to run along the fence, where their driveway runs, and bark at their car. All of sudden we heard yelping! I thought our neighbors had hit their dog, then a I realized it was one of our dogs – Cocoa. Somehow in the excitement of running, he must have tripped on steps we have connecting the front yard to the back yard. He was laying in the grass with all his legs up, crying. My husband picked him up and immediately said his leg was broken. I was hoping he was wrong, but he wasn’t.

We rushed to the vet hospital that we’ve passed countless times but had yet to visit since we’ve only lived in this town for 3 months now. Thankfully they saw us even though it was 20 minutes before closing. We don’t even know where the ER vet is located, plus it ALWAYS cost more… don’t we know!

Cocoa was in shock, so they bandaged him, gave him pain med injection, and started an iv. They had to wait till the next day for x-rays, but thought the injury would require surgery. The x-rays the next day proved it would. Dogs have two bones – similar to our forearm – that make up their leg. Cocoa had broken both bones and they were totally out of alignment and would definitely require surgery.

We’ve been through a broken leg before with our younger dog Sugar, but she had “one of the best breaks you can have.” Only one bone broken, so the other one held it in place and it wasn’t even dislocated. This time the vet said this was one of the worst.

So the next day the vet operated and put a metal plate on the larger bone with six screws – three above the break and three below. The x-ray of the completed operation was totally different than the scary picture of his broken leg.

Cocoa lounging and resting his broken leg.

Cocoa lounging and resting his broken leg.

So now comes the fun part of recovery! Sugar recovered very quickly from her little break – only 4 weeks with a splint. Even when she had the splint on she was very active. This time, I’m really cautioning Greg that we must keep Cocoa calm for the whole 8 weeks. His break was so bad, it could easily be made worse by too much activity too soon. Thankfully the rainy season is coming and both our dogs get drowsy when it rains.

Sugar's supportive laziness. She doesn't understand why he can't go run with her.

Sugar's supportive laziness. She doesn't understand why he can't go run with her.

So we just have to survive the next 8 weeks – then… we’ll have a newborn baby and have to survive those first 8 weeks! I hope we make it! Our own little version of Survivor, only no one gets the luxury of being voted off!

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