Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend Fun!

We had a really great weekend! Starting out with a very fun anniversary on Friday!

Peter took the afternoon off work so we were able to get away early and go see Cowboy's and Aliens and then go to a dinner together. My parents babysat so it was really great to have some quality time together and get to actually enjoy conversation together :)

We had a lot of fun making some predictions on where our life will be in the next 5 years. Here are some of those predictions:

Peter will be working at a manager level
We will be living in a 4 or 5 bedroom house
We will be driving a bigger car :)
Peter says we will have 2 more kids, I say we will have at least that many :)

It will be fun to see what actually happens. We admit that we don't really have a plan right now, so we will see what happens.

On Saturday we celebrated our small town's festival! It is something we really look forward to every year and this year in particular with our babies. As much fun as it was, it was also exhausting for us keeping track of our kids and their needs :)

The weather was hot (I know, I know, some of you would LOVE it to be in the low 80's but it was HOT to me!)

Eli was ready for a nap before the parade even started!

Small town America!

Malachi was hamming it up and having a great time!

Dancing at the parade music!

On the run, he got a little bored (so did we buddy!)

Happy Boy!

After the parade we always have a bbq in my grandma's backyard. It is super cozy and shaded! Malachi was enjoying the leftover morning donuts.

We relaxed into the afternoon and Malachi enjoyed grandma's old toys in a nice shady spot!

Eli enjoyed a nice shady spot too!

It was a lot of fun and we look forward to next year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Story - Part 6

Well here is the final chapter of Our Story up to date. Tomorrow, we embark on a whole new chapter and one that I am very excited about as we continue to dream together!

This one is picture heavy, amazing how many more pictures you take when you have babies :) Also, I realized just how much fresher all these thoughts are in my mind, than trying to think back five years ago. I think having children really did kill most of my brain cells!

This last year was filled with the very best of the best days! It also had the hardest days we have faced together. It also was filled with frustration and exhaustion as we waded through parenthood, not just once but twice :)

So, 1 year ago today - THIS is what our house looked like:

We were just one week away from leaving to pick up our sweet little boy and we were in the throws of packing. I say we, but really Peter was the only one doing any packing around here. I had picked out all of the stuff that Malachi needed but I was leaving the packing to the expert - Peter is incredible at packing! I was also trying to avoid the inevitable for as long as possible. You see, I was terrified TERRIFIED to get on those airplanes. Part of it was that I am not a big fan of flying (anything over 2 hours feels like boring torture to me). But the bigger part was that I was feeling awful around this time. On our anniversary last year I was 9 weeks pregnant and pretty much felt like I was going to puke 24/7! I had no idea how I was going to make it through those flights. I remember nights in tears and wishing that somehow I would not have to go, but I knew I had to do it. Fortunately I had lots of people praying for me (even though they didn't know my real reason of concern for the trip!)

1 week later, at 10 weeks pregnant, I boarded the planes and we were on our way. The incredible thing is that I didn't get sick ONCE. I felt sick (a lot) and I still get sick to my stomach to think of the smell of the airplane food! But we were there - in Ethiopia and just a mile away from our son!

We settled in and tried to rest up! We had a full day of rest before we were allowed to pick Malachi up.

10 weeks pregnant in Ethiopia:

And it was finally time for the moment I had waited soooo long for! I could hardly believe it as we sat in the lobby of The Riviera and watched the infamous Almaz walk in! After doing paperwork and such, we boarded the van and were off the short distance. It was unreal to me as we approached the famous black gates and there we were - to our son!

We waited a couple minutes and photographed another family as they met their daughters for the first time, and before we knew it Almaz was asking for Segni's parents - oh my! That was us!!! So into the baby building we went, following a special mother. Up the stairs and into a pink room. I recognized his hair right away and his back was turned to us! I hurried over to him and was finally introduced to my little boy!

After hogging him for awhile, I let Peter have a turn. It was incredible watching Peter become a daddy! He was nervous leading up to the trip about all the things he needed to learn to do, but he caught on to everything very fast and I fell in love with him in a totally new way as I watched him love our son!
Before long it was time to come home! I learned a whole new level of exhaustion. First trimester exhaustion, teamed with jet lag, teamed with a baby who was used to being fed every 2 hours. It was a difficult adjustment but fortunately Peter was home for the first 6 weeks to help. By the time Peter went back to work Malachi was only waking once a night to eat!

First family outing to the beach!
And before long I was out of the first trimester (but still feeling awful!)
15 weeks:
and we were adjusting to life as parents!

The pregnancy was progressing way too fast. Before we knew it we were at the halfway point and the reality that we would be juggling two babies was setting in! Malachi was doing great adjusting to us and he was sleeping 14 hours a night, but that was still not enough for me. I was still very tired, but fortunately the nausea started to subside by 20 weeks!

20 weeks:
20 week ultrasound!

As fall set in, we were off to Disneyland! It was very fun to get to share Disneyland with Malachi!

The scenery (and our family!) very different at the proposal spot!

It was so fun for us to learn all about Malachi! We quickly discovered just how big and fun his personality really was! He quickly became a total ham and had us cracking up at him all the time. He was such a happy chunk of love baby :)

Malachi 6 Months:

First Halloween!

And right around Christmas, I hit the 30 week mark in pregnancy and was also diagnosed with the lovely gestational diabetes. That one came totally out of left field and my doctor was even surprised that I had it! Go figure, one of the risks was underdeveloped lungs for the baby.
Peter gave me the best Christmas present and in mid-December he let me get a 3D ultrasound of our baby! The ultrasound tech at our 20 week ultrasound didn't put the monitor in a place where I could see it and so I totally felt robbed. But the 3D ultrasound more than made up for it even though the baby was being very stubborn and trying to hide his face!

And then we were quickly at Christmas! Our first Christmas with a baby! It was very perfect and so new and exciting to celebrate with Malachi, even though he was pretty clueless about the whole thing :)

January passed by in a blink of an eye, and by the end of January I was in full on nesting mode! I am so glad now that I pushed to get everything ready for the baby!

35 weeks pregnant:

And that was near the end of that! I was SHOCKED when my water broke at home at 35 weeks 6 days! Seriously, I remember looking at Peter and saying my water broke and we just kind of stood there staring at each other. On the drive to the hospital I abruptly realized that we really WERE going to have 2 kids - I felt so not ready.

It was no surprise that my heart beat was high at the hospital :) I was still in total shock that I would be delivering that day! Labor was awesome - really, I loved it! Sure, it was painful (until they gave me the most perfect epidural) and the contractions were stacked on top of each other for my entire labor but it was so awesome and I was so happy to get to ezperience it! (Did I mention I have always had a slight obsession/fascination with the whole pregnancy/birth process). Seriously, I think the whole thing was so fun and perfect even though it was painful and the recovery was pretty rough!

But after 14 hours of labor and 30 minutes of pushing - our little peanut was born! All 5 lbs 5 ounces of him! It was so fun to find out that we now had two little boys.

Unfortunately that is where the fun/perfect story ends. He was quickly whisked away from me and they got busy working on him. He was struggling to breathe. Before long they took him out of the room and of course Peter followed him. And again, I fell more deeply in love with Peter as I watched how concerned and protective he was of our new little guy! He really took charge over that whole awful ordeal!

It took awhile for me to get all fixed up and for the epidural to wear off enough that I could get in the wheelchair to go see him. My nurses were awesome and did everything they could to get me down there as soon as possible. Peter and Eli's nurses did a great job of keeping me updated. Unfortunately the news was not great. Finally I got to go down and see him.

He was still struggling a lot to breathe and so they were making the decision to transport him. I honestly was just kind of in shock. The whole time I figured he would be fine once they got him going. This was certainly not the way I pictured this going.

They were preparing to do a procedure to him since they were struggling to get an IV in him and with my emotional state, they made me leave while they did it. So back to my room I went. The transport team arrived and went to work. At this point in time, he had a lung bleed out, which is very very rare (we found out later). Before they left with him, they brought him by my room and I pretty much lost it at this point. Peter said goodbye to me and then I was alone. That was the start of the most difficult week we had ever gone through.

I felt like my joy had been completely taken from me. We were supposed to be celebrating the arrival of our new little bundle. Friends and family were supposed to come in and see him and we were supposed to go home 2 days later healthy and happy. I know our situation could have been so much worse, and I am so grateful that we had the medical resources available to us and that our little guy did come home, but it was not easy by any means.

I did have some visitors as the evening wore on. Little Mr. Malachi cheered me up, and before long Peter was back with photos of Eli. It was so hard to have him so far away from me. To have only gotten to see him for 10 minutes total after birth and to only get to touch his hand. It felt so wrong that I wasn't able to comfort him or be there for him.

As the morning came, we got up early and packed up. I was in quite a bit of pain but I had to get up to my little guy! We hurried home and got cleaned up and were on our way to the hospital 45 minutes away.

I was so anxious to see him, but was not prepared to see him like this:

It was hard to see him in that condition, but I quickly became used to it. Finally, 25 hours after he was born, I had him in my arms! I remember how uncomfortable he was being held and how flinchy he was. His first 24 hours of life were associated with pain and discomfort so I can totally understand. He finally settled down and I hope got comfort from being in mommy's arms! I just wanted to hold him forever, but we also had another little guy at home that needed us to be there for him too.

Truly, this was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was incredibly difficult everyday to have to say goodbye to him. Having my helpless child sick was the worst feeling in the world and I hope I will never have to experience that again. It gave me such a new appreciation for families who have children in and out of the hospital all the time.

Peter continued to be the rock as I was pretty worthless that entire week. I was exhausted and in pain and emotionally drained. He truly carried our family through that ordeal. After what felt like an eternal week, we were on our way home. And that was a totally different terrifying experience!
We adjusted pretty well! Malachi did great for being only 9 months old. Eli slept pretty good from the beginning (4ish hours and all night by 2 months!) and it took me awhile before I let him out of my arms! He even slept curled right up against me for the first couple months.

In all of the hustle and bustle with Eli, we were still enjoying Malachi. He was learning so many new things. The week Eli was born, Malachi took off walking - a big milestone moment for sure!

And then we were celebrating his first birthday! Malachi had been such a blessing to us and parenthood was everything I ever hoped it would be. It was fun to get to celebrate him and all the joy he has brought into our lives - his first big birthday with him home and we were so lucky to get so many of the months in his first year to celebrate with him. Hard to believe our little Ham was 1 :)

Spring came around, and we were very settled into our life as a family of 4. Elias stayed healthy and grew bigger and I could relax! Before long we celebrated our first Easter!

The boys started to become buddies! At first Malachi was very afraid of Eli and then he became too curious with him but we started to see the beginnings of the great relationship these two are going to have. I would have never planned to have two babies this close together, but God did and His plan was perfect!

May: 3 Months and 13 Months

June: 4 Months and 14 Months

4th of July: 5 Months and 14 Months
And this past week: 5 Months and 15 Months!

We are having such a great time this first year as parents. As you can see, children consumed this year and it was perfect! We still have put a lot of effort into our marriage and staying connected to each other which has been huge in helping us stay balanced! We quickly discovered just how important our children are and how little some of the other things matter!

So there you have it! Our story, at least all the big parts! We are on an amazing journey and I truly could not imagine a better partner to walk through this life with. I can't believe he is on board for all of my craziness and puts up with me day in and day out :) Things have not always been easy, but we have been so blessed! We have lots of dreams and hopes and desires as we move in to the next year of our marriage and we look forward to what God has in store for us. The most important thing is that we keep our ears open to hearing what it is he wants from us! Our marriage can't go wrong as long as we keep our eyes focused on Him!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family Camp-Out

Every summer my family gets together for a large reunion/ 3 day camp out! It is a fun time to catch up with the family we don't see all that often. It is also fun to see all the new babies that weren't around this time last year - my two included in that number this year :)

I spent the afternoon out there yesterday, and then they had a big potluck last night where all the family that doesn't camp comes down for the evening to visit. Peter joined me with the boys once he got off work. We don't camp out since the campsite is just 10 minutes from our house.

I was very busy trying to keep track of my boys! There was one point where I was feeding Eli and chasing Malachi. Malachi decided to do the typical boy thing and sit down in a pile of dirt and throw it all around and in the air. He was having fun but, he sure got dirty!

Eli was getting fussy and Malachi was getting hard to keep under control and Peter was still an hour away so I decided to put the boys in the stroller and take them for a walk to chill them out for a while. I asked one of my niece's if she wanted to ride her bike and come along too. Well, that was a mistake because then my other niece wanted to go, and then one of the other grandmother's asked if her grand daughter could go and then 3 more asked if they could go. So I ended up going down the trails with me and my two boys in the stroller and 6 kids ages 6-7 on their bikes. Fortunately they all behaved and none of them got hurt while I was supervising.

By the time I got back and Eli was finally asleep Daddy was there to take over Malachi Chasing - whew! We had a great potluck and got to socialize with family. By the time dinner was over, the boys were getting tired so we weren't able to stick around for the camp fire and smore's - maybe next year.

My boys playing with their cousins (babysitters in training!)

Sandwich Time!

Eli relaxing under the shade of the trees!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marriage Posts

Lately we have been spending more time focused on our marriage. One of the ways in which I get tips and ideas is by reading blogs devoted to marriage!

Every once and awhile I find blog posts that I really like. Here are a few from this week:

Datenights: Click HERE for the link!

Peter and I really value the chance to get out and get some couple time when we can! It really is refreshing for our marriage!

Now this blog post I found interesting since we got married at a "young" age. It is a little bit of a touchy subject. You can read part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE My interest is particularly in Part 2.

It is definitely something to think about (fortunately I still YEARS before I need to worry about) as we raise our kids. Is encouraging our children to graduate from college before marriage or maintaining purity more important (if they are in a serious relationship in their late teens). We definitely got a lot of comments that we were "too young" to get married. And of course our desire to wait until marriage DID partially impact wanting to marry so young. After reading this blog post I did a bit of research and statistics do agree with the bloggers opinion. People who maintain purity until marriage are actually quite a bit less likely to divorce. And the further you get in to your 20's prior to marriage the less likely you are to maintain that purity (if you are trying to wait until marriage). Also statistics show a greater marriage satisfaction rate in general for couples who wait until marriage. Kind of interesting to think about as I try and parent these little boys to grow up to be men of high honor!

Anyway, definitely a few blog posts that got me thinking this week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Peter!

Today my husband joined me at 25!

This year was very low key compared to the years past. 2 years ago on Peter's birthday we found out we were accepted to adopt from Ethiopia and were so excited about what the next year would hold. And last year on Peter's Birthday we saw our little peanut baby for the very first time at just 8 weeks on the ultrasound!

And here is everything I love about life right here on Peter's 25th Birthday!

I am so thankful to have Peter in my life! This last year has been the very best as I got to watch him become a daddy not once, but twice! Watching him hold our son in Ethiopia for the very first time and seeing how concerned and protective he was of Eli in the NICU are two memories I will never forget. He is so good with our boys and they love him so much! I have also watched as he has been transformed into an incredible man of God - the best thing of all! I have seen his heart turn to caring for the poor and needy and orphaned. He challenges me to do more and give more and trust more. I have seen him develop into an improved man as he seeks God's will as a father and husband! It has been amazing for me to watch him grow and develop a deeper relationship with God and to see the difference it has made in our marriage! He is everything I have ever wanted and so much more!

So with all that lovey dovey stuff being said :) We had a very relaxed and low key sort of day! Peter took the day off (for reasons that I cannot disclose at this time, but that got cancelled at the last minute - but we will take your prayers if you would be willing!). Instead Peter studied, we quickly ran down to the courthouse to turn in the LAST document to complete Malachi's re-adoption. We should have that all completed within the next two weeks! We came home, got the boys down for naps and Peter studied more. We went out to pizza and ate way too much Raspberry Pie:

Malachi liked it too!

It was a very nice day! I hope we made Peter feel loved on his special day. I so look forward to what God has in store for us in the coming year. The last two years we at least had some idea of what was to come, but this year we are totally clueless as to what this next year holds for us. Heck, maybe it will just be a year of kicking back and relaxing (but that totally doesn't seem like our style so I doubt it!)