Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sugar and Spice...

...and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of!

We found out on Friday that our little bundle of joy would be all wrapped in pink when we meet her sometime in early January.  Yes, folks we are having a girl!

Friday was kind of a funny day in many aspects.  The night before I was fully prepared to make us breakfast while I gulped down the "required" 32-ounces of fluid they say you should consume before having the ultrasound.  I think it's someones sick joke at times to torture pregnant women!  ha ha!!  Anyway, Friday morning I asked Husband if we could go out to one of my new favorite little places in town instead.  He agreed and it was there that I downed as much tea and water as I possibly could (along with a yummy omelet).

We were excited about the possibility of finding out if we were having a boy or a girl but at only 16-weeks we were a little skeptical at first as to if it would be entirely too early to tell.  In reality, I was just glad to get a little glimpse inside to make sure baby was just doing well in general.  I cannot feel her yet so there are times when one wonders if anything is really going on in there.  At the beginning of the ultrasound I was just amazed at how much she had grown in the last few weeks (and kept referring to her as "he.")  We could see all of her little bones, stomach, kidneys, measure her femur, estimate her weight (6 oz.), and so much more.  It was amazing!  Then came time to see if they could see the "defining" anatomy.  Her little foot was in the way but the tech was able to maneuver her around a bit and discover that a Little Flower would be joining our family!

We were a bit surprised...excited of course...but a tad in shock.  You see, we were pretty convinced, along with most of our friends and family, that we were having a boy!  So many things that I read and just kind of "felt" - turns out I was the exception to many rules.  I laughed when the tech said it was a girl.  For those of you that know me, I have a belly laugh so it made it hard for the tech for a few moments as my belly bounced with excitement and surprise.  Matt and I opted to try and register for some things after the appointment.  I especially wanted to look for girl's bedding because I alreadyhad a boy's room all picked out and not a lick of an idea for a girl's room.  Thankfully, that was pretty easy to find something that we both liked - girly but not over the top... I don't think!

Little Flower has already received some toys from Grandma and Grandpa as well as her first little pink dress for next spring/summer from some loving friends.  Her room has quite a bit of green in it with yellow and pink accents.  Husband wondered if there would be enough pink.  I told him to wait until he sees all of her clothes... she will be enough of a pink accent for sure!  Arizona Grandpa and Grandma are going to help Husband paint in a couple of weeks.  Then we will assemble the crib so I can see what furniture we still need to get and what will be the most practical.

I am starting to get pretty excited about all the pretty little girl things we get to buy!  But trying not to over-do it where everything is pink where we couldn't use some things should we have a boy down the road.

It's been fun for sure!

**We've not been overly excited about some of the photos that the tech has been sending home with us.  The photo's she gives to the doctor are really great!  And we really seem to like the "regular" shots rather than the 3D shots.  Such is life.  We are thankful that we recorded this last ultrasound on our digital camera, as it has the best shots for sure!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wee Ones in Church

Today my heart was delighted by a post by Nancy Wilson over on Femina entitled "Little Ones in Church."  It's not the fact that we are expecting our first child but a rather a-typical way of viewing children in relation to worship, church, and their place among God's people.

I am fortunate enough to be part of a church that desires for children to welcomed and integrated into the worship services.  Not just the older children but even the tiniest of all.  We have had some adjusting to do as the "sounds of the covenant" become louder as the last eight babies to be born are testing out their vocal chords and wanting to chat and sing along.  Plus, there are two more on the way -- one of which is ours!  We have a Mother's room but I think Mrs. Wilson's mention of a Father's room is an excellent idea as well.  Mrs. Wilson makes a good point that the integration of all generations is important, with her focus being on the younger ones in this particular post.  I love her point that their place among God's people is just as important as those of an older status.  It also helps in their training and how to behave in service with the rest of the congregation.

Many would argue that children can be a distraction or that they would not understand.  Let's first tackle the first issue.  A distraction... children?  I can see the point vaguely until we see how children are treated throughout Scripture.  They are not just tossed aside but they are always included in the covenant promises from our Lord.  We are told that children are a blessing and they are a heritage from the Lord.  We are not told that children are a blessing except in worship.  One would think that if they are a heritage from the Lord and a gift - then that's a good thing, right?  Also, children are not the only distractions in church - maybe it's the unchurched guy that's being a little too loud, or making comments during the sermon... or maybe the elderly saint in the front row keeps talking above normal inside tones when the pastor comes to the front because she cannot hear or see very well.  Do we cart them off somewhere to play?  Do we remove them altogether?  No!  We gently address, correct, and work on the issues with grace and truth.  Some issues are easier than others and can be taken care of with a slight tough of the hand or one spoken word.  We find these others as an integral part of the congregation as well.  Are they treated differently because they are over three feet tall?

Next, they won't understand, you say?  Hummm... I watched an almost one-year old girl try to lift her hands to the Gloria Patri on Sunday and her first word is "Amen" after the songs and prayers.  Sure, she may not understand the meat of the sermon but she's still working on the milk side of things - literally and spiritually.  We must be mindful of our children's frame and not have expectations that we can sit down with our children at age four and work on the exegesis of Genesis or Revelation.  Our expectations need to be realistic of where they are age wise and spiritually.  I am amazed as I watch children of all ages engage at different levels with the worship service and the sermon in particular.  (I will mention some of my observations and ideas at the end of this post for those who may be looking for suggestions.)  There are times that I, personally, "don't get" the sermon and it requires more reflection and digging into Scripture after the service.  I like sermons like that from time-to-time because they cause my brain to stretch and dig a little deeper into the Word and ask questions of my husband and our pastor and elders.

With all that to say, I am not totally anti-Sunday School.  But have you thought about where Sunday school originally came from?  It was originally an outreach idea that children could bring their unchurched friends to a place to learn more about Jesus.  Unfortunately, in many churches it has become a place where people just drop off their kiddos and leave the teaching of the Scriptures to someone else - not following up with it when they are home or throughout the week.  It's a place where the parents can find a bit of a breather.  And, unfortunately, it is a place that is the thorn in the side for many as we pull teeth for people to man the nursery or teach.  And what about those who are teaching - what about their time in worship?  I will say that some churches do this well and not all is lost on Sunday School.  I am just asking for us to think through some different things that most modern evangelicals are not exposed to because it is not the norm.

Do you wonder why some youth feel segregated from the church?  Is it because they were never really integrated in the first place?  Have you thought that church is the perfect place for children to work on their social interactions with adults and the elderly?  Have you thought about the blessing of placing your child in the lap and hands of the aged who delight in the young squeals and sweet smell of a baby?  Have you thought about how much your children need to see you model the great honor and pleasure of worshipping the One True God - from the youngest to the oldest?

I am sure I could go on... but I think that I will end this for now.  Below I will list my observations of children engaging in worship - maybe some could work for your family?

Observations and Ideas

  1. Our church publishes all the music that we will be singing for the month so that it can be incorporated into family worship.  Children can pick up on songs quite easily.  Teaching and memorizing the songs together can be helpful when your five-year-old is just learning to read.

  2. For some older kids, I have seen them mark out the ABC's in a notebook and as they hear corresponding words in the sermon they write them down.

  3. Asking children to write down key words they hear in the sermon and how many times those key words are said throughout.  (Jesus is always a good word to use)

  4. Asking each child about what they learned or understood from the sermon starting with the youngest and no one can repeat anothers answer.  This, I believe, is a great way to have higher expectations for your older children.  Parents play, too!

  5. Drawing out key themes of the sermon and whispering them to your child.  I have been reading Edith Schaffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking, and she suggests this as well.  One friend tried it with her five-year-old and it seemed to work well!  It doesn't have to be elaborate - stick figures will work fine.  This idea can be compounded if you have smaller ones that need to be fed during the service or become fussy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Elusive Game

For my 29th birthday (back in March) my family took me bowling, per my request.  We had a great time.  I have horrible form and it usually takes me awhile to warm up and actually do fairly well.  However, I really like to bowl.  I just think it's fun.  Plus, I really appreciate now that, depending on what city you are in, bowling alleys these days are smoke free.

Several weeks after that fun day Husband and I were heading over to his parents house after church.  We called to let them know we had to pick some things up before we got there and we would be a bit late.  My father-in-law told us that there was something on the porch for me.  Of course, this piqued both of our interests.  As we drove up to the house we craned our necks to see what it was.  (Later we would find out that my father-in-law watched as we pulled up and found our curiosity quite funny.)  When we walked up to the door we found this bowling pin which I thought was hilarious in and of itself.

The note attached read as follows:

This bowling pin is to commemorate the 1st celebration of your 29th birthday - and to keep before you the elusive goal of a 300 game.

I think it is just so stinkin' funny because my elusive goal is even a 200 game!  ha ha!!  So, on my desk sits this beat up bowling pin and it always makes me smile.  And yet, we still have yet to go bowling again! 

Soon, soon....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Well, vacation would explain my recent hiatus from the blog world.  Husband and I made a quick trip out while his parents were in Elgin, Illinois to spend time with his dad's side of the family.  I must admit that I had prepared myself for the all to familiar 90-degree weather with 90% humidity that lingers over the heartland of America this time of year.  However, we were delightfully surprised by the weather ordered up for us this last weekend.  I am not sure that it got much over 80-degrees and the humidity, for the most part, was held at bay.  We experienced some crazy storms, but we loved every minute of it.  The funny thing was that we came back to Phoenix just after an intense storm that ripped a roof off a local school building.  We left a cool and not so humid place only to return to a fairly warm (80-degrees) and quite humid atmosphere.  We laughed at the irony.

Besides the weather, the trip was great, too.  Husband had not been back there since he was about seven.  My father-in-law was back a couple of years ago for a wedding that was just a couple of weeks before ours.  So, it was a good time for all to catch up and I think we may get some of them to come out and visit.  I am guessing that it would happen in the winter when they need a break from the snow and it will be to them like autumn -- or after the baby comes.  We went to a historical museum and had a private showing of some things that were from Husband's side of the family.  It was really quite fascinating as we learned where in Ireland they all originated from and the heritage that was revealed.  Husband's Great-great grandfather fought in the Spanish-American war and we were able to see his saddle from that war.  We also found others who fought in the Civil War as well.  It was a really neat time.

We just spent a lot of time hanging out and visiting one little place after another in Elgin (one of the MANY suburbs of Chicago) and the surrounding areas.  Elgin still has a small town feel, although when I think about it, it really is quite large.  We had to partake in the famous Burn's malt at Al's Cafe - which is made with six scoops of ice cream and no added milk.  Needless to say, I had a half malt because I needed real food for lunch, too.  Others, well, they just had the malt for lunch!

Surrounding the good food and fun family, we learned a new card game called Hand and Foot.  It is really fun and can get a little carried away when there are so many people.  It's similar to Canasta, I think.  We had a good time and played it almost every chance we got!  So, some of you out there may be learning a new card game from us sometime in the near future.  Although, we may need a little detox time from the game first.

I am sure that I am forgetting some other fun little adventure but I think that the highlights will do for now.  Additional photos are up on our Flickr site. If you need an invite to see them, let me know and I'll be happy to do that for you!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fruits of Summer

Have you recently walked into your local grocery store or farmers market only to be overwhelmed by the most luscious scent ever?  Well, if not you should march yourself on down to your favorite place to purchase produce and partake in the goodness of fruit now available.  In a couple of different stores I have had the great olfactory experience of fresh and delightfully ripe peaches waiting consumption.  WOW.  It's amazing.  I really just want to sit in the store all day.  I now envy the store greeter's job as he gets to stand there all day as the aroma wafts over him as the doors slide open and closed.  Sigh. 

I think this is quite amazing for a pregnant woman to go ga-ga over any type of food!  I would have added pictures of the peaches but they are long since gone.  And really, pictures don't make up for the really smell of it all.  Just go down to the store and find out for yourself.

In other fruit news... when I moved here after our wedding there was a lot that I would need to adjust to experiencing.  I still have a hard time that I am actually seeing palm trees and cactus in the same landscape, however, it is becoming more of the norm for me.  The other thing was the abundance of fruit that Arizona produces.  Many folks have no need for the produce section at the local grocery but rather just pop out back to harvest limes, oranges, grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, one family I know has grapes, and I am sure there is a plethora or other things that I am forgetting.  My sweet mother-in-law has a plum tree that just would not quit!  She had more than she really knew what to do with.  However, in her resourcefulness she made plum jelly.  Yes, another WOW moment.  Delicious!  Plus, it's SO very red!  She was impressed with the color that I am sure someone would of thought she added coloring.  But no, it's all natural.  Yet another project that I hope she will teach me in the future.

So, while it's incredibly hot here (although the monsoons have arrived early!) there is still plenty to do and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

1/3 of the way there...

Well, by whatever standard one wants to count the ending of the first trimester - twelve weeks or thirteen - I am officially 1/3 of the way through this pregnancy!  What a nice little milestone.    The possibility of a miscarriage drops significantly and I am grateful that all seems to sound and look good so far.  It's hard to believe that our baby will be here in six months.  However, it's also hard to believe that January is six months away.  Where does the time go?

We were not expecting to have an ultrasound until about weeks 16-20 when we found out the gender of the baby.  However, there was a bit of a "scare" and I went in a couple of days before my 12-week check up to make sure everything was a-okay.  They did a doppler to find the heart beat which was nice and stong in the 150's.  Then just to make sure nothing else was wrong they went ahead and did an ultrasound and we got an extra little peek in on Baby Caughey.  I think this photo of the baby is fun because his/her little hands are right in front of his/her face.  It's a normal position but I joked that he/she didn't want to have his/her picture taken... just like his/her daddy!  Although, Husband is pretty good about letting me take his photo these days.  :)

So, there's an update on our little one.  All is fine and the baby is growing well and seems to be pretty strong heartbeat wise.  Our next ultrasound will be at 16-weeks and our doctor will try to see the gender of the baby.  If she cannot tell at that point they will run the test again at 18-weeks.  Then I am guessing we will not see Baby much until he/she arrives on the scene here in the Valley of the Sun.


I was recently at my last appointment with my acupuncture doctor.  She has always had a bowl of candy at the check out desk.  For the most part I can resist the temptation of the goodness inside - except that one time that there was dark chocolate in the bowl... and this time.

I happened to look down and an excited grin came across my face when I saw the familiar "NOW and LATER" wrapper.  It's not that it's the BEST candy by any means but it is wrapped in childhood sentiment.  I was instantly transported to my neighbors front yard where we would play along with her younger brother and sister.  And it was at their house that I think I remember having my first taste of this delightful little "product of Mexico."  Good times, remembered.  Jumping on a trampoline, making a house out of big boxes, swimming in a kiddie pool, riding horses (good ol' Buttercup!), and so much more.

It reminds me of a Starburst at some level yet it is quite unique in and of its own.  So, if you get a chance you should try them.  And if I get a chance I really should buy some more... the THREE I took from the doctor's office just wasn't enough.