Monday, December 24, 2012

When Christmas Isn't So Merry

We have been talking about Fruit of the Spirit in Sunday school recently and I will do a series of posts with all of the lessons that my FABULOUS teacher has done (he's my husband) ;)  A few weeks ago we talked about joy and I have just been thinking so much about that word.  The definition that we talked about in Sunday school was:

joy - "having confidence in God's goodness despite your circumstances." 

Obviously this is not the Webster's dictionary definition but I think it's perfect.  Rachel has gotten into this trend where she has been grumbling and complaining about everything.  She is just not happy about anything and we had a discussion the other day about joy and about being content.  Her kindergarten teacher even looked up the verse in Philippians where it says "do everything without arguing or complaining" Philippians 2:4.  Now, if she gets into her "funk" I will say, "Rachel, what does Philippians 2:4 say?"  She will quote the verse and her attitude will change...most of the time!

My point to all of this is not to say that we will not have challenges in our lives.  I love this time of year.  Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year but let's face it, for some it is the sadest time of the year.  Some of you will celebrate your first Christmas without your loved one, remember the baby you were supposed to be holding this Christmas or your heart may be aching because your empty belly suddenly stopped growing when the life inside ceased to continue living even when your love didn't.  Many of my friends are experiencing broken marriages and families and I'm heartbroken for them.  For some, this time of the year is excruciating and I am sorry...from the very depth of my heart and soul, I am sorry.  I wish I could sit with each one of you and weep with and for you.

The good news is that even though this world is filled with sorrow and hurt and terrible things that Jesus was born to bring hope, peace and JOY to this world!!!  And HE DID!!!  He does and HE WILL!!!!  I am so excited about His coming I could get out of my seat right now and shout it from the top of my lungs!!!  Christ is STILL ON HIS THRONE!  Whatever you are going through, my friend - whatever it is...HE is there for you and WITH you and He wants you to know that He loves YOU!  I know that when your world is crumbling down before you, sometimes God is the last thing that you want to hear about because you feel like He did whatever to you, but that is the farthest from the truth and that is what the enemy wants you to believe. 

So, this Christmas, please cling to the HOPE and LOVE and JOY of Christ.  He was born more than 2,000 years ago in a lowly stable to save this world from sin.  That baby changed everything.  Everything.  He can change YOU too, if you allow him. 

All is well, all is well
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love's light
Sing Alle
Sing Alleluia

All is well, all is well
Let there be peace on earth
Christ is come, go and tell
That He is in the manger

Sing Alle
Sing Alleluia

All is well, all is well
Lift up your voice and sing
Born is now Emmanuel
Born is our Lord and Savior

Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia

All is well

Born is now Emmanuel
Born is our Lord and Savior

Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia

All is well



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rachel Mackenzie

I hate that I am so behind on blogging but I have just been so stressed and busy with the new job.  I am hoping that my little vacation will help me get back on track.  I have missed the "blog-o-sphere."  :)

Rachel Mackenzie, my first born ball of energy and sensitive beauty, turned six years old on November 14th!!  I will never forget my pregnancy with her as I was a nervous wreck.  Most of you know my history and can understand when I say that I felt that I did not deserve the blessing that was growing inside of my body when the Lord decided to allow Brice and I to bring Rachel into the world.  I was constantly thinking was something wrong with her.  I called the doctor all of the time when I felt "funny" or when I couldn't feel or move when I thought she should.  Needlesstosay I am sure I drove that doctor NUTS!!!!  I even drove myself a little crazy! :S 

I was due on December 5, 2006.  I had a seemingly uneventful pregnancy until Friday, October 13th.  I had a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment that day and I was at work and said to a co-worker, "Wouldn't it be great if the doctor said I didn't have to come back to work?"  I was joking...SERIOUSLY joking but I was miserable!!!  I was only about 32 1/2 weeks pregnant but I was SO swollen and just miserable.  Well, at that appointment my blood pressure was elevated and I was swollen so my doctor put me on home bed rest.  I was not allowed to work anymore.  I was on bed rest at home from then until 36 weeks then was hospitalized because I had protein in my urine and my blood pressure was HORRIBLE and the swelling was so bad.  I had also started to have epigastric pain.  Here is the last picture I took before going into the hospital...

33 weeks pregnant
 
After being in the hospital for a week, I was induced at 37 weeks and after a VERY eventful delivery including a vacuum delivery, elevated fever, and Rachel being in the NICU, Rachel Mackenzie was born at 9:49 PM on November 14, 2006 weighing 7 lbs, 10 oz and was 20 inches long!!! 
 
 
Rachel is such a sweet girl.  She is definitely a first born.  She is independent and wants to do everything by herself and thinks it is her duty to help everyone and tell everyone what to do.  She is extremely smart and lets everyone know that she is.  She is very much like her momma when it comes to being outgoing.  She will talk to ANYONE which mortifies her father! ;)  She is interested in math and loves to solve problems which is just like her daddy!  She looks like me and acts like me which is scary!  She is EXTREMELY sensitive and cries at the drop of a hat which only makes me scared for the years to come. 
 
She is the light of my life and I love her with every inch of my being.  I would not trade this little girl for anything in the world.  Rachel,
 
"I love you, a bushel and a peck
A  bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and heap
A barrel and heap and I'm talkin in my sleep
About you!"
 



Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

My friend Amanda with Amanda Rooney Photography did a GREAT job taking the pictures and designing our Christmas card this year!!!  I told her that I wanted something whimsical and fun and she came up with the design!  I didn't get a family picture this year because getting all of us together and happy at the same time is next to impossible! 

I really wish that I could send a Christmas card to every person that reads my blog, is my friend on Twitter and/or Facebook but I just can't so consider this your personal Christmas card from our home to yours!! :) 

Merry Christmas from the 5 of us!

 
 

I am still here!

Wow!  It has been a long time!!!  As my husband reminded me tonight, the last time I blogged was Halloween!!!  SO MUCH has happened since then!!!  I will tell you as much as I can think of and leave out the stuff that isn't too important!! :)

Probably the biggest thing that has happened since I blogged last is that I changed jobs!  I put in my two week notice at Arlington Memorial Hospital and my last day there was Friday, November 16th.  I was there for almost 5 years and the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.  I absolutely love that hospital and those 5 years, granted not without challenges, were some of the best years of my career.  I am now working at Baylor Surgical Hospital in Fort Worth.  It is United Surgical Partners hospital, mainly owned by physicians and a small portion owned by Baylor Healthcare System.  It is a small 24 inpatient bed surgical hospital that cranks out A TON of surgeries per day and stays plenty busy.  My start date there was December 4th and I have been a busy little bee there since. 

Several have asked if I like my new job.  Here is what I have to say.  I do like it.  I miss Arlington Memorial something terrible.  I have days where I just want to cry I miss it so bad.  I miss my friends, I miss the familiarity.  I miss knowing what I'm doing and people coming to me when they don't know the answers.  I miss being on top of my game and being organized and just....being comfortable.  I miss being in my element.  I feel SO COMPLETELY out of my element.  Am I happy?  I think so.  It is just such an emotional thing for me.  I don't do change well but this was a good move for me.  I need to grow both personally and professionally and I absolutely believe that this move will do that for me.  I don't like feeling like I am flying by the seat of my pants because most days I absolutely feel like that.  The people are different....not bad.....but different. So....I believe that God has me in this place at this time for a specific purpose.  I feel wanted and I am glad that people are excited that I am at Baylor Surgical.  I am excited about what I am doing and what I have the potential to do.  My heart is still sad.  My OCD is still having difficulty overcoming some of the logistics of it all.  But, all in all, it's good.  :)

Something else that has happened since my last post is that Rachel turned 6!!  I will do a separate post about her birthday festivities but my BABY is now 6 years old!!!!  How did that happen?! 

Sorry there are no pictures but while I am on vacation this next week I will try to do some regular posts with some pictures!! :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween this year was a fruit basket turnover!!!! 

Lauren has proven to be in a little of a challenging stage.  Let's just say this: she is 3 years old!  Is that enough said?  Okay, thought so.

 Now that we have established that fact, for that reason, I let her pick what theme the girls would be for Halloween this year so that she would cooperate.  We got the Chasing Fireflies catalog in the mail this year and she and I sat down and looked through it. She picked the banana costume!  I was actually shocked!!  She is just my introverted child.  She is quiet, shy, and does NOT want to be the center of attention AT ALL!  The fact that she picked the wacky banana costume was so funny to me!  She laughed and giggled and just went crazy over this banana costume.  What is so cute about Lauren is that she is a clown!  She loves making people laugh but she is just painfully shy about it.  She really is funny though.  So, we went with a fruit theme. 

Rachel wanted to be a fairy. She told me from the first discussion of Halloween that she wanted to be a fairy so LUCKILY there was a fruit-themed fairy!  A watermelon fairy!!  It was also pink and involved a tutu!!  She was sold!!  And....it wasn't $200 like a lot of the costumes in that catalog so I was happy! :) 

Then, there was my baby Hannah....last year, Hannah was a wee one so this was actually the first year for her to dress up in a costume.  Obviously, she needed to be a fruit but she had to be something super cute!  I found the most perfect costume for a round faced chubby bundle of cuteness....a strawberry!  The cutest strawberry costume ever!!! 

So, there you have it!  My fruit basket!  Introducing the Cutest Fruit Basket in Texas:




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Does Rachel Need a New Tooth Fairy?

Well, some might think so


As I posted in my last post, Rachel recently pulled HER OWN  tooth at the Arboretum during her school field trip.  Okay, I am new to this whole tooth fairy business!  And for those of you that are wondering, NO, there isn't a tooth fairy, sorry to break the news to you on the world wide web!!!  And YES, everything you read on here IS THE TRUTH!!!!  ;)  Anyway, I digress....I got on here and asked my ever so trustworthy group of know it alls friends on Twitter about how much teeth are going for these days and got some ridiculous answers!!!!  There was a wide variety of answers, for one thing.  I just decided that Brice and I would figure it out and go with something we thought was reasonable for an almost-6-year-old who doesn't know the difference.  So, we the tooth fairy gave her $.50 for her tooth.  I find out later that we apparently are CHEAP!!!  I have been told this by more than 5 people, by the way!  I heard of one kid getting $20 a tooth and another kid getting an American GIrl doll??!!!  REALLY!??!  Are you kidding me?!  I mean, I thought maybe $.50 was a little cheap, but that is insane!  Brice said to me, "She is not getting rewarded for a natural life process!"  He reminded me that we should not give in to peer pressure and that $.50 is fine. 

In the end, Rachel was ecstatic about her $.50 and we felt comfortable with the decision not to buy her the world because she pulled one of the 16 teeth that she will eventually lose!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rachel's Field Trip - Dallas Arboretum


On Tuesday, October 23rd, I took off work and went with Rachel’s class to the Dallas Arboretum.  It was so much fun and I loved spending the day with my FIRST baby girl! She is growing up way too fast! 
 
Right now at the Arboretum they have pumpkins EVERYWHERE!  They have a pumpkin village where you can see all different types of pumpkins, they have houses made out of pumpkins and they even had Cinderella’s carriage with the Fairytale Pumpkins!  Rachel thought that was pretty cool (and so did her 4 BOY classmates)!  Rachel’s favorite pumpkin was the Turk’s Turbin Pumpkin!




 
Rachel was excited about the Arboretum because she wanted to smell the flowers, and smell the flowers she did…I think she smelled them all!  She loves flowers just like my mom! 

 

Another thing that they have out there right now is the Chihuly Exhibit. He is a glass sculptor and there were some really neat glass sculptures there. I think the adults thought that was cooler than the kids did. I tried to get pictures of the ones I thought were the neatest.

 






One of the MOST exciting things that happened in our day was that Rachel pulled her first tooth…while at the Arboretum!  I will post about the whole tooth fairy experience in another post, but here is a picture of the proud girl with the missing tooth!!

 
We had such a fun day but by the time we got back on the bus to go home, we were ready!!!  We were tired!!!!  I was glad to spend the day with this BIG little girl! :)  Made this Momma heart happy!!
 

 

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hannah's First Birthday Party

 
Yes, I am behind!!!  EEK!!!! 

Here are a few pictures from Hannah's first birthday party on Saturday, October 20th!  Okay, so there are more than just a few pictures but you only turn 1 once, right?!!! 

The theme for her birthday was rubber duckies.  I figured it would be an easy theme and for the most part, I was right.  Around the time of her birthday, I was CRAZY busy and overcommitted myself with a dozen other things and TOTALLY procrastinated.  It was a VERY low-key party with not many guests at all but it was perfect, in my opinion.

We had some cupquacks (otherwise known as cupcakes) from Tom Thumb bakery and I just added some ducky picks that I ordered from Amazon.com.

 
We had some duck food (or homemade chex mix that I could literally eat my weight in)!!!
 
 
A YUMMY fruit tray
 

 
The colors of the party were pink and yellow so we had pink and yellow lemonade
 
 
And this little creation I have to admit that I stole off Pinterest and I think it actually came from one of my new Twitter friends who is OH SO CRAFTY!!!  This cake was SO easy to make!!  And I got so many compliments on it.  We actually did not eat any of it. It was simply for decoration but I was so happy with how it turned out!
 
 

 
Here is Hannah's highchair!  It had pink and yellow polka dot balloons tied to it as well.
 

 
The next few pictures are in sequence.  She actually touched the flame of the candle while we were singing to her.  That is why in the 2nd picture her face is all red and splotchy - because she had been crying and I finally calmed her down!  :(

 

 

We had a great time and I was happy that she did not have a meltdown.  I remember when we had the other two girls' parties they both did not last through the entire thing.  I think that first birthday parties are so hard on little ones.  She did great though.  I did not get any good pictures of our guests!!  BOO!!!  She did have some friends there!! haha!!

Isn't this little sign the cutest??  All of the little paper products are from the Paper Kingdom on Etsy.  I would HIGHLY recommend her!  She was great to work with and the stuff she made was TOP NOTCH!!!

 
Also?  I know I didn't get a great picture of it, but Hannah's birthday dress (along with most of her personalized clothing - and my other girls' as well - come from my friend, Ashley's shop.  You can also check out her blog by clicking HERE.  She does great work!!  She just celebrated her little boy's first birthday and knocked it out of the park with his decorations!!

Here is a picture of my three little duckies!!!!


 Me and my baby girl!!!

 
I love you my Hannah Banana!!  Hope your party was fun!!!  




Monday, October 22, 2012

Social Media

Social media is certainly a new thing that many people do not understand.  Is it a good thing?  That is up for debate, I believe.  Some will adamantly tell you "no" and some will say, without a doubt, "You betcha!" Some say that it can be a generational difference and I can see that as well. I think that, like anything, it can be time consuming and too much of it can be a bad thing.  I often do much of my blogging and the bulk of my internet usage after the kids go to bed or in the wee hours of the morning before anyone gets up.  Having access to so much technology makes things so much easier and I find myself checking Facebook and Twitter quite a bit during the day as well.  It literally takes about a minute to update a Facebook status or answer a few people's questions on Twitter.  It is an easy way to communicate. 

The downfall to this?  It should not replace face to face communication.  I am such a people person and I would much rather talk to someone than on the phone or by email.  We should be more relational than just via social media and I absolutely do not believe that social media should take the place of those interpersonal relationships that we have in person. 

Another thing that is important to remember is safety.  I believe that there are things that should be posted on the internet and things that should not.  I do not always use the best judgment when it comes to "airing my dirty laundry" so to speak.  In the past I have caused some serious hurt with relationships due to lack of discretion in what I have posted on my blog.  Not everyone wants their information posted in such a public way so it is important to check with those that you post about.  My husband does not use Facebook or Twitter but he is very much in support of my blog.  He reads it and is supportive of me sharing how God is working in my life.  I do not post about my marriage.  It is not something I feel is appropriate to post about. 

Is there bad going on in the cyber world?  Unfortunately, yes.  I am on Twitter quite a bit and have a great number of girlfriends on there and just like friends in real life, we bicker and argue about dumb things but, for the most part, I have been able to "weed out" the drama-causing people in my Twitter feed.  What I will tell you is this - the good has far outweighed the bad on Twitter in my life in the past two years!!!  I have a group of about 35-40 ladies that I know at the drop of a hat if I asked them would drop what they were doing and pray for me diligently if I needed them to.  When I was at my wits end in the middle of the night with Hannah not knowing what to do with my baby, these women were also up with the same struggles tweeting with me.  When I was struggling in my walk with God, these women were also there, praying and struggling with me.  I have seen, first hand, the power of God work through a phone and computer screen through social media.  I have seen moms get on and ask for advice about their sick babies, receive advice and minutes later be in surgery with their newborns because of the wise counsel of other moms who have been there!  One of the most incredible things that I have seen most recently is a group of women who rallied together for a sister who needed us in her time of need.  For a precious dear friend who lost her husband and her sweet baby girl who lost her father.  In a 24 hour time frame the Twitter/blogger community raised just shy of $2,000 for funeral flowers and then the rest went into a fund for Baby Girl.  In a week's time, people from all over the place came together as the Holy Spirit worked in the lives, and the handiwork of five generous people donated countless hours of time and love, a silent auction took place and over $12,000 was raised for the Turner Family!!!!    ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!!   Now I want someone to respond and tell me that social media is not good stuff!

I love my friends that I have made both in the cyber world as well in real life due to the world of social media.  I understand that it is not for everyone but I hope that this gives others some insight as to why it is important for some people.  I do think that it can be used in access and should not be used in place of interpersonal relationships or when it causes one to neglect other responsibilities or families.  I do believe, also that above everything that social media should not be above making time with God.  If you are making time for Twitter, blogging, or Facebook and neglecting daily quiet time with God, your priorities are not straight. 

If you do not follow me, I am rikkihester on Twitter and you can also find me on Facebook!! :)  Leave me comment if you want me to follow you as well! :) 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hannah ~ YOU ARE ONE!!!

All of my life I have wanted to be a Mommy!!  Even after a bad choice and after years of feeling like I don't deserve the JOY of loving just one "mini-me" I get THREE of them!!!  God is so good to me and He is SO faithful even when we are not! 

Hannah Grace!!!  How did you get to be so BIG!??!  You rock my world, Baby Girl!  Look at that smile!


 You came into this world when you wanted to.  I had it all planned out for you to be born on October 21st and you started making your entrance a little early and after Mommy started having some problems, the doctors decided you had to come!!!  So, at 4:30 in the morning on October 19th, you were ready!!!!  You wanted to get here so fast, Mommy's nurse had to hold your little head until the doctor could get there for your birth (you had a little indention in your head when you were born to prove it)! :) 

When you were born, your cheeks were so chubby, you didn't open your eyes for 3 days!!!  The pediatrician could not get you to open your eyes in the hospital and he finally just said to have Dr. Hull follow up later! Ha!  You were 8 pounds, 5 ounces of pure squishy-ness!!  You had lots of hair and your sisters...oh boy...they adored you!!!!  Lauren was so excited to finally be a big sister.  Rachel, of course said she knew exactly what she was doing....she was a pro!  You came home to many many people who already loved you. 

A couple of things to note about your early days...you have funny toes.  Mommy noticed them in the hospital.  They are still that way. The doctor says that it is more common than not but none of the rest of your family has them.  Mommy doesn't care...I kind of like your funny toes. ;)  You were not a good sleeper....still aren't some nights. This was due, I believe to some of your medical issues, but I wouldn't trade those "middle-of-the-night" snuggles now that they are obsolete!  You always sound like a seal when you cough or sneeze.  All of the older people when they are around you always like to inform Mommy that I need to take you to the doctor because you have croup.  Mommy knows that you don't.  Mommy does really know you best.  That is your medical condition called tracholaryngomalacia.  Your pulmonologist says you will outgrow it.  I believe him...for now, you are the cutest little "barking" baby I know!!  :)  You had colic from about 6 weeks until about 3-4 months every night from about 5-7:30 or whenever you went to sleep.  It was rough.  We would do whatever we could to make you happy which included bouncing, walking, rubbing your tummy, bathing, singing, swinging, rocking, most of the time all of them. 

You were a challenge, for sure.  BUT, my sweet sweet baby.  You are a delight.  You have THE SWEETEST disposition.  You smile CONSTANTLY.  You hardly ever fuss, unless you are sleepy, dirty, or hungry.  You jabber all of the time, and you are so inquisitive.  You are always wanting to learn and one of my favorite things to watch you do is love on your babies and stuffed animals.  You just coo and laugh and love them.  You are absolutely the delight of my heart and I love you with every inch of my being.  It is so hard as a mom to imagine loving anyone like your first baby, then the second baby comes along and you realize it is possible.  Then the third baby comes along and your heart just grows bigger and bigger.


Hannah Grace, my prayer is that you continue to grow and love the Lord.  I pray that I am always the Mommy that you need and that you know that I love you above everything else.  This is just the first year, Doll Baby.  We have so many more to come. 

Happy 1st Birthday!!

Love,
 Mommy


Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

October is awareness month for so many causes.  The most common is probably Breast Cancer Awareness Month but near and dear to my heart is

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

It was is a month set aside to remember those babies that have been lost due to miscarriage, stillbirth, illnesses, accidents, etc during pregnancy and after birth under the age of one year old.  In 1988 Ronald Reagan actually dedicated a day in the month to celebrate and remember these babies.  The day that was chosen was October 15th mainly because it fell in the very middle of the month. 

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.   All across the globe at 7:00 PM there are candles lit in memory and honor of those babies who are gone but not forgotten.  At the hospital where I work, I am the co-chair of the Bereavement Committee and three years ago we started our annual ceremony for this occasion.  We have a speaker, do a responsive reading, and light candles.  We planted a tree the first year and this year we added a plaque.  We place ribbons and hearts on the tree as well.  It is such a special time of remembrance.

Tonight the speaker said something that hit this mommy's heart pretty hard.  She said, "When I lost my first baby to miscarriage and my 2nd baby at around 20 weeks, it was hard because as a mom I was supposed to protect them and I didn't."  As a mom, I can so relate to that.  We are their protectors.  We are supposed to keep them from harm and when we don't or can't, we carry so much guilt with that.  When God entrusts our children to us, He does so with a very specific goal, purpose, and time frame in mind.  Sometimes the time frame is shorter than others but we have to trust in Him that He has the baby's as well as our best interest at heart.  God is faithful when we are not.  He is sovereign and even though we may not understand His ways, I trust that He certainly knows what He is doing. 





If you have lost a little one in your life, I pray that you find God's peace beyond what you can understand today.



Reason to Rejoice
 
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