Saturday, April 30, 2011

Parenthood

I am a BIG fan of "Parenthood" on NBC. When the show started last year, I was impartial to watching it. But Luke watched it, so I started watching it by default. It didn't take long before it became a favorite show for me. If you haven't watched "Parenthood," it's about three generations of the Braverman family that live in Berkley, CA. I have heard countless times from others that "Parenthood" is one of the most real shows on television today. It's just about regular family life- the good and the bad. It deals with lots of real life issues in very believable story lines. The writers of the show do a great job not only writing the story, but in making each character very believable and real to the viewer.




One of the biggest things I love about "Parenthood" is watching the Braverman family live life together and support each other. Zeke and Camille Braverman, the patriarchs of the family, are parents to four adult children. I love watching the four siblings interact. They bicker and pick on each other at times, but there is a definite bond and love between them all- and they are always there for each other. Whenever I watch "Parenthood," I find myself thinking of my three siblings- and wishing that there was a way for us to live closer and be a part of each others every day lives. Kelly, Michael, and Jonathan were my first friends in life- and today they remain some of my best friends. I would love for my children to grow up seeing their cousins every week. I would love to attend games and dance recitals for my nieces and nephews. I would love to be able to celebrate birthdays and holidays together. I would love to have the chance to spend more times with my siblings and their spouses, because they are truly some of my most favorite people in the world.

That being said, I am so happy that we do live close to my parents and are able to have them be a part of our lives. I remember in high school thinking that the most important people in the world to me were my friends. Well, I now realize the most important people are my family. Watching "Parenthood" reminds me to be thankful for my family, and the relationships I have with them- and to treasure the time I am able to spend with them... Friends can come and go, but family is forever.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Update on the Little Ones... (and life in general)

It's been 5 weeks since Levi has joined our family and let me tell you, it's been awesome! The adjustment to being a family of 5 has gone great. We had been warned by some of our friends that child #3 can push you over the edge because suddenly you are outnumbered. Obviously, we are only 5 weeks into life as a family of 5. But I can say for now, so far so good! I have braved the grocery store, library, church, and Target by myself with all 3 kids and we have all survived.

Levi is doing great! He had a doctors appointment today because the poor little guy has developed a case of thrush (read: also, poor mom!). He weighed in at 9lbs 11oz. He seems to get a little chubbier and cuter each day! I remain completely smitten with him.

Eliana turned 2 on April 17th- which is hard to believe. I had intended to post her birth story on her birthday, but that is still on the "to do" list... Being that she is the second child, it amazes me how much she picks up from Silas. She knows most of her alphabet and can sing "Jesus Loves Me." Her favorite thing to say is, "I do it!"- she is very independent. 

Last week we visited the preschool that Silas will be attending in the fall. It's hard to believe he will be starting preschool! Silas loves to read stories out of his Bible each night. We read the Easter story a few times. This was the first time he seemed to understand the meaning of Easter- on the level a 4 year old can at least... He would tell me that Jesus was nailed to a cross and died- and a few days later the women went to the place where Jesus' body was- but He was gone because He was alive! 

A few other random updates/funny things:
-Last Wednesday morning we were woken up at 6:20AM by our doorbell ringing. I thought I was dreaming, but Luke went to the door anyways. To our shock, a police officer was at our door. He informed us that a train was leaking hydrochloric acid a few blocks from our house and our neighborhood was under a mandatory evacuation. Luke asked how long we had to get out and the officer said we needed to get out as quickly as possible. (Obviously, easier said then done when you are talking about packing up 3 kids). And we were told to be prepared for the evacuation to last for 24-48 hours. Awesome. This is so not the way I like to start days. So we packed up as quickly as possible (read: about a half an hour)- and evacuated to my parents house... The spill was cleaned up by late on Wednesday night and we were able to return home on Thursday.

-Last week when shopping at Costco, we were making a light lunch of all the samples. One of the samples was peanut butter filled pretzels. I got each of us a sample. Silas loved them; Eliana did not. She ate one of them and handed me her little cup. I started eating the rest of Eliana's pretzels (why? I have no idea because I didn't really like them either...). After I ate one of Eliana's remaining pretzels, Silas looked at me and said, "I'll have the rest of those!" After he finished all of them he looked at Eliana and said, "Eliana, why didn't you eat you them? You like pretzels. You like peanut butter. They're peanut butter pretzels!!" It was so clear cut for him, it just cracked me up.

-Luke's parents came out for a visit this week and we are having a great time! The kids are loving having grandpa and grandma here- there has been lots of showing off, games, book reading, and playing. We are so happy they could come out and see our life here in Colorado.

I will leave you with a a few pictures of the kids...

Levi ~ 4 weeks old
Silas and Eliana on Easter morning


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Passion of My Jesus

Tomorrow is Easter morning... It's been a busy week for us- busy with normal stuff, busy with not normal stuff, and busy with Easter stuff. I have had numerous things to blog about, but no time to sit down and write... One of things I have been busy with, as I mentioned, has been getting ready for Easter. Making sure we all have our new clothes to wear to church, getting the Easter baskets ready for Silas and Eliana, stuffing eggs for our Easter egg hunt, baking Easter cookies, dying Easter eggs... You know, all of the REALLY important Easter stuff. (Note: sarcasm)

This is the first year that Silas, on some level, understands Easter. We have talked about why we celebrate Easter and have read the stories out of his little Bible. I want him to know that while getting an Easter basket and doing Easter egg hunts is fun, that is not what Easter is really about... Yet it's something, that as an adult, I also so easily forget. I was looking at my sister's twitter tonight as I was taking a break from my "to do" list to feed Levi. I saw a response she posted to someone which said: "We've decided to forgo an extended family get-together this Easter. The stress melted away. Now I can focus on Jesus." And it was a reality check for me. Easter isn't about all of things I have let myself get wrapped up in the last few days- it's about my Jesus.

So after the kids were in bed and the kitchen was cleaned up from egg dying and cooking baking, I needed to start ironing our clothes for church in the morning. One of the things I had wanted to do this week was watch "The Passion of the Christ." It never happened. So I decided to pop in the DVD while I ironed; I figured I would rather watch some of it then none of it. Well, to put it mildly, it consumed me. I watched the entire movie.

I don't think I have watched this movie since having children myself. Watching Mary, as she watched her son, beaten and crucified, I just sobbed. Literally. Thinking of my own children, I was struck with a whole new realization of the the cost of the cross. And then I would go from watching Mary to watching Jesus. And I felt my heart and spirit break and cry out, "That's my Jesus!" And tears just rolled down my cheeks. Jesus was a real man who lived and breathed like you and I. He was perfect, without sin. And this man, my Jesus, died for MY sins.

Easter isn't about Easter bunnies and candy. It's not about some myth of a man who died on a cross. It's about my Jesus, who loved me (and all of mankind) so much that He willingly endured the cross so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. And really? The cross was a torturous death- not a way that probably anyone would choose to die. Jesus choose it. That, my friend, is LOVE. Crazy Love. Love that makes no sense, humanly speaking. That was the passion of the Christ- the passion of my Jesus. I am so thankful that I serve a God who loves me with that sort of love.

As I celebrate Easter tomorrow (or I guess really today, since it is now past 2:00AM)... I will remember my Jesus- who died an awful, agonizing death on a cross for my sins. But the really magnificent part is what we celebrate on Easter. Not just that He died, but that He rose from the grave- that HE IS ALIVE.

Matthew 28:6- "He isn't here! He is risen from the dead,
just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying."

Happy Easter friends! May you the true meaning of Easter overwhelm you with gratitude and love for our Savior. And may His crazy love overflow out of your life and my life, to those around us, that they might see Jesus through us.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

7 years ago...

7 years ago tomorrow was one of the happiest days of my life.. My wedding day! It's amazing to think how much has happened over the last 7 years. One thing that remains the same is that I continue to love my husband with all of my heart. Here is the video montage from our wedding...


video



I will never forget the first time I saw Luke... I attended a meeting for youth workers at our church. I had just moved to California and was interested in helping out with the high school group at our church. There were only a handful of people at the meeting and this hot guy walked in late. He was wearing a Linkin Park shirt which caught me eye. Linkin Park was a pretty new band at the time and happened to be a band I really liked. This guy had spiky hair and earrings- and I found out later that night, rode a motorcycle. I guess you could say he caught me attention. :) We eventually became friends- and started dating almost a year later. I could tell a story about that long process, but we'll save that for another day... In November of 2003, Luke asked me to marry him. And much to his relief, I said yes. :)

Happy Anniversary Luke! The last 7 years have been an adventure and there is no one I would rather have by my side. Thank you for being a loving husband. You always put me and our families needs before your own. Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family- and for allowing me this chance to stay at home with our children. You are an AMAZING father to our children! I remember when we first started dating, you were a bit uncomfortable holding my niece, Natalie. You've come a long way baby! :) One of my favorite parts of the day is watching Silas and Eliana sit out front, waiting for you to come home. And as they see your car pull in the driveway, watching the joy wash over their faces and seeing them jump up and down with excitement that their daddy is home! You are my best friend Luke and I am so thankful that God brought us together. I want to live every day of my life with you by my side.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Levi's Birth Story- Part Two

Well after our son arrived, the next big hurdle was naming him. We had a short list of names we liked: Mathias, Josiah, and Levi. I remember when he was a few minutes old looking at him as they cleaned him up, and I thought to myself, "He's a Josiah!" So Luke walked over to me and I asked him, what do you think about a name? And then the fun began... :) I didn't want to tell him I was thinking Josiah, because I wanted his honest opinion. I wanted us both to be sure about the name we would be giving to our little boy. So a few hours later, we were in our post-delivery room and the conversation came up again. Luke told me he was thinking Mathias. My response was, "Really?" So we continued to talk name choices for the next day... My top name choice was Josiah. My bottom name choice was Mathias. Luke's top name choice was Mathias. His bottom name choice was Josiah. So for both of us, the middle name choice was Levi- which happens to mean "unity." Levi also happens to also be a family name on Luke's side of the family. Levi is also a common Amish name (and I happen to be slightly obsessed with Amish people). :) So we decided on Levi- and I am sure it was the right name for him. I love the name and it just fits him perfectly.


About three hours after Levi was born, his first visitors arrived. His big brother and sister came for a visit, along with my parents. They, of course, were completely smitten with him. :) We were a little worried with how Eliana would do not being the baby anymore. She is quite possessive, especially of Luke. When Luke hugs Silas after work, Eliana has been known to come running with tears in her eyes, yelling "No Daddy!" Yes, she is our strong willed child. Anyways, all of our worries were for nothing. From the moment Eliana laid eyes on Levi, she was in love. She wanted to hold him- and when she was finally given the opportunity, she didn't want to give him back.


Eliana holding Levi


We had to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after birth. Initially, I was not thrilled about that. After my other babies were born, I stayed a little over 24 hours (and only one night). But honestly, this hospital was really nice- and I am glad that we stayed longer! :) The food was good- I had a room service type menu that I could order off of. I had cable (and watched a lot of episodes of "Cake Boss"). And it was quiet! I loved having time to bond with Levi. Luke came by himself for a couple of hours each day and brought the kids over each day also.


Luke with his newest man-child. :)


My parents with their 9th grandchild!
I was discharged on Saturday mid-afternoon- and we headed home with our new baby boy. And life hasn't been the same since- in a very good way. Welcome to the world Levi! You are a blessing from God and we are so happy that you are a part of our family.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Levi's Birth Story- Part One

Levi was due to arrive on April 1st- yes, our surprise baby was due on April Fool's Day. And yes, when I found out I was pregnant, it felt like a big joke! :) 

With all of my pregnancies I have had borderline high blood pressure- but it has never turned into pre-eclampsia... So I asked my doctor at one of my appointments early in March at what point she would induce me. The context I was asking this in was at Kaiser they wouldn't induce until you were two weeks overdue... So I was hoping she wouldn't make me go two weeks past my due date... Well I think she thought I was wanting to get induced early because she said she would induce me at 39 weeks since this wasn't my first pregnancy and I have had other successful inductions (both Silas and Eliana were induced too). So Friday, March 25th was 39 weeks for me... As that day got closer, my doctor looked at her hospital schedule- and she was scheduled for March 24th, March 28th, and March 30th. I told her March 28th was out for sure- that's my birthday- and Luke and I already share our anniversary with Eliana's birthday. My parents were going to watch the older kids while I was in the hospital, and my mom was still on the mend from a recent surgery. So in my mind, I was thinking that March 30th would be the day I would want the induction, if an induction was needed. So on Monday, March 21st, I got a phone call from my doctor that she wanted to induce me on March 24th. I questioned her a little, because I was REALLY not ready mentally to have this baby. But because of my blood pressure, she felt like it would be better for the baby to arrive sooner rather than later. She told me to arrive at the hospital at 7:30AM on Thursday morning. I got off the phone and was in shock. Reality was sinking in. I felt like someone just told me I was pregnant and was due to deliver in 3 days. Needless to say, a list of all the last minute things to do got started... Cleaning, laundry, packing for the hospital, errands to run, going to Y for a swim with the kids (obviously not a "must do," but we were trying to make some last memories as a family of 4...).  As I began to think about my induction, I realized that it was highly unlikely that my doctor would even deliver my baby because typically my inductions have taken about 24 hours from start to finish. So if things progressed as they had the previous two times, I would be delivering Friday morning. So on Tuesday I called and left a message for my doctor to talk with her about this. She was out of the day. Awesome. So Wednesday morning I got a call from the doctors office and they changed my check-in time for the induction to 1:00AM. Yes, 1:00AM. So our plans changed again and I began to start working even faster to get that "to do" list done.

We arrived at the hospital about 1:10AM (in typical Emily fashion, a few minutes late). I was *hoping* to get some sleep. I guess I wasn't be realistic. We did all of the normal check-in stuff. I was hopeful that they would give me a pill to start softening my cervix and I could wait until the morning for the IV to get started. No. Such. Luck. When I delivered Eliana two years ago, the worst part of my whole delivery was getting that stupid IV started. I informed the nurse of that and told her that evidentially IV's are hard to get started on me. She didn't seem concerned. Fast forward a few painful minutes... The nurse had tried two times to get the IV started in two different places. She blew both of those veins. The head charge nurse was called in and was able to get the IV started, thankfully with just one try. At that point it was about 3:30AM. The plan was to start Pitocin at 6:00AM. Well I tried to sleep during those few shorts hours with not much luck. Around 6:30AM they started Pitocin and I was able to get a little sleep. Around 8:30AM, my doctor arrived. I was about 4cm dilated. With my last two deliveries I received my epidurals at 3cm, so I was proud of myself for making it to 4cm without an epidural. (Those of you who have had natural childbirths are probably thinking I am a total wimp- and admittedly, I am a baby when it comes to pain). So at that point my contractions were uncomfortable, but not unbearable. The nurse offered to have the anesthesiologist come to do the epidural. I knew that I would get an epidural, so I decide to go for it at that point. Normally once I get the epidural, my labor starts progressing faster. My nurse came back and informed me that the anesthesiologist was in the OR and that there was one other person ahead of me waiting for an epidural. She offered me fentanyl to take the edge of things until I got my epidural. I had fentanyl when I was in labor with Silas and loved it (hopefully I just didn't come off as a drug addict)! So I had one dose of that while I waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive. He arrived around 9:30AM and not long after I was on the way to going numb. He gave me an initial shot that was supposed to last about one hour. After that, I had a pump of medicine and I just hit a button if I wanted more. (Obviously, there was a limit to how much I could have). So about an hour and a half later, I was pretty uncomfortable and could really feel the contractions. I started to panic a little thinking that my epidural wasn't completely working and that I was actually going to feel this birth. My nurse checked the pump- and guess what? The anesthesiologist forgot to turn it on, so I was getting no drugs at that point. The anesthesiologist came back and gave me another shot that started working instantly and then got the pump on so I could start using that once the shot wore off. 

Around 12:00PM I was doing good. I had been able to sleep part of the morning. I wasn't feeling pain, but I was starting to feel pressure. My nurse checked me and said my water was ready to burst. She called my doctor to let her know. My doctor was in the OR and said that she didn't want anyone to break my water (because I told her that in the past, once my water breaks, things really start to move). She said she would be out of the OR in about an hour and would come break my water at that time... Fast forward almost three hours- my doctor was still in the OR. At 2:55PM, my water broke on it's own. My doctor was called and she came immediately. I was dilated to 6cm. My nurse started getting things ready for delivery. At about 3:20PM, I told my nurse I was feeling a lot of pressure- she checked me and I was 10cm. My doctor was called back. She arrived quickly and had me do a practice push. She very quickly told me to STOP pushing! We had to wait for a nurse from the nursery to arrive. While we waited, we all took guesses on what we thought he would weigh. I guessed 7lbs 5oz. Luke guessed 6lbs 10oz. The nursery nurse arrived a few minutes later. Two pushes later, at 3:30PM, our baby boy was born. He was born crying and absolutely beautiful. He had a head full of hair, was 18 inches long (just like Eliana)- and weighed in at 7lbs 4.8oz- which they called 7lbs 5oz- I guessed right! :) Luke and I were thrilled that our new son was here- safe and healthy. And literally, my labor was effortless. (Which my mom always says I would be feeling very differently about if I didn't have an epidural). :) Again, the worst part of the whole labor was getting that IV...


Part Two coming tomorrow...

Enamored

Hi, my name is Emily and I am totally enamored with my newborn. I am not sure what is different about this "newborn stage" vrs when Silas and Eliana were newborns... I literally love everything about Levi right now! Waking up a few times a night to eat? No problem- I am happy to do it. Being a little sleep deprived? Honestly, I could care less. (Side note: the fact that Luke lets me sleep in at least once on the weekend sure helps this too!)  :) Getting spit up on by Levi? Peed on? Not a big deal!

When Silas was born, maybe I didn't enjoy this stage as much because everything was new and I was just trying to figure things out. With Eliana, I think that our lives were in such a crazy place (Luke getting ready to graduate, looking for new jobs and preparing to move, and knowing that work was insanely busy and I would be buried when I returned to work)... I am guessing that all of those factors might have distracted me from just soaking up time with my baby. This time, it's totally different! Our lives are much slower now. There are far less distractions. And Levi is just a wonderful, laid back baby. Every day I look at him and just want to stop time. I feel like I can't get enough of him! I just want to hold him, talk to him, and cuddle him all day long. (Don't worry, I am not neglecting Silas and Eliana- they still get lots of attention!)

The ironic part about this is that Levi was a surprise baby. When I found out I was pregnant last July, I was shocked. We were not trying to get pregnant- in fact we were preventing it. I guess God knew we needed this little guy, huh? But in all honestly, I wasn't thrilled. We had just moved to Colorado. Luke was still on the job hunt. We were on Cobra for insurance. The timing of this pregnancy (at least in my eyes) wasn't great... We decided that we would wait to announce this pregnancy (besides telling our immediate family) until Luke got a job. Months passed. Luke got a job contracting, but not a full time job with benefits. Finally, I reached a point where I couldn't hide this pregnancy any longer- so at the end of September we made the announcement letting people know that baby #3 was on the way. As my pregnancy continued, I think I continued to be in denial that I was, in fact, pregnant! Obviously, I knew I was pregnant and come April 1, 2011 (yes, my due date was on April Fool's Day!)- my life would change. But the reality that we were REALLY having another baby didn't hit until we arrived at the hospital on March 24th for my induction. :) Needless to say, Levi is a gift from God! He is not yet 3 weeks old, but he has already stolen our hearts- and I can't imagine our lives without him. I am so thankful that God knew that Levi was destined for our family- because having him wasn't in our plans. I am so thankful that it was God's plan.


Levi ~ 2 days old

Next up... Levi's Birth Story! Stay tuned...

Monday, April 11, 2011

The journey begins...

Well I have been contemplating starting a blog for months. I had one hang up... I couldn't come up with a blog name! Ridiculous, right?!? Well tonight, while sitting at the computer trying to find something to do with my time (read: trying to put off cleaning up the house before I go to bed)- it came to me- Little Ones to Love.

You see, that is what my life is about right now. I have 3 kids 4 and under. Silas- 4, Eliana- almost 2, and Levi- just 2.5 weeks old! For the first time, I have the privilege of being a stay at home (thanks to my wonderful husband!). When I had my first two children, I got home from the hospital and practically began counting down the days until I had to return to work. This time, it's all different- and I LOVE IT! :) I am soaking up this time with my newborn! I love spending each and every day (well, almost every day!)- with my children. Every day they learn new things and say the funniest things that make me laugh.

My blog will be about life! Life as a wife and a mother of 3 little ones... life in a new place (we moved last summer to Colorado and are still finding our footing here)... life as someone who loves Jesus- and desires to share that love with those around her... Come along for the ride- and I will try to keep things interesting! :)