Monday, February 23, 2015

Amber Hope

WARNING: This post is full of idealisms and joy and love and perfection and gushy, mushy stuff.  It may or may not actually reflect true reality as felt in the next weeks and months!!!!!!!!!!

INTRODUCING:


Amber Hope Glick
Born: February 20, 2015
Time: 10:51 AM
Place: Hayward Area Memorial Hospital
Weight: 7 lb 7 oz
Length: 20.75 inches
Features: Completely angelic




Here she is at about 23 hours old: alert and attentive and taking life in. 


Here she is 23 hours and 2 minutes old and is reciting back to us what we had just told her :) :)


This is at 2.5 days old looking sweet and angelic.  The blue and white striped shirt you see was worn by her cousin who is almost 6.  This picture is all innocence in more ways than one because you really need to see the expression on the face of her cousin.  It was not innocence--it was gleaming with mischief and teasing as he played with her hat, putting it on his head and then on her head and just overall giving his little girl cousin a hard time.  She remained oblivious to it all and kept sleeping. Good girl--that should put her in good stead for later on in life.

I have more pics I could post, but I am way too lazy to go and get my camera bag and find the SD card converter, etc. etc.  So maybe later.

One of the meaning for Amber that I found was "precious jewel".  That meaning really cemented the name choice in my mind.  And Hope?  What explanation does that need?

We have been in awe for the last couple of days.  I am still not sure reality has set in, that this really is our baby and we get to keep her.  Nobody is going to come and pick her up in a couple days and remind us that we were just temporarily babysitting.  I am going to be the one to feed her and change her diaper (her father runs fleeing the room at the slightest hint of a problem in that department), comfort her when she cries and try to teach her and train her to love the Lord with all her heart.  It feels like a huge responsibility and yet right now it is nothing but sheer joy.  

Yes, I am tired; yes, the nights have not been one solid sleep, but they hadn't been for weeks already anyway.  But last night, I could get up and smile through the yawns and rock my baby and tuck her into her cradle that her grandpa made for her mother many long years ago.

Last night, I sat in the recliner in the living room holding her and the tears just came, just like they are coming right now.  People talk about how when they see their baby for the first time, they just have this maternal love that overwhelms them  and they are just sucked in.  I can't completely identify with that.  I loved her when I saw her, but mostly I was relieved that the long months of sitting around and waiting were over.  I had loved her from the start, but I still felt bad that I didn't have the instant mental acknowledgement.  Not to say I wasn't happy; I was completely overjoyed to see and hold and touch my baby.  But when the nurses wheeled her out of our room to take her to the nursery, it felt like a piece of our hearts had disappeared and you wondered if everything was going to be okay with her until she came back.  But back to last night: I sat there in the rocker and the tears just came: tears of overwhelming joy and gratitude for the gift of life, for my healthy, screaming, completely adorable little girl. The tears of such a different nature from a year ago and it was good.  We are so blessed.

Things are so different now: the Facebook comments, the gifts, the care, the tears-- everything is happy filled now.  Yesterday morning, I was taking a shower and thinking back to 13 months ago when I was also taking the first shower since I was home from the hospital, but after that shower I had to put on a black dress and go to a funeral, a funeral for my little girl I never had the chance to hold and love. Yesterday, I put on comfy clothes and I went downstairs and I held and loved and showered my little girl with love and affection.  And it felt right; it felt good, really , really good.  

And so this morning, I sit here holding my sleeping baby girl and I rejoice in the gift of life.  Yes, I am holding her while she sleeps and yes, some would say I am spoiling her, but that is all right.  We have waited a long time for this moment and I want to enjoy every single moment of it, to capture the memories and hold them close in my hear.  Today, my agenda consists of two things: feed the baby and sleep.  And if I get nothing more than that done, it will be okay.  I will likely have to repeat that to myself over and over today, because there is plenty of things I could be doing, but today isn't about that and I hope my scheduled brain will be able to remember that over the next weeks and months.  

This song has been running through my head over the last couple of days:



Photo credits go to Heather Kuhns and Hannah Glick

Monday, February 16, 2015

Blindsided by God

Product Details

by Peter Chin

This book has all the makings of a horror story: failed church plant, broken in house, breast cancer, unexpected pregnancy, lost health insurance and so on. Peter is a pastor who moves his family to Washington D.C. because he feels God has called him to start a church plant. In the first year, all of the above happens.  On the day his wife is scheduled for her mastectomy, the Dr. discovers she is pregnant and contrary to what a lot would expect, the Dr. expects them to keep the child and not abort him.  They do keep the baby and he goes through the surgery and all the chemo and is born a beautiful healthy normal child.  The lost health insurance was a scam from the health insurance company once they realized Peter's wife had cancer, they tried to figure out a way to drop her off their plan by saying there had been a lapse in insurance and therefore her need existed prior to their current health coverage.  When they sent the proof that there had been no lapse in coverage, the insurance company had no choice but to cover the cost of the treatments.

The book chronicles their journey through that very tough year, but it does more than that. It gives the journey of Peter as well and his struggle to accept what God had allowed to be placed in his lap.  It describes his struggle to hold on to faith as he was tested in the areas most precious to him: his wife and his church.  He came through and he discovered that because of his suffering, the church drew in suffering and hurting people as well, and even though the church eventually closed down, I believe there was a purpose behind it.

Peter is a good writer: has a bit of sarcasm/humor that he inserts here and there to keep your attention.  His story does have all the happy endings; not only does his wife survive the breast cancer at 4 years out currently, but the chemo didn't make her infertile and they have had two more children since the chemo and in his studies, Peter discovered that pregnancy seems to provide a better chance to breast cancer victims and survivors.  I haven't done any research myself to verify this; just saying what he said in his book. The question he addresses in the epilogue is "What About my Happy Ending?" Peter realizes that not everyone gets the happy ending and he doesn't have pat answers for that, but he's willing to listen and care.

I would recommend the book; it's not the best I've ever read, but it is a good story and it is encouraging to hear happy stories with happy endings in a world filled with tragedy and sadness and death.

This book was given me by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reading and reviewing. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Q & A a Day

Product Details


365 Questions: 5 Years: 1, 825 Answers

For several years now, I have been keeping, what in the old days would be called a diary. Today? I don't think we call it that, but that is what it is and I can't think right now what else it is called. If you do it online, there's a site called 280daily.com that you go to to talk about your day. I'm in my third year of this and it is so interesting to look back and see what you did the years before.

So, when I saw this book available for review, it totally piqued my interest.  This takes the 5 year diary on a different journey.  There is a page for each day of the year and at the top of the page is a question. Each year on the same day you answer the same question, but the interesting thing will be--how will you answer it each year?  Will it be a different answer? The same answer? How will it reflect how you have changed from one year to the next?

I'm thinking there will likely be room to record other significant details about the day if you want to as well.  Some of the questions may not apply to me and so I can skip them or address someting completely different, but from what I saw a lot of them will be applicable.  Let me give you a few examples:

January 1: What is your mission?
January 12: What's your favorite accessory?
January 17: What's the oldest hing you're wearing today?
February 11: How did you get to work today?
February 23: What's the most embarrassing purchase on a recent credit card statement?
April 12: Write down a new fact you recently learned
June 8: What makes you miserable?
July 27: What can you smell right now?
August 24: Write your recipe for creativity
December 30: List what you've eaten for the past week
December 31: What is your most cherished memory of this year?

My biggest dilemma will be deciding if I should just open the book and start now or wait until at least the beginning of a month, if not a year to start.  I'm thinking I might be brave and just start because there are some big things hopefully happening this month and it might be nice to have the perspective on there to follow up on in the next five years.

I'm very excited about this book: Oh by the way?  It's a nice hardcover book with glittery gold edges so it feels fancy and sophisticated and the pages do that little creaky thing when you open them the first time.  Definitely a keeper.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed here in are my own.”

Monday, February 9, 2015

STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING AND GO TO THE KITCHEN!!!!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Caramel Bars
photo credits to melskitchencafe.com


OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BARS

These are amazing!!!!!!!!

No, I didn't take the picture, I'm not that good at food pictures and I was way too lazy and besides my pan of bars haven't reached this consistency yet.

If you look at the recipe, it will tell you to let them cool completely before cutting so the caramel can set up.  Do yourself a favor and ignore that command.  As soon as you have put these bars in the oven and cleaned up just a bit, get out a knife and cut yourself a small piece because you simply can't wait any longer.  Than, after you have oohed and aahed the decadence, go put on the coffee pot, invite over a friend, spoon out a bigger piece because the knife really doesn't work that well with all the melty goodness and eat away.

Just trust me, it's a good way to spend a Monday afternoon.

I would talk about the other bars I made too, but they are still in the oven, so I haven't been able to taste test those.  Even I have the common sense not to try them while they are still baking.

I give all credit to Mel at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  This is another successful recipe that I pulled of her blog and compiled into a very huge cookbook.  In case you're wondering, that cookbook I was talking about earlier, it holds over 300 recipes in  one of those really big binders--you know the ones that if you lug around it is equivalent to lifting weights.  Yeah, it's big, but I've made at least three recipes out of it now and while I haven't tested the third one, I'm quite sure it will be very good as well (really what can go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie/cream cheese filling combination?).  Plus there are some recipes in there that I had already tested.  She is just plain a good cook.

Okay, I need to let you go because I know you are longing to get to your kitchen and make these bars for supper tonight.  Your family will thank you!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Home is Where my People Are by Sophie Hudson



By Sophie Hudson


I just read A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet and Home is Where my People Are in the last week.  Both are by Sophie Hudson and both are worth your time reading if you like a little dramatization with your true stories.  My personal favorite would be A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, but Home is Where my People are is also quite a good, interesting read.

Sophie randomly chronicles stories from her life, adding in some Southern flair and definite exaggeration.  She shows her journey from being raised as a good Methodist church kid, going to college and stumbling on her spiritual journey for the next ten years or so until coming to a Baptist church as a married adult.  She was never a real rebel on her journey, just never really invested in the importance of including God in her day to day life.  She shares a bit of her love story and the reality of marriage and its struggles and how her and David had to work through the issues in their own lives to be able to invest in each other.

This book pointed to the importance of family, friends and community, the need to have roots and some good old barbecue or fried chicken never hurt in the finding of it either.

It's kind of difficult to really state what the book is about because of the random collection of stories, but I think the overriding emphasis is to make a home where you are. It's not about the house, it's about the people you share the house with that ultimately matters.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a lighter read with some good truths and principles. However, to fully appreciate the stories, you might enjoy reading A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet first.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Random

I just looked at my last few posts and realized they have all been book reviews.  I thought I was updating a bit better than that, but oh well.

I do love my free books though.  Currently I have two more books to read/finish reading and write a review about.  The last book was a children's book and approximately 45 minutes after the book was delivered to my door, I had posted a review and ordered my next book.  Now if only I could do them all that fast.

The sun is shining brilliantly today.  It's so pretty.  There is a very light dusting of snow on everything and so it all shimmers and glitters.

I'm thinking of writing a book called "The Four Month Labor", detailing random things, but mostly addressing the horrors of  months worth of Braxton Hicks.  Actually, I'm not sure if I should call them horrors or just life with Braxton Hicks, because as long as they did nothing, they were just mildly annoying.

While spending large quantities of time sitting on a chair would not be everybody's cup of tea, I really didn't mind it.  I had an online job, book work, books to read, etc. etc and really didn't even do everything I could have done while sitting on my chair. I do wonder how women do it without the Internet though, because I also know I wasted copious amounts of time surfing.

Tomorrow is my first official day off "limited activity". I have plans to huff and puff my way through a fairly thorough housecleaning.  And if you are prone to laughter, I have only this to say to you-- sit on a chair for 10 weeks, doing virtually nothing but climbing the stairs 10 to 100 times a day; then get up, put a basketball weighing about 15 pounds in front of your stomach and get to work.  Just saying.

I have been tempted to complain many times during this pregnancy, okay I have succumbed to that temptation a few times as well, but I have to remember how blessed I am as well.  I honestly am not sure how women have a dozen children, but I am grateful to have made it this far with one.  When I think of those who cannot have children or have stillborns, I am convicted for every crabby moment I have.  I always said if I could carry a baby to term, I wouldn't complain and yet how human and carnal I am.

The baby now has a place to lay her head when she arrives.  That was becoming a mild concern for me, but thanks to my mother getting the foam and covering it with waterproof material and me sewing a small cradle sheet for it this morning, it is ready.  It also has a brand new blanket made just for the cradle by my mother.  I do hope the baby won't lose her fashion sense just because her mother didn't think far enough ahead to make sure the flowers ran up and down the sheet instead of sideways. I will forever blame myself if she does; I think I have just come up with Guilt trip #1 for mother to have.

My next project for this afternoon is a changing pad.  This is my china baby remember and I will NOT be laying her down on those ICKY changing tables at the public restrooms without having something nice and reasonably clean to place her on first.  Of course, I probably cut it so narrow, her arms and legs will thrash off the sides, but we will try it once.  At least it will be small for my purse!

Well that was enough randomness for now.  Duty calls and I need to head off into the sunlight to follow it.


Let There be Light by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman



By Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Illustrated by Nancy Tillman

Obviously, I misread the description of this book when I ordered it for review purposes.  I was expecting a hard cover book with a nice story on the inside. Instead I got a hard board book that will be nice for toddlers.  This is a book about creation written for children.  I couldn't find an exact age on the book, but I would say from 6 months to 2 or 3 years.  I will be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the book when I initially got it out of the box, simply, I think, because it was different than what I was expecting. However, I was wanting some nice books like this for our baby to be able to look at at a young age.  This book is smallish, maybe 6x6, so I think it will be a nice book to take to church.

The story is the seven days of Creation; very Biblical and solid and in child friendly simple language.  I think it accurately portrays the act of Creation.  The illustrations are okay-- I have seen better.  Some of the pages are very nicely done-- there's a page with a flower that is beautiful and the illustrations of the animals are nicely done, but some of the pages, while pretty, don't strike me as being real child-friendly or child-captivating.  They seem more abstract to me and hard to explain to a child what is going on in the pictures.  That being said, I am happy for the book and do plan to read it to my child. If you are looking for the Creation story in easy to understand language, I would recommend this book; if you're looking for a little more detail and a little clearer pictures, than I would suggest finding a different book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”