Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shark Tank Water Slide.



If I were riding down this water slide of death, I don't think I'd be smiling, thinking, "Wow, this is so cool! Weeeee"

I'd be thinking that the water wasn't moving fast enough. I'd be thinking that all that separates me from a bunch of flesh eating sharks is a piece of glass and the will of God. A stream of nervous pee would probably be following behind me.

That's what I'd be thinking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jack's birth story. Unabriged.

Several months ago I made the promise to share Jack's birth story so as not to forget the details of that life-changing day in the story of us. My original intent was to write it down soon after he was born. Well, it's almost one year later and I figure if I leave it any longer, it's never going to happen. So here it goes....

My pregnancy with Jack was fairly smooth sailing up until about the sixth month when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes; not a huge surprise considering my medical history. Since GD is fairly common and easily treated we did our best to stay calm and not be too concerned. And while the amount of carb tracking, sugar level testing and insulin injecting I had to do was far from fun (not to mention the number of check-in phone calls I had to make to one Maryanne from Alere) I was thankful that the baby remained unharmed by the condition. At the same time I found out I had GD, I was also told I had a low platelet count; a somewhat insignificant health concern that would only be a potential hazard during the actual birth. All that said, I was now in the "high risk pregnancy" category and my chances of giving birth naturally were greatly decreased.

Fast forward three months to May 27, 2010 when it was decided that rather than wait the full 40 weeks for delivery, the doctors wanted to go ahead and deliver him at 37 weeks to avoid any further risk due to the diabetes. An amnio was scheduled for June 9 to determine if Jack's lungs were mature enough to function on their own, and if so he would be delivered that day. At first, Tim and I struggled with whether to let him come out when he was ready or to trust the doctor's advice and take him out prematurely. We went with the latter, agreeing that if we waited and something bad happened as a result, we'd never be able to forgive ourselves.

The morning of June 9 came with a large measure of trepidation not only because I had reservations about the safety of an amniocentesis but also because the results would determine two critical things: whether we'd be having the baby that day as well as my chances of delivering naturally. The only "plus" I saw to having a C-section was that I would avoid the very real possibility of getting hemorrhoids and/or anal fissures as a result of pushing the baby out, both of which I was terrified of. Oh, and of course that whole part of pooping during delivery. Other than that, I did not want a C-section. I wanted my all-natural birthing experience, complete with epidural-free pushing and screaming and encouraging words like "One more push! I can see the head!" all culminating in that moment of triumph that ends with a slimy baby being plopped on my chest for two hours of glorious kangaroo care. I knew that on the C-section end of the spectrum, what awaited me was a much more sterile, routine form of birth that would leave me feeling disconnected from the process. And here's where that pesky low-platelet count became a problem: in order to qualify for the required spinal anesthesia, my count had to be 100,000 or above. If not, I would have to go under general anesthetic which meant I would be completely unconscious for the birth and (for some ridiculous reason) Tim wouldn't be allowed in the delivery room at all. Imagining our baby having to enter this world in an operating room with neither parent present was so far from what we had envisioned. But my platelet count had been hovering around the 80,000 mark for most of my pregnancy so we knew our chances of things working out in our favor the day of were slim.

Anyways, back to the story. The ultrasound that accompanied the amnio revealed, at least to their estimation, that Jack was "at least ten pounds" (he would turn out to only be 7 pounds) which meant I would not be having a natural birth (I saved my flood of tears for the bathroom ten minutes later) and in went the very long, scary needle to test his lung maturity. They told us the results occasionally came back within a half hour, though it normally took an hour or two. If they didn't come back favorably the first time, they'd wait another few hours and that would be the conclusive result. As a preemptive measure, my OB, Dr. Jesse, wanted to go ahead and schedule the C-section for 4 p.m. that afternoon. This gave us about 5 hours to wait on the results which we were assuming would give us the green light. Not surprisingly the first set of results came back inconclusive which meant instead of heading straight to the hospital to get prepped and ready for surgery, we were told to go home and wait. If you know me at all... I need to know now, so waiting on anything - especially important information - is like pulling teeth.

So home we went to wait it out, all the while knowing that if I missed that 4 p.m. surgery time, we'd have to wait even longer to have the baby. And when you have it your mind that something exciting/slightly traumatic is going to happen today, there's nothing worse than being told it will have to be put off until tomorrow. The other trouble of course was that in order to have the surgery, I would have to abstain from eating and drinking for the rest of the day; this ran in direct conflict to my diabetic diet of needing food every two hours. By 2 p.m., the lack of calories began to wreak havoc on my sugar levels. I was dizzy, cold and shaking by the time I called the hospital to ask for advice on what to do since we still didn't have the second set of amnio results. I also knew this was around the time they would need to start prepping me for surgery if we were going to be on schedule. They told me I could either just go ahead and eat something (thus eliminating the now small chance of having the C-section that day) or come in and get hooked up to an I.V. I immediately voted for the latter.

About an hour later I was laying on a hospital gurney listening to the thump, thump, thump of Jack's heart on the fetal non-stress monitor, with a sinking feeling that his birth was not going to be happening that day. There was still no word on the results of his amnio and it was now about 3:30 p.m. It was hard being so close - hooked up to an I.V. in a drafty hospital gown on the birthing floor, half an hour away from my scheduled surgery time. Someone came in and drew blood and then left again. A couple of med students stopped by to ask a few questions, left, and then came back to ask a few more. I was given a hospital bracelet. More blood work. I had to sign a few papers. Somewhere amidst all these little things I began to wonder if there was a bigger picture coming together. That's when someone said, "Oh didn't they tell you? You're having the C-section today." And suddenly everything changed from moving at a snail's pace to moving so fast I barely had time to catch my breath.

I think between the time I arrived at the hospital and the time I was rolled out for surgery, I must have answered 100 different questions, a third of which I would answer and then have to answer again 15 minutes later. In fact, the Q & A portion of my prep time took so long it delayed the surgery and even my doctor became exasperated and asked if they couldn't hurry it up a bit. One of the most absurd questions had to be the very last one which went something along the lines of, "What kind of a learner are you? Do you learn by seeing, doing or hearing?" Uhhhh, I guess all of them? To this day, I still don't know how this pertains to having a baby. One huge question I had was about the results of my platelet count. If it wasn't 100,000 or above our whole experience of Jack in-person would be happening well after he was born. All we could do was pray and ask everyone we knew by text or phone call to intercede for us; that by some miracle, even though it had never even come close to that in previous months, the count would be in our favor. We asked one of the med students if they knew the answer.... "Oh, didn't they tell you? Your count was 101,000."

One platelet over. One. If you could put that one little platelet under a microscope, you'd see three letters stamped in bold on it: G.O.D.

I'll admit that in the midst of elation over the news that we were having the baby today and that we'd both be present for the birth, I had a sudden wave of motherly instinct to protect my child and not invade the warmth and shelter my womb provided. Hearing Jack's heart beating on the monitor and knowing he was completely oblivious to the fact that in less than an hour his safe place would be violently ripped open brought tears to my eyes.

However, as I was being rolled into the operating room not half an hour later, my thoughts changed to frantic second guessing of whether I was even ready for this. I quickly determined that no, I was not ready to have a baby. This really registered more like "NOO!!! I'm not ready to have a baby!! Ahhhhh!" Of course, nature (or in my case, a doctor's will) has a way of overriding such doubts and before I knew it I was inside the walls of the cold operating room sitting on the table waiting for my spinal. I had read that these needles can cause paralysis (I would later mentally celebrate the moment I could move my toes in recovery) so I was praying I would not end up as a new mother confined to a wheelchair. My anesthesiologist made the lovely decision to let his student try her hand at a spinal on me and her first try was a fail. I knew this when I felt some "spinal discomfort" and heard him say "Nope, you've hit a bone there." Might I add that "arching your back like a cat" in order to administer the needle is not as easy as it sounds, not to mention the fact that you're under a lot of pressure to do it right so as to avoid injury. The second time around she got it right (with a bit of help, I think) and after the numbness took effect the C-section truly began.

Tim was by my head to keep me calm (though I'm an old pro at surgery!) and we waited in suspense as they sifted through my organs. It's a strange thing to be aware of people's hands moving inside your abdomen - a sensation I can only describe as pulling and tugging. While on their way to get Jack, it was discovered that part of my bowel had attached itself to the outer lining of my stomach due to scar tissue build-up from past surgeries. It just so happened that one of the best abdominal surgeons in the area was a floor below us and was able to fix the problem in twenty minutes. Had this issue not been discovered (and it wouldn't have if not for the C-section) I could have faced serious health complications in the future. This surgery within a surgery can only be attested, once again, to the glory of God and his faithfulness to watch over me.

After breaking my water (I was hoping to hear some sort of huge SPLAT, but was sadly no) Dr. Jesse was finally ready to get our little guy out. She let Tim know it was time and that he should get the camera ready. Woo! Here we go! Tim stands up (until this point he's refused to witness the rearranging of innards.... how could you not watch!?!) turns on the camera and....... bam, the battery dies. Seriously? Seriously. Oh well. Now I'll never know what a baby being pulled out of a womb looks like. Tim's thankful he only saw some limbs and minimal innards. Up until this point, I'm still fighting a losing battle against feelings of uncertainty and unpreparedness about becoming a mother. And that's when I hear his cry; the voice of the little person I've been curious to meet for so many months. It's ring is as clear in my memory as the day I first heard it. An immediate shift takes place as something deep in my heart is brought to it's knees and my only concern becomes the distress of a baby who needs to be held and comforted. Quickly. Not soon enough he's bundled up in Tim's arms and falls asleep almost immediately with a tiny hand wrapped around one of his dad's fingers. I will never forget the image of that sacred moment; my two loves holding on to one another.

And that is how, in so many miraculous ways, little Jack Elijah Myers came into this world.


Reasons My Wife is Amazing.


1. She is beautiful.
I've always thought that she looks like a painting. Like if some famous artist from the 1700's wanted to paint a portrait of a beautiful woman, her face would be what ends up on the canvas. There is something so simply stunning about her. Her delicate features evoke such deep emotions it's something that can't be put in to words, hence the need to be painted.

2. She is creative.
See this blog. Period.

3. She loves me.
Lauren cares for me and my physical, spiritual, and emotional health in ways that I would never care for myself. She knows me better than anyone and knows what I need even when I don't.

4. She's all business.
She handles all of our finances and makes sure our electricity stays on, our phones are working, and we have heat.

5. She's all silliness.
Lauren is always ready to burst in to song at any given moment. Followed by giggles. The glint of excitement and joy that is in her eye in those moments is pure and beautiful enough to move me to tears.

6. She is a mother.
I never could have imagined how powerful Lauren is until I've now seen her as a mom. She loves Jack fiercely and would do anything to protect him. The "nuts and bolts" of raising a baby is another area that she takes care of that I would be useless. Left up to me Jack would probably have 2 shirts, one pair of pants, and spend most of his time in a diaper and nothing else.

7. She desires God.
Lauren has a desire to know, experience, and love God that is unlike most people I know. Her desire is so strong it can be painful for her. What I pray she knows is that her desire and passion is an inspiration to me and I know it will be for Jack as well.

...with 7 being the perfect number and all I think I'll leave it there. I could go on but I think you get the idea. My wife is amazing.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Imagine That.

Every now and then I see a picture of something that only exists in my imagination, in my dreamiest of dreams, and it's incredible to think that these things are someone's reality:


{a} a space with just a bed and an amazing view
{b} a hideaway room full of books and a fort to read them in
{c} a rambling house tucked into the side of a mountain
{d} a tree house that goes on forever

My Crocs.

For my birthday this year my parents offered to buy me a pair of Crocs - a style of shoe that I've always thought should be worn by a garden gnome or at best while watering the garden with a garden hose. Essentially, that they should be kept to the confines of garden-themed things. This is in reference to the "original" Croc, which has a clog-like appearance.

So when I was faced with the option of choosing my very own pair, I was a bit skeptical. I knew of their rave reviews for comfort and the larger selection of styles that now existed. But they still seemed so ... "googily" in my head (as in things that are round and bulbous and squishy). Nevertheless, I had to admit that I kind of liked the idea of having a pair of my own to clomp around in (you can't really walk in a shoe that large so much as you can clomp). Upon entering the Croc store (yes, they even have a whole store dedicated to just Crocs) I was overwhelmed by the options. Everywhere I looked there were googily shoes and googily boots. I eventually focused on the flats and then I saw them. The Croc equivalent of a jelly shoe.

If you're a girl who grew up in the late 80s early 90s you'll know what a jelly shoe is. I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on them. It was in the locker room after swimming lessons. We still lived in Canada so I can't have been more than four, but I remember seeing another little girl putting her jelly shoes on after class and asking my mom if I could get a pair. "No, they're made of plastic."
That was always the barrier between me and shoes - that they were "man made" as my mom called it. Man made meant anything other than leather, and leather shoes they must be or no shoes at all.I know this came down to a matter of quality over style (and rightly so), but the seed of want for those jelly shoes was planted nonetheless. It would be over two decades before I was given the golden opportunity to place on my feet those precious replicas; replicas which would be suggested, approved and paid for than none other than my leather shoe-loving mother, God bless her.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Ranunculous.

Such is the name (I think, anyways) of the unknown flower from yonder post. Quite a mouthful. Seeing as I haven't posted in almost two weeks, this must indicate some sort of busyness in our lives though I can't think with what. The more probable culprit is laziness.

We did go to Ontario again last weekend for a family visit. We're trying to make Canadian ventures a more regular part of our life as it nicely serves as a welcomed change of scenery-mini vacation-fun diversion sort of thing. It's also mainly in want of seeing cousins and sisters and so forth. This trip proved to be a success on all accounts, though I can't say any of us had a good night's rest while we were there. Jack was a peach in the car both ways which was an answer to prayer (this gives me hope for future road trips) and once there not only discovered the joy of Kamut Puffs, but also found a runny nose to bring home as a souvenir. It seemed inevitable as every cousin he encountered was willing and ready to share their own runny noses with him, and he was happy to oblige with the holding of many hands.

In other news, we're going to be starting a crazy radical new lifestyle as of April 1. I'm really praying its not a fad and that we stick to it because I truly believe its going to revolutionize our health for the long run. But more to come on that later!

For now, here are some pictures I snapped of Jack with his cousin Lydia (notice the hand holding):


Thursday, March 24, 2011

An Ocean and a Rock - Lisa Hannigan

My dear and oldest friend Hayley has always been a faithful provider of some of the best music that's ever pitter-pattered on my ear drums. Of course, being from Britain means she always has the upper hand when it comes to exposure to such delicacies. With magical lyrics and a rhythm as smooth as slumber, this song is my favorite off her latest mix (Tara, I think this one has your name written all over it):


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mystery Flowers

About a week ago I spied these flowers at Trader Joe's for a mere $5.99. Taking on soft vintage hues that gently compliment their surroundings, these have turned out to be one of, if not the, most beautiful bouquet of flowers to ever grace my home. The sad part is, I didn't take note of what variety of flower they are so I feel very much like Prince Charming at midnight with, "But I don't even know your name" on my lips. If anyone can enlightenment me on the particulars of these new favorite beauties, I'd be very much obliged.

(to see the images in full, click on my flickr page to the right)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cheerios

Here is a simple math equation:

Cheerios + infant dexterity =
{ productivity '/. happy baby + time not holding baby }

{ } result is dependent upon number of Cheerios

Here is a short video to back up my equation (in this instance, productivity = watching The Office and playing Scrabble):

video

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

A few months back I mentioned that I was about to begin reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer. Admittedly, as with most non-fiction stories, I was very enthusiastic about it to begin with until something shiny came along and I became distracted.

Wanting to keep to my goal of spending more time in the Word and to reading in general, I picked the book back up and started at the chapter where I had left off entitled, "The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing." Tozer has certainly touched on a profound Truth when he discusses the issue of "things" (i.e. things of this world/possessions) dethroning God from the center of our lives:
(parts in bold are my own)

"Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and things were allowed to enter. Within the human heart things have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk, stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.

This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble. There is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets things with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns my and mine look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant.

The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution."


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Americans on Canadians.

Per my last post, here is an example of double satire that is in fact... very funny. Coincidentally, there are even a couple of references to pancakes!

Pancake Tuesday.

For whatever reason, a lot of Americans think they're hilarious when they say things to me like, "Oh, well you wouldn't understand that because you're Canadian." Or if they find something I say strange they love to say, "Must be a Canadian thing, hardy har har." Most of the time, the subject matter is universal and has nothing to do with being Canadian or not - they just love looking for windows to make degrading Canada jokes. I say this sounding as if I'm very offended by it all, when in actuality I think it's... odd, rather than offensive. Odd that people think they're very clever in making these jokes, odd that they believe they're the first to think them up, odd to assume I'd find it funny. For the record, lest I not make myself clear, having lived in the States for most of my life, now with an American husband and subsequent American family members and friends - I don't harbor any ill will towards my fellow countrymen. You are well loved America, even if you do make the same tasteless jokes, without cessation, about the great nation of Canada.

And today I had a rare taste of truly highlighting my Canadianness by mentioning that it was "Pancake Tuesday" (known here as Fat Tuesday) and receiving quizzical looks. This resulted in my having to utter that dreaded adage that it "must be a Canadian thing." And it is. Although it's also a British/European/Australian thing. So who's the odd one out now America?!?! Huh???

Anyhoo, this immediately made me want to make a pancake breakfast for dinner (i.e. brinner) but knowing that Tim is not a brinner fan, I figured my chances of celebrating were slim. However a compromise was reached with the suggestion of potato pancakes. So I'm going with this recipe and pairing it with some bison burgers** that we picked up at the Westside Market.

** being a former vegetarian, I can't help but find it shocking and somewhat disturbing that in the course of about two years I've gone from refusing to eat anything that has "eyes or a mother" to full on carnivorous tendencies (I blame it on getting pregnant.) In my defense, I rarely eat red meat and the only reason I'm going for the bison is because there are claims that it's cancer-fighting. Sold.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Banana Bread

Holy smokes, we just made the best batch of banana bread I've tasted maybe .... ever. The key to this recipe is the sour cream (or yogurt... which is what I substituted) - it's what makes it so moist. I mean, super moist. For whatever reason, the recipe makes a huge amount (four loaves worth)... which seems like a heck of a lot. But after taking the first bite you'll be glad you have 32 servings worth because it's that good.

Another hint is to add chocolate chips, preferably the mini kind. Cameron layered them throughout and then sprinkled them on top which made it extra delicious. We also made each loaf different: one plain, one with chopped nuts, one with chocolate chips and the last with chocolate chips and nuts.

So without further ado, here is the recipe. 82,000 + people have saved the recipe and 2,000 gave it five out five stars. I ain't lying folks - this is addictive stuff. Happy baking!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The House by the Lake.

Today is a family day. Tim is off work and all I want to do is spend the rest of the day at home making baby food, tidying up and watching Downton Abbey which is a new British mini-series. Or just series...perhaps not mini. Anyways, it takes place in England which allows me to vicariously live out my past life via the scenery and is set during the twenties - an age of sophisticated fashion, manners and classic British aires.

Oddly enough, this afternoon offered the rare opportunity to be transported back to English soil... at least in spirit... when I visited a nearby estate that is up for sale with my dad and brother-in-law. Being close to the lake, many of the neighboring homes are vast in size and value, especially those that sit right on the water. This particular home, which is priced at just under one million dollars, felt straight out of the pages of the well preserved memory I keep of England. There was even a hint of London hanging in the clouds today - cool, gray and heavy with moisture.


All I could think of, as I excitedly bounced from one corner of the property to the next was, "I can't imagine what it's like to live in a place like this." Not just because of the wealth required (did I mention there are tennis courts, a guest house and a conservatory with a fountain in the middle?) ... but because of the possibility of being surrounded by grounds that seem enchanting even on a dreary day like today. The fact that the house has been vacant for three years gave it an extra sense of curiosity, like Lady Craven's garden in The Secret Garden. The view of the lake from the back of the property was pretty breathtaking too (sorry for the shaky camera work):

video

West Side Market

We went to the West Side Market this morning to pick up a few things and I thought it might be a good opportunity to snap a few Project 365ish pictures.... and in the end, this was all I got, which makes me laugh because I was surrounded by a myriad of excellent options and this is what I have to show for it.

On the subject of Jack... today he managed to spit-up in my mouth (sick!) and poop so much that we had to (literally) cut him out of his onesie in order to avoid covering him in his own waste. Lovely.


Friday, March 4, 2011

The Hunger Games.


There's nothing quite like loving a book series right up until the end and then having the author completely destroy your sense of satisfaction with a disappointing conclusion. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been fully absorbed in The Hunger Games trilogy. It's the kind of reading material that you just.can't.put.down. I finished the final book of the series last night and it left me feeling..... like I just wasted two weeks of my life invested in characters whose conclusion I had much, much higher hopes for. I've never spent so much time reading a book series and felt this let down at the end of it - particularly because it had so much potential to go out on a fabulous note. Seriously Suzanne Collins - you and your terrible conclusion are the bane of my existence at the moment. Ok, perhaps that's a bit unfair and over dramatic. But... I WANT MY HAPPY ENDING.

(I'd also like the 20+ hours back that I put into reading your books.)

To counter the effects of swallowing such a bitter literary pill, I'm indulging in the stories that leave me smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. To kick things off, I popped in You've Got Mail - a film I hated the first time I saw it, but now sits proudly at the top of my Top 10 list. (Click here and skip ahead to the 1:20 mark to see one of my favorite scenes.) Follow up will be the reading of another book, Pride and Prejudice, because it's a timeless classic that I know I can trust to remove the bad taste left in my mouth by The Hunger Games as well as restore my faith that in the end...

.....love makes all things new.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three Posts in One Day!

I've been back logged with post ideas, what can I say?

A few days ago there was a big snow which left our driveway in need of a good shovel. So we decided to tackle the task as a family, Jack included. And of course this can only mean one thing... photo op! Especially since it was the babe's first time actually being in the snow.


Two Years!

Monday marked our two year anniversary. Two of the best years of my life (and hopefully Tim's!) We are so blessed to have been brought together by a God who knew just how beyond perfect we are for each other.

To celebrate, we had a movie date (Gnomeo and Juliet, which gets a B+) and went to dinner at the 100th Bomb Group where we got married. It was wonderful to be back in the place where it all began and to think about where we've come since... and the little person who arrived right in the middle. So much love, all around.

February 28, 2009

Bowen's Heart

For those (two) of you that read our blog, you'll know how close baby Bowen is to my heart. I don't know this family personally, but I've been following their blog for several months now and their story struck a chord in my heart when I first came across it. Something about Bowen also reminds me of Jack a little bit, so there's an extra sense of personal attachment and I'm anxious to see him get well.

Bowen had his second surgery yesterday for his heart condition and praise.the.LORD. it went well. Many prayers are still needed for his recovery, his family and his continued health. You can see a video about the latest surgery here.
To read the Hammitt Family blog go here. Please join with me in praying for this precious little boy!


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