Monday, November 19, 2012

Praise in the Rain

I know a couple of people going through tough times right now.
It is never easy. We never look forward to those times. 
We pray for the Lord to free us from them! or even more so,  to never go through them!
Yet, the Lord allows awful circumstances to come our way. Why?! 
We specifically prayed for that not to happen. 

Well, the answer isn't always what we want it to be. But it is always good and perfect.
God is wiser than any of us...and more than all of us together. Like one my friends puts it: we only carry one piece of the puzzle with us. He sees it all put together!

One reason why God allows tough times in our lives is to make us stronger and more beautiful. 
Do you ever work out? How do you know your muscles are being benefited by your exercise? it BURNS!
Have you ever seen gold in its natural stage? it pretty much looks like any other ordinary rock. For it to shine and be as beautiful as we know it, it needs to be put through FIRE first. So yes, the process of getting stronger and refined will hurt. Not always, but more than often. 

Another reason, and I must confess I'm glad for this one, is to learn to praise Him always. This is a hard one. We all know that. Questions such as "Why?!" and "was this really necessary?!" fill our minds during hard times. The Lord knows our hearts and he will not let us endure what we do not have the strength for. 
Like the song we always pray for God to bring us joy, peace and the chance to be free. We pray for God to bring anything that will bring Him glory. I think we forget that the later isn't always something pleasant!! I cry my eyes out when I sing what follows: "and I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if THAT'S what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain!" ~ makes for wonderful lyrics, but if we really think about it, we are asking for "bad" things to happen. Or at least we are saying "we are OK" with tough times to come our way. Easier said than done! 
I truly believe that THAT should be our hearts' attitude. Always. Whatever it takes to bring God glory! Even if it's pain. We'll take it. Not that we want to suffer, but we'll take that chance if that is what God will use to be glorified. 

One verse I always hold on to (well, I could quote the whole Bible for that matter!) is Psalm 27:13-14

"I am still confident of this: that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

The Lord has used this verse more than enough times to remind me of His unfailing promises! He is faithful and loves me. He loves you. Things are not always the way we want them to be. God's ways are different from ours. Yet, they are always perfect and good. His thoughts are always of good for those who love him. He is our hope. He is my hope. 

...Holy is the Lord, 
God Almighty,
The Earth is filled with His Glory...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Little Red Dress

I have become obsessed with Pinterest. HA!
I just love all the great ideas out there! There are some very talented people in this world and I am thankful to many of them for sharing their creativity with the world.

I found a tutorial for an old sweater turned into a dress, through Pinterest,  at this website by Ashley: so yes, the credits for the idea goes to her! I believe she did an awesome job of explaining the how-to. Please visit her site! I'm sure she will appreciate it!

I mixed two of her tutorials (long and short sleeves) and came up with my project. It is a little dress for my baby girl, Amelia. Hopefully she will be big enough at Christmas time to wear it :)

I apologize I did not take all the pictures. I realized afterwards that I would want to blog about it. Hopefully these pictures (and your looking back at Ashley's blog) will be enough guidance. :)

so first, find an old sweater. Maybe at a thrift store, or an old one that you  already have. Then  maybe using  a dress that you already have, measure the size. I did not follow that advice and just guessed at the measurements. You can tell by the end result :P When cutting, always leave at least 1 to 3 inches for the seams. It is always better to have more and the cut back down than to cut it to short/tight.

On the original blog, she uses just the cuffs of the sleeves. I decided I wanted it to be long sleeves. So I used more fabric and just cut it a little so it would be kids size. Make sure the shoulder area is diagonal. Otherwise if it's too square it may look like a box. 

Sew it together...right sides facing each other.

Now, this part is better explained at Ashley's site. Basically, use some elastic (Or cut a string from an old t-shirt  like I did! it stretches a little) and folding the rim outward, towards the right side, sew the elastic in. It will give a ruffle effect to the neck. You can adjust the width of the opening. In my case, since I did not use elastic, I had to adjust it so that it would be open enough for her head, but narrow enough to cover her shoulders and be a modest dress for a 5 month old! :P Using elastic will give you more freedom and will look prettier, but I didn't have any handy, and was too inpatient to wait  to get one! I really wanted to make the dress. 

And....tadah! Amelia couldn't care less! haha

Like I said, the shape is not perfect, but I love it. It was made with love and hey! She will grow out of it before i know it, so why stress about it!! haha...
For the bow, use two strings of fabric: one of 7x3 and one of 3x1/2inch. Or whatever dimensions work best for you :)

Happy Sewing!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not My Words

Many of us are more than ready to give it when somebody comes to us with some sort of need.
Whether they are asking for it or not. Instead of listening to them carefully, we are already thinking how WE are going to solve their problem and guide them through life.

Most of the time it is done with good intentions. We hate to see somebody suffer or be frustrated not knowing what to do. We want to help.
Then, what is the problem? WE.
Many times the word WE refer to good things such as team work, relationship, sharing, etc.
In this case it isn't precisely good. It refers to "I alone".

When somebody opens their soul to you and shares what is in their heart, you are stepping on holy ground.
They are uncovering themselves, being vulnerable. Acting by impulse can cause more hurt than healing. Being slow to speak isn't only wise, but also shows appreciation and respect for opening up their lives to you.
Our most common mistakes are: not listening to them wholeheartedly, and not listening to the One who can truly give perfect "advice". If we respond to other's needs out of our own thought process, without the Holy Spirit helping us, our words will be like a leaf in the fall. Pretty, but dead. Unable to hold on to the tree of life.
It is absolutely necessary and essential to listen to the person in need... and the person of the Holy Spirit to give you the words (if any is needed) to respond.

I must confess that many times I just jump in and start babbling. Yes, that is what it is when it is not guided by God. Then in the middle of my own show, I am reminded that it is not my words what this person needs. It is God's. He is the one who will cause the streams of living water to flow through me. (John 7:38-39). Yet, how will this happen if I don't first ask Him to?

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" {or her!}James 1:5

I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to minister through you, to speak through you and love through you. To teach you and give you the words, if words are needed. Ask Him to shine through you and make you a channel of God's love, joy, comfort and peace so you can bless others. I encourage you to seek to be in God's presence always, so that it is HE who we see through you.

Lets make the word WE refer to God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, and you together in prayer.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Busy Being Available

Available: Present and ready for use; at hand, accessible. (

One of the phrases most of us hear/say at least once a day is: I don't have time.
Whether it is "I don't have time to make the bed", "I don't have time to make dessert" or even, "I don't have time to listen to another political ad". Whatever the reason, we always seem to run out of time for something.
We are so afraid of being tagged as lazy or unproductive that we fill our schedule to the 25th hour.

How does this affect our ministry? do we have time to sit down with a friend and chat...without looking at the clock? can we have two cups of tea instead of just one? or even more so, in the midst of your day, if someone calls expectantly, do you have a few minutes to spare in a conversation about nothing important?

I know, we all have things to do, projects to finish, kids to care for, husbands to attend to, we all have a life to live. But this life of ours has become a race instead of a walk. A competition instead of something to enjoy. We may get things done, but are we enjoying them? are we able to fully invest our lives in things that matter? or has our life become a check list where we check off what we got done, is if everything was as simple as grocery shopping?

Real meaningful relationships are not built with a check list lifestyle. All good things in life demand that we invest our time, sometimes our money, but more than anything: our lives. To drop what we are doing to help a neighbor move some boxes, to stop the movie to talk to our friend on the phone, etc. It all shows availability. Always ready "to be there" for others. At hand.

Real meaningful relationships are also built with initiative. Many a strong relationship is a two way road. However, not everyone is a social bug or ready to ask for help when needed. To be available is to be present, yet how will they know we are there if we don't let them know? With today's technology, there is no excuse. No time for a call? a simple text will do. Not a text-er? a one sentence letter, a call, a quick stop by, or even a prayer for them will do sometimes.

Jesus is the greatest example of availability and initiative. If we have a relationship with Him is because he came to us. He makes himself available to us every day. He made himself available to the cross!!
He is always ready to listen to us, to comfort us, to encourage us, to love us. He is never too busy for us.
Even though He is divine :

"Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness" {Phil. 2:6-7}

His availability didn't come with heavy feet and a frown. His love for us was the motivation. He joyfully makes himself available to us at all times. Even for our most insignificant need. His ears are always glad to hear our voice calling His name. Nothing is too insignificant or unimportant for Him. 

In the same way, we are called to care for others. For each other. Being available and taking initiative to show our availability witnesses of the love God has poured on in us. Our availability will open doors to new friendships, new opportunities to share the gospel with words or simply with our actions. Even to blessings in our lives. God calls us to always be ready and present, always available to do the works of His Kingdom. Are you ready  to answer to His call? Will you be available for others? ...or are you too busy?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" {Isaiah 6:8}


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Baby Steps, Giant Steps.

Amelia is two months old (10 weeks to be exact).
Time truly flies! I feel like we have had her forever. I love it!
Motherhood is great! I love every minute of it...although it can get a little boring at times, specially for a stay at home mom like me. Yet, I enjoy every minute with my little girl.

God has been speaking to me in so many ways lately. And one of them is that every one o his children are different. I have learned that a "baby step" for one person may be a "giant step" for another, and vice versa. I bring this up because many women told me (and keep telling me!) that having a baby-tot-child in general, is so hard and time consuming. That my life will never be the same (as if that was something bad!), and that I will no longer be able to do the things I used to because I will live by baby's schedule.
Not true.
Not for me. At least not so far.

I appreciate every piece of advice (asked and not asked for!), as well as every warning of the complications of life that await me. I truly listen and store them in my heart for future reference, and to prepare my heart so I'm not taken by surprise. However, I see that this is just a "baby step" for me.

I'm not saying it is not easy. I do not mean it is not time consuming. I do not mean to take away from the hard work of mothers, or to diminish their efforts and time invested in their children. I am doing it too. In fact, that'll be my job for the rest of my life!
It IS time consuming, hard, and challenging. But I guess sometimes we tend to state things as facts that apply the same for everyone. Sometimes I feel like everyone makes things look/sound worse than they really are just so that everyone around them stands in awe and applauds them.
I keep hearing: "Oh, you just wait until she is born...Oh you just wait until she starts walking...Oh you just wait until you have another one running around...Oh you just wait for this or for that...Oh you just wait! It sounds like they want me be overwhelmed, stressed, tired, margin-less like they were. It makes me sad sometimes. Can't people just be happy for me and rejoice in the Lord for I am relaxed!

I know not everyone is like that though. Some people truly struggle. Some people mean well, they just don't know how to communicate it.Again, God created us all different, with different skills, personalities, etc. Not every jar of clay can contain the same amount of water. If you pour 2 gallons of water in a 1 gallon container, it will overflow. We all reach our limits at different points and that is just fine.

The same goes for me, when I criticize others, I must remind myself that God created us different. Some people reach their limits faster! Some work better under pressure, some can't work at all under the same amount of pressure. What is a giant step for me, may be a baby step for others.

I guess I should just say I praise God for making this step in my life easier than I thought (or was told) it would be.

For those who don't know, my life has changed (giant steps!) a ton in the last three years:

I left my family, friends, and everything I knew when I left my country and moved to the US. After 4 years of graduating from high school and already working, I went back to a language that wasn't my native, in a system that I had never known. For the first time in my life (at 21 years old), I lived by myself (no parents!) and had to learn to drive. A year later, I got married. A year after moved again to a different city and, finally... had a child. I gotta say, I've had my share of giant steps for a while. Excuse me if I rather brag about a baby step! Finally!!
That is that I am taking this step without my family close by. My husbands side of the family are wonderful and I consider them very much my family - not only "in laws". But they live almost 2 hours away, have their own families and jobs...and to be honest, sometimes it is just not the same as having your own mom and sisters with you.  So please! rejoice in and praise the Lord with me on this!! For you it may have been (or is) the most overwhelming, time-consuming, challenging and hard thing to do to have a child (or more!), but please be glad that God is helping me have some margin so that having Amelia doesn't leave me exhausted.

Comments, questions, advice and constructive criticism are welcomed!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My reward from the Lord.

It's Monday, July 23rd. at 5am and I have started feeling some contractions. They are somewhere between 15 to 5 minutes apart. I can still talk, walk and pretty much do everything around the house. As the day goes by, Jon and I start getting anxious. The pain and intensity is a 4 out of 10. So we just wait.

Jon goes to work, I get the house ready in case we have to leave to the hospital.

It's 4pm of Monday 23rd, our cousins Bryan and Samantha arrive. She is my duola. We start talking about what to expect and the birth plan. {Birth plan was about being all natural, no drugs, no inductions  of any kind, including braking the water. Also leaving as soon as possible and keeping the baby with us at all times}

So the night came and we are still at home. Contractions are getting a little stronger (a 5 out of 10 maybe) and a little closer together. Approximately every 10 minutes.

It's Tuesday, July 24th at 5am again. Contractions are kicking in with a pain rate of 6 out of 10. They came anywhere from 10 to 5 minutes apart. We all are getting more and more excited. I try to keep moving, however at about 11am we realize that they are stronger when I am laying down. So I proceed to stay that way to get things going.

It is about noon of the 24th and we call the hospital to ask when it would be best for us to come. We are told that once contractions are 5 apart and I am unable to speak because of the pain. So we wait and withing an hour my contractions get between 5 to 3 minutes apart and I can hardly speak...but we wait an extra hour to be sure.

2pm of Tuesday the 24th and we head over the hospital with contractions every 3 minutes with a pain rate of 7 out of 10. To all this, it was back labor as opposed to front labor.

We get to the hospital around 2:30 and we get situated in the delivery room. The nurse comes to check on me and check how far along I am with dialation... our dissapointment I am only 2cm dialated...
...They give us a couple of hours to see if I will progress.

It is around 6pm of the 24th and the Dr. on call, Dr. Chadd (they only have two doctors, so I new Him too) arrives and checks to see if I have progressed at all.

...Nothing...dissapointing. Now what?
The doctor gives the options: "we break your water and hope that speeds things up (although I know in your plan you said you did not want that), or you go home and wait some more. It's up to you."

"I have been having contractions for two days already, break my water -I don't want to go home, I want to meet my baby" So they do so around 6:30pm of the 24th.

Around 7 family starts arriving. Jon's parents and his sister and brother in law. I have my family on skype watching the whole process.

The night falls and everyone starts getting comfortable for a long night...but no baby yet. The nurses come and check me...I have only progressed to 4cm after four hours of increased contractions. They come every 2 minutes and the pain has gone up to an 8 out of 10.

It is the early morning of Wednesday, July 25th and everyone is falling asleep. Jon and I are awake dealing with pain and no dialating as I should. We go for a walk, I use the birth ball, my duola encourages me and guides me through contractions to continue breathing deep. It is for sure the longest night of my life.
The pain is now a 10 out of 10 with back labor and contractions every 2 minutes.

It is around 6am of the 25th and my father in law has to go back to work.

My doctor comes in around 7 and I am only 6cm dialated. We start talking about our options since I am having a "dry labor" and I am not progressing as desired. The main thing we want to avoid is a C-section. So baby needs to be out before we reach the 24th hour after breaking the water. My options are to continue all natural, walking, using the birthball and waiting - with increased risk of C-section as time goes by. Or I could get pitocin and get things going without epidural, but with a lot more pain, or finally, get both pictocin and epidural and forget about going all natural but getting the baby out on time and get this over with.

Jon and I decided we would wait a few more hours and see if I can get things going on my own. By this time, I have not slept at all in more than 24 hours being in active labor, with, towards the early morning, pain of 11 out of 10.

It is around 10am, my contractions are slowing down, getting farther apart and my sister in law and her husband need to head out. She works at 1pm and they need to drive for almost 2 hours.

My doctor comes in around 11 and we talked about our options again. Same thing, pitocin (and epidural if I want it). At this point I can hardly talk, I am too tired and while talking, contractions kick in again for a little bit. We are approaching critical hours, and the night before while in the tub, some meconium had shown in the water. Also the doctor had found out the baby was facing up and was not coming out and we would need to use either a vacuum or the forceps. That is why I am not dialating as expected. Baby is not putting any pressure on my cervix. The head is not in the right position. Despite all the efforts to help baby change positions on its own, nothing is going as desired.

Now it is not about playing "strong woman" or "mama natural". It is about what is best for both my baby and I. So my amazing husband encourages me to take the pitocin. The doctor offered to start with 1mlg of pitocin alone (2milg is the usually the minimun amount they give) and see if I can get it going on my own with that. So we go ahead with that and wait an hour.

It is 11 am and nothing yet. But Oh boy! that 1milg really has made a difference in pain!! it is a 12 out of 10 now!

So Jon and I talk about our options again. My wonderful husband is very loving and encouraging. He tells me "noone will think any less of you for getting the drugs. You are very strong and have gone over 30 hours of natural labor. Now you need to be able to rest to get this baby out. I love you" Or something among those lines :) So I decide to get it all.

It is around noon and our cousins (my duola) have to leave. They live in St. Louis and have to work the next day. AND NO BABY YET! :( and I am only 7cm along. VERY dissapointing for the amount of pain I am feeling. However, pitocin is in now and the nurse anesthetist is coming. I wish he was coming faster though! that pitocin really kicks in quickly!! I don't know if I can take it any longer. It really hurts and contractions are back every 1 to 2 minutes with a pain 15 out of 10! maybe less than that, but I am just too tired :P

So 12:30 is the magic time. The epidural is in and I don't feel a thing. It is as if I had not been in labor at all. I can finally laugh, talk, eat and sleep! and so can my poor husband!

I take a 3 to 4 hour nap. When I wake up my nurse comes in and we are finally at 10cm!!!! woo hoo! So pushing time arrives around 5pm. My mother in law is recording and taking pictures. My mom, siblings and rest of the family is watching everything through skype. They make fun of me because I am not screaming or complaning (in Peru is not usual to use epidurals unless it is a C-section). So My nurse, Jon and I play a joke on them. She brings a baby doll and we pretend that I am finally giving birth. My family bought it! they thought my screams were real and that the doll was the real baby! :P. Sounds mean, but they deserved it for bugging me about not showing pain! after that, they were only expectators and encouragers! :)

Anyways, it if around 7 my doc comes in and starts setting things  up for us. I had already been pushing for two hours. He usually only allows two hours of pushing before going C-section, but he knew we did not want that and allowed me to go for an extra hour. Forceps in place, baby's heart rate looks great, mommy's looks fine. Lets get the baby out! and PUSH!!! PUSH!! PUSH!! Oh my! it is time!! ...head is out!! surprise! surprise! cord is around baby's neck, not once but twice!! Praise the Lord that baby was in a bad position and not coming out on its own, otherwise the tention would have cause distress and led to a sectioning, risking my baby's life. Baby was in the birth canal only for a few minutes (if that!) thanks to the use of forceps and the decisions made by all of us, including the doctor.

A few seconds later (8:15pm) baby is all out and is a SHE!! Oh my heart is filled with joy and I am just bawling!! God new our hearts' desire and gave us a little girl! We could't be happier!

Amazingly enough, as soon as I saw her, I forgot all about the pain. I am ready to have more of these wonderful little people!! She was SO worth it!! all the 9months of my body changing, uncomfortable nights of sleep, painful labor, and even now that she is almost a month old, all the sleepless nights and the recovery process. It is all worth it!! Every time I look at her, I am reminded of God's love and favor! She is truly a reward from the Lord. One I do not deserve, but gladly accept!!

Amelia Marie Slezak
a week old.

Very strong at 2 weeks!!

She loves daddy!

 And mommy is happy to say that she has already lost 30lbs!! 15 more to go but it's looking good!!!! :)
Thanks to everyone who prayed for us!! we really felt the prayers!! :D

Friday, June 29, 2012

37 weeks! TERM!

Hello everyone again. Today marks the 37th week of pregnancy.
Wow! time is flying by and I must confess, I am getting a little nervous! However, with this super NOT so Wisconsin weather or temps in the 90s I am VERY much ready to pop!

Now I am weighting 156.6lbs, baby's heart rate is at 160 and as active as usual! I hope that means that most of my weight is liquid and placenta and the baby is not too big. It would make delivery much easier! But I guess we won't know until the day comes!

Yesterday we were able to check out the delivery suite at the hospital. I was not impressed at all, in fact a little dissapointed that it was smaller than I expected. Nevertheless, I must keep mind that it is a small hospital, and although it was small, it was nice and cozy. The nurse was also very sweet.
We are praying that it is the Dr. who has been taking care of us the one who is on call and actually delivers our baby. The hospital is small and there are only 2 OBgyns who deliver, so that is not awful. We have met them both (we actually had our weekly done with the other doctor yesterday), however our regular doctor already knows me, knows what I want and how we feel about everything, and I just feel like, as a woman, she will be more understanding of our requests. Yet, in the end it will be God's decision on who (and how) delivers our baby.

I am afraid my mother will not be able to be with me which makes me very sad. All this visa situation is not fair sometimes. She hasn't had an interview yet, but since time is running out, she won't try for July but for later on the year. Plus my dad is not doing very well with his health and needs surgery. So we will wait and see how things go. Hopefully they both will be able to come up at some point in the near future. Again, it's up to God.

On the other hand, my mother in law is the best! she's told her boss that she is "on call" for when the baby comes. He knows her and loves her and knows that she puts in more hours than she needs to, so he is ok with that. :) We are trying (by this I mean joking) to get the baby to come on a Sunday, and labor to start on a Sat night or very early on Sunday so I deliver in the early afternoon. HA! Oh! and during the following dates: July 7-9 or 13-15. The thing is my mother in law will be gone for a few days in between those dates and, my sister in law only has sundays off. She has offered to video tape the whole thing, so it would be great if she is free on the day of!! Anyways, I just hope and pray that they all can be there when the day comes. Whenever that is!

On a bright note, my Braxton Hicks kicked in two night ago! I know they are nothing compared to the real thing (or so I am told!) but they are helpful in many ways. It indicates that my body is starting to work and get ready for real labor, and also helps me mentally to set my expectations. They allow me to understand that real labor will be a lot more intense and last a lot longer. They also help me practice my breathing and timing of contractions. :)

On a not so bright note I am getting nauseas more often (not too bad though), some headaches and dizziness, that the dr. ruled out as dangerous but still not pleasant. Most likely is just the hot weather because when I am not hot I don't get them as much.

I will answer the discussion question from the link up of the previous week since this weeks questions implies that I am breastfeeding another kid, which I do not have. (find it on the left bar side: My Pregnancy Journal, from the wonderful blog My Joy-Filled Life): I must have a camera!for either pictures or video. Since my family side lives abroad and can't be here, I need to record every moment to share with them.

Anyways, this coming Tuesday we'll head over to Stevens Point for the rest of the week. I will hit 38 weeks next Friday while we are there, so hopefully something will happen :) something good! having a baby maybe! :P You will know if that happens.

36 weeks

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Time Pregnant/Mom Advice

Updated: 11/11/12 three months after giving birth...

So as some of you may know, I will soon be a first time mom. I am very excited.

I have been writing down tips and advice I've been given by other mothers, as well as things I have learned or experienced on my own. I put it all together for future reference on future pregnancies. As a reminder of how I thought or what I did/experienced with my first one. As well as for future first time moms that come to me for advice.

I decided I will share it with everyone now. Some people may disagree with some of the things on the list, but then again advice is given freely, you are the one who decides whether or not to apply it. So here it goes.

at 27 weeks By Christy Schobert

*Know that this is not from an expert or Dr. nor they all work the same for everyone. Make sure that you do your own research and learn what is best for you and your situation. For the most part, the advice found here is for low risk pregnancies.*

Tips, Thoughts, ideas, Advice and Helpful knowledge Pre-During and Post Pregnancy
  • Be sure to start on your pre-natal vitamins at least 3 months before conception. If you are are already pregnant and didn't know about this, don't worry. Just start now. Your body will need all the help it can get. 
  • Continue taking them during pregnancy and after pregnancy. After pregnancy, specially if breastfeeding, your body is still in need of good TLC! your bones will suffer if you are not well taken cared of!
  • Pre-natal vitamins may be more expensive than daily multivitamins, which for the most part contain the same ingredients. So don't break the piggy bank!
  • Be sure to eat a wide variety of foods. Your body will need a lot of protein, calcium, and other stuff
  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Stretch your legs and in between them. Some prenatal yoga as well.
  • Walk, Walk and walk some more!! at least 30 mins a day. This is good, low-impact exercise that you can do through out your pregnancy.
  • Educate yourself on all the different birthing options: Hospitals, birthing centers, Home births, drugs, episiotomies, etc. ~take note that some info out there may be bias towards one method over the other. Do not be naive and lean only towards one side or discard the other completely. Both are good and have their pros and cons. Find what works for you and don't judge those who do it differently. 
  • If you get “morning sickness” try different coping options. Small snacks, big meals for a full stomach(which is what worked for me as opposed to small meals through out the day), ginger ale, swallowing a small piece of ginger, distractions (talking with somebody) etc.
  • Get as much tummy and back sleep as possible before your belly starts growing and it becomes uncomfortable. You may miss it later!
  • Write a birth plan. What and how you want things to happen. Your preferences, your big no-nos. But in all be flexible, open to changes so you are not disappointed if things happen different. Not every birth is without complications.
  • Pitocin (drug to induce) will make labor pains stronger, and if given too soon, will increase chances of tearing. Epidural will reduce contractions and/or you will have a hard time knowing when to push and can also make you more nauseous. Also, it may make your legs go numb for a while (not always though).
  • One small glass of wine or beer will not necessarily hurt you. Women in Europe continue drinking during pregnancy as they did before pregnancy, however they do not have a higher incident of Fetus Alcohol Syndrome than women who avoid alcohol completely. Yet, it is always better to avoid drinking, specially during the first trimester. It is unknown what is the minimum amount needed to cause FAS. Why risk it?
  • As long as your BMI is normal, it is safe to say that you can gain up to 30 lbs. However, be careful not to gain unnecessary weight. You may not be happy with yourself afterwards. (I gained almost 50 lbs and had a really hard time looking myself in the mirror for a while after birth)
  • You can travel by air-plain up until your 8th month/36 weeks, as long as it is a low risk pregnancy.
  • Avoid blue cheese. Chances of acquiring listeria are higher if you do.
  • Drink a lot of water and milk. But not too late into the night, otherwise you will wake up to many times to go to the bathroom.
  • Avoid salt intake. It will make you retain water and swell.
  • LOTS of kegel exercise! It will prepare your birth canal for delivery and reduce chances of tearing.
  • Continue with normal sex life. It will help the birth canal be used to the stretching. It will also help induce labor during your last weeks :) ...and you may not be able to do it for at least 6 weeks after birth! Your husband will appreciate it if he didn't have to go without more than that! :P and it will also be the last 9 months of no interruptions!!
  • Do not spend too much time sitting/standing. If you work sitting, get up and walk every hour. This way you will reduce chances of hemorrhoids and will help blood circulation. 
  • Get your nursery ready before you get too big and are unable to move around as easy.
  • Car seats expire every 5 years and some hospitals have a specific policy about them.
  • Sometimes by the 3rd trimester it may get harder to breath if laying down completely flat. Use more pillows to lift you up.
  • Use a lot of cream every day to reduce chances of stretch marks, specially if you have a darker complexion. Fair skin is more elastic, darker skin does not stretch as easily. 
  • Do not scratch/itch otherwise you'll get more stretch marks. 
  • Don't be surprised if you get hot faster or more often- even during the winter.
  • From 20 weeks up, avoid laying flat on your back. There is a vein/artery behind your right side of the pelvis that carries oxygen and blood flow to your heart and your baby. The weight of the baby could cause it to not flow as it should. Ask your Dr./Midwife more about it. 
  • Sleeping on your right side for too long may also interfere with blood flow. So switch to your left side more.
  • Use a pillow in between your legs. From your crotch down to your ankles. As your belly (and rest of your body!) grows, it may become more uncomfortable to sleep without good support. Use pillows to give support to your belly and your back.
  • If your cat is an indoor cat, that only eats cat food (no birds or anything else found outside the home), your chances of getting toxoplasmosis are very minimal to zero. If you need to change the litter box, do so and immediately after wash your hands with water and soap. You won't get the disease if you do not have direct (with mouth) contact with the feces. However, if you can have somebody else perform this task for you, the better!
    our oldest cat, Leonidas
  • Take naps. Lots of them, specially when you start having a hard time sleeping at night. You need to rest well, your baby (and your body!) will appreciate it!
  • Eat what you crave for. Do not go on a diet unless recommended by your Dr. Eat everything, but in moderation. Don't buy into “you shouldn't eat this or that” unless, again, it is recommended by your Dr. 
  • Have very little tuna. Fish/sushi is fine as long as the fish is not too high in
    mercury (as some types of tuna are). (sounds contradicting the last tip, huh? but it says "very little" it doesn't say "don't do it")
  • DANCE! It is fun, it will keep your body active and agile! It is the best exercise next to walking and swimming.
  • Take time during the day to pay attention to your baby's movement. It's magical! :) once you start feeling his/her movements, they should be somewhere between ten movements per hour....however every baby is different. Just take note of any drastic changes in baby's activity.
  • If you don't feel the movements for over an hour, drink some cold water and wait a few minutes. It should make the baby move. Spicy foods may also help. However, if you go for too long without feeling anything, call your Dr./Midwife. Don't be afraid to sound silly or look over worried. That will not be the case. We all want healthy babies! and your health care provider will know and understand that!
  • Do not panic if your skin burns. It is usually because your muscles are stretching. If it becomes too bad or too persistent, consult your Dr.
  • Bananas help reduce water retention, however they may make you gain weight faster. Fruits in general are good for you, but they are high on sugars!
  • Find good lower back exercises. You will depend on them to reduce pain! And they will help the baby get in position for delivery :).
  • Warm showers will also help with pain management and relax you. Plus, there may not be much time after the baby comes for you to spend an hour sitting taking a warm bath!
  • Make a list of the things you will need to pack for the hospital for you as well as for the baby. It is never too soon, specially because you may forget later!! :P
  • Also, make a “who to call” list. Write down everyone you plan on giving the heads up once you are in labor.
  • When the time gets closer (last month maybe), make some meals that can be frozen. It will give you peace of mind after delivery to know that your family will have some food ready to heat up. You can spend that hour or two that you would spend cooking, with your little one! Also, don't hesitate to ask for help. There is no need to play "Super mom" ~ and people love helping new moms! 
  • Once in labor, you may feel like pooing, DON'T! Most likely it is the baby pushing down and if you push in the toilet he/she may come out! :P
  • Make sure to get good breast support, specially if they grow a lot. Otherwise it may hurt or make it harder to breath while laying down.
  • If you get hemorrhoids, use cold and hot water to reduce it. Just run it through or use a wet towel.
  • Cold water helps reduce swollen body parts.
  • Nausea may come back during the 3rd trimester. But not as bad or long. Unless you are one of the few unlucky ones who have them through out the whole pregnancy (poor my sister, she did!)
  • To reduce chances of tearing, in your 3rd trimester work on stretching exercises for your peritoneum (area btw vagina and anus). Use your fingers (or your spouses if you can't reach) to massage the area and stretch it from inside, pulling down a little.
  • Avoin putting cream on your breasts during the last month, specially if you plan to breastfeed.
  • If possible, at all costs avoid inducement (unless the baby's life is in danger or you are in labor for too long). In most cases, there really is no need for it unless something is going wrong. For most women it makes the whole process more painful (if no epidural is used), and it won't allow your body to naturally get ready for birth, therefore increasing chances of tearing. ~ after over 35 hours of labor, I had to be induced, we started with 1 mg. and OH MY! it made a huge difference in the pain! it was x3 more painful. I could have gone longer without it but my baby was NOT coming out and I did not want to have incontinence problems afterwards. You may read our birth story here.
  • If you can, clean/organize your home more often as time gets closer. It will give you peace of mind and make the need for cleaning less intensive when you are busy with babies.
  • Learn how to measure how dilated you are so that you don't need to hurry to the hospital right away. Using your fingers check how dilated you are. If your water has not broken, you don't need to rush to the hospital until you are about 4 cm (4 fingers) dilated. If delivering at a hospital, they will tell you to not come in until your contractions are 5 mins apart and you are NOT able to speak during contractions. This is a sign of active labor. 
  • Hot weather, hot water and salt intake will make you swell. Avoid it as much as you can/.
  • Drink LOTS of water and milk. (I think I already said this, but if you are pregnant, you may have forgot it already! haha)
  • Put cream everywhere. Belly, hips, calves, butt, thighs  breasts. Stretch marks don't only appear on the belly. Gain weight gradually to reduce the chances of stretch marks.
  • The last moth pay special attention to the baby's schedule. Sometimes they keep that same schedule after birth – during their first couple of weeks.
  • Home births with an experienced midwife are easier, lest traumatic (for some) or invasive, as well as less expensive!! But only for low risk pregnancies. Most of the time you will not be induced or get pain medicine. I know some midwives do provide pain medicine, but not all of them do and it is just local anesthesia as far as I know. If you start at home but then need or want to move to a hospital, make sure to call them ahead of time out of consideration to the staff, so they can get ready. And do not be ashamed of doing the transfer. Your midwife will understand and will (or should!) support your decision. The end result is what matters: healthy baby and healthy mom!
  • Don't feel bad if you start nesting around 20 weeks!! it is your motherly nature (or boredom! ha) and it is ok! In fact, you won't have to worry too much about having it all ready when the day comes because it will already be ready! :)
  • Every woman who has given birth, or has experience taking care of babies (specially newborns) will have a piece of advice. It would be nice of you to listen to them, even if you disagree or plan to do things differently. They all mean well, and just want to help the new mom. I know it may get old at some point, but try to have a good attitude about it. Plus, some of their advice is really good!!
  • Make your husband a part of everything. Even if he says he does not need to be. They will too have a new baby to take care of, and every child is different (in case he already has children). As the head of the home, they need to learn about this things and be part of everything, even diaper changing! Plus, mommy can't do everything. Both of you are the child's parents!
  • Breastfeeding will help you lose weight faster! ~ I lost around 40 lbs in the first 2 months! For C-sections, it may take a little longer since you can't walk much at first.

    four days after giving birth (60lbs over pre-pregnancy weight)
    4 months after giving birth...just look at the difference in my face!! (I had lost over 50lbs)
  • As mentioned above, it may take a few weeks before you can go back to your regular sex life. Be sure to discuss this with your husband.
  • The nurse/midwife will push/squeeze out all the blood left inside your uterus. It may hurt a little. You may bleed for a while after birth. For some it is very heavy and have to use adult diapers. Some are lucky and only need nigh pads (like the ones you use during your period). 
  • Your breast will grow more once milk starts coming in. It is called engorgement. It may hurt some...but it wont be for too long. Take on account that you may be leaking for the first is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but be encouraged! this too shall pass! :)
  • Your first white milk may come around day 5. The first milk is yellowish and it is called colostrum. It is  richer in everything  and helps your baby's tummy be ready for food since he/she will no longer be fed through the umbilical cord!
  • You may get what is called baby blue. Feelings of depression and sadness or frustration. It is normal, your body (and mind) just went through trauma (good trauma!) during birth...and everything is changing...but for good! talk to your husband, family and friends for support! and put your baby down, or give him/her to somebody else when you feel down. Baby may feel your sadness...or you may not feel like taking care of him/her. Just know that it is ok. It happens to most women and this too shall pass!
  • There are 4 different degrees of tearing. I won't go into details, but look it up/ask your Dr. Sometimes regardless of what you do, it can be unavoidable. Or you may be lucky (like my cousin!) and avoid it completely! but if you don't, warm sits baths are amazing in helping you heal; comfry tea leaves were my divine remedy. If you can, also sleep on your tummy - I had 3rd degree tear and used the boppy to help me be more comfortable sitting and sleeping on my belly. You will want to avoid sitting or putting much weight on your bottom. And again, be patient ( I know! easier said than done!) you will heal! I was without discomfort (pain was managed all the time with pain killers!) around week 6 ad fully healed by approx. week 10. LOTS of prayers!! Some heal faster than others. 
  • If you have a girl, she may get her first "period" the first week. I know, WHAT?! haha. No one told us this one and we freaked out when we saw her bleeding! but it is totally normal! and not every baby girl gets it. It is very little, no more than a tip of a tsp size and kind of mucous-like.
  • It took you 9 months to gain all the weight you have gained. Do not panic or be discouraged if it takes you that long to lose it. Eat healthy, exercise if you have the time (you only need 20 mins a day!) and be patient. ~ I am VERY inpatient and was going crazy after only 4 weeks! ha. My husband is an angel was there for me all the time. He would remind me how long it took it e to gain all the weight and that even if I did not lose it all again, he still loved me. Our baby was worth it too! But I know, we women like to not only feel good, but also look good. Again, be patient, set a goal, be active, eat well.    Don't stress too much over it. 
What worked for you? Please feel free to add your pearls of wisdom if there is something missing. New moms will appreciate it!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pregnancy update II

Here I am again linking up with my pregnancy update! It's been almost 4 weeks since I last and there is lots to tell, but I will keep it simple :)

How far along are you? I am 33 weeks and 1 days.

Baby's Growth: Baby now weighs about 4 pounds and averages 17 inches long from head to heel. He/she has been in position (head down) for a few weeks already and we hope it stays like that! :)
The heart rate is at 150 and measuring right on. Baby is moving a lot! and I mean a TON! thankfully it's mostly during the day. I hope we keep that schedule after birth :P [I may be asking for too much!]

Symptons: My legs are not as numb or hurting as they were before during bedtime. I'm hapy about  that! I still wake up only once to go to the bathroom so it's not awful. Breathing has gotten better, basically because I am using more pillows to lift up my head/neck and chest while sleeping. However, my hands are hurting. Every morning is a challege to grab my toothbrush, lift things up or simply make a fist with my hand. I talked to my Dr. about it and she said it is very common. My hands are swelling. As long it doesn't come with fever or becomes more intense, I should be alright.

Cravings? Food Aversion? I really like chinese food and anything sushi! I had some when we visited family last week. I was in heaven!! :)
My sweet little worm at 21 weeks!

Maternity Clothes? I grew out of most of them. Sometimes I wear my husbands sweat pants to be more comfortable at home. I still have some clothes of my own that fit well, but I try not to use them for every day things unless I go out. That way I don't have to be doing laundry that often. I did however get a new dress for weddings and special ocaccions. I did not have any and I have two weddings coming up!

What I'm looking forward to...Again, the baby shower :) Like I mentioned before, I will be 34 weeks and technically only 4 weeks away from "it can happen any time!" I'll do my best to post pictures of it. It will be next weekend!! :)

Medical Stuff: We have one more every other week visit and after that we'll start with weekly visits. I My blood pressure last time was 110/60 and I am weighting 151.4 lb. I used to weight 120 before baby! I guess I am also looking forward to feeling alot lighter!!

Discussion Question:Will you find out the gender of the baby before birth? Or have you already? (I've been keeping the question light the past couple weeks because I am just fried from all this moving)!

Answer: We won't find out the gender. We think that there are so few surprises in life nowadays that we want this to be one of them!! Plus it makes the baby pool much more exciting!! :)
Also I do not like pink very much  and I don't like it when , if it's a girl, EVERYTHING they get is pink, and if it's a boy: blue. No thank you! not for us. :P

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Betting List

Last week we went to visit Family in Stevens Point. Jon is off school for the summer and we spent a whole week with family and friends. In spite of the hot weather itt was refreshing!

33 weeks

Anyways, we started "The Baby Pool". It basically is a betting list where everyone attemps to guess different details about our baby. The list includes:

Gender or Sex
Due date
PM or AM

This tradition started in our family with my brother in law and his wife who had their first baby last year.
Of course, to be able to carry out the betting better, the baby's gender needs to remain unknown. Meaning that it will be a surprise for everyone.
I guess if the parents knew, they would just not participate in the betting. However, they would also need to be very good at keeping secrets and not give the gender away in attemps to help someone win, or even by accident with the excitement of someone guessing right.

Whoever gets the closest on most categories wins.

We are excited to see how many people guessed right. I hope I guessed right! :P the winner gets a $50 gift certificate to Best Buy. It makes labor/delivery day much more exciting for everyone!!

How many of you think would get all the answers right?! ...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prayer Requests

It's been a couple of months since I thought of creating some sort of way for people to share, encourage and create a better sense of community. What a better way than by sharing prayer requests. It is something very intimate yet it can be shared without going into details.

God has blessed me with many prayer warriors in my life. I so appreciate every prayer that is lifted up for me and my family. I know that without them I could not go through life as easy. God hears their prayers, He hears mine too. He is the source of my strength, courage, and joy. I am forever thankful for each prayer and each person who ever spoke them.

I would like to do the same for you. And encourage others to also join us to pray and encourage each other. So click on the prayer requests page and join us in this new journey!! :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pregnancy update

Today I was invited to a Link-up. Basically another blogger (who is expecting) that welcomes other pregnant bloggers to share their pregnancy journey. I thought I would join. I'm not very disciplined with my blogging and I am not keeping a journal on my pregnancy, but I do share it with you all on here every now and then. So here it goes.

How far along are you? I am 29 weeks and 4 days.

Monday, May 7, 2012

From Breaking Free into Total Surrender: A Letter from the Men

This is beautiful, encouraging and flattering. Thanks Cara for Sharing the letter. I too want to share it with all of you. enjoy!

Breaking Free into Total Surrender: A Letter from the Men:   UWSP CRU had a women's time this past weekend. Women were shown a video about men's thoughts on different subjects and how we as women ca...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In an Awful Situation? Praise God!

We are always quick to praise God when he blesses us. When we get the job we wanted, when our children are born, when our family is healthy and doing well. Or when miracles happen.
All those situations are great cause to praise the Lord. They all call for it. It is good to praise our heavenly Father in times of blessing and well being. For He is good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last weekend we went home. Christy took some baby bump pictures of me and was kind enough to let me practice with her camera (and her as my model!). We had so much fun (at least I did!). I really enjoyed my time with her. She was a great teacher...but I don't know if I was a great student! :P

Monday, April 16, 2012

Praise God From Whom ALL Blessings Flow.

It's been a while, but here I am again.

Last month we went to visit our family in Bloomington and then headed down to Marion, IL.
It was a baby shower for our cousins M & H. They are expecting their first biological child. They already have two precious adopted ones. Jon and I are VERY excited for them, specially because we will be having our first borns so close together andd we really enjoy spending time with them. We have so much in comon. And so much fun together!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do Not Forget The Lord

I read Deuteronomy  8.

This passage is about not forgeting who the Lord is, what He has done for his people and what disasters He allowed to happen as well. He is the source of all good.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Leap Year

This past weekend, by God's grace, we were able to go home.
Jon's second round of tests went great.
God is good and helped him remember everything he had studied weeks before.

Our weeks had been good. Until our car broke down...again.
This time with no lasting or even reasonably priced repair. It was a frustrating time. Discouraging.
Something in the engine broke. Anyways, we've been without a car since last Tuesday.

It is amazing how a blessing can turn into a curse, just to turn into a blessing again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Few More Months

This week marks our 5th month of pregnancy.
Needless to say, as every week goes by we get more excited.
Next Friday will be our first ultrasound and we will finally get to see our little worm growing inside of me. I know I will shed a tear or two. It will be fun!

It is amazing how long the waiting is. All the excitment and expectations.
I always find myself day dreamimg of how I will raise this little one. All the fun that we will have together. All the nights of waking up every few hours. All my cranky moments for lack of sleep. All the joy in spite of my crankiness that will fill me just when I see his/her face.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alabaster Jar.

This blog was insipired by a sermon by Pastor Leonard Ravenhill.
Most of us have heard the story of the woman and the Alabaster Jar in Matt. 26:7, Mark 14:3
The disciples were astonished not by her devotion to the Lord, but by her "wasting" of a very expensive perfume. It is said it was worth around a year's wages.
Then in another occacion - not sure if it was the same woman ,
In John 12:3 it says that "Mary took a pound of ointment, genuine nard of great value, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet dry with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of her ointment."
Again, the disciples (in this case Judas Iscariot) complaint about her "wasting" an expensive perfume with the excuse that it could have been sold and the given to the poor.  Sounds like a pretty noble idea right? I am sure that in any other occation Jesus would have agreed to that. However, he did not. This time things were different. This time Jesus was to be his disciples priority.

Monday, February 27, 2012

He knows me.

We all want to be known by somebody else.
It comes natural to seek to satisfy our hunger and thrist.
We even seek to satisfy our social needs. One way or the other.

We want to be known. Not always fully and completely by every single person around  us.
Yet, at least by somebody. At some point in life.

Many times we worry, we are anxious, we have doubts about what the tomorrow will bring.
Or take away.
It is OK. It is our nature. We can't see the future. We can't read minds and hearts. We don't even know our own very well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

30 Random things about me...

1) I can touch my nose with my tounge.
2) I love doing crafts

3) I really hate pink, but i still wear it.

4) I am never 100% sure if what i buy is what i wanted.

5) I am pregnant with my first baby

6) Originally I wanted 12 kids, but being more realistic I will settle with 4-6.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Every Little Detail

Do you ever  get that strange feeling of not really knowing yourself?Maybe looking into the mirror and wondering why?
Why did you get upset about something so little?
Why don't you ever know what you really want?
Why do you feel this way?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

He will not abandon you.

Our God is an awesome God.
When we turn our backs on Him, when we sin against Him, when we disobey and offend Him greatly, He is always willing to forgive us. He is willing to forget and start right where we left of.

Deut. 4:15 warns us against idolatry. It is very clear that God does not wants us worshiping and praying to anything man made "which cannot see or hear or eat or smell" (vs.28). The idols of today are not only made of wood or stone. We have way more idols: work, family, health, wealth, friends, popularity, self-image, social status, etc. You name it. We would most likely turn it into an idol.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Second Semester

So the second semester of school started. It is what we expected. It is harder. It took Jon a few weeks to feel comfortable with the material. Today were his first two tests. He did well I think. He felt good about them.

As for me, it was tough to accept that he would be at school til late most of the week, or going to bed around 1am. However, God was and is always faithful. I did not feel lonely. And even if I did a little, it was OK. I knew the Lord's hand was holding us tight and close to his loving arms.

On the other hand, I have been feeling kind of...blah! It always happens. I hit a wall and my first love's flame diminishes...It doesn't go out completely, but it is not burning as hard and strong as it should. Or I wish it did.

I could blame it on many things, yet I know it is all my fault. I let it almost go out. I get stuck thinking about all the things I wish were different in my life, or myself and I forget. I forget to remember how wonderful my life is only because it belongs to Jesus. I forget to remember that I am blessed in many ways. And I also forget  to actually pray for my heart's burdens. I forget that my Lord, my God, my Father is waiting for me to come running to him and tell him everything that goes through my mind. Every dream, every desire, every word of thanks, every detail about me and my day. He is so faithful to me. Always finding ways to bring me back, get me closer, reach out to me in love!!

My heart rejoices in the Lord for He is my everything!
My heart sings with joy to the One who lived and died for me!
My soul is amazed by his everlasting love,
He has always good thoughts for me.

My Father, the King,
I belong to Him.
My Savior, my God,
I am the apple of His eye.