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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers...

Hey everyone!

Happy (very belated) Thanksgiving! 

Life has been super crazy lately. Ms. Emma is 8 weeks old now and I'm in full lovin'-bein'-a-momma mode! She is absolutely wonderful and I simply adore being her mommy. 
Her first turkey day was fabulous. We got to see lots of family and of course, ate way too much delicious food!

We began our holiday at my mom's house. It is our first holiday season in her new house and it was so much fun making new memories in this beautiful environment. My mom made a huge, delicious, Thanksgiving lunch so she sent us home with LOTS of leftovers.

We then went to Thomas' Grandparent's house and shared some delicious pies and had fun catching up. 

Several years ago, Thomas' grandma made us a casserole with the leftovers and I've been meaning to make it for quite a while now. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I decided it was time to try it out.
We were not disappointed! 
I found the recipe from Kraft and just tweaked it a bit. You know how I am. 

I didn't quite have enough leftover mashed potatoes so I made up some instant ones and combined them. 
I used boxed stuffing but didn't add quite as much water as the box called for because I didn't want it all to be too mushy. 
Finally, I didn't have frozen veggies... we're more of a canned veggie family so I combined carrots, corn and green beans (2 cups total).

It worked perfectly! 
So delicious and a fabulous way to use those leftovers!


Try it out!

Blessings,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

And we were tested...

There are defining moments in every marriage. 
For some couples, those defining moments are not as big or catastrophic at first. For some, it takes years for an event to occur to really test one's marriage. For others, it happens within the first few years.
That's what happened with Thomas and I. 
It seems like things have never been exactly easy for us. We've had money issues, problems finding full-time work, infertility...
Then there was that time where Thomas almost died
And then this past October. 

I went into the labor and delivery room with the expectation that everything would go exactly as I planned. 
A natural birth. No drugs. Emma in ideal health. Me in ideal health. No issues. Certainly no c-section.
But then life happened. 
Life kicked us in the butt actually. 

And our marriage was tested again. And again. And again. 

I wish I could say that I was a good, calm and understanding patient throughout everything but that wouldn't be honest. 
And I wish I could say Thomas was calm and understanding while watching his wife and daughter go through what we did but he wasn't. 

We were tested. 

Our faith was tested. Our marriage was tested. Our ability to adapt as new parents was tested. 
And time and time again, I asked myself, "WHY?! Why us?"
I developed an infection in my uterus during labor. After being induced, I was in labor for 46 hours. I had been in laten labor for days before so my doctor said we needed to induce because my blood pressure was borderline high and she didn't want to take any risks. 
No risks. 
After 23 hours of being in labor and only dilated 1/2 cm, they decided to break my water. 
22 hours later, my fever spiked to 103 F and they said a c-section would be necessary for mine and the baby's health. 
I was terrified. 
The c-section went fine, other than throwing up on the table while they were sewing me back up. 
Unfortunately, Emma had to be taken the the NICU because there was a chance she could develop an infection, since she was in my uterus while it was infected. 
Having a baby in the NICU is awful. I would never wish something like that upon any parent. 
What made it worse was that I had just come out of surgery and had to be on antiobiotics. 

My plans of immediate skin to skin contact: gone. 
My plans to immediately breastfeed: gone. 
My plans to never let Emma out of my sight: gone. 
Nothing went as planned. 

And we were tested. 

We were tested when I went down to the NICU to hold my baby and they informed me I wouldn't be allowed to because she had an IV in her umbilical cord and if I held her, it could come loose and she could bleed out. 

We were tested. And tested. And tested. 

3 days went by. I was feeling much better. Able to walk. I wasn't in a lot of pain and had even showered. 
And then my pain got unbearable. Out of nowhere. 

And we were tested. 

Because they didn't listen to me when I told them something was wrong.
They released me from the hospital. I was in horrible pain but was told it was normal. 
1 week after Emma was born, she was released from the NICU. 
And that night, I was taken back to the emergency room. 
My incision was seriously infected and they reopened it. 
We were tested when they began opening it without giving me any pain meds. 
We were tested when they announced Thomas would have to "pack the incision" twice a day until it healed. 
But it didn't stop there. 
Over the course of the next 2 weeks, I was in and out of the hospital two more times. 
I developed a very high fever but they couldn't figure out why. 
Finally, after many many tests, it was announced that I had a blood clot in my right leg as well as Septic Pelvic Vein Thrombophlebitis
It didn't end there.
My uterus was still infected. 
And I developed C-diff because of all the antibiotics they had me on.

And we were tested. 

Defining moments in marriage. Will you make it through?
We have and we're stronger than ever. 
We have a beautiful, healthy daughter. 
I have the most wonderful husband in the world who packs my incision twice a day and doesn't complain even a little. 
We're all alive and God is good. 

But we were tested. 

And we're tested every day. 
Is it because we're Christians? Is it because the devil attacks us? Is it because God has a bigger plan and we're just along for the ride?
I don't know. 
What I do know is that once you make it to the other side, you're stronger. You've learned things and you'll never go back. 
Life is full of surprises. 
It's scary but wonderful. 
Full of adventure but danger is lurking.

I'm happily riding along on this adventure called life. 
God is there for me. Always has been. 

And we're tested. 

But isn't that what life is all about?

Blessings, 



Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Family Just Grew by 2 Feet...

We had a baby!!!!
Emmy Lynn was born on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 3:42pm.
She weighed 7 pounds and was 20 1/4 inches long... such a petite little beauty!
On her way to the NICU
I ended up having to have a c-section, after 46 hours of labor.
Grandma Christi (my mom) meeting Emma
 Emma was in the NICU for 7 days for antibiotics, since I developed an infection in my uterus, during labor. Luckily, she never developed an infection so it was simply preventative. However, it was still very difficult for her to be there!
Aunt Ceres (she didn't get to hold her until she was out of the NICU)
I also had many complications postpartum (more on that later).  
Aunt Claire!
 But Emma is here! And after 3 weeks, I'm out of the hospital and on the mend as well.
Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Bob (Thomas's parents) holding Emma for the first time.
We're adjusting to life as a family of 3 and God continues to show Himself to us, daily.
Our first family photo... Emma was about an hour and a half old.
 Stay tuned for many more updates on life with Emma... we have a feeling it's gonna be pretty great.
Aunt Amanda (close family friend) surprised us and came to the hospital for my delivery.
 You may have noticed that my blog has changed a bit. Thomas and I have been working on it for quite sometime and since we had some extra time in the hospital, we finally completed it.
Let me know what you think!

Blessings,

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Survive Gestational Diabetes...

Any woman who has been pregnant knows about the dreaded glucose test. 
They make you drink this nasty, super sweet orange liquid and then, 1 hour later, they draw your blood. If you don't "pass" that test, they make you do a 3 hour test. First, you fast for 8 hours, then they draw your blood. You drink that same nasty liquid, and they test your blood again, every hour, 3 more times. It's honestly brutal and kind of torture but it's necessary for your and the baby's health so we all put up with it. 
When you have PCOS, like I do, they test you at 18 weeks and if you pass (I did!) then you get to do it again at 28 weeks, like the rest of the preggos. 
I unfortunately did not pass my 28 week test. So, at 30 weeks, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. 
I was absolutely devasated!
I thought, "Seriously?! I've been VERY careful with gaining weight, haven't been ridiculous with my cravings, and didn't we already have a hard enough time getting pregnant?! Shouldn't the rest of this be easy?"
Ya, I threw myself a little pity party and then, I decided to make the best of it. 
I purchased all of the stupid supplies (meter, lancets, testing strips) and began reading and doing as much research as possible. 
I learned that there is a higher chance for a larger baby when the mother has gestational diabetes and that can often lead to a higher risk of a C-section because the baby is simply too large to make it through the canal. Since I am determined to have as close to a natural birth as possible, this upset me greatly. 

I decided that I HAD to find the positives and make the most of it so... I did.

Here are my tips for getting through those last several weeks of your pregnancy, with Gestational Diabetes...

1. Purchasing your testing supplies kind of sucks. They're expensive and when you're wanting to spend all of your extra money on the baby, it's really annoying to spend that extra money on testing supplies. But... do it. And do it as soon as you're diagnosed. The earlier you get your blood sugars under control, the better the chances for a positive outcome are. 

2. Keep all of your appointments. You'll immediately start seeing your OB weekly. Normally, that doesn't begin until 35-36 weeks but they like to keep a close eye on you so you'll see her more often now. Don't miss any of your appointments because if your sugar numbers seem off, the earlier your doctor can start you on medication, the better. 

3. Take your medicine, if you are prescribed any. After 1 week of my sugars being strange and not really making sense, with what I was eating, my doctor put me on medicine to help. And... it helped! Remember that being put on that medicine is not a punishment, it's just a way to help you make it through. In most women, after you deliver that placenta, your diabetes symptoms will disappear, so it isn't your fault. Blame it on the placenta. 

4. Keep track of your sugars and be honest with your doctor. This is really important! Your doctor can't help you if you're not honest. It's okay if 1 or 2 of your draws throughout the week are a little off. You can discuss what may have caused that, with your doctor, and she'll help you adjust what needs adjusting. It may just be a matter of, "Oh well, you ate that. One cheat meal is completely acceptable." (My doctor said this to me, just last week. I ate French Toast and it was delicious and totally worth my sugar being slightly high! haha)

5. Adjust your diet but you don't have to go crazy and get some exercise. Both are good for you and the baby. Needing to watch what I ate was actually really beneficial for multiple reasons so I found a silver lining in that. Also, you'll get to see a certified nutritionist! What woman hasn't wanted some advice from a nutritionist at some point in her life? I even cheated and got advice on losing the baby weight (and then some)! I'm going to get to see her after Emma is born and make a plan for being healthy, post pregnancy. And insurance covers it! Silver lining!

6. Don't beat yourself up if your blood sugars don't immediately start going down with change in diet, or even with medicine. It's different for everyone, and it takes time for your body to adjust to the changes you're trying to make. And if you have some sporadic high tests, even ones you can't explain, don't beat yourself up over those either. The important thing is that you're doing everything you can to keep your blood sugar at the right level, and sometimes it's just beyond your control. Just don't stop trying.

Need another silver lining?

In addition to seeing your doctor weekly, you'll also have weekly ultrasounds where they check to see that baby is developing properly. You'll get extra pictures and the peace of mind that your baby is healthy and almost ready to be in your arms. 

So, the diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes is not fun and it's definitely not one that any woman wants to get but you can survive and make the most of it.

Good luck!

Blessings, 
Emma at 35 weeks. The best silver lining ever!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Emma's Nursery...

Hey all!
We are finally finished with Emma's room!
It's taken us awhile but it's perfect (in my humble opinion) and I can't wait to bring her home and watch her grow up in this room!
As you may remember, we had a couple of pieces from my nursery, purchased items at thrift stores and really only kept the new purchases to her bookshelf and the rug.
We used a LOT of spray paint and several cans of regular paint but everything matches and it all looks like we bought it together. Thomas and I are quite proud!

Is the suspense killing you? Ha.
Here it is... Emma's Nursery!
All 3 of those furniture pieces were in my nursery.
We painted all of the furniture to match. The rocking chair, crib, and changing table were all the same style but we didn't want the dark brown in the nursery. Painting them ivory gave them new life!
The gorgeous artwork above her changing table was a gift from my mom. I picked it out at Hobby Lobby but when I went back to purchase it, after finding out we were having a girl, it was gone. I called my mom, completely distraught, and she went right over to the nearest Hobby Lobby, in Kansas City, and purchased it for us. I love my mom!
It says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."
Proverbs 31:25
I have always loved that verse and want Emma to grow with strength, dignity, and without fear, knowing her God loves her.
It's exactly the perfect piece of artwork for above where I'll get her dressed everyday.
 I made the monogram above her crib.
 My mom purchased the magnetic board for us, as well. We added the ultrasound picture of Emma so there's already a little bit of her in there! The bird picture is also from Hobby Lobby. In fact, all of the artwork, except the monogram that I made, is from Hobby Lobby.
Man, I really need to purchase stock in that store. hahaha
 This little nook will be great for feeding Emma! I put the little end table next to the rocking chair so I have a place to set a drink or snack, while rocking her. It's also a great place for the monitor to hide out.
 I purchased those amazing baskets at Marshall's. I love the little touches of lavender throughout the room. If Baby Myers had been a boy, we were planning on adding navy accents to the yellow and gray.
This beautiful chair was made and given to us by our dear friend, Brenna. She even embroidered "Emma" on the seat!
 We purchased a second bookshelf a few weeks ago when we realized we needed just a bit more storage. She'll have a little extra room to add her own touches when she gets a little older.
Both bookshelves are from Target but I added a personal touch by painting the back panel the same color gray as the chevron wall.
 We made the curtain on the closet so it can either be pulled back, like this or...
 ...left closed like this. I'm not sure which I love more.
Both the curtain rods for the window and closet are from Target and match the chandelier perfectly. Such luck finding those!
Maybe I should buy stock in Target, too...
 We purchased this gorgeous chandelier at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $10!
The clock and flowers were in other places in our house but they work perfectly on top of her bookshelf so they have a new home.  The frame is from Thomas' mom and I can't wait to add one of Emma's newborn photos to it!
Even her Wallflower (currently smells like pumpkins) matches! We purchased the outlet cover & cross from Hobby Lobby. I love how it all ties in together!
Thomas moved the light switch. It was originally where the new outlet is but we didn't like having to reach around the corner to turn on the light. I love that I can plug in a wallflower, where she and the dogs can't reach it. Thomas also installed a dimer so when we go in to get her for late night diaper changes, we don't blind ourselves with the bright light. Love my handy hubby!
We spray painted all of the existing outlet covers and vents. I think it adds a custom touch.
 Of course, we had to add little personal touches, like her initial in little places. I love that this big "E" doubles as a bookend!
 Lots and lots of hair bows, of course! The praying doll was in my room when I was little and Claire made Emma the gorgeous needlepoint. How neat is that?
 That dresser looks so much better after we gave it a little TLC!
  I purchased these two bins, and the two matching, smaller ones that are on the other bookshelf, from Mardel. They're the perfect size for stuffed animals & toys!
Thomas has great plans for a playroom, in our den, but she won't need that for awhile & this works great, for now.
I also love that, since these are on the bottom shelf, when we have tummy time, I can reach over & just pull out a new toy. I won't have to get up and leave her at all!

The room started out bright red, then Brenna & Michael painted in green (it was their room when they lived here). We debated between repainting it and making it the nursery or making our old room the nursery. We decided we liked Emma's room being the opposite corner from ours so we can see her crib from our bed.
The three walls are painted sparkly yellow! You can't really tell it in any of the pictures but the walls actually sparkle. The chevron wall was stenciled and painted by me. It took weeks but I love how it turned out and was much cheaper than purchasing wallpaper.

Months and months of planning went into this room but I am so happy with the results!
In less than 2 weeks, I'll bring home our little princess and then room really will be perfect. :)

I'd love to hear feedback!

Blessings,