August 24, 2008

A Post of Pictures

My sweet, talented friend, Katie, offered to do Mary Ellen's birth announcements as a gift. What a wonderful gift to a mother who doesn't have much time on her hands these days! Those are almost done, but I wanted to share with you some of the pictures that Katie took on Saturday of not just Mary Ellen but of the whole family. I love so many of them!

Katie, you were so kind to give up your Saturday morning to come photograph us FOR FREE, and I just love all the pictures. How will I ever repay your kindness, sweet friend!?!?

August 20, 2008

1 week

My Little Monkey, a.k.a my Little Melon, a.k.a Mary El, is one week old today. After only a week, she has accrued quite a few nicknames, don't you think? And that's not even all of them, just the least embarrassing ones to share with the internet. We're big into nicknames over here.

Needless to say, we are in love with Mary Ellen, completely in love with her. She fits into our family so perfectly. I feel like she has always been here.

So far her temperment is mild. She sleeps a lot, eats a lot, grunts a lot, poops a lot, stretches so cutely while scrunching up her little face. I love all of the newborn faces and sounds. I love how she curls up to fit my body so perfectly when I pick her up. I love how she hears my voice and immediately starts rooting around. She definitely knows the sound and smell of the food source :).

I think she's either telling us she's "not of this world" or she's a big fan of Star Trek in the above picture with her alien hand signal :).

She decided to give her mama a gift on her one week birthday: two 4 hour stretches between feedings last night, so I was able to get a whopping 8 hours of sleep in all. I feel like a million bucks today!

Happy one week birthday, sweet Mary Ellen. Your mama loves you so!

August 19, 2008

First Day of School

Hattie had her first day at Mother's Day Out at our church this morning.

My big girl's all ready for her first day of school with her lunchbox that she picked out in hand!

Tears were shed by both Mama and daughter, but we're brave girls and handled it well overall.

Both girls are napping now, and my bed beckons. It's been an eventful day for us. One that started very early because someone decided it was play-time from about 12:30 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.

August 18, 2008


Mary Ellen: So give me the down-low on the parentals.
Hattie: They're trainable. You just gotta work it, sis.

I think they're already scheming against us ;0).

August 15, 2008

I'm so in love.

We're so glad to be home, and I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you for all of your kind words and prayers. My heart is full. ~Love, Stephanie

For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. Psalm 92:4

August 13, 2008

Meet Mary Ellen

The much anticipated debut of the new blogahon girl. More to come. She is wearing a cap in the photos because during the delivery she got into a big fight with the doctor and the doctor had to use a suction device which gave her head a fancy little pointy feature...utlimately, Mary Ellen lost the battle.

Welcome Mary Ellen

With joyful hearts and thankful prayers we announce the safe arrival of the newest addition to the Blogahon family, Mary Ellen.

She arrived at 3:22PM.

8 Lbs 3 Oz. 20 Inches Long.

Mother and child doing well.

Pictures to follow later this evening....

Bloging Live From the Baby Zone

Early this morning Stephanie was admitted to the Hospital. Currently 4 centimeters dialated. Doctor hopefull baby will be here by noon. I'll try to post updates.

August 12, 2008

Baby Update

So I went to the doc today. I'm 3 centimeters!!! Not sure about the effacement as she didn't tell me this week, but last week I was 70% effaced. Of course I could sit like that for a while still. I have been contracting much more in the last 24 hours, though, and after timing them for the last couple of hours, I've noticed that they are about 9-10 minutes apart, lasting for about a minute each. They aren't take my breath away painful yet, so I'm not sure if this is the beginning of the end or not.......

If I don't go into labor by Thursday, my doctor, who will be on-call and up at the hospital Thursday and Friday anyways, has offered to induce me. As scared as I am of being induced and it ending in a c-section, the lack of sleep I've had in the last few days coupled with various other reasons has caused me to accept the doc's offer. And the cool thing is that Thursday is my dad's birthday - He'll be 60!!! - so Mary Ellen will have a birthday buddy in the family :).

It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that my little girl will be here in the next 48 hours. I'm so ready........and so nervous, too.......

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and God willing, our next post will be filled with pics of our newest addition and her big sister of course :)!

August 11, 2008

Still Cookin'

I haven't posted in a couple of days simply because I haven't really had anything exciting to report. I'm still very pregnant, and even though I've been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions and some real ones, too, nothing is consistent. I go to the doctor tomorrow morning. I'm praying for more progress! I just assumed Mary Ellen would come about 2 weeks early, just like her sister, but this little one is showing me that she wants a birth story all her own - she's an individual afterall :). I'm doing the walking every day, trying to stay on my feet and busy (Hattie helps me with that!), and eating spicy foods, but this little one just seems to be content where she is, as cramped as it is.

I've been trying to stay busy with little projects. I finished the nursery. Sorry no pics yet. I made this cute little "princess tutu" for Hattie:

My bags are packed. The house is clean. I'm trying to stay on top of laundry, so I'm not overwhelmed with housework when I come home........every time I go to clean the bathrooms, which is my LEAST favorite household chore, I think, "This is the last time I have to do this before the baby comes." Then I find my(still very pregnant)self back in there with the scrub brush 3-4 days later. Ever since we've started potty training, it seems like the bathroom starts to smell and gets dirty days after I do a deep clean.......what's up with that?!?! Not my favorite part of potty training, BUT I'm pretty confident that Hattie is 90% potty-trained, and the thought of only having ONE baby in diapers when Mary Ellen gets here feels GOOD!

Anyways, I'm still here, and I'm still pregnant. Hopefully that fact will change very SOON! Will keep you updated :)!

August 6, 2008

Babies are Apparently "Bad for the Economy"

A new report from Australia's "Productivity Commission" argues that babies are bad for the economy. Read the full story here.

How are babies bad for the economy? According to the Commission, "Because they shift women out of the workforce while they care for babies, depressing labor supply and reducing the taxation base as our population ages."

The Commission's report continues, "More highly educated women can earn good money if they work rather than stay at home to care for children and this had depressed the birth rate."

Reading between the lines it seems that the Commission is suggesting an increase in contraception and abortion. This is nothing new under the sun.

This story coincides with the 40th Anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humane Vitae which translates as, "On Human Life." This document serves as the basis for the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception.

Pope Paul issued "Humane Vitae" as artificial contraception, in particular the birth control pill, began to become commonplace. Initially it was thought that Pope Paul might support the use of birth control, especially after nine of 16 episcopal members of a papal commission in 1968 had approved a draft document that endorsed the principle of freedom for parents to decide on the means of regulating births. But he did quite the opposite.

I encourage all to read the document, especially if you are a married couple and are of child bearing age.

Here are a few excerpts....

On the life creating act of marriage:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships....

Marital love involves the whole person:

The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered: both its natural, earthly aspects and its supernatural, eternal aspects.

Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God, who "is love," the Father "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named."

On contraception:

With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person.

With regard to man's innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man's reason and will must exert control over them.

Observing Natural Law:

The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.

Faithfullness to God's Design:

If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life.

But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. Just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, and with more particular reason, he has no such dominion over his specifically sexual faculties, for these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source.

Finally, the document is prophetic in a sense as it outlines the consequences of artificial birth control:

Responsible men [and women] can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Pope Paul predicted that the acceptance of artificial birth control would lead to marital infidelity, a lowering of moral standards, and youth engaging in sex earlier and with more frequency. He also predicted that men would lose respect for women because man would disregard life giving qualities and treat her like an instrument for his satisfaction.

Artificial birth control has only been readily available for about 40 years. Consider its impact today.

August 5, 2008

Sweet Friends

A few girls in my bible study got together last night and threw a little baby shower for Mary Ellen and me. We enjoyed yummy Mexican food and dessert and GREAT conversation. The great thing about our little get-together last night is that we have all known each other for atleast ten years. We all went to atleast some public school together and then all went on to A&M - smart girls! :)

And not only smart but godly, wholesome, and wise are these girls. It's such a blessing to know each of them and watch them make their own journeys in life.

They showered me with love, prayer and gifts for my sweet Mary Ellen.

I am not the only mommy to be in the group either. We are a fruitful bunch, and Mary Ellen had two little friends hanging out in their mamas' bellies at her party, too.......
The expecting mommies:

We ended the night with prayer and blessings for Mary Ellen, Hattie, Sean and me. Their prayers were sweet, kind, and thoughtful. They warmed my heart and eased my nerves, and I realized, after seeing this picture:

that with four godly women with hands all adorning this ring laid upon my bulging belly in prayer, there's no way she won't grow up to be an Aggie herself, which is one of the many hopes and dreams I have for her :)!

Thank you, sweet friends, for making last night so special for me.

August 4, 2008

Full Term

I can't believe it, yet I feel every bit of being full-term now. I've had lots of contractions in the last week or so. It's all very familiar. I contracted for a good two weeks with Hattie before D-Day, so I am thinking Mary Ellen will be here in a week or so, but who knows?!?! I know no two birth stories are the same, but I also feel like there is no way I am making it to 40 weeks. Perhaps it's all wishful thinking, though........

This is what full-term pregnancy looks like on me. HUGE! I'm fairly short, so the belly has no where to go but out. It shocked me when I first uploaded this photo after taking it. I don't feel that big, but no wonder I get tons of comments daily that my due date must be close :).

My emotions are all over the place as I begin the waiting game. I am so excited to meet my newest daughter. I am so nervous about the birth, though. Much much more than I was with Hattie. Ignorance is bliss. Now I know what's coming. I've done this before. I have gone through moments of having tons of self-confidence that I will be able to handle a two year old and a newborn, but clouds of self-doubt linger in my mind, too.

Almost everything is ready and in place for Mary Ellen's arrival. So now we wait and wait, and I have to say that part of me is really cherishing and enjoying the waiting this time. I'm a ball of emotions and I'm uncomfortable, but I know once she arrives, I will miss the kicks and the movements. I will miss sharing my body in this way with her.........

Still, as each day comes and goes, Sean and I grow more impatient to meet this little one who is alreay loved so much!

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2