Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Few Pictures from Christmas


Our Christmas went great, Drew was totally shocked about all the gifts he received! Mommy and Daddy had such a great time enjoying all the smiles and eating all the yummy food. Gabe slept most of the day and enjoyed being held by all the relatives. Our friends the Tyson's came over for Christmas which was very special for all of us. The guest included: Grandma Patti, Uncle David, Papa Brian, Ti Ti and Tio, Nana, the Tyson's, and the four of us. It was so nice to relax and enjoy each others company.

Drew woke up around 9:15 and we took him downstairs to see his Christmas train, bike from Ti Ti and Tio, and his Geo Trex train all set up in the dining room (with the added pieces this year it was too large to fit in the living room!) Drew was in heaven! He received some awesome Zondervan books from the Thomas' and Tyson's that talk all about Baby Jesus' birth - he loves to listen to those each night. Drew also received a fun train from the Souza's which he pulls all around the house as it sings Christmas songs! He also received ton of Bosh children's tools from Grandma Patti - Drew is in construction heaven! Drew loved the new toys and all the company we have had the past 6 weeks. I am afraid reality will set in soon when everyone has to return home.




Drew and his weed eater that he opened on Christmas Eve, he LOVED it! My Dad and John worked on Christmas Eve to build Drew a sandbox for his birthday next month. John and I Bought Drew some fun Tonka trucks for the new sandbox!



Gabe is doing much better these days - he is already almost 7 weeks old. How the time has passed. Gabe is sleeping in our room at night, waking to nurse at 3:00 am and again at 6:00 am. He goes right back to sleep though which is a nice blessing. Gabe's tummy issues come and go, today was the first time Gabe was awake for a few hours without fussing. He enjoyed holding his head up and focusing on the lights in the kitchen. Gabe weighes around 9 pounds and moved out of his preemie clothes last week. The newborn clothes fit fairly well still, but he can also wear his 0-3 month outfits too. So far we don't think that Gabe has reflux! His 8 week appointment is in another week, we shall see how things go. Gabe is still on Pedialite for his constipation so we will need to chat with the Dr. about that too. Gabe is finally starting to have his own schedule, it seems to have taken longer for him than with Drew. A normal day will have Gabe waking around 10:30 am, feed and awake for about an hour, then back to sleep for a long morning nap. He normally wakes around 1:30 or 2:00, wakes, eats, then is up for a few hours and down again for a short nap around 4:00 pm. Then he is up during the evening, fussing and eating about every hour (or so it seems). He cat naps for 30 minutes around 6:00 and then stays awake until 9:30 pm. Then he has his final feeding, takes a relaxing shower with Mom where his tummy is massaged, then off to bed around 10:00 pm. The 5:00-10:00 hours in the evening seem to be the hardest on him, some days he is very fussy and wants to just be held. Also, we are still waiting for Gabe's first real smile -- the gassy smiles are nice, but the real thing is so much better!



Well, I think that about updates you all on the things going on in Texas. Drew is off from school until the New Year, all our company will be leaving by the 1st of January. I am sleeping pretty well, anxious for the days when Gabe sleeps through the night. Enjoy all the pictures of Christmas and the kids - I posted almost 50!

Melissa

Saturday, December 22, 2007

One Brief Moment




One brief moment in my crazy life - this moment took place on Monday December 17, 2007 at 10:35 AM. I sat back in my office chair and laughed! Here I was, breastfeeding my 4 week old, while trying to calculate how much money our company needed to advance for the day, my 3 year old is down stairs with an open box of "life" cereal happily pouring out the contents into his milky bowl and the floor. I can overhear him having a detailed conversation with his cereal, something about trains and tunnels, the dog is staring at me to take her for a walk and the cat is sleeping to my left in the baby bouncer. The phone is ringing, I am still in my PJ's, so are my two children, and the other cat is walking back and forth across my desk in hopes that I would get tired of the game and go down stairs and feed him. Oh, what a great day it will be, assuming I live through it! My adrenaline from the birth of Gabe has finally wore off and reality has hit... life with two children is hard when you aren't getting 10 hours a sleep a night!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gabe's Due Date`


Today is Gabe's due date - December 11th! Hard to believe he has already been with us 3 weeks! Gabe is changing daily, he can already hold up his head for longer periods of time, he is staying awake for about an hour between daytime feedings, he is following us with his eyes, and has discovered the fun of swinging. He is still getting constipated so I am giving him Pedialite every few days. Gabe is over 7 and a half pounds now!
Drew is getting excited for his Grandma Patti to return and his Grandpa from Washington will also be visiting. He also is excited for Christmas, I asked Drew today what Christmas was and he jumped in the air and shouted "presents." We then had a 5 minute dialog about the true meaning of Christmas. I asked Drew what we should get Jesus for Christmas and he said
trucks and trains!" This year we chose to help a teen mother through our church, we are still mulling over where to spend the rest of the money we have set aside - either buying presents through Gospel For Asia or helping a women that John works with at HD.
John and I went out on Saturday evening and did most of our shopping! It was so fun to find things that Drew would like. We agreed to buy him presents for Christmas and then for his birthday we will be buying him gymnastic lessons at The Little Gym. So if anyone wants to contribute cash instead of presents for Drew's birthday we would appreciate it. A three month membership is around 250.00. Drew loves gymnastics and has gone to a few birthday parties at the Little Gym. I know he will love it!
Oh wow, where has the time gone. I gotta go!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Gabe




Our little Gabe has been having intestinal issues this week. I took him in to the doctor this afternoon and we think he has been constipated. He has also been eating a ton which accounted for some earlier colic episodes. I gave Drew an ounce of PediaLite to clean him out - he then went on to have 2 BM's within the hour. I hope that helps make him feel better! Gabe is also very gassy and is always hungry! We had to limit his feeds to 2 -3 ounces of breast milk every few hours so he won't get an upset tummy. As it is he gulps down the milk and takes in too much air which also gives him tummy aches. Gabe loves to have his tummy massaged and to take warm baths. He is growing a ton - an ounce a day. Today he weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces - he has gained a whole pound in 2 1/2 weeks. Gabe is already holding his head up and today tried to roll off the scale at the doctor office - he would have succeeded had the nurse not caught him.






Gabe is starting to have fat rolls around his neck and legs already. He loves to eat and sleep and watch his big brother play. He gets the hiccups a lot which really makes him mad. I can't believe how much Gabe has grown and changed the past two weeks! His personality is very calm and passive unless he doesn't feel well, then he gives out a little scream to let you know he wants something, then he is quiet again. Gabe loves to be held and doesn't like to be alone. He often falls asleep on mommy or daddy and wakes us quiet upset if he find us not there. Gabe is moving from the preemie clothes to the Newborn clothes. He loves to such on his passy or his right fingers, whichever is closest.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Weekly Family Update

Has it really been a week since I posted last? Life with two little ones sure goes by fast. There are so many things to be done in a day that I hardly have time to think, I can't imagine how I will fit work into it all. I guess I will find out on Monday!

We had a great week spending time with Grandma Patti; Drew is captivated by her joy and singing! They made very special memories the past 2 1/2 weeks, Drew is constantly asking for Grandma Patti and even insists on calling her every night before bed so she can sing him lullaby's - so sweet!

Drew went to school this week and enjoyed telling his class all about his new brother Gabe. His teachers are anxious to see Gabe too, so we will be showing him off on Monday. Gabe also has his two week appointment Monday. Drew loves his new brother and seems to have adjusted well.

Gabe is still sleeping a ton, he is the most relaxed baby I've ever seen. He isn't at all like Drew. Gabe loves to be held and cuddled and hates to be cold. He has big feet and hands so we are projecting that he will pass Drew up. Gabe eats like a little piggy - 3 to 4 ounces every three hours. He is nursing well as long as he is really hungry, otherwise it is a lost cause. He loves the breast milk in the bottle because he can eat and sleep at the same time! Gabe is also very observant when he is awake - taking in all the activity and studying faces and smells. He still isn't crying much - just a few squawks here or there. At night he politely wakes me up at 3:00 am on the dot for a feeding and then again around 7:30 am - not too bad for 2 weeks old! Oh, one interesting difference between Drew and Gabe is that Drew was always reacting to things like sneezes or coughs, he also kept his fingers clenched together. Gabe is the opposite, his hands are always open and his startling reflexes are rarely seen. Drew expecially hated it when Daddy would sneeze, Drew would cry and cry. Gabe isn't phased in the least.

Anyhow, I best get things ready for tomorrow, it is our first time taking two kids to church. So far I haven't mastered getting out of the house before 10:00 am!

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Blessings

“Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it andPluck blackberries.”
~Elizabeth Barret Browning

176. The coming of Winter and the growing life inside that is close to appearing
177. The fun of planting 100 white tulips while 36 weeks pregnant
178. The preparation of bringing our new life home
179. Final days of togetherness before the impending change
180. Family assistance in the final weeks
181. A mother-in-law who sings sweet hymns to Drew as he begs for more
182. 36.6 days of pregnancy
183. Our little blessing with 10 fingers and 10 toes
184. A peaceful and relaxed labor, 4 pushes, and the shocked look on Gabe’s face when he came out
185. John’s careful wiping of my brow and his constant encouragement during our 3 hours of labor
186. John’s diamond game on his palm that distracted me from most of the pain from contractions
187. Focused breathing
188. Gabe’s perfect little body, all 6 pounds 4 ounces
189. An almost full term healthy baby
190. Family to watch Drew while we were in labor
191. Drew’s sweet face when he saw his brother for the first time
192. A mother-in-law who cares for our home and child with such ease and thought
193. A night of bonding in the hospital with our new son, I loved holding him all night long gazing into his eyes
194. The shallow swallow of my baby nursing
195. Kindhearted nurses who serve me so gently
196. Watching Drew feed his baby doll
197. A gift card to CVS where we buy last remaining baby items on our way home
198. A small newborn sleeping in his car seat as we ride home
199. Our family of 4 at home together
200. Watching Daddy hold his boys

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankgiving and Gabe Updates


(John after eating his Thanksgiving Meal!)

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent with family! It was so much fun to get together, play games, eat tons of food and take turns cuddling with little Gabe. Drew loved all the extra attention as well, Daddy brought home a huge box from Home Depot and made Drew his own fort, equipped with a window, door, and lighting system (flashlight). Drew has been enjoying all his family, especially his Grandma Patti and Tio! Grandma Patti has captivated little Drew with her songs and Tio has been Drew's personal playmate for the weekend. It has been so much fun!





Little Gabe had his first checkup on Friday, he was a little jaundiced, but nothing the Doctor was too worried about. Gabe weighed in at 6 pounds 4 ounces - he lost very little after birth (1/8 of an ounce) and has maintained his weight all week. The doctor said my breast milk must be made of butter - most babies take 2 weeks to get back to their birth weight. Gabe;s eating style is very different than Drew. Gabe is a very slow eater and is lazy to latch on. I finally started pumping - which has been wonderful! Gabe's feedings were taking 1 hour, but with the bottle it only takes him 10 minutes to down 2+ ounces. Just today he ate 3 ounces in one sitting! Hopefully once he reaches full term (2 more weeks) he will be able to stay awake enough to nurse faster. Right now Gabe has a very hard time staying awake longer than 30 minutes and then he will sleep for another 4+ hours. Last night I had to wake him at 4am which was near impossible to do, I think he nursed for 5 minutes and then fell fast asleep again. Finally at 6:30 he woke up enough to eat 2 ounces. The past 3 days all Gabe has done is sleep! He is so relaxed and laid back compared to Drew. We shall see if his personality changes a lot in 2 more weeks. Tonight I took a shower and held Gabe in the water, he was so cute! He immediately relaxed and started moaning with his eyes closed. It was as if he remembered life in the womb and thought he was back there. His little hands went up to his face and slowly touched the water and his chest. So far Gabe has been way too easy of a baby, I really hope he stays that way!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving List 2007

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;tell of all his wondrous works!
Psalm 105:1-2

We give thanks for the many trial and tribulation that have softened the uneven edges of our hearts, bringing us wisdom and understanding and the life-changing realization that God is always in control.

We give God thanks for the life that is growing inside of me, that by Thanksgiving will be home in his parents arms – Gabriel Allan Williams. We are thankful Lord for the gift and blessing of life, the responsibility to raise godly heirs, and the wisdom you provide to us daily.

Thank you Lord for continued health, it was a rough year for John and the auto accident that brought on back and neck pain. Thank you that he is healing and is able to return back to work.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of a great family. Our little boy Drew is abounding with energy and life, he loves to sign praises to You and is learning to obey all the way, right away, and with a joyful heart! Thank you for giving us wisdom and opportunity to teach our little man Your ways.

We are thankful for a healthy pregnancy that didn’t stick mommy in the hospital! She only spent a few weeks on bed rest for high blood pressure. Thank you for the provision of modern medicine like progesterone which kept Mommy from delivering early and allowed her little one to go 37 weeks in the womb!

We are thankful that John’s arm and neck are getting better and that we live in a country that has excellent healthcare.

John is so thankful that he was able to make it home to see his brother Scotty and David and father Michael this winter. He is also thankful that he was able to spend three days camping in the woods with his family!

A very organized garage, filled with tools that John uses to refine his skill and make some money on the side.

Good friends who help us when we are in need and invest in us without expectation of repayment.

A god centered home that smells like cinnamon spices!

A wonderful mother (in law/Nana) that enjoys spending time with us and spends tons of hours investing in her grandchildren! She is also a great cook and a wonderful house cleaner. We are thankful that her health is improving and the thyroid tumor was benign.

Help during pregnancy – thank you Patti for pruning all my bushes, playing with Drew so well, taking Kitty on walks and to the pond, filling my freezer with yummy meals, and for always being here when we need you!

A work from home job that allows me to be a mommy and help provide for our family. It also keeps me from having idle time that I waste on unimportant things. It also provided a little extra income this year to help with the growing expenses of family life.

A husband who loves the Lord and servers his family as Christ served the church, who models to our boys servant leadership and is always building others up.

Northwood – a church that pursues God and is willing to be used in whatever way God directs. It doesn’t focus on membership or style, its sole focus is on doing the will of God by building and investing in the lives of all people.
My husbands woodworking skills that build little boy beds and adds additional storage space for a freezer.

A wife who handles finances well and manages the day to day grind of life. We are also thankful for the Crown Financial class we took this year that taught us God’s plan for handling 100% of our income.

Drew is specifically thankful for: God, mommy and daddy, his trains, and a new big boy bed!



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Arrival!


We are so excited to announce that Gabriel Allan Williams arrived on Monday, November 19, 2007. He was 36 weeks 6 days old. Gabe was 6 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long and has a full head of dark brown hair. Gabe was born at 3:39 in the afternoon and was very healthy upon arrival - thank you Lord for another baby that didn't spend time in the NICU!.




We only stayed at the hospital 24 hours and are now home enjoying our family of 4! Drew isn't too sure about his new little brother but he loves to hold him and tell people when he is crying. To ease some of Drew's tension his Grandma's bought him a baby boy doll that he can feed and hold and dress. The doll has been a huge success and has helped Drew feel more involved and included. Drew loves to be included in everything we are doing with Gabe!




For those women who are curious about the birth story, I'll now delve into the finer details of Gabe's arrival.

Monday morning John and I went into the Dr's office for our bi-weekly appointment. I was really hoping to be induced today since I had been having contractions for the past few days and thought I could be dilated to a 5. Also, the PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) was slowly getting worse and my progesterone was going to wear off on Tuesday which would only increase my contractions. Sure enough Dr. W agreed that my BP was a concern and since he was one day shy of 37 weeks we were fairly safe delivering. I also won the bet - I was dilated to a 5! I was really scared if my water broke at home that I wouldn't have enough time to get to the hospital to deliver.

So, John and I headed over to IHOP for a leisurely breakfast - we reminisced about life before kids, life with one kid, and the what life would be like with 2! After breakfast we headed over to L&D, it was around 11:00 am by the time we arrived. Around 12:30 Dr. W came over and broke my water as planned. I prepared myself for the birth and to my surprise, nothing happened! Around 2:00 I asked for a little Petocine to help encourage the contractions, they regulated around 2:30 and around 2:50 I was sitting in the restroom and realized that the contractions had picked up and were starting to get very intense. My brain began to register that I had done this before! John helped me back to bed where I continued to have about 8 very intense contractions about 1.5 minutes apart. I called the nurse in around 3:15 and told her to page the doctor because I was getting ready. The nurse checked me and I was an 8, 10 minutes later Dr. W arrived just in time for me to start pushing! I received my Pudenal block and pushed through 4 contractions. Gabe's head arrived on the third push and the body followed on the 4th push. I was so relived! Gabe came out and just looked at everything and everyone. They laid him on my tummy and he just stared at John and I! Then they noticed his lips were a little blue so they took him over to the warming table and tried to get him to cry. After a few pathetic cries they realized that he had bruised his lip and nose coming through the birth canal so quickly which was why he looked a little purple! John was amazing through the whole thing. He helped count contractions and was right there mopping up my sweaty head. I felt great after the delivery, this time I was much more in control and was able to focus on my breathing. It was such an awesome experience! The recovery time was also amazing! I've been on Motrin for the mild pain and aside from the horrible hemorrhoids, feel great! I only tore a little and had one stitch. Gabe's head was smaller than Drew's, I had 3 stitches with Drew.

Well I am off to sleep in my own bed. Little Gabe is asleep in the pack N play next to my bed and Drew is fast asleep in his big boy bed. We shall see how Night #1 at home goes!

Also - there are a ton of new pictures posted to the right under "William's Photo Album"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday Dr. Appt

I went in today for a routine checkup, my BP was about the same. All looked well, I am dilated to a 3 already! My last progesterone injection was on Tuesday so I hope it is safe to say we should deliver next week - pending no BP issues. I can't believe I had dilated from a 1 to a 3 in one week because I haven't been having any contractions. Dr. W. said that the combination of the baby's weight plus the fact that I have already had a child before could dilate me. So, my next appointment is on Monday 11/19 - a great date for a birthday?

One funny moment I just had to share. Tonight John said to Drew " OK Drew" in that voice that Drew knows so well. Drew completed his sentence by iterating "Two minutes." John is always preparing Drew for changes like getting ready for bed or getting into the bath. The timing on this was perfect!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Week 36



Week Thirty-Six
Your baby is almost ready and most likely, so are you! The only organ still to mature is the lungs. While certainly you are both growing anxious to meet, remember that each day (up to 42 weeks), that your little one stays within your womb will multiply his chances to breathe on his own.
If he hasn't already, this week your baby may drop into the birth canal. While breathing for mom becomes easier, walking may be the exact opposite! If he's not your first baby, this "lightening" may not occur until right before labor.
Fat is dimpling your baby's elbows and knees, and forming creases in the neck and wrists.
His skin is growing smooth and, shall we say it, "baby" soft.
His gums are very rigid. It won't be many months before you'll see his teeth.
She has a fully developed pair of kidneys and her liver has begun processing some waste products.
Your child's average size is now 18.66 inches (47.4cm) and 5.78 pounds (2622 g). Between now and birth she will gain about an ounce a day!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hospital Trip #1

We are back from an overnight trip spent in Labor and Delivery. I went in on Saturday evening with a blood pressure of 150+/102+. My BP had progressively worsened throughout the day, I was also having upper gastric pain and a very mild headache. John, my knight, stayed with me the whole night while they monitored my BP, took blood labs, 12 hours of urine samples, and the highlight - an ultrasound of little Gabe. All checked out well and my BP was able to get back within normal range by late evening. Little Gabe measured on the small side - 5 pounds 8 oz and mommy and daddy enjoyed watching him on the monitor. The blood flow from the placenta to his body looked great, which is what I was worrying about. My doctor sent me home on bed rest until Wednesday, when we will re-evaluate everything. It would be great to get to 37 weeks!

Drew handled the whole thing with much ease, he spent the night with Nana and then went to church this morning. He visited us around 1:00 this afternoon and the first thing he said was "Mommy, you ok?" He quickly saw all was well and went on playing with things in the room. Our friends the Tyson's also visited and we were able to see little Ethan, who isn't so little anymore! John treated me to a drive thru lunch at Sonic and then we went home where I rested with my feet up in the garage. My mom, such a sweetheart, came over after watching Drew for 24 hours and cleaned my house. I love my mom!

Drew has school tomorrow and John is off until Wednesday. Grandma Patti will be here tomorrow night to help us out!

Oh, we are still waiting to hear about the teaching job in Graford, John found out on Friday that it is between him and another person. The principal was checking John's references on Friday too, so we hope to hear something this coming week.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In this world, a second is a second. Time paces forward with exquisiteregularity, at precisely the same velocity in every corner of space. Time is an infinite ruler. Time is absolute.-- Einstein's Dreams

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thankfulness of a young heart

Today I was explaining to Drew what Thanksgiving was all about. I asked him what he was thankful for and he replied "God," I asked him again thinking I might not have heard him correctly and he proclaimed "God mommy, I am thankful for God."

Oh so cute, no wonder Jesus said in Matthew 19:14

"Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

D Day Is Coming

The human body is an amazing thing! I made an early appointment to see my OB today, I have had a feeling my blood pressure was starting to rise and my contractions were getting more regular and painful. i was amazed to discover that my blood pressure was 140/90! Then my doctor looked at my chart from Drew and would you believe that my body did the exact same thing at the exact same time? On Monday I will be going in for another appointment and if history repeats itself I could be sent to Labor and Delivery to induce labor. I would be exactly 35 weeks 6 days, the exact same gestation that Drew was born. Dr. W stated that some bodies are just like that, they only go up to a certain point and then the BP rises in the body's attempt at delivering the baby.

The good news is that I am still 1 CM dilated and only 50-60% effaced - I really was expecting her to say 3 CM! Little Gabe's head is down and somewhat movable. Gabe is still moving well and keeping active. The toxemia hasn't set in yet, but I know the signs to look for. We are praying that my BP waits until Monday to go up more. I would love to get to 36 + weeks!

Dr. W also had blood drawn to check my levels just to be sure my body is handling everything ok. I am on bed rest until Monday, it should be a long and boring weekend.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Week 35


Well, for 35 weeks I have had great news to report, alas those times are changing. I went in today for a routine exam and discovered that I am 1 CM dilated and the thinning process has begun. I have had a lot of pain in my lower pelvic area so I think my body is getting ready for our upcoming birth. I also have had a hard time getting rid of the swelling in my legs and had a little protein in my urine, but not enough to worry about yet.

I have to make it to 36 weeks so the Dr. wants me to take it easy - no picking up Drew or getting to active. I am so glad to be hearing this at 35 weeks instead of 22 - like with Drew! On the bright front, my BP has remained low 124/72, Gabe's head is down and he has dropped a little, but not into the birth canal. In fact, my Dr. was able to couple his head with her fingers and move it to the left and right. Gabe's buttox wraps around my right rib cage and his feet and fingers are on the left side of my tummy. His heart rate was also very strong = 145 BPM. Gabe has also been getting the hiccups about 3-4 times per day which is a good sign that his lungs are developing and the amniotic fluid is decreasing. His estimated weight is around 6-7 pounds.

All in all we are expecting a very healthy little boy to arrive in a few weeks. I would love to get to at least 37 weeks!


Week 35 Development



The average baby weighs almost five and a half pounds now.
Most babies born now will survive and without many long-term problems.
Fat accumulations plumps up the arms and legs this week. These layers of fat will help him regulate his body temperature. They also provide those cute little dimples on elbows and knees!
Her hearing is fully developed, so be sure to talk to your daughter. Do you find yourself speaking in a high-pitched tone? That's okay since some studies show babies respond better to higher pitches.
It's getting crowded! Your baby is now taking up most of the uterus and you may even feel like your chest has run out of room! Soon enough though, baby will move down and you'll be able to breathe easily again (just not walk so easily! Ha!).
Your baby is 18.2 inches (46.2cm) long and weighs 5.3 pounds (2383gm).
The testes have completed their descent in males

Monday, November 5, 2007

Drew's Health Update

Sorry for the lack of posts. Drew has been sick with the terrible flu since Wednesday! He finally started to keep down liquid on Sunday and is slowly returning to his old self. It was a rough 5 days without Daddy here to help out, but it made us all appreciate him more! Drew did loose 2 pounds this week and was dehydrated for a day. We almost took him into the hospital, but I held out for 1 more day and of course he started to get better.

My mom had her Thyroid surgery on Friday and has recovered well. My sweet sister drove down to take care of her. Drew and I tried to keep her company too!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gratitude




Researchers studying those who kept gratitude journals concluded:

"At the end of the 10 weeks, participants who’d kept a gratitude journal felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the future than participants in either of the other two conditions. To put it into numbers, according to the scale we used to calculate well-being, they were a full 25 percent happier than the other participants. Those in the gratitude condition reported fewer health complaints.
People who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, attentive, energetic, excited, determined, and strong than those in the hassles condition. They also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem— supporting the notion that gratitude motivates people to do good. And this was not limited to what they said about themselves. We sent surveys to people who knew them well, and these significant others rated participants in the gratitude group as more helpful than those in the other groups."

What are you thankful for today? Will you also begin your list of 1,000 gratitude's - prepare to be changed!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Crazy Family!

I just have to share with you how crazy and fun it is to be married to a youngest! Last night John and I were talking, I had noticed he had drifted in to a type of "funk" - he was not his normal jovial self. After much conversation it came out that he missed his family and their hunting trips. His brother just returned from Afghanistan for a visit and the boys and their dad are going hunting. His sweet brother had offered to buy John's ticket home if he could come for a brief visit. Well, John being the sweet and wonderful husband that he is didn't even consider flying to Portland since I am so close to delivering our precious little boy. I love to see my husband smile, so I told him I didn't care if he went for a few days? I was not going into labor before Monday since my FFN test came back negative (I hope!). I told him I thought he should go enjoy himself.

After very little prodding, he said, "well lets go check flights!" So, at 11:15 pm we were searching online for cheap(er) last minute flights. Would you believe we found one - thank you Jesus! His flight was to leave that morning at 8:00 am. Now, I being the oldest and less spontaneous one didn't really like the idea of waking our 2 1/2 year old up at 6:00 am, fighting traffic, and then coming home and not being able to get Drew back to sleep, so John suggested I drive him over to the airport tonight! So, at 1:00 am, John is packed and ready for his big adventure. I woke Drew from his sweet slumber, put him in the car, and proceeded to listen to Drew's excited statements about going to the airport! He loves planes and airports! Now is where the story gets really wild!

Half way to the airport Drew starts to cough, as my normal habit, I ask Drew "Are you ok?" I repeated it again.... nothing. John turns on the car lights and we turn around to see Drew vomit all over himself and the car. Poor little guy, his face reflected sheer terror from being covered in sticky smelly puke. So, John turned the car around and we went back home to change Drew's clothes and clean up the car seat. By now it is 1:45 am. After cleaning him all up, we all pile back into the car and head to the airport for the second time. It is now 2:15 am. We arrive at the airport and drop Daddy off. Drew cries because he wanted to go into the airport and ride the escalators! Mommy and Drew finally arrive back home at 3:00 am and all was quiet and asleep by 3:30 am.

8:00 am Thursday morning came really early!

Drew really does have the flu, he has been glassy eyed all day, content to watch DVD's and sleep in his special big boy bed. His Auntie Julie arrived this evening which really cheered him up. He had a few perky minutes and then got sick again. Poor thing! I have been babying him all day and trying to get him to drink Pedialite. He hasn't wanted anything to eat and his tummy has been aching a lot. He is so sweet and precious to cuddle with when sick, I am enjoying the opportunity to spoil and love on him! Drew did keep saying all day that he wanted to go back to the airport and pick up Daddy, he thinks that is where Daddy is right now. The picture above is of Drew sleeping today, his little face is red from the fever. My sweet little angel is so tender when sick, I hate to see him suffer so much.

Northwood Pastor - Condoleezza Rice

Our pastor, Bob Roberts, spoke to us Sunday about his recent trip to Washington where he was invited to speak with Condoleezza Rice. Northwood and other churches around the US, are actively seeking involvement in bringing Christian aid to the Palestinians. I love how they call our pastor a Mega church pastor - our church only has 2,000 people which is small for a Texas church! The article is a great read!

Melissa


October 30, 2007 2:56PM
Condoleezza Rice: From Bethlehem to Annapolis
The Secretary of State is determined to lay foundations for Middle East peace.
David Neff
Last Friday, I joined five other evangelical Protestant leaders for an intense and rewarding half-hour conversation with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Our goal was to assure her of our support as she navigates the treacherous waters of Middle East politics—particularly as she arm-wrestles the various parties toward the summit planned for the beginning of December in Annapolis. The Bush Administration is hoping that foundations can be laid for an enduring, peaceful two-state solution in Israel-Palestine conflict.
The others in our delegation included three megachurch pastors—Bob Roberts of Northwood Church near Dallas, Joel Hunter of Northland Church near Orlando, and John Jenkins of First Baptist Church of Glen Arden near Washington, DC. Also part of the group were foreign policy guru Chris Seiple of the Institute for Global Engagement and Ron Sider of Palmer Theological Seminary.
Secretary Rice is an intelligent, calm, well-spoken person whose social skills are clearly meant for diplomacy. (Click here , here , and here for CT’s 2003 cover essay about Condi Rice.) But she also radiates strength—which is what it takes to go head-to-head with the antagonists in a protracted conflict.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
· She is a “fundamental defender of Israel’s security and its right to defend itself.” She will not abandon Israel’s security needs.
· She also doesn’t believe that you can excuse any terrorist activity by calling people “freedom fighters.” There is no such thing. A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist.
· Although there are absolutist factions on both sides, she believes that the leadership on both sides now understands that the window of opportunity for a peaceful resolution is very limited, and that this will require them to abandon absolutist claims for practical possibilities. This could open up political space in both societies for moderates to function.
· Resolving this conflict is important both regionally and locally. More than just Palestinians and Israelis have a stake in this. Responsible Muslim allies in, for example, Indonesia would discover that a fair and peaceful resolution would reduce the pressures from fundamentalist groups. And in the region itself, the Arab states are quite nervous about the activities of an Iran-backed Hamas that wants to exploit tensions with Israel.
· She sees herself as a facilitator. The US is not imposing a solution on Israelis and Palestinians, but it is helping leaders who want to move their people toward increasing peace and economic stability to reach their goals.
· She is realistic. In the 14 months the Bush Administration has left, there is no way to accomplish everything that needs to be done. But strong foundations can be laid. And this is a moment of opportunity.
The pastors in our group are interested in more than diplomacy. While they prayed for Secretary Rice, that God would strengthen her to accomplish her mission, they also spoke of people-to-people development projects they envisioned to help impoverished Palestinians to a better life. If Palestinian civil society is going to recover from its current chaos, it will require some serious attention to local economies. That's something that individual American Christians can be part of.
On her October 17 visit to Bethlehem, Secretary Rice observed first-hand the devastated economy of that traditionally Christian city. With tourism as the lifeblood of the local economy, occupancy in the main hotel is down to 20%. This fact was repeatedly reported in the press after her visit, and Secretary Rice referred to it again in our conversation. She was obviously glad to hear of the hopes these pastors had for reaching out to fellow Christians in the birthplace of Jesus. Stay tuned for an announcement of specific church-based projects in the near future.
Several years ago, I heard Secretary Rice give her testimony at the National Prayer Breakfast. She talked about the African-American spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” There is a paradox in that spiritual. One line talks plaintively of trouble, suffering, and sorrow. The next exclaims, “Glory, Hallelujah!” Secretary Rice, as a Christian believer, sees that the path to “Glory, Hallelujah!” lies through tribulation—but only if one lets go of the pain and the preoccupation with victim status and uses it for the good of others. That kind of faith may fit her well for taking on the monumental challenges of the Middle East.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Little Bee and His Finally Finished Bed!





Drew celebrated the last day in October by moving into his new bed! Daddy finished his bed and moved it up the stairs today - in three pieces! The bed weighs over 200 pounds, I hope it doesn't fall through the floor. Drew is in love with his Daddy's custom made bed, he can jump on it and it doesn't make a sound and he can build a fort under it for himself and Kitty. Kitty also loves it because the bed is tall enough to sleep under.








Drew also dressed up like a Bee tonight and visited a few neighbors, begging for candy. He was especially fond of the orange sucker that he picked out at Mr. Roy's house. Nana also came by and took him to her neighborhood to visit some friends. What a fun day!

In all the excitement Drew did succumb to sickness. He went to school this morning and at lunch told his teacher he wasn't hungry, then he proceeded to get out his nap mat and go to sleep. Poor guy! His temp has been around 99.5 all afternoon. He mentioned his ear hurt, so we shall see how Drew feels tomorrow. If it is an ear infection, most of the time they run their course without medication. I hope the little guy feels better tomorrow! John is also feeling a little under the weather too, so it must be going around. I, on the other hand feel great, it must be all those pregnancy hormones. Only a few more weeks until we get to meet the newest Williams!


Gabe is currently rolling around in my tummy as I type. He has had the hiccups the past few days which is very cute to feel. Gabe moved head down again, so lets see if he stays put. My contractions are coming back, I haven't had many since my 24th week, it must me the ever growing size of Gabe and the fact that I am getting closer to my due today. I think my body is getting things ready. I have been having some light cramping, a lot of lower abdominal pain and my pants won't fit around my hips anymore - which should give Gabe ample room to make his descent. I am up to 167 pounds - yikes! My BP is still low and I check it a few times a week just to be sure - today it was 115/72 which is almost back to my normal BP - looks like all that water and vitamins are paying off. My next doctors appointment is on Monday morning - 11/5.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Week Thirty-Four



Your baby acts completely like a newborn, with her eyes opened when awake and closed when sleeping. You may also find her settling into more of a routine for sleeping & awake times.
She has learned to blink. She can also see more clearly when there is a bright light on your stomach and probably has the outline of all your organs memorized!
Antibodies from your blood are being tranferred to him. These immunities continue to build until birth. Then breastmilk will add even more protection against disease.
Your baby may have already turned to a head-down position in preparation for birth. If he is your first baby, he may be settling into the pelvis with his head pressing against your cervix.
Fingernails have reached the end of the fingertips now. She may scratch her face even before she is born!
Your little one's length is 17.7 inches (45cm) and weight is 4.7 pounds (2146 g).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Northwood Home Makeover Video

A Time of Simplicity

We had a very ordinary week just playing around the house, Drew went to school on Monday and Wednesday, and John went to therapy appointments. I had my mom2mom on Thursday and book club Thursday evening. We spent the weekend cleaning the house and playing at Nana's. We also had Bible Study on Sunday afternoon where Drew enjoyed playing with friends and Mommy and Daddy enjoyed their study on parenting.

John just received the OK from his doctor to return to work full time. That's a huge relief since HD hadn't been giving John any hours as a part time employee. John also had an interview for a science teacher on Monday so we are praying diligently about him being hired.

Drew has not been listening as well as he should so Mommy and Daddy are cracking back down again on the discipline - evenings seem to be when it all falls apart! Drew is talking up a storm, asking tons of questions and he always has to mention his teachers "Lilo and Nene." Drew loves school and really misses the days he doesn't get to go. Daddy took Drew to the park today after school and Drew was able to play with some friends.

The pregnancy is going great, my appointment on Monday went well, I passed my FFN test and Gabe appeared to have moved head down, only to move sideways again yesterday! My BP has been lower, but I am still retaining water... yuck! I am drink about 80 ounces a day of water which is flushing a lot of the toxins out of my system. Only 2 more weeks to get to the safe zone and then hopefully another 2 weeks just to be on the safe side - maybe we will have a Thanksgiving baby! My injections are over on the 8th! I can't wait. I have been having more contractions the past few days, but I think it is because the baby is starting to weigh a lot more - 5-5.5 pounds already!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fear and Money

Hi everyone! I found little time this week to write, but did find a lot of time to read, so I thought I would share with you a piece written by Lisa Welchel that I've been meditating on all week. This past two weeks my husband and I have been praying and listening to God about some major decisions we need to make, mostly my husband finding a full time teaching job. I admit that I have been quite fearful; worrying about the upcoming baby, the delivery, working from home with two kids, and on the list goes. Then this sweet piece of mail arrived at my in-box! I encourage you to read Lisa's reflections about the role that money and fear play in our decision making.

God promises us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that he "did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power love and self discipline." and I needed to be reminded of that! I loved the part she wrote about eliminating money and fear from any major decision. My husband and I did just that this week, we eliminated fear and money from a decision we were making; immediately we felt the peace of God radiate our hearts. The fear of failure left and all that remained was that "peace that surpasses all understanding."

Grab a cup of coffee, your Bible, and enjoy!

Melissa Williams


http://www.lisawhelchel.com

So let's get cozy and talk about fear and death. You think I'm
kidding? What did you expect, it is October, the month we celebrate
Halloween (or not) and All Saints Eve. Either way, the holiday ahead
commemorates death and where there is death there is typically fear lurking
nearby. Call me crazy, but I decided this afternoon to talk tonight
from Job 3:25, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me and that
which I was afraid of is come unto me." I'm speaking at a Christian school
fundraiser and I want to share my personal experience regarding money. I
can live fairly generously and open-handedly with money because I've lost it all
before and when Steve and I hit rock-bottom financially, we discovered that God
was there. He filled up the hole with treasure more valuable than
money. Not the least of which was His presence. That is one of the
reasons why, at the beginning of this year, I could ask to be released from two
book contracts and take a sabbatical from writing, a decision that appears
fool-hardy on paper, but I know I have nothing to fear. That which I have
greatly feared before--having no money--did come upon me and I survived; even
more than that - thrived. Night before last, I had a
humongous decision to make so I called a friend in hopes that by talking it
through out loud I would hear myself come up with the right answer. At one
point I said, "One thing that has helped me in the past when I've had to make a
difficult decision is to remove both money and fear from the equation. For
me, those two things often deceptively attract or falsely repel from God's will
for my life." Once I asked myself what I would do if I wasn't afraid, I was able
to make a decision and act on it.So, let me be your friend on the other end of
the line and allow me to ask you a question. What are you afraid of this
month? Use your imagination with me for a moment. Picture yourself in
the middle of your fearful circumstances. First, how would you react differently
if I could guarantee that God is there and He will come through for you? 1
John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out
fear." I can't promise that God will show up for you the way you think He
should or hope He will. But I can tell you from experience that,
ultimately, there is nothing you are afraid of that is bigger or more powerful
than His love for you.I've recently learned this truth all over again in a very
different situation. I mustered up all my courage and risked facing one of
my biggest fears. I was terrified but I chose to jump in. Guess what
happened? No, I didn't get on the other side of my fear and wonder what
took me so long to trust. Actually, quite the opposite. Everything
my fears told me would happen, came true. That which I feared the most came upon
me.But, once again, God was there and He was enough. This loss, rather
than confirm that I should listen to my fears in the future, actually made me
braver. There is something about coming face-to-face with one of our
fears; oftentimes involving a death of sorts, and discovering that God always
wins that takes the sting out of the threat: "O Death, where is thy
sting?"I want to share one last scripture from the first chapter of Job, verse
twenty-one, that has been meaningful to me lately and I hope it will continue to
take the sting out of the fear of death for both of us. "The Lord gave and the
Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." God is sovereign
and His character is trustworthy. We truly have nothing to fear. We can
live open-handedly. We can stand with courage. We can face our
fears. We can stare death down and say, "O Grave, where is thy
victory?" So let's celebrate death and fear this month! Because, with
Jesus, life is always on the other side of death and Love triumphs over
fear. I don't think October contains such a bad holiday, after all.
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Week 33


Fetal development in pregnancy week 33: fetus in eighth month For all the weight and bulk you’re lugging around these days, you’d think your little champ should weigh much more than a mere 5 lbs and measly 17 inches in height, but nope, that’s about the average size for a baby in its thirty-third week. In terms of appearances, they’re getting cuter and pudgier every minute as they pile on the baby fat for those adorable little wrist rolls and chubby toes. And as we’re sure you’ve already noticed they’re getting stronger with every passing day. Nowadays, it’s possible to observe a well-placed kick just by watching your belly—but you already knew that didn’t you? Although they’re getting stronger, your bigger-by-the-day baby is losing space to move around, so the actual rate of movement will drop off in the last few weeks, despite that powerful drop-kick they’ve been working on. Hey, did you know you’ll continue feeling their movements even during labor?


Amniotic fluid is at its highest level during your pregnancy.
Your baby's head size has increased 3/8ths of an inch due to rapid brain growth.
Neurons and synapses are developing in huge numbers -- forming connections in your baby's brain will give him the skills he needs to thrive as a newborn. This week, he may be able to coordinate sucking and swallowing with breathing.
While most of his bones are hardening, his skull is quite pliable and not completely joined. The bones will be able to move slightly to make birthing easier.
You baby takes intermittent deep breaths -- of water! That's okay, though since she gets oxygen from the placenta. This breathing exercises muscles and encourages her lung cells to produce more surfactant (a protein essential for healthy lung development).
If your baby is a boy, his testicles will be descending from his abdomen into his scrotum. Sometimes one or both testicles won't move into position until after birth.
Your infant is now 17.2 inches (43.7cm) long and weighs 4.23 pounds (1918gm).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Our Week Was Packed






We had a very busy week. I've posted some of the pictures = we had two Birthday's and went to the Pumpkin Patch! Drew spent the weekend with Nana and Mommy and Daddy spent their time relaxing and enjoying the opportunity for some quiet. Drew had a blast with Nana and didn't want to come home on Sunday, so Nana took him to carve his pumpkin! Then we celebrated my (mommy's) birthday that evening. John bought me a new IPOD so I've been listening to music and planting the last of my tulips in the back yard. We are still adding dirt to the flower beds - seems like a never ending process. We also watched the air show from our backyard over the weekend, so Drew is totally into jets now. He thinks that the Blue Angels is an every day occurrence since we were able to watch 2 days of practice and then 2 days of the real thing. Kitty didn't like the Blue Angels very much I think it took her back to her days in Iraq. She barked a lot and then finally calmed down. Drew is turning into a little musician, he has a little recorder that I pulled out of his closet - we now hide it a lot because he won't put it down.

John and I are going through a parenting book with our bible study called "Shepherding A Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp. This week we spent a lot of time focusing on Drew's attitude towards obedience. Drew is pretty well behaved, but his attitude behind the obedience has gotten rather reluctant. He likes to whine about doing things instead of obeying with a joyful heart. The first part of the week he wasn't took happy about obeying right away ... joyfully, but near the end of the week his attitude had improved a lot. He was even more cuddly and helpful around the house. On Friday I was cleaning up and Drew asked to help vacuum and then he found all the shoes in the house and put them in the bench where they belong. He also enjoys feeding Kitty treats and brushing her short coat. Drew and Kitty are fast becoming best of friends. Drew loves to play tug a war with her and throw her ball. Kitty is enjoying her life as a house pet, but still misses the big adventures of her past.

Oh, we had some other exciting news! This week was our first week to wear pants! Then it warmed up into the 80's mid week, but as of tonight we are falling back into the 70's during the day! Hello Fall....finally!

I posted a ton of pictures on Drew's blog. just select the "William's Photo" Link to the right.



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday!


We all celebrated John's 27th Birthday on Tuesday! He requested a breaded Chicken Alfredo dinner with a strawberry rhubarb pie instead of cake. Yummy! Then I blessed him with a trip to the doctor the next day for a physical. Isn't that nice! John received clothes and also money for a lathe he has been eyeballing for months. I think he will go pick up the lathe this weekend. John was also exempt from all housework for a day and he loved that! Happy Birthday Sweetie, I love you!

We are going to the Pumpkin Patch tomorrow! I pray it is cold!

I will post some pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Mom Song

I heard this song on the radio and laughed so hard I had to post it. John heard it too and thought it was pretty awesome!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Week Thirty-Two




Your baby is up to 3.75 pounds (1702gm) now and is 16.7 inches (42.4cm) long.
You might notice she's not moving around as much now. Don't worry! She is fine -- just running short on room. She still has plenty of growing to do though, believe it or not!
All five senses are working. Your little one is fascinated and practicing testing these out as much as possible!
Toenails are completely formed even though she may not be quite ready for a French manicure.
Hair on your infant's head continues to grow in. Will he have dad's black hair or your red hair?
Brain scans have shown that babies have periods of dream sleep (REM) starting around the eight month. What do you suppose your son is dreaming about?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Humility In Action




Northwood Blog - for more comments and info on the Makeover

I just wanted to take a few seconds to brag on my wonderful husband! I have never been so proud as I was on Friday and Saturday watching him serve people. John spent Wednesday through Saturday building and prepping for the Makeover that was sponsored by our church and implemented by the congregation. Everyone involved was a hero! The body of Christ, came together with a vision to change the community in Haltom City. This week was the culmination of all that prep work! Read the previous post in the Star Telegram for the summary of what went on. I have heard that over 120,000 was spent to remodel 4 homes and that over 30% of our congregation participated. That is huge! All the families loved their new homes and this project has opened many doors for talking about the love of Christ and being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Since I am too pregnant to help remodel a house, I brought over sugar to the 100 person crew on Friday night. That was when I first saw John's beautiful front porch, he created an English style white porch with hanging baskets. It was beautiful. I watched him humbly serve others who were not the most "handy" of people and encourage all the workers. He followed decorators around hanging mirrors and cutting crown molding. John worked from Friday and 12:00 until Saturday evening at 7:30 with only a 40 minute nap. I couldn't believe his demonstration of servant hood. The house turned out beautiful, but most of all I look at all the people he served and smile, what a picture of our Christ! I am so very proud of what John did, and thank God for giving Him the health and energy to serve in such a way. I noticed a comment on the church blog that made me cry when I realized it was about my sweet husband, it said

"My life lesson was to see a picture of how God uses us. John Williams is a walking Home Depot. John has every tool ever invented AND he knows what he is doing. He can build stuff at 1,000 mph yet he would slow down and teach guys a skill…”mark your line hear, remember the blade will do this, drill it like this.” Though he could have gone much faster on his own, he valued the importance of relationships and growing people. That is how God allows us to participate. God could do it much faster on His own but has chosen to let us be a part of His redemption. It was a really cool picture for me."

I am truly blessed to be married to such a servant leader, John is always thinking of others, especially his wife and family. I am so honored to call him mine! So many people came up to me and bragged on John, one person called him a hero. Everyone was a hero on that day, but I was deeply moved to see John using his god given gifts to bless and serve others. I beamed with pride on Friday night when asking if anyone knew where my husband John was, a sweet lady said "oh, John, he is well known around here, he can fix anything and is wonderful at teaching! You are a very lucky lady to be married to someone like that!" I hardily agreed!

I believe the best part of all the attention John was given was his humble attitude. He always seemed to deflect the attention off of himself and onto the Lord. I know the Lord gives us all skills, so all the cheers and appreciation really does go to our Lord. Thank you Jesus for this awesome opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus! What a privilege we have been given.

Four Haltom City families getting home makeovers from church

Four Haltom City families getting home makeovers from church
By TERRY WEBSTER
Star-Telegram staff writer

Related Content
Four Haltom City families getting home makeovers from church


HALTOM CITY -- Four families are just a few hours away from living in their dream homes.
They were whisked away Friday afternoon to a hotel in Grapevine, where they will stay overnight while hundreds of volunteers from NorthWood Church in Keller renovate their homes.
All the families have children attending the Academy at West Birdville elementary school in the Birdville school district. For three years, NorthWood has teamed with the school, where about 90 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged.
The four families spent some time swimming and shopping Friday evening, and today they're headed to Six Flags Over Texas.
This evening, they will return to homes that have been newly repainted, carpeted and decked out with new appliances and furniture -- and maybe even plasma TVs. Children's bedrooms will be redone in themes such as Tinker Bell and Spiderman, and the kids will receive bicycles and swing sets.
"It's overwhelming," said Ronald Sims, a father of one of the families. "It's a lot of stuff we wanted to do, but have not been able to."
Sims and his wife, Tracie, and their three children are living in a home they bought from Ronald Sims' aunt and uncle.
"They rented it and some of the people didn't care," Sims said.
The house had been condemned at one point because many inside walls were removed, he said. They've been replaced, he said.
The four home makeovers are one of the many projects NorthWood Church has done at the Academy at West Birdville since 2004. The church provides tutoring and school supplies, and helped establish the Kids Cafe, which provides evening meals for about 85 children.
Improving students' living conditions can also help them in school, Principal Lindi Andrews said.
When kids have a place to live that is comfortable, they are more likely to arrive at school feeling rested and are more prepared to learn, Andrews said.
A team of several hundred NorthWood Church members -- some of them professional contractors and home builders -- began remodeling the homes Friday and planned to work continuously to finish the job for the families' return tonight.
The church focuses its outreach in Haltom City; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Puebla, Mexico, said Chris Shabay, community development director for NorthWood.
"We believe you build relationships if you stay put," Shabay said.
Teachers chose the families based on the children's potential to excel in school and their families' needs. The recommendations were given to NorthWood, which sent church members to meet the families and learn their stories.
All the families own their homes and are U.S. citizens, Shabay said.
Irma Jasso, a daytime housekeeper at the Academy, said through a Spanish translator that she could not believe that her family was chosen. She and her husband, Manuel, have a son, Daniel, who is in kindergarten at the Academy. Irma Jasso has recently returned to work at the school after undergoing treatments for breast cancer.
Juanita Maria Lopez has been caring for two grandchildren, Bryan Rodriguez, a first-grader at the Academy, and Diego Avila, who is in pre-kindergarten.
Lopez said the home makeover will help her to provide more for the children.
Fernanda Ayala said she thought her children -- Omar, a fifth-grader, and Ramiro, a third-grader -- were in trouble when teachers kept trying to contact her to set up the makeover.
Workers from NorthWood have already replaced the family's water heater, which had broken. The family had been taking cold showers and had used a space heater and the oven to heat the home last winter because they could not afford to fix the furnace.
"I hope the community knows the school is not just a place to learn," said Olga Hernandez-Coar, a reading specialist at the Academy. "We care about the families. All of them."
Out of the house
The four families were entertained elsewhere while their homes were being made over. They stayed Friday night at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Grapevine.
Today:
9:15 a.m. -- Leave hotel and go to Six Flags Over Texas
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. -- Six Flags. Money for food and games will be provided by the church.
5:45 p.m.-- Depart in limousines for their homes
6:30 p.m.-- Families return home for unveiling and celebration
7:15 p.m. -- Dinner catered in each home
7:30 p.m. -- Workers clean up.
Source: NorthWood Church

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Weekly Family Update






This week has been all about the Home Makover Project! John has been working all week in the garage and at the house in order to get a jump start on all the work that needs to be done. Drew and I baked fall cookies to take over to the workers and little Gabe has been rolling around all week in my tummy. I don't know what has gotten into him, but he has discovered how to roll. My stomach lumps are always changing shape. Drew was a very quiet non mover, so this is a huge change.






I have been busy with a mom2mom group, Northwood's mentoring program, and a mom's book club! We also went out to eat with our friends the Tyson's for Zac's birthday. On Friday afternoon Drew and I get to watch little Ethan while Zac helps John on the makeover project. How fun! I've also been busy closing the books at work and cleaning up the never ending mess at home.





Drew spent Monday with Nana since it was Columbus Day - they ran errands and then went to get Drew's haircut. On Wednesday and Friday Drew has had preschool - he is learning his litter E and I and learning the colors brown and orange. He also had music, Spanish, and was able to bring his favorite book "Trusty Tried And True" for book time. His aunt Julie is visiting for a few days so Drew is very excited for the extra playmate! Lately Drew's imagination has taken over, he can be found "weeding" the yard with a stick, noises included, or blasting off of our brick pile in a rocket ship. He loves to talk and is only quiet when sleeping!

We are all anxious for the cool weather to arrive so we can visit the pumpkin patch in jeans! It has still been in the 80's during the day and low 70's at night.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Week Thirty-One


Baby Growth
The rate of physical growth slows down just a bit, but even though she doesn't get much longer, she will gain a lot of weight the rest of the pregnancy.
Fat continues accumulating. This layer of fat turns her skin from red to the rosy pink she will have as a newborn.
Calcium, phosphorus and iron are being stored and his bones are growing and hardening.
Your baby is 16.2 inches (41.1cm) long and weighs 3.3 pounds (1502gm)
His brain enters another period of rapid growth, producing hundreds of billions of new nerve cells! Amazing!
She may move to the rhythm of music. Studies with heart rates show that she also prefers some types of music to others -- already!
Lungs are the only major organ left to complete development. Remember, that while you may be anxious to meet your little one that these last few weeks can be vital - with each day increasing your baby's ability to breathe on her own.



Doctors Appt News

My doctor's appointment went very well. My Blood Pressure was a little high - 126/80, but my doctor said it was low enough to just monitor it. My cervix is still fully closed and there wasn't any protein in my urine. I am still waiting for my FFN test results but since they didn't call me back today I can assume they are negative. Gabe's is still head up - placed right into my rib cage! Everything looked great! My next appointment is on 10/22. It will be my 33 week appointment. We looked over my BP for my pregnancy with Drew and it looks like it started rising at 26 weeks, just like with this pregnancy. It wasn't until week 35 that my BP rose over 140/90. Hopefully that trend remains. My doctor said she just delivered a woman yesterday who was taking the progesterone like myself. She was 37.5 weeks, unlike her previous 33 week pregnancy.

Baby Gabe is getting big and putting tons of pressure on my bladder. I am trying to drink 80 ounces of water a day in hopes of flushing out all the toxins. Lately that has meant about 7 trips to the restroom each night - sleep is starting to get very uncomfortable!

It is all so worth it! We can't wait to meet little Gabe - only another 5-6 weeks to go!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fun Times!

Our family had a great week visiting with family and friends! My friend Bethany came down from Oregon for 6 days! We went on the hunt for Dinosaur fossils, ate Pennini sandwiches, chased down frogs for the garden, shopped at the Goodwill, visited the park and Starbucks, went swimming, went to my women's group, enjoyed my baby shower, played with our kids, and even managed a short trip to Hobby Lobby. We both had an exhausting but exciting time! My sister and her husband Ruben also came down for the baby shower. We enjoyed visiting and Drew loved showing them what he has been learning in school.

As for Drew and school --he is in heaven! Drew loves to go to school, or "church" as he calls it. Drew loves to talk about "teacher Lilo and Nene (Shilo & Amy). This week he learned about the letter "H" and painted hippo's and hand prints. He also enjoyed playing with orange play dough. Too fun! Drew still naps at school and has started sitting on the potty, but still hasn't actually gone to the bathroom in the toilet. He will get an M&M when he does!


My pregnancy is going well! Once the baby shower was over it finally hit me that we are in the home stretch - one month into the third trimester! Little Gabe will be here before I know it. The last few days I have started to swell, my feet and hands are taking the brunt of the water! My next appointment is on Monday when my Blood Pressure will be taken. I am downing the water like a crazy women in hopes of flushing out all the toxins! Lets pray for low blood pressure and no protein in my urine. It is still too early to talk about inductions or bed rest!