Music Play

***Note to anyone who comes by here to listen to the music ...You will now have to scroll down to the player on the right side and press play yourself. This is to accommodate those who only come to read and are distracted by the music;}

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet days...

"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed,
His compassions, they never fail,
His mercies are new EVERY morning.
Great is Your Faithfulness, Oh God"
Lamentations 3:22-23

Posted by Picasa

Family Days...Coming Home

Here are some precious Susie shots along with Mommy and Daddy and of course JJ "loving on" the newest member of the family.

My friend Erin came to visit from church with her girls, Kate and Ella (top center) who had fun playing with JJ...Jared, JJ and I cuddling with our Susie Cusie:)

Below, some cute outfit pictures...seriously, HOW MANY CUTE THINGS there are for girls!!! As you can see, she's quite an alert little girl!
Top left: Daddy's morning time with both kids...he actually took a walk with the two of them the other morning...he put Susie in the Baby's been fun to watch!
Bottom left: No sweeter thing than cuddling with her after I feed her!
Posted by Picasa

Hospital Visits and Coming Home

I told my friends here to visit me at the hospital, because if I didn't have any visitors, I would just miss all of my friends and family at home that couldn't come to visit. And they didn't disappoint, especially the little ones!!

Top left: Abby (Anita's girl) is just so taken with Susie. I think she could hold her for hours!
Top center: Shelby, from church, was also quite taken with Susie:)
Top right: "Dake!" Jeremy and Shannon's baby boy! He's getting big! He didn't quite get Susie, but it was great to see him!
Bottom left: "Auntie (Sh)annon" quickly came to love our Susie
Bottom center: "Uncle Deremy" (Jeremy)...we think he will just love a baby girl himself! Hopefully soon!
Bottom right: My friend Christina from church with her baby girl Calista who will be having playdates with Susie soon!

Here is JJ at the hospital with his beloved Sister...who he "holds" but suddenly is ready to be done! (a little scary)
Susie coming home from the hospital--I just love to see the little ones dwarfed by their car seats:)
And the others are some from her first day her'll see lots of these:)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Susie's Birth Story

My great doctor, Doctor Merritt. I love her!!
Do you think they like each other?? I do!
Epidural smile:)

I wanted to share the details of Susie's birth with all of you, and also, to have it written for my own memories:)

As you know, I was already about halfway dilated and so everyone told me (doctors, nurses, etc.) to get to the hospital right away if anything happened, even if it seemed little. So, early Friday morning (4-5am) I had some sharper back pain than I'd been having and after waiting until we were up, I evaluated a little further and decided to have Jared take me to the hospital.

We dropped JJ off at my dear friend Anita's (who watched JJ the whole time in the hospital except for breaks when Jared would be with him--She is the BEST!!!) around 8 am. We were at the hospital about 8:45 am. I went to triage where I was evaluated. I was still dilated the same and the first nurse who checked me gave me only 50% effacement (the doctor had given me 70% a week and a half earlier, so I think she was quite conservative.) I was contracting but not very strong (though the back pain was significant) and irregularly. The possibility of going home was brought up and I told Jared I would just cry if that happened. After it seemed like that was what we would do:( Jared prayed that we could stay and I wouldn't have to be in this waiting/limbo any longer. Soon after this, my doctor came in saying that she was talking to her colleague and just knew she wasn't supposed to send me home! (how's that for an answer to prayer?!) She said she knew she'd regret it all weekend and knowing I had a little one at home and child care already taken care of (she has little ones herself and is very empathetic) and confirming I was indeed 5 cm and 70% effaced she said, "Let's have a baby today!"

It was 11:30 until I went up to the labor & delivery floor. I was contracting less (but also hadn't been walking). I started to walk around the floor and then was given the most minimal amount of pitocin. Contractions then began every 2 minutes and my doctor broke my water. I hadn't dilated any further but was effacing more. The contractions were getting stronger and while I could still manage them, I decided to ask for the epidural. I knew it would just get more painful and I didn't need to wait until I couldn't breath through them. I got the epidural before 2. I think I was checked 3 times before 3pm and still hadn't dilated further. With JJ, I went from 5-10 cm in a little over an hour after I got the epidural, so I just hoped it would go quicker at some point.

My pitocin was slightly increased and I started to feel the contractions through the epidural. I was moving from my left to right side and started to feel some pretty strong pain in my lower right side. The nurse asked me if I felt like I had to push and I didn't think so. With JJ I never felt this because the epidural was too strong and I think I pushed for a long time (4 hours!) with alot of it not being effective because the timing was off. So when I could feel these contractions well enough to push, there was an anesthesiologist who asked me if I wanted more epidural so I didn't feel them so much. I said that I liked feeling them so that I could push, but the nurse decided to check me (it was 4:35pm) because if I was only 5cm still, I should get more epidural medicine and then decrease it to push. When she checked me, I was complete! I had been feeling the urge to push!

So, since it was my second and would go more quickly, we had to wait for the doctor who had gone home. So for half an hour I kept having to fight the urge to push. Susie could have been born 1/2 hour earlier, at least. When the doctor came at 5:15pm and I started to push shortly after, Susie was born 10-15 minutes later!

I was so elated at how quickly and beautifully this all went. Jared and I saw the Lord answer every prayer concerning this labor & delivery and He grew our heart to trust Him. I don't want to forget that as it was a precious place to be!

Hope you enjoyed hearing the story!!!

p.s. more pictures to come soon...I must sleep now though as I am heading into nighttime feedings:) We are doing amazingly at home and Susie is just precious beyond belief!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Susanne Elizabeth Alleman is here!

Susanne Elizabeth Alleman
Born: September 18, 2009 @ 5:33pm
Weight: 8 lbs. 4 oz.
Length: 21 inches

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baby Update

Hey Everybody,

I figured I'd post an update on here about "baby status". It has been a crazy ride so far...strangely calm yet crazy. I am about halfway dilated (possibly more), etc. without having really any labor...nothing consistent. Some lower back pain off and on which can be uncomfortable, but I can take tylenol before bed and put some heat on it and sleep reasonably well! (except that JJ isn't sleeping well which makes us think he has a sense of something big coming soon! and has molars coming in too...)

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and she suggested inducing on Monday morning if I haven't gone into full blown labor by then. I felt like that would be a good decision and Jared agreed. She told me to lay low and have someone close because as soon as anything definitive happens, (water breaks, even 1 strong contraction) I am to go right to the hospital. Even for them, my situation is a little odd...she even said to not worry even if it ends up being a crazy ride to the hospital (i.e. the baby seems ready to come out on the way!) because those babies do well...I am showing no complications, etc. It's a much more encouraging situation than someone who could be in the hospital not dilating, etc. So, that was sweet of her to say.

I am working with a practice and feel really great about the woman doctor that's on call this weekend and then this doctor that will induce on Monday morning (possibly just break my water--that may be all I need) who I've seen for the last 2 appointments.

So, that's where things are will hear no later than Monday (I go in at 4am), or possibly Tuesday depending on how the day goes, about this baby girl!

Thank you all, too, for praying. I really "feel" it. I can honestly say after wavering and doubting myself that I feel such a peace about hopefully having labor come naturally(you can certainly pray for this--and that we can get to the hospital in good time, etc.), but if not, that the Lord has placed Monday as the induction option at just the right time.

I know that this is in His hands--Jared and I both feel a great peace. This life is His and He will bring her safely here to us...(she just kicked as affirmation of what I'm writing)...I also think this is such a special time to grow closer with Jared, JJ and I. I remember how special (though hard) it was to go through labor with JJ with Jared as such an amazing close I felt to him...and even though these days aren't traditional labor, they are sort of similar and most likely, the hospital element will be shorter (much shorter?) but I am considering this whole waiting time, etc. as that labor bonding. And it is sweet.

We just want to continue to give God the Glory for every element of this and to express how thankful we are for some many loved ones who are praying for us and supporting us so deeply. Again, words cannot express the blessings that we feel and know in these days.

With love to all,

Abby, Jared, JJ and our little soon-to-come Susie:)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Church Baby Shower at the Olive Garden

My small group friends threw me this shower a week ago at the Olive Garden. It was a sweet time and I felt so loved and celebrated along with this dear baby girl that we are about to meet so soon!
Below are:
Top left: Neighbors Pat and Anita. Top right: Kori and Renee (neighbors to each other and in our sub-division)
Bottom left: Christina and one of Susie's future playmates, Calista, myself and Carrie (small group buddy--really planned alot of the shower!--THANKS!)
Bottom center: Debbie, Betsy and Mary from church--love these beautiful ladies!
Bottom right: Erin (also small group--helped Carrie alot) and Laura (small group AND TOOK THESE PICTURES--THANK YOU!)

You can see myself, Carrie, Kori and Renee beautifully displaying some of our entree selections...YUM!!

Here is the cake that Erin got...isn't is so sweet! (no pun attended:) THANKS ERIN! It incorporated sweet girl colors and the bear theme that goes with the neutral "Dream Teddy" nursery bedding we used with JJ and will use with Susie (I love it!)

Again, we marvel at the sweet, special friendships we have. I know that I miss so deeply my friends and family up north, but God has indeed provided and I hope that that blesses you who are far away from us as we miss each other.

p.s. I'm hoping the next post is a
Posted by Picasa

Pink, Pink and More Pink!!!

The following 2 collages are a smattering of some of the things you will see Susie wearing in upcoming blog posts. I also got some practical gifts as you can see. I still can't believe that I will be dressing a little girl!!

Two things I'm really excited about in the collage below (love them all BUT):
Top right: my dear friend Anita gave Susie her and our first "Praise Baby" DVD. I'd wanted to get one but felt like I couldn't spend the money (really silly when I think of other things I've spent money on) and Jared, as soon as he saw it, has been using it to bring grace to mornings with JJ. Hint, hint to MiMi and PopPop or anyone else, MORE OF THESE WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT GIFT! (This one is "Praises and Smiles", the only one we have)
Bottom left: The most adorable little will definitely see pictures soon of Susie in's so cute!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Camera Pictures...the Past Week

Here are a couple of collages using the new camera. We haven't figured out how to use it the best yet...especially for indoor lighting, but they are still ok, don't you think?

JJ has picked a wonderful time to really mature and be able to entertain himself very well:) The other morning he was just incredibly entertained for a couple of hours with this box. He put himself and his blankie and lots of his cars and trucks, etc. in there with him. It was fun to watch...and in the meantime I was able to sort lots of clothes and do laundry, etc. Top right is JJ admiring his sweet new Thomas Train Tracks...he will be very entertained with these for sure:)

Here is a sweet picture of our special buddies and one of my surrogate sisters down here. Jake and his mama Shannon. JJ just loves Jake and Jake is really starting to notice JJ and I think he is starting to want to move around after him. It is really sweet to see them interact and for Jared and I, we just love chubby Jake and he reminds us much of our chubby JJ that has transformed into a stretched toddler oh-so-quickly!
Posted by Picasa

Baby Update

It occurred to me that I haven't been updating about baby Susie on the blog. Sorry about that!

Due date is September 25th.

Update: Warning: may be TMI for male visitors to this blog! At 35 weeks I had already started to dilate (1-2cm). I have steadily progressed the last 3 weeks. Today I had another appointment and was checked again and am up to 4cm, 70% effaced and -1 station. So baby has dropped and I am quite dilated for not being in labor!

I am really thankful that I made it this far, because I was afraid of pre-term labor when I started to dilate 3 weeks ago. I am now almost 38 weeks (Friday will be) so I feel great about the baby coming any time. We were able to get alot done over the weekend and I feel in a good place with our home for the baby! I had my second shower from church friends last night (a big goal to get through), yeah, any day before baby is just finishing thank you's and getting the space we have for Susie ready, washing clothes...but it can all happen after too:)

It seems like it would be quick, but JJ certainly wasn't...could you just pray that we can get to the hospital in a good time when it comes and that we will just trust the Lord for the perfect timing and give Him all the glory!

I will certainly update the blog ASAP when she's here!

JJ on a "fast break"

Here is a video of JJ doing a "fast break" to the hoop. Jared started doing this with him on a regular court at the park. He doesn't shoot it there, but will run end to end with Jared. He really gets a workout! It's been a good thing to be able to sit in the chair and have him do fast break on the porch, as I can't really do too many active things with him right now! Notice that he doesn't get dribbling yet, but he's really got a good shot! 3 in a row! Enjoy!

Video again of JJ doing a fast break, in case you missed the first link!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Video Thanks for Thomas Train Tracks

Here is JJ expressing thanks for his Thomas Train tracks to "Mama" Sara (my twin and I are "Mama Abby" and "Mama Sara" to each other's kids--her oldest started it which was his way of saying "you look to much like Mommy to be my "auntie") Uncle "Bi-den" (Brian), Uncle Don, Auntie Kristen ("auntie" is what comes out).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thank You, Before I forget!

Thank you to the many of you who either e-mailed, called or commented regarding the "Parenting Advice" post a week or so ago. Everything that you all said (alot similar...which was affirming) was very helpful in calming me (us) down about some things.

Truly we are blessed to have so many thoughtful friends and family who respond in times of (great) parenting need! This won't be the last SOS, I'm sure!

Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

JJ's 2nd Birthday Party

We had a really great 2nd birthday party for JJ at the clubhouse and pool in our neighborhood. For a (fairly) minimal fee you can reserve the clubhouse which includes use of the pool for you and all of your guests (it is a really nice size and there's a kiddy pool too!), the kitchen and clubhouse area with a really neat wrap-around porch and bathrooms. It was a great place to have the party and we are really glad that we did it. Besides being JJ's party, it was a really great way to celebrate being here a year and all of the amazing friends the Lord has given us!

Below: (top left) Shannon and Jeremy (our directors), "Buddy Ak" or Alex--one of the college volunteers, Jared and JJ. (top right) church friends Carrie, Mary, Erin and Ben with Kate, Ella and Shelby in front. (sorry quality stinks--thankfully we got a new camera tonight and I am excited for better pictures!) (bottom ) Shannon and Jeremy's baby "Dake!", JJ playing with the trucks "Buddy Ak" got him and Noah. He's one of JJ's only boy playmates down here that's his age (6 weeks older than JJ). His mom, Vonda, partially pictured to the right was our support coach when we were preparing for STINT in Hungary and then she led a Spring Break trip while we were there. It's been so great to live here and have her friendship. She just had a baby girl at the end of April, so we have alot of similarities!

Here we are with JJ's cake! It was a SUPER EASY ice cream sandwich cake that I got from my friend Sarah . It was a HUGE hit and was a great way to cap off a really fun time! Thanks Sarah!
(Incidentally, JJ wanted nothing to do with the candles on his cake...he must have remembered burning his finger on his birthday...I guess that's kind of a good thing??)

The whole day was very worth it, but I have to confess dreading the day before it happened...I felt like I had no energy for it between being in the heat for hours, on my feet, carrying way too many things, etc. It was pretty exhausting! But, I couldn't have done it without the help of my amazing, supportive husband who finished the pasta salad, did almost all of the 2nd ice cream cake and got alot of the stuff we needed at BJ's with JJ! that morning...seriously, how amazing is that??!!

I was very glad when it was over as everything hurt and I was contracting from dehydration, etc. I did wonder if we made the right choice, but this is certainly something I have to accept about when the Lord has brought us babies. What I mean is 2 years ago was Jared's 30th birthday and I was 37 weeks pregnant at the party we had for him. Last year I wasn't pregnant, but we had a big 1st birthday party for JJ in August just before we moved. (I think the weather was great though...not like Florida) and this year I was 36 weeks pregnant at JJ's 2nd birthday...well, thankfully, whatever we do for both kids next year--I won't be pregnant!

Thankfully, it was my last "big thing" before Susie comes...and yes, I will say it again, it was really worth it:)

We love you! our Big Boy 2 year-old!
Posted by Picasa