On Going Back to the Office...

I was fortunate to be able to work from home for the last 2 months, so while this was not my first day back at work, it was my first day back in the office after maternity leave.  These are my observations: 

Wearing “old” clothes has never felt so good!  I didn’t have a backup plan if my work pants didn’t fit me this morning, so praise God that they did!

Me walking in heels for the first time in 6 months or so kind of resembled a baby giraffe learning how to walk.  

Driving in the car for 2 hours (1-hour commute each way) with no kiddos is a strange feeling!  The silence was almost too much for me…almost.

If you act like you know where you’re going, nobody will realize you forgot what floor your office is on.  Yes, I seriously went to the wrong floor TWICE before landing on the right one!

Pumping (as in, breastmilk) is already awkward and uncomfortable (think dairy farm equipment for humans), but pumping at work cranks that awkwardness up a notch.  I’m thankful to work for a company that provides a “wellness room” for activities such as this; but it’s always going to be uncomfortable to pump while you’re wearing professional work attire and you’re in an office a few feet from a cubicle farm full of accountants.

It’s weird and challenging to switch back and forth between business mode and mommy mode.  Working part-time might be harder than going full on either way (full-time work or full-time at-home mommy).

I didn’t miss my babies as much as I thought I would (gasp!).  Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real over here.  (NOTE: my babies were with family members today, so I’m likely to have a different experience next week when they start at daycare—pray for me!)

I covet the prayers of sweet friends today.  I’m confident that their prayers are what kept me going.  

With God’s grace, supportive friends, loving family, and strong coffee, I CAN DO THIS!

Callie Jeanne is Here!

Just a quick post while both kiddos are napping...

On April 16, 2012, our lives forever changed as we became a family of 4!  Callie Jeanne Huss was born at 12:51pm via c-section.  She was 7 pounds 1 ounce and 19 inches long.

For grins and giggles, here is the pic just before we headed to the hospital...

And here is the pic after we got home!

Just the Quick Hits
Callie is an extremely alert kiddo with a head full of black hair.  She's a beauty!  Besides some pesky acid reflux (which her doc prescribed meds for), she's an otherwise healthy and happy baby.  We are extremely blessed!

How is Eden doing?
Eden has taken on the role of big sister perfectly!  She gives Callie lots of kisses and loves playing with her "piggies" (toes).  We have had a few problems with Eden testing her boundaries with us while we're tied up with Callie, but that's to be expected, I guess.

Eden surrounded by all 3 of her grandparents, holding her baby sister

Eden shared her zoo animal toys and several other items with Callie while she was swinging (Cal seemed to like it--can you see that smirk and dimple?)

More later...gotta go take care of the girls!

Callie is Coming Soon!

It's weird to think that this is the last Callie update from inside my womb...

These pictures tell the best "story" of how I'm carrying Callie these days. 

Me and my friend, Mindy--due 1 week after me (photo taken March 12th):

Me and my friend, Amy--due 1 week before me (photo taken April 7th):

It's ok, you can say it..."Holy moley, Lauren!  Your belly is freakishly huge!  Are you sure it's not twins?!" (I get that a lot these days...)

We have a date!
As of today, Callie Jeanne is still breech, so my doctor has scheduled a c-section delivery on Monday, April 16th!  She will check me again this Thursday to see if she's flipped, but I'm pretty sure that I'll know it without a doctor confirming it.  I can feel (and see) baby girl's head on my upper right side and her feet on my lower left side very clearly!

The "dreaded" c-section
Obviously a c-section delivery is something that is only done when medically necessary, but it seems that there are a lot of them these days.  I'm happy to have so many girlfriends who have "been there, done that" so they can tell me what to expect!  I really had only thought about a vaginal delivery up until my doctor told me last week that the chances of her flipping at this late in the pregnancy are very slim. 

And now I'm realizing that it's kind of nice to know the actual date and time of my delivery (unless, of course, I go into labor before then...but let's not wish that upon me, ok?).  It helps to line up our childcare plan for Eden and dogsitting plan for Layla and Heidi.  It helps for Ben to know when he will need to be home.  It helps for my mom to know when she will be traveling back over to Houston.  It helps for my in-law's to know when to take off of work.  And I'm not going to lie--it helps to think that I might not ever know what it's like to have a contraction! 

I realize that the recovery is much different with a c-section (as one friend put it, it's the only major surgery that you don't actually get to recover from; instead of people taking care of you, you are taking care of someone else around the clock), but I also know that both types of deliveries are natural, and that all that matters in the end is a healthy baby and healthy mommy.

She caught up!
Callie had been measuring on the petite side, but now she's on point for an average sized baby at delivery (average for my frame, I'm told)--7.5 to 8 lbs.  She's still a very active baby, which I consider a blessing because I know she's healthy!

Can my belly get any bigger??
I'm not gonna lie--these last few weeks of pregnancy have definitely been uncomfortable.  I'm much less mobile, much more puffy, and very achy and itchy.  But I am blessed with family and friends who have seriously helped out in more ways that I could have ever imagined (so much so that it deserves it's own blog post that I'll do tomorrow)!  And I know it will all be worth it in the end!

It's a Choice

This morning offered me several challenges.  My gut reaction is to get ticked off and let these type of challenges ruin my day.  But I've learned that I can CHOOSE to instead focus on the positive perspectives that Christ offers me and let that determine the direction of my day.

Like the sign over our door says: Attitude is everything, so pick a good one!

Challenge:  The guy who was Ben’s relief at work this morning didn’t show up on time, causing him to have to take two early morning 911 calls, making him 1-hour late getting home on a day when I really needed to be at work on time.
Gut Reaction:  That guy is so selfish to not show up in time to relieve Ben (he’s done it before).  Those 911 calls better have been legitimate emergencies (unlike the 90% that aren’t).  I hate that I have to go to work anyway—why couldn’t I just be a stay-at-home mom.
Perspective:  Ben and I both have great jobs that allow us the mental challenge that we desire, the flexibility to spend a lot of time with our daughter (and each other), and the funds to live a comfortable life.

Challenge:  Eden (usually a great sleeper) wakes up crying at the same time that my alarm goes off (5:30am).  While comforting her, a carbon monoxide detector beeps loudly telling me the battery is dying, causing the dogs go nuts and need comfort and reassurance as well.  Then the coffee grinder promptly goes off (which I programmed it to do) and its loud airplane-taking-off sound startles Eden and the dogs yet again.
Gut Reaction:  Seriously?  All of this has to happen on a morning when I’m by myself?  UGH.  How am I supposed to climb on top of the kitchen counter to reach the dying detector at 8 months pregnant?  And how am I supposed to comfort Eden and the dogs at the same time?  And how am I going to have time to shower and get ready for work, much less have my “quiet time” with God that I woke up early for in the first place?!
Perspective:  There isn’t any real emergency here—it’s just a dying battery in the detector and a bad dream for Eden.  I am blessed to have a baby in my home.  It sure feels good to be needed to comfort all of my “babies.”  God can still speak to me—even if I don’t have a defined “quiet time”—as long as I’m open to hearing Him.

I CHOSE to focus on the positives this morning, and gues what—it all worked out in the end…
-          Eden easily went back to sleep after her needed snuggle time with mommy.
-          I was able to safely (using a step ladder) get the detector down and take the batteries out, which calmed the dogs down. 
-          Because Ben was running late, I had plenty of time to shower, get ready for work, make my lunch, and still have my “quiet time.”
-          My boss had back-to-back meetings with other people this morning, so it didn’t matter that I was an hour late.

And the perspective of all perspectives that I received this morning came via text from my friend Lisa (currently serving in Ethiopia with my mom) while I was snuggling my baby girl:  “Just left Hannah’s Hope [where Eden lived for 5 months].  Special mothers [the ladies who took care of Eden during her time there] LOVED the pics of Eden and were kissing the pics.” 

Enough said. J

Baby Bump Update

Here is the 35-week shot...

Yes, my belly is THAT big! ;)

My Doctor, My BFF
I've reached the point in my pregnancy where I go to the doctor every week now!  It's a good thing that I only work a part-time job or I'd be missing a ton of work!  It's also a good thing that I really like my doctor.  She's extremely approachable, but still professional.  And she tells me that I'm a great patient!  She actually said these words at my last appointment: "Lauren, I just can't find anything to scold you about--you're doing everything I've asked you to do!"  Yay!  Just wait until she sees my very low pain tolerance issue come to life in the labor and delivery room.  Then we'll see if she still thinks I'm a great patient.  heehee!

My Other Doctor, the Specialist
Early on in my pregnancy, some blood work came back abnormal, so I was sent to a specialist for my ultrasound.  At that first ultrasound, he cleared Callie Jeanne of any abnormalities, but we still go to him for each ultrasound.  It's actually quite a blessing because we get the cool 3-D photos of Callie every time we go!  And we get to have a very experienced doctor conduct the ultrasound.  The downside of him being so experienced is that he is very busy and very distracted.  He's been known to text orders to his nurse for one of his patients in labor right in the middle of conducting my ultrasound.  I guess that's the trade-off, right?! 

All About Cal (at this point)
Miss Callie Jeanne is still measuring to be a petite little girl.  Doc says we're probably looking at approximately 6 lbs at delivery.  This first-time pregnant mama certainly doesn't mind that!  Her heart rate is in the 140's and she's doing great in every way!  She's still in breech position (has been the entire time).  Doc says that 90% of babies flip on their own, so I don't need to worry and I don't need to try anything on my own to flip her right now.  Because of her positioning, my belly is in a constant lop-sided state (her head is on my right side).  The good thing about that is that I carry Eden on my left side, so there is room for both of them.  haha!  The bad thing is that my right side is very tender because of the extra pressure from Callie's head. 

Not Ready to Meet Her...Yet
Although this part of pregnancy can be very uncomfortable, I still don't quite feel ready to have Callie be outside the womb.  So, we're praying that I go full-term so I get to "nest" more and spend more time making sweet memories with our family of 3.  Oh, and my mom would be very upset if she's still in Ethiopia when I go into labor!  Please pray with me.


To be honest, I am completely overwhelmed these days and seem to have become the type of person that I never wanted to be.  When I’m overwhelmed, I tend to freeze up.  I blame procrastination on perfection (i.e., everything has to be “just so” before I can even start on a task).  These are some of the ways that it plays out in my life…

NOTE:  Those of you who either have a personality (read: “issues”) like me or live with someone like me will understand why this is a big deal.  Everyone else will just think I’m even more weird than they thought. J

Rather than responding timely to emails and phone calls, I simply read or listen to them and file them away for later.  Since “later” never comes, I now have an inbox that is ridiculous and friends who think I’m ignoring them.

Rather than saying “no” to an event I’m invited to because my calendar is too full, I simply don’t RSVP.  And that is just plain rude to the person planning the event.

Rather than writing a thank-you note to a friend who helped me pack or move or gave a gift, I write it on my “to do” list and it keeps getting trumped by other things.  While I know I have very understanding and gracious friends, it really bugs me to know that I haven’t properly thanked them.

Rather than planning meals for my family in advance, I wait until a meal is upon me or an important grocery item is completely gone before I react.  This causes me to spend more money on eating out or last-minute grocery runs, and our family ends up eating unhealthy meals.

Rather than being grateful for the roof over my head, I complain about my house not being completely in order yet (we moved a month ago).  Because we still have unpacked boxes, I tend to not be as hospitable to others.

Rather than rejoicing in the life that is growing inside my womb, I whine about how my body aches.  And nobody wants to be around a whiner.

Rather than just driving to the social security office and handing them a form (that I already completed), I put it in the stack of things to do and it collects dust.  Now we will have to file for an extension on our taxes because Eden doesn’t have a social security number yet.

Rather than asking for help from the tons of friends who would help in a heartbeat, I let my pride get in the way.  And all that does is cause me to be even more overwhelmed rather than what I’m (subconsciously) going for, which is that I have it all under control.

Rather than being patient and sweet to my hubby, I snap at him over silly things.  Even though he is very gracious with me, it is not cool for me to treat him that way (even if it’s just “pregnancy hormones”).

And those are just some of the things that happen when I get overwhelmed!  As I analyze why I’m so overwhelmed right now (because that’s what I do—I analyze), there are several things that clearly are playing a role…

·        I’m 8 months pregnant.
·        My baby girl is 18 months old.
·        We moved houses a month ago.
·        I have an outside-the-home job every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
·        My hubby works 24-hour shifts two days a week.
·        We are passing a lot of year anniversaries for our adoption of Eden (March 13-April 22 was our time in Ethiopia last year).
·        My mom and friend just left to serve for 2 weeks in Ethiopia—and I’m not with them.
·        The fourth anniversary of my Dad’s death is on March 25th.
·        My good friends had to bury their Dad unexpectedly last week.
·        I’m already feeling the “mommy guilt” of having a second child.  You know what I’m talking about…Eden will never have my undivided attention again; Callie will never know what undivided attention even looks like.  Etc.
·        We are seeking guidance for our next adoption.
·        Did I mention that Callie is due in 5 short weeks?!?!?!

But I know that the thing playing the biggest role in me feeling overwhelmed these days is that I haven’t truly stopped and given God any of my time.  Seriously.  Since we moved a month ago, I haven’t read His Word, I haven’t truly prayed (besides at meal time and every now and then in the car), and I haven’t stopped long enough to listen to Him.

Now, more than ever, I realize what I’ve always known to be true.  I cannot do this on my own!  I need my Father!  I need Him more than I need that extra sleep.  I need Him more than I need to unpack a box.  I need Him more than I need to do my monthly budget.  I need Him!

So, I’m putting this out there in the blogosphere with the hopes that I’ll get more accountability.  Please don’t take this as a cry for pity or a twisted way for me to show you how much I have going on in my life.  I just needed to get it on paper so I have more accountability.

Baby Bump Update

Here is the 30-week baby bump shot...

I don't know if I can get away with calling it a "bump" anymore, as it's much larger than the word "bump" entails.

The "Alien" in my Belly
Callie definitely likes to move a lot, and it's a nice reminder to me that she's healthy and active.  She's still breech at this point, so sometimes I can literally feel her feet tap-dancing on my bladder.  Yipes! 

She's also to the size where we can see (not just feel) her movements in my belly.  It's so strange to look down and see a lump moving across my belly!  And often times you can look at me and see that Callie is mostly on my right side (that's where her head is).  I look lop-sided!  So weird, but so cool at the same time.

Moving, Moving, Moving
Speaking of moving, we moved out of our first house last weekend.  It was definitely bittersweet, but we're excited about making the new house our home.  I tried my hardest to not overdo it during the moving weekend, but it's really hard for someone with my organized, OCD tendancies to not step in and help...then add on top of that the "nesting" instinct and let's just say that I definitely overdid it. 

Luckily, my mother-in-law came to my rescue on Monday (Ben was at work) and made us dinner, did Eden's bath and bedtime routine, etc. so that I could just be on the couch with my feet up.  I'm feeling MUCH better now and have promised myself (and Callie) that I won't do that again.  I'm finding that I can unpack most rooms from a seated position, so that certainly helps.

In Good Health and Good Spirits (mostly)
I continue to be blessed with a healthy pregnancy.  My doctor says I'm right on track with weight gain, measurements, etc. and she's really happy with how my pregnancy is going.  I'm definitely more emotional during this final trimester (that's where the "mostly" part comes in), and it doesn't help that we moved out of our first home (lots of emotions tied into that one!).  But thankfully I have a husband who listens to what I say (through my tears) and truly cares enough to "baby me" when needed.  I am a very blessed woman!

Does Eden Understand?
We get this question a lot, and honestly, I have no idea if Eden knows what is coming.  What I do know is that Eden is a very bright little girl and she soaks in everything around her.  She knows where Callie is (in my tummy) and she will hug and kiss her--even on her own with no prompting at all!  And in the doctor's office the other day, she was looking at pictures of all of the babies and I asked her about Callie.  She came and pointed to my belly (and rubbed it) and then pointed to the pictures of the babies on the wall.  It seemed to me that she connected the dots that Callie is an actual baby and not just a lump in mommy's tummy! 

Either way, we know that Eden will be a great big sister.  She is always very loving to other babies--she loves kissing them, so we usually direct her to their toes. ;)  We know that there will be a lot of adjustment when Callie is born, and we know that Eden will have some jealousy over mommy and daddy's time, but we also know that God will guide us in working through all of it. 

Eden Recap: months 13-16 of life; months 6-9 home

Time for another catch-up post all about Eden!  

You’re a long and lean 19 ½ pounds and 31 ½ inches tall.  You have definitely sprouted some long legs that any woman would LOVE to have!  You have a total of 7 teeth now (you added 1 to the bottom) and you are cutting 2 more on the top. Your top 2 front teeth are growing in at different speeds, so we say that you’re the only kid who is cute enough to pull off the snaggletooth look. Heehee!

You are such a happy little girl!  You love people, but you also love playing independently.  You are very smart—you love books and you have a very long attention span when you’re working on something like a puzzle or a game. 

During this stage, you really became interested in pushing buttons, flipping switches, opening and closing doors, and putting things inside other things (like trash cans!).  You’ve become quite the helper!  It’s fun to watch you learn on/off and open/close…but we have to watch out for things disappearing into the trash!  

Like a lot of kiddos, you’ve also become very interested in electronics!  Touch-screen phones / tablets are definitely your favorite, but you also love remote controls.  Turns out you know exactly what you’re doing with those things, too!  Crazy!

You started walking in full effect at Thanksgiving (during your 14th month).  Like most babies, you resembled a wobbly newborn foal when you first started, but once you found your balance, you were off and moving!  

You love going up the stairs, but haven’t quite mastered going down, so we still keep the baby gates up.  You can easily navigate smaller steps (out the door, off the deck, etc.) and it’s fun to see your independence and drive!  You’re a total trooper, so when you fall down you just get right back up and keep going.  The only exception to that (i.e., when you cry) is if you truly hurt yourself—which isn’t very often. 

Stepping up…

Stepping down…

Taking off…

You are quite the chatterbox these days!  We are just dying to know what you’re talking about, but we enjoy having conversations with you nonetheless.  Some of your most common words/phrases are “mama,” “daddy” (pronounced “dah-dee” with emphasis on the “dee”), “uh-oh” (pronounced breathy like “huh-hoh”), and “go go go” (usually said at the TV during a football game or to the dogs when they are in your way).  Your other chatter is in a language we can’t interpret yet (heehee!).  It’s so stinkin’ cute to hear you talk, though!

You sign a few things to us regarding food.  You ask “please” (by rubbing your tummy—close enough!) when you want a snack, you tell us you’re “all done” (both hands waving in the air) when you’re finished with a meal, and we’re still working on “thank you” (it looks a lot like blowing a kiss, so you get kind of confused by it). 

You wave to people a lot (hi and bye).  You know the motion for “touchdown!”  You give people “fives” if they ask.  You still love to make sounds with your mouth…clicking with your tongue, motorboat with your lips, etc.  And you still love to clap your hands!

You are quite the snacker!  Just like your mama, you need a morning snack and an afternoon snack.  Favorite snacks include goldfish, fig newtons, pretzels, animal crackers, cheese, and mini-marshmallows.  Although you’re not picky, some of your favorite foods include cheese ravioli or tortellini, edamame (soybeans), waffle fries (from Chick-fil-A), and any kind of fruit (blackberries and mandarin oranges are your current favorite fruits).

You drink everything from a straw now.  You drink whole milk in the morning, water throughout the day (mommy’s water bottle is a favorite for that!), then diluted orange juice (or what we call H2Orange) at dinner.  Daddy makes smoothies frequently (just fruit and juice) and you LOVE those! 

Sharing your snacks with the dogs…caught in the act!

You sleep about 12 hours at night, with a 2-3 hour nap right after lunch every day.  You go down very easily—one of us will just hold you with your head on our shoulder and hum/sing for about 30 seconds, then we lay you on your tummy in your crib and quickly close the door to your room.  You take about 5-10 minutes (sometimes a bit longer) to get settled, but then you fall asleep.  It’s fun for us to watch you “get settled” via the video monitor.  You’ll gather all of your blankets (and sometimes your little pillow) and bury your head in them with your little booty up in the air, you’ll toss and turn until your “nest” is just right, then you fall asleep.  You usually fall asleep on your side on top of all of your blankets, so we’ll cover you up before we go to bed.

Current “Loves”

You are quite an adrenaline junkie!  You LOVE spinning, jumping, swinging, climbing, and anything going fast.  It’s fun to watch and listen to you squeal with delight!  It makes your mama kind of nervous, but daddy loves it!  

Climbing on the table at Debra’s house…

You LOVE upbeat music on tv or movies (Sid the Science Kid, Veggie Tales Princess and the Pop Star, I’ve Got a Dream from Tangled, etc.).  You stand in the middle of the living room and dance, twirl, clap, and sing to the music.  Very cute!

You absolutely LOVE being outside!  Thankfully we live in a climate where you can spend plenty of time in the great outdoors.  It is definitely part of your daily routine to play in the yard—you explore, play with the dogs, walk around with your arms up and chatting about who-knows-what.  It is seriously too cute!

You LOVE your stuffed animals and your baby doll.  It’s so sweet for us to watch you give them hugs and kisses without our prodding.  Hopefully you’ve picked that up from being in such a loving family.

Tucking Pooh in...

Giving Pooh a hug...

You LOVE for your Daddy to “get” you.  You will go into another room and call for him.  When he comes to “get” you, you will squeal and dive into a pillow (or one of the dog beds on the floor) and wait for him to tickle you.

You LOVE all things Elmo.  Because of generous family members, you now have an Elmo chair, Elmo slippers, and an Elmo remote control.  If we pass by the Elmo toys at Target, you just have to stop and play with them (luckily you don’t throw a fit when we don’t purchase them!).

You still LOVE to play inside the dog kennels.  You take a toy or a snack into one of the kennels and pull the door closed.  Too funny!

With your baby doll…

With a snack (banana)…

You’ve only been sick a couple of times, but you LOVE taking medicine from a medicine dropper.  It certainly makes it easy for us to administer the medication, but it’s kind of quirky that you love the dropper so much!

You LOVE books!  You will bring us a book, turn around to sit in our lap, and wait for the story to begin!  You have certain go-to books: The Little Red Hen (you love the repetition and rhyming in it), The Jolly Barnyard (you love seeing all of the animals and waiting for us to make the animal noises), The Baby Animal Sounds book (you love to push the button that corresponds with the animal on the page).

You LOVE the movie Tangled.  You get very involved in the movie and will dance and sing along with the songs, clap when good things happen, etc.  It’s a bit of an obsession, really. J

You still LOVE your pacifier. We now only make it available to you during nap time, night time, or car seat time, and you don’t seem to mind that it’s not always there.  Maybe that means it won’t be too hard to wean you from it completely one day…

You absolutely LOVE your grandparents!  You get to see Grandma every Thursday evening while mommy and daddy go to small group.  And you get to see Grandpa most every week as well.  Nina lives further away, but you love talking to her on the phone and seeing her when she comes to visit. 

Some Firsts
You had some “firsts” during this time of your life…

First Halloween:

First Thanksgiving:

First Christmas as a Huss:

First family wedding (your Uncle Josh married Aunt Katy):

First Texans home game (and playing on the field after the game):

We love you, sweet girl (our “little bird” or “little lovie”)!  You bring so much JOY to our lives!