Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finally - the vacation picture post!

Finally, a few shots from our trip to Indiana and Chicago!  Figured I better at least post them before I have more to post from Phoenix next week!

On Monday we visited the small local zoo.  Beth and her kids came up and met us!  Love blogger meet-ups!

Jack, M, and JP.  JP was not too into getting a photo!

Fighting over who gets their hand pecked by a giant emu.
On Tuesday we went down to Indy to meet a high school friend of mine and my cousin at a baseball game!

Massive cheese

Rolling down the hill, which the security nazi kept yelling at us for.  It's the LAWN seats!

Go Indians!
The next day we visited Great Grandma...

Then the climax of the week - the trip to the "big city!"

"Howdy Pard!" ~ Lego Woody

Lego Darth

That's a real background! Totally looks like a green screen!

Go Cubbies!

Future Chicago fireman?
Mastering the art of chopsticks.  He's a natural.

Lake view

View from the top of the Hancock Building


Top of the Navy Pier ferris wheel!
And finally, farm day!  I'm so honored that this was one of the top 5 days of M's life.  Although I'm not so naive as to think it was because she got to hang out with ME!  I think it had more to do with the little oinking creatures...

Some of the girls were a little shy...

...and some jumped right in!

But not to be outdone...

Ok, this is probaby pig #312387 that she held.  And yes...she's kissing it.

The piggy barn

Seriously...she was fearless

Grampa Farmer Lehe.  Also known to some of you as Representative Lehe!

Getting their tractor licenses.  They'll be haulin' beans by harvest.

He used to be able to stand upright in this.  *sad face*

Goat feeding

Blogger meet-up!  Megan, Beth, me, and Jenny!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vacation EnviroBible School

I had two other posts in my head that I was debating on writing up today, including a fun picture post about our trip to Indiana.  Until I picked up Jack from bible school.  And got very, very angry.

We all loved our church's bible school last year.  They use a curriculum that apparently protestant churches also use, because I've seen it advertised in front of protestant churches.  However, last year, they still managed to make it very Catholic-specific.  This year they made it religion-specific too.  Unfortunately the religion they have chosen is Environmentalism.

Is it a wonder we haven't actually attended this church in probably 6 months?  We're still officially registered there, but after several protestant-type rituals were instated (another post in itself), we decided to stop going to mass there.  Not to mention the fighting I had to do when I was the leader of the pro-life committee.  Fighting.  PRO-LIFE committee.  Need I say more?

In fact, I recently learned that the current pro-life director there was refused a table at the church's summer carnival by the carnival director!!  He told her it was an event for the whole community, so she couldn't have a pro-life exhibit!!  Nevermind that the carnival is called HOLY FAMILY Summerfest.  And that the proceeds benefit HOLY FAMILY.  It's not called Newark, Publicly-Funded Summerfest (which, ironically, Delaware Right to Life is allowed to exhibit at!)!!  Thankfully, our priest (surprisingly) went to bat for the committee and got us a able.  But I digress...

Back to V(E)BS.  This is the first V(E)BS since a nun (non-habit-wearing, liberal nun) took over the Religious Ed department at our church.  Last year's, like I said, was more Catholic-centered and mainly just fun for the kids, while learning some bible stories.  Little did I know that this year we'd be entering the realm of secular enviro-craziness at bible school.

At the end of every day, the children and leaders gather in the church hall for an end-of-day ceremony type thing where they sing some songs, get a little lesson, and watch a slideshow of pictures from the day.  Well today's started out like any other.  Until un-nun starts blathering about the environment.  My ears perked up to see where this was going.  Then she starts talking about St. Francis, and I thought, "Ok, I'm on board with that.  We are called to be stewards of the Earth, after all." didn't stop at being stewards.  She started rambling on about specifics, like recycling (ok, that's good), using plastic water bottles (ok, not so bad), lecturing your parents about using only cold water in the washer (wait a tick...), and talking to your parents about biking and carpooling to work (is Nancy Pelosi now the religious ed director at Holy Family?).  I was *this close* to raising my hand and asking her if she could address the effects of artificial and chemical birth control on the environment (and humans, for that matter).

Then she starts talking about some St. Francis pledge that they're sending home with the kids.  She literally said, "St. Francis talked about recycling."  Ummm...did recycling exist during St. Francis' time?  I'm no historian, but....ok.

So I pick up Jack and he hands me his St. Francis pledge (I'm already furious. It may seem like I'm overreacting, but there was far more discussed than what I'm remembering right now).  It's distributed by the Catholic Climate Covenant.  The title at the top says, "Take ACTION! Reduce your carbon footprint!"  Sounds fishy to me.  I call Mike.  He looks it up online.  Sure enough...a bunch of liberal enviro-blather.

Oookkkaaayyy.  Now I'm really angry.  Here's the thing:  I'm totally fine with talking about being stewards of the Earth.  Don't be wasteful.  Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.  Don't litter.  Be kind to animals (except when you're hungry.  Come on, just kidding!).  But here are a few of the bullet points from this worksheet (the "eye-opener" for the day, that kids are told to share with their parents at home):
  • Turn off lights and appliances when you leave the room (fine, you're saving energy)
  • Unplug your cell phone when it's charged (ditto above)
  • Replace incadescent light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs (wait, this sounds like that Big Brother policy they're pushing in Congress.  Not to mention, those "energy-efficient" bulbs are FULL of mercury.)
  • Turn off water when shaving, brushing teeth, etc. (fine, don't be wasteful, I'm on board)
  • Buy local and/or organic food (don't even get me started on the organic lie)
  • Organize an environmental awareness day at your church or school (should we preach stewardship or pseudo-science?)
  • Eat less meat: the UN concludes that "the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems," including climate change
And there it is..."climate change."  I knew there was an agenda here.  And referencing the UN?  Clearly this is about a liberal agenda...not St. Francis.

Oh, and one of my favorite bullet points says this, "Write to your lawmakers and elected officials and urge them to act with urgency and put care for Creation, the poor, and the common good ahead of short-term special interests."  Besides my hatred of the term "common good" (it's so often misconstrued in horrid ways and used to justify moral evils, most commonly abortion), I find it ironic that they're calling for children to write their legislators about environmental issues.  However, in my experience, getting permission in church to urge people to write their legislators on life issues is often a losing battle.  Interesting priorities.  No mention of the sanctity of human life, but of course we have to respect the sanctity of the environmental agenda.

This whole St. Francis pledge thing can be found at the Catholic Climate Covenant's website.  Not surprisingly, you'll find all the usual liberal policies.  Seriously.  Jack brought this home.  He's FIVE.

Again, and I can't stress enough, I'm fine with the preaching of stewardship and I love St. Francis.  But this didn't even come out of the bible school curriculum that they're using!  It's clearly this un-nun's little pet project that she wants to push onto everyone without their consent.  I told my husband, they should rename vacation bible school, "Vacation Environmental Reeducation Camp."

The main concern is that this is the entirely wrong venue for this little project.  It's literally something they could have learned (and certainly do) in public school!  It's shoved down kids' throats at public schools and secular institutions...why are they getting it in church too?!?  Mike said it reminded him of his environmental law classes - at a secular college!!

Is this really what is lacking from our young peoples' catechesis??  Shouldn't we leave the enviro-craziness to our secular schools and preach in church what kids aren't hearing elsewhere?  Things like virtues, the sacraments (mainly the Eucharist), the Catechism, the BIBLE, for crying out loud?

Mike and I are going to discuss this in more detail tonight and yes, probably go into the church office and talk to the priest (yep, we're those people.  Poor Jack).  He'll get an earful about why we haven't attended their church in months, and why we most likely won't again.  And obviously why Jack won't attend VBS there in the future.

Seriously...please start teaching the Catholic religion at church again.  Because that's the only place they're going to hear about it.  Leave the worship of Gaia to the nuts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's a...

BOY!!!  Yep...another one!  I was sure I was going to have the first girl on both mine and Mike's side!  Eh well...Jack wanted a brother and apparently he does always get what he wants!  And he says the next one will be a girl, so....

I am so totally relieved.  You all know I have been a nervous wreck, even with my weekly heartbeat checks.  I guess the heartbeat just tells me the baby is there, but doesn't necessarily let me know that everything is ok.  The closer today's u/s got, the more nervous I got.  Not for any reason except that the last one wasn't such great news.  But according to today's ultrasound, everything is A-OK!  Except that I have placenta previa.  Which, in the grand scheme of things, I'll take it.  They're bringing me back in a month and there's an 80% chance it will resolve itself by then.  Even if it never moves, the worst that could happen is that I need a c-section.  I never want to have a c-section, but as long as my baby is healthy, it's the least I'll worry about!  Any prayers that it moves would be appreciated, but like I said, I'll take it over the news I got last time!

In fact, the doctor told me that the incident of "vanishing twin" happens with 32% of pregnancies, which I thought was amazingly high.  And she said that's only the percentage they know about.  Most likely many of these instances are unknown because people don't have a reason to have an early term ultrasound, so the actual percentage is probably much higher than that!

I was going to post an ultrasound pic, but I remember how those made me feel for the last 4 years.  Maybe another time.  Aaahh!!  I love this kid so much!!

**The first time I posted this, I forgot to thank Jesus and Mary for a healthy baby, and for allowing me to finally be happy and relaxed about this pregnancy!  Thank you, Lord!!!  And I totally credit Saints Gianna and Rose for this pregnancy.  Thanks to them too, for interceding on my behalf!

And apologies for not having commented on blogs in awhile.  I was out of town last week, and still need to post a bunch of pictures from our active week in Indiana!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

But twins made so much sense

I wrote this awhile ago, intending to post it then, but decided to wait till my emotions leveled off a bit.

Like I said in my last post, my emotions have been all over the place since we found out about the loss of our baby.  I keep trying to figure it out (an exercise in futility, I know) because twins just MADE SENSE this time around.  I never thought of myself as a mom of multiples.  Never thought I could hack it.  But when we found out, it really seemed like the stars had aligned for this situation.

First and mainly, because of the failed adoption.  Again...not that our having twins was a "special present" for offering to save a baby from abortion.  But we had anticipated the possibility of raising non-biological twins had the birthmother chosen life, and it was something we were excited about.  Then we found out we were having twins biologically and it just seemed like, we were supposed to have two babies!

Also, I had always assumed I'd have three babies by two coming at the same time - just made sense.

Jack starts kindergarten full day in the fall, so I'd have more time to spend with the babies, and would be able to handle it better.

My mom has a flexible job where she's able to take some time off and had planned to come out for a couple of months after the babies were born.

The list goes on.

On the other hand, maybe I was right in the first place - I'm not cut out for multiples.

Or maybe God gave me twins in the first place because He knew He was going to take one, and He actually did me a favor.

Or, now that I know I can get pregnant again, maybe the next one will come in record time, almost like twins anyway!

Argh!  I know I can't know God's plan.  Duh.  And trying to figure it out is futile.  But I'm human and can't help but try.  Or at least agonize over the state of events and "what-ifs."  I probably sound crazy.  Thanks for all your prayers and support.  I couldn't get through all this without you ladies!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Heard again...

The sweet sound of Baby Collins #2's heart beating! I'm driving myself batty over here!! Someone talk me down off this ledge! The docs feel great about the pregnancy. I just worry like crazy. I have a Level 2 ultrasound when I get back from Indiana. They'll be able to see more detail. It's just protocol for any "not completely normal" pregnancy (which includes losing a twin obviously) but doc told me today he has NO reason to be worried. I always said I wouldn't find out the sex but Mike and I are a little surprised-out for this pregnancy already. What do you all think?? Find out or no???

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Headin' to Hoosierland

FINALLY!  We're heading west on Saturday for a week in the Heartland.  I need some time away!  Nothing spectacular, just spending a week at my parents' house.  But it's always great to get away from "real life" sometimes.  Plus I need some actual relaxation, and my mom is a big Jack-relief for me.  I've been exhausted lately.  And my mom has a pool!  Woot woot!  It's a 12 hour drive, but thank God Jack is an amazing traveler!

We also have plans to head up to Chicago mid-week...back to our old stomping grounds (where Mike & I met).  Can't wait to get some good ol' Chicago style pizza!  Mmmmm!

Oh, and sidenote, if you could say a prayer for me, I have my weekly heartbeat check tomorrow afternoon.  I have no reason to be concerned, but it's always a little nerve-wracking.  I'll officially be 15 weeks!! Amen!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stroller advice?

I'm driving myself bananas researching strollers. I was ignorantly blissful when I had Jack.  Someone told me I needed this great thing called a "travel system" so I told my mom that was the thing to get us!  No research...just got one.  Well, now that I'm a little more seasoned, I want something a little nicer that runs more smoothly than my old Graco travel system.  I want to keep the carrier/carseat, though, so I want a stroller that can universally adapt to any infant car seat.  I want a sleeker, more modern design, without the European price point!  Also looking for minor things like adjustable handlebar, large storage basket, ideally a cupholder or snack tray.  I'm researching, and am leaning towards a couple, although nothing has everything that I ideally want in a stroller.  Anyone have any of these and can tell me what you think of them?  Or do you have anything different that I absolutely must have?

The First Years Wave Stroller, Black/GreenHauck Malibu Stroller - PlumDream On Me Acrobat, Multi Terrain Stroller and Bassinet, Black

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The most beautiful sound in the world

Is an unborn baby's heartbeat.  And I heard one today.  PRAISE GOD.  I have been a basketcase since my last ultrasound, needlessly worrying about the other baby.  I don't look big enough.  I don't feel sick enough.  I haven't felt a kick yet.  Just crazy thoughts going through my head, when I know in my heart that everything I'm feeling (or not feeling) is completely normal at that stage.

So on top of the worry I already had, it took a good minute or two (I don't have a good mind was somewhere outside the space/time continuum) for her to find the heartbeat.  It was the LONGEST minute(s) of my life.  I was praying so hard, trying to hold back tears.  She told me that at 12-13 weeks, it typically takes longer to find.  Which honestly, I already knew going in.  It's just agonizing when you're waiting.

Turns out my uterus is bigger than she expected and the little runt was higher up than where she was looking.  When she did find it, it was a good, strong 146.  Phew!  As soon as she said, "There it is," and I heard it, the floodgates opened up.  I couldn't help it.  I was so emotional.  I had just had a bad feeling going the feeling I had before the ultrasound, although I couldn't tell if it was a legitimate "bad feeling" or just paranoia because of losing the twin.  I told the doctor, "That was the longest minute of my life."  She said, "Mine too!"  WHAT?!?  Don't tell me that!!!

But God bless my doctor.  She knows how traumatized and emotional I am, and she'd usually bring me back in 4 weeks.  But she's allowing me to come in weekly for the next four weeks just so I can hear the heartbeat and feel at ease.  I'm soooo relieved!  She also said I'm exactly the right size for 13+ weeks.  Big, in fact, thanks to my super-human uterus, apparently.

So for the next week I'm going to try my hardest to enjoy the sound I heard this morning and trust that God is taking care of my little angel.