Thursday, September 24, 2009

Summer 2009

This summer has come and gone. Jenna is now 6 months, and Joshua is our little man at 3 years & 4 months old. Jared and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary in June, see pic above. Here's a quick pictorial summary of the summer of 09...

Joshua started playing soccer this summer, and loved it!

Jenna's first time in a pool!

We enjoyed our family vacation in Holland, Michigan!

4th of July - our traditional morning at the parade!

We spent some time with the great-grandmothers from Wisconsin. Both Grandmas are meeting Jenna for the first time in these pics.

Our summer wouldn't be complete without our trip to Brookfield Zoo!

Joshua discovered his shadow when we spent a morning walking through Busse Woods!

Summer fun with our friends from playgroup - chillin' at Woodfield Mall.

Joshua with BFF, Nathan.

The ladies from my Moms' Group at our group breakfast.

And capping off the summer by reigning in the new football season - GO PACK!

Hope you enjoyed the pics.

With 2 kids, it's been difficult to find the time to blog, let alone get things done around the house. But, it has been a great summer, and we've made many wonderful memories as a family!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Josh & Jenna video clip

Here's a cute video clip of Joshua making Jenna laugh!

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Holy Moment on the 4th of July

This is my first 4th of July as a United States citizen! It doesn't feel any different - I've always felt like an honorary American. I wore the same t-shirt that I wore last year, but technically, it makes more sense this year. It says "Proud to be an American". And I am! I am also very blessed. To see God's hand in my whole journey towards living a life here in the States, I am a testament to His faithfulness.

This year's 4th of July was no different from any other. We went to the parade in the morning with some friends. Joshua had a blast picking up candy as the parade walkers threw them to the ground (some just seem to enjoy whacking Tootsie Rolls at innocent bystanders!). Even though it was drizzling during the parade, it did not damper the spirits of these proud Americans! Following the parade, we went to a friend's house for a BBQ, and later that evening, we went to the festival right down the street from us. Very typical of our annual activities on the 4th!

However, my holy moment came later that night during the fireworks. We have an awesome view of the fireworks from our bedroom window. We could literally lay in bed and watch the whole fanfare! This year, we wanted Joshua to enjoy it with us. We woke him up at 9:50pm since the fireworks started at 10. Jenna was asleep in her crib, so it was just the 3 of us on our bed. We turned the lights off, and Jared had Joshua in his lap. I was sitting behind them, close enough that I could wrap my arms around my boys. As the fireworks started and lit up the night-time sky with dazzling colors and spectacular displays of light explosions, my eyes became fixed on the silhouette of Jared and Joshua instead. I don't know what it was (probably the Holy Spirit!), but I started tearing up. I felt like the richest, most blessed person on the face of the earth. Here, I have my beloved husband and son, and just a feet away, a beautiful baby girl sleeping soundly in her crib. Something inside me stirred, and I desperately wanted to capture that moment and etch it into my memory and my soul. In this beautiful scene of my family and the fireworks in the background, I felt like God was showing me how much He loved me. I could almost hear Him say, "See these good and perfect gifts...see Jared, Joshua, and've prayed about this your whole life, and here before you is your heart's desire - a family of your own, to love, and to be loved by. Love them well, as I love you. Enjoy them, cherish them...relish in my goodness to you because I love you." As I stared at Jared and Joshua, and the twinkling in Joshua's eyes as he oohed and aahed at the fireworks dancing in the sky, and Jared held him close, head touching head, I closed my eyes and took a mental picture to store in my memory...and prayed wholeheartedly that I would remember this picture forever. I prayed a prayer of heartfelt gratitude to God who continues to lavish me with perfect gifts.

Yes, the 4th of July is a celebration of freedom. I celebrate the One who gives this freedom to us!

Our first 4th of July as a family of 4!

Jenna's first 4th of July
My most loved treasures and blessings in the whole world - Jenna, Jared, & Joshua!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Joshua is 3 today!

Our baby boy is 3 today, and we had quite the weekend of birthday festivities and celebrations! I'll summarize the events in 3 parts:

Part 1 - Birthday Party at Nibbles Play Cafe on Friday, May 22nd.
Joshua had a fun time with his little friends at Nibbles. It was very stress-free for me (definitely the way to go!), and the kids all seem to have a good time. They were able to play in the different "play areas", had a pizza lunch, and then, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Joshua. All of which took place before 12pm!
Joshua loved his presents, especially the Geo Trax ones! He was in 7th heaven, and was only too eager to put the tracks together and start playing with the trains!

Part 2: Day at the zoo on Monday, May 25th (Memorial Day)
I don't know how it happened, but it is now a tradition that we go to the Brookfield Zoo as part of Joshua's birthday festivities. It's so amazing to see how much he has grown, and is really appreciating the animals, and able to identify them and take an interest in them. This is also Jenna's first visit to the zoo!

We've always packed a picnic lunch. After we ate, Joshua played on some of the playground equipment. To our surprise, and much to my delight, he was really good at the mini rock-climbing wall! He scurried up there in no time, and when he reached the top, he'd raise his arms in the air and jump up and down, saying "Yeah!". He was really proud of himself. Now, I need to go find my old harness and dust it off. Finally, I may be able to go rock climbing with someone again!

After the zoo, we went back to Mimi and Papa's and continued the birthday celebrations. Jane had made a train cake for Joshua's birthday (she's so talented!). After the cookout of brats (yum!), we had the cake, and Joshua opened his presents from the grandparents.

Part 3: Bowling at Pinstripes today, May 26th, Joshua's actual birthday!
Jared was able to take the morning off, and we went to Pinstripes so that Joshua could bowl. He had his "Birthday Boy" t-shirt on, and enjoyed 2 games of bowling. After which, we went to McDonald's for lunch. Of course, the birthday boy had a Happy Meal! Joshua was so patient, because he didn't open his presents from us till after Jared got home from work! We had to save the best present for last! Joshua got a brand new bike for his birthday! We're looking forward to teaching him how to ride a bike this summer!

He wanted to clean - I didn't make him!

A tender moment between Joshua and Jenna.
Jared and I were looking through Joshua's baby pictures later that night. Gosh, it seems like only yesterday that he was born. Another year older, another year closer to letting go. I pray that I will relish these toddler years...oops, I mean preschool years (yikes!). I'm so thankful that I get to stay home right now and spend these crucial, growing up years with Joshua. Every hug, every glance, every smile, leaves an impression on my heart. He is such a blessing and joy in our lives. We can't imagine life without him. We love you, Joshua! With all our hearts!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Measure of a Mother's Love...

there is none! I love my children to pieces, and there is nothing I wouldn't do for Joshua and Jenna. As I gaze at them, play with them, and soak in the awesomeness of being here, present, engaged, and in love with them, I am in total gratitude to our God who has blessed me with the perfect gift who are Josh and Jenna. Needless to say, I had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Little Spring Flower

We got this second-hand outfit from a friend of Jared's aunt, and I thought it was the cutest little thing! It was actually a little tight on Jenna, but I just had to put her in it. Then, I remembered my sister, Yvette, putting Joshua in a popcorn bowl when he was a newborn. So, here's the result of me being bored, and trying to be creative at the same time. (Jenna, please forgive me, but you look so cute!)

Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, March 30, 2009

It happened to us!

You know how you hear stories of how God provided for people in miraculous ways? The stories are cool, often dramatic, and sometimes they give you the goosebumps. And you think "That's great! God is good. But that sort of thing will never, ever happen to me."

"Oh ye of little me work my miracle in your life." - Love, God.

So, the Monday after we brought Jenna home, Jared's car died. Yes, the purple Malibu (it's aubergine - sounds classier, but now that it's dead, I can call it purple). Jared knows this, but I haven't been the biggest fan of that car. So, I'm not the least surprised that it died when it did. We had invested a lot of money into its plethora of mechanical problems, to the point where I'm sure we could have bought another used car. Still, we had hoped that it would serve its transportational purposes for a little while longer. But that was not to be. After taking it in to the shop and told that it would cost us over $3,000 to fix it, we decided it wasn't worth it, and said our final goodbye. It now sits somewhere in the parking lot at Willow, its fate in the hands of the people in the Cars Ministry (well, at least it'll help us out with our taxes!).

Now that we were down to one car, we were a little anxious, but not too much. We figured that since I'll be home-bound for 6 weeks to recover from my c-section, Jared could use my Toyota. We had time to figure out what to do. So, it wasn't too inconvenient. Still, there was a nagging thought in our minds "what are we going to do?". That Monday night, we both felt an impression on our hearts that we should pray about this - not just pray about the situation, but to pray boldly and specifically. Jared suggested that we commit to praying for a whole month, and just allow God to work and see how He will provide for us. I don't think we've ever done this before. But that night before bed, we prayed specifically that God would provide us with a minivan, because, logically, that would be the next type of vehicle for our family. We prayed the same kind of prayer again the next day.

Wednesday morning, Jared took my mom to the airport - she was leaving for home after being with us for 4 weeks. It was an emotional morning for me as I said my goodbye to her. Jared came home a few hours later, and I was still pretty teary-eyed. When he saw me, he handed me his cell phone and said that I had to listen to a voicemail that he had received. I didn't want to, I was just not in the mood, but he was adamant. He had received this message while he was at the airport: it was a lady from a car dealership in Algonquin. She said that this was not a joke, but someone had anonymously purchased a car for us, and all we had to do is come in to sign some papers, and we could drive the car home. Everything had been paid for - taxes, title, etc. At this point, my mouth dropped, and I started bawling! I went from sadness to overwhelming joy and astonishment! What an emotional rollercoaster, and I was an emotional wreck! Both Jared and I couldn't believe it. How could this be? God had answered our prayers, and it was only 2 days after we decided to pray boldly for Him to provide for us. Needless to say, we were both quite speechless for a while. I kept thinking "No way, no way. Is this for real??" Jared called the lady back, and it became a reality. Someone had bought us a car!! WOW!! God heard our prayers, and provided for us! How cool is that!?!? We feel so blessed and are so thankful to God and to whoever it is that did this incredibly generous act of kindness. I will hold on to this experience for a long, long time! What a lesson for me to learn - that nothing is impossible with God. I just need to get better at trusting Him and have faith that He will provide for us. This car will be a tangible reminder of what God has done!

He didn't give us the minivan that we prayed for, but He did bless us with a 99 Land Rover (I didn't even know what a Land Rover was until now).

So, does God listen to our prayers? Does He still work miracles? Does He love us that much to lavish us with gifts, not because we deserve it (because we don't), but because He wants to?


May our God story be an encouragement to you. So, pray boldly!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jenna is here!

Jared and I are pleased to introduce our daughter, Jenna Elizabeth Ahrens, to you! She was born on March 7 at 6:25am. She weighed in at 7 lbs 15 oz, and measured 20.5 inches.

Jenna will be 2 weeks old tomorrow - it's amazing how time flies! Before more time passes, here is an account of Jenna's birth:

Thursday, March 5 - I went in for my 39 week appointment, and Dr. Keith said that I was 4 cm dilated (Praise God! I'd been waiting for this for a long time!). She said that I could check myself in to the hospital the next day at 4pm (unless things progress overnight, in which case, I'll be at Good Shepherd a lot sooner...but this didn't happen). She was going to break my water then to begin the labor process, and hopefully I'll be able to do a VBAC as I had intended.

Friday, March 6 - Both Jared and I were extremely excited! We were hoping to have the baby that day (03/06/09 had a nice ring to it!). Before we went to the hospital, we dropped Joshua off at Elmhurst, for he was to spend the weekend with Jared's parents. It was an emotional time for me (what's new?), as I realized at that moment of saying goodbye to Joshua, it would be the last time that we would be a family of 3. Things will be different the next time we see him. We even took one last picture of the 3 of us. Knowing that he was in good hands, we headed off to Good Shepherd.

We checked in at 4pm, and I was given the lovely hospital gown to put on, and was strapped to all these monitors. The nurse started an IV, and at 5pm, Dr. Keith came in and broke my water. So then, we played the waiting game. We had an awesome nurse, Dawn, who is a Christian and we were able to have some great conversations with her (in fact, that's one of the reasons why we chose to go back to GS because we loved the staff there. They're just very personable, and have a way of making us feel important, like we were the only ones there!). Anyway, I started to feel contractions - I know that I've mentioned in the past to most of you that I don't know what contractions feel like. Well, now I do. Not pleasant at all. Dr. Keith had told me that I could get an epidural at anytime. Being the whus that I am, and having stated that I don't need to be a hero, I decided to get the epidural sooner than later. By 7:30pm, the anaesthesiologist had come and gone, and I was able to relax and even get some shut eye. Periodically, Dr. Keith would come in to check my cervix to see if dilation had occurred. At 11:30pm, I was dilated to 8cm and 100% effaced. A good sign, and I was praying that everything would move fast now, and that I'll be able to deliver soon (even though it didn't look like we'd have an 03/06/09 baby - oh well!).

Saturday, March 7 - It was difficult trying to fall asleep because the nurse would come every half hour to help me turn to my other side, so that the epidural would work on both sides of my lower extremities. Also, I was anxious to see how far along I'd be. When 5am rolled around, I was getting discouraged because I was still at 8cm. At 6am, Dr. Keith said that the baby's head is having difficulty dropping because it was just too big for my small pelvic cavity. If I waited too long, the baby could go into fetal distress. Although I really wanted to try a VBAC, I was okay having another C-section. I just wanted the baby to be healthy. So, I consented to having a c-section. Everyone on staff was very encouraging and said that I had made a valiant effort to try the VBAC. I'm just so thankful for modern science and technology - that we have the resources available to help both my babies. I shudder to think what would happen if we didn't have the option of a c-section. Soon after I gave my consent, both Jared and I were prepped for surgery. Jared was by my side. I have to admit, I was scared - I don't know why. It's not like I haven't been through this before. My hormones were out of control! I was in tears one minute, and then in full-out excitement the next. I won't go into details about the surgery. Let's just say that I could feel everything (I would have rather that they knocked me out!).

At 6:25am, Jenna was born. I heard a cry, and we also heard Dr. Keith say something like "Whoa! You're a lot bigger than we all expected!". I vaguely remember seeing her, and soon after, the drugs really kicked in, and before I knew it, I was in the recovery room.

The nurse brought Jenna to our postpartum room (341) about an hour after surgery. When I held her in my arms for the first time, I was filled with so much love for this tiny human being whom I had just met. How is this possible? How is it that I am ready to do anything for her? To lay down my own life for her? Again, I'm reminded of how much our great God loves us. And how I feel about Jenna is but a fraction of how God loves us. Amazing!

After 5 days in the hospital, we were able to bring Jenna home. So, there you have it! Jenna is here. We are now a family of 4. And we are so blessed!

Monday, February 16, 2009

10 Reasons

10 Reasons How I Know I'm Ready for Baby Girl to Come:

1. When my "innie" belly button becomes and "outie".

2. When I need to take a break and sit down in the middle of taking a shower (I need one of those geriatric chairs in there!).

3. When my maternity clothes don't fit me anymore, and I feel more comfortable in Jared's t-shirts and sweatpants (with cuffs rolled up, of course!).

4. When I can't even put my socks on without breaking a sweat.

5. When I start calling Baby by her full name, as if she's in trouble, because her stretching and kicking is causing me pain and discomfort.

6. When I get overly creative about using my toes to reach and grab for things because I just can't be bothered to sit or stand up.

7. When I lay in bed for 5 minutes trying to decide if I should get up and pee, or if I can try to hold it, because the whole ordeal just takes too much effort!

8. When I'm IMing my friends overseas in the middle of the night because I can't sleep.

9. When I'm wishing that the dog or my 2-year-old would be able to make me a cup of tea.

10. When I'm up in the middle of the night coming up with this list and blogging about it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baby's "walls"

Since Baby Girl will be in our bedroom, it will be a little tight, so we've had to get creative! She has 2 walls (yes, walls) that's hers. This first wall is ready for her (see pic)'s where her bassinette is. The other wall is where her changing table is, but the wall itself is awaiting a shelf to be put up and other decorative accessories. Will take a pic when this is done. We also managed to put the glider and ottoman in our room. It's currently wedged in the corner between her 2 walls. Unfortunately, it's in front of our closet. So, it will be interesting getting to our clothes!

Well, at least she's got somewhere to sleep!