Saturday, December 31, 2011

11 about 2011

What a great year!  New Year's always serves as a great time for reflecting... Here's a little recap of our 2011:

11.  Louisiana Tech made it to the Poinsettia Bowl!  It was such a good game (although we were robbed!).  We are both so proud to be alumni of such an incredible school, and we were super happy to cheer on our Dawgs in this huge game for them!

10.  I was lucky enough to be able to plan and chaperone the trip to Washington DC for my students again this year.  It is such a great trip and I am so grateful to be able to learn about our country's history in such a hands-on way.  Plus, I made some great memories with my kids :)

9.  Hunter went to the NRA conference in Pittsburgh with my dad and had a blast.  He's gotten really interested in guns and his hobby is growing.  We finally broke down and bought the safe this year for all of his toys, and he is even in the process of building one right now.

He also got to meet Dustin Ellerman, the winner of Top Shot this past season.  Pretty awesome
8.  SO many of our friends got married this year!  Seriously, between March, April, and May we had 6 weddings and the closest one was in Lake Charles.  We had another spurt this past month.  It was just crazy!  We couldn't make it to all of them, but we were just so happy for all of our friends making this big step!

7.  The biggie of those weddings for us was Hunter's middle brother, Blaine's.  He and his now wife Lindsey got married at the end of May and it was absolutely beautiful.  We're so happy to have her in the family (especially me!  Another girl--and one that I like at that = big score!)

6.  We found out I was pregnant in February!  After talking about it for a while, we finally decided we were ready to take the plunge (so we thought--are you really ever ready?!).  

5. We also had SO many of our friends get pregnant and/or have babies this year!  Among those were some of our absolute best friends.  I'm so excited for our kids to grow up together and the memories we will get to make as families.

My dear friend, Melissa had this little cutie in September!  
My best friend Rachel, 7 months preggo!  She's expecting a sweet boy at the end of February (he and Bella are already betrothed...ha!)
My beautiful friend, Shellye at 30 weeks!  She's also expecting a sweet little man at the beginning of March!

4.  After learning we would be parents soon, we decided that it was in the best interest of our family for me to stay home with our child.  So in May, I turned in my resignation as a teacher.  It was a difficult decision and it was hard for me not to go back in August.  I miss my kids and teaching (but not all of the paperwork and red tape...), but I know that my most important job is at home.  Maybe I'll go back one day...who knows.

3.  I had to have my gallbladder removed on December 7.  That made two major surgeries in the scope of 6 weeks--no fun.  But I finally feel good for the first time in a long time.  Between my four scars from that, my long one from my c-section, and stretch marks, I look like Harold attacked me with his purple crayon...

2.  We celebrated four beautiful years of marriage.  It's so hard to believe it's already been that long--time really does fly.  I love him more every day, and it so incredible to see how our love has changed and grown since we've become parents together.  

1. Our sweet angel was born on October 25 and our world forever changed.  We are completely in love with our precious loan from God!

Hoping to try this idea for next year.  It will make recapping easier and much more fun!

We're anxious to see what 2012 holds for us!  Ready or not, here it comes!

love, angie

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

 "For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
--Isaiah 9:6

We may not know when Christ was born, but the fact is that HE WAS BORN!  Take time to celebrate and dwell on that fact--and that the world is turning their thoughts to Him!  

love, the newby family

Monday, December 19, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...about Christmas!

I absolutely LOVE sending and receiving Christmas cards!  I can't wait to check the mail every day :)  I usually have a garland strung across the archway and hang them from it, but this year, I wasn't able to get it hung up.  I had to resort to simply taping them to the wall, but I just had to display them.  I love looking at our friends and their families every day--it brings me smiles!
Here was our card this year.  With Bella, I couldn't make my own.  But I was pretty pleased with how they turned out!
They doubled as her birth announcement so this was printed on the back.
Our beautiful 9 foot tree that I love!
I was SO excited when I found this little guy at Hobby Lobby!  It's dinky I know, but it's our LA Tech tree!  Next year, it will be decked out ;)
I love Christmas music.  I would listen to it all year if I wasn't married to a Scrooge who hates it.  He barely lets me listen to it in December.  Sigh...
I love being from Louisiana! (and I miss living there like crazy)

Peppermint and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations, and last year I discovered this unbelievably tasty treat at Chick-Fil-A.  I get one any time I'm in town since they only have them in the winter!  I could seriously eat at least one every day...they are so good!
Another favorite winter treat with my favorite is probably a good thing that they only come around a short time each year!

Day 22

What makes you different from everyone else?
  • I am a self-proclaimed goody two shoes and proud of it.  
  • I love to read and write--when it's something of my choosing.  
  • I love teaching, any subject matter to any age person (even those hormonal teenagers).  
  • I've only been in love once; I fell in love at 16 and married him--and I don't ever plan on letting him go.  
  • I love word and trivia games; I'm the nerd who DVRs "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy".
  • I'd rather be alone or with a small group of close friends than out with the party crowd.  
  • I have always enjoyed the company of people who are older than I am--sometimes quite a bit older.  We went to Alaska with my parents and two couples a little older than them, and we loved their company and sharing in their wisdom.
  • I am usually right.  I know that sounds haughty, but if I'm willing to argue my point, I really am usually right.  Just ask my family.
  • I have exceptional hearing and I can listen to multiple conversations at the same time.  Nice skill for teaching and motherhood.
  • I'm just plain weird, and I'm well aware of it.    
Most importantly, I am a God-fearing, Jesus-loving, born again believer, and I was made uniquely in His image.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."  
--1 Peter 2:9

"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
--Romans 12:2

"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:  if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."
--Romans 12:4-8

"For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:8-10

Why do you try so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?

love, angie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gettin' Crafty for Christmas

So I found another adorable idea on Pinterest, and I decided I could do that one for Bella for Christmas!  I've got to stop pinning and actually creating some of it sometimes, ha!  

Here's the first little onesie I made.  I just love it!
I was so pleased with it that I decided to make ones for Aby and Kailyn too!  I inverted their colors so that the two sisters match and they all three coordinate but are a little different.  They're going to wear them for their pictures with Santa next week :)
Evan's little shirt.  Much simpler than the girls, but little boys are much harder to be crafty for!
All four of them together :)  Ready for our pictures with Santa!  Can't wait to put them on them!
I found this little pair of pants in her drawer in the midst of making these shirts and decided I just had to make one to match them!  She's worn this one already, and let me tell you, she was just plum adorable (as always!).
The Christmas cards we made at our Sassy Stampers meeting this month!  Jennifer offered a "Stamp a Stack" where we could pay a certain amount and she had the supplies and the designs--definitely the way for me to go this year!  Mom got to come with me and make some too, and we had a great time.  I was so excited too because I had found the idea on Pinterest to do that cute little tree, but I hadn't even opened the link to find the directions.  So happy Jennifer picked that one!
So this has nothing to do with Christmas, but I was finally able to get her bow hanger hung up this weekend!  I made a ton of these last year for a Women of Faith fundraiser.  I finally made myself go dig through the boxes of them, pick one out, and get it hung up.  Thanks to my dear friend Kristen for painting her name on it so beautifully!
I can't believe Christmas is in a week!  Teachers and students, enjoy your break.  Everybody, squeeze in some rest and reflection as you bustle about getting your last minute things done!

Take time to make something--it's fun, and you get to make memories to go with it!

love, angie

Friday, December 16, 2011

Seven Weeks of Struggles

They tell you that parenthood is hard...  But they don't really tell you how hard it truly is... Or maybe they try, but our joy and naivete blocks out our ability to comprehend...

So the way I "went into labor" (I didn't really know how to word that another way and get my point across clearly...) was dramatic in itself.  One day I go in thinking I still have at least a week.  Turns out I had less than 24 hours.  You can never fully prepare yourself, no matter how hard you try.  But I still felt like the plug on my prep time was yanked out way too soon!

Here are some things I've gone through since we had her:

1.  While we were in the hospital, Arabella had trouble keeping her sugar levels high enough.  So she had to get her heel pricked and an Accucheck done before she ate every time.  She needed to get three good tests in a row before they could stop checking her.  We got two good ones and then she plummeted.  They ended up having to put her on an IV (they literally had to try 10 times before being able to get one started) and we had to spend 24 hours of going to the nursery to feed her and spend time with her.  She couldn't come to our room while she was on the IV--this was a lot harder to go through than we expected.  It wasn't anything major, but it was still stressful and worrisome.  I cannot imagine parents who have to leave their babies in the NICU or have to witness them suffer and worry if they will make it.  It absolutely breaks my heart.  Anywho, the IV did the trick and her levels came up.  She got tested every time she ate in the hospital--we didn't even know if we'd leave on Friday, so nervous about getting that last test result back!  It came back perfect, she ate, and we were out of there!

2.  Also while in the hospital, I had problems of my own.  I have learned that I may be a goody-two-shoes in most aspects of my life, but as a patient, my body likes to make me a trouble-maker.  My blood pressure was still not great--much lower than it had been at the point of delivery, but still not near low enough for my age and health.  Plus my blood counts got extremely low.  I never felt any of the symptoms I was supposed to, but I was white as a ghost.  According to every medical professional I've talked to about it, I should have been so dizzy that I couldn't walk.  My counts got down to 5.9 and I was on the verge of getting a transfusion if they didn't start coming up asap.  When I was discharged that Friday, they were still in the low 6's, but my progress and the way I felt were convincing enough to let the doctor let me go.  This led to multiple drawings of my blood--and I HATE needles...

3.  So people who have children always tell you how you'll never sleep again once you have kids and to enjoy sleeping while you can.  But you don't really appreciate those words.  You don't really understand the severity they are trying to explain to you.  You get SOOOO tired.  This has been especially hard for me because if there is one thing I have always love love loved--it is sleep.  I knew that was going to be one of my hardest things to have to lose; but geezum pete's.  Being a mama is absolutely exhausting.  Fair warning to all of you soon-to-be parents:  the first six weeks are extremely difficult.  And as I'm sure you've heard, you won't be sleeping much once they arrive.

4.  Another one of my struggles during those first few weeks was nursing.  We started out well and I really thought this would work out.  But I found myself getting annoyed and frustrated, usually when it came to feeding time.  It was absolutely exhausting to be the only one who could feed her.  This meant I could get very little to no help during the night; any time we were out somewhere or people were over I had to deal with modesty and privacy; it consumed me.  Plus, at her two week appointment, she hadn't gained enough weight (not even back to her birth weight).  So the Dr. wanted me to see how much I was producing--which turned out to not be enough.  Therefore we had to start supplementing with formula.  Push came to shove and it was just not working out.  So after three very draining weeks, we decided to hang up the towel and switch to formula completely.  That was a mess all on its own too as it turns out that Bella has a very sensitive tummy.  We've landed on the soy formula and things have gotten so much better since.

5.  One night--actually two weeks exactly after I had her--my fantastic husband was kind enough to take me and Bella to my stamp club gathering.  I was so excited to be able to go and we had a great time!  But that night, out of nowhere, I snapped.  At about 3:30 that morning, after she had been just screaming and screaming, I brought her to Hunter and screamed for him to just take her.  I was sobbing, she was sobbing, and he was confused.  Those next days and weeks were really hard.  I struggled with post partum depression--and Hunter was the only one I would talk to (which completely exhausted and worried him).  My sister luckily picked up on my tiny mood changes (I was pretty decent at seeming ok on the outside) and she flew down for an intervention of her own.  It's very real and it's very scary.  I won't go into the details of it here because I don't feel that it's the proper venue to delve into something so personal and internal.  But please please please call your doctor and get help if you start seeing the signs--or husbands, call if you notice your wife's signs but she can't see them for herself.  You'll feel like you're crazy and alone, but you're not.  Nursing turned out to be one of my major triggers.  The hormones and exhaustion that it brought, on top of my struggles with production were enough to send me over the edge.

6.  Sunday, November 20--we had gone to Lake Charles that afternoon/evening for the visitation of the son of a family friend who had passed away.  We went out to eat with my family at Steamboat Bill's and Aby came home with us.  She was supposed to stay with us that week and we would bring her back for Thanksgiving.  We had been planning this for months--her special visit to Gigi's when she was out of school to help take care of Bella.  It was just going to be the three of us and that little girl was beside herself waiting for that trip.  Anyway, we got home and Hunter and our neighbor, Jonathan, starting working on his little POC car, "speed racer".  They took it out for a drive to see if anything would break so that he would know if it was safe to drive to work the next day (he was afraid he had broken an axle).  While they were playing, Brandi (Jonathan's wife) came over to play with Bella :).  The boys came home with a pretty pink present--a nice little ticket he had gotten for peeling out...  Brandi and I went into Bella's room to change her diaper before they went home (and so I could chew Hunter a good one for that ticket!).  While we were standing there, my rib cage started to hurt pretty bad and I could tell I just wasn't feeling well.  So I went and sat next to Aby on the couch.  After about a minute I could tell it was just getting worse so I told Hunter to come take Bella and I stretched out on the couch trying to ease the pain.  Hunter was too busy yakking with Jonathan about the car to really notice that I was slipping fast.  My sister caught my eye and I was able to mouth, "I'm not ok" to her.  Within five minutes of the initial pain, I couldn't breathe and the pain was radiating under my rib cage all the way around me like a donut, and up my spine and into my shoulder blades.  I was terrified.  Michelle rushed Aby with Bella into our bedroom so she didn't see what was going on and get scared.  Thank the Lord Jesus she was there to help us with the kids.  Hunter called 911 and I was taken to the ER by ambulance.  Talk about feeling like time was passing by like molasses...  Both the wait for them to get there and the ride to the hospital felt like an eternity.  Every bump we hit jarred the pain in my body so badly.  It was miserable.  That night I had two EKG's, an x-ray, blood work, oxygen, an IV, sugar levels tested...tons of stuff.  But they couldn't find the cause.  We asked about my gallbladder (Melonie had a similar attack 6 weeks after having Evan and that was the culprit), but the doctor there dismissed it because the bloodwork came back perfect.  They gave me pain medicine and after 4 1/2 hours of absolute misery, the pain finally subsided.  Since they didn't know what was wrong, they sent me home (even though my BP was still very high, I was four weeks post partum, and something was definitely wrong...).

7.  So there I sat, not sure what had happened to me and terrified that it would happen again.  With my history of high BP along with all of the heart troubles in my family, we were worried that it might be something with that.  We still weren't totally convinced it wasn't my gallbladder though.  The EMT had suggested my diaphragm (if I had picked up something too heavy, the nerves are actually affected by those in your shoulders) and my OB had hypothesized my esophagus.  I just knew I didn't want it to happen again.  But on Tuesday, November 29, it did.  It wasn't as quick or intense this time--probably because I could tell what was going on when it started so I didn't get quite as worked up.  I tried sitting up, laying on the couch, taking an asprin.  After about two hours of the pain just getting worse, I gave up and we headed back to the ER.  The same doctor was there and once again didn't know what was going on.  Mom and dad drove over again, this time to help with Bella since we had her with us.  He did a CAT scan this time which revealed a decent sized kidney stone, which he attributed my pain to.  But the stone is still in my kidney and even he admitted that I shouldn't be feeling any pain from it while it's in my kidney. Again we asked about the gallbladder and again he dismissed it.  I was given pain medicine, prescriptions for an antibiotic, and sent home with a referral to a urologist.  When I went in to my PCP to get the referral for insurance purposes, he didn't buy it and highly suspected my gallbladder.  He sent me for an ultrasound that afternoon, and sure enough, mine was full of stones.  It had to come out.

8.  I was released from my C-Section on Tuesday, December 6 and had surgery to remove my gallbladder on Wednesday December 7.  I couldn't eat or drink past midnight the night before--then my surgeon was running late so I didn't even go into the operating room until 4:30 (2 hours late).  I was starving!  When I woke up from the surgery, I again had a reaction to the anesthesia and was throwing up until after midnight.  There was literally nothing left in my stomach--it was miserable.  I also woke up to find out that I had problems with arrythmia during the surgery and once again, my BP was higher than it should have been.  So in came the cardiologist--I guess my body didn't think I had enough doctors yet.  The day after surgery (Thursday), I was only on a liquid diet until my doctor approved of more--he didn't make his rounds until 9:00 that night.  So I had had two bowls of broth, two cups of juice, and five bowls of jello.  That's it since dinner Tuesday night.  I was SO hungry.  He gave Hunter the go ahead to get me a milkshake--I love love love Chick-Fil-A's peppermint chocolate chip shakes, but let me tell you...none has ever tasted as good as that one did that night.  I was supposed to be able to only stay one night in the hospital for monitoring and be released the next day.  That way it could technically be an outpatient surgery.  But with all of my heart problems, I was hooked up to a monitor and kept another night.  So we didn't get to go home until 5:00 Friday evening.  We were so tired of being up there.  Thank the Lord for our phones.  We weren't planning on being there anywhere near that long so we didn't have anything to occupy our time--well, Hunter was able to work most of the time, but I was plain bored.  I'm recovering well though, so hopefully things are on the up and up for me now.  (oh, and the pictures of my gallbladder once he got it out--it looked like one of the bad scenarios he showed us in his office...I had a ton of stones).

It has definitely been a crazy and difficult seven weeks since we've had her.  So much has gone on and we've added sleep deprivation on top of it.  We are incredibly grateful for our family and friends for all of their help and support.  Our family who was able to stay with us and take night duty some nights were incredible.  My mom, sister, and mother-in-law who were able to come stay with us during the day while I was recovering (both times) were beyond helpful--cooking, cleaning, and letting me nap just to name a few ways!  Our church family for preparing meals for us (both times) and praying for us meant so much and helped tremendously.  Plus we've been able to visit and spend some great time with friends and family since.

We're adapting to this new lifestyle.  Hopefully things will calm down for a little while (at least with me physically!) and we can get into a little bit of a routine.  Here's hoping!

love, angie

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 21

A picture of something that makes you happy

I'm determined to finish this!

And you should know by now, I can't choose just one thing ;)

My marriage.  My boy makes me happier than anything--always has, always will.  I love our journey together and look forward to the stories we have left to tell.

My beautiful family!  I have been so blessed by these two adorable people.  They are my pride and joy; they are my life.  I couldn't ask for anything better!
Again, these two!  I am so grateful to have a husband who loves being a daddy.  I adore watching him interact with her and seeing the absolute awe and love in his eyes when he looks at his daughter.  There is nothing more precious.  This picture also makes me smile real big :)
These four kiddos hold my heart!  Bella is so lucky to have three spunky and adorable cousins to grow up with.  My nieces and nephew make me incredibly happy.  I love those three as if they're my own--moments with them are never dull!  They are just so fun!
Crafting!  Especially with my Sassy Stampers :)  We meet once a month to create something fabulous and enjoy each other's company.  I look forward to it so much and it recharges my inner spirit.  I cherish those moments and the joy they bring my heart!
Books!  I love to hold a book in my hands and read those fabulous words--they allow you to travel to new places, meet new people, and escape the mundane reality of life.  This stack was my version of vacation on our trip to Roatan last summer.  The boys swam, I laid in the hammock and read--pure bliss.  Reading is a passion and love of mine.  I love snuggling up in a good book.
I weigh less now than I did when I got pregnant--and that makes me REAL happy! 
Christmas.  I just love this time of year.  Everyone seems happier, the weather gets cold (usually...), the music and lights are so festive.  I love the decorations, I love the smells, I love the food.  I just love Christmas!

My family and my dear friends also make me extremely happy, but that's just too many pictures to even try to organize!

I'm so blessed!

love, angie