Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mini Update

Okay, this isn't going to be much of a post because I really don't have time. It's 9:30ish, we're still getting used to the time change, and Joshua is still sleeping (gotta wake that boy up)! But I do want to pop in to say "hi" and to let you know that I've kind of gotten into Flickr (though I am due for some new pics, especially of the kids), so that is one place you can follow me a bit more. Admittedly, I'm posting sewing projects a bit more (all of these public places still leave me a little uneasy about just anyone being able to look at pics of my kids...even here on the blog), but you can still keep up with me if you like. My username there is mjandco.

Anyway, we are all doing well. Matt is busy with school, taking classes online with National University--1 class every 4 weeks! He's majoring in Psychology now; I'm pretty sure we have a winner :). He has such a gift working with teenagers, so that's the direction he's thinking. Oh, and he transferred to the high school this year and it has not taken long for the admin to be impressed.

Joshua has been going to preschool 2 mornings per week and he loves it! Just had a second parent-teacher conference yesterday and apparently he has come out of his shell and is flourishing. Still learning appropriate social skills ;), but I can definitely see how much he has learned. Lately he's been loving pulling out his little Spiderman computer, turning on the "Spell Your Name" option, and asking how to spell everyone's names. He's getting pretty good about recognizing when a letter is in anothers' name. Still as silly as ever; so much like his daddy :)

Carly is 21 months already--yikes! She truly is Miss Personality, still as particular as ever. Add "terrible twos" to that and it's quite a combination! She is very smart and picks up new words EVERY day. She learns a lot from her big brother, too. She's been singing her ABCs (not all correct, but she follows along well) and has learned some counting (incredible!). Carly cracks me up because she loves her babies and other girly things, but is totally in love with trucks, trains, tractors, Spiderman, Handy Manny--lots of boy things, too!

I finished up one of my classes in January (had to get an extension) and decided I needed a little break. I'd planned on March 1st being the start date to study as I can try to test out of a few classes (7 left!). But I've been enjoying the extra time to sew and not be stressed, so I need some good motivation to get myself going again!

Well, I wrote more than I intended, so that's good news for those of you who actually wanted to hear from us ;). My least favorite part of blogging is having to find and edit photos, and I'm just not going to take the time to do that right now (though pics are one of my favorites about others' blogs!). Anyway, please feel free to leave a little comment and let me know you visited :). Oh...and Happy St. Patricks Day!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We're Alive!

For the 3 of you who read this, if you even check this anymore. What have we been up to lately I'm not going to get into a bunch of details, but here at least are some photos from this summer.

Carly's 1st Birthday (June 6th)

Carly with her Aunt Melissa (my sister)

Opening gifts at her polka dot party.

Father's Day:

Matt & Joshua

Carly & my almost 4-year old brother, Hudson

Carly & I with my dad

Carly & Jen

Such a good little model, wearing an outfit I made her modifying this pattern.

4th of July:
We started a new tradition this year, leaving at 6 a.m. to watch the hot air balloons fill and fly in Bear Valley, complete with a yummy pancake breakfast. Early but so worth it.

I will try to write more and add more photos soon. Saturday we had a tractor party for Joshua and Monday is his 3rd birthday! Someone will have to show me how to input a slideshow to make things easier (Rhiannon?). Lots of love from the Sterk Family.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Good intentions aren't always good enough...

Especially for a blog. And here again I realized I promised pics "in a few days." What was I thinking? Better late than never, right...?

Joshua's second b-day was great. After a fun Elmo party, we spent his actual birthday with my dad, his wife, and my little brother. Of course Aunt Melissa and Uncle Daniel (my sis and her hubby), affectionately referred to by Joshua as "Essa" and "Gunc-Unc", and my 12-year-old cousin Ayla were all there to share the day. We went to none other than Chuck E. Cheese...and it is a place I will not soon return to. It was fun to see Joshua having such a great time at least. Afterward we went to Essa and Gunc-Unc's for presents (including a mini powerwheels quad from Grandpa & co.) and yummy cupcakes Melissa picked up from Sweet Surrender.

Let's see, what else has happened? Carly has continued to grow so much. She is such a little chubbers and definitely could take on her mommy's nickname of 'Thunder Thighs' (a baby nickname; come on folks, don't be mean...I just had a baby). I absolutely love all of the bittersweet changes she's going through. She's discovered her hand a often sucks it and she's cooing and smiling (SO CUTE!). She never fails to give ample smiles and "squeals" to the fan and any other large dark object she sees. This one is definitely a girl folks (maybe that's why Joshua still calls her 'Girl"...or "Girl-Girl" when we try to emphasize Car-ly). She is high maintenance, very particular. If she doesn't like the way you're holding her, she'll tell you. She likes to be able to look around to see everything. If she's content and you mess with her in any way, such as kiss her, adjust her, stop bouncing (awake or when helping her fall asleep), set jer down too soon (while bouncing & patting her to sleep)...she'll let you know right away that didn't make her happy. And she doesn't always stop immediately when you attempt to remedy the situation, lol. Even still, she is an absolute doll. Her particularity intimidates her daddy, but he adores her nonetheless. And her brother continues to adore her as well. He still will stop what he's doing to come see her in her swing, leaning on it to kiss and hug and stare at her even while mommy and daddy tell him not to. He'll kiss her foot, try to lay on her while she's on the floor, and recently he's started talking 'baby talk' when he hears us talking to her. He'll get high-pitched and say "Hi, Baby Girl." So sweet.

For my own memory (or lack thereof), here's a list of his vocab. Loves his colors: lellow (sometimes with a 'y'), oge, bean, pwuple, boo, bown, bap, pimp. We haven't had much luck with red or white, and sometimes he gets lazy and tells us the wrong color name. He says tons of family names, and asks for them often. One is cousin Bobby, which has led him o be able to say Mommy finally, and Daddy once or twice (usually he'll say dee-dee), but he still calls us Mama and Dada or "Mom" when he's lazy (his generic name for everyone's names he doesn't know or can't pronounce). He can say: tactor, go chchs (chargers), tayt-you (it took a mere week for him to start saying it...and correctly...without being prompted), peas (please), and plenty more I can't thonk of. Though he still makes ample conversation and stories in his own language (lots of hard consonants...complete with facials, hand gestures, and giggles), it seems like he gains a new word every couple of days now. Recently it's been "ach" (watch) and "own touch" (don't touch). He's still as busy a ever, pulling out toys and dismissing it for another after only a few minutes. He loves Daddy best, especially the newly found piggy-back rides (more like horsey-back) around the house. He's been getting into more trouble and having more trouble minding (though he still minds better than many we've seen) and we're hoping it's the age. This week he's mastered clinbing up into his booster seat which no doubt led to yesterday's climb into Carly's swing (thankfully she has with me) and climb up to look into the crib. From a few times of swimming with Hudson, who is hands down the best 3-year-old swimmer I've ever seen, Joshua thinks he can swim on his own, too. Like when he's tried to push Matt away and when he suddenly bolted into the deep-end at Hudson's b-day party last weekend (Daddy had just jumped in and barely looked in time). With ords and actions, this kid definitely thinks he can do more than reality.

Hmm, healthwise Joshua has to wear an eyepatch 3 hours a day (we're not always on top of that) for lazy eye. He's really good about it, though twice now has pulled it off prematurely and "explained" it to me with his palms up, head shaking, jibberish, and "boom" with demonstration of peeling ot off. We're still waiting )2 weeks now) for a referral to another eye specialist. Carly had an EKG and chest x-ray last week b/c of the small pulminary valve that was discovered in the hospital at 1 day old; we're still waiting to hear about that, too.

Like I mentioned, we went to my dad's in Long Beach last weekend for Hudson's b-day. We came back Saturday night so we could go to the Family Camp service at the lake here in Tehachapi. The Nazarene church, our old curch, does it every Labor Day weekend. It's where I was baptized 11 years ago (in a baptismal, not the dirty lake, lol). We were looking forward to seeing the Gibbs, our former youth pastor & his wife (my former JV cheer coach, too) & kids, but they didn't stick around. We did get to see the church's former Brazilian pastor, Alex (who gave the message, which I sadly did not catch much of while caring for both kids amidst the servicethder the big oak), who wound up marrying a gal at the church (Toni, 3 years older than me). They moved back to Brazil and have three beautiful little girls (6, 4, and 2 months). It was a fun weekend.

The schoolyear has brought Matt back to work as well as back to the classroom. Please pray for him as we think he is going to fully go for teaching (and stick with it!). He only needs 5 classes to transfer, then he'll possibly get his degree and credential online with National University.

I've been trying to bust out sewing projects. Carly's valance, crib skirt, and 1 pillow are complete; 1 pillow left and the quilt just needs to be quilted and bound. I've had quite a few requests for burp cloths and small blankets lately, so I've busted those out. I've also made a dress and a pair of pants for Carly. My list of "to-do's" is much longer though. Oh, and I got to redeem my kids-free scrap day recently. Matt watched the kids (with help from niece Madi and nephew Kyle) while I scrapped at the lss in Bakersfield with my sista and my sis-in-law Stef; lots of fun.

Once again, a too-detailed novel for you. That took nearly an hour, Joshua is finally awake, and throughout the day I will add pics as I can. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Playing Catch Up

Wow, I didn't think it'd take so long to write again, but I guess daily life has just been busy. I'll do a quick run over our past month to play catch up.

Let's see, Carly's bili levels slowly crept down to 10.8 at 2 1/2 weeks, but 3 days later they hopped back up to 11.3. She was having no trouble gaining weight, though, weighing in at 7 lb. 13 ounces the day of that higher bili reading, 3 weeks old. The pediatrician said we didn't need to check the levels again until her 1 month check b/c they figured the jaundice was from breastfeeding. Those trips to Bakersfield were adding up, so that was especially good news.

A few days before that we decided to get one last Disneyland trip in before our passes expired. We met up with my dad, his wife, and my cutie brother Hudson. I realized afterward I didn't go on any of the mere 4 rides experienced that day, but it still was so much fun. I don't see myself ever tiring of that place, though I admit that it is definitely tiring to go with a toddler and newborn. The highlights: Carly took her first picture with Minnie and Joshua kept cutting in line to give Mickey hugs- priceless!

We enjoyed a relaxing 4th of July at my sis-in-law's. Stef and Scott have
transformed their backyard into this beautiful and tranquil place you really would have to step into to fully appreciate. Maybe sometime I'll get some photos for you. Here is Carly relaxing with her Nana (Matt's mom) and wearing an adorable top that Marie got her.

Last Sunday my dad came up to visit and wanted to go swimming. I didn't get any pics of it, but my baby brother is such a fantastic swimmer. He will be 3 in one month and really truly swims. Joshua isn't exposed to a pool on a daily basis like Hudson, but he still just loves water. He was jumping in to Matt and also enjoyed being dragged around on a raft. Carly had her first pool experience, which she wasn't too sure about, but it only lasted a few minutes b/c of a man who decided to smoke right next to us in the pool. But she sure looked adorable in her little swimsuit that her Aunt Melissa got her (my sis).

We've been enjoying normal day to day life, I suppose. Too busy for my taste; I'd rather play with my babies all day (welll, maybe actually have some time to sew, too).

Today we had Joshua's b-day party and tomorrow (the 27th) is his real 2nd birthday. Give me a couple days and I will definitely have some photos and details to share. I just can't believe that my baby is 2 years old! K, I have to catch some shut eye. It's really late right now and I don't have many hours before I need to get ready for church. So tired!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another long week

We've had another long week, but thankfully it was better than the previous one. We made three trips to Bakersfield to check on Carly's bili levels. Though others tried to reassure me that she looked better, to me Carly looked the same as when we'd left the hospital last Thursday. Her level had been 11.8 then. Sure enough, mommy knows best because on Tuesday it was up to 15.5. The dr. hoped this rebound was on it's way down, so she told us to come back for another blood draw the next day to determine if she'd send lights home with us (no more hospital, yay!). On Wednesday and it was pretty much the same at 15.2, so they decided to give us the day off and come into the office Friday for just a skin reading and to reevaluate.

I did not pray about all of this nearly enough. I'm sure I could give an excuse like new mommy exhaustion and the busyness of going to Bakersfield and back so often, and I'm sure this is all true to an extent. Mostly I think I just wasn't relying on the Lord, and with two babies and a husband that all mean so much to me, there's no reason for me to not give praise and total reliance to the One who has blessed me so. He is so good despite my failures, and I know many others were faithful to prayer. When we went back Friday my sweet girl was down to 12.5. Praise God!!!!!!! And thank you so much for your prayers; they did not return void.

We would be greatful for continued prayer for Carly, and also for the family for a new health issue. Our baby boy slept in his big boy bed in his big boy room for the first time last night, and without any trouble. When I checked on him this morning he was sweetly sitting against his pillow, just looking out the window. I climbed up on the bed with him and right away noticed goobers all around his right eye and also saw that it was red. Yep, Joshua has pink eye for the first time and Matt also has it. Please pray that they heal quickly, that it doesn't return, and that Carly and I don't get it.

I was bummed that this meant a third Sunday away from church and a cancelled dinner with friends this evening. But we are still going to Bakersfield to shop for a "new" car finally, and we'll be able to stay the night at my mom's to continue our search tomorrow if needed as well as to take Carly in for another skin check.

Though we did get our family/newborn photos taken Tuesday at Picture People (which we haven't even had time to look at yet), we've fallen prey to not taking as many pictures with #2 already. These pics are from the 12th and 13th. Hopefully we'll get in lots of pics this week, including something for her birth announcement (which I am NOT making this time around!). So stay tuned for newer, recent pics.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our Surprise Child

So far in her short existence our Carly Dawn has proven to be a child full of surprises. The first was her conception, which Daddy and Mommy had not planned on being so soon. Next was the time of her arrival...both pretty big things in my opinion. The following is incredibly long and detailed (as usual), probably more so for my own benefit (my memory is so poor lately and I will want this for Carly's scrapbook). So please don't feel bad if you end up skipping over a lot.

Matt, Joshua, and I headed to the dr. Thursday, June 5th for my 36 week check. I knew the odds of me already being dilated were pretty good, since I was already 3 cm and 80% effaced at 37 weeks with Joshua. However, we didn't expect me to already be 5 cm and 80%. My dr. hooked me up to fetal monitors for nearly an hour, during which time I had 3 contractions. She told me she was concerned about us driving back to Tehachapi in case I went into labor and didn't make it back in time. Since I'd made it to the day before Joshua's due date (at which time I was 7 cm & 90%) before they walked me over to the hospital to induce me, Matt and I really weren't worried. Still, we were totally unprepared and hadn't even packed bags.

We decided to hang around in Bakersfield for a while. We went to Olive Garden for dinner with my mom and the entire time I kept record of my contractions. Oddly enough, they kept coming, mostly at an average of 10 min apart. With Joshua whenever I'd start to have some sort of regular contractions, they'd stop or become irregular. But these ones weren't stopping. At this point we figured we should go home and pack, just in case, but still thinking it was just a precaution. We arrived in Tehachapi around 10 pm and let Joshua sleep in the car while we got everything together. My contractions kept coming...and getting closer together.

My sister told me I should be on bedrest since the dr. (and us as well) wanted to see if I could make it just one more week. Anything prior to 37 weeks is considered preemie. But by the time we had finished packing (nearly midnight) I was worried about us making it to the hospital in time. My contractions were about 4 min apart, and even though we were so exhausted and wished for at least an hour to rest, we got in the car, dropped Joshua off at Matt's parents', and flew down the hill. We got to the hospital at 1 am and I was 6-7 cm, 90% effaced.

Time really seemed to fly by. Within 45 min I was getting some meds through the IV and by 2:30 I got my epidural. The latter didn't work as well as last time (I didn't feel a thing with Joshua). I could "feel" numbness in my back and my right leg would not move for me, but I could feel tightening of the contractions a little easier and especially the pressure as the time to push drew nearer. At some point I told my nurse about the pressure and when she checked I was either 10 cm or close to it and almost fully effaced. She told me to call her when I got an overwhelming urge to push, and it seems like it was only 5 min later when that came. Within minutes the nurse had checked me again and the room became busy in preparation for delivery.

I don't know how much more I would've felt without the epidural, but I screamed while pushing and had a hard time breathing. Even with an oxygen mask everyone had to keep reminding me to breathe slowly and the pain and pressure were so strong I wanted to push even between contractions. Thankfully I pushed for only 20-25 minutes (as opposed to an hour and a half with Joshua, though it didn't feel like that long). At 5:44 a.m. on Friday, June 6, 2008, our beautiful Carly Dawn was born. Though only 2 days shy of being 4 weeks early, she was 6 lb. 10 oz. (only 8 oz. less than her big brother's birth weght) and very healthy, so she did not have to spend any time in the NICU. She surprised us again with a full head of thick, dark hair and definitely favoring her daddy in the mouth, chin, and cheeks (though also looking ver similar to her brother).

A huge blessing to Mommy in this early birth was definitely the smaller size, resulting in only an episiotomy, as opposed to the painful 3rd degree lacerations and month-long recovery that occurred with Joshua's birth. I was able to walk around on my own after just a few hours and take care of my little girl- Praise God! Because of Carly's preemie arrival we did have to stay overnight, not being released until about 5 pm Saturday. She was found to have a slight heart murmur, for which the pediatrician ordered an ecko-cardiogram (sp?), which found Carly's pulminary valve to be a little small, which now requires a visit with a cardiologist later this month. But we were very thankful to go home that evening, especialy because we missed our Joshua so much.

This would be the end, where I'd tell you a little more about my sweet Carly, but we received another surprise and had a much longer week than anticipated. On Sunday my sister, Melissa, noticed that Carly was looking like "a carrot" and told us to be sure to have it checked the following day at Carly's well-baby check. Melissa is a nurse in the neonatal ICU at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield. Sure enough, at the appointment Monday afternoon Carly was found to have a bilireuben level of 17.4 (with the skin reading). They sent us over to Memorial Hospital where Carly was admitted to the pediatric unit to be put under the lights for jaundice.

That first night (Monday) her bili level was at 19, the following morning it had only gone down to 17, and Tuesday night it was at 14.3. Wednesday morning it was down to 11.6, so she was taken off the lights at 10:30 am to see how her body would do on its own. I was so thankful at this point because I could finally hold my baby girl anytime I wanted. Up until that point she needed to stay under the lights as much as possible, hooked up to monitors and an IV, had a little visor on to protect her eyes from the light, and could only come out when nursed every other feeding (I pumped for the other feedings). And the poor baby was poked so many times. While Matt and I were glad Carly's bili levels had lowered, we were worried that off the lights her recovery would take longer. This seems to have come into play since Carly's bili was at 11.8 Wednesday night and still hadn't changed the next morning. Even still, the pediatrician discharged Carly on Thursday, and now we still have to watch her coloring and continue to have her monitored by the doctors until the jaundice completely clears.

Thankfully Memorial is the only hospital in Bakes where I was able to stay in the room with Carly, anywhere else I would've been sent home. But this was the hardest thing I've had to go through with my babies. I already had missed Joshua while in the hospital for Carly's birth, and again I was away from him for days. Matt took him home Monday evening (after the poor baby hadhad diarrhea all day), he was definitely sick Tuesday, so I only saw Matt a few hours Tues evening when he brought me a bag. Then Matt woke up sick Wed morning and I finally saw them again when they picked us up Thursday. The whole week Joshua wuld ask for me or look around for me, and his little phonecalls were such blessings. He has only spent 5 nights away from me his whole life, all within a week's time.

This whole situation would be difficult for anyone, and tack on the crazy hormones of one recovering from childbirth and you've got a woman who can hardly keep from crying; it was so hard. Yet I praise God because He never left us, He never let go through this trying week. He was faithful to care for us, to send Christian friends for fellowship, encouragement, and prayer, and to speak to me through His word. This past week there have been so many things, both small and large details, which He used as blessings despite the difficulty. And I trust that He will continue to care for us all, especially to completely heal our sweet baby girl.

So sorry for the amount of info here. At the very least I hope you enjoy the photos. I have to tell you really quick how much Joshua loves his baby sister. Not once has he been mean or acted jealous of the attention she gets. He does get upset whenever Carly gets her pacifier because he's only allowed to have his for sleeping. But he absolutely adores her. He wants to hug and kiss her all the time and he calls ger "Girl" (guhl) from when we called her "Baby Sister, Little Girl" in Mommy's tummy. It's just precious!

Please keep Carly in your prayers. I can't help but be a little concerned that her bili levels increase and result in another trip to the hospital. I'll try to add more photos this coming week. All that's posted here are from last weekend and she's definitely changed since then. Lots of love to you from our new family of 4!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

She's here...early!

June 6th, 5:44 a.m.
6 lb. 10 oz., 17 1/2"
Healthy and home.
We're ecstatic...and exhausted.
More soon, I promise!