Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CHRISTmas has come and gone

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I know we sure did. There were a few highlights:

Aolani received a bib that reads 'I Love My Daddy.' It really touched Ricky and made it hit home even more.

Ricky and his "sous-chef" (as he calls me) gave my parents a coupon for their gift. It was for dinner and a movie on Christmas Day. We got the groceries ahead of time and hid them at our neighbor's house. We prepared (Ricky obeys as I direct = cooking) a spaghetti dinner complete with salad and garlic bread. Then, we watched It's A Wonderful Life. We were so glad to serve them for once.

We went to Greensboro over the weekend to visit my dad's family. Upon returning home, I got to officially declare that I will not be doing anymore traveling or overnight stays for the rest of the pregnancy! What a relief for us.

One final note: I returned to work on Monday, but it was just too hard with all the pain, fatigue, lack of sleep, restless legs, and swelling. So, I was unable to return yesterday and am home now.

We hope everyone enjoys New Year's Eve with much gratitude and praise to Jesus! I will most likely be celebrating the coming of the new year by sleeping :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Our precious niece... asleep in Uncle Ricky's arms. He's getting practice!

Do you want a FREE Blackberry?

We had to get a new cellphone because our provider and plan had changed. So, we of course put it off for two months. On Thursday we finally got to the store, and they strongly encouraged us to get the FREE Blackberry Storm because it is such a great deal. However, it has a mandatory Internet fee of $30 a month. With a 2-yr. contract, that's a $720 commitment for a FREE phone. We were pretty nervous, caught off guard, and stunned by this fancy new phone with a touchscreen enticing us. So, we got it, walked out the doors, but... there was no peace. My spirit felt unsettled. We prayed about it and felt like it wasn't the right move/investment for us. So, today we went back with the plastic still on the Blackberry's screen. We, personally, do not have a want or need for Internet, extra cellphone radiation, and a loss of $720! Anyway, we just thought it was funny that we could not afford a FREE phone :) Well, that was our 2-day experience of being "cool" with our FREE Blackberry.

Oh, and we ended up with the Samsung Alias 2, a phone with no Internet, no monthly fees, and lower radiation. And we think that is very "cool."

2 More Months?!

Yep. Today is the 7-month mark. And I cannot imagine 2 more months! Pictures are at the bottom.

Aolani's heart, according to the pediatric echo cardiogram, is perfect. And she loves to kick my bladder :)

My hips, butt, and back hurt so much that the escalated pain is moving down my thighs. So, I am now sleeping with a pillow between my legs, which may occasionally help. I have become so big that I cannot move at all when I'm lying down. Ricky has to do it all. Bottom line: We are losing a lot of sleep at night. Not complaining, just admitting that this trimester is rough and tough.

Yes, I am still at work, but I just take one day at a time.

Ricky has started to scoop me up to put me in the car, which actually feels safer because my leg-muscle pain has made them unreliable when I put my weight on them.

We've been getting lots of Christmas cards, and it is so FUN to see pictures and read updates from our beloved friends and family (that's you). Also, we thank all of you for your concern, encouragement and love for us!!! Believe me, it is reciprocated!

I have my OB/GYN checkup visit on Monday. At the last appointment, she notified me that I must now come in every other week. Phooey!

Can you see the (already) 25 lb. weight gain? Hey, more to love ;) I bet I'll gain 10 more at this rate. Ricky is trying to get "buffer" by doing more push ups or at least pickups (of us girls).

Did you notice her stocking on the right? My mom got it for her -- sweet :)

Already holding her... and telling her what a big girl she is :)

CHRISTmas is in the air...

...and so is love :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How BIG am I??

Yesterday afternoon, Ricky went to a Red Cross Blood Drive before we went to our chiropractor appointments.

As we pulled up into the chiropractor's parking lot and Ricky brought the wheelchair around, he opened my door and stood there. No open hand.

"You're going to have to get yourself into your chair. They told me not to do any heavy lifting."

That funny honey of mine...

P.S. - Ricky has O- blood if anybody wants some :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Big Squeeze

I've hit the 30-week mark... She could be here anytime after the new year... It's starting to feel like CRUNCH TIME.

What does that mean for us?
  • Sanding and painting her crib and changing table (modifying is DONE)
  • Trying to get next year's health insurance figured out (IN PROCESS)
  • Remodeling the bathroom, so it's accessible and easy for me to use (IN PROCESS)
  • Hardwood floors put down throughout house (DONE)
  • Beginning the process of getting me a new wheelchair, now that I know what changes to make (IN PROCESS)
  • Putting the nursery together (not even close to starting)
  • Researching online when time allows!
  • Getting all her stuff (what a blessing baby showers, friends and family are!)
  • Childbirth classes (6 weeks long starting in January)
  • Tour pediatric clinic (scheduled for mid-January)
  • Find a doula (DONE): The one who helped my sister-in-law agreed to help me, too :)
  • Lots and lots of reading and learning...
It looks and is overwhelming, but PRAISE GOD for He gives strength to those who are exhausted and worn out (Isaiah 40)!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Wink & A Smile

The 29-week ultrasound was so fun! Our boss let Ricky go to this one (he hasn't seen her on the screen in several months). She weighs about 3 pounds now and is about 16 inches long, from head to toe. She is such a wiggle-worm! Ricky has gotten into the habit of pressing his ear to my belly at nights so he can hear her and feel her kick him in the head! She's learning quickly :)

Turn your head to the right, and you will see her smiling :) She stuck her tongue out at us, too!
The ultrasound technician said that she already has chubby cheeks (that's from Aidan)! Her cousin has chubby cheeks, too.
She had one leg up by her head and the other behind her back (still sounds weird to me... can't figure that one out). They officially termed her the "gymnast."

We are going to get another echocardiogram of my heart later this month. My pulse is so strong that you can see my heartbeat moving papers when I hold them in my hand! Aolani is scheduled for her pediatric echocardiogram in a couple weeks. We have a routine check-up on Monday with my regular OB/GYN.
My belly is starting to reveal that brown, vertical line (linea nigra) down the center. So, I am in the 75% that get this mysterious, harmless mark. Since my winter boots no longer fit the swelling blimps (feet), we went to K-Mart on a mission. We came away with three different kinds of black slippers that will both fit over my hunting socks and allow my feet room to get fatter during the course of the day. Ricky affectionately calls one pair my "bear feet."
My hips are starting to spread apart and get wider. Good news: My body is getting ready for childbirth! Bad news: My legs are spreading apart, which means nothing fits beside me in my wheelchair or on my lap (as it falls right through the gap onto the floor). AND THEY HURT! My hips are out of socket, and I cannot straighten up on my own. So, I make Ricky shove my hips back into place when he transfers me. I feel exactly like the rusty ol' Tin Man, except my oil can is missing!

Obviously, we returned home from our trip to Cincinnati. It was an exhausting trip, with over 28 hours in the car! I sat on a donut (the butt cushion with a hole in the middle) the whole time. But, we had a great time. We watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy extended editions, which was over 12 hours of hobbits! Also, Ricky ran his first 10K (6.2 mi) race, with a time of 1 hr, 1 min, 25 sec. His younger brother, Robby, ran with him, and Ricky said that made all the difference. His brother pushed him on, kept his spirits high, and helped him stay focused. Next on the list: 15k!

I absolutely must post the link to an article that is very important and infuriating about miscarriages caused by the H1N1 vaccine.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baby Registries

They are as ready as they're ever going to be. There are two: - Obviously a nationwide store. You can order online almost everything, but you can go to a physical Babies "R" Us or Toys "R" Us and see what they have in-store that is on our registry. - A local business of Wilmington. Around half of our registry is available for online orders; however, there are several items available in-store only. They have two physical locations in Wilmington: one is downtown in the Cotton Exchange and the other is in the mall (Belk wing).

A few notes for those making other purchases:
We are using cloth diapers. We will be avoiding products containing chemicals and most plastics. Aidan will be breastfeeding (God-willing), so we will not need all the bottle/formula stuff. If possible, we are selecting organic clothes and other eco-friendly items. We are avoiding clothes with buttons and snaps, which are hard for Aidan to use, and are looking for Velcro and zippers.

We so appreciate your understanding!

Baby shower invitations will be going out to local friends and family this month. The showers are scheduled for January.

An ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday, so an update will be soon to follow :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quick and to the Point

I wanted to post some third trimester pix, since today is the lovely 2/3 mark!!

It's true: She gains ounces, I gain pounds.

I feel large and in charge, and I look it here!

Other notes:
  • Of course, after I mention sleeping better, sleep has eluded me ever since!
  • The restless legs (RLS) had been showing up on occasion, but RLS is back EVERYDAY.
  • Bending and leaning isn't a good option anymore. Aolani is just too big. If I drop something and it hits the floor, you'll hear, "Uh-oh, Ricky..."
  • The acne is still going strong; Ricky thinks I spread it to him, too :)
  • Well, we were waiting to see if it would appear, and it has. We were nervous... my legs, my ankles, and (mainly) my feet are SWELLING. It's still a shocker to look down and see my skinny, bony feet looking like puffy blimps! I want to reach down and squish them (but that's nearly impossible). We tried my winter boots on last night. Verdict: not even close!
  • Biggest downfall, which I only expect to worsen, is that I am exhausted! I dream of sleep and rest and a land of pillows and back massages...

We leave tomorrow after work to begin our journey to Cincinnati (to visit and love on Ricky's immediate family) for Thanksgiving. We have next week off of work and will return the following weekend (yes, with all the traffic). Please pray for our travel, as I haven't gone on any big trips during my pregnancy. And this one is a doozy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Third Trimester?!

We've been so busy, but an update is overdue! I hit the third trimester this upcoming Thursday, Nov. 19 - YAY ;)

She is a kicker (maybe the best Seahawks kicker is yet to come). I think I felt her get the hiccups twice this past week. It felt like bubbles hitting the inside of my belly, and it tickles :) I feel her move internally A LOT, but whenever I try to feel her on the outside, she will NOT move for me! However, whenever Daddy puts his hand on my belly, she moves for him! He likes it :) I am pretty sure I had my first "Braxton-Hicks" contraction last weekend. It was weird. I have gained 18 pounds; Ricky is feeling it (and me too!). My belly button is more out than in, my butt and hips are so sore, and we think my ankles and feet are starting to swell some (ughhh). I am sleeping better (finally) unless work is particularly stressful that day. The OB/GYN doctors are threatening me with blood-thinning medicine because they are nervous about future blood clots in my legs. I promised to stretch my legs more.

I had an ultrasound a while ago, and Aolani is remarkably healthy. She is very active with long legs and big feet! All her organs, brain, heart are perfect. She kept putting her hand in her mouth, which is a sign of a thumb-sucker! She is now over two pounds. The high-risk OB/GYN is scheduling me to go see a pediatric cardiologist next month to check Aolani's heart very thoroughly (just for reassurance). Here's a pic:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Did you get your swine flu or seasonal flu shot yet?

Question of the past month for me... and the answer is absolutely NOT!

Instead of explaining all the many reasons why not, I decided to highlight a few facts and then post the links to some very highly recommended articles.
  • Flu Vaccine DOUBLES Risk of Getting H1N1
  • Pregnant Women Have a 0.03% Chance of Going to the Hospital from H1N1
  • Obese People at Six Times Higher Risk from H1N1 Complications
  • Pregnant Women Given Vaccines Have Babies with More Health Problems
  • Pediatric Flu Deaths by Year Made WORSE by Flu Vaccine
    1999 -- - 29 deaths
    2000 -- - 19 deaths
    2001 -- - 13 deaths
    2002 -- - 12 deaths
    2003 -- - 90 deaths (Year of mass vaccinations of children under age 5 years)
    2006 -- - 78 deaths
    2007 -- - 88 deaths
    2008 -- - 116 deaths (40.9% vaccinated at age 6 months to 23 months)
Why pregnant women should NOT get these shots:

Why children should NOT get these shots:

Vaccines are more dangerous than getting the virus:

Overestimation of flu cases:

Here is a really good poster to weigh and consider before getting the swine flu vaccination.

Vaccines are dangerous! This is NOT an epidemic. Malaria alone kills 3,000 children every day! Do not let panic or fear of death control you!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

She like to move it, move it!

For over a week now I have been feeling her move, kick, punch, turn everyday! I didn't say anything at first because I wanted to be certain it was our baby and not my tummy dreaming of an organic dark chocolate fountain :) Alas, it is Aolani! And have we been waiting to feel her move. What a joy! Everytime I feel her, I want to giggle over this special secret that no one else knows... We are so thankful for her life and the love our Maker has for her!!

I love this picture! No, it is NOT me! But my belly button is practically flat now and no longer an innie.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Natural Family Planning

We just have to talk about Natural Family Planning (NFP), which is the form of birth control we use. We LOVE it!

NFP is actually the method of birth control that the Catholic Church endorses, and we think they certainly got this right. Simply put, it is based on reading the woman's fertility cycle and knowing when she is fertile. Therefore, it can definitely help you either postpone pregnancy or achieve pregnancy. If you use NFP correctly, then it is just as, if not more, effective than the pill or any other contraceptive. With NFP, we got pregnant the first time we tried!

There are so many reasons why we stand by NFP. Here are a few:

  1. Oral contraceptives can act as abortifacients, killing the week-old life that has been created by the Creator. So if you are using an oral contraceptive (OC) for birth control, there is a chance that you have had several chemical abortions. We are firm pro-life advocates and against ALL abortions, whether surgical or chemical. Which is why when we found out that hormonal birth control may act as an abortifacient, we stopped using it immediately! We actually learned about all this from a book, which we give away for free. We would be more than happy to mail anyone a copy! This was the first step on our path to discovering NFP.
  2. It is cheap! Cheapest method of birth control there is. Mother Teresa and her nuns taught it to the poorest of the poor in India, and it worked, of course! Teaching people to use NFP is astronomically cheaper than throwing condoms at them.
  3. We absolutely love the fact that we are no longer shoving artificial hormones into my body. It is so much healthier. It is funny how I use to be so concerned about what I ate and put into my body via diet, yet contradicting myself by using an OC (hormonal birth control). I wanted to be "natural," but how unnatural is taking artificial hormones! Let's avoid chemicals and use "green" cleaners, while dumping chemicals straight into my body with birth control! Just as some people don't eat meat because they don't want to kill an animal's life, but they flippantly take OCs and risk killing a human life.
  4. We really wanted to get this posted before this month is over, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Surely enough, there is a definite link between OCs and breast cancer. Ricky worked really hard gathering information and creating a flyer to hand out this month about wearing pink socks. Check it out, and pass it out!
  5. Last, but certainly not least, are the spiritual benefits of NFP. I could drag this one out for a while, but quickly: our love is better, our sex is better, and our relationship with God is better.

NFP rocks :)

[There are many organizations that teach NFP. We used the Couple-to-Couple League (CCL) and were very pleased. We are still connected with CCL.]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

(A little over) 5 Months!

And, oh girl, do I look and feel it! I think I look bigger than I should, but my weight gain is right on target so far.

News: I went back to work starting on Monday. It's stressful for me, but I got to keep on truckin'!

I'm still recouping from my infections, but I do feel vast improvement. Since I was sick for a month, I did not really go anywhere except to doctors. Our niece was forbidden to come over (which I think was for the best for sure). However, last weekend we got to attend a fall festival together as a family. Ricky rode the bull. Maybe it'd be more accurate to say that Ricky watched the bull, as he spent more time off of it than on it!

I think he averaged 2 seconds on each time. He says his thighs are still hurting!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I just wanted to let you know that Ricky and I are volunteers for Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), which means that we can sign anyone up for their FREE monthly newsletter and a FREE copy of one of our favorite books, Tortured for Christ (a short read). Click here to read what some missionary friends in Haiti wrote about it. You can do it yourself by going to the previous links. You can even request a VOM representative to come speak to your church (or any group) about the plight of the Persecuted Church -- for FREE!

I know we sent out a mass e-mail a while ago mentioning the same thing, but we just wanted to reiterate the fact. We get nothing from doing this; we just want people to remember, be encouraged by, and pray for the worldwide Persecuted Church!

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is coming up on November 8, 2009. Please alert others (especially your local church) to pray, pray, pray! Watch this short 4-minute video. It's free, and you can have your church show it before holding a special prayer for the Persecuted Church...

Our church in Wilmington, North Carolina (MGEPC) is hosting a VOM speaker (Darcie Gill) on March 7, 2010. All are more than welcome to come join us!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The (Hidden) Fruit

Ricky told me that I have to put this on the blog (it's really good!), and he even said that it made his week. We pray that it gives you as much inspiration and encouragement as it did for us!

Additional Baby Ideas

I can't believe I forgot these when I posted the other ones! Anyway, here's two more:

Ever since I knew I was pregnant, I came up with a sort of "slogan." I repeat this to her almost daily while I hold her (which is my belly right now!):

Receive God's love,
Receive the love of your mother,
Receive the love of your father,
And be filled with love for others!

A few months ago, we decided to select a chapter from the Bible to read over Aolani every single day. This would be a way to proclaim those living and powerful words over her life. Then, for each child we have, we will select a different chapter. For Aolani, we chose Philippians 4 (and we personalize it for her when one of us reads it to her):
Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.
Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;
for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.
Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.
I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings.
All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


There is someone whom I want you to meet. I owe a lot to her, and I consider her to be like my mentor.

Her name is Shannon Klann. She is 36, married, has 3 kids, lives in Michigan, and has Friedreich's Ataxia! Imagine my further surprise when I found out that she loves Jesus, too!!

She is the first person I ever talked to that also has FA. God truly ordained our meeting (via Internet) back in April. The right person at the right time. I was pretty giddy the first few times I contacted her. I felt excited, nervous and a little scared that I was dreaming.

Shannon stays at home by herself during the day while her husband works. Also, she took care of all three of her children by herself during the day, until they reached school-age. I knew she could teach me A LOT, and I was and am eager to learn her secrets.

Every time I have a question or concern, I e-mail her for help and guidance and quickly receive it! She is a gem. This happens very frequently as I am new to independence and have much to learn.

I am so grateful to the LORD for providing Shannon! And Shannon, YOU ARE A GOD-SEND, a much-needed help in a time of need.

Shannon maintains her own website (and blog) to help people like me, mothers in wheelchairs. If you know of someone who is in the same boat, tell them to check it out!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Current Events of 21 Weeks

It's been three weeks, and I'm still sick. Basically, I had a cold (that my hubby brought home to me) that was treated too late and turned into a sinus infection, which I've never had as I do not have allergies. Anyway, I had to go to another doctor about it and start an antibiotic, which led to some side effects. Treating the side effects in turn leads to more side effects. I know -- it seems never-ending.

Doctors' appointments and updates:
  • Cardiologist: I've had two visits to check the status of my heart. It looks good, so I can attempt a vaginal birth.
  • High-risk OB/GYN: Aolani is doing perfectly; you can see some pictures of her face below. She is 21 weeks, 13 ounces, and about the size of a small cantaloupe (although I look like I swallowed a basketball).
  • Pulmonologist: I visit him next week to get a baseline on the function of my lungs and breathing capacity (for labor).
  • General doc: I'll see him to check the status of my sickness next week and possibly get approval to return to work. This will be the third doctor I'll see about this sickness!
Good news: Aolani is wonderfully healthy and pain-free. I think I'm getting better slowly (that might change depending on the day and what time it is).
Great news: We have a loving God, a compassionate Savior, a Comforter, and an eternal HOPE!
What you're really waiting for:
(tilt head 90 degrees to the left)
It's just her head (not body) complete with eyebrows, eye sockets and lids, nose, lips...
Ricky thinks she has my chin -- ha!

Loud Mouth

This little girl is just too funny not to watch (30 secs)...

Friday, October 2, 2009


Sorry there has not been any posts this week. I (Aidan) have been sick for two weeks now, and it's still going! I did go to the doctor last Friday, and she said that pregnant women have a much weaker immune system and told me what medicine I could take. I hate medicine but have been so miserable that I caved.

My first two weeks at home alone have not gone as I thought, you know, all the balloons and music associated with parties :) Instead, it's been a compilation of snotty tissues, droopy eyelids, pounding headaches, hearing impairment, the sweats (from a persistent low-grade fever)... not fun.

I feel like I am in a Catch-22. My body is having a hard time shaking this because I am not getting the sleep I need for a strong immune system. I cannot get adequate sleep at night from the insomnia. Basically, we're just waiting and praying. The doctor did take a mini-ultrasound last week to make sure Aolani was doing well. She was great -- active in the womb and doing her baby thing. Completely oblivious to Mommy's suffering, which is good. Please pray that she would be unaffected by the medicine I'm taking.

I'll update as soon as I recoup.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby Ideas

I thought I would post some of my baby ideas in case you like them and want to implement them :)

Back in the first trimester, I decided that I wanted to keep a prayer journal for Aolani. It's a little book with 40 pages, one for each week of the pregnancy. Each week I jot down a thought, a verse and a prayer for her. It's not a baby book. When she is old enough to appreciate it, we can give it to her as a special gift (like for a rite of passage). This way she can read about what we were praying for regarding her while she was in the womb.

During my nap the other day, I re-wrote a lullaby to sing to her. It's meant to be sung to the rhythm of "Hush Little Baby":

Hush Aolani, don't say a word,

Mama's gonna teach you about God's Word.

You'll learn to apply it everyday,

And it will help you in every way.

Read your Bible and you will see,

Just how powerful it can be.
So, you're probably somewhat amused. You'd be really amused if I listened to Ricky, who wanted to post an audio clip of me singing it. What good would your imagination be then?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Independence Day

Maybe not nationally but locally (as far as this household goes).

Yesterday was first day home alone. Yes, ALONE.

That might come as a shock to many of you, but I have been ordering all the equipment necessary to help me care for myself at home. Although I am still waiting on one piece to help me transfer to the recliner so I can lie down (it shipped yesterday), I have the dire essentials.

I do feel like a big girl :)

Work status: I meet with my OB/GYN this Friday and will talk with her before coming to any conclusions.

Monday, September 21, 2009

4 1/2 months!

So, this picture isn't the best. I meant to take one weeks ago, or at least when we're clean and spiffy.

Yesterday, we went to the park with some friends for a picnic and "Wike" ride (hence the heat and sweat). The Wike is a covered cart that allows Ricky to pull me behind his bike, so we can enjoy these times together. It was a gift to us from a bunch of church friends who got together and collected enough money for this wonder in order to bless us. Boy, did it! That was back in May. Yesterday's ride was only 4-5 miles, but it was a beautiful trail around a lake.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Prosperity Gospel

Few things turn our stomachs as much as the so-called "Prosperity Gospel."

We could talk about it for a while, but John Piper does a good job expressing our feelings about it in this short 3-minute video...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's In a Name?

Presenting (in my belly)... AOLANI ELIZABETH DIMARTINO

Aolani: It's Hawaiian, meaning "heavenly cloud." Pronunciation is easier than you think! Just say the letter A, then say the letter O, LA like the music note, and NI sounds like knee. Many of you know that Aidan means "fire." When God leads the Israelites through the desert, He makes His presence known among His people by guiding and protecting them with a cloud by day and a fire by night. He directs and protects (from the sun's heat and the cold chill of night). Exodus 13:21 tells us, "By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night."

Elizabeth: It's a family name passed down from my mother's side and means "sanctified" or "set apart as holy."

DiMartino: "Di" is Italian for "of, from" and "Martino" is allegedly a mountain in Italy from whence the ancestors originate. "Martino" is derived from "Mars," the Roman god of war.

We know. She has a very long name, but it is a good, respectable name.

Honor the LORD. Honor Aidan's side. Honor Ricky's side. Perfect.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Drumroll please...'s a GIRL! Yes, the ultrasound lady was confident that the baby had "a girl butt." As my dad would say, "No tallywacker." We are thrilled, and particularly excited since her cousin is also a girl and less than a year older! I will announce her name in another posting, as it deserves its own post.

Here are some of the ultrasound pictures:

Notice the little "girl butt" above.

Just a little note: I have not yet had time to create our baby's "green" registry, although I plan on creating a few that will be exclusively online. I will send out (post) those links as soon as I can get to it. We are going to try and raise our baby healthily and in a good environment (free from the toxins and chemicals in which baby clothes and toys are doused). Not that we expect gifts, but for those who wish to give a gift, we ask for you to wait for the registries. Thank you for understanding! I will be given a couple of baby showers in the winter months ahead :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Classic Church Comedy

If you expect church on Sunday morning to be good, clean and wholesome... think again!

Yesterday, Ricky and I were late to church. All of the pews in the sanctuary were full. So, I thought let's go sit in the balcony (as Ricky always wanted to do anyway). Granted there is no elevator. I was wearing a skirt, thus Ricky had to scoop and carry me upstairs.

Once we safely hit the top of the landing, Ricky set me down to get his bearings and figure out where to plop me. A man in the second row saw us and moved to give us his seat. Thankful that it was only one step up, Ricky swept me up again.

As he set my feet on the floor, I whisper in his ear, "Ricky! My skirt is falling!" Thinking I'm overreacting, he dismissed my comment for the moment. Until he saw my skirt. Around my ankles. I'd like to say the congregation was praying and heads were bowed. But alas, that would have been too convenient. I was our side of the balcony's spectacle. I tried to sit down, my legs wouldn't bend, women ran over to help dress my unclothed half, and I could not stop laughing. It was so hysterical! I hadn't even seen something that funny happen in church.

Yes, I eventually got covered.
Yes, I should have been mortified.
Yes, choir members from on-stage mentioned seeing us in the balcony.

Little did those poor, innocent families anticipate a strip-tease at church that morning!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ricky is Having a Baby!

And he is showing!

I wanted to briefly tell you how Ricky is handling the pregnancy.

First trimester: "I am lovin' being pregnant! I get to eat a lot all the time. I get to relax and watch movies. AND, I get to take frequent naps. This is great!" Ricky's words; Ricky's enjoyment of my misery. But hey, at least someone is enjoying being pregnant.

Second trimester: Let's just say the insomnia (RLS and leg cramps, too) and frequent hormonal changes in wife are starting to take a toll on Daddy.

Seriously though, he is a great support and I couldn't make it without his TLC.

Also, I can now announce that Ricky has been keeping his own blog (not on family life):

Romanticism, in Pregnancy

What does every teenage girl and young woman think of when they hear the word "pregnancy"?

Easy: big belly, cute clothes, gifts, and finally being able to eat whatever she wants (and lots of it)

The other day I had some friends stop by for a visit. One girl asked, "So Aidan, what is it like being pregnant?"


I saw her face fall from a wishful eagerness to a timid solemnity. I frightened the poor girl and didn't mean to. Had I become the balloon-popper, hope-crusher? I felt horrible. I just answered quickly and honestly, never thinking otherwise.

This got me thinking about how females completely romanticize pregnancy from the time we are adolescents. Yes, even I! Just like how we romanticize marriage. We only see the roses and hear about the thorns but don't understand until experience comes knocking.

I'm not dying, but I do feel like I've been pretty miserable (physically, of course) thus far. However, if this is what bringing a life into the world is like for me, I will gladly do it! It's just not the fun and games pre-pregnant women dream of.

Let me make one disclaimer: Yes, there are many women who have wonderful pregnancies. Like my mother, who described our pregnancies as night and day. She only knew the bright side, until now.

Disillusionment has been dispelled.

Good pregnancies. Bad pregnancies. No matter, gratitude prevails.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hormones Gone Rampant

Sadly, the streak ended Thursday night. Yes, I "spilled my groceries." I ran some errands on Thursday, thinking in my mind that I was up to it. However, I came home exhausted, dizzy, headache-y, and just plain sick feeling. Guess my body wasn't ready for a big outing.

I am so ready for these "raging hormones" to calm down! Here are just a few of the "fun" side effects from all the hormones:
  • Insomnia (every night, robbing hours of good sleep)
  • Restless Legs
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Allergic reaction to deodorants (odd, I know)
  • Dental problems (sensitivity, brushing induces gagging/vomiting)
  • Acne (not pleasant for someone who doesn't wear makeup)
  • Sore, tight muscles (my legs and feet feel full of knots that won't be massaged out)
As many already know, I was craving/eating food that I don't normally eat for most of my pregnancy so far. Thankfully, that somewhat subsided, and I went back to my healthy diet on Monday. Yay! Also, I am trying a no-sugar pregnancy, which means I've been abstaining from white and/or refined sugar (like desserts) since mid-April. I mostly use fruits, honey or stevia to sweeten :) Ricky has joined me to show his support. So far, so good...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2nd Trimester is here (to stay)

Praise God!!!

Yesterday was the beginning of the second trimester, and we are so thankful. Although the other symptoms are hanging around, I am glad to say I have not vomited in a week!! Woohoo! I think the bucket is starting to get used to its new (and clean) lifestyle ;) I'm getting bigger, and my mom commented that it's probably because I'm keeping my food down!

Also, my gum line has been SO sensitive lately. Brushing hurts. My mom said that many women have dental problems during pregnancy because the baby is stealing all the calcium. So, I started drinking a calcium powder in water. I am about to head to the semi-annual dentist appointment, so it's good timing for me :)

I'll post again soon because we have more news...

Monday, August 10, 2009

The 1st Ultrasound

This one is from above, so you can see the head and arms and hands.

Last Friday, August 7th, we went to a big appointment. First, we met with the genetic counselor and opted out of getting any genetic tests. Second, we got the first detailed ultrasound (pictures are above). Third, we got to meet with the high-risk OB/GYN who will be following me, as well as a general OB/GYN doctor. They are both female, so Ricky can breathe easier ;) She didn't say too much but wanted to wait to hear from my cardiologist, since that determines much of how we will proceed. I have mild cardiomyopathy and a few other heart troubles (not too bad though). I get an echocardiogram and meet with him on August 27th.

Also, they moved the due date up to February 19, 2010 because the baby measured 12 weeks. The due date has moved from the 26th to the 25th to the 23rd to the 21st to the 19th! Maybe this one will stay :)

She also mentioned that I am going to get many ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy, since I must be followed more closely. So, lots of pictures to come! Maybe our baby will be photogenic :)

Our next ultrasound is scheduled for September 3rd. If the baby cooperates, they may be able to determine the gender, as best they can...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

11 Weeks

...and showing?!

Okay, okay. I don't know if I should be embarrassed or not, but I started showing a little at 8 weeks. I moved into stretchy, maternity clothes at 9 weeks! Buttons do NOT work. For those unaware, a pregnant woman typically doesn't start showing anywhere from 12-20 weeks. Yikes!

These pictures above were taken Monday, August 3rd, which is about 11 weeks.

The nurse practitioner said maybe I started showing early because I was so slim... I like that reasoning :)

Medical Leave

I guess my nerve disease and the pregnancy are not combining too well so far. The first trimester has honestly been pretty miserable. Nausea 24/7, vomiting almost daily (which brings other problems not to be mentioned), back pain, pounding headaches, stress and most significantly: EXHAUSTION (a.k.a. extreme fatigue times two). Talking is even tiring and nauseating. All I can do is lie down or recline (some) ALL day. Needless to say, I have felt very boring, unproductive and pointless for a long time now. BUT, I do have a very important purpose right now-- I am giving LIFE to our baby!

Anyway, as of last Thursday, July 30, the doctor approved Medical Leave (of FMLA) for me, which can last up to 12 weeks. Working full-time was getting unbearable with everything else right now. For the past week, various friends from our church have come to help take care of me while Ricky and my mom are at work. (There's nothing like the Body of Christ.) Ricky's mom comes this weekend to stay with me for a month. It will be a blessing to have her here. It's still undecided what happens after that.

Most popular question: Do you plan on returning to work after Medical Leave? Yes, I do plan on returning, God-willing.

The "Mini-Ultrasound"

Although they say this doesn't count as the first "real" ultrasound, here it is... with our beautiful baby! I was 10 1/2 weeks when this was taken, but the doctor said our baby measured over 11 weeks-- BIG baby :)

Unfortunately, Ricky had to miss this appointment but my mom was with me. I couldn't see the screen but she could. She got to see the heart beating and the baby moving and floating around! So exciting!

The first intensive ultrasound is scheduled for Friday, August 7th.