Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009--A Year of Blessings

I stumbled upon a blog that participated in Gratituesday, and she had reflected on 2009 and her top 10 blessings. Well, I'm going to follow along and reflect and list my top 10 blessings of 2009.

#1. Our 2nd son, Dawson Daniel, born March 3rd. What an amazing little guy he is! He has brought so much joy and fun to us. We love that he is a big little guy who just lights up and giggles every time he sees his big brother. :)

#2. My wonderful husband. He has been such a rock for me in this year of constant change. We faced many challenges this year that would have driven a wedge between other couples, and I know that those challenges just brought us closer together and made our love for one another stronger than ever. I praise God for Renato every day!

#3. Camden. This little man is teaching me a lot too. Parenting can bring out both the best in us, and at times the worst. I'm learning every day to lean on God more than ever with my parenting skills. Camden is such a strong little leader. He loves to laugh and every day I do laugh with him in my life. I know God has amazing things planned for Camden's life!!

#4. Our rental house that we are living in right now. After constant transition for the past 2 years, along with living with family and friends for over 11 months of that, I am sooo very thankful for our own house, and our own space. (and my own kitchen!!!) :)

#5. Our time spent living in Brazil. I learned so many valuable lessons from God in the past 2 years. I know that without living in Brazil, I would never have learned them.

#6. Family and friends. Both of our families were such blessings to us this past year. We were able to live with Renato's parents for the last month we were in Brazil, and we were able to live with my parents for almost 5 months before moving to Colorado. HUGE blessings!! God has been teaching us about friends and what it really means to be friends. We are so thankful for our friends who have loved and supported us. We are blessed!

#7. Living back in Colorado Springs...and actually back in our same neighborhood! After living in a different culture with a different language, and with different (and scary) driving, and being mostly completely dependent on my husband for everything, you have no idea how thankful I am to be able to get out on my own and be able to understand everything that is around me.

#8. My dishwasher, clothes dryer, stove/oven, and fridge. After living a yr. and a half without a dishwasher or clothes dryer, I am SOOOO thankful for them and how easy they make my life. I'm thankful for my stove/oven because it's big (I can fit more than one pan in at a time) and it has a digital tempurature gage, unlike my teeny/tiny stove/oven in Brazil that didn't have a temperature setting. And I'm so thankful for a BIG new fridge with a big freezer too....that actually freezed food. :)

#9. A wonderful Queen sized bed to sleep on, and a bed for Camden, and a crib for Dawson. The bed we had in Brazil was a full-sized, foam mattress on a slat bed. Not very comfy. Camden had been sleeping on the floor since June...not that he complained at all. And we haven't had a crib for our boys to sleep in since we sold the one Camden had before we moved. So beds are a HUGE blessing!!

#10. My husband's business that he just started. Renato just started his own painting business 2 months ago. God's favor is on him as he has had many jobs come his way, and many great connections too. I just know that God is going to bless Renato and this business to not only provide for our family, but also fund our on-going ministry.

2009 was definitely a tough year of constant change and transition, but we have grown so much through all of the challenges. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in 2010!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Rewind

Well, we once again survived Christmas, with New Years fast approaching. This is the first Christmas we've been on our own without any family around. It was definitely a more quiet Christmas, but it was good to start and continue our own tradtitions with our family. Christmas Eve we went to a church that had a Christmas celebration. Camden LOVED it and did really well through the whole thing....except for the Pastor's sermon. :) (Thank goodness it wasn't very long!) Then Christmas morning I made Cinnamon Rolls again, and they were fabulous! :) We opened presents and then just relaxed. OK, the boys relaxed, I cooked all day. (Which I loved!) We had some friends over for dinner and it was just a nice low-key Christmas. Here are some pics....

Here's our 1st attempt at a Gingerbread House!!

Here are the boys checking out one of Camden's presents.

Dawson had more fun with the paper....of course!!

Daddy and Camden trying to set up his new Car Parking Garage.

Throughout the whole season I've been reflecting back to last Christmas and how different it was celebrating in Brazil. What a blessing it was to spend last Christmas in Brazil with Renato's family! I will never forget my Brazilian Christmas!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Year's Menu Plan

OK, just found a new Christmas tradition! I just found this recipe and made it on the spot....YUMMY!!!! Peanut Butter Popcorn

Is it seriously the week of New Years???? Wow! We're still trying to get rid of the leftovers from Christmas, but we'll press forward into the New Year with lots of fun new recipes to try. The Apple Challah that I'll make for the New year is sooo yummy! I made it once this summer and it was wonderful! Not sure what we're planning yet for New Years Eve, but I'll plan on cooking and hopefully we can have some friends join us to help us eat up the yummy food and have some good fellowship. Hope your Christmas was a wonderful time filled with God's Joy and Peace! Happy New Year to you too!!

Monday- Hubby is gone....probably leftovers, or soup from the freezer

Tuesday- Ham and Bean Soup (using the ham bone from Christmas)

Wednesday- Pasta, Broccoli

Thursday- New Years Eve!!! Renato is making Leg of Lamb, Marinated Goose, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, and for dessert....Apple Challah

Friday- Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Saturday- Chilli (transferred from last week)

Sunday- Traditional Breakfast for Dinner!!

To find more Menu Plans, visit Organized Junkie!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Meal Plan

Merry Christmas!!! It's been such a fun season for Camden especially since he's finally old enough to understand more about Christmas. Of course we're trying to teach him the REAL meaning of Christmas, but he's very excited about Santa and most of all the presents. :) I really don't think he understands it yet, but I know it'll be soooo much fun on Christmas with him. And Dawson will just love tearing up all the paper from the presents. :) Here's the meal plan this week. For Christmas we're just having some friends over, so we're keeping it simple. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful week with your families!!

Monday- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli

Tuesday- Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice

Wednesday- BBQ Beef Sandwiches,

Thursday- Pasta and Cinnamon Rolls

Friday- Pineapple Ham, Au Gratin Potatoes, Almond Slivered Green Beans, Dinner rolls, and Flan for Dessert
*****UPDATE****** I used THIS RECIPE for dinner rolls and they are AMAZING. This recipe will be my new "holiday" roll/bun recipe! Golden Honey Pan Rolls

Saturday- Chilli

Sunday- Breakfast for Dinner: French Toast, Bacon, and Eggs

****another update****** I also didn't make the BBQ pulled beef until Christmas Eve and it was PERFECT to have during the busy time of Christmas Eve and Christmas day....I need to remember to do that again next year!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Menu Plan

OK, here we go....another week....

Monday: Tuna Noodle Casserole (didn't have a chance to make it last week)

Tuesday: Dinner with friends! Yay!

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas-from cookbook Recipes To Remember

Thursday: Hubby gone?? Soup from the freezer...

Friday: Minestrone and Homemade Bread

Saturday: Lasagna (roll-over from last week)

Sunday: Chili

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Menu Plan

Monday- Chicken Alfredo and Pasta, with Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday- Soft shelled Taco Bar

Wednesday- Turkey and Rice Soup

Thursday- Crockpot Pot Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots

Friday- Tuna Noodle Casserole

Saturday- Lasagna

Sunday- Breakfast for Dinner, Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pictures and Birthday

Here are some recent pics of us....mostly the boys! Dawson got his hair cut this past week. So we took some before and after shots. We didn't do so well with cutting his hair, so I made Renato stop cutting, then we called our friend Rachel to come over and finish it up....and fix our mistakes. :) He looks so grown up now....:(

And after "we" cut his hair and before Rachel came to fix it...

And with big brother...

And it was Daddy's Birthday this week!!!! We got to celebrate with friends last night and it was such a blessing to be surrounded by friends in our home again!

Yes...I made the cake. :)

The family!!!

Thanksgiving Week Menu Plan

How is it already the week of Thanksgiving? Oh my goodness, here begins the craziness of the holiday season....although this year, our holidays will be pretty quiet. This will be kind of a crazy week because our 5th Anniversary is on Friday too, so we'll be going out that evening (without the boys!) to celebrate. :) So lots of fun ahead. I LOVE THANKSGIVING!!!!

Monday- Potato and corn chowder (friends coming over!) Yay!

Tuesday- Lamb Stew in the crockpot

Wednesday- Leftovers to clean out the fridge for the thanksgiving leftovers. :)

Thursday- Turkey, Potatoes, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Pumpkin Crescent Rolls, pumpkin pie

Friday- Our night out!!!

Saturday- Hot Turkey Sandwiches

Sunday- Knoephla Soup

Monday, November 16, 2009

Camden Thinks We Need to go Shopping

So here's a little funny I want to record for the future. :)

Early this morning, as I was preparing breakfast, both boys were playing. Suddenly Camden got up, came over to me and said, "We need to go buy a new baby." At first I wasn't sure I heard him correctly, so I asked him, "What did you say Buddy?" And he very clearly stated....."We need to go buy a new baby. This one's not good, he's too stinky."

And if you know Camden, he KNOWS what he's talking about and will try to convince you of it. (Yes, he's definitely a leader.)

So as I was trying not to laugh, I explained that Dawson is a gift from God, and that God gave him to us to take care of, love, kiss, and hug. And Camden just looked at me and said, "OK." Then he proceeded to go give Dawson a kiss. :)

I have no idea where Camden got the idea to go buy a new baby from, but he was certain he knew what he was talking about. :) I have a feeling it may be because Dawson is now doing the "Army" crawl and getting into all of Camden's things, so Camden thinks buying a new baby would probably make his life a bit easier. Ha!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan for the week of Nov. 16th and Misc.

We're looking forward to a good week ahead as it's Renato's birthday on Wednesday. I'll cook his favorite's on Wednesday, but we'll have a small party with friends over on Sunday. Also, we have the house almost completely painted! Yay! Renato has worked soooo hard painting this house. He's pretty much exhausted from this past week. We're praying for good work/job opportunities and connections coming soon. We continue to pray for God's provision, and grace. It's so nice to feel like we're getting "settled in"! I pray for a wonderful week ahead!

Monday- Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday- Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Wednesday- Grilled Leg of Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce, Ranch Biscuits, and Veggies

Thursday- Baked Ziti

Friday- Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup

Saturday- Mozzarella Ham Stromboli and Fresh Salad

Sunday- Party time! :) Happy brithday Honey!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First CO Menu Plan

Yes, that does mean we're in CO and yes our life is semi-stable enough to do a menu plan. I'll go into more details later, but we're in our home (rented) and we're just busy setting it up, starting from scratch, and getting settled. It feels so good to be back in CO!!!!

Monday-- Chili

Tuesday-- Soft shelled taco bar

Wednesday-- Baked Chicken, White sauce pasta, steamed broccoli

Thursday-- Lamb Shank with Mashed potatoes, sesame green beans

Friday-- Chuckwagon Stew in the crockpot

Saturday-- Homemade Pizza

Sunday-- Breakfast for dinner...pancakes, eggs, and bacon

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Make sure you check out Organizing Junkie for a TON of more Menu Plans!!!

Monday---Homemade Pizza

Tuesday---Baked Chicken Meal---this is from Kelly's Korner a blog I follow and there are a lot more great recipes on this post.


Thursday---BBQ Beef, Bean, and Cornbread Casserole


Saturday---Knoephla Soup

Sunday---Grilled BBQ chicken, Grilled Potatoes, and Veggies

Have a wonderful week and hopefully I'll get some time to actually have more posts then just menu plans. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- Crockpot roast, potatoes, and carrots with corn on the cob

Tuesday- Grilled steak, potatoes, zucchini (we'll be canning salsa all day, so we need something easy!)

Wednesday- Out for the day

Thursday- Chili and fresh bread from the bread machine

Friday- Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Saturday- Homemade Pizza

Sunday- Grill out

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why I do Menu Plan Monday

Sorry that it seems that I'm only menu planning lately, but that's about all I have time for. Since I've started menu planning, my stress during the week has gone down a lot. It used to stress me out all day long (starting from waking up), trying to figure out what I was going to make for supper that day. I'd sit at breakfast and ask Renato what he wanted for supper, and he always looked at me and said, "How can I think about supper when I'm just eating breakfast! My stomach can't "think" that far ahead. Just cook something! I'll eat it!" Menu planning has freed up my mind, so it's one less thing to think about/stress about daily.

I also don't follow it exactly. If something comes up, or we don't feel like eating that, or I don't feel like cooking that, it's no big deal. But the big idea here, is that I HAVE A PLAN! And with me, a PLAN is always a GOOD idea!

So really, these posts are really just for me as a guide to what my week will look like. I refer to it daily for what I've planned and to look up the recipes. I also LOVE searching for recipes online. It's become a fun "hobby" of-sorts, for me.

This all comes down to......if you want to know what we're eating during the week or if you want to get some good recipes, check out the Menu Planning Monday posts, if you don't care....don't look at it. But for me, it's my sanity plan. Hallelujah! :)

Monday- Labor Day Picnic

Tuesday- Lasagna Casserole

Wednesday- Enchilada Casserole x's 2....making an extra one for a friend having a baby! OR this Honey-Lime Chicken Enchilada recipe.....I can't decide!!!
***I made the honey-lime enchiladas....they were great, but next time I'll add more lime (real limes) and less honey.***

Thursday- Crusted Chicken, Dill Potatoes, Fresh Garden Veggies

Friday- Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken Sandwiches

Saturday- ????? Our town is having it's "Fall Festival" today, so not sure if we'll be home or not.

Sunday- Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon

I'd also like to try baking these this week Whole Wheat Honey Zucchini Muffins! Remember to check out Organizing Junkie for LOTS more menu plans!!
****These muffins and bread turned out GREAT!!! I'm putting this recipe in my "favorites".****

Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

For some reason I'm having a hard time coming up with a menu this week. We're super busy right now harvesting from all the produce we have coming in from the garden, which is a lot of work, but so worth it! We're getting a ton of zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, and by the end of the week, apples. So we're doing a lot of baking, preserving, and freezing. Here goes....we'll see how the week turns out!

Monday-- Not at home....

Tuesday-- Beef Stroganoff, Egg Noodles, Peas

Wednesday-- Pork Roast, Potatoes, Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Thursday-- Zucchini Lasagna ***Need much more zucchini, and don't add the peeling ends of the zucchini...too hard.***

Friday-- Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings ****YUMMY!!!!! Turned out GREAT!!!****

Saturday-- Grilled steak, grilled potatoes, grilled zucchini

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Pictures....Finally, I know!

I realized last week that I haven't taken many pictures of Dawson lately. He's growing and changing so fast! He's 5 1/2 months old now, and so much fun! His hair is growing like crazy.....he may have to have a haircut soon. :) Here are some fun facts about Dawson:

~He loves to eat bananas, but doesn't really like avacados......yet!
~He just started rolling from his back to front, and he's getting pretty fast at it!
~He's doing well sitting, but still needs support.
~He's teething like crazy, but still only has those first 2 bottom teeth that popped out at 4 months.
~He's on a 3 1/2 hour schedule, and sleeps like a rock at night! (praise God!)
~He's very ticklish and loves to play.
~He's in 12 month clothes, but not too sure how much he weighs....he sure feels heavy though!
~He's very happy and smiles most of the day.

And Camden is having a blast helping Papa with Harvesting. Yesterday he was on the combine with Papa harvesting wheat. After they filled the truck up, he even got to play in it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Another Monday, here and gone. Yep, I'm a bit late posting this, but I was gone most of today at appointments. I think I have this week figured out....the meals at least. :)

Monday: Papa Murphy's pizza.....YUM!

Tuesday: Knoephla and Sauerkraut (local german/russian recipe)

Wednesday: Crock Pot Swiss Steak (rolled over from last week)

Thursday: Grilled BBQ chicken, Grilled zucchini, and potatoes

Friday: Beefy Nacho Crescent Bake, and Re-fried Beans

Saturday: Pasta with chicken and fresh garden veggies

Sunday: Brazilian Torta (my husband does this....kinda like puffed pizza with various toppings)

Well, we'll see how this week goes and how we're able to follow the plan. We have a TON of fresh veggies and apples that are being harvested right now....which is so yummy!

Make sure you go HERE for more great menu plans!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Yes, I've been absent for a long time from the blog, but I'd like to get started up again, so here goes! I've been menu planning the past few weeks, but all on paper. So I'd like to try to get it on my blog so I have them for future reference. Here's our week ahead!

Monday: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, peas, salad

Tuesday: Cheese Tortellini with chicken and alfredo sauce, fresh garden veggies

Wednesday: Zucchini Parmesan

Thursday: Crockpot Swiss Steak, Baked Potatoes

Friday: Tacos

Saturday: Homemade pizza, with homemade crust

Sunday: Grilled Steaks, Potatoes, and Zucchini

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We're in North Dakota!

Yes, we're in ND, and we've been here for a few weeks now. Needless to say, we've been a bit busy so I haven't had much time to blog. I have a lot to catch up on!

Our last month in Brazil was spent at my in-law's house. Camden played a lot with family and everyone had fun getting to know Dawson. Camden spoke mainly Portuguese during that month and became much more fluent than I am!

Traveling went well with the boys. All connections were smooth and Camden was excited to go "na-night" on the airplane. We definitely are blessed with good travelers!

Since we've been in ND Camden has not stopped running on the farm! He's even more obsessed with tractors then before. He's constantly asking everyone for a tractor ride. I think we may have a little farmer on our hands. :) And Dawson is still growing like a weed! He's so much fun!!!

Right now we're just hanging out here on the farm and helping wherever we can. Renato is helping my dad around the farm and I've enjoyed cooking for everyone. (Cooking here is SOOOOO easy!!)

We're still not sure when we'll head down to Colorado. We're just having fun here and enjoying our time on the farm!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2 Months Old!!!

Dawson is 2 months old today! Time is flying! Here are some "fun facts" about him:

~He LOVES getting his diaper changed!
~He doesn't like baths very much. Sad.
~He's very strong and loves to stand up as much as possible.
~He's cooing and "talking" a lot and LOVES to smile!!!!
~He LAUGHED for the 1st time yesterday! I love that sound!!!!
~He's on a 3 hour schedule and wakes up 1 time at night to eat...he's done this from the beginning.
~He's VERY long....and is wearing 3-6 month clothes, but mostly 6 mo. clothes. (He moved into 3-6 mo. clothes a month ago.)
~He has a "grouchy" time in the afternoon when he doesn't want to sleep, but he's a very happy baby besides that. (hoping he grows out of that grouchy time) :)
~He's got new hair growing in already, and it seems to be dark.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Pics

Look at that face! I LOVE this age!!!!

Camden is such a good big brother.

We're still staying busy. Right now my friend Sarah is here from Colorado, so we're enjoying her time here with us. What a blessing to have her come visit us!

We're currently in the middle of our 1st transition. We're packing up to move out of our rental house and into Renato's parents house for a month. We bought our tickets home, and our departure date is June 2nd. It really is hard to believe that its coming so soon. So we're selling, packing, and giving away all of our "stuff". Thank goodness we don't have as much "stuff" as we had when we moved from the US!

Please keep us in your prayers during all these transitions. We have no idea what's ahead of us, but we know God is good and we can't wait to see what He has in store for us next!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Fun

I pray you all had a wonderful Resurrection Day! Our Easter was nice. Here in Brazil they don't do a lot of the traditions we do in the U.S., so I always try to incorporate at least a little into our holidays here. This year Camden and I dyed Easter eggs.

I had to draw tractors on a lot of the eggs. Camden is still obsessed with everything farming, so we had Easter tractor eggs this year!

Easter Sunday was spent at Renato's parents house with all the family on his mom's side. We hid all the eggs we dyed around the yard and Camden had his 1st Easter Egg Hunt. It was so cute! He was having a great time and kept wanting to find more eggs.

Camden and his helpers, Gabriel and Bellinia.

And of course Dawson slept through most of Easter, but here are some updated photos of him. He's 5 weeks old! Can't wait to see how much he's grown at the Dr.'s tomorrow!

Look at those cheeks and double chin!! Love chubby babies!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

OK, it's been more than a month since I last posted. Maybe because I've been a tish bit busy. :) We're all doing well here, just trying to adjust to our new little addition...OK, so maybe "little" isn't the right word to describe Dawson. He's gotten HUGE really fast! He's been out of 0-3 month clothes for more than a week already. He's MUCH bigger than Camden was. I can't wait until his Dr. appt next week to see how much he's grown. He eats like a little horse too! :)

My parents were here the week after Dawson was born and stayed about 10 days. It was nice to have them here and Camden and Dawson LOVED all the attention they got. All my dad did for 10 days was play "tractors and farm" with Camden. And Camden is STILL playing "tractors and farm" every single day. We're all getting pretty tired of it, but he sure isn't!

We have some MAJOR transitions coming up quickly that I wanted to let everyone know about. I'm not going to take time now to write a lot about it but hopefully in the future I'll have a little bit more time. 1st transition: moving in with Renato's parents for the month of May. 2nd transition: MOVING BACK TO THE STATES IN JUNE! (yes you read that correctly, we're on our way back to the good ol' U S of A) 3rd transition: visiting my family in North Dakota for a few weeks before.... 4th transition: moving down to CO 5th transition: not sure where we'll be exactly living yet, but when we know, we'll let you know.

Yikes, that's a lot of transition. I think I really didn't let myself think about it too much before the birth because I was so focused on the birth....and didn't want to stress myself out. Well, now there's no way NOT to think about it. We've been able to slowly pack stuff up and send bags packed with my parents, our friend Brian who was here, and now my friend Sarah will be here next week and she'll take some bags back for us too. HUGE BLESSINGS!!!

Anyway, God is working mightily in all of this and will share more about His faithfulness in another post. Just for future reference though.....He ROCKS! :)

OK, I know you just showed up on my blog to see pics of the little guy.....so here they are. These pics are already old though....he looks like he's doubled in size since these were taken 2 weeks ago! I'll have newer ones soon!

My parents with Dawson.

My parents with Camden. We have a hard time getting Camden to keep his eyes open, look at the camera, and act "normally" for pictures.....maybe because he's 2! Not sure what my dad's excuse is though! Ha!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Presenting.......Dawson Daniel Cassula!!!

He's here!!!!

He was born Friday, March 6th at about 6:50am. He weighed 7lbs 8oz and was 20.8 inches long. (I still need to make sure these conversions are correct!)

We're home now after one night at the hospital. Today we're just resting and trying to adjust....which I think we'll be doing for awhile. We all took a nap this afternoon which was great. Camden LOVES his baby brother! He can't stop kissing him, and wants to hold him all the time. What's funny, is that Camden had a meltdown this morning when I was trying to breastfeed Dawson, he saw me doing it and starting crying his head off. I don't know if he was scared or jealous or what, but it was kinda funny. This afternoon's breastfeeding session went much better, but Camden asked if he could have some "milk" from me too.....so we're adjusting! :)

OK, so here's the story..........
I was scheduled to be induced Friday morning at 7am. I went to sleep around 10pm praying about the birth and asking God one more time for a fast delivery (6 hrs or under) and that it would start on its own. Well, I woke up at about 12:30 with a funny feeling. I got up and went to the bathroom and noticed my underwear was wet. I wasn't sure if my water had broken or not, but I was thinking it had. As I was getting up and thinking I should wake up Renato, I felt a "gush" and then I knew that my water had definitely broken. Renato was so funny when I woke him up.....he was so disoriented he didn't know what to do. I just said, "Honey, call your mom to come be with Camden, he have to go to the hospital."

I started feeling a some contractions, but they we just more like cramps. We got to the hospital around 2am. They don't have an OB/GYN at the hospital at all times, just a general Dr. who is at the hospital, with others on-call. So we went to the ER and had to see the general practitioner who was there. First they put me on monitoring for contractions and such. Well, I knew something was wrong with the monitoring because I had done it 3 times before. The contractions we only registering at about 20% with pain this time, and I had had the same percentage all 3 times before with not feeling any contractions. Then I went downstairs to see the Dr. He asked questions and we told him my water broke, he looked at the monitoring, then he checked for dilation. He said I wasn't dilated at all. SO....if you can believe this, he sent me home! Even though my water had broken and I was having contractions 2 minutes apart!!!! He said that my contractions weren't strong enough and that I wasn't dilated so he didn't really think I was in labor. Needless to say, I was a bit upset.

So, we went home.....for about an hour. My contractions continued to get stronger, but were still 2 min. apart. I was scared to go back to the hospital because I didn't want to see that Dr. again. Praise God, a new Dr. was there and he was shocked that they sent me home with my water broken. He checked and I was 2-3 cm dilated and they went about doing paperwork and admitting me. (Which took awhile!)

They got me into a room and called the OB/GYN who was on-call. He came in and checked me and I was about 5-6 cm dilated. The contractions were getting pretty strong, and I knew that the anesthesiologist (sp?) was not in the hospital, and IF I needed him, I better ask now. They said they'd wait till I was 7cm to get an epidural. They took me down to surgery to prepare me and everything. This is where there is a BIG difference in birthing in Brazil. In the US you get total comfort in your room while delivering. In Brazil, it's a very sterile surgery room....and a VERY uncomfortable, narrow, flat, hard surgery table that you give birth on. Not comfortable at all!

My contractions were getting REALLY hard and I kept asking where the anethesiologist was and when he was coming. I believe the whole hospital was hearing me scream....if that gives you any indication on how strong the contractions were. Then all of a sudden I felt like I needed to push.....and still no epidural. I got really scared and screamed "NO, NO, NO" through that whole contraction of pushing. Then Praise God, the "miracle no-pain man" came!!! Ha! They sat me up as quickly as they could and it took him about a minute to get the epidural in. Here it was just a shot straight into my spine, not a cathedure like the US. And heaven came to my body and I as instantly numb. Just in time too, because as soon as they laid me down again they said "Push"! I was so numb I couldn't even feel to push, but I did what I could. I think I only pushed like 3 times, and less than 2 minutes after I got the epidural, Dawson arrived! Wow, that was just in the "nick of time". :)

When I pushed, there was a nurse standing beside me and was pushing hard on my stomach too to help Dawson out. (I know it was hard now, that I'm REALLY sore on my stomach from where she pushed.) I didn't even really know he was out until they told me. They didn't show him to me or anything, just took him behind a glass wall. So after about 5 minutes they finally brought him to me to see quickly before they took him up to the nursery. They stitched me up (they gave me an episiotomy) and I had to wait in the "recovery" room until my epidural wore off. Then I was back up in my room and they finally brought Dawson to me....about an hour after he was born.

So, I "almost" made it without the epidural, but I was so happy that I got it. I have a feeling though, that if I had made it that far in the US without it, I probably would have not gotten it...I was just so unsure of everything at the time here. But, there's always next time to try again. :)

Praise God, He answered so many prayers! I prayed specifically for my water to break on it's own and have a quick labor of 6 hrs or less, and that's what happened! AND, the best part, is we have a handsome, healthy, and perfect little boy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pregnancy in Brazil-Part 7

Yes, I'm giving ANOTHER pregnancy update. I was hoping that by now I'd be able to post about my new little boy, but he doesn't seem to want to join the rest of us and is in no hurry to join the outside world. So yes, I'm still pregnant. *Sigh* And I think what's really making these last days difficult for me is the heat. It's been in the 90's for almost 2 weeks now, and it's just not cooling off. So that means that I'm not cooling off either. We are trying to spend as much time as possible at Renato's parents house because there house seems to stay much cooler then ours, and of course they have a pool....which helps in keeping us all cool. Although yesterday when I got in the pool it didn't even seem cool at all, just like a warm bath. Even "cold" showers don't work now because the all of the water comes out warm, not even cool anymore.

I had another appointment yesterday.....and the baby has moved down and there is progression, but I'm still not dilated. So, my Dr. said that if he still isn't here by Thursday, Friday, or Saturday they'll put me in the hospital to induce. She's going to call the hospital to see who the Dr.'s are "on call" there those days and choose the best Dr. for me, then call me that day to come in. Last week I wasn't very happy about being induced, but to be honest with you, at this point, I've lost patience. It was the same way with Camden. It seems that once I get past my due date, I'm just ready to be done. So Camden was induced and was 7 days late. And I'm going to go along with the induction this time around too, which ever day they call. I am still praying that today he'd decided to come on his own, but I'm not going to be upset if I get induced. It just wasn't my first choice, or the best choice, but if it'll get Dawson moving....I'm all for it right now!

Getting induced for me means that I'll probably have to get an epidural too. I'm not against them, I just really want to have a natural birth....at some point...maybe the next one?!? I didn't have that great of luck with the epidural last time either. The 1st one they put in didn't work and within an hour I was back at the same pain level I had been in. They called the Dr. but he was in surgery. So I had to wait for him to get out. When he came back he couldn't get it in the right way. He had to poke me and "try" 6 more times to get it to work. I distinctly remember him saying, "OK, I'll try one more time." You better believe I was praying soooooo hard by then for it to work....I was getting pretty nervous. But it turned out, he just had to angle the needle a different way for me to get it to work. And I was SOOOO thankful that it worked! It still took another 7 hours for Camden to come out, so I don't honestly know if I would have had enough strength to push him out if I didn't have that time to rest. And as I recall, the epidural didn't help that much with the pushing part...I remember asking the nurse why it hurt so bad, and she just said, "Sorry honey, it doesn't take away the pain of pushing all the time." But, it all worked out well in the end because I finally pushed out a perfect little Camden. :)

So now I'm just wondering how this birth experience will be....especially since it's in a different country. I know that God is good and that He is in control, no matter what may be different here.

So we're just waiting and waiting. We'll update the blog as soon as we can after Dawson is born, but it may be a few days.....since for some reason, I'm guessing the hospital here doesn't have wireless internet available. :) We'll post pics as soon as we can.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pregnancy in Brazil-Part 6

Well, we're one day away from the due date and Dawson seems to be content to just stay where he's at. I don't know what's up with my boys, but Camden didn't want to come out either. He was induced a week over-due. My Dr. checked to see if I was dilated on my Thursday appointment and said if she could, she would "strip my membranes" (which I had done with Camden....it hurt SOOOO bad and didn't work anyway) if I was dilated enough. Well, when she checked I still wasn't dilated at all. So we continue to wait! I have another appointment with her on Tuesday morning, and she said if that by a week after my due date, he hasn't come yet, she'd put me in the hospital to induce me. Of course I'm ready for him to come out, but I really don't want to be induced again. I've been praying for a natural birth that starts on its own without any interventions. So please join me in praying that within the next week I dilate, contractions start, and that my water will break all on its own. Thanks!

On some side notes, I wanted to let you know a few things I've learned about "after" the baby arrives here in Brazil. While preparing all of the food for Camden's b-day, my mother-in-law told Renato in a passing comment, that "It'll be good if we have left-overs, then you don't have to prepare anything for the guests who come to see Dawson." What???? SO, we've learned that here in Brazil, people don't bring you food after you give birth (like when I had Camden, our friends all organized a bunch of dinners for us over the next few weeks after Camden's birth, which was a HUGE blessing), you're supposed to feed them when they come to visit you and the baby. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE showing hospitality and opening up my home and serving and feeding people, LOVE IT! BUT, not so much after I've just given birth. I guess that most people will start showing up and visiting us about a week after we come home, and that we're expected to have some sort of snack or cake or cookies with coffee to serve to them. All I can say is that I'm glad we do have some cookies left from the party to serve....and that we live only a few steps from a bakery, cuz there's no way I can think about preparing/cooking/baking anything for other people the week after I give birth. All I'm really concerned about is feeding my family.....so we'll see how all that goes. It will be nice to have visitors, I guess I'm just not too sure how it all works.

Then the other day, my Mother-in-law asked Renato, "So what kind of gift are you going to prepare to give people who visit?". WHAT????? Excuse me, but I'm not only supposed to have something for them to eat, but a gift too? Uh-oh. She told us that we should have some sort of small gift, like a little photo, candy with Dawson's picture on, or little keepsake made for everyone who comes to visit us. Ummmm, yeah. Bless his heart, all Renato did was shake his head and tell his mom that we didn't have anything planned and that we won't be preparing anything as a keepsake. I feel bad for Renato, because if I could take care of it, maybe we could do something very simple, but Renato would have to do all of the footwork and pretty much do it all, and I don't want to add more on his "plate of duties". I know some people do this in the states too, like have those cute "Her-shies" bars printed up and give to people, but the thought never even crossed my mind when I had Camden, let alone doing something like that here.

So I'm learning that having a baby here is a bit more work then I anticipated, but we'll make it. I'll serve and feed our visitors, but I'm sorry to say, they won't be taking home anything as a keepsake from Dawson. :) It's definitely been interesing to learn all of this here. I'm just ready for Dawson to arrive so I can hold him and kiss him and hug him! I'm not concentrating too much on all the other "things", but having a baby in a different culture is certainly a learning experience!

P.S. Please be praying Dawson comes on his own this week! Thanks!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cha de Bebe

Our little church here was so sweet to throw us a baby shower, or "Cha de Bebe". (Translated directly, baby tea) There was just a little misunderstanding though. We only know baby showers that are for women only....well, when my mother-in-law and I pulled up to the church and saw a bunch of men standing outside, I knew that we were mistaken! Yes, the shower was a "whole family" event, and Renato was at home with Camden, who was already in bed. We had no idea it was for men too! We tried to work something out last minute to get Renato there, but we decided to just go ahead with just me being the guest of honor, not both of us. :) Ooopppss!

It was really nice to have the men there. They were such good sports about everything! It was pretty much a "typical" baby shower. They played a bunch of games and there were some snacks and gifts of course. The main difference in gifts was that I had to give a list of things I needed. Then with the invitations, they let people know what's on the list and make sure everything is covered.

Here is a pic of the gift table and the cute sign they made for us. It's going to hang in the boys' room. It says, "Welcome Dawson".

My mother-in-law and I with the gift table.

Me with Pastor Jose and his wife Sonia.

The whole gang, although the pic is a little fuzzy.

What a blessing they are!! It was so great to celebrate little Dawson!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pregnancy in Brazil-Part 5

OK, we're trying to be patient here....only a week away from the due date. I'm hoping he comes either today, or tomorrow, or then that he waits until next Tuesday. Renato has a translating job and is going to be working nights on Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Mon, so it would be crazy if Dawson came then. But of course, it's all up to him, not us!

I'm actually still pretty content and not too anxious yet. The only thing that is making me really miserable right now is how hot it is here. The past 4 days have been awful! I think I've sweat more in the past 4 days then I have in the past 10 years. YUCK! You know that if you're already sweating by 9am, it's going to be miserable. Yesterday I took 4 cold showers, and they only help while you're actually in the shower. As soon as you get out, you're sweating again.

The last few Dr. appt's have gone well, although she's not checked again if I'm dilated or not yet. Maybe it's a good thing not to know. I think it's keeping me less anxious.

Here's something that is different in Brazil. In the U.S., each delivery room has a contraction monitoring machine that monitors movements, heart beat, and contractions. Well, there is only one machine for the whole hospital. When I was induced with Camden, I was hooked up to that machine the whole time. Here, they just put you on when it's open, or every few hours to check to see if everything is still OK. I went in the other day to get monitored for 5 minutes so my Dr. could see how Dawson is moving. He was going crazy the whole time! So fun!!!

So now, we just wait. I'm trying to enjoy these last few moments with Camden as my only child. I know life is going to change drastically for us when Dawson comes, and I want to cherish the time we have left, just the 3 of us. Although we know life will only get better and more blessed with Dawson.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Party of the Year!

Happy Birthday Camden!!!!!!!!

My little boy is 2 years old tomorrow! My goodness, how did we skip ahead 2 years already? It's been fun this year to remember Camden's birth and every feeling and all the excitement, because we're going through it again at almost exactly the same time of year, just 2 years later. (I have a feeling Dawson won't be born on his brother's birthday though...although a lot could happen in a day I suppose.) :)

I know last year I did a post about Camden's 1 year birthday and the crazy parties they have here in Brazil. I was just thinking this year we'd do a small party with just the immediate family....well...plans changed. Pretty soon we were inviting everyone and having a bunch of food and tons of sweets, and on and on. Renato and I still aren't sure how it got so blown out of proportion, but it's over now. We had his birthday party yesterday. It was great, and we're very glad it's over. We spent almost everyday for 2 weeks preparing for the party. As I've stated before, I didn't do this much work to prepare for my wedding. But, I figured it will be Camden's last birthday here in Brazil, so I just went with the flow.

Here's an idea of what we did, and the work we put into it....
-Food: We spent at least 3 days preparing the food. We made everything from scratch to help save money....although it still ended up being a lot. We made mini pizzas (over 100), esfihas (middle eastern type food with meat in the middle of bread--all individually made--over 120), cachorro quente (cut up hot dogs in a tomato sauce served in a sandwich), and Renato's mom made this layered chicken sandwich with lots of layers of bread and chicken (she used 3 loaves of bread in it). OK, that's just the "salty food".

-Sweets: We spent at least 3 days on the little tiny cookies we made. There were 4 different kinds. Then through a strange twist of bad communication, we decided to do a certain kind of "freezer" cake that would be cut up individually and wrapped individually. (bad idea--bad communication--I didn't know what it really involved) Anyway, so Renato's mom made 2 big cakes with this yummy custard in the middle, which we cut up in single servings, wrapped in pretty plastic wrapping, tied a pretty ribbon around each one, then curled all the ribbons. There were about 120 pieces. Again, NOT a good idea. PLUS I wanted to make a cake for Camden I'd found on the internet. We had a "farm" themed birthday and I found a really cute cow cake, and Camden loves cows. So, we also had that. PLUS...yes there's more.....we had to make these little balls of chocolate and coconut, roll them in sprinkles and coconut, and put them in tiny little cupcake like wrappers.

Whew...are you tired yet just from reading that? You could say we were happy the whole thing is over. :) But it was a good time, and I'm glad we did it.....although both Renato and I said we'd never do anything like that again. Ha!

I've got some pics to show from the day. We had a "farm" theme of cows and John Deere green and yellow...although they all thought the green and yellow was for "Brazil", which worked out perfectly. :) It all turned out great.

Here's the cow cake. Isn't it just adorable?!? I'm pretty impressed with myself...my first attempt at decorating a b-day cake. I think I'm hooked...can't wait for the next one. :)

Here you can see the whole table with all the little rolled balls of chocolate and coconut, along with some of Camden's John Deere toys and some balloons.

I love this picture as Camden is blowing out the candles, all the other kids are "helping" him. Too cute!!

Here we are with our 2 year old!

I love this picture! It was taken when we were singing, and Camden looks so cute, knowing that everyone was singing for him! I love his reaction!

I wish I'd have taken some pics of all the food, but my card on the camera was full. Oh well, you'll just have to take my word for it.

Tomorrow is Camden's "real" birthday. We're going to take him to the zoo to see the monkeys (his favorite) and then out for ice cream. We told him tonight that tomorrow is his birthday, he asked right away, "Party?". So that tells me he enjoyed his party and that makes it worth it. We all had a good time and it was so special having Camden's 2nd birthday here in Brazil with all of his family and friends here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Letter to Dawson

My Sweet Little Baby Dawson,

Oh, how I can't wait to meet you! I've only got 3 more weeks until your due date, and I'm counting down the days. I'm so excited to hold you and kiss you and hug you and cuddle you! I can't wait to see who you look like. Will you look like your Daddy with brown skin and hair, and brownish/green eyes, or will you look like your big brother and me, with light skin and hair, and blue eyes? I'm so excited to see you!

You certainly have been an active little guy from the beginning. I felt you kick me from the outside at about 17 weeks, so I've been feeling you tumble and kick and move for a long time. I love your little hiccups! You get them so much! I'd say you have hiccups at least 1-4 times per day. I love watching my belly shake when you have them! I'm going to miss feeling you move and kick so much, but I'll love holding you and smelling your sweet new baby smell lots more.

Something that is really exciting is that you're going to be born in Brazil! Now that's pretty special. You'll probably be my only baby born in Brazil too. Your name, Dawson Daniel, sounds so natural. The name Dawson is actually the name of a little town that's close to the town I grew up in. I've always liked that name. And Daniel is your grandpa's name (my dad). 2 other people in our family have the middle name Daniel as well, your uncle Darin, and your cousin Dylan. So it's a pretty popular name! And you'll fit right in with all the other "Dockter" men (my maiden name). All of the men in that family have a first name that starts with "D", except for Camden! I guess we're all trying to really confuse Grandma. :)

You have so many people waiting to meet you and shower love on you. Your big brother, Camden, has been kissing you and hugging you for months now. He calls you "Daws" and says, "Baby Brudder". He LOVES babies, so I know he'll take such good care of you. I know you 2 will be the best of buddies and great playmates! You'll soon realize that you have the best Daddy in the whole world! He's going to take such good care of you, and he's SOOOO much fun too! Just ask Camden! I know you'll be wrestling around with Daddy in no time.

My prayer for you, is that you will grow into the man of God you are called to be. That you would be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I pray that you will be a man of honor and strength, and that you would love the Lord your God, with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Dawson, you are a child of God, and I pray that you would follow after Him and serve Him, all the days of your life.

I love you so much! We are all waiting expectantly for your arrival. Don't keep us waiting too long!

All of my love,

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pregnancy in Brazil-Part 4

Does the baby at the top of the blog really say I have only 23 days left? Oh boy, we're getting close! I had my first Dr. appt in more than a month yesterday. My Dr. was on vacation, and she said she wasn't worried about me at all, so we could go the month without any Dr. seeing me. And she was right, all was well. :) From now on though, we'll have an appointment every week. Camden will be spending a lot of time with his grandparents in the next few weeks...which he loves, because remember the previous post....yeah, they have the pool! We've tried to take him with us to the appointments, but here in Brazil, I'm not quite sure how they schedule, but it's not done very efficiently. I have a feeling they put about 5 people all down at the same time, then whoever just shows up 1st, and 2nd, and so forth get put in order. So if you're #5....you usually have at least an hour wait. We've shown up early or on time for every appointment, and we usually finally get to see the Dr. about an hour after our scheduled appointment. Not very appropriate entertainment for a 2 yr. old. :)

Anyway, my appointment went well. Sad to say though, I'm not dilated at all yet. I am praying that Dawson waits until after Camden's b-day party next Sunday, then he can come whenever he wants. It would be kinda fun for him to be born on the 17th, Camden's b-day, but that's up to him! We also had an ultrasound on Monday. Dawson looks very healthy and is head down, so that's good. After we got home I was doing some calculations to convert all the metric measurements to inches and lbs so I can understand them. From the measurements they took they think he's about 6 lbs already. I'm just praying he has a smaller head then Camden did!

Yesterday we also got to take a quick tour of the hospital.....which they don't do normally here at all, but my Dr. gave us a tour to help me feel a bit more at ease I think. Here's where there's a difference in deliveries. I labor in my room until either I, a) want an epidural or b) am ready to deliver. Then they move me down to surgery. So if I get an epidural soon in the process I could be sitting in surgery for a LONG time....not fun. I'd really like to have a medication free delivery, but that all depends on a hundred different things, so we'll see. After delivery they take the baby to the nursery, and me back to my room. Now here's the weird part.....THEY KEEP THE BABY IN THE NURSERY FOR 4 HOURS. What? My Dr. said it was to get the baby acclimated to being on the "outside". I asked her about when I could breastfeed, because it's very important to feed the baby ASAP after he's born. She said after the 4 hours.......I'm not a very big fan of that, at all. But she said I could ask, and that it's up to the pediatrician on-call. So pray we have favor with the staff and that I can feed little Dawson before they take him away from me for 4 hours.

Also, at the beginning of your pregnancy here, they give you a little pamphlet that you carry around with you for the whole pregnancy with information in it, and the Dr. updates it at every appointment. Now in this little pamphlet they have some info for new mommies....about 4 paragraphs. That's it. That's all you get. (Not like the binder full of info you get in the states!) AND the best part, is they give you a list of things you need for the hospital, for you and the baby. Again, here is a big difference.....this is the list I need for the hospital:

For me:
~Bath Towel and Washcloth
~Toothpaste, Toothbrush
~Flip flops

Yes, I have to bring my own towel and pads. My Dr. said they have everything I need "medically", but I have to bring anything that would be "personal". I'm so glad I had a baby before and know how to take care of everything and that I know what I need. While I was in the US I bought some "extra's" I'm sure they won't have for me, like the Dermoplast spray, and the Tuck's pads....and I'm sure I'll have to bring my own ice packs too. I told Renato I'm going to need a whole suitcase. :)

For Baby:
~Burp Cloths

Yep, that's right.....they don't even provide diapers for the baby!!!......or a Blanket......or a t-shirt! Oh my.....yep, definitely going to need a suitcase.

So, as of yesterday, I'm trying to pack my bag (suitcase) with all that we need for our 2 day hospital stay. Whew, glad I'm getting it ready now, it's definitely not a "throw some things in a bag and let's go" type of list. 23 days and counting.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Our Little Fish

Camden has a great opportunity here in Brazil that not many people get. He's learning how to swim in his grandparent's pool. We realize this is a luxury, and believe me, we are thankful for it! Especially on really hot days, when being in the water is the only place to cool off. Last year when we arrived, he was kinda scared of the water (only being one) and didn't really like it. Well, this year during the summer season, we can't get him OUT of the water. Everyday he asks to go to the "pool". On warm days when we don't get to Vovo and Vova's house (Grandma and Grandpa in Portuguese), I just put some water in a bucket I have and let him play in that....which he seems happy about too.

In December he was still a little hesitant about the water. He'd choke a lot and wanted to be held the whole time in the water.....that only lasted about 2 days. Then, we found some "bubbles" or arm floaties, and he's been on his own since then. Everyday he spends at the pool, the more he learns about swimming. He totally swims all over the pool completely by himself with his bubbles on. He's learned how to swim on his back, and the craziest thing he's just learned this past week, is to jump into the pool....without anyone catching him!!! He totally goes straight down in the water and comes back up without choking. He's learned how to hold his breath while jumping and yesterday, I think he crawled out of the pool and jumped back in at least 100 times. It's so cute, he stands by the edge and counts in Portuguese, "Um, Dois, Tres" and then jumps. He usually doesn't say the "tres", but someone else does. We're trying to teach him how to duck his head under so it's more like diving, but I'm sure he'll learn soon enough. He certainly is brave. It's kinda scary that he's learned so much in just a matter of about 2 months. I'm thankful for it though, he'll never be scared of water!

I wish I knew how download video...we took a very short video of him yesterday jumping in the pool, but I'll have to figure that out another day. Enjoy the pics of our little fish!!

This is Camden's pose...when we tell him to pose for a picture, this is what he does.

Here is Camden and his cousin Gabriel, we call him "BL". They look like a good example of "coffee and milk", don't they? You'd never guess they were cousins!

Enjoying the water!

Here's just another pic of Camden "posing"...can you see his tan? I know it's kinda hard to tell cuz he still looks very white, but his little bottom sure is white compared to the rest of him! He'd be a perfect poster child for the sunblock adds. :)