Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baba and Deada

Andre's Mom and Grandfather are here visiting us for two weeks at the moment and we've been having fun with them. This was their first time meeting Jack and he just LOVES both of them. They speak Russian to him of course (which I'm trying to get Andre to do as well, but without much luck!). We've been cooking and shopping and swimming together and it's been really special to spend time with them.


Jack with his "Baba Nataliya"


Jack with "Deada" (Jack is Grandfather's 25th great-grandchild!)


Last week Andre and his mom picked up some left over bread at Alons bakery for free (as you can see, they brought home a little too much! )

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Visiting Friends

This is a catch up post of our doings last week. Having just got back from Illinois, we were eager to catch up with our friends here at home, whom we have missed! I have photos of some of our visits, but not all:

Hanging out with Robin, Ellyn and her two boys, Lofa and Ali. Here's Jack with Ali.


Seeing Debs and her new house


Having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with my dear friends the Whites, who now live in South Carolina.

My friend Victoria was in town for work on Saturday, so we got to have lunch together, and then I was also able to visit my friend Ruth and her new little boy, Callen. Congrats Ruthie...he's gorgeous!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Loved Ones

Yesterday we spent the day with my aunt and uncle who were in Atlanta for two nights. Originally from Zimbabwe (Aunty Helena is my Mum's younger sister), they now live in New Zealand but have relatives and children all over the world. They have taken a special world tour in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary and have been to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cape Town, England, and now Atlanta. Today they were off again, to Illinois to be with Mum and Dad for the week, then will go to Canada before returning to NZ.

We haven't seen them since 2005 so it was GREAT to catch up and give them hugs again!

Us kids with Aunty Hen and Uncle Piet


The cousin twins (Alexis at 4 months and Jack at 3.5 months)


With their great nieces and nephew!


The kiddos with their special soft toys from New Zealand. Michaela got a Pukeko and the babies got baby Kiwis. All the toys make noises, much to their delight!

Thanks for stopping off to see us, Aunty Hen and Uncle Piet and for the beautiful presents. Hopefully it won't be 5 years before we see you again!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy 1st Father's Day!

I've blogged enough on here to last me a while! I'll let these photos tell the story of our day :)

All dressed and ready for church






Jack's first swim in the pool. He LOVED it!


My water babies

Three generations...Great-Grandpa, Daddy and Jack


Thanks for being such an amazing daddy to our little boy, Husbie. You're a natural!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

DISCLAIMER: this is going to be long but is not meant to be a lengthy list of my woes! It is simply to share what's been going on with me, as some of you may have noticed, I haven't been quite myself lately :) See previous post for the intro to this one.

I loved being pregnant. I loved the fact that I was pregnant. I loved being big and having a reason to be! And no, I didn't have a dream pregnancy...it took some time and some hormones to get me pregnant and keep me that way. It took me 16 weeks to get over morning sickness. I had the usual aches and pains. But despite that, I just LOVED the pregnant state! It was so special to nurture this long awaited baby, anticipate his arrival, and find out what all those women had been talking about all my life :)


And the birth went pretty well too. During the following week I felt like I was recovering well and although breast-feeding was tough, everything else seemed ok. However, 10 days later, I began experiencing horrible pain and after a quick doctors visit, was told I had an infected fistula (a small tunnel that can develop anywhere in the body). Mine happened to be "down below" shall we say, not a great place to get one right after giving birth but probably the reason for it!

I was taken into surgery that day, where the doctor performed a fistulectomy as well as some other minor procedures to get me back to normal (I won't go into details. Google it if you want!). What I didn't know was that the recovery from this type of surgery is HORRIBLE, extremely painful for an extremely long time. Ignorance is bliss, and I must say, I'm glad I didn't know what the next months held. I was just happy to have the issue dealt with so quickly, thanks to my Dad who happened to be visiting to see Jack and who got me in with a colleague of his very fast. (On a side note, all the doctors and nurses at St. Josephs were really great and even delayed the surgery so I could pump before having the general anesthetic!)


Thankfully, Mum was staying with us and helped Andre take care of me and Jack. The following weeks were a blur. I was in so much pain, I couldn't even walk to the bathroom by myself and trying to breastfeed was almost impossible, as I couldn't sit up at all. Bathroom visits were a nightmare (if anyone needs pointers on how to survive a fistulectomy and hemerroidectomy, I'm your girl!!) and I spent much of my time crying. Sad and pathetic, I know. Crying because of pain, crying because of baby blues, crying because I couldn't take care of the baby properly or enjoy him (his dislike of breastfeeding didn't help). I was such a mess. I used to jokingly say that I was flowing with milk and tears!

By week two I could walk by myself. Week three I developed mastitis and then a yeast infection from the antibiotics (five weeks later I was still battling yeast which made breastfeeding even harder). Week five, Mum left to go back to IL...scary times! But we managed. Week six saw another bout of mastitis, but slight improvement in pain. I was down to Motrin every four hours rather than the strong stuff! I saw both my doctors that week and both were unhappy with my progress, saying that I wasn't healing well. Sitz baths were still the order of the day! Mastitis again at week seven; breastfeeding was still a battle and by then Jack was being treated for reflux, poor little thing. One HUGE blessing around this time was that he slept through the night at 7 weeks old! I saw my doctors again at week ten and was told that I still wasn't healed from the birth OR the surgery. Things were just taking a long time to get better. Rather discouraging. At this point we went up to Peoria for a month, which was great. It was just encouraging to be with Mum and be looked after :) (thanks Mum for taking care of us).

I stopped breastfeeding at week eight, pumped for two more weeks and then put him on formula exclusively. This was probably one of the most emotionally difficult decisions I've ever had to make; don't ask me why, it just was for me. But we both did MUCH better once the Battle of the Breast was over!!

By week twelve I could manage stairs without too much pain and was able to sit upright with more ease. Andre also was doing the early morning feeding which enabled me to get a full night's sleep and I think this really helped my energy level and recovery (thanks Husbie for doing this for me!).


I am now at week 15 and saw both doctors again last week, after returning home to Atlanta. Both said things are certainly better, not healed yet (not sure why it's taking so long) but getting there. They're estimating another two months of recovery at least. The pain is now much more manageable and I was even able to go for a short slow walk on Friday (thanks Hannah, for ambling with me!), as I was finally cleared to do light exercise.

So there you have it.

It's probably been the most joyous and the most difficult three months of my life. Emotionally and physically. Certainly physically. There were many days of frustration and anger and disappointment in what I was experiencing, not getting to enjoy my baby as I had so looked forward to. I kept asking myself what the Lord could possibly be trying to teach me (going through this experience better result in some darn good spiritual fruit, I thought!). I was frustrated at myself for not enduring with more patience and fortitude. I still don't have the answers to all that, and feel like I'm only just coming out of the fog anyway. I have learned to just pray that somehow he would use this in my life and for his glory. Not sure how, but those are the words that keep coming to mind. I think one thing I can honestly say, is that the Lord sustained me through this experience and just knowing he loved me and cared about each tear I cried, helped me through it.


I don't write this for sympathy, honestly. That's why I decided to only share this now, rather than in the midst of it. I can truly say I'm doing MUCH better. Praise the Lord for that. I just wanted to write about my life in the midst of a shadow time. It's not all sunshine and roses, being a grown up! And everyone goes through their own difficult times, this just happened to be one of mine.

And I am so in love with my little boy, now that I can focus on him more. He is such a joy and has been the high point of the last three months (I share these photos to show what we've been doing most of the time...lying on the bed!).

If anyone's still reading, thanks for doing so, friends. And thank you too, to all of you who knew some of what was going on, for your encouragement and prayers and meals and love. I have been so blessed by so much support and help.

P.S. Can we say C-section next time?!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Practically pefect in every way (or not!)

A friend told me the other day, "I hate blogs". She said it with a laugh, but went on to explain that so often a blog gives this image of a person's perfect little life: cute kids, beautiful home, wonderful marriage, fun outings. Practically perfect in every way. Or at least, an impression that all is well. It can make you feel like everyone else is doing just fine, while you're stuck in the quagmire of your own day to day, dealing with whatever looms large in your world.

I think what my friend was getting at, was that she'd like to see more openness about the shadows of life on the blogs she reads, not just the high points. Since her life has it's fair share of shadows, she'd like to not feel so alone.



I've felt this way too about blogs. Sometimes, once I've spent entirely too much time browsing blogs of those I know (and don't know!), I hear that nagging little voice: "Everyone else is doing just fine with this being-all-grown-up thing. Except me. Or maybe being all grown up isn't all that it's cracked up to be, but nobody else is admitting it!"

Making people feel like this is certainly not intentional on the part of the blogger. Blogs mean different things for different people. Some bloggers like to portray only the pleasant and humorous parts of life, wanting to entertain their audience. I guess some people also desire to keep certain aspects of their lives private. It all depends on who you are, as well as the purpose of your blog. Some like to share only photos, others their innermost thoughts, while still others blog a mixture of both.

I am usually a photo and brief update kind of blogger, not delving too deep in this public sphere of my life.

However. (You can see where this is going, right?)

In an attempt to keep it real on this little blog (and perhaps provide encouragement to someone else out there who may happen to read this), I'd like to share what's been going on with me behind the scenes lately.



But since this is getting a little long, I'll save it for the next post. Ha!

Besides, I have to think about how public I want to be (there are some shadows best left unmentioned!!).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Today



I wanted to document today. Today was the first day of Jack's life that he woke up in the morning and lay in his crib smiling and cooing to himself (he usually greets the day with a roar that would rival a lion, demanding to be fed!).

Also, I just found out that he's now officially considered an infant, and no longer a newborn. Part of me is sad, especially as I packed away his teeny tiny little newborn clothes yesterday.

On the other hand, waking up to giggles every morning sure beats the alternative. Things are definitely looking up!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Cousin Twins

Getting to know you...


Getting to know all about you...


Getting to like you...


Getting to hope you like me!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Wink!

Today is my aunt's birthday. Wink, short for Wendy, is my Dad's sister and we share a middle name: Joy. We've always been close and are relatively close in age, at only 9 years apart. Because she lives in South Africa we don't get to see each other often and I really miss her. I wanted to post about her, as she's always been a such a special part of my life and today is a special birthday for her.

Happy, happy birthday Wink...love and miss you tons!



Together at my wedding


The cake she MADE for her birthday (isn't that amazing?!!!)

Birthday Tea

Vanessa's birthday is next Saturday, but since we were all together at Mum and Dad's this weekend, we decided to have a little family celebration. We had tea and cake, opened presents and enjoyed hanging out as a family (although we missed Sean and Rachel who weren't with us this weekend).


Ness with her new sewing machine from Mum and Dad



Steve and Mum



Michaela "serving" tea!



The littles (Jack at 13 weeks and Alexis at 15 weeks)



The boys relaxing

Monday, June 7, 2010

Siblings

We've all been together here at Mum and Dad's for the weekend. More photos to come.


Stephen and Michaela


Vanessa and Alexis


Me and Jack

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Welcome to the world, Evelyn!

On Friday, my dear friend Jana, had her second child, a little girl named Evelyn. However, shortly after birth Evelyn developed severe heart and lung problems and was placed in the NICU. This weekend has been a roller coaster ride for this sweet family, but today Evelyn came off all her medications and ventilator, as her heart and lungs are able to function on their own. We are praising the Lord for his grace in Evelyn's life and rejoicing with our friends as they welcome their miracle baby!

www.barkerhappenings.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Three Months Old

Jack turned three months old this week. He's quite the accomplished baby now. He can PLAY:

video

He can SUCK HIS THUMB:



And, drum-roll please, he can WALK:

video

Happy 3 month birthday Little Jack!