Friday, April 29, 2011

An Easter Recap and a Special Request

Hello everyone! I am finally getting back to posting on the blog though I can't say it is with any more sleep as I seem to get less by the day. Every time I try to rest my head for a mid-day snooze or even during the wee hours, one little monkey ...or two will decide nap/sleep time is a no go! But I can't complain as I am absolutely in love with my girls and cherished our first week at home as a family of four. Today we had another visit with our most awesome lactation nurse and wonderful pediatrician. They make a great team and both said Isla looks great though her touch of jaundice is hanging on and she still hasn't gained her birth weight back. She is slowly climbing back up which is a good sign. She's at 6lbs 4 oz today and we have another visit on Tuesday to make sure she is still gaining weight!

In the meantime, I'd like to ask for prayers for my dad and stepmother tonight. On Easter Sunday my father had a massive heart attack and subsequent testing has revealed a plethora of medical issues that are impacting his upcoming bypass surgery and valve replacement this Tuesday. In the midst of this my stepmother is undergoing the toughest phase of her cancer treatment and needs all the stamina and energy she can get. My sisters have travelled to Texas to be with them and they are also getting support from my sweet cousin and aunt who have just been stellar. My mom also traveled back to Texas as my sisters are using her home as a base between hospital visits and she is keeping Kade during the day for Melissa. So everyone has really rallied and I only wish I could be there too but am having to focus on my own c-section recovery and getting Isla off to the healthiest start possible. It is so hard to be away at the moment but all I can do is pray they will both make a complete recovery. It would mean so much to our family if you could remember them in your prayers this week.

On a happier note, I wanted to share some of our Easter pictures with everyone. We had so much fun this season!

We had a fun Easter play date at Krissy's house! She even organized an easter egg hunt for us! Oh little Jackson! I love you to bits! Shanna looks amazing just days after giving birth to Liam. Look! Makeup and everything ... plus she walked to the party with a toddler and baby in tow! She totally inspires me!

I thought this was a cute shot of Jackson and Kaden who got a kick out of sitting on this storage box. It's the little things that make kids happy!

Our little bunnies came prepared to get some baskets in sight here. It's all about the Easter Pail this year! The kids had a blast making their craft.

Sweet shot of Melissa, Kaden and Grayson Too cute treats that Shanna, Dave, Caleb and Liam brought us for Easter. I got a kick out of the rice crispy shaped cross!

I love this picture of our house this Easter. The roses just went crazy and bloomed all at the same time and as a sweet greeting to baby Isla who was born just days before. Kudos to my husband as this is totally due to his green thumb. I so can't give even the hardiest of plants the will to survive!

Aunt Melissa got this sweet flag and pink balloons for our door when Isla was born!Easter Sunday! A happy Teagan getting her goodies from the Easter Bunny

The doctor told us to keep Isla away from church nursery and other public places for four weeks so we skipped church but had a fun Easter egg hunt in our backyard with Teagan and Kade!

The golden eggs were a big hit as they had money in them! Kade plans to buy anything Star Wars related with his find!

I loved the gorgeous azaleas from my friend Polly and the beautiful white Easter bunny from Jennifer. Both were surprise welcome home gifts for Isla and made the perfect Easter dinner centrepiece! We love you Poppy!

It was her first official Easter but Baby Isla happily snoozed through most of the day Isn't this a cute picture of Kade? He was so happy it was time to break out the chocolate bunnies!

Someone else was a fan too!

The closest I came to getting a picture with Teagan looking into the camera!

After lunch aunt Melissa, Nana Mo, Kade, Teagan, Isla and I piled onto our bed to make Easter crafts.

Silly Kade! He was really proud of his crafts and gave buddy Landon from next door one of them later.

Brian catching a sweet cuddle on the deck with Isla.

Poppy wrapped up the day by showing Teagan and Kade how to play new outdoor games.

We hope you and your family had a blessed Easter! Tomorrow is Teagan's second birthday. I hope to post more pictures then! Have a great Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Introducing Baby Isla

Hello everyone! What an incredible week it has been since I last posted! On Wednesday, April 20th we welcomed baby girl Isla Bridget to our family! We are using the Scottish pronunciation of her name which is "eye-la" and means island. Her middle name comes from her paternal grandmother.

She is the sweetest baby and I am so in love already! She's a great sleeper and only cries when she is hungry so we've been lucky twice in that regard. Brian and I simply can't believe how much God has blessed our little family with two girls that we adore so much. I pray they will grow to be woman who love God with all their hearts and close to each other, cousin Kade and the rest of the family. I haven't been able to post much due to lack of sleep and my dad's sudden heart attack which has made this time bittersweet. But I hope to catch up more over the next few days because we have so many fun pictures to share including those from Nana and Poppy's visit, Easter, Teagan's second birthday party and more! Stay tuned! I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Isla Bridget
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
7:37 am
6 lbs 14 oz
19.5 inches

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kade's School Picnic

Hello everyone!
We are in the final 24 hours before we start our baby adventure here and I wanted to post one more time before the fun starts! The past few days have been jam packed and I can't wait to share pictures from Teagan's super special second birthday party. We were rained out on Saturday but our sweet family and friends adjusted schedules so we could have the party on Sunday afternoon instead. It was a gorgeous, fun day here and we really enjoyed it. To say I was tired after hosting 17 kids and their parents is an understatement. Luckily Mom, Teagan and I were able to hang out most of the day on the deck enjoying the sun while we had a last minute carpet cleaning and house cleaners come in. I could totally get used to this!

Poppy got in last night from Texas and was greeted by Teagan runnnning across the lawn and jumping into his arms! It was the cutest thing and you'd never know it had been a year exactly since her last visit to his house! They are fast friends and didn't skip a beat thanks to keeping up with each other on Skype! At dinner she was so cute and kept trying to get his attention telling him all about her bouncy castle and party, Kade's school and more.

Brian has one more day at work but hopefully can scoot out early. Today Mom, Jim and I are going to cuddle little Teagan and take it easy. I can't believe this is her last day as an only child. I am so going to miss her when we are in hospital and am crossing my fingers that I only have to stay Wednesday and Thursday nights. That may seem impossibly short for those reading in countries where they keep C-section patients 5-7 days but as long as all is going well our doctors will let you go early here. That is fine with me as I think in two years I've spent two nights away from my little mouse. I know she'll be in great hands but we'll get more rest with my parents and Melissa pampering us from home. Meli, Mom and Jim will be at the hospital when Baby Kelly arrives and I can't wait for the moment when we get to introduce them to our new baby boy or girl!

But first I want to share more fun pictures! Last Friday we went to Kade's school for his spring Easter picnic. Teagan was so excited to visit her big cousin and they had a blast hunting for Easter eggs and meeting the Easter bunny. Teagan did declare she was, "Cared" or scared of the big bunny but she took an egg from him anyway!

Here are my favourite shots from the day.

Kade is all about Spider Man at the moment and even has a super Spidy Easter basket!

Kade got a quick cuddle from Nana Mo before the festivities began!

Kade and his soccer budy Aiden had a picnic together!

We love you Nana! We have a picture of her at this same picnic just before Teagan was born two years ago!

Aunt Melissa gives Teagan a squeeze as she had just fallen and was sad. We had a great time and were ready for a nap at this point!

Have a great day there everyone! More scoop coming sooooooooooooon............

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Friday, April 15, 2011

I Am Able

Hello friends! Today I am guest blogging on CMF's site and really excited! A big welcome to any readers who may have popped over from there. Teagan's Travels is our family blog that captures the adventures of an Irish father, American mom, our two year old daughter Teagan and the arrival of our baby who will be here THIS Wednesday! Topics include those concerning motherhood, toddler fun, our home, entertaining and our faith. This is a place where I hope others will be encouraged and where I find encouragement from readers too. I hope you will stay a while and come back often!

Recently my pregnant self had a long day where Teagan just simply could not and would not take a nap for any amount of love or money. After giving her a lengthy dinner that included almost as much applesauce in her hair as in her tum it was time for a bath. As I ran here and there prepping her and the tub my husband passed me in the hall and asked jovially, "Are you having fun?" Hmpf? Fun? I grumpily answered sure before making my way back to the bath. I still had bills to pay, the kitchen to clean, laundry to fold, rooms to tidy and a neglected to do list for the new baby's arrival to review before I could even think about calling it a day. Fun wasn't exactly what I was having and I was pretty miffed that (on this particular night) he wasn't helping out! But as I made my way briskly down the hall I felt God giving a powerful tug to my heart that almost made me stop in my tracks. It said simply: I.Am.Able.

That simple phrase took me back to a bible study I had with a great group of mom friends about a year ago where we talked about this very topic while studying Lysa TerKeurst's Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. The gist of the study focused on how it is hard to stay in the moment at times, to be thankful for a sticky table and endless cycle of dishes to wash. But we talked about the power of reframing our thinking so we could be blessed with a new perspective, one that brings joy and thankfulness for all we have and all we do.

So on this night I was able. Instead of being grumpy I opened my eyes to a new perspective. After all, here I was giving my precious two-year old daughter a Dora Bubble bubble bath which gave her such joy as she splished, splashed, played and giggled with delight. It was my chance to wash her little ears and toes and tummy. A chance to marvel at how big she's gotten on the eve of her second birthday. Sure I was tired after a long day but I suddenly remembered those years when we struggled to have a baby and I would have given anything - any free time, any Saturday night, any amount of sleep just to have a little one look up at me with such joy in her eyes and call me Mommy.

As I settled in for a happy, relaxed bath time with Teagan I began to think of other things I am glad I am able to do. I am happy that I have a home to clean. I am so grateful that I have more than one set of clothes to wash...and while I am at it, a washer and dryer that work like a charm and make it easy. I learned from my days of living in a foreign country how difficult it can be to do one load of wash when you have to boil water on the stove, transfer it to a balcony outside where a low tech washer awaits and then wait for your clothes to dry during on a line...during monsoon season.

And those bills? That night I became thankful for money to pay them when times are tough on so many people in this economy. I became thankful I live in a place where we are safe from danger and war, where we can worship our God freely and without fear that we will be hurt or arrested. And on that night I really stretched my thinking and became thankful I could exercise my body on a planned walk the next morning. That even in my third trimester state that has me moving at a snail's pace that I have two legs that work.

So as we go in to this happy weekend I would love to hear from you! What sweet friends are you happy you are able to do today?

God, thank you so much for the many blessings great and small that you have given me in my life. Please help me to have a spirit of thankfulness and awareness as I move through my busy days.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Fun!

Hi everyone! I am SOOO excited because it is a BIG day here! Not only are we getting the new air conditioning and heating system installed today and tomorrow...this can only be big news to those of us living in the south where we have already creeped up toward 90 degrees in April...but the BIG scoop is our Nana Mo is coming today!! Yep, all the way from Texas followed closely by Poppy who will be here on Tuesday. We just can't wait and have lots to celebrate in the upcoming days including Kade's super special school picnic, Teagan's birthday party, the baby's birth and Easter! Let the festivities begin!

In the meantime it seems that as I take one or two things off my to-do list more "musts" get added in! It's a busy time to be sure but I wanted to post a few cute pictures of fun we are having with friends and family this spring! We had an awesome Easter play date at Krissy's too but I am going to post that later this week as there were so many fun pictures.

Why-oh-why are all my pictures fuzzy? They are fine on my computer but posting strangely here...must investigate this in all my "spare" moments this week! In the meantime, I love this picture of me with Olivia. I was so honored to be invited by her to Granfriends day at her school! She wrote the sweetest and funniest letter to me which I posted on our refrigerator.

I got to take a tour of Landon's classroom. We had just finished seeing him and Olivia perform a special program in the sanctuary. I love this school. Seriously. It has SO much to offer, teaches wonderful values where the classmates seem to really support and honour each other. And best of all it teaches Christianity without the hindrances placed on our public schools...I was way impressed. Brian and I would love to send Teagan here.

The sweet C family minus Madeline. I just love having them as neighbors and new friends!

Kade had his very first soccer game! He needed a little pep talk from Uncle Brian before we could get him on the field but he did so well and had fun!

It was so cute watching these four year olds play! I was amazed at some of the goals made and with the coach who could rally them all into a team!

On Saturday we surprised Krissy with a baby shower! She's so sweet and I enjoyed meeting some more of her friends!

Lovely Shanna and Linda!

More from us soon! I hope you have something to celebrate today!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Until the Whole World Hears

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:36-37

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a great night and not as disappointed as we are that Rory McIlroy didn't win The Masters!! Still, we had a good weekend here and I am so grateful for all the sweet comments that you guys wrote after our post introducing you to Pascaline! I promised to follow up with more information on why we chose to sponsor through Compassion International so here it is!

But first, a little inspiration from the Casting Crowns. They are my favorite Christian band and their Until the Whole World Hears is a favorite song at the moment.

Isn't that an amazing, inspiring song? It reminds me that in our world there are places where there is little hope, much darkness and people who have simply never heard of Jesus Christ. I believe we have a vital role to play in at least getting the message of his love, the salvation and hope He offers to them.

I try to do this as a sponsor and advocate for Compassion International. Compassion is a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. The organization was founded in 1952 and today it helps more than 1 million children in 26 countries.

Now I am no scrap booking Mama, my friends. But here I have started a scrapbook to capture the pictures and letters we've been receiving from Pascaline.

There are many wonderful organizations out there providing sponsorship opportunities but what stands out to us is that Compassion tackles poverty one child and family at a time. This is different from other groups that bring programs in at a community level with the intention that they will one day impact local families. By changing the lives of individual children by attacking poverty from several angles the organization has found these kids often go on to facilitate change as adults in their villages.

And a former auditor I also like that more than 80 percent of all their expenditures go to program activities for our children. Plus their finances are independently audited on at least an annual basis both here and in country offices.

Sponsoring a child costs $38 a month. It's a commitment, but please know that these kids NEED us and the incredible difference it makes in their lives is invaluable. The children Compassion International serves receive, among other things: the opportunity to hear the gospel and learn about Jesus; educational opportunities and help; health care, hygiene training and supplementary food if necessary; a caring and safe Christian environment to grow in self-confidence and social skills; personal attention, guidance and love. In some countries this includes AIDS prevention education and mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria. The Child Survival Program also helps provide moms-to-be with vital prenatal care and focuses on getting newborns through the first critical three years of their lives with proper nutrition and vaccinations.

As I said in my previous post, this has been such a rewarding experience for us that keeps giving back. If you are interested in sponsoring a child please see the Compassion International link I have provided on the side bar of my blog. I would love to answer any questions you may have and to hear from other sponsors on their children!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meet Our Pascaline

April is a very special month in our house this year as we prepare to recognize Easter on Sunday, April 24th. Aside from all the gorgeous spring pastels and fun activities including egg hunts, dinners with family and pictures with one super decked out bunny, Easter is a time of celebration for us as the holiday proclaims Jesus Christ's victory over death. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. It's been so easy for me to get distracted during this busy time but I don't want to miss the reason for the season which is the wonderful gift he has given us and to thank him for blessing our lives so fully.

Speaking of busy, did I mention, just in passing mind you, that we welcome baby #2 and also look forward to Teagan's second birthday this month?!? Perhaps. But today I have to share with you that we also celebrate the birth of a VERY special little girl named Pascaline, a little girl we affectionately refer to as "our Pascaline."

For a few years now we have been blessed to sponsor Pascaline through an amazing organization called Compassion International. The goals for our sponsorhip have been to release her from the crushing oppression of poverty while introducing her and her family to the love of Jesus Christ.

Our adopted little girl was born on April 25, 2003 and is in the equivalent of our 1st grade. Over the years we've learned more about her through letters and pictures. Pascaline attends school, Sunday School and church where she likes to sing in the choir. She helps her family out by carrying water and gathering firewood. In her free time she likes to jump rope and play games with a ball. Lately she has also been learning to make sweaters. She lives with her father and mother as well as an older brother and sister. She also has one more brother who is living far away at the moment.

Her father and mother have jobs at times helping to farm local areas. In recent years our Christmas gifts to them have been used to buy Pascaline and her family her clothing, a pair of shoes, a potato crop and a cow! They tell me soon we will have a picture of this cow and I can't wait to see it for this is a very special cow that promises to ease the burdens this family has with poverty by providing additional food as well as a source of income!

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you were helping someone else out, only to find you received the bigger blessing? That's what happened to us. Her family showers us with continuous prayer especially during times such as when Brian's father was critically ill and we had to return to Ireland for a month and when they learned I was pregnant with both children. Most of all we feel we are in a true, impactful partnership with Pascaline's parents to give her the best future possible, one that is full of hope and promise.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child it costs less than $40, the price of a meal out per month. Choosing to sponsor a child is so rewarding and can be fun as you focus on either a boy or girl from a specific country or a child that shares a birthday with your children, just to name a few examples. What a great way to introduce your children to a geographical area and how other children live around the world. My hope is that one day my little ones will meet their sister in Christ either on this side of the world or hers. Besides getting sweet updates from Pascaline which include pictures and artwork several times a year we love sending her post cards from our travels, letters, coloring pages, bookmarks, letters and stickers.

Perhaps one of the cruelest tricks poverty plays in the lives of children is telling them no one cares, that they aren't special and they can never escape a life of desperation. As a mother I can't imagine how powerless I would feel if my children where in this situation which makes my bond with Pascaline's mom all the stronger. I am going to share with you in a follow up post why we chose to sponsor through Compassion versus other, also worthy organizations that provide similar sponsorhip opportunities. I belive Compassion International is doing some amazing things in Jesus's name and can't wait to share. Have a great Saturday everyone!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Irresistible and The Two Week Wait!

A cleptomaniac is a person who has irresistible urges to take things...could it be that my two year old is showing early signs of dysfunction?? Or is she simply unaware that not everything she sees belongs to her? Here's a collection of her stash from recent playdates. Apologies to Caleb, Kaden, Grayson and Lauren's parents...these items will be coming back to you. I am not sure how she manages to make it home with these things before I notice!

In other scoop, I had my 37 week appointment today! The baby's heartbeat was back up to 148 and my trusty online predictor's a GIRL!! I mean seriously, with all the flip flops back and forth I am so anxious to know for sure and meet this little one. Soon we will! If all goes according to plan we'll deliver exactly two weeks from today!!

Hope all are having a great week where you are! I am excited about sharing a post with you this week about our sponsored child through Compassion International so stay tuned!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Teagan is 23 Months Old!

Happy April my sweet baby girl! On April 30th of this month you will be two years old! I am simply amazed at how fast these years disappeared. I still remember the moment when the doctor told us we had a beautiful little girl. We didn't find out before the delivery and Daddy predicted all along that you would be a girl. His heart just melted for you instantly. He even had tears in his eyes as he held you for the first time, don't let the big guy tell you otherwise!

Today you weigh 26.6 lbs!
This is such great news as you are a pretty picky eater most days. Your latest love is for mandarin oranges and raisins!
You wear a size 2T
You wear a size 7 shoe
You are in size 5 diapers, you moved up! I promise, promise that we will begin potty training soon as we stick closer to home with the baby!

My big girl! You might collect the post and drink your milk with an Irish accent but you are a southern girl at heart when you insist with a new southern drawl that "Mommy! Come h-ere!" And I think you've picked up a couple of Mommyisms as you start many a sentence off with an "Anyway..."

You are changing your French poodle's diaper which just goes to show you are gonna be an awesome big sister and mommy's helper when the baby comes!

But you are still my baby and always will be. This month you've become aware of boo-boos and come to me with pretend ailments and pseudo tears that can only be cured by a kiss. You've also taken a cue from your favorite Wonder Pet, Ming Ming and say, "Daddy, it's serious!!" Could this be a sign of girl drama to come????

You love baby dolls and strollers! As much as you like pushing the baby dolls around you also like dismantling the stroller. New expressions this month include, "I broke-ted that!" and "I fix-ted that!"

After talking to my friend Jennifer about how slurpees were good for the soul and the fact that I hadn't had one in about five years I picked one up at Target...but you little munchkin, decided it was in fact, YOUR slurpee. I think I got a teensy, tinsy sip of it!

On the eve of The Masters this shot makes Daddy's heart happy. He so hopes you will be a golf pro and he can follow you round the world as your caddy!

Your sweet babysitter and buddy Madeline gets a squeeze in!

You've been saying, "I can't find it." and "I forgot." Hmmmm...that could be due to my increasing brain cell loss as the pregnancy progresses and you witness me search for keys, purse, cell phone, etc....

Your first MP3 experience! I wonder what other technology you'll have in your lifetime that we didn't as I grew up?

That's all for now Little Mouse. You have been such a joy and blessing. We simply couldn't imagine life without our Teagan and I can't wait to celebrate you this month! - Love, Mommy

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