See the Skyline Feature.

I have been featured on a lovely blog over at Margorat Madison Creative.

How exciting! Go check out her lovely blog... :)


2 of my favorite blogs.

I just wanted to share two of my favorite blogs.

the first is a photography blog and the second is a poetry blog.

rose & crown.

and also

in lou of it all.

like little broken feathers
that pull together so tight
like invisible fingers
touching silently in the night.
and when we first found eachothers eyes
for the first time,oh the first time.
i will love you. i will love you.
despite despite.
so i have this best friend.
and she's pretty much incredible.
and a little TOO beautiful.

and she visited me.
and here's some of her pictures, that i stole.

so ya.


go check out her beautiful, little blog!


oh and vote for me today, if you so desire, because i would be oh so thankful. just 2 clicks! here!


It's all about a wedding to come, It's all about a God that's a Lover.


the weekend was spent in bakersfield, california attending the wedding of two of our beautiful friends Kyle & Maria. Ricky has known Maria for 8 years, and I have known Kyle for 6. It is such a wonderful thing watching our friends fall in love, get married, and start families.

Her entrance was one of the most beautiful, powerful pictures of the Lord's love and return for us I have ever experienced. She came out at the climax of a song singing, "There's going to be a wedding. It's the reason that I'm living: to marry the Lamb."

Even typing it makes me tear up. Every time I watch a couple commit to love each other until death, and to be a picture of Christ and His church - to flesh out the gospel in the 4 walls of their home - I am ruined again with the love of Jesus. He never fails to remind our hearts: He is alive, He is in love, and He has chosen us. 

Spending time with such kindred spirits is always bitter sweet. Reminds me of a what I wrote last summer during wedding season.

I'm thankful for the body of Christ, for the promise of a family that is eternal, and for romances that scream of a greater Love.

To God be the glory, amen.


and in my weakness, He'll shine His strength

i find life is an impossible thing to be successful at. there is always a place i am failing. there is always a person i'm letting down.

this is a wearying path to walk. a clean home gives way to an alive minister gives way to a loyal friend gives way to a successful business owner gives way to a patient, serving wife gives way to an involved mother gives way to a well-read citizen gives way to a innovative cook gives way to a burning and shining lamp.

i don't say this for pity. i think every person falls into this category. as we juggle life, we must find the rubber balls that, when they are dropped, merely bounce. the glass ones we must continue to throw around and around, because their falling is more fatal. (thank you tm)

even though i have been married for almost 2 years, and living life rather closely with Ricky for 3 years - i still find days where i function as a single woman. even though i've been a mother for 5 months, i still find many moments where i function as a married woman who often functions as a single woman.

this can be a problem, as i'm sure you can assume.

i'm still an introvert who derives her energy entirely on alone time: time with the Lord and time processing life and bringing those processes out by some medium.

if i do not get moments alone, i become impatient, selfish, and irritable.

if i do get those moments alone, it lends time from which i would clean up the kitchen, make dinner, etc.

i remember mike bickle saying, as wives and mothers, the best thing we can do - the BEST THING - is to fast our time.

fasting is to give up something that is outwardly profitable and produces results. to fast money, is to give up my resources that i could use towards direct ministry, or my own needs, to create a space for God to come in and meet me in that need supernaturally. which then causes my heart to become more hungry, more dependant, more thankful, and more in love.

to fast food is to give up that which gives us energy, makes us more productive throughout the day, to allow the Lord to come and meet us in that gap - in that weakness.

to fast time is to give up moments, moments which seem invaluable, moments which could be given to a thousand different tasks that must be done. it is to give those moments, moments of worth, to the Lord to let him come. in this he reorders our lives, our priorities, and where we bring definition to our lives.

in this i find my value: that He longs to spend time with me, to speak to me, and to call me His friend. i am loved.

in this i do not find my value: my home, my mothering skills, my relationship with my husband, how i am perceived, etc.

and as i give homage and time to where i find my identity - i, by the grace of God, become a greater mother, wife, friend, daughter, homemaker, etc.

it's the simple concept of mary vs. martha, which we may have heard a thousand times - but the silent song of mary rings true even today. to martha, she who in the moment of his visitation was found busy serving him in the kitchen he says, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things."

He then points to mary, she who was found sitting at his feet, listening to His Words, "but one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

and yes, this can never be taken from me. and into this i shall lean.


a little add in.

before i finish my story - i did want to add in some further thoughts.

1.) Giving birth hurts. It does, it hurts. But it's not an impossible task. My contractions without pitocin definitely hurt, but were very doable. Even my pitocin contractions were doable - and if it wasn't for the unusual length of my labor, i potentially could have made it through drug free.

I say that it hurts, because that is the reality of it. and I think I owe it to all women who have had babies (you are incredibly strong) and those who will have babies (you will be stronger than you ever thought you could be) to call it what it is.

2.) For the sake of story-telling, I'm adding in the interesting/dramatic parts.

3.) Though I got a little "panicky" and "stressed" by the 2nd midnight of labor, I don't know if I would characterize it as "fear" as many would interpret it. Yes, I was afraid of the next contraction - only because it was going to hurt. Who doesn't flinch at a baseball coming towards their face? I wasn't, however, afraid something was going "wrong" with my body - as it was doing what it's suppose to do! Contract to move Amos from the womb to the world. This was exciting, but not necessarily fun.

4.) Pitocin hurts, but in our case, it worked. It got him out. Do I wonder if avoiding it for longer and moving around more, positioning myself more, etc. would have also done the trick? Of course. But that doesn't negate the fact that the pitocin delivered me a baby. So for that, I gotta tip my hat to the old guy and maybe recant my demonizing. He's a hard worker, but I just wish I could have done the work by myself.

5.) All my doctors and nurses were incredible, except for our one encounter - and I'm sure she was just having a rough day. That was a disappointing situation, but does not take away from the kindness and patience of the others. I was never offered an epidural, per our request, and they were doing what they had been train to do. Use medicine/machinary to aide in labor. If something were wrong, those things would have caught it/helped it and for that I am thankful. Number 5 is a shout out to my nurse mommy, of course.

6.) The hospital was very "medicine-happy" but gave me a successful vaginal birth and a healthy baby boy. They also were there in case I didn't have enough energy to push him out and I needed an emergency c-section. Hospitals are good, but I will have to say not ideal for normal births.

7.) I will have more children. We hope to have at least 5. You know it is endurable if we would willfully choose to do it again. And I would, even if it ran the same course, if it brought me more Amos'. Babies are soooooo worth.

So women, you can do it. ;)

Birth Story - PART 3. The Pitocin Demon.

this is what i would like to call: the dark night of the soul, or even better, the dark, dark, painful night of the pitocin demon.

that doesn't even give it justice.

to explain labor pain is trying to convey the emotions of a woman to a man. or marital love to a small child. or eternity to a human. we just don't have words for it if we have yet to experience it. i don't know about others, i've heard it feels like "cramps" or "back pain" or a really bad stomach ache. to that i say, "ha!"

i have a rather high tolerance of pain. i'm one of those people who always have the random ailment plaguing my body - the latter portion of my pregnancy gives you a good glimpse. i've had kidney stones, torticollis (a twisted neck thing), and food poisoning twice. if you could extract the pain from each of those situations, triple it, and pour into onto a person - it would still only be a half of the pain of my "pitocin contractions".

okay, that may be a little extreme. but it hurt. and the word hurt doesn't do it. i had never felt anything like them in my life.

now, i understand pregnant women may be reading this... or those soon to be pregnant. i want you to know, i think i may have experienced the more extreme version of labor pains. they were manufactured and augmented with back labor thrown in. the contractions by this point were coming in at a peak, and lasting very long, then ending with a 30 second break. (they vary very different from normal latent contractions).

by this point i was on the birthing ball, with ricky sitting on our hospital bed facing me. my wonderful doula, betsy, was behind me with a rice sack warmed and pressed against my lower back. as each contraction came i would literally scream/groan through each one right into ricky's face, and then collapse during my short break.

this is one of those points where i can truly say i wouldn't have made it through that night without my husband. to say i went through those contractions alone would be a lie. i don't think ricky has ever focused longer in his entire life, and i know it was horrific to see me in such pain. but the wonderful thing about my husband, is that he doesn't decipher pain as a horrible thing. i think as Christians, we've learned pain can be one of the most beneficial causes to a slew of wonderful effects. and so with each wave of pain, we knew it meant Amos was 1 minute closer to being in our arms.

as each contraction ended, i started entering into a real fearful phase, knowing the next one was only seconds away. you get the release of one being over, but as soon as you gather your breathe, you have to start mentally preparing for the next one to come. it truly is like the waves of the ocean, one comes in, subsides, and you can see a new one gathering on the waters in the distance. i would start saying to ricky in a panic, "i don't know if i can do another, i don't think i can do it." and he would take my hands, tell me i could do it, and encourage me to relax through it (i think that relaxing through these was near impossible, but it was comforting to hear him suggest it).

Around 2 AM I threw up. I think it was from such extreme pain.

At this point I had been going through pitocin contractions for 5 hours, and somewhere during this time a nurse came to check me. I don't have it recorded but I'm pretty sure I had only dilated 1 more centimeter, at 5 centimeters. This meant it took almost a 36 hours to only get halfway. When I heard this news I really entered into panic/stressed mode, and felt incredibly defeated.

On top of this, my heart rate was decelerating, which i don't think was too serious - but the hospital would make me lie down and put an oxygen mask on my face. i could handle the contractions if i was on the birthing ball, bouncing, vocalizing through them, holding onto ricky, and moving through them. when i was on the bed, however, it was a different story. because it was back labor, i think laying down doubled the pain. it was near impossible to get through them, and i think i was crying the entire time, grabbing the side bar, and screaming/groaning. on top of this i had wires hooked up to me and a face mask on.

by the time i was back on the birthing ball, and facing ricky, it was around 2:30 AM. in between each contraction i started to tell Ricky i couldn't do it anymore, i honestly could not do it and i needed an epidural.

the main reason i finally came to this decision was the fact i was still progressing so slowly. if i had been at 8 or 9 i think the end would have been in site and i could have fought through it, but at this point there was no guessing how long my body would have to contract to get this little guy down and out. later we discovered he was turned in the wrong direction coming down, and his head was being forced again a bone inside. he really WASN'T progressing much, and the best thing we could have done was moved around to get him situated down. that was no longer possible, due to the pitocin/hook ups, and so the hours had turned into days.

i also was beyond exhausted. the last time i had slept was saturday night and we were now into monday night. between each contraction my eyes were rolling back in my head and i felt as if i was going to pass out. pile on top the fact i was emotionally unstable due to extreme lack of sleep.

our goal was a natural birth with no pain medication because it is the best kind of birth. it's the safest and most beneficial for both mom and baby.  our higher goal was avoiding a c-section. i think at this point, if i had continued, i would not have had enough energy to continue through the next hours of contractions (which ended up being 17 more) and the pushing (which ended up being very difficult and long). to take an epidural was worth gaining a vaginal delivery. i wasn't thinking this clearly, of course, but now that i look back i'm thankful to God it ran the course it did to save me from the impending c-section.

i told ricky i needed one, and he of course responded telling me i could do it, take it one contraction at a time, etc. this was because i had told him to do this, and under no circumstances to let me get an epidural. it took a good 10-15 minutes for me to convince him that i truly needed one and i literally could not handle anymore. i had been in labor for 34 hours, and on pitocin for over 5 hours.

we prayed some, and during this time my most precious memory of my labor was created. i remember so clearly ricky holding me, looking into my eyes, and tearing up watching me be in so much pain and have to wave my white flag of surrender. we didn't know why it was taking so long, why it was going the way it was, and i know ricky was so sad that i had to give up to what i truly did not want. on top of it, all we wanted was to meet our son, and for him to be okay. i think in those moments it was as if everything around us disappeared and it was our on little family, in our first true moment of hardship together. i don't know how to explain it really, and for this i am thankful i went through what i did for so long - because it never would have climaxed to such a space in time for us.

we finally asked the nurse to bring the anesthesiologist - and from here on out i kinda when crazy. once i had asked for it - the waiting for it to actually come seemed like forever. i think from the moment i asked, to the moment it started working was over an hour. i was so terrified of the epidural and hurting amos. i know it is so extreme and irrational - but you have to remember my current state - rationality had become an inability.

i was crying, begging the anesthesiologist to not mess up and not hurt my baby. i was praying to God, very loudly i might add, to protect amos and protect me. and apologizing to everyone, God, myself, and man that i was getting an epidural.

and he then had me lean over and shoved that horribly long, terrifying needle down my spine.

oh and if you've been reading our story, perhaps you could vote for our blog here: Vote For Us @ topbabyblogs.com Top Baby Blogs
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Come Home Soon from Tiffany Valdez on Vimeo.

advice to mom's about to give birth: if i could do it again, i would have gotten much more footage of things like: the monitoring machine, the room, the bed, walking the halls, entering the hospital, ricky, my doula betsy, the nurses, etc. i would have had ricky's sister come in every 2 hours or so (or 30 minutes if you don't plan on having a 2 day labor) and just film random things for about 5 minutes. ricky tried to film, but i really needed him fully there and didn't want him distracted. that's why an extra "just to film" person would have been nice and perhaps a list created beforehand of shots to capture. i did get the actual birth on video, but it's not of the "shareable" kind. ;)

oh and if you've been reading our story, perhaps you could vote for our blog here: Vote For Us @ topbabyblogs.com Top Baby Blogs
it only takes 2 clicks!!!!


that's a pretty gnarly braid.

i see ramses creepin.

my boys in the morning

so every saturday morning is "daddy + amos time."

ricky wakes up with amos around 6:30 or 7:00 and they hang out. sometimes they go for walks, sometimes they hang out around the house, and this morning i woke up to the sound of ricky reading him his "baby's first bible." does it get any better than that?

oh and p.s. it was amos' 5 month birthday!!!

oh and p.s. p.s. 2 clicks and you'll really help me out!!! click here


Birth Story - PART 2. First Day at Hospital

We get through traffic, and it feels as if my contractions have almost completely disappeared. We were laughing and carrying on in the car, going on about how excited we were that by tonight we'd have a little baby (or so we thought). By the time I waddled into the hospital, up the elevators, and into check-in my body seemed to have forgotten it was having a baby. I felt pretty dumb, except for the fact I was still leaking amniotic fluid. Everywhere.

The triage nurses were cool - and my contractions were recordable, but pretty off and on. I laid in the small triage room and let them check "my progress." I was pretty determined not to let them check how dilated I was because, now that my water had broke, every exam grew the chance of infection. And on top of it, it's so unnecessary and  inaccurate on how things would play out. But they had to check me on my initial entry and i knew that coming in.

Unfortunately I was only 3 centimeters - but i knew in my head that could change overtime, I just had to get my body working. They asked to hook me up to an IV for a bit, and I humored them by letting them as I wasn't in much pain. My doula showed up and it all felt pretty real.

My contractions were 7 minutes apart but not lasting for very long. They hurt, but the excitement of meeting our baby outweighed the pain. And they were so quick and so far apart they were super manageable. Our doula suggested walking the halls, which was a great idea because our room was so creepy and depressing. For some reason we were given the black hole room, in the center of the OB-GYN floor. No windows, at all. It was like a time warp where you didn't know if it was day or night. And when you forgot, you could just stare up at the HUGE DIGITAL CLOCK on the wall reminding you it's been 12, 24, and 40 hours since you started this process and you still have zero results.

So, the halls we roamed. I'm wearing this hideous gown made for an elephant, and my hair is already greasy and in a mess on top of my swollen face head. I would make this a colorful post with pictures and what not, but i'll spare all of us. I looked terrible. And it would only get worse.

And so, we walked. and walked. around the floor, by the nursery, into vacant creepy hallways, and rooms filled with storage boxes. we walked up the concrete stairs, and down the concrete stairs. my doula, ricky, and i. and poor little amos. walking, walking, walking. i had a huge hospital cup full of ice water and i was downing gallons of water by the minute, which caused us a tri-hourly pit-stop at the bathroom. so we walked, and i drank, and i peed, and we walked.

and the contractions WERE coming... and every time i'd stop, put my arms around ricky's neck, and hang there - swinging my hips back and forth through the contraction. i kept thinking, this can't be labor - because it's not that bad. and it wasn't... and that's probably why nothing was happening on the inside.

All the while we were already talking the nurses out of pitocin (my gosh I'd been there 6 hours!) and not having them stick me on a monitor the entire time, which obviously wasn't doing much for progressing my labor. During one of my sessions of being monitored (happened every 2 hours) i snuck some food to keep up my energy.

By 3:00 in the afternoon, we had already had 3 conversations asking for more time to get labor going, and let me tell you - the last thing you want to be doing during your labor is analytically arguing with medical staff. So case in point, go with people you agree with... i mean REALLY agree with.

And so, by 3:20 I get into our little shower in our bathroom and stand there... forever. And it helped. Contractions were coming stronger and closer together. I started actually vocalizing through them (moaning)... and thinking, "Okay, this is intense. These hurt super bad. This baby better come soon." And I probably cried a little here and there too. Pain is scary. And I was starting to be in pain.

The entire time Ricky was with me. He sat outside the shower, asking if I needed anything - giving me water every 5 or 10 minutes, and just being there. That was the greatest thing he could have done, was just be IN it with me. He didn't feel pain, and I wouldn't have wanted him to even if he had the choice. I just wanted him to be with me in MY pain. I didn't want him to miss a step, because this was OUR story.

and sidenote: that is what I hate about medicated births. from here on out, I went through the most intimate event I have ever experienced with a human that day with my husband. it's like we stepped out of our western, overly-comforted existence into this drama for a day or two. and whatever hadn't already been done to our hearts through marriage, was solidified in that small, dark hospital room. my heart was sewn to ricky's in the furnace of pain. real, physical, searing pain. my body was writhing, and my husband didn't flinch in the face of it. he just stared it down with such a determination of love and servanthood with me. contraction by contraction. it was incredible, and i wouldn't exchange that for a shot that gives me a birth where i lie in bed, and my husband plays on his iphone. no comfort is worth robbing me of a trial for love.

and so there i am, in the shower, thanking God for the pain - because I know the pain means soon enough I'll have a baby. A little baby. whatever that means. but one thing i know, it's good. and i can't wait. and my whole life is changing in this black hole hospital room. i've come in a little girl in love, and i'll walk out a mother. and God is good. and this is real.

and so i'm thinking these things, praying to God, banging on the wet shower wall through each contraction - praying for more.

this would have been great, except for every hour I had to be monitored. so as soon as my body started working, as soon as it started hurting, i mean REALLLLLY hurting, they'd pull me out where i had to dry off (through contractions) get dressed (through contractions), go to the bed (through contractions) get hooked up (through contractions) and by the time i'd be on that horrific hospital bed, my contractions would slow back down.

and i'd say, "just let me stay in the shower, it's WORKING. it's obviously working. when i'm in there, i have more, they hurt more, and they last longer."

and they'd say, "no"

and i'd say, "when i lay down to be monitored they slow down. this isn't working."

and they'd say, "we care about your baby. lay down."

eeeesh. it was frustrating. and it was less me saying those things to them, but more ricky and my doula. thank God for them.

so in and out of shower. in and out of hospital bed. it's 3PM. shift change. scariest nurse ever takes over. tattooed eyebrows. irish accent. menacing eyes. hates me. hates my birth plan. and hates that i'm denying her the things she wants.

"i want to exam you to see how far you are." - scary nurse

"no thank you. my water broke, and that increases infection. i'd rather not." - me

"i don't care, lay down, it's time we check you." - scary nurse while LITERALLY grabbing my pregnant shoulder and shoving my pregnant (still contracting) body down onto the bed to, what???, forcibly check my cervix. i don't know - but it was traumatizing.

"please, i'd rather not." - me, while sitting back up.

"fine! i will not take care of you, you unintelligent, all natural hippie! i'll tell the doctor on you." - scary nurse, said in not, exactly those words, but you get the point.

which of course lead to an increase in my blood pressure, which was flaming angry, which lead to some drama about how my baby is in danger. thank God my doula was there to tell everyone, nurse carol just stressed us all out.

so i got back in the shower. more contractions. more pain.

it's now 7PM. (mind you, my contractions started 5PM the PREVIOUS DAY. we are already into 26 hours). i finally let them check me, because they act like if i don't they'll throw my laboring body into the streets. and here comes the first low blow... I was only 4cm dilated. (for all of you non-pregnant, non-moms... you have to get to a 10 to have a baby.)

so it had been over a day, a day of fighting with hospitals, and walking stairs, and feeling pain and i had only moved up ONE CENTIMETER. ONE. ONEEEEEEEEEE.

so my wonderful doula had the suspicion it was because little amos was positioned strangely. so the more i moved, the better it would be to get him down. which, of course, the hospital hated as they wanted me monitored (hooked up, on machines, on my bed, laying down) every 15 minutes. more arguing with staff. more frustration. all the while, i'm still in labor, having contractions...

so we started pulling out of our bag of tricks.

"give me 2 hours, 2 more hours and we'll see if i progress." me, or probably ricky, as i wasn't talking much at this point

"okay, 2 more hours, and that's it. then we have to do something to get labor going." - hospital

9PM comes, they check me, and the bad news comes again. No change.

Ricky takes me in the bathroom, sits me down, and tells me what I didn't want to hear.

"Babe, I think we have to start the pitocin." - ricky

I start weeping. I'm exhausted. I haven't slept for 2 days. Nothings happening. I'm in the black hole room. Nothing IS HAPPENING. and, above all, I am TERRIFIED of pitocin.

Ricky's scared too. I can see it in his eyes. Scared to see me jump full blast into the ocean of manufactured pain. We know pitocin isn't normal. It's fabricated, via medicine, contractions. It leads to a plethora of other issues. We know, but we don't have much choice. My water broke over 14 hours ago.

At 9 they start the pitocin. With the pitocin went any hopes of mobility. I'm tied to the machine, with a tube running out of my arm. The monitors are strapped to my belly. I can only reach as far as the birthing ball at the side of the bed.

And so here we go, me straddling big, blue birthing ball, ricky staring at me with his game face... and i mean, GAME FACE. my doula's behind me with a warmed rice sack on my back (which, we figure out later, is going through some INTENSE back labor) and we start the pitocin pain through the night.

Birth Story - PART 1. Pre-hospital

i'm glad i've waited to write my birth story - as the months have passed it's become sweeter and sweeter to remember.

it was a sunday evening, and i remember exactly what i was doing. i had just eaten dinner at ricky's family's house and was sprawled out on the couch. i kept having pain in my abdomen, and i dismissed it as i'd been having braxton hicks for a couple months before. the only difference with these were that the braxton hicks were always triggered by movement - getting out of the car, bending over, etc. these were just happening. they were enough discomfort to distract me, but i was trying to implement everything i had learned in my bradley classes: don't drag on the time by concentrating on early labor (if it was even that), try to ignore them and go about your activities, don't get to excited because it could be false labor, etc.

my pregnancy itself was all drama, i had convinced myself my labor would be the most normal of events - because that's what my drama pregnancy owed me. i had had terrible morning sickness, and i still to this day don't know how i made it to work. i would sit at my desk and eat small bits of bagel every 10 minutes to keep my blood sugar high enough so i wouldn't hurl in the trash can under my desk. i gagged on an hourly basis, and would come home and sleep the evenings away while ricky was at school. in those first 3 months i don't even think i entered my kitchen, and most definitely did no cooking or peering into the refridgerator. it all seems so distant now as it was ONE YEAR AGO - but it was rough.

my second trimester was a breeze. i enjoyed dressing up my bump, feeling the kicks, and finding out what i knew all along - i was having a baby boy. i thought nothing could compare to my morning sickness, but i didn't know what could come with my last trimester.

i had the usual discomforts by the last 2 months: bowling ball in the pelvis, the impossible task of sitting through a work day, and waking up a trillion times a night to pee. these things were small compared to my first trimester nausea, until the itching started. i began having sleepless nights with an itching abdomen that had become one inflamed rash, itching palms, and itching soles of my feet. All of this on a body carrying 30 pounds of extra weight. And when I say itching, i mean so absolutely torturous i would sit in the bathtub and cry for hours in the middle of the night. So itchy i sent ricky with $150 to buy any possible itch relieving product at whole foods. So itchy, if it wasn't for the minute amount of self control the Lord gave me, i would have scratched my skin to the point of bleeding. it's one of those things, like labor, you can't possibly convey through words. it was hell. it was worse than the nausea by leaps and bounds. it took me off work, and research says 95% of women in my condition beg the doctors to induce them 2, 3, 4 weeks early. and because of the torture, the doctors allow it! (sad, but true)

i had what was called PUPPS and a condition called CHOLESTASIS. Pupps was an innocent rash that spread from my belly to my legs and arms, and everywhere except my face. it is said to go away the moment you deliver, and it harmless to the baby. it was miraculously healed by a bar of "soap" found at whole foods: pine tar soap. it smells like dirt, but i would lather some on a loofa and scrub my skin raw - every hour i would take my big fat belly into the shower and sit on the ledge, and scrub my rashses to death. the next day the area covered in the rash would be rash free, but would have spread to a new area. i'd do the same ordeal that day, and it took about 2 weeks after discovering my method to be PUPPS free and leave my body no where else for the rash to spread.

this did nothing for the palms and the soles of my feet. this was from a condition called CHOLESTASIS. my liver had stopped working hard enough for both my baby and i and had stopped fully filtering my system. this caused an unbearable itching beneath the skin. i would wake up at night and lay frozen peas on my feet to try to numb them out of the itchiness.

this stopped 1 day before my due date, by the miracle of prayer alone. it also caused a slew of other problems. the doctor's kept pushing induction. i had to have amos monitored every other day. i'll write about this more on another post. so much UNNECESSARY drama. he'd be sleepy when they'd monitor and they'd try to convince me to induce. i was a day late and they'd try and convince me to induce. all the while, amos was inside of me healthy, happy, and waiting for the perfect time to come out.

now back to sunday evening. contractions had started, and once i had secretly timed them on my nifty labor app on my husband's iphone i knew they were pretty consistent. 10 minutes apart? i don't remember exactly, but i told Ricky we had to go and once we got in the car i said, "Babe, i think this is it." i was 9 days late, and we had spent the last week doing puzzles, staring at each other, and going over and over our dreams for our little son. it was the longest 9 days of our lives thus far.

the night was spent dozing in and out. i let Ricky sleep, as i figured the next day this guy was coming and he needed his rest. i kept timing them and around 2AM they got to a painful state. i say that from the perspective of then. if i had any idea the pain i would EVENTUALLY endure i would call those pen pricks. nothing. but at the time, they caused me to hold my breath and close my eyes.

if i could do it again: i would have SHOWERED. that would have been a perfect shower time. if i had known i would be in the hospital for 5 days, unable to shower for 3 of those, i would have showered and probably curled my hair. :)

Ricky would wake up here and there and ask how I was doing. i would tell him good, and show him how close my contractions were getting. at 6AM i was lying in bed and my water broke. it felt like a warm gush of water and went all in my bed and on my floor. disgusting, i know. disgusting and totally awesome because it meant this was for real.

we saw that the water was tinted green, which we knew meant there was meconium. that more or less means little amos had went to the bathroom inside the womb, which could or could not be a sign of fetal distress. if he inhaled the water at any point it could be toxic and very dangerous. it's very common in late babies, and not necessarily a sign of distress.

we knew this, but weren't sure what we should do. our goal was to labor at home as long as humanly possible. until our contractions were at least 3-5 minutes apart. our bradley instructor had suggested when you call the hospital to lie about what time your water broke. hospitals usually give you 24 hours to deliver after your water breaks because of increased chances of infection. Throw in meconium staining and things get serious.

if i could do it again: i would have labored at home longer, MUCH LONGER, not called the hospital, and if i did call not tell them my water broke or was stained. it would have bought me 5 more hours, maybe 12. maybe a whole day. who knows how the scenario would have played out.

at this point i totally underestimated my hospitals obnoxious obsession with intervention, and so we decided, because of the meconium, and because of my cholestasis and all the other drama, it was best to go in now. plus my contractions were about 5 minutes a part. my doula, who was also my bradley instructor, said she would meet us there. we called our hospital and they said to come right in. we grabbed our birth bag and climbed into our little prius in the middle of morning traffic.


why roadtrips aren't that bad. :)

and in this home - He shall reign.

i remember growing up, spending the night at friend's house, or going over to play. and in each place, and within each family there was such uniqueness.

my dear friend emily's family always made homemade pizza together - rolling out the dough, picking the toppings. afterwards, we got to finish by dipping the extra pepperoni's in the extra sauce and put them in our bellies. they also always kept the kitchen dark and cool, and we'd eat otter pops on our pool breaks in her back yard.

my cousin tara's house was always decorated fancy, and we'd eat well presented meals with interesting salad combinations. i remember chewing ice out of her big glass cups, wrapping ourselves in all the afghans found in the den, and listening to classical music as we drifted off to sleep.

i had 2 best friends in grade school who were twins. they were a healthy family, and we'd eat turkey bacon on saturday mornings while watching cartoons. they always had fresh cans of Sunny D in their basement refrigerator, and we'd hide ourselves in the built in trunks along the walls. their mom always worked out early in the morning, and we'd always find adventures around the neighborhood with our guy friends who lived up the hill.

my friend lisa always had a snack drawer full of oreos and potato chips. her mom always made homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch, and they had pet ferrets. we'd roller skate around her pool table in the basement, and make soups out of sticks and mud in her back yard.

my friend alex's house was out in the country by a small lake. we'd find craft project ideas in american girl magazines, and find ways to make our hair lovelier or her room prettier. her mom always sang hillsong worship songs in the morning before we even crawled out of bed, and the sun always shone through her big windows onto the carpeted floor where her dog would lounge.

i think it's interesting to think i am now a family. i have my own home, my husband and a son. and the choices i make now will form who my family is and the home in which memories will be formed. 20 years from now, the stories Amos has to tell and the man he's become will be largely created based on the mother i choose to be.

i don't want memories of t.v. shows or movies. i don't want memories of my reluctance to serve ricky or my impatience with his short comings. i don't want memories of food from boxes or internet surfing.

i want him to remember music that exalted the Lord continually filling our home. i want memories of family worship time. i want him to remember the Word. i want him to remember prayer. i want him to remember growing up within the four walls of our small house of prayer - running around with the other children under the blanket of His presence.

i want him to remember laughter, home cooked meals, long walks, art projects, books and books and books, trips to his grandparents both 20 minutes away and 20 hours away.

i want him to remember ramses, the smell of incense, the sound of his mother playing piano and his dad strumming the guitar. i want him to remember our ability to embrace meekness and repentance as he encounters our own shortcomings as parents. i want him to remember our willingness to utter, "i'm sorry, for this isn't how the Father is..."

i woke up yesterday realizing 5 months have passed, and my son is on the one way train to becoming a man, a brother, a husband, a father, and a bondservant. there is a lot about my own life i wish to change - my own daily decisions. in my marriage, in my time spent throughout the day, in my speech, in my attitudes, in my motives. i pray that the Lord gives my heart grace to behold Him even more, to in turn, become holy as He is holy.

i want hunger and thirst for righteousness, for the kingdom come, and for the heart of God to be the theme within my heart and within my home. i want, even in this, for God to be given all the glory.

here's to adulthood. to marriage. to mother hood. and the terribly awesome responsibility to brings.

and here's to a God whose given us all we need for life and godliness. [i love You]


new computers.

we purchased a nice new iMac with our tax refund (well only 1/3 of it) - as we got a super sweet deal with some connections.
with the new computer comes transferring files.
and with those files comes pictures and with those pictures come memories.

ooooh the nostalgia that arises.

times before i was married and the only cares i had were to connect with the Lord
times when Ricky and i were little babies falling in love.
riding the waves of emotions that come with discovering your beloved.
dating seasons, engagement seasons (and all it's stress), wedding photos, the beginnings of marriage and decorating our so small beach apartment, the growing baby amos - skinny, stretchmark free belly days...

and how that ache arises within.
seeing that which will never be again,
but knowing it's worth it to have a strong man, and chubby baby to cuddle with in bed.

to be able to say God is good, even here, and even now.

here's to memories [photobooth style]- starting with the first picture we ever took on the first week we ever met.