Sunday, August 31, 2014

It Takes a Village - Expressing Gratitude for Help with Baby!

 

Well, we are finishing up week two of being new parents. It has been a roller coaster. It has been scary, fast paced and confusing, but has given us both immense joy and happiness, all at the same time. Taking care of a newborn is really hard, especially when you have no experience. But, I am very happy to report that she seems to be doing well and both Joshua and I are getting used to our new normal.

I have a very long list of things to be grateful for and want to start with the importance of good health. I've never checked into a hospital before. Furthermore, I've never had surgery. So, giving birth was certainly an eye opening experience. I'm so thankful for my good health and even more grateful that Ev was born happy and healthy too. Two weeks later, and I almost feel normal. I have my energy back. I seem to be healing well. I just have mild discomfort from time to time. Ev was checked out both at the hospital and by our new family doctor at the Mayo Clinic. She passed both exams with flying colors and regained almost all of her weight in just one week rather than two. We have one more appointment this coming week. I look forward to hearing that they don't need to see us again until her 2 month appointment.

I am endlessly grateful to have both a husband and a mother who willingly and lovingly help take care of Ev. It really does take a village. Having the ability to take a break from time to time and hand her off has been amazing. Being that I had surgery, I can't lift anything heavy and at first couldn't bend over at all. My mom has been an angel to help with trash, laundry, dishes and more. Joshua stays up late sometimes and gives Ev her late night feeding so that I can catch up on sleep. He is the baby whisperer. Whenever she is really fussy, I can hand her over to him and he somehow figures out exactly what is wrong and calms her. Watching them together melts my heart. He is just as good of a daddy as I always imagined that he would be.

My best girlfriend not only supported us through the birthing process but also has helped keep our fridge stocked with basics grocery items since we arrived home. She has a busy life with four kiddos at home, but she has somehow still made time to check in on us and offer her help whenever possible. She is always willing and ready to listen to my latest mommy concerns. I don't know what I would do without her.

We have had a lot of support from our family and friends. One big help was a meal train that was set up by our cousin Sommer. We've had a stream of family and friends bringing us dinner since we got home from the hospital. Wow, was that helpful! I haven't had to think about dinner (or lunch) at all. There always seems to be enough food to feed whoever is around for the evening. It has given us a chance to visit with family and for them to meet our sweet baby in a fairly organized fashion. Thank you, Sommer!

This week, I am most grateful that Ev is now fully feeding on breast milk. The first week was a struggle. I am pretty sure that we broke every breast feeding best practice rule - formula, bottle feeding, pumping early, pacifiers, etc. But, in hind sight, I wouldn't have made different choices, except maybe to worry about breaking these rules a little less. Only time will tell if it affects our long term breast feeding potential. At this point, I feel as if I've given it all that I've got and am hopeful that we can continue until our girl is big and strong. I need to send out a special thank you to my friend Christina. I may not have had a pump right away if it had not been for her and having a pump was a necessity in the early days of getting home to be successful breast feeding.

Finally, I feel grateful that Ev sleeps more at night than during the day (so far). Is it a perfect schedule, no. Is it liveable, absolutely. She tends to cluster feed right before bed time and then I feel comfortable letting her sleep 3-4 hours. I even have to wake her up to eat at night and in the early morning. This gives me a good stretch of time to sleep too. During the day she feeds more frequently and usually wakes herself up regularly. This behavior bodes well for a good sleeping schedule in the future. 

All in all, it has been an incredible and somewhat indescribable two weeks. Although difficult at times, I would not trade away one single instant with our daughter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

40 and Handsome - Happy Birthday Joshua!


I can't believe that Joshua turns 40 today. Somehow, someway, he just gets more and more handsome every year. Recently, I started keeping a gratitude log for all of the little and big things that Joshua does for me and for our family. I knew that he did a lot, but as the list got longer and longer, I realized that he does more than I actually acknowledge. He is amazing. I am one very lucky lady.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tomorrow: 39 Weeks + Missed Wedding


Wow! I cannot believe how fast time has been flying by. Tomorrow, Evelyn will be 39 weeks along and all signs are pointing to her going the full 40. It blows my mind that within the next 3 weeks, our daughter will be born. 

I continue to feel thankful that I feel well. I don't feel well every moment of every day, but I do feel well most of the time. 

One huge improvement in my comfort level is from our new duct work and insulation. We worked with a wonderful company called Magic Touch. They did such a nice job and we continue to be surprised by just how much energy we are saving now as our house cools more evenly in all areas. This has been a big deal for our bedroom, which was uncomfortably hot. To make matters even better, we bought a fan for Miss Evelyn to ensure that there is air circulation and I have been using that for the past few nights. I am sleeping so much better. Why didn't we do that sooner? 

Although I am excited to meet her, I am in no big rush. I am enjoying this time and finishing up preparations for her arrival. She'll be here soon enough. 

One downside to being pregnant is that at the end, one can't travel. This weekend, we missed my brother-in-law marrying his new wife in California. It is hard to not attend such an important occasion. Thankfully, there were lots of pictures to look through and social media does allow one to feel as if they can participate in a small way from afar. But, it is not really the same.

All in all, life is good and we continue to walk forward toward the unknown. Will she be feisty? Will she love to sleep? Will she cry continuously? I don't know. But, I think that I will be ready to find out when she finally decides to come out and meet the world.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Projects, projects and more projects - 4th of July weekend


Life is bustling around the Oehler homestead. With the due date now approaching in less than a month (August 4th), there is a lot on my list that I hope to get done. As soon as summer classes ended, I pivoted to doing all of the things that I have been putting off.

First, we signed up for several baby related classes. We are attending birthing classes, an infant cpr class, a newborn basics class and I am attending a breast feeding class in the coming weeks.

I have this overwhelming desire to clean and organize everything. I have this feeling that if I don't get to it now, I won't get to it until next summer after I graduate (if even then). I know that once the baby arrives, I am going to be one very busy mama.


So, my mom and I spent the early hours of 4th of July cleaning up the garage. She is such a good sport. She also helped detag, sort, wash, sort and fold all of Evelyn's clothes. Both were a huge help. Yay for grandmas!


Meanwhile, Joshua has been fixing up an old dresser that his dad built for his brother James. As it was no longer being used and had a little water damage, we took it off of his parents' hands, for Evelyn. Joshua has been sanding, staining, refacing two drawers, sealing the inside so that there aren't splinters, etc. It is looking really great and appears to be nearly done, which should kick start some major work in her bedroom.

Today, both Joshua and I got up early to enjoy the cooler morning temperatures. He worked on the dresser along with various other outdoor projects. I worked on cleaning up our storage room. Ewie...it was bad! I still have some work to do in there, but I do feel a lot better about how it is now. If I did nothing else, I know that I can at least live with it for another year. 

The weather this weekend was wonderful...for Phoenix, Arizona. We have been topping off at 100 degrees at the most. Typically, it has been cloudy and breezy too. It would be terrific if we could squeeze some rain out of those clouds, but if we can just get cooler temperatures - I'll take that too! 

It does seem that as soon as I check one thing off of my list, I add two, new items. Maybe this is just how I am dealing with the anxiety of impending childbirth? Maybe I thoroughly understand just how much my life is going to change in a few short weeks. Who knows? Either way, it does make me feel a lot better to clean, organize and prepare. 

Most of all, I am thankful that I feel good enough to be able to keep busy. I definitely have to rest and have been taking a lot of naps in the afternoon and drinking tons of water. But, all in all, I feel pretty darn good!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day, Joshua!


Father's Day, much like Mother's Day, took on a whole new meaning for me and Joshua this year. After seeing our little 4lb bundle of joy on Friday, it is more real than ever that she is going to be here before we know it. The ultrasound technician even showed us that she had hair and we got to see her practice breathing.

If there is one thing that I know for sure, it is that Joshua is going to be a great Father.

I might just be the only lady out there that let her husband do the entire baby registry with very little feedback. In fact, I may be the only lady out there that has a husband that wanted to put together the baby registry! Ha! I love that he put together each item as each one arrived. I've heard horror stories about being 9 months pregnant and having to put all of the baby gear together and having a mental breakdown. I love that he wanted to be at the baby shower and wanted to go to ultrasounds and just generally supported me through the entire process of getting pregnant and being pregnant. This isn't to say that we haven't had our share of imperfect moments along the way, because we have. But, when I step back and look at the big picture, I am one lucky wife and Evelyn Rose is one very lucky little girl.

So Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband. Happy Father's Day to his Dad, my Dad, the Papas (Mike and Scott) and to your Dad, dear reader.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Birthday Bliss in California

Joshua and I took our last vacation before the baby arrives over my birthday weekend - a babymoon. It was a quick getaway to Carpinteria, CA - our favorite beach town. As the count down really begins, Miss Evelyn Rose was on our mind the entire time. We are getting so excited to meet her sometime in the next 10-12 weeks. It is hard to believe that I am now officially 35. Wow, time does fly!

















Sunday, May 18, 2014

Baby Shower for Evelyn Rose

A few weeks ago, we had our first party for Miss Evelyn Rose. We had a baby shower. Many of my closest friends and family pitched in to create a beautiful event. I'd like to send out a special thank you to my Best Girlfriend Erin, her step-daughters Emily and Olivia, my Mom, my Mother-in-law, my Aunt Sharon, my Cousin Virginia and my Brother-in-law Jody and Sister-in-law Meredith for helping pull everything together.

Here are a few pictures from my Sister-in-law Meredith of the festivities....










Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter From The Oehlers!


Getting pregnant was not an easy task. Truth be told, we started trying to have a baby when we got married. We will be celebrating our third anniversary later this year. It was two very long years of being asked when we'd have a baby. It was two very long years of watching holidays pass by, like Easter, waiting and wondering.

Now, as another Easter holiday descends upon us and knowing that Evelyn is on her way, I find my holiday joy amplified. I don't feel the dull ache for a baby in the pit of my stomach or lingering in the back of my mind. I'm excited - not just for Easter but for all of the upcoming holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas too! There are very few holidays left between now and Evelyn's arrival. Once she arrives, I anticipate both Joshua and I having fun making each new holiday unique and special for our baby girl.

If you are out there and you are struggling to have a baby, please know that you are not alone. I wish that I could advise you that your time will come too. But, without a crystal ball, I simply cannot do that. I can tell you that we were successful with a lot of patience, love and the help of a very good doctor in Scottsdale (Doctor Ketan Patel). Most people don't talk about infertility because it can be embarrassing, painful and scary. But over the past few years, as I have opened up about my fertility issues to others, I have found that many, many, many people have had issues too.

So, on this particular Easter holiday, I feel grateful for my immediate family - Joshua, Eve and Halo. I also feel grateful for my closest friends, mom and Josh's parents for offering us love and support, both in the good and the bad times. I wish each of you a very Happy Easter!

Friday, April 11, 2014

First Kicks



I've been feeling Eve move around for a few weeks now. But, last night, I was in just the right position for Joshua to feel it too. It was such a special moment for me to get to share that experience with him. Up until recently, she has just been a picture or an idea that we have been talking about. Now, we can actually feel her moving around and it is pretty amazing!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

22 weeks along - Life is good!


I feel very fortunate that pregnancy has been fairly good to me so far. Now that I am in the second trimester, I feel energized. I am crossing my fingers that the second half of this pregnancy will be as nice as the first half. I certainly don't take for granted that everything could change dramatically as I get closer to the due date. I have heard all sorts of stories about ailments that mothers manage while giving birth. I pray that this isn't the case for me. I've also seen the reality of babies born with health issues. And, I pray that she arrives perfectly healthy.

Meanwhile, we are starting to really celebrate the baby's arrival. Clothes and books and blankets have been pouring in and each gift touches my heart and makes the reality of her arrival somehow seem a little closer. She is starting to gain a little stockpile of items which means that I have got to get busy on preparing her room. It's a total nightmare mess in there right now. I'm hoping that I can make some headway on this project soon. It is hard to believe that another little person is going to be living in this house with us soon!

I am starting to feel her move around. For now, it just feels like little butterflies but as she gains weight and strength, I am sure that it will feel a little more intense. It is hard to believe that she will be right around a pound this coming week. A POUND! Already? I can't hardly believe it. 


We've also been doing our fair share of traveling. This year, I have visited Knoxville, Tucson,  Sonoma and Albuquerque. Joshua has been to Memphis. Last weekend we took a weekend long trip down to his parents place in Cochise County. Halo needs to travel sometimes too!

Joshua has a million and one projects going in the yard. He's torn out fences, a shed, a tree, rose bushes and still has some more things that he'd like to work on before it gets too hot out there. We are finally getting to the point where we can landscape the yard to fit our taste. That is very exciting.

I continue to plug away in school. I will hopefully graduate in a little over a year, May 2015. I can't wait to have it be OVER! It is hard to keep up with it all. I have a hard time imagining how I will do it next year with Eve too. But, I am so close, and I just have to get it finished.

All in all, life in the Oehler household is great. We are all healthy, happy and excited for what the future holds. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Big Announcement: Baby Oehler is Due August 4, 2014

2014 is going to be a very special year for my little family. Joshua and I could not be happier than to announce that our first baby will be due at the very beginning of August. I am 12 weeks into the pregnancy and we can hardly believe that this is (finally) really happening.  Thankfully, pregnancy hasn't been too bad for me (yet). I get headaches occasionally and go to bed early almost every night because I'm incredibly tired, but even those symptoms seem to have subsided in the last week or so.  Let's all hope that the rest of this adventure is as easy-peasy as the first part. We hope to find out if it will be a boy or a girl next week - I had a blood test done today that should give us the answer. In the meantime, we are just thrilled and hope that you will share in our joy with us!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Holiday 2013

Christmas has come and gone again. Although, it still feels a lot like Christmas as I type this since we haven't taken down our decorations yet. It is only January 5th, after all.

 

Our Christmas tree this year was extra special. I think that you'd be hard pressed to find a more impressive tree that could fit into our living room. Everyone who saw it, had to stop and stare. I give full credit to Joshua in choosing it. He has an eye for these things and is persistent enough to tromp around the tree lot for 45 minutes to find just the right tree.


Joshua's dad built us a dining room table and delivered it just in time for Christmas. It is made with a steel frame and a birch and glass top. It is stunning and changed the dynamics in our living area dramatically. It can also seat 8 people comfortably which will make holiday celebrations a little easier. It is extra special since it is built to last for the rest of our lives (if not hundreds of years after  that) and was built by Joshua's dad. Such a great Christmas treat!


Baking is an essential part of Christmas in the Oehler household. This year, we baked quite a bit more than usual since we hosted a Christmas Eve party at our house.



We had lots of family stop by and enjoy visiting each other. We offered a spread of cookies,  snacks and hot cider. It always warms my heart to have our home full of the people that we love.

 


No holiday is complete without our sweet Halo. He provides us with so much happiness and joy. Not to mention, he is so good to wait until Christmas to open gifts and doesn't bother the tree that all of a sudden appears once a year in our living room. This year, he even wore his reindeer antlers for about 5 whole seconds - long enough to get one fuzzy picture. He is a good boy.

All in all, it was a wonderful holiday. We have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for in 2013 and now we look forward to all that awaits us in 2014. Both Joshua and I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year full of new possibilities!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stuffed Green Peppers Recipe



Ingredients:
4-6 green bell peppers
Olive oil
1/4 red bell pepper (chopped)
2 portobella mushrooms (chopped)
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2lb ground turkey 
Salt and pepper
1 bottle of Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
1 bag of Uncle Ben's Ready Made Rice
Grated mozzarella cheese


I buy this butternut squash pasta sauce at my local Safeway. It is incredibly tasty. You could substitute for a tomato sauce of your choice. 

1. Wash green peppers and cut out the top with a knife and clean out the seeds. Drop into a large pot of water and bring to a boil. You will boil them until they are slightly soft. Bring the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a sauce pan, using a little olive oil, cook red bell pepper, portobella mushrooms, onion and 
garlic. When the veggies are almost done, add the ground turkey and cook thoroughly.

3. Cook the rice either in the microwave or on the stove top.

4. Add the sauce and rice to the turkey mixture in the saucepan and simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Drain the green peppers and place in an oven friendly dish. Stuff the peppers. Cover the stuffed peppers with shredded mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake until the stuffing is bubbling and the cheese is melted. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes. You want the green peppers to finish softening to the point that you could cut through them with a butter knife.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 - What To Do When Your Turkey Is Done Too Early


This year was a really special one for us. We were thankful to provide a meal for a combined group of 9. Halo was our non-stop entertainment. I worked pretty hard on Wednesday and Thursday to cook up the best Thanksgiving meal that I've ever made. The work was all worth it in the end.


My favorite dish was the stuffing. I used my mother-in-law's recipe, but I baked fresh break in my bread maker. It was delicious!


 The turkey was wonderful too, but it was done 2 hours before mealtime! So, I did a quick search online and found that you can take it out, cover it first in tinfoil then in a towel and let it sit. Joshua surprised me with a really fancy meat thermometer this year. So I left that in and monitored the temperatures. I let it sit for 2 hours and it never dropped below 167 degrees. Maybe this little bit of knowledge will be helpful to someone else some day too!


I ended up making two pies. I used a mini cookie cutter in star shape on my apple pie, but I cut the stars too close together and it didn't hold up entirely through the baking process. I'll have try this again but leave more space between each cutting.


I have so many things to be thankful for, but I am most thankful for my loving and supportive husband. He is my north star. I hope that all of you had as nice of a Thanksgiving as we did.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fall 2013

It has been another busy Fall in the Oehler house. I find it hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already upon us. We are excited this year to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I've been busily making lists, crafting decorations and making plans. I am going to attempt to make my first tablecloth this weekend. As you all know, I love an opportunity to be creative!


Poor Joshua had all 4 of his wisdom teeth pulled. The older you get, the more difficult this procedure becomes. Thankfully, we got through it but the first day was quite scary. It amazes me that when people have surgery, they just rush them right out as fast as possible. He was still bleeding hours after we got him home. It just doesn't seem right to send anyone home bleeding! Halo didn't know what to think, but he was quite worried.


Speaking of Halo, we took him to the Franciscan Renewal Center to get blessed. We continue to consider getting a second dog. We both waiver back and forth about the pros and cons.


But mostly, I have been busy going to school. It takes up a lot of my personal time. Each day, it feels as if I barely have enough time to do it all, but somehow I do get it all done. I have about 3 weeks left of the semester. I am so thankful that I can both work and attend school online and be home with Joshua and Halo, even if I am working or studying.


Finally, we celebrated our second anniversary. We gifted each other bikes! I found my bike on Craig's list and just love it. It is an all original 1971 Schwinn cruiser. Joshua is still looking for his bike. He wanted to do some research and find a bike that he'd really use for a long time. We hope to pick something out this weekend so that we can start to go on bike rides together. 

It has just been a whirlwind of activity. But, we are happily enjoying our life.

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