Thursday, May 16, 2013

Easter, Roman ruins, and a lot of fun with mom

My mom got to be here for Hannah's first two weeks of life.  What a blessing and a joy!  She's so great at sharing the up times and the down times.  And praise the Lord for frequent flier miles!!!  She hasn't had to buy a ticket to come here.  We had some amazingly fun times while she was here.
Easter cupcake-making time with Catie...
Catie lost 3 teeth while she was here!
Going out to eat for a few fun meals
Cooking times with each kid.  Here are her and Catie making her amazing yeast biscuits...
Snuggle times
Do you know that I love to organize things?  I do.  It's weird, but true.  So mom and I organized the legos.  It sounded like a great idea before we dumped out all the legos.  Then it wasn't as fun as we had dreamed!  : )  Here they are in their individual color.  We took a picture because that's the only time they looked like that!
To make up for that bad, not really...actually, to celebrate mom's 60th birthday, we went to the Four Seasons and had a fancy tea together.  Soooooo much fun!!
We kept the fun coming with at trip to an amazing ancient Roman city!
{Zach is that tiny little person at the top!  I felt a little weak-kneed, but I was trying to let him be a boy!}
Such a sweet time full of enjoying little Hannah and having fun as a family!

What a big boy!

Jacob turned 4!  It was such a joyful and fun celebration of this little guy.  He is fun, smart, kind, and ready to fight for what he feels like is right.  What a blessing he is!
We went to Chili's for a birthday dinner.  Zach came out with the waiters to sing Happy Birthday to Jacob.  So much fun!
Then we came home for a little birthday celebration as a family.  Jacob opened presents, and we got these amazing "candles" for his cupcakes.  He wasn't sure how he felt about them.  : )
I love this kid!!

Homeward bound

So, 4th baby and all that...I was ready to get home!  When the doctor came to check on me the morning after Hannah was born, I said, "Can I go home today?" And he said, "Sure!"  So yay for going home 16 hours after giving birth!  : )

When we pulled up to the house, this super cool balloon arch was waiting to welcome us.  Thanks, mom and dad, for such a fun surprise!!
But little did I know that it was only the beginning of the surprises.  Some friends had bought flowers, and there were signs up in our house, bouquets of flowers EVERYWHERE, and food in the fridge.  I was so thankful!

Hannah, meet your precious siblings

The next morning, our dear friends brought the big kids up to meet Hannah.  What a joy for my heart!!  I'm just going to load you up with pictures, so get ready for amazing sweetness!  And check out these shirts in the first picture.  My dear friend, Tricia Wilson, made them and dropped them off at my parent's house the day before we left the States.  They were one of the last things to get squeezed into our luggage, and I LOVE them.



When we went in for the 39 week appointment, little Hannah had flipped and was sideways.  Not even head down.  And my mom was scheduled to be here in 2 days.  The doctor said to call and come in if I felt a lot of movement.  If she was head down, he didn't want to give her a chance to flip again, so he said he would just send me in and induce when she was head down.  I thought she might have flipped by Monday morning, so I called and went in.  Yep, she had flipped!  My mom had just gotten on a plane from Paris to our city, and I was heading to the hospital.

We had a wonderful labor and delivery experience here in a great hospital.  Loved the doctor, loved the nurses, loved our friends around us.  And to top it all off, my mom got to the hospital about 10 minutes after Hannah was born.  She had the bluest face I've ever seen.  It took a few days for all the blue to go away.   But I'm pleased to report that her little face is human-colored smurfs in this family!

Let's get this party started!  (I didn't have a C-section...they just let all dads and visitors wear this cool outfit!)
I was going to post a picture of our doctor here, but then I saw blood in the picture and thought I'd spare you.  So you can just use your imagination.  Moving along...
This friend took my kids to the airport and picked up my mom.  When she saw him instead of us at the airport, she knew it was baby time!
I can't believe my mom was at the hospital!  Gift of God!!!!!
Hello, little girl!!
There had been lots of girl births, so they only had blue clothes to dress her in.
I was really missing my dad, and this band on my arm made me smile.  In this culture, a woman's identity is tied to her husband and her dad.  So my name is Cristen John Jeff.  Ibrahim is my doctor's name.  And just for the record, I'm 36.  For a few more weeks!  ; )
Precious friend holding Hannah...
This girl was born ready to nurse.  One of many answers to prayer!
She was born April 8 at 9:10pm.  She weighed 7lbs 6oz.
She's such a precious baby and stole our hearts right away!

pre-baby days/worst blogger ever!

The last few weeks of my pregnancy were so different than we expected.  We have had this little girl on our heart for about 5 years.  We felt like God had told us way back then that she would be coming and to name her Hannah.  It's a long and wonderful story, but the bottom line is that we were excited to meet this little sweetie!!! 

Early labor started at the end of February with trips taken to the hospital to get shots to get her lungs ready and days of bedrest.  But then, my body just STOPPED!  Like completely stopped all labor.  Every week I went to the doctor and heard, "No change."  Around week 38 it was all I could do to not cry in front of the poor man when he gave me that news.  My last 2 babies were born at 37 weeks, and I could not understand why my body was acting completely different this time.  I honestly felt a little betrayed by my body at the time...almost everything in my life is different right now...couldn't my body just act normal?!?

So we made the most of those weeks with some family time.  And enjoyed the freedom of that new car!!
We made homemade playdough.  (Cause buying it here costs a small fortune!!!) 
Tah-dah!  I know I've said it before, but one amazing thing about raising kids overseas is seeing them develop thankful hearts for the simple things.
We went to the park...
We cooked together...
My tummy kept getting bigger...
We went on some walks...
OK, this picture below was one of my proudest moments I've had here.  I took all three kids BY MYSELF and drove about 30 minutes away to a part of town that has lots of plant nurseries.  The kids and I picked out plants, and I got to speak in Arabic to the sellers.  Then we came home and planted all afternoon.  I didn't take great pictures of the plants...they look so much prettier in person, but the combo of finding a new place, driving here, speaking Arabic, fun times with my kids.  Well, it was a winning moment!!  {And sometimes when you're living in a new country, those feel few and far between!}
Some art's a picture Catie drew of her and Jesus walking on water. 
I can't even express how much I love this picture!!
and bigger...
We went on a picnic with friends.  Isn't this country BEAUTIFUL?!?

Some dear and amazing friends threw me a surprise baby shower.  I wish I had gotten a group shot of everyone.  I was SHOCKED and so blessed by these friends.  I got some adorable things for little Hannah!
And then the last night before Hannah was born, we used some Christmas money from John's family and went out for a family fun night. {Thanks, fam!}
Next blog post...time for baby Hannah!!!