Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nineteen Weeks 4.20 - 4.26

Well, we are getting closer!!!  I can't believe I'm nearly half way through my pregnancy!  On one hand, I'm freaking out because Sept 19th seems so close and we still have so much yet to do and, on the other, I'm so anxious for the date to arrive because I can't wait to meet our precious child!!!

Not too much happening in Mike and I's world this week.  We were both busy with work.  And, for all the teachers who read the blog -- don't shortened weeks seem like the longest ones?  I think it is because we are so excited to have a long weekend it makes the week drag on. 

Mike and I have been LS restaurant connoisseurs lately.  This week we went to Houlihans twice, La Fluente and the infamous Taco Bell.  Good for our kitchen sink, bad for our budget.  It has been nice not to have to cook and, especially nice not have to clean, but I am ready to start tackling my kitchen duties once again for the sake of our health and our pocket books. 

Easter Sunday has always been a special day in the Angell household.  I was very blessed to grow up knowing the true meaning of Easter.  I knew that God sent His Son into the world to die on a cross so that I might spend eternity with Him in heaven.  Each Easter Sunday we gathered with fellow believers to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  As I've gotten older Easter has only gotten sweeter and sweeter.  I've realized how much God loves me and how desperately I need His Son's sacrifice.  This Easter was especially sweet -- Mike and I went to church together and heard a great sermon given by my father.  The service ended with the song, "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns (I just added it as the first song on the blog's playlist) and Mike and I both were moved to tears by the Holy Spirit. (See lyrics below) We then met my sister and her husband at my parents for an excellent dinner, fun games, and great conversation.  I hope that Mike and I can lead our children to the Lord and that they would enjoy Easter for what it is -- the Hope of our salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.  Hallelujah!

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

And a couple old Easter pics of my sister and I - how cute were we?  :)

Baby Milestones This Week:  Vernix caseosa, a greasy white substance made of lanugo, oil, and dead skin cells (yum) now coats baby's skin, shielding it from the amniotic fluid. (Picture yourself after a nine-month bath, and the need for protection makes sense.)

Obsessions of the Week:  Mike and I have been looking through baby names.  My goal was to have a solid boy and girl name picked out before we went to our May 6th ultrasound.    We are 99% sure we know the name if the baby turns out to be a girl.  We will share the name with everyone once we officially know the gender.  As for our boy names, we are still very unsure.  Here are some of our favorites!  No negative comments please!  :)

Mike's top picks:                         
Alexander Michael Stephens                     
Alec Michael                                                              
Brooks Michael                                                               
Carter Michael

Ali's top picks:    
Christian Michael  
Bennett Michael 
James Michael
Jacob Michael  

Names we both like:
Christian Michael
Elijah Michael
Cameron Michael

Symptoms of the Week:  LOTS more baby movement!  I feel the baby everyday now and sometimes for minutes at a time.  I am even beginning to recognize what times of the day the baby is usually awake!  I have to say that I love this!  It is so much fun to feel him or her squirming around in my belly!

Epiphany of the Week:  Motherhood could be renamed Worryhood (I'll remind you that I think this trait is in my genes).  Ever since my tick bite I've been a unable to be at ease thinking about the health and development of my growing child.  I know that stressing out isn't good for the baby or for me -- but it is so hard not to do!  On Friday there wasn't any school and I had my plans to visit Lara, a good friend, and her 2.5 month old son in NKC but I woke up and to my dismay the area in which I had been bitten had started to develop a circular rash around it -- reminded me of the "bulls eye" rashes I had seen in my research but not quite the same.  So I called my doctor and left a message with the nurse.  My parents were in LS and decided they would take me to an Urgent Care Clinic just in case my doctor couldn't see me.  The doctor said that it mildly resembled a bulls eye rash and that he felt it was more of a topical skin infection from the skin be open to bacteria.  He ordered that I go on some antibiotics and we asked if this is what he would prescribe for his own wife and he said yes.  ***The great thing about the visit was the he was able to use a doppler to listen to the baby's heartbeat.  My mom, dad and I all got to hear the precious tones!  It was 137 bpm -- a steady decline from 164, 140 and now 137.  It should stay about this until birth.  I still wasn't completely sure I wanted to take the antibiotics and asked 3 different pharmacist for their opinions -- all seemed to be in agreeance that it was A-Okay to take while pregnant.  Mike and I decided to hold off one day and see how the rash looked in the morning.  The next day, I was administered to by two wonderful elders in my church and couldn't help but cry.  I decided to go ahead and take the antibiotics and the today the rash is nearly gone!  Praise the Lord!  Please continue to say prayers for this situation -- thank you!

What I'm most looking forward to next Week: Reaching the half way point.  Right now I have 146 days to go and I've been pregnant 134 days -- so the exact middle is 140 days: 6 days from now!  Very excited!  I wonder if the last 140 days will go as quickly as the first?  I'm kind of doubting it because I'm already so anxious to meet him or her!!!

Week 19 Belly pics:

*** Didn't realize how huge this maternity dress makes me look - from all angles!  Oh my!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eighteen Weeks 4.12 - 4.19

What a week this has been!  Remember last week when I wrote that I thought spring was here to stay?  Yeah, well I was wrong.  It was 42 degrees when I left school today -- and drizzly to top it off.  This kind of weather always puts me in a melancholy mood and I don't feel like doing much of anything.  Blah.  Okay, I will quit being Debbie Downer now and start talking about the positive things that happened this week.  Here is a list:

1.  Small Mary Kay get together at my home; just my mom, sister and me. We enjoyed each other's company and got some good product for our aging faces!  I can't believe I am going to be 27 this summer! And, if you get close you can tell -- starting to regret all the hours I spent in the tanning booth as a teen.

2. Mike and I went to 54th Street Grill with Lindsey (student teacher on my team) and her hubby.  We had  a really good time and it is always fun to chat with teachers!  Only a fellow teacher truly knows everything that goes into teaching -- the good, the bad and the ugly! :) I am hoping to have her as my long term substitute for next year.  However, because she is such a good teacher she will probably get snatched up by a local district -- even during these hard times!  Speaking of my long term sub, my plan for next year is to take off until 2nd semester (1st week of January).  This means the baby will be about 3.5 months old when I return to school.  I am excited to have a whole 3 months with my baby but I know the time will fly and I know I will be devastated when I have to leave him or her.  I am very lucky though because my mother and father have graciously accepted to be full-time babysitters until I finish out the year.  Who better to take care of our baby if I can't?  THANK YOU mom and dad, you have no idea how much this means to Mike and I.

3.  Experienced Cadillac Flambe for the first time!  Our friends, Havila and Kris, are members of this band and we have wanted to see them for quite some time.  On Saturday they were in Lee's Summit helping to promote the opening of a new place down town.  It was a nice night to be outside and we especially enjoyed the music; I think the baby liked it too!  Thanks for inviting us guys!  :)

4.  Mike and I had the privilege to lead pre-worship on Sunday morning.  Of course, I cried.  I don't think I can speak in church with out crying -- kind of embarrassing and kind of humbling.   There is no better feeling than serving the Lord side-by-side with your husband.  My prayer is that before the baby arrives Mike and I can grow as close to Lord and each other as possible.

Baby Milestones this Week: Baby's become amazingly mobile, passing the hours yawning, hiccupping, rolling, twisting, kicking, punching, sucking, and swallowing. I can even feel him or her like little taps in my lower abdomen -- makes me smile every time!

Best Moment of the Week:  Change up.  It is fun to talk about the best moment of the each week but this week I'm going to tell you about the worst moment of the week, and pregnancy so far.  So, here it goes: On Wednesday as I was getting dressed I noticed a tick sunken into my arm, yuk right? Okay, so I grew up on 13 acres and have had several ticks feasting on my blood each summer since I can remember.  But, I've never been pregnant while hosting one of them.  And, to say the least, when I saw the little thing I FREAKED out.  I cried out for Mike, who was sleeping at the time, and kept yelling, "Get it out, get it out!"  After a minute or so of Mike unsuccessfully trying to extract the tick I couldn't take it anymore and ran to the bathroom for some tweezers.  Finally, we got the darn thing out of my arm, BUT its head was still embedded in my skin -- gross, huh?  I went to the nurse when I got to school and she tried to pick it out with a needle but wasn't able to get it all -- the little sucker got deep!  I then did some research and found several studies that showed many terrible outcomes for pregnant women with Lyme Disease.  I called my OB who instructed my to call my General -- who happened to have no available appointments that day.  I felt hopeless and went back to the nurse in tears.  I did make it to the doctor that day.  She took a look at my bite and sent me one my way saying there had been no recorded incidents of Lyme in MO for over a year -- which made me feel better but still unsure.  I then called the Jackson County Health Department to see if they tested ticks for diseases.  They informed me that MO is one of the only states that doesn't test ticks.  :(  I researched the type of tick I hosted (we kept it) which happened to be a Lone Star tick and found out that this particular tick does not carry Lyme but several other diseases similar to Lyme.  Sigh.  It could take up to 3 weeks to get symptoms for these diseases.  I currently feel like I am playing the "waiting" game.  I want to be an advocate for mine and my child's health; I feel like I have done what I can and now I am just trying to trust in the Lord.  Please say a prayer for me and baby -- for our health and my peace of mind.

Obsessions of the Week:  None pregnancy related but I have had fun following mommies on twitter! I use the application Tweet Deck and have a column that I created specifically for mommy-related followings.  I especially like "Moms Who Save" and "Bargain Brianna." 

Symptoms this Week:  I've heard this symptom is called Pregancy Amnesia and Pregnancy Brain.  Whatever it is called -- I've got it!  This week I lost my keys several times and forgot to sign in at school several days!  In fact, one day I got home, let Sammie out and hung out for a few minutes.  I then decided that I needed to run a few errands so I went to the place where I always leave my keys -- the key hook.  My keys were not there so I began to look in the normal places keys usually hide out: the counter, my coat, the bench.  Nope, Nope and Nope.  After two hours of searching I found them in Mike's bathroom drawer.  Seriously?  That means I got home, went straight to the bathroom where I placed my keys in my husbands drawer and continued on with out conciously thinking about my action.  Wow, I am losing my mind! 

Epiphany this Week: Our crib came in this week and now we officially have all of the big ticket items for our nursery.  Now we just need to know pink or blue?  I can't believe that in 3 weeks we will know the gender of our baby!  Which means it is crunch time when it comes to name picking!  We have a few names that we like but haven't made our official decision and are still pretty much up in the air about our boys names.  All we know that if the baby is a girl her middle name will be Angell which is my maiden name and if the baby is a boy his middle name will be Michael after guess who?  :) 

18 Week Belly Pics: 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Seventeen Weeks 4.5 - 4.11

Quite a beautiful week here in KC!  I think spring has finally arrived and is here to stay (hopefully)!  Mike and I have enjoyed taking advantage of the warm weather by working in the yard and taking Sam Bam for long walks around the neighborhood.

A few pics of our yard.  :)

Our changing table, dresser and glider came in this week!  A big THANK YOU to Mike's parents for furnishing our nursery!  It is so great to know this baby has two sets of grandparents that already love it so much and are almost as anxious as us to meet, hold, and cuddle with him or her. 

On Saturday we met up with my sister Libby for a quick, but fun lunch at Waldo's Pizza ( here in LS.  They have great lunch buffet and LS teachers get 25% off their total bill.  Gotta love businesses that support teachers!  Libby suggested that after lunch we walk over to Children's Orchard ( -- a consignment shop specifically focused on children's clothing and items.  Glad we did!  Such cute clothes and such great deals, makes me wonder if I'll ever buy anything "new" for my children?  Each time we go look at baby stuff it makes me soooo-o anxious to know our baby's gender!  Which, by the way, we find out on Friday, May 6th.  We could have found out the 4th but Mike wanted to wait until that Friday and told the receptionist to change the date -- I was quite perturbed with him for a few minutes.  :)  We plan on telling our immediate families on Saturday (we want to keep the secret to ourselves for at least one day!) and then the public after my school baby shower the following Tuesday.  So, be looking for the big announcement on FB the evening of Tuesday, May 10th.  (By the way, if you haven't had a chance to vote on the gender the poll it still open on the right!)

Sunday's sermon was very good and -- on top of that perk -- Melanie, a friend from church, gave me a pair of her maternity jeans after the service.  They fit so good!  My first hand-me-down maternity clothing!  Very appreciated!  I'll take all the free stuff I can get!  :)

Baby Milestones this Week: Baby's skeleton is hardening, changing from rubbery cartilage to bone, and fat is finally accumulating around it. The umbilical card is getting thicker and stronger, and its little fingers and toes are now topped by one-of-a-kind prints.

Best Moment of the Week:  Another tie!
1. My Aunt Monica (mom's sister) sent me a package with the most precious cargo.  Inside was the most adorable blue dress that my grandmother put on my mother and aunt.  As well as two cute yellow pieces that she made for her children!  Touching these items made me feel the love of a grandmother I can no longer touch.  What treasures!  I feel so blessed to have been born into a family where love and generosity are the legacies left to children.  Thank you so much Aunt Monica!  I love you!  I will cherish these items and the moments my children wear them forever!

2.  Hearing baby Stephens' heartbeat loud and strong -- 148 BMP!  Last time the nurse used the doppler on my tummy it took her at least 5 minutes to find the heartbeat (a little nerve wrecking) -- but not this time!  Doppler to tummy and bam! Ba-dum, Ba-dum, Ba-dum.... Wanna hear?  Click on the link on the top of the right column "Download Baby Stephens' Heartbeat" and it will play you to the recording Mike took!  Enjoy!

Obsessions of the Week: Um, shall I say EATING? Holy Moly!  Didn't know I could fit that much in my stomach!  On Wednesday the nurse confirmed that I had almost gained a pound since my first appointment at 8 weeks but I have a feeling that this is going to change quickly!  And, I hate to admit this but, it hasn't all been healthy.  Fries. Burgers. Pizza. 

Symptoms this Week:  This baby is moving!  I know now (wondered at first) that I have felt this child doing somersaults in my uterus.  Some say that most women mistake early movement for gas but the feeling that I have been feeling is not gas!  Mike is pretty sure that we are having a boy so he prefers to say that the baby is practicing his wrestling moves rather than doing somersaults.  Excited for when Mike can feel the baby too - 10 more weeks?  Anyone know?

Epiphany this Week:  This baby could be a boy.  In fact, there is a 50% chance.  When people have asked if we are going to find out the gender I always say yes and then tell them why.  Because if it is going to be a boy I need to give myself some time to cope with the idea of a "him."  I know this sounds really bad but ever since I was a young girl I've always dreamed of having baby girls.  All my dolls were girls and the one doll I had that was a boy (My buddy Doll) I changed into a girl!  However, lately, I think the Lord has been preparing my heart for a boy.  It is weird but the idea of having a boy has become more and more appealing to me the last couple of weeks.  Maybe it is just because I would love to see Mike with a son, or because my poor dad was stuck with all girls and I'd like to see him play with a grandson -- I don't know.  All I know is that I am flirting with the idea more and more.  We'll know in less the four weeks!  

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Week: Taking Sammie for walks after school everyday while listening to Pregtastic. 
Week 17 Belly Pics:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sixteen Weeks 3.29 - 4.4

I just realized that in my weekly titles I've been a month ahead of myself using 4's instead of 3's.  I guess I'm so anxious for September that I unconsciously moved time forward a month.  Wishful thinking! 

This has been a good week!  It all started with me announcing to my students that I am having a baby!  The rest of the week went fairly fast but I must admit that I did not make it to my goal of holding out to 17 weeks to start wearing maternity clothes.  :(  I guess I'll blame this one on my sister, sorry Lib.  She came by Wednesday night to talk to us about life insurance -- very valid considering the future of our little one if something were to happen to us, God forbid, we would want him or her to be in the best position possible.  Before she left I wanted to show her all my new maternity finds (which, by the way, my thrifty shopping has paid off!  I now have 24 maternity items for under....wait for it..... $300.00!!!  If you consider the majority of these items are work clothes I am very proud of myself!)  Anyways, Libby convinced me to model a few items -- which turned out to be all of them -- and after I put on a few pairs of maternity jeans I was hooked.  I thought, Why I am causing myself so much anguish over wanting to stay in regular clothes when these jeans are so heavenly?  And, that was that -- no more button-up blue jeans for me until October (wishful, but hopefully!). 

Last week I mentioned that I was really looking forward to the weekend -- and, boy, was it wonderful!  On Friday, Mike and I went to the Improv Comedy Lounge at Zona Rosa courtesy my wonderful secretary Sharon.  The headliner was Maz Jobrani,  a Persian comedian who uses comedy to help his audiences realize there is good people everywhere.  He had Mike and I's bellies jiggling (especially mine since its recent growth spurt!).  Then on Saturday, a friend of mine from Illinois, Jyl and her bf came over to our place for dinner.  Jyl and I enjoyed catching up and Mike had fun talking to her boyfriend about wrestling.  On Sunday, Mike and I worked in the yard and couldn't help but smile feeling the sun beat down on our faces -- it got to 91 degrees!  We are proud of our green grass -- the joys of adulthood and home ownership!  That night we went to Olive Garden with our good friends, Mike and Amber.  I especially enjoyed talking to Amber about baby stuff -- it is good to have friends who are interested "mommy" topics!  Remember how I said it was 91 degrees?  Yeah, well by the time we got home from OG ping-pong sized hail was flooding down from the sky!  Holy Moly!  That is Missouri for you -- hot one day, freezing the next.  :)

***Pics of the hail we picked up from our yard Sunday evening!

Baby Milestones this week: Tiny bones forming in baby's ears mean he or she can now pick up our voices. A few more minuscule changes: Eyebrows, lashes, and hair are starting to fill in, and taste buds are forming.

Best Moment of the Week:  Announcing the big news to my students!  Wow!  They were so excited for me and had so many fun questions!  So, how did I do it?  I wanted to tell my homeroom kiddos first.  So I promised them if they were good all class I would play hangman with them before school let out.  They were good and so I put the blanks up on the board for "Mrs. Stephens is having a baby!"  I swear 2 or 3 knew before they even started guessing letters and I made everyone promise not to shout anything out until I gave the the go ahead.  After about 5 letters, 1/3 of my students were still clueless so I let them guess a few more letters and counted them down to shouting the unknown phrase....3...2...1 and everyone yelled, "Mrs. Stephens is having a baby!"  They were so happy and couldn't wait to run around to the other homerooms on our team and before I knew it all 140 of my students we celebrating my baby!  Pregnancy happiness is infectious and my students made that even more obvious!  The next day many students were anxious to tell me they had "called it" a few days before.  One boy even commented, "I didn't want to say you were getting fat but (timidly) you were getting fat."  Ha! The things 7th grade boys will say!  :)

Obsessions of the Week:  I know this is kind of weird but feeling my tummy to locate my uterus.  My growing belly has been especially fascinating to me lately, particularly in the morning when I wake up!  Even though I haven't felt the baby move yet I know it is in there because I've got a round organ growing bigger and bigger in my lower abdomen.  :)  I wonder if the baby can feel all my pushing and proding?

Symptoms this Week:  Welcome back high school acne!  Seriously, I thought I was supposed to get a beautiful "glow"?  But, instead, a tiny army of red bumps have invaded my face, chest and arms.  TMI?  If so, I'm truly sorry. 

Epiphany this Week:  "Mike and Ali" time is fading fast.  It seems like yesterday that I found out I was pregnant and that was 12 weeks ago!  Yikes -- time flies.  I have to admit: I'm kinda depressed thinking that I won't be able to come home on Friday nights, like I always do, and curl up on the couch with my husband while catching up on all our fav shows.  Speaking of my hubby, have I told you lately that he is WONDERFUL???  Mike has been incredible through this whole experience but as the weeks come and go I realize more and more just how lucky I am to have him as my husband.  He is the MOG (Man of God) I always dreamed I'd marry and even more.  He is my protector, confidant and best friend.  I know with out of shadow of a doubt he will be the BEST father for our children.  Praise God for good husbands! 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Week:  Our 3rd OB appointment!  Yay!  It is always so wonderful to hear the heartbeat!  This time, we are going to try to record it on my iphone and upload to this blog so that next week you can experience the joy of the beats with us!  :)

Week 16 Belly pics: