Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Miracle of Life

We ended up having a 3-D ultrasound of the baby done just before Christmas, and had a mini photo shoot with our actively moving baby inside my belly. When we saw these pictures, it really sealed the deal for us, and made it seem even more so incredible that God has given us the ability to make and grow a baby that will one day live among us outside of my womb. Even though I take care of pregnant women every day and deliver babies all the time, this first-time personal experience is taking the miracle of life to a whole new level. My mom gave me a book of poetry for Christmas called The Joys and Challenges of Motherhood, and I found this poem there, which I think is worth sharing, as we share the 3-D photos of our little tiny miracle.

"The Miracle of Life"
Life is precious
We hear it so often
it becomes
a litany without meaning
until the moment when
life explodes upon you
Pain and ecstasy at once
place within your arms
that perfect precious entity
The absolute realization
of an idea
that words keep in the shadow
of our consciousness
A kind universe
The smiling face of God
Good beyond measure
This tiny individual --
this proof of hope and truth
and all things beautiful
The wonder of creation that is your child.

-Danielle Morrison-MacNeil

These pictures were taken when our baby was 19 weeks and 5 days old inside the womb. Any guesses on whether it's a boy or a girl? Leave us a comment and let us know your guess! We had our eyes closed anytime the ultrasound probe was approaching the revealing areas. A big surprise awaits us!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas JOY!

We had full days over the Christmas week, with something to do and somewhere to be every- single-day for 8 days straight! Fortunately we managed to squeak in some rest and relaxation time amidst some wonderful moments with our families.
Our nieces and nephews are such a joy to watch grow up, mature and develop each of their personalities a little bit more. They are each soooo different, and each wonderful. They're all loving and affectionate, well-mannered, and respectful (I'm sure this is how they are always behaved in their own homes, too!). Our youngest niece, Ella, is almost three, and really starting to come out of her shell and warm up to us now. She's so fun to watch and so full of energy! I don't know that my brother ever expected to have his sister reincarnated in his own daughter, but I see little glimpses of myself as a child in Lauryn each time I see her!
We had some time to celebrate Christmas while Jill & Daniel were still up north before heading back to Florida. We also had some time with my parents, and with Tim's family, including all the siblings and their kids. Before Christmas, we attended the annual "Zimmerman Family Christmas," which is Tim's maternal side's gathering of anywhere from 130-160 people (yowsers!). We had a much smaller gathering of the Johnsen family after Christmas, with my dad's siblings and just a few of the cousins.
I think we were both very thankful for the peace, quiet and soft-sung worship that we were able to experience (albeit only for an hour and a half), while we soaked in all aspects of the Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at our church. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it seemed like just what we needed to help us inch our ways a little more into the Christmas spirit... the real spirit of the season! We've celebrated the birth of our King and Savior - the greatest gift of all!
Here's a sampling of our photos to share the memories of our Christmas joy! We are abundantly blessed!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our first baby picture!

Little baby Johnsen Martin was a bit finicky for the first photo shoot, not wanting to reveal her- or himself completely to the ultrasound tech... but Mama Kirsten took a break and made a visit to the bathroom, and then the baby seemed to cooperate a bit more. We had a hard time getting images of the head initially, but then the baby did a nice job of posing for some side shots, and we got this great picture! As Tim said in the ultrasound exam room, "this makes it official!"
It's never too early to be proud parents, right?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A winter wonderland wedding

Jill and Daniel are married! Last night, Tim's sister, Jill, married Daniel. It was a beautiful wedding and reception, and our church had been magically converted into a gorgeous winter wonderland. It was wonderful to see Jill so happy and at peace - she was a radiant bride! We're thankful for how God has brought Jill and Daniel together and pray a special blessing on their life together.
I'm sure everyone, bride and groom included, are happy to have some time to rest before the next big events... we're not sure which will come first - a new niece or nephew (our sister-in-law is due December 25th) or Christmas! Either way, these are special times, full of joy and celebration.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A dancer or a soccer player?

As we sat at dinner at Taj Mahal (one of our favorite restaurants, where we are "customers for life") on Monday night with several friends, I felt a rumble or a tumble in my belly... I said to my friend "I think I might have just felt the baby move." And she promptly replied, "Or that's the Tikka Masala you just ate!" I didn't feel anything on Tuesday, but Wednesday brought a few strange, yet fascinating sensations in my womb. Yesterday, however, was a day full of wonder and awe, as I sensed movement -clearly other than my digestive tract- several times throughout the day. This really is an incredible thing! I never imagined how amazing it would actually be to realize and feel that there's a tiny little human being developing and growing inside my body. It's indescribable, I think, and until you've experienced it yourself, you really have nothing to compare! I'm not sure if we have a dancer (salsa, of course) or a soccer player in there, but if this early movement at 18 weeks and 4 days is any indication of their energy level in the future, we'll be busy!

On another note, we finally got our tree decorated, and it looks beautiful. We had quite a time getting all of our lights to work... it's so strange how you can put them away one year, totally working fine, and pull them out the next, only to find that half the lights are out?!? Ugh! Anyways, my very patient and diligent husband got them all in working order, and we're a little more in the Christmas spirit every day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The first belly picture!

I've had several requests for belly pictures, so I decided to finally take some today. This is the first official belly picture! All of a sudden, it seems this week my belly popped out of nowhere. I had a little bump before, but now some strangers can even tell I'm preggers. In one day, I had 4 patients ask me when I was due! Not so sure how I feel about that... But anyways, today I'm 17 wks and 4 days... only 22 wks and 3 days left to go!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Scrounging for dinner... a delicious meal.

Last night, I was at work late, so Tim prepared dinner. He decided to do his part to clean out some storage supplies of food... I arrived home to a wonderful aroma and dinner on the table. My dear husband made a delicious meal of some veggies that needed to be used up from the fridge, scallops that were in the freezer since when I lived at my old house (before we were married), artichoke hearts that came from a box of items in the basement from Tim's old house, edamame from the freezer that was probably from a Trader Joe's trip about 4 or 5 outings ago, and marinara sauce from our pantry. It was a surprisingly lovely blend served over rice! And so far, neither of us are paying gastrointestinally for the use of old(er) foods. My Uncle Bill would j-u-s-t die!
Tim's new idea is that we designate certain nights or weeks at a time when we can only use food from our pantry or freezer in order to proceed with the long overdue consumption of many great foods that linger on and on! And I keep saying I want a chest freezer! There are pros and cons to everything in life, but I just think that one should always have adequate storage for good ice cream. Spoken like a good Norwegian girl who loves her milky, creamy foods.
PS. Did I mention how important it is for all women, but especially pregnant women, to get adequate sources of calcium in their daily diet?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Full of Thanksgiving

We enjoyed a very full holiday and weekend, but it was great. I was the rounder all week at the hospital last week, and on call on Thanksgiving Day, but we managed to squeeze in two turkey meals with both of our families. We enjoyed a wonderful time with our parents, siblings and nieces and nephews. I managed to get a photo of the feasting table at my parents' house, but forgot all about it at Tim's parents' house. By the time we got to Tim's parents' house, I was very tired, and the tryptophan was kicking in - I think it took over my photo taking natural tendencies! Friday night we headed downtown to enjoy the Mayor's Christmas tree lighting, a tuba Christmas concert, a walk through Central Market, and a meal at one of our favorite locales - Spyro Gyro. Yummy Greek food! Steve, Isaac and my parents met us down there, while Traci and Lauryn stayed at home nursing a pending cold in my niece.
We had a fun outing on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my parents, brother and sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. It's beginning to be a tradition now to go to Frysville Farms to get our Christmas tree. We pick out our favorite concolor fur, get some hot apple cider and meander in awe through the aisles of pointsettias. The kids spoke to Santa, ensuring him that they were very well behaved, and each getting a toy in return. And to top it all off, we had a horse-drawn hay wagon ride through the tree orchards. Now we can enjoy the aroma of our citrus-smelling tree as it pervades the living room!
We have so much for which to be thankful. It's so easy to forget that in the midst of how busy life gets, what's going on around us with war, bad economies, global warming, worsening crime, etc. and seeing the sorrow of so many others around us. We have a warm house, good food which is abundant, good secure jobs, wonderful family, health, love, education, our faith, terrific friends, a baby growing inside of me and each other. We are blessed! Thanksgiving shouldn't be just a single day, but a way of life... everyday.
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