Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't Underestimate the Sneakiness

Somehow Christmas seems to sneak up on me every year. I sit back just after it's all over and think of all the things I had wanted to do and never got around to doing. I don't quite understand how it manages to happen, it's not like Christmas changes days or happens like a surprise birthday party! We did do some great things this season, but I am looking forward to next Christmas already. I am looking forward to doing the things I had planned to do this year and didn't get to because I was exhausted during the last weeks of pregnancy and now am stopping to feed an infant every 2-4 hours! We've already taken down all our decorations and have re-arranged the entire main floor to accomodate the Christmas gifts. Not that there were a tonne, but the ones we got require room. I'll post some photos to show you what I mean as soon as I get them off my NEW camera! I got the camera I have spent the last year salivating over. Our old faithful point and shoot kicked the proverbial bucket and so Nick got me a camera for Christmas. It's just sitting here staring at me, begging me to use it off of manual mode, but it will have to wait until my house is clean. I wonder if it has a setting for that......

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Franks

Merry Christmas!

For those of you who have been on our ‘mailing list’ for a few years now you’ll find this year’s update to be rather unusual. With no cross country move to document or major life changing decisions being pondered over; it appears that we lived a very regular life for the past twelve months.

However, in keeping with tradition, our family grew for the third consecutive year. Kathryn Elizabeth moved out of my uterus and straight into our hearts on December 3, 2007. She is growing quite well and spends her time eating and sleeping. We are absolutely smitten with our newest addition and amazed at how our love has grown for Brooklyn and Isabella as well.

Brooklyn’s personality has really begun to emerge in the last couple of months. She appears to love all things rhythmic; dancing anytime music can be heard, singing along and playing her instruments each day. She has been walking since the end of October and really gives Isabella a run for her money. She has a charming mischieviousness about her and a wonderful twinkle in her eye. I am so excited for this year coming up as she begins to talk and let us into her world.

Isabella, what could I possibly say to sum up Isabella? That girl needs her own reality show, she keeps me on my toes everyday. Belle has developed a real love for crafts and baseball this past year. We were blessed to be able to take her to four Jays games this past season and are hoping to do the same next season. She began attending Pioneer Clubs at our church this fall and is enjoying her special night out immensely. My baby has become a true big sister this year, how quickly they grow!

For myself this ‘regular’ year has relaxed and rejuvenated me. Having no stress about major life decisions this year has been such a welcome blessing. I’ve even begun to embrace the life of a stay at home mom; learning about stain fighting and feeding toddlers healthy foods; things I never thought I’d find myself enjoying. I’ve been working from home since July as a transcriptionist. The job really fell into my lap and the work comes in spurts. I have learned a lot through various assignments, making it enjoyable and it fits into our lives perfectly.

Returning home has been a blessing for Nick as well. Being surrounded by so much love and encouragement Nick has been able to refocus his journey on becoming the man God has called him to be. Although there have been many struggles and much to drain his physical energy he has continued to learn the lessons of ‘being’ in Christ this year. As Nick prepares for his accreditation interview at the end of January he is encouraged by his growth in knowledge of the Scriptures and of what being in ministry is really about. Nick has spent time with people from all age categories through different ministry experiences this year and it has been neat to watch him embrace each challenge, not only to complete the task but to learn more about himself in each situation.

Now that we’ve had some time to downshift and revel in familiarity we find ourselves really enjoying the settled life. We look forward with anticipation to the end of January to know if we’ll continue to settle in here for another year of ‘regular’ life or if we’ll be hopping back on the roller coaster we’ve been used to in previous years.

We’d like to thank everyone for the support you’ve given us over the last year. Whether you’re near or far: whether you’ve been able to support us with hands open or folded; we greatly appreciate your encouragement and love. We trust that this letter finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the holiday season!

Until next year, warmest wishes

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Little Fishes

Isabella took to water like a little fish right after she was born. We enrolled her in her first swimming lessons at 6 months. I figured there would be a lot of other 6 monthers in her class enrolled by nervous parents not wanting to dunk their kids under the water for the first time without someone else to perform CPR should it be needed, (we were such parents). There wasn't a single child under the age of one in her class. It turned into half an hour of Nick and Belle floating around in the pool. But neither one of them would have given it up for the world.
This fall we enrolled both girls in their respective classes Parents and Tots 3 and Parents and Tots 1. We all got up early and headed to the pool on Saturday mornings. Me and Brooklyn would hang out and eat breakfast while Nick and Belle did their lesson. Then we would switch kids. It was a great time of individual bonding. I was sad when it ended the last week of November. We will probably enroll the kids again in the fall, but it wont be the same. The next class Isabella enters is one without parents. I"m not sure she'll be ready for that in the fall, we'll have to see.
Both kids learned a lot of new skills and had a super fun time. Unfortunately there aren't any pictures of it. Not because I didn't bring my camera, not because I wasn't snap happy and ready to document this precious time. The lack of pictures is due to the state of our society in that no one can take pictures in a public pool here, just in case you're a pedophile. Totally sucks that I can't share the way Brooklyn's eyes light up when she is in water, or the way Isabella throws up her hands in victory when she emerges from the water after going down the slide. Totally sucky that I wont be able to share that with them either, but I'll hold those memories dear in my heart, a photo album not open to those with dishonest intentions.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Wait is Over!

The wait for our newest little one ended on Monday, sorry it has taken me all week to update here and let you all know about it. The story isn't long at all, so I'll just spill all the details at once!

I went to the hospital on Monday morning to be induced which was the original plan. I had told my doctor that I would love to not have to be hooked up to an IV in the process this time around as I truly, truly hate getting an IV. So we decided to go with Cervidil to start and see how the day would go. At 9:00am I was 2cm dilated, just like I had been for the past few weeks. At noon my doctor came back and checked on me and I was still at 2cm. Absolutely no change at all. The monitors said I was having regular contractions, but I wasn't feeling them. Nick and I had spent the morning talking and watching 'Knocked Up' on our portable DVD player trying to keep the mood of the day light. After the doctor's noon visit I totally broke down. I just couldn't believe I had been sitting there all morning and my body was doing nothing, absoultely nothing, even with drugs to help it along. To add a little insult to injury there was a lady in the next birthing room screaming to high heaven and I was sure it was going to be a day straight out of Friends, (you know the one where everyone and their dog has a baby while Aniston is in labor.) I excused myself to the bathroom and had a good little cry. Then I put on a smile and headed back to the bed to watch another movie. This time we chose Pirates of The Caribbean, secretly hoping to drown out the laboring woman.

My doctor was supposed to return at 5:00 to check on my progress, but got sidetracked and arrived shortly after 6. I had finally made it to 4cm!! We decided to break my water and wait until 8:00 at which point my doctor would return and hook me up to the pitocin. My doctor when home, minutes away. The laboring woman in the room next to me finally accepted an epidural.

As soon as my water was broken I could feel the contractions I had been having all day and they steadily got more intense. They were coming right on top of each other and lasting about 90 seconds each time. Since we had had such an emotionally exhausting day I told Nick that if this was how intense 4cm was going to be I would need a shot of morphine, just to stay in the game mentally. Now Nick is in the delivery room to talk me out of drugs unless even he thinks I need them. He immediately went to get the nurse. She said I could have the morphine only if I was still at 4, and I was. She returned with the morphine and I rolled to my side, got the shot and breathed a sigh of relief. I was informed it would take about 15 minutes for the morphine to kick in. It was about 6:50 at this point.

I had three or four more contractions that were steadily stronger with a lot of pressure and I began to lose it. In retrospect I should have known I was already fully dilated, but having been told seconds before I was at 4cm I was completely convinced I was having a bowel movement at the most inappropriate time and it was going to kill me before I had the baby. :) In most ladylike fashion I explained to Nick that I was dropping the mother of all bombs and could he please get the nurse so I could be helped to the bathroom to retain my dignity.

The nurse arrived and I rolled to my back and began to roll to my other side to exit the bed when I was gripped by the python that is labor and could not move. The nurse calmly said, 'why don't we take care of this here' and had me assume the usual position to check my nether regions, and all of a sudden two crazy sentences were screamed;


The nurse told me to start panting in order to stop pushing, while she put her hand on the baby's head and pushed her back in a bit and held her there. The nurse started calling for another nurse, my doctor had already been called. No help came so my nurse had Nick run out to the hall to get the delivery table, (a table on which is all the stuff needed to cut the cord et cetera). As soon as Nick was back in the room she moved her hand and let me push the baby out. Poor Nick got the doctor's view of our baby entering the world which he never, ever wanted to do.

Our baby let out a single cry and then was quiet, the rest of the world was chaotic enough. The second nurse entered the room and calmly mentioned that perhaps 'we should move the cord from around the baby's neck before we cut it'. Gotta love the calm ones.

Our baby entered the world at 7:05. Our doctor entered the room at 7:06. The morphine kicked in at 7:07. And we became a family of five. Kathryn Elizabeth Franks moved out of my uterus and right into our hearts.

I was moved down to a recovery room around 8:00 and from what I can remember of my drug induced haze the loudly laboring woman was delivering at midnight when they brought me Kathryn to feed her. I'm not sure when she had that baby, but I still heard her screaming at 2:00am.

I am thankful that once my body gets into labor it goes so quickly, but I wouldn't mind getting there without waiting in a backless gown all day.

Family Revisions

Our camera batteries died when Nick brought the girls to the hospital to see Kathryn, so the majority of this week's pictures are on a disposable camera we have yet to use up and develop and Nick's phone which he has at work with him. Here are just a couple shots of the sisters.

All in the Name

Names are also pretty important to us, as you can tell from posts like this . When we arrived at the hospital on Monday we had a boys name in mind that we liked, simply because we thought it sounded good. In the middle of the afternoon, after my little breakdown, Nick decided he should finally concede and have a conversation about possible girl's names. Up until this point he had flat out refused to even consider any girl's names since doing so would ensure another daughter.

We chose Kathryn Elizabeth purely because we think it sounds nice and old soulish. We will be going with Katy or Kat as short forms, but not Kathy. During our conversation Nick pulled the baby name book out and we looked it up. Kathryn means 'pure' and Elizabeth means 'pledged to God'. Again I am amazed at how perfect a name we chose for our daughter without even meaning to.

This pregnancy was quite a surprise to us and it took some getting used to. We had our ups and downs while we waited for this baby to be born and in total honesty it took up until just a few weeks ago for us to be truly excited about adding another member to our family right now. But, every good and perfect gift is from above, and Kathryn truly is a gift. God gave her to us in his timing, which was of course perfect, and we are both smitten and absolutely giddy about our most recent addition. The only appropriate response is to daily offer her back to him, to acknowledge each day that her life is a gift to us and for him to do with as he wills. Kathryn truly is our responsibility to purely pledge back to God and to raise her up to know him and serve him.