25 November 2013

Feeling A Loss

I have a new friend who recently lost her older brother and it is affecting me tremendously. I am not close with this new friend, although I could see us becoming good friends. I really like her. I don't know why I feel so strongly about her loss. Every single time I think about her loss I start crying (or choking back the tears if in public). Seriously, every single time. I just can't imagine the pain, even trying to imagine it guts me.
I didn't find out about her loss until she was already on a plane back to her hometown and although I have emailed her, we haven't had a chance to talk. I don't know if she was particularly close with her brother. She has 7 siblings. I don't know how he passed away or anything.
What I do know is he was her older brother. He was 30. He had a family. I have an older brother, who is 30, who I miss a ton. I am, on one hand, putting myself in her shoes, because it's easy to with the similarities, but this hurt I feel isn't just a reaction out of a fear of my brother passing away. I'm sure that's part of it, but I think a very small part. I just feel for her. I hurt for her.
I suppose this is one of those moments in life when you realize how finite life is and how we aren't guaranteed a long life with time enough to say goodbyes. That, that right there, hit me at a whole new level. I'm not over here acting all crazy and overly sensitive (not that it would be bad if I did). I'm just throwing this out there.
Have you ever dealt with something like this? It's intense.

To Kate, if you ever come upon this, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I pray for you and your whole family to get through this hard time together, with love, with God. I pray for his family. I pray that you never feel alone on this topic. I know we're not close, but I am here for you, if you ever need to talk, have alone time, or need a dinner delivered. I really mean it, I am here for you.

27 October 2013

Daily Schedule with 3 kids (4,3,6 months)

Let me start off by saying that this is our schedule, but we don't always follow it to a T. Most days this is how it goes, but with kids I've learned to be flexible. I have to tell you with 3 little ones I rarely feel like I've "done" anything all day. It feels like my day is mostly things that have to be repeated every day or every week. I'm learning to embrace it, because fighting it does nothing and just makes me more tired, ha! I also have to say, that while I have an encouraging, supportive, low-maintenance husband, his work schedule changes almost every 3 months, so we have to adjust when that happens. I have a baby who is slowly lengthening his schedule, so we adjust then too. AND, Little Girl S is going to nursery come this January, so we will adjust then also.
FINALLY, here it is:
On Wednesdays from 9:30am I have PWOC, Fridays I grocery shop, the 1st & 3rd Thursdays are MOPS (which I mostly go to), the 2nd & 4th Tuesday are special events for PWOC, those mornings I don't have anything planned I either run other errands, catch up on deep cleaning, or do something special with S. After the kids get in bed, I do some clearing up (which we also do as a family throughout the day). I find time to squeeze in other chores too. Morning chores are laundry & dishes. I do work for PWOC and my bible study after the kids are in bed. Also, the kids help with chores around the house, including making meals. Learning Activities are different each day of the week. Monday is art, Tuesday is science, Wednesday is literacy, Thursday is math, and Friday varies, but usually is a "field trip".
We're still working things out, but this is what we have so far. I hope to add working out (at 6am) starting tomorrow. It'll be nice when J is on a 4-hour schedule & crazy different when S is at nursery part-time.
How do things in your house go? Are you more laid back? More scheduled? What do you hope to add/clear out?

25 October 2013

the BEST Pumpkin Scones

I love fall. I love sweaters and boots, scarves and mittens. I love the cold gently nipping at my nose. I love drinking hot coffee without feeling like a weirdo. I love soups. I love the food. I love the colors. And until recently I loved all things pumpkin. I don't know what changed, if  the novelty just wore off, but slowly I have been disappointed by pumpkin food one after the other. Until NOW! I had a girly function to bring food to and saw this Starbucks Copy Cat recipe all over the internet. I thought I would try pumpkin one more time (*you hear me pumpkin, this is your last chance*).

It was delightful and pretty easy to pull together. Lots of people asked for the recipe. I made them for 2 other events in the last 2 weeks! They are good plain or for extra indulgence add the glazes. YUP, glazeS! Of course, they are totally calorie-free, sugar-free, fat-free... ;) HEY at least pumpkin is a veg, right?! I could have posted a chocolate chip scone recipe... ohhh next week!

Alright, here ya go! *SORRY I failed to take pictures, next time...*

2c flour
3/4c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2c pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp half & half
1 egg
6 Tbsp cold butter (please for the love of all things, use real, unsalted butter!)

1. Preheat oven to 425F/218C. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and dust lightly with flour.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together (first 8). Using a pastry blender, two knifes, or a food processor, cut in the butter, until it resembles fine crumbs. Set aside.
3. Mix the pumpkin, half and half, and egg together. Gently fold into flour-crumb mixture. It will be sticky, but if it's way too sticky to handle, throw a little more flour at it ;)
4. Turn out onto floured cookie sheet, pat into a rectangle. cut in half length-wise. Then cut each half into 3 triangles (I made minis so I cut each third in half). *I floured my knife in between cuts* Pull them slightly apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes (I checked on my minis at 10 minutes).

Plain Glaze
1/2c sifted powder sugar
1T milk
Mix together (add more milk if necessary) and brush on top of almost cooled scones.

Spiced Glaze
3/4c sifted powder sugar
1-2T milk
1/4tsp cinnamon
1/8tsp nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground ginger
Mix together, should be slightly thicker than plain glaze. When plain glaze is almost set, drizzle spiced glaze over. I used a fork, you can also try a squeeze bottle or piping bag, but why dirty something if a fork works?

Now GO! Make these easy peasy scones & feel like a domestic goddess!

15 October 2013

Mini-Post: Finding a Church

Here we are almost a year into our life in England and we have yet to find a church home. We knew moving here that we wouldn't find a church like our last (Alice Drive Baptist Church, in South Carolina, is AMAZING!) and probably not even one like our first church together (Parkway, in California, is wonderful!). I know finding a church takes time. It took us over a year to find Alice Drive, because we thought we found our church, but it didn't fit us. I am just bummed that we still haven't found our church here. We haven't been able to look non-stop, you know with having a baby and all. We thought we had found it twice, the last time being the base chapel. While both of the churches are good, we haven't felt right. Technically, those two are still on the table, but this weekend we'll be expanding the church search further out. Thirty minutes out! We'll see how it goes.
I'm already involved in the women's ministry at the Chapel and Awanas and MOPS, and I will stay with those groups. We are listening to sermons online from our old churches in the meantime.
We really aren't romanticizing a church and when I say "felt right", we are praying about it and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, not just our feelings. Maybe we aren't going to find a church here that "feels" like ours, maybe we'll go back to the Chapel or Mildenhall Baptist, but we know we need to search a little more.
Oh, List Time, here are some things we'd like in a church:
*A community that does things together outside of sunday worship (ie dinners in small groups, harvest party, outreach get togethers)
*Small groups that are inviting
*Authentically welcoming
*Sermons that challenge you and encourage you to go further & deeper
*Contemporary Worship music, we don't need a rock concert, but it would be nice if everyone on stage was actually singing loudly and together.
*A GREAT children's program
*Maybe a nursery for Jack

What do you love about your church? If you are church searching, what are you looking for in your church?

13 October 2013

Jack's Arrival

So, here it finally is! The story of how our little man entered the world!

Let me start with a quick overview of the pregnancy. Technically, Jack is a deployment baby, meaning he was conceived soon after daddy came home from his deployment. Cute, right? From the get go we had no clue when his due date was. According to my Natural Family Planning Charting, he would be due around April 26th. My general doctor first said his due date looked more like April 20th. Then the first appointment at the OB said April 24th. Then the first ultrasound said May 2nd. Then we moved and they did an ultrasound and said May 6th. We had to get another ultrasound and that one revealed May 8th! So they weren't sure if he was small for his size, the due date was off, or what, but they said they would go with the May 2nd due date, since that was in the middle and what the first ultrasound revealed. They did want to keep an eye on him because although he was growing it was at a slower than normal rate. DUHN DUHN DUHN. haha.
With the pregnancy I also had a hard time gaining weight. I didn't gain any weight until about 6 months. I ended up gaining only 20 pounds the whole pregnancy (not that you could tell that now). So, with the pregnancy I ALSO had a ton of pain in my hips and quiet a bit of Braxton Hicks. I mean we were moving during the main part of the pregnancy, but it was bad. I also had a lot of... *cover your eyes if your squeamish*...... need for panty liners (if you know what I mean, if not, I mean they yucky word... discharge. I HATE that word).

So, now on to the actual story. March 26th 2013. The day started like any other. Will went to Nursery (British Preschool). Sophie and I hung out at home. Around nap time I started to have even more than normal need for panty liners. I had to change my clothes even! I did the normal day, pick up Will, snacks, and play with the kids. I started to get really peeved at this down there business. Corey came home and told me to lay down. Then around 8pm I went to the restroom and thought, maybe this isn't normal, maybe my water broke. Corey I think my water broke. Still sitting on the toilet, still leaking water for 5 minutes. Yep Corey this has to be my water broken, this is not pee or *the other stuff*. I called the L&D and they said to come in to get checked. My great neighbor came to watch the big kids, even though they were sleeping.
Off to the Hospital we went. As soon as the doctor looked she was pretty sure it was my water. She ran the test anyway and yep it was my water. 5 1/2 weeks early!!! I seriously JUST got the nursery a little uncluttered. I JUST opened up the boxes with Will's old clothes. My mind was swirling. I was a little nervous, but I was never worried. I knew God had it under control even if it wasn't what we were expecting. Being from America I thought that you HAD to have your baby within 24 hours from your water breaking, but I wasn't having any contractions. The filled me with fluids, antibiotics, and anti-contraction drugs (even though I wasn't having any). Then they informed me that they don't deliver babies before 35 weeks gestation (that would be in 2 days) so I had to be transferred to a British Hospital. They were really acting like the Baby and I were in a ton of danger and it was starting to freak me out.
A bumpy ambulance ride without my Corey (he had to pick up some stuff from the house) and I was at the British Hospital. It was old and seemed a little dirty. Sadly Corey couldn't stay with me, but it was best, I wanted him at home with the kids. I sent out a FB message asking my closest girlfriends to please be in prayer for me and little man. I cannot begin to tell you how much that helped me. Knowing I had some awesome prayer warriors on my side. Those women are the biggest blessings! The nurses there were so nice and calming. Whereas the American Hospital's doctors were alarmist and freaking me out, the British nurses were calm and observant. They explained things calmly and without their opinion, just facts. In America it is standard to have the baby within 24 hours to prevent infection. In England, it is standard to wait, be vigilantly looking for signs of infection or low amniotic fluid (which apparently your body continually makes) in the hospital for 2 days. If the doctor sees all things are going fine they release you to go home, with a prescription for antibiotics and you return 1-2 times a week until you are 37 weeks, at which time they will induce you. So, I stayed in the British Hospital for 2 days being observed. Luckily, because I came from another hospital, I had to be segregated so I had a private room. Normally there are up to 6 women in one room until actual delivery of the baby. Their food was so good, btw. On the 28th I was released, but the American Hospital told me I had to return to them. Because I was now 35 weeks they planned on inducing me. They waited until 3am on the 29th to start, so that I'd most likely deliver during the day shift (with the most help in case Jack needed to be transferred to a NICU).
Being induced is no joke! The monitor wasn't picking up most of my contractions so they kept increasing the Pitocin and they finally realized I was having one contraction on top of the other. At 230pm I told them to bring on the epidural! By 315 I just finished getting the catheter in and I felt a TON of pressure. The nurse skeptically checked me & sure enough he was making a break for it. They set up everything quickly and had a lot of stuff set up just in case. Three pushes later the cutest, smallest lil guy ever was here! Born at 3:55pm on the 29th of March 2013. Weighing 5lbs 6oz.
They, obviously, had to check him first, but he was completely healthy. Everyone was happily surprised. With the help of the wonderful nurses he latched on within the first 15 minutes of life! The nurses were awesome! I'm not going to lie, I can barely remember anything about the doctors, but I still remember the sweet nurses. I was in the hospital for about 2 more days. I think technically we got to leave early, but at that point Corey had been taking care of Will and Sophie, running the house, and trying to visit me as much as possible for a week! He was spent (and had a totally new level of appreciation for me, as did the kids).
It was such a hectic time, but it was beautiful. There is something magical about spending those hospital hours with your new baby. As a first time mom I was scared and nervous and exhausted. The second time I was still a little nervous, but not scared and better at coping with exhaustion. This third time it was still tiring, but it was cake. My body was more sore (Pitocin? aging?), but it wasn't too bad.
This little guy has been such a blessing and we are all in love with him. His giggley, talkative, happy self.
Picture Time
Getting ready to be induced

First photo ever of Mr. Jack Warren Shipe

Daddy cutting the umbilical cord.

He was SOOO teeny! 5lbs 6oz

Apgar tests

Newborn Photo session

His Lovey Monkey

Jeremiah 29:11, my life verse

11 October 2013

I'm Still Alive Over Here In England, LondonTrip

Hey everybody, remember me? Me neither! Sorry about leaving the blogging world for 6 months. I'm going to go ahead and blame the lack of blogging on the baby. That's a total cop-out, but c'est la vie.
I did try to blog the story of Jack's birth and his first month on earth, but I always forgot to come back and finish. So, I don't know what to blog now. We've got my original blog idea, our family trip to London, way back in July. We've got Jack's birth story. Or I can go with the standard fill-you-in-on-the-last-6-months. Since you all follow me on FB, I think for now I'll go ahead and post about London. 

Our trip to London just so happened to be on the hottest weekend in London in a LONG time and got off to a very hectic start. However, we all had such a great time and can't wait to go back!
It started because we needed to go to the US Embassy to get tourist passports for all of us and a Consular Report of Birth Abroad for Jack. We made the appointment and booked the hotel, then we found out that we could do all those things at the RAF Mildenhall Passport Office (RAF Lakenheath wasn't doing it anymore and they are the bigger office, so we assumed...). Our hotel was non-refundable, so we were excited to have the whole time available for sightseeing.
We decided to drive to the Epping Tube Station and take the Underground into the city. The Epping station is about an hour from our house and then 45 mins tube ride into the city. We get there, buy our day passes, load up on the tube with the kids and our stuff (we were really awesome and packed all we needed into two backpacks. I could have made it one, but we had Jack's bottles and diapers). Then I get a phone call from our dog sitter. Apparently in the haste of leaving that morning, instead of leaving the house key on the counter and the door unlocked, I locked the door and had the keys with me! We had to hop off the tube, hop on to the other one, drive all the way back home (I made sandwiches for the fam), and drive all the way back to Epping. Good job Theresa! 
So we finally get into London, switch a tube line and get out at Marble Arch and walk a little to our FABULOUS hotel. Then we hopped back on the tube and went to Westminster. We checked out the outside of Parliament, went through the beautifully air conditioned Aquarium, and took a sunset ride on the London Eye. We had dinner in one of the little cafes near by. By the time we got on the tube to head back to the hotel Lil Miss was passed out. It was 9pm after all. The kids went to bed without much fuss (good to know for future traveling) and I had the idea to put baby J in the bathtub (with all the towels as a mattress) as a bed. The darkness and quietness really helped, he slept like a log! 
For the first time ever we ordered room service for breaky. Figured it would be easier with the kids. We got the full breakfast for 15 pounds (so about $24), but it was SOOO worth it. First because everything in London is SO expensive, we had our food waiting for us, and it was HUGE! There was 5 pastries, meat selection, cereal, juice, coffee, toast, and more! (Sorry I love talking about food). 
Our second day we took a walk through Hyde Park. It was way too hot (90 degrees, but most of London doesn't have AC, including the Underground, it was Sweatsville UK and therefore pretty stinky). We looked out over the lake as we ate our yummy, organic ice cream, and then we took the kids to the Lido (swimming hole in the lake). It was a little gross, but cooling and a great experience. Will still asks to go back. That was all we got to do that day because Corey had to go to work that night. 
It was great fun! We can't wait to go back! When you come to visit us we'll have to spend more time there :) 
Now for the pictures!!!
On the Tube!!
Me in front of Parliment, aka Big Ben, The aquarium, and Marble Arch where philosophers, politicians, radicals, authors and the such gave speeches back in the day.

Will was SO excited to get on the London Eye! The line was long, but it went surprisingly fast, maybe 10mins.
On the London Eye. Look at how hot my husband is! Especially when he's holding a baby!

Finally, Hyde Park! That green wall next to Corey was from a concert a couple of days before. I think it was J-Lo and someone. The park is so beautiful!

22 February 2013

One of THOSE Days! No, The Good Kind

Yesterday around noon I got hit by a bug! A BIG bug that made it hard to breathe! I wasn't even sure if I was having an allergic reaction (that's how it felt when it started) or if it was a weird virus or what. I called Labor & Delivery at the hospital (that's what you're supposed to do after 20 weeks) to be triaged and they had me come in. It turns out it was the beginning of a horrible, no good, bad virus. (Do you know that kids book I just refrenced?)
I couldn't sleep last night, every time I lay down I couldn't breathe. Until, that is, I ate 1/2 a pint of ice cream (yep, i so did & don't even care). Then I fell asleep easily.
I woke up at 6:30 am to the sound of my two beautiful children WIDE AWAKE. AT 6:30 AM!! I almost indulged in a freak-out-whine-session to myself. Luckily, the Holy Spirit stopped me. I prayed a prayer of thanks (for my family, kids, life, etc.) & asked for sleep, peace, and health. I risked starting tantrums, went upstairs to inform my kids of the early hour. Our house rule is, stay in bed until 7am, they are allowed to read or quietly play with toys. (I'll have to post later how I accomplished this task being obeyed 98% of the time.) It worked! Both kiddos got back into bed & played/read quietly.
I zombied back to bed with an attitude of whatever-happens-happens. I knew the Lord would give me the energy and patience if my littles couldn't stay in their room. I also knew He was completely capable of giving me the rest I craved.
Cut to 7am, Little Thing 1 and his quiet sister, Little Thing 2, appeared at my bedside poking my nose. They took the iPad upstairs quietly. I thought Alright God, this works for me today.
Again, cut to 7:40am Will comes stumbling into the room, by this point I am so thrilled to have received the blessing of sleep. But our God, our sweet, wonderful God goes beyond. Ephesians 3:20 says our God "is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (NIV). He goes beyond our idea of what beyond is. Will climbed on my bed and pushed some toys at my face.
"What's this?" I asked
His sweet little voice replied, "I made you breakfast for in bed".
Not only did I get my sleep and not only did the Holy Spirit interfere in my attitude and perspective, I was blessed by my thoughtful son first thing in the morning.
You see, I don't know about you, but I LOVE breakfast in bed. I LOVE food, I LOVE gifts, I LOVE my bed. Breakfast in Bed is probably one of my most favorite things. Of course, this breakfast was Jenga block "pretzels", a wooden orange, and a plastic strawberry, but the thought of it! OH the thought of it blessed my heart.
The rest of the day went so well. I was productive, but not to the point of tiring myself out. The kids obeyed so well. We did fun things. We did educational things. I got a nap. Even though Corey didn't make it home until after 5pm, it was a good day.
I hope that as you meditate on how awesome our God is, how blessed we are with families and/or friends, that you will see in your own life God doing exceedingly, abundantly more than all you can ask or imagine. Even if it's just a bit more rest & breakfast in bed. I hope that you let the Holy Spirit interfere for you when you feel like having a private (or not-so-private) whine-fest.
I know I will be trying!