I (Kalee) am inclined to apologize to myself and family and friends who I know follow the blog for picture and life updates of our family, but I am not going to permit myself to do so. I wish I had posted more over the last 3+ months, but...we sold our house, looked for, found, and moved into a new house in Northeast Lincoln, have chased a toddler around (and he is busy...and fast!), Adam and I have both taken on some extra "jobs" to pay off our remaining school loans more quickly, AND... I'm in the middle of the second trimester with Stahr Baby #2! Whew! I'm tired all over again just writing that. At any rate, now that we have re-settled and have "house chaos" behind us I thought I would at least get all of those big announcements out in the blogosphere in one shot. Look for updates on each one in the coming weeks, we are so excited about (and exhausted by) everything that God has been doing in our lives. Below is a little Christmas Day shot of the 3 (4) of us!
We kicked off summer (well, spring) with Adam's first church planter assessment (through Converge Worldwide) where Adam was fully recommended as a church planter through this organization and we will conclude summer with the other this week (Aug. 13 & 14). Adam spent the bulk of the month of June working on his application for the Acts 29 Church Planter Assessment. Last week he did a phone interview and the process will culminate with an in-person interview here in Lincoln of both of us. We are excited for this last step and also ready to be done with it! We feel confident that God has called Adam to plant a church here in Lincoln and hope for that to be confirmed again. 2 Pillars Church, our current church, is associated and supported by both of these organizations and the support provided to church planters on a personal level is incredible through both as well as the church.
In addition to church planting applications, Adam has been busy with summer activities at our church. We held 3 services in neighborhood parks, held a carnival for the Near South Neighborhood, had members of our church body host neighborhood block parties, and several service activities in the neighborhood.
Callan's one word for summer would NOT be assessment, but FUN!
Callan, well he's been growing and learning far too quickly for our liking. He's developed quite the vocabulary this summer and is a little parrot. He helps me water flowers and the garden every morning and points out all of the "to-to's," aka tomatoes, on our tomato plant and picks them off for his own eating. I'm not sure Adam and I will actually get to eat any of our home-grown tomatoes. He loves cars, trucks, blocks, and especially trains-most specifically Thomas the Train. He has recently been able to put his Duplo blocks together himself and when they fall apart as he's playing, he shouts, "Oh noooo!!!" The soundtrack to my dinner preparations each night--there is nothing better!
Callan and I have gone to the zoo with friends and cousins and great aunts, we are thankful that we got a family pass and living just a few blocks away doesn't hurt either! He's played with lots of friends and been to the splash park a few times and then spent almost 2 weeks with his cousin Ella while she and my sister and her her husband were home on vacation.
And me, well, mostly I just do whatever Callan requires, of course. But I have been using the summer to get some projects around the house going. I've got a little herb garden behind our house in addition to tomato and jalepeño plants. It's doing quite well and we have been enjoying fresh chives, rosemary, oregano, and basil. I've got a 3rd batch of pesto on my list for today...yum! I've had enough success in the garden and with my flowers that I've got bigger plans for next year, so we will see! I've painted our bathroom downstairs and am cleaning and organizing the basement.
My other summer task has been working on my own application for an online teaching position through Orange Lutheran Online. It is an online high school that has a ground campus as well in Orange, CA. Last week I completed the teacher training and the next 8-week term they have need for a Spanish teacher, I will be getting back "into the classroom." I'm looking forward to the opportunity to teach again, but do it from home and be with Callan all day at the same time. This year moreso than last year I am missing not getting my classroom going and anticipating new students. But, I'm gearing up for substitute teaching on Fridays at Waverly once again this year so that will help. It's so good to get out of the house and see my friends out there.
And so, as all of my teacher friends head back to the classroom and our friends and family with school-age children get back to the school year grind this week, I am renewing my desire to keep up on our family blog. I'm sure the 5 of you out there who used to check it regularly have quit by this point due to our infrequent summer posting.
This kid is growing up too fast! Months 10 and 11 have been remarkably entertaining as our little man learns all sorts of new things. At 10 months, Callan:
- Eats Cheerios (and leaves them all over the floor) like they are going out of style
- Loves to give kisses to his cousin Ella on FaceTime (leaving all sorts of smears on my phone screen...yummy!)
- Loves it when Daddy "chases" us up the stairs before bath time each night, giggling, screeching, and kicking his legs
- Started walking with his walker
- His favorite mealtime foods are chicken, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash
- Takes just two longer (finally!) naps each day
- His favorite toys are his fishies (blowfish balls), his hairbrush, rubber ducky
- The bottom two teeth came in within a week or so of one another
At 11 months, Callan:
Started standing by himself for a few seconds at a time, until he realizes he's not holding onto anything
- Mimics word sounds when he hears them
- Seems to be rather picky about the textures he eats, we hide many things in yogurt
- Responds to "Give ____ a kiss." with "Mmmuaahh!" We can't get enough of this--it is so precious. He kisses all his stuffed animals multiple times each morning. And thankfully doesn't exclude his parents. There is nothing like a very slobbery, open-mouth baby kiss.
- Likes to play with his stacking rings, Book of Animals, Learning Walker, mom's tupperware drawer
- Crawls up all the way up the stairs by himself -- we are working on going down safely.
- (late addition) He is up to 3 teeth with one of his front, top teeth making its appearance
Everything he is doing, he steadily gets better at. We have really noticed a desire to "play" with others this past month as well, including teasing Adam and I about touching things he knows he should not be touching and then looking and grinning. So cute, but oh boy, here we go!
- TALKING: Callan is babbling up a storm. I think the influence of his older, talking cousin has been particularly noticed when it comes to the amount that he is talking. He has lots to say!
- CRAWLING: Also after trying to keep up with is 17-month-old cousin who walks, he has become a lightning fast crawler. He practices this when he is heading for outlets and cords that still seem to be of particular interest to him.
- STANDING: We have had to tighten the ties on all our pajama pants! He pulls himself up on anything that he can grasp (whether it's securely around my waist or not) which often tends to be pants of any adult that looks to be a good candidate to hold him. He's beginning to stand with just one hand resulting in a couple of spills, but he is getting steady!
- FOOD: Callan loves butternut squash, yogurt, and Cheerios. He's getting better and better at feeding himself finger foods, so I'm in a constant state of searching for things I can easily prepare that he can finger feed. I think he'd jump into anything we eat regardless of flavor if we let him.
- FAVORITE TOY: Although not a proper toy, Callan prefers socks to most other toys. Socks on his feet, socks in drawers, socks in baskets, socks folded in balls, you get the idea. I'm not sure what it is, but half the time he's motoring around with his socks flopping half-off his feet and the other half he's missing one which can usually be found in his mouth (See picture below). I keep saying it is as if he is a cat who has caught the prize mouse...except it is a sock. Apparently cotton mouth does not bother a 9-month-old.
- A COLD IN THE COLD: We are enduring day 7 of a little cold. At first he loved the aspirator, but after the first 2 days he was completely over that and hates his nose being messed with--so, good to know he's like most other kids!
We are loving every minute--well, the vast majority of minutes--watching Callan grow and change and learn. He certainly surprises us as he picks up new things seemingly all of a sudden.
We have arrived! Well, that's probably a bit too definitive for what is entailed in this endeavor, but Adam is officially a Pastor! On September 28th, Adam and Cheech (the other elder candidate at 2 Pillars) were installed as pastors/elders. The two have been working through an evaluation process over the course of the past 2 years to ensure that they are biblically called and qualified (per Titus 1 & 1 Timothy 3) to become elders/pastors.
This is a HUGE milestone for our church's growth and we are thankful for the unity God has given Pastor Todd, Cheech, and Adam as they begin to lead our church as a team.
Obviously on a personal level we are excited as well. Adam felt God calling him to pastoral ministry in college and after he graduated planned to work for just one year before enrolling in a graduate seminary. During that year we met and so our pending wedding, my teaching job, and our first year of married life kept him at the Admissions Office at UNL for 2 more years. During our first year of marriage we visited a few seminaries and realized that they are ridiculously expensive and that it wasn't financially wise to enroll at the time. In the coming 4 years, God granted us the ability to patiently wait for His timing and brought some great people into Adam's life that introduced him to alternative methods of education for pastoral ministry and to church planting. He met Pastor Todd when 2 Pillars was yet to get started and 4 years later, here we are today! Praise the Lord!!!
God's faithfulness is more than evident as we look back over the past 10 years (8 including me) since Adam felt God calling him into full-time ministry. We asked how so many times along the way and I don't think in the beginning either of us would have imagined being part of a church plant in Lincoln, but we are thrilled to be here in this time. We are also so grateful for God's provision of great friends and family to travel this road with us and we know that many of you are praying for us, loving us so well, and supporting Adam's position through 2 Pillars financially. I believe Adam plans to write a post in the coming month detailing what his position at 2 Pillars entails and give some more details of the road that brought us to this point.
Wow! Half-a-year old! We have felt like it has gone by so fast all along, but you know how in the moment things seem slow but you look back and you can't believe the amount of time that has passed? I haven't ever felt the slow thing, per se, but at this 6 month milestone I look back and realize the time since this goofy boy arrived has passed even more quickly than I thought! What a scary thing as a parent...and just as a person staring my final year in the twenties in the face (yes, laugh, those of you with more - shall we say "wisdom" - than I). One thing that has definitely been reinforced to us during month 6 is that we have an extremely active little guy on our hands. Even as I sit here and write, he is chewing on - no, not wearing - his sandal, army crawling his way through a pile of spit-up he's deposited on the rug, and kicking his legs NON-STOP!
- EATING: He's been eating cereals for about a month or so now, the first day he LOVED it and nearly fell out of his chair (had we not been standing there, of course) leaning toward another bite. He also eats sweet potato and mango, but we've only added in those others in the past week.
- SLEEPING: Well, we have finally had success teaching him to fall asleep on his own! Just a week before he and I went to Mississippi, we decided to give it a go again and he was a rockstar! He was so ready to be out of the swaddle so he could roll around during the night and now he sometimes doesn't even want me to snuggle him for a few minutes before I lay him down if he is tired! Those that have been around me much know that this has been a HUGE point of stress for me so I am praising God that he has developed Callan to this point! With that he is SLEEPING 12 HOURS over night which is very exciting!
- SCOOTING: Callan is army crawling just about anywhere he wants to go and when he sees something he wants there's almost nothing that could stop him from getting it!
- FLYING: He had his first plane flight on a trip to see cousin Ella, Aunt Farah, and Uncle Kyle in Mississippi. He did very well on the plane and had lots of fun there, but was glad to come home and see Daddy.
- CHEWING: We are still amazed he hasn't cut any teeth yet, he chews on EVERYTHING! Shoes, feet, wrists (his and anyone else's), cardboard boxes, wooden chair spindles, armrests on the plane (he tried anyway, I didn't let that one fly--gross!)...you get the idea!
- SITTING: We are sitting unsupported, but a little unsteady sometimes and not yet sitting up on his own.
- PLAYING: C's favorite toys are his Sophie giraffe, the little farm animals that go with his John Deere tractor, his exersaucer, and a little activity cube from cousin Ella.
- LAUGHING: This is by far one of the most satisfying things he does yet for us! He is ticklish and loves funny voices repeating the same random phrases that make him belly laugh.
- GROWING: We don't have his 6-month doctor appointment for a few days yet so we don't know specifics, but he is quickly outgrowing his 6-month clothes and moving on to 9-month in some brands. Yikes!
It has been a busy month as we continue getting to know this little guy and my night-owl husband finds an earlier bedtime much more necessary these days. We are one tired mom/dad pair! How do people do more than one?!?!?! By God's grace, we do feel that we're finally settling into rhythm and feeling comfortable in our skin as parents, or maybe less uncomfortable and freaked out would be a better way to put it, either way we feel like it is a great place to be!
Month three boasts some of the most monumental changes in our little man. He has become quite the flirt! He'll smile at anyone who will give him a look!
- SMILES: He is most smiley laying on mom or dad's legs and playing.
- PAT-A-CAKE: Callan and mommy play pat-a-cake regularly and he absolutely loves it. Big grins.
- LAUGHS!: In the past week or so Callan has just started laughing. He started out with a sound that seemed like it was the effort behind a laugh and then eventually he got to a laugh her and there over the course of the week.
- SITTING: While he is not sitting up yet, he sure wants to. We used to be able to lay him in his Boppy to hang out like THIS, but now he refuses to lay back and tries to pull himself up to sitting with his neck muscles. He will sit in his Bumbo seat now, but looks like a little bobblehead baby (video to follow).
- SLEEP: He did hit an 9-hour night once, but still consistently sleeps at least a 6-7 hour stretch. He's also given mom and dad a couple of rough nights as well for the first time since his first couple of weeks--while we'd not complain about a couple of nights, we are thankful that he doesn't do that too often. Right now we're working on an earlier bed time and longer naps!
- ROAD TRIP: Callan took his first trip out of Nebraska this month to Adam's parents' in Kansas City. Adam had several fundraising appointments with friends and family there and so we took a few days down there.
- GROWTH: This little dude was 13lbs 3 oz at his 2 month appointment that was technically at 10 weeks and was 24.5" long...I guess make that "this big dude!" Those stats put him in the 90th and 85th percentiles respectively. The doctor always starts with, "Well, it looks like nursing is going well." Yes, nursing is going just fine! We're warning him already to enjoy this "tall" thing while he can, it likely won't last with Adam and I as parents!
- HOME WITH MOMMY!: I finished up the school year and will be taking a 1-year leave of absence from teaching to figure out this kids thing. I'm SO excited to have the time home with Callan. Being gone from him for only those 11 days was rough! I am thankful that I got to go back and finish the last few days out and say goodbye for now to my friends at Waverly. I have so enjoyed the professional opportunities I've had there over the past 4 years. We'll see what the future holds after this next year.
Wow, how time flies! Month 2 was still a blur for us, but Callan grew and changed SO much. I finally ran out of help so began to have weeks on my own. I felt pretty good and really like I could do anything I would normally do by 7 weeks post-delivery. We did well, my sister finished up her time here (thanks, Kyle for letting them stay for so long!) and so we made sure to get some cousin pictures before they returned to Texas. I'll be posting some of those later...too cute! Other than that, month 2 was full of adjustment and change as we continue to get used to having this little guy in the house. He hit some milestones that made us realize how quickly he is growing already! We are looking forward to his 2-month doctor's appointment so we can get his official stats.
- SMILES: We began to see social smiles this month here and there about half-way through.
- SLEEP: He is consistently sleeping 6-hours at a time during the night. However, he is a cat-napper. We'll take the night sleeping!
- GROWING: Unofficially on a home digital scale with Grandpa Doug doing the weighing, he came in at about 11lbs 8 oz.
- DEDICATION: Callan was dedicated at our church, 2 Pillars Church, in Lincoln on May 12th this month. His grandparents
- GRANDPA REGGIE: C finally got to meet Grandpa Reggie!! His work schedule was tight and finally worked out so they could sneak up from KC.
- FIRST BABYSITTER: I went back to work on the 15th and so Callan had Grandma Rhonda as his first babysitter! Thankfully I only had 11 days left to finish out the school year so between both the grandmas, Adam being home Fridays since Sunday is a "work day" for him, and a friend of ours from our Gospel Community, we didn't have to take him anywhere. I hated being gone those days, but he was my snuggle-bug when I got home in the afternoons. I have so much admiration for those moms who work and have kids. I missed him so much!!!!
We are working on catching up with some posts but quickly, my first Mother's Day was awesome! Callan was dedicated at church and we had a bunch of family here to share in that commitment to raise him in a God-fearing and honoring way. What a huge, humbling privilege! Below is how we spent our evening. Thank goodness for good weather finally!
Finally as we now have an almost one-month-old I am finding a rhythm to post our Week 39 picture. We took this as we were getting ready to leave for the hospital. If we only knew in those moments how different we would feel when we came home with that boy or girl we were anticipating!
Arriving at the hospital and prep for my C-section were totally surreal. As I sat hooked up to IV with a completely empty stomach, the nurse made Adam order breakfast. To keep things real, I got a text from my substitues with some questions reminding me that the world outside was continuing as it normally does. :)
My anesthesiologist knew one of my students' moms and he came in speaking Spanish to me, including at one point during the insertion of my epidural, etc. Between my anxiousness about what was happening and about to happen (not to mention the freezing cold operating room) and the medical explanation he was giving with words I've never heard before, I think all I felt capable of doing was laughing a little. My brain was not there at all!
After that things went pretty quick. Adam hung out with me behind the curtain until they told him to stand up with the camera. He announced it was a boy and Callan came out wailing. He's not a quiet one, ladies and gentlemen, and that proves true even a month later! Adam also observed that as they pulled him out, Callan took the liberty of peeing on the doctors...Adam was proud. :)
I was able to watch him be weighed and measured and wrapped up and then Adam brought him over by me. After a few minutes, I could barely keep my eyes open. It seems so weird to want to fall asleep while in the middle of surgery you were left awake for! Adam and Callan went for some other measurements on Callan while I was finished and they met me in recovery where I got to hold my little boy for the first time. I was in love immediately, of course!
After 30 minutes in recovery, Adam and Callan went for a bath and I slept and dreamt of food. Enjoy some more photos from our time in the hospital!
We are scheduled for a C-section due to our independent-minded child for Tuesday morning! I actually have felt better during week 38 than I had the previous weeks before that, well other than some massively swollen ankles and feet. I have become an expert at getting them to go back down to pregnancy-normal size, however. We had a busy weekend with some fundraising appointments and getting time in with some friends pre-baby so feel like we really "lived it up" in our last weekend as non-parents.
Everyone keeps asking how we are feeling: excited, nervous, etc. I've been trying to do so much to get school things taken care of I really haven't had a chance to get much of any one emotion. I'm sure as we enjoy our last night "just the two of us" I will begin to feel differently. Just hopefully not so much so that I can't sleep. I definitely want to get my last child-less night's sleep in as full as I can! We are definitely excited to meet Baby Stahr and have a real name to give him or her knowing that he or she is just a he or just a she.
Week 37 was an exciting week at the Stahr household. We learned a bit more about our little guy/gal's arrival. We had a doctor appointment with the final ultrasound and with that it looks as if Baby Stahr will arrive via C-section in a couple of weeks give or take some days. We had thought he/she was head-down and primed for a regular delivery and that I had a rear-end up in the top of my stomach, but as soon as she put the ultrasound equipment, all we could see was head! This made for some fantastic 3-D pictures of baby's face which I will share in a post later this week, but we were a bit shocked by the literal turn-around. I was positioned exactly the same causing a C-section for my mom, so I guess what goes around comes around.
Other than that news, we have a nice, chubby-cheeked baby that seems to be healthy and I am still feeling pretty good other than over-doing it from time to time as I try to wrap up projects and tasks that I want to get taken care of before the big day...well, and all of the days that follow as our lives as they know them change immensely.
In addition, my shower was great and I got to take all of the great things home to both of our moms who came in for the weekend to get the nursery prepped out for the arrival of Baby Stahr. We got so much done and are stocked on diapers, all the blankets and the few outfits (it's hard to buy too much when you don't know the gender!) we have are washed up and put away. Adam and I took a little bit and packed my hospital back and adjusted the items in the "labor" bag to fit the needs of our alternate birth experience. Whenever Baby Stahr decides to show up, we are prepared. Ready...now that's a different story!
This was from almost 3 weeks ago now, but we met for happy hour at Granite City near the mall for their outstanding Idaho Nachos (think waffle fries with all the toppings of a loaded baked potato -- AMAZING!) and some flatbread pizza. I had a double-header basketball game so it was half-way between going home and school so we got to spend some time together before my evening of work.
Last week we totally forgot to take a picture, but before the much-anticipated Snowmaggedon snow began last Thursday we went over to the neighborhood coffee shop and spent an hour or so just sitting, talking, and doing some work since I didn't have school. We typically go there on our free Saturday mornings, walking if it's nice enough. It was nice to have some extra time together during my two snow days that I think everyone agrees were questionably necessary. We are certainly anxious for the arrival of Baby Stahr, but are savoring these last opportunities to be a married couple without kids!
Whew! We are rolling along...well, make that waddling. We are all doing well, Baby Stahr has his/her movement routine that allows Adam and I to enjoy seeing what we can of his/her tricks just before my bedtime. The bum cozies itself up at the top of my belly and I swear the baby wraps toes around my ribs and pulls on them! Definitely the most uncomfortable part of pregnancy thus far. In all other aspects we are maintaining the status quo. I'm still swelling up pretty well by the end of the day and am definitely more and more physically exhausted by the end of the day. The biggest change of the past week has been my ability to sleep comfortably.
I really have not had to much trouble with this up until now (for which I am incredibly thankful), but the baby is now big enough that it gets up in my ribs and makes it hard to breathe or gets really nestled in on whatever side I am sleeping so I feel lopsided. I also think that I subconsciously wake up worried that the baby has turned the wrong way during the night. I suppose that goes with the territory at this point!
We are looking forward to the next several days as we have our last ultrasound tomorrow (it's been 16 weeks since we last got pictures of Baby Stahr!) and then are starting once-a-week visits to the doctor until delivery. Friday afternoon, one of my co-workers and good friends, Kelly, is doing a shower for me with my work friends. I'm looking forward to spending some time with them outside of school. We haven't done much of that this year. In addition, both of our moms get to come in on Friday and Saturday and will be helping us get the nursery finished up and some things here at the house prepared in case we really do go any day! We're looking forward to the weekend.
As I type, I have been relegated by Adam to the couch with my feet up this evening to try to get the swelling down in my troublesome right foot/ankle. It did fairly well since last week's flare-up until today...bummer. And I even sat for most of the day at school!
We can tell Baby Stahr is growing, his/her movements are definitely more visible (and uncomfortable at times!). Adam got to feel hiccups over the weekend which he was the baby highlight of his week 33. I got a good laugh when I was washing my hands in a public bathroom and used The Xcelerator automatic hand dryer, you know the really intense ones that make it look as if your hand skin might be blown off? Well, they are loud as well and about belly-height and I'm pretty sure it gave Baby Stahr a good little start when I turned it on. He/She had been pretty quiet but as soon as the machine turned on I felt some pretty intense movements.
For us, the past week was hopefully the end of some high-level busyness for Adam and I. Adam spoke at The Navigators' weekly meeting on Thursday while I was at a wrestling dual, we had our Date Night on Friday, and then I was back at an all-day wrestling tournament with my cheerleaders on Saturday. Thankfully my last all-day tournament. I was falling asleep in the stands by 10:00 a.m.! This week was our third of four Lamaze classes so we definitely are feeling more prepared to deliver this baby. Home stretch here we come...all 3 of us!
We're a little late this week again, but so it goes. The lighting isn't great in the house at night so it makes it hard to get photos for each week. But, we worked with what we had and must include the disclaimer that pregnancy has not turned my face into a light bulb (thank goodness)!
I can tell that Baby Stahr is definitely growing, the moving is definitely more pronounced and is becoming pretty predictable, although still evading Adam when he tries to feel what's going on! He or she has a schedule already and has even found a nice little cranny at the top of my belly for a foot or some other appendage to hang out. I've usually got a a little hard spot there and try to resist the urge to poke at it and get the baby to move.
Other than that, we don't have a whole lot to report. We started Lamaze class on Tuesday night and so are well on our way to handling our lives with breathing exercises!
We are back into the swing of things with school with the coming of week 30! I was EXHAUSTED! I've decided my ankles are perma-swollen. I spent most of Saturday with them up and they still weren't back to normal when I work up Sunday morning so I think I will just have to come to grips with that reality and be thankful that it is winter and no one has to look at them! After the first day back at school I moved an extra chair to the front of my room so I can sit with my feet propped up and teach. This is where it pays to teach the big kids and not the little ones...so, to my friends who have been or will be pregnant elementary teachers--my heart goes out to you!
Other than swelling and tiredness I feel pretty good. Adam has been awesome taking over some household duties at his lunchtime so I can relax extra at home in the evenings. I am so thankful for his help and sacrifice so that I feel better.
Our doctor's appointment this week was very uneventful and we really don't have anything new to report other than we are now on appointments every two weeks. Yikes! I always thought we would be so close when it got to that point. Our own baby progress of the week was to get a baby registry going so at the very least that is started. This week and next weekend will be crib and nursery set-up!!!