Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Welcome Christin Arielle!

A first look at our precious new little one . . . what a miracle! Christin came out fully alert, crying and moving all around (and very cheesy!).

Moments after her birth.

The proud papa!
Here she's had her first meal; with a full tummy and her head against my heart, it looks like all is right with the world!

She's here! PTL!
I'm home (back at the hotel) from the hospital and am feeling great, and Christin is already sleeping and eating well. She's a Wind--she caught on to the eating thing right away! We're now making preparations to return home; we have train tickets to return to our city for Thursday. Stay tuned for the birth story--though we had a few dicey moments, the Lord was faithful and worked out his perfect plan in such wonderful ways. Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Hello Friends!
John here announcing some great news. Christin Arielle Wind arrived at 1:38 pm today, April 28, 2008. She arrived safely weighing in at a healthy 9 lbs 13 oz. She and Rachel are doing great. Thanks so much for all the many who were remembering us. To Him alone be the glory! For those interested in more details, look for Rachel to post concerning the birth and Christin in the next few days. As soon as Rachel is checked out and we have the birth certificate in hand, we'll be heading home. Probably Wednesday at the earliest but hopefully Thursday at the latest.
Love John, Rachel, Clara Anne, Chloe, and Christin

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Be Still, My Soul

Yesterday afternoon our family went for a walk along the seashore. This seaside city has over 40 km of walking path along the ocean, and so we took a taxi to a particular spot and then had fun exploring along the coastline. The girls thought it was really fun to climb on the big rocks (they must get that from their father!) and I enjoyed finding a flat spot to sit and enjoy the ocean view. We found a great promontory point where there were very few people and lots of larger ocean waves crashing in. As I was sitting there, with the fresh breeze in my face and contemplating the power of the ocean and the force with which it crashed over the rocks, suddenly my heart was moved to worship again. I was reminded of His power, His might, His sovereign control over all things. My worries and stresses about the baby and her arrival (or lack therof) quickly faded into the background as the words of the great hymn, Be Still, My Soul, came to mind.
I remembered that this hymn was a great comfort to me when I was pregnant with Clara Anne. Being a first-time mom and new to another very foreign culture, and especially because I was sick for such a long time with Clara Anne, there seemed to be lots to worry about. But the truth of this hymn really encouraged me and so I thought I would share its verses here; I trust it will encourage you too! The text was written by Katharina von Schlegel in 1752, translated by Jane Borthwick in 1855. The tune is Finlandia.
Be still, my soul! The Lord is on your side:
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul! Your best, your Heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul! Your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past;
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul! The hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul! When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Yes, that is John, carrying Chloe and holding Clara Anne's hand, clambering over the rocks! By the time we left this spot the tide had come in enough to cover with water the places where they were climbing.

Maybe it's not just me . . . maybe you have something on your heart today that you need to tell your soul, "Be Still!" The waves and winds still know his voice who ruled them when He dwelt below. PTL!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For Everything there is a Season

And apparently this is our season of waiting. :)

Little girl Wind is taking her sweet time, and I must say that waiting on her has been really hard for me--harder than I anticipated. Of course I knew theoretically that my prelabor contractions (begun five weeks ago now) wouldn't necessarily lead to an earlier birth, but it was hard to believe that it could go on this long. In the intervening weeks, I feel like I have been through every emotion: hopeful excitement, disappointment, discouragement, thankfulness, times of renewed hope in the Lord, fatigue and weariness from the physical challenges of carting this baby around . . . you name it, I feel like I've experienced it, and thanks to pregnancy hormones, sometimes in one day I've vacillated wildly between the highs and the lows!

It has been no less a spiritual battle for me. Trusting HIM, waiting on Father's perfect timing, knowing that all He does is good, curbing my impatience, submitting my plan to His plan, seeking to keep a thankful heart--those are also key elements in this recent time.

Thursday night I hit a real low. I was having contractions, enough to keep me awake, about every 5 minutes. Before bed we prayed that they would either intensify, so that I could have the baby, or weaken, so I could sleep. They did neither. They stayed maddeningly consistent, just strong enough to wake me each time I would doze off, but not progressing in intensity. I tried everything--a bath, pacing the floor, trying to distract myself reading--but to no avail, I didn't manage to fall asleep until after 3:30am. Then Clara Anne woke up at 6, needing to use the bathroom, and like clockwork, my contractions started up again, again preventing me from sleep. Finally at 7ish I got up and went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and cried it out with the Lord.

I've been reading through the Psalms, and my reading for yesterday morning was Psalm 57, which begins, "Be merciful to me, O God . . . be merciful to me!" It was the perfect reading for how I was feeling. I expressed my true feelings to the Lord, confessed my sin of worry and fear (because with every day that passes I am fighting worry that there will be a problem with her size at birth), and asked for His peace.

The transformation was not immediate, but I was finally able to get back to sleep for an hour before the day began. After breakfast and some family time together, John sent me off to Starbucks for a little more quiet time while he read stories to the girls. And, at Starbucks, I just happened to run into my good friend who lives here and has been a support to me this whole time. She then just happened to invite me to a foot massage yesterday afternoon. Wow! Father knew what I needed yesterday!

So though this has been a season of waiting, it has also been a wonderful season of rest for our family. I need to remind myself of the blessings that we've experienced this past month as well. Before we left, John was so busy with the new business stuff, and when we get back, it's going to be full steam ahead. As soon as the baby is born, we'll probably head home within 2-3 days, and then we'll be right in the midst of choosing furniture and things for our new apartment, packing up our old apartment, John's business will be starting up, we have to make a trip to the capital city to get a passport and visa for the baby, and then of course adjusting to having three children! So this restful month has been a real blessing. We've really enjoyed our family times together and I certainly don't want to take that for granted.

All that being said, we will try to wait patiently. I see my doctor again on Monday (if the baby doesn't come before then) and we'll see what she says. Today is a bright, clear day, though with a chill in the air, so perhaps we'll get out and walk for awhile. Be assured that we will post the news about the baby as soon as we have any to share! For now she seems perfectly content inside, but I hope that will change soon! Until next time . . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Date with Clara Anne

Since I have no new baby news to share, I thought I might as well share some recent cute pictures with you. Since being here in this city, with such easy access to Starbucks (literally a 3 minute walk out our hotel door), Clara Anne and I have had two special Mommy-Daughter dates out for coffee.

It has been really fun to take Clara Anne with me and she has been such a big girl with her hot chocolate drink. The weather here has been rainy and cool for the last several days, so hot drinks are still the most appealing. Clara Anne especially likes the whipped cream on top of the hot chocolate, and eats it off very carefully with her spoon before sipping the drink. We take a big storybook with us (it's an anthology of many popular 20th century stories) and I read to her as we enjoy our drinks.
The last time we went we also had a serious talk about Clara Anne becoming a big sister to TWO younger sisters, just as soon as Mommy's tummy squeezes out the baby. We talked about how things will be different, and how important it will be for Clara Anne to set a good example to her sisters. I also emphasized to her how I was so proud of her for being a big girl and learning to play nicely with Chloe, which they have been doing much better with lately.
The following conversation also occurred:
Me: So Clara Anne, when do you think the baby will be born?
CA: At the hospital, Mommy.
Me: No, when will she be born, not where, Clara Anne?
CA: I don't know, Mommy.
Me: Are you excited to meet your new sister?
CA: Yes, Mommy! Maybe I can teach her how to walk!
Me: Yes, Clara Anne, but that will be awhile. She first has to learn how to hold up her head, roll over, crawl, and things like that before she can learn to walk.
CA: I can hug her and kiss her, though, Mommy. She'll like that!
I agreed that the baby certainly would like that and we sipped our drinks companionably together. It was a special date with Clara Anne!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Your Predictions, Please!

Well, it is 9:26 am on April 20, 2008, and baby girl Wind has still not arrived. Last night I had sustained and strong contractions, about 60 seconds long every 2-3 minutes, that increased in intensity until about 2am. After that they started to space out and so we went to sleep, but more strong contractions woke me up 3-4 times an hour, but not enough to feel like it was the real deal.

This morning I had an appointment with my doctor, so dragged myself out of bed for the 8am appointment. The doctor did another stress test and all looks well. The kicker, though, was that when I clarified with her, "So, you're just finishing your shift now and have the next two days off, right? But if I go into labor you can be here, right?" (things we had previously discussed), she said, in typical Asianese fashion, "Oh, maybe I will have to be out of town." Trying to remain calm, I asked for more details. As it turns out, she wasn't sure either when or how long she would have to be out of town for a work-related meeting. But she tried to reassure me by saying, "I think your Asianese is very good, you don't need to worry if I am not here." It's not the language I'm concerned about, it's all of those details in the birth plan that we had worked out with her previously, and if we get another doctor, all bets are off!

So we are still waiting for Father's perfect timing, and truly pray that the time would include the doctor we've been working with all of this time. I feel like I especially need His strength for patience and to take the roller coaster of emotions in stride. Last night was the 5th night that we thought "it could be the time" and definitely had the most serious and lengthy signs of real labor. How much longer can this go on?!!! Today we plan to just rest, take things easy, and see what happens.

To finally get to the point of this post, I thought it would be fun (and a happy distraction for me!)if all of you would like to predict baby girl Wind's arrival date, weight, and length. Leave a comment and tell me what you think! And who knows, maybe there will be a prize for the winner!

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. We appreciate and love you, and are eager to share with you our happy news when the time comes!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Before . . .

As promised, here is the picture of the prominently pregnant (just hopefully not permanently pregnant) belly. It sticks out so far now that it's almost a separate entity from myself. Sorry this picture turned out a bit blurry!

And the view from the front, though harder to see the depth. I had hoped to post some "After" pictures today, but alas, I'm still pregnant. The sense of anticipation is building, though! One day soon we'll have some after pictures for you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Elevator Escapade

It was bound to happen.

As my girls (and our whole family) has gotten really comfortable living at this hotel, the girls have gotten braver and more independent as we go to and from our room. They know just where to go for the breakfast buffet, they know where our room is in relation to the elevator, they are comfortable with the big turning glass door that leads into the lobby. Clara Anne loves to push the button for the elevator, and we practice our numbers as we go up and down the floors. Clara Anne has even learned how to open our room door, which of course we have to be careful about.

But yesterday morning they got quite a surprise.

We usually take them in their stroller to breakfast, and they hadn't yet gotten in the stroller, but were walking alongside it, when John realized that one of the wheels of the stroller had fallen off again. (Its original problem came from trying to push it over some rough terrain near the horse-riding park.) He paused to fix it, but the girls ran ahead. I was just a step behind but when I got to the bank of elevators, the girls were gone!

I could hear Chloe screaming through the elevator shaft, and so knew that they were on a particular elevator, so I was standing there frantically calling the elevator again and again (and always getting one of the other four) as I heard Chloe's cries echoing through the walls. Finally John took the elevator down to the first floor, where some kindly "aunties" were standing with the girls, holding Clara Anne's hand and Clara Anne was holding Chloe's hand. Clara Anne seemed pretty unfazed but Chloe was still crying hard. I was still up on our 20th floor, pushing the buttons, but only empty elevators arrived. Happy Day it was when John arrived back with them both!

Clara Anne and I had a serious talk about not running ahead without Mommy and Daddy and certainly not getting on an elevator by herself! I explained to her how we had no way to know where she might get off the elevator and she had no way to find us again if she got on without us. She didn't seem too upset about the whole thing but Chloe certainly did not want a repeat of that experience!

So, all's well that ends well, but there were a few tense moments! I do hope a lesson was learned!

**Baby update!** I saw my doctor yesterday and she gave me a thorough examination (except forgot to get my weight, which I was not sad about at all!). She did an ultrasound again to try and determine the baby's size, which she thinks is about 10 pounds right now. Of course it is really hard for them to predict, but she was amazed/alarmed and wondered if I was still set on a natural birth or did I want a C-section? I told her I have the big hips to go with the big baby :), so I still wanted a natural birth. She also said that though I'm almost totally effaced there isn't any dilation yet. Actually, the hospital has been really busy lately and so she advised me to check in, so as to make sure I had a room if I went into labor. The only catch is that once you check in, they won't let you leave! And I definitely did not want to be hanging around the hospital, with labor hours or days or a week away. So I turned that down, and am just praying that the baby will come without too much more delay! My contractions are getting stronger each evening, and last night kept me up a fair amount, but nothing strong enough to consider real labor yet. So we'll keep waiting! The trick might be when I do go into real labor, we shouldn't wait too long at the hotel since it might go really fast.

And it isn't all bad. Today was a gorgeous spring day, I got in a couple of good walks, as well as a Starbucks Dulce de Leche Decaf Frappucino! We also had a wonderful, wonderful meal last night at an Italian restaurant nearby where we were so impressed with the food, the service, and the presentation. My parmesan chicken came with real Parma ham and a large, gorgeous salad, John's ravioli and sauce were excellent, and I had the best tiramisu that I've ever had in my life! To top it all off, today my friend Roby took me to a place to get my hair highlighted (something I had never previously dared to do in this country), at a place that she knew that did well with foreigner's hair. So now I feel a little brighter and more beautiful as I prepare for the big event!

Some of you have been asking, so next time I'll post a picture of my large and pregnant self. You have to have that for the scrapbook, right? If nothing else, to remind me after the baby is born that even if I don't lose all my pregnancy weight right away, at least I don't look like THAT anymore! Check back tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cherry Blossom Bliss (and other adventures)

This seaside city where we are currently living is famous for its extravagant display of thousands of Japanese Cherry Blossom trees in bloom every spring. Happily, we are here in town during the peak week of blooms. Yesterday we made a trip to this city's Central Park to take in the glorious display.

The cherry blossoms were indeed gorgeous. The main thoroughfare of this park was lined with the cherry trees, and the combined effect of them all together was simply beautiful. What wonderful evidence of our Father's creative hand!

The only drawback, and unfortunately a rather large one, was that the park was packed with hordes of tourists, who found our blonde, blue-eyed little girls in their double stroller just too irresistible. We found that we could not pause, even briefly, and stop the stroller because literally dozens of people would be crowded around the stroller in a moment, trying to touch the girls, take their picture, pose for a picture with them, etc etc. It was all a bit overwhelming for the girls and for us. We found ourselves avoiding some of the prettier sections of the park just to get away from all of the people! We had to say no to almost all the pictures--inevitably, if we agreed to one picture there were 10-20 more people that came up and wanted to take pictures. We could have spent the whole morning in a photo shoot!

We finally ventured off the beaten path and into a paid area of the park, which reduced the crowds considerably. We then could stop and take a few pictures--the girls and mommy! (Chloe with her fake smile!)

We then made our way through the zoo area of the park, which included this opportunity for John and Clara Anne to ride a horse together. It was the first time for both of them!

Our next goal was to make our way to a large tower, just next to the park, where visitors could pay to go up the tower and take in the view. We hiked uphill and down, but the only entrance we could find to the tower involved hundreds of steps, which was not feasible with the stroller. We finally did find a way up, but at the top decided it wasn't worth the fee since the air was somewhat smoggy. I definitely got my exercise though!

On the way home we decided to take a brief detour to the beautiful grassy square near our hotel to fly our kite, which we had dragged along with us the whole morning. The sun was shining, the grass was appealingly soft and green, and so we spread out some jackets, sat down and had a little snack, and John even perfected the art of flying the kite while lying down!

I think we've figured out how to really relax! It's pretty sad when you can't even be bothered to stand up to fly a kite! Fun times were had by all.

Now if only all those contractions I'm having would actually produce a baby . . . stay tuned!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hotel Life


So living in a hotel has been an interesting experience, to say the least. Because of the nature of our work and the travel involved, we've had lots of times in the past where we've lived in a hotel for significant period of time, but it's always been because we were attending meetings or training events. There's usually at least three weeks to a month each year where we are away from home and living in rented quarters--sometimes a hotel, sometimes a furnished apartment. Add in two months gone for Clara Anne's birth, two months gone for Chloe's birth, and we have really spent some significant time away from our Asian homein the last four and a half years!

The most interesting/challenging was when Clara Anne was only about 3 months old and we spent a month in Singapore in a tiny hotel room at the YMCA there. But since we were in meetings M-F, 8:30-5, it didn't matter too much that our hotel room was small. I do remember those days though! We didn't own a pack-n-play then and so she slept in the hotel crib. The room was so small that with her crib and then the two single beds with a bedside table between them, there was barely enough room to walk. The advantage was that her crib was mere inches from my side of the bed! The other advantage was that she herself was still a really small baby and was happy anywhere.

So perhaps this is the first time that our whole family has been living in a hotel room without structured activities to go to everyday. I'm happy to say that it has worked out really well so far! Our room has a lovely sea view (only marred by the constant construction noise going on outside our window), and Chloe's pack-n-play is hidden in one corner behind the curtain. This is so that we can put her down for sleep and she is somewhat in her own space. She has been very good about not pulling the curtain back and so that's worked out well. Clara Anne is sleeping in the closet--it's a fairly large closet with sliding doors and is just a bit separated from the main room, kind of on the way out the door. She thinks it's great! It's like her own fort in there--she's got tons of pillows and blankets and her Doll to keep her comfy.

There's been some other great advantages about living in this particular hotel. Our room is spacious and nicely decorated, as well as clean and tidy-feeling with plush carpet. The hotel pool has been a big plus, since we've kept up the swimming most days, and the large buffet breakfast every morning has been wonderful! We've been eating a late breakfast, a little something snacky in our room for lunch, and then going out usually for supper.

I do have to confess, though, that we have gotten pretty lazy living here. The girls have been sleeping until 9-ish every morning (thanks in part to the hotel black-out curtains), we take our time with breakfast, and sometimes the main events of the day are a swim in the pool and a walk down to the square to fly our kite, or for John and I, a round of Settlers of Catan or a movie in the evening. It's been a blessing to rest and relax, though. I have gotten a nap and a trip to Starbucks in almost every day as well! So, don't hear me complaining, but . . .

Hotel life, with its advantages, can also be a bit deadening. We've relaxed so much we've gotten a little slack with our time instead of keeping priorities and being good stewards of that time. This isn't real life, you know? It's a bit of an unusual situation. But I am thankful for the time away, the time to prepare for the baby's birth, and the time to spend together as a family. I know that many fathers don't get as much paternity leave as John does, so I am thankful for the time that we've been able to have together; it's been really fun. We've enjoyed some good food, even found a marble slab ice cream place, and have done some special things with the girls too.

All that being said, when will this baby come?! I admit my eagerness and I also am getting really tired of prelabor contractions! This past week brought one day/evening where I thought perhaps it was time--I had been having mild contractions all day, basically uninterrupted, that then started to intensify in the evening. But alas, I went to bed and everything slowed down again. Then last night I had some markedly stronger contractions that were regular for awhile--but again, instead of intensifying they gradually slowed as I prepared for bed. I have always been able to sleep at night which is a bonus (well, that's relative I guess, but I've been getting decent sleep for late pregnancy, just some hip pain as I flip from side to side all night) but during the day and evening especially my body seems to be revving up. Today I joked with some friends that perhaps this baby isn't a good manual transmission driver--she can't seem to find 4th or 5th gear! We're stuck in 2nd or 3rd!

However, the fact remains: Sometime in the next few weeks the baby will be born! One of these nights my body will kick it into high gear. I'm only 10 days away from my due date now so we're truly approaching the brink. I do hope that all of this practice will mean a shorter actual labor. I have been making all of these things a matter of earnest prayers, so Father will do the best thing, I know. Trust . . . and patience . . . so hard!

Well, I think I'll go off to enjoy my large hotel bathtub and have a relaxing soak (something I couldn't do at home!). There's the update from our hotel room! We'll keep you posted if anything exciting happens!

Monday, April 07, 2008


I'm happy to report that there has been some progress on several fronts this past week here in our hotel room. It's always encouraging to see progress! What kind of progress, you say?

The first exciting news to report is that Chloe is doing really well on the potty! She has seemingly adapted quite well to our new location, knows exactly where her potty chair is (in the bathroom), and has taken herself on numerous occasions. Most encouraging has been her ability to "hold it" while we've been out and about, and then come home, sit right down and take care of business. The most difficult aspect so far has been that she does not like to wear her nighttime undies (pull-ups). Though she knows she's not allowed to take them off, especially first thing in the morning when they are wet and/or dirty, I think she is tempted to do it anyway because she doesn't like the feeling against her skin. So we've had a couple of incidents of messes in her crib when she woke up and very quietly took off the undies without my hearing anything. Yuck. We've been keeping the laundry people in business!

As well, both girls are making good progress in their swimming/water skills! We've been swimming nearly every day, and Clara Anne particularly is really gaining some confidence in the water. Yesterday for a brief time she had her floaties off and was practicing holding her breath and putting her face in the water. I think it really helped that while we were at the pool, a class of young children (maybe 5-6 years old) came in and were happily and confidently splashing, playing, going underwater, and swimming around. She watched them pretty intently for awhile and then seemed to think, "hey, I can do this too!" It was so fun to see her be willing to try new things in the water. Chloe also is getting more comfortable and likes to get in next to the edge, hold on to the edge, and then kick her legs and float the rest of her body in the water. This is more bravery than she's shown before so that's encouraging, too. If we're here for several more weeks, we may have some little fishes for daughters by the time we get home!

And last but not least, all those contractions are making just a bit of progress in my body. I saw the doctor last week and she said I'm about 50% effaced, which is better than no progress at all! Of course, that still tells me nothing about when the baby will actually be born, but it's nice to know anyway. My contractions have continued, most often in the evening, but nothing too intense yet. We'll wait for the Lord and the baby to decide when is the perfect time to arrive!

So, progress is being made! We'll hope that the next week brings even more!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

We made it . . . barely!

Greetings from our hotel room in the "city of birth!" I wanted to give you all a quick update on the happenings of recent days.

We had a bit more drama getting here than anticipated, mostly because of some unusually heavy traffic on our way to the train station yesterday morning. We left our house at the time we had agreed on, but then couldn't find a taxi, and once we did get a taxi we got out to the main road outside our house and just sat and sat in traffic. There's been some construction going on (when is there not construction going on in our city?!) on some of the other major roads and so our road was extraordinarily busy. Time ticked on and we needed to run for it at the end, but we did board the train with almost 10 minutes to spare, PTL!

We arrived safely and got checked into our hotel and I was feeling the need to lie down and rest since my frequent contractions were getting rather uncomfortable. The girls took a nap, John unpacked, and I timed contractions--about every 5-7 minutes, lasting about a minute, and definitely a step up in strength from what I had experienced before. We started to think . . . what if the baby comes tonight? We're not really ready! The doctor doesn't even know we're in town yet! Who will watch Clara Anne and Chloe?!

Thankfully, after an afternoon of resting and then a swim in the hotel pool in the early evening, the contractions subsided and we all got a good night of sleep. Of course it would have been nice to have the baby in my arms already, but I'm glad that she did not arrive last night! And of course, this prelabor is still no indicator of when real labor might begin . . . but I do hope I won't have several more weeks of this.

So this morning, we enjoyed the hotel breakfast, then went out for a walk in the fresh springtime. We bought a kite for the girls and had fun flying it, and made a trip to the store for snacks for my labor/hospital stay. I was able to talk with my doctor today and touch base with her--she reassured me that she would come to the hospital whenever I needed her, despite the fact that she is supposed to have the next two days off. All in all, I feel like we are much more ready tonight than we were last night. Now we'll just wait on the Father's perfect timing! Who knows, it could be 3-4 more weeks!

In the meantime, there's lots of things to do. There are several parks in town we'd like to explore with the girls, there's Starbucks just a two minute walk from our hotel, the hotel has a lovely pool that we have already visited twice (being weightless in the water is so refreshing for a nine-month prego!) and we're well-stocked with games and movies, too. John has a few things to do but not his normal workload, so we're all enjoying the extra family time.

I've probably mentioned it before, but my prayer for this baby is that she would arrive early, and at night. With Chloe it worked out perfectly--I was only starting labor when Clara Anne went to bed in the evening, and by the time things got more intense, it was late and so a friend simply stayed in our apartment overnight. Chloe was born at 4:21 in the morning, and John had plenty of time to help me get settled with the newborn Chloe in my hospital room and return home by 7:30am; Clara Anne didn't wake up until 8:30! She didn't even know that we had been gone. So we're praying for that this time as well. It would be ideal if she would arrive during the night so that our friends only have to come and sleep at the hotel. And the early part of the prayer is just because I am too impatient to wait until my due date! If you feel led, you can join me in those prayers!

Just for fun, here's a few pictures from our kite-flying expedition today. The cartoon characters on the kite are everywhere these days--they're the official mascots of the big event happening here in this country later this year.
Up, up, and away! [note: what this picture does not show is the crowd of 40-50 people who had gathered around and were watching our family activities with great interest. Cameras were flashing, complete strangers were trying to hold the girls and they were protesting; finally we had to put a stop to it and tried to kindly discourage the excess attention. By the time I took this picture the crowd had mostly dispersed.]
Look, Mommy! Our kite is flying high!