Now We Are Four

Paisley Dawn Armstrong was born Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 at 9:06am.

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She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces (Papa Terry won the bet and guessed her exact weight!) and measured 20 inches long.

Shameless-parent-boast-alert: she scored a 10 out of 10 on her APGAR test. This score measures the newborn’s muscle tone, color, reflexes, pulse and breathing. Dr. Anderson and most of the nurses in the operating room said they’d never seen a baby score a 10 before!

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She is perfect.

C-section went smoothly minus a few tidal waves of nausea–nothing the anesthesiologist can’t fix–and loopiness, swelling, soreness, exhaustion and hot flashes brought on by a generous cocktail of pain meds.

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Finn was so excited to meet Baby Paisley! He wanted to give her kisses and hugs and loved the car she gave him in the hospital.

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He’s hesitant around her, not interested in holding her at all and I think he’s wondering why she’s still in his house. But his overall reaction to her is positive and gentle. Prayers answered.

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We are four.

We are four.

Finn is a "helper."

Finn is a “helper.”

Our parents and friends have been so helpful the past five days–helping us care for two kids, brewing large pots of strong coffee, and feeding our mouths.

Baby girl has gained an ounce since leaving the hospital on Friday and no jaundice. Breastfeeding is going very well; however, sometimes I wonder if she’s part snapping-turtle. Ouch. I mean; ouch!

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This birth was way too easy compared to Finn’s. Joey and I were sitting in a quiet hospital room rocking our little angel and wondering when something traumatic was going to happen.

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Our fingers search for the shunt on her skull–a shunt that doesn’t exist, obviously. My mom was relaying our pleasant experience to my brother Chad (working at Yellowstone National Park all summer) and said, “They’re getting to experience birth the way it should be.” Chad The Wise One replied, “I disagree. Finn was exactly the way he should have been; and so is Paisley.” You’re right, Chad. Though Finn didn’t score well on his own APGAR, Joey and I are blessed with TWO Perfect 10’s.

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We are in love. Sleepy, snuggly, deliriously in love. All over again. (And Happy 8th Anniversary to my Love, Joey!)

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Expecting

39.5 weeks of pregnancy down; one night’s sleep to go. You come tomorrow morning, sweet Paisley Dawn!

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My puffy toes are painted pink. For you.

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I slathered on one last dollop of Mama Bee Belly Butter.

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I’ve had a practice run at the hospital. False alarm on Sunday. πŸ™‚

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Your Nana’s and Papa’s are here to welcome you. You are so loved already.

Big brother Finn is excited to meet you too. We’ve been reading about you in this book from cousin Everett.

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Jersey is away at Annie’s Ruff House, but can’t wait to lick your face this weekend.

I’ve prayed over your room with tears of fear and joy, sad to lose our familiar routine and family of three but so excited that you’ll be joining our team.

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I am so ready to meet you and hold you and give you a home. You are what our family is missing. We need you.

See you tomorrow.

Love, Mom

 

 

 

MVD

Most Valuable Dad. That’s Joey.

Seriously; it’s like he spent the first 30 years of his life preparing to be Finn’s dad. And maybe he did…he has an awesome example in his own father, Terry.

After we found out Finn had Spina Bifida at 17 weeks pregnant, we did a lot of crying and not a lot of talking. But one thing Joey said seared my heart: “I’ll never get to play soccer with my son.” I went to a garage sale days later and bought a pair of kid’s Adidas cleats and brought them home to Joey, certain our little boy would wear them someday.

I gave those very cleats to a friend’s son a couple months ago. There’s no soccer in Finn’s future. We can laugh about this now. Soccer is so unimportant, but it seemed like the end of the world at the time.

Joey knows what’s important. His priorities are aligned.

He values people over position. Family over work. Me over himself. Conversation over technology. Faith over money. Finn’s dreams over his own.

Although I know Joey would give his right arm to follow Finn out the back door and kick a soccer ball in the yard or chase him around a playground or teach him how to ride a bike, it’s not going to happen. So Joey adjusts. He doesn’t pout; the activity itself is not what’s important. The important thing is that Finn feels loved and valued. And Joey is a pro at this.

So he teaches him how to swim with his arms.

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Or be brave enough to go down a bigger slide.

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Or crawl on top of his back to watch the World Cup.

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Or ride a bike using his hands instead of his feet.

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And attempt to walk even though it’s cumbersome and scary.

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Although Finn doesn’t have Joey’s natural athletic ability (yet), he undoubtedly has his sense of humor and talent for making people smile.

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I’m so grateful for the father Joey is. Brave, kind, patient, fun and forgiving. Paisley and Finn will never know how good they have it: a daddy who is a whole lot like our Heavenly Father. Love you, J-Man. Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

 

Upcycled

My generation has a myriad of flaws, but resourcefulness is not one of them. One thing I’m most proud of my generation for is upcycling.

Upcycle- (verb) to reuse discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

We recycle. Re-purpose. Buy “vintage” and thrift items. Shop consignment and drop off bags of our kids’ hand-me-downs on each others’ porches. We value wooden toys over plastic. We’re a little more “earth conscience.” We shop and eat locally. Ride our bikes to work. Some of us even cloth diaper our baby’s bottoms.

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Joey took me to Whiskey Cake for my 31st birthday on Friday.

37 weeks. 31 years old.

37 weeks. 31 years old.

I usually request Cheever’s, but the whiskey cake (the restaurant’s namesake) kept calling my name. This place is delicious. They have a garden growing outside the front door, they prepare all food from scratch and the decor consists of repurposed, upcycled items like this lightbulb-turned-bud vase and cardboard coaster.

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Joey is funny, but he’s also wise. In a conversation over a shared OMG burger and seared green beans, he made the connection that “upcycling” is redemption. It’s the beauty of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We were dead, rotting in our sin but He made us alive. Trash turned to treasure.

“…you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:9-10).

He redeemed us and made us new. I’m so thankful He chose to use my dust for divine purposes–of higher quality than the original.

Breakfast. Coffee. Yum.

If you know Joey and I, you know we love breakfast. Brunch. Morning food.

Here’s why:

1) It’s cheaper than going out for dinner.

2) We don’t have to choose between sweet and savory. (I can have blueberry pancakes AND eggs or bacon.)

3) Finn can go with us so we don’t need a sitter. He’s happier in the morning too.

4) My family went out for breakfast just about every Saturday, usually prompted by my dad. It’s nostalgic.

5) We love coffee.

6) Health-conscious people know you should NEVER EVER skip breakfast.

Some of the best breakfasts we’ve ever had were in Europe during grad school. I’ll never forget the palatial spread in Salzburg, Austria,

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the kava (coffee) and chocolate danish in Slovenia,

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or the fresh, seasonal breakfasts fit for an emperor in Italy.

But Oklahoma offers several yummy breakfast venues too. We like to support local businesses, and they’re usually better than large chains anyway. Because I need a project these days or I’ll just sit around and groan, I’m blogging about where we go for our favorite meal of the day. If you’re totally uninterested in this topic, no offense taken. I’m just keeping my mind busy. πŸ˜‰

A review of some of our fav breakfast spots:

For the Best Coffee:

  • Stumptown Coffee -brewed in Oregon and sold at Syrup in Normanphoto 1 copy
  • Elemental Coffee- locally brewed in OKC! Find this delicious java at Cool Beans (a coffee shack off Alameda in Norman), Cuppies and Joe in OKC (our buds from college own this quaint cupcake, pie and coffee joint!), Crimson and Whipped Cream in Norman, Elemental Coffee in Midtown OKC, Sips Kafe in Shawnee (one of my college roomies owns this coffee shop and events venue!) or buy it at Forward Foods in Norman.
  • Mariposa Coffee– enjoy a cup of this small batch coffee brewed in Norman at The Earth, Local, Second Wind, Scratch, or Waving Wheat Bakery.
  • Grey Owl Coffee- off Grey St. in Norman, they brew Topeca coffee out of Tulsa. I love their cappuccinos, and if you get a good barista, they’ll make it pretty for you. The shop is usually packed with studying hipster students, but you may not get a smile out of the staff. πŸ˜‰IMG_5920

For the Yummiest Food:

In Norman:

  • Syrup Breakfast Boutique– a quaint little place off Main St. in downtown Norman, this restaurant is one of our staples. We make it there most Friday mornings after Finn’s physical therapy. They give the kids a biscuit for free and proceeds go to support two projects in 3rd world African countries. Our fav menu items: Crunchy French Toast, Stuffed Fritatta (I get the veggie version–it’s not on the menu), The Nompton (for when you’re really hungry), Home Sweet Homa (sweet potato pancakes!), Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, and recently Joey enjoyed their biscuits and gravy. We also love their Stumptown Cold Brew (iced coffee). Tell Johnny we said hi!photo 2 copy photo 4
  • Scratch– I haven’t been personally for brunch, but I love their dinner and a trusted resource and fellow breakfast connoisseur says it’s fantastic. The service is pretty slow, but they make everything from “scratch” so give ’em a break. πŸ™‚ Only served on weekends.
  • Juan del Fuego- A little nicer and less greasy than The Diner off Main (featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives), this Mexican diner is delish. Most of their savory items take on the same spicy flavor from the griddle: jalapeno, onions and garlic. I like their blueberry pancakes and Relleno omelet. Joey takes Finn here for breakfast before the library opens on Wednesdays. photo…And if you’re lucky, Sweets and Spurs may be open next door by the time you leave. Best cupcakes in OKC area!

In OKC:

  • Cheever’s– This is one of my fav restaurants for any meal in OKC. I dream about their weekend brunch. $4 mimosas, Elemental coffee, build-your-own omelets, Chihuahua queso, and Masa Vallo con Huevos are our favorites. I think Cheever’s is more fun without kids. It’s small, romantic and a little more upscale.

    queso to die for

    queso to die for

  • Kitchen No. 324– Yum. Though the tables are pushed WAY too closely together, this restaurant in downtown OKC has the best atmosphere. White marble, steel tabletops, swanky green booths, and the bathroom tiles are gorgeous. They serve hand-poured coffees (brewed in-house), homemade pastries (which aren’t so fantastic, in my opinion), healthy fresh-squeezed green juices, and delicious from-scratch savory options. My favorites are the Open-faced Toast (I get crispy bacon instead of ham and the Bechamel sauce on the side) and the homemade granola with berries.photo 3 copyphoto 2IMG_4251
  • Flint– On the bottom floor of the beautiful, historic Concord hotel near Bricktown, Flint offers breakfast daily until 10 and brunch on weekends from 10-2. The heart-healthy omelet is deliciously wholesome and the lemon ricotta pancakes with papaya chutney are outstanding. Such a beautiful venue!

    brunch with the roomies

    brunch with the roomies

  • Cafe Antigua- Hole.In.The.Wall. Guatemalan yumminess. The coffee is gross but you can’t beat the food. Located off Classen in some weird grey concrete buildings, you’ll want to be sure to lock your car.antigua2Go with friends and you’ll forget the atmosphere and sticky plastic tablecloths once you try their Migas or my fav, the Huevos Motuleno. Oh my. I’m salivating.

    Motuleno!

    Huevos Motuleno!

  • Prairie Thunder Baking Co.– This little bakery in Midtown is a source of healing for Joey and I. We’ve stopped here after many of Finn’s appointments at OU Children’s, even a few of his ER visits. Oftentimes we sit in silence, a calm after the storm, but something about their biscuits and gravy is cathartic. Get there early…they run out quick.IMG_1623

Hope you’ll try one of these mouth-watering places soon. Do you have any local favorites I haven’t mentioned? Please share!