Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just Because....

You just have to love her tiny sweetness!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One week old!!

We can hardly believe that Karlena is already over a week old. Time really does go fast but we are enjoying our time together as a family on "vacation". Dominic has to head back up to Tyler tomorrow night and it is going to be hard on everyone - especially him. Please pray for us as we begin yet another transition now that she is actually here.

The picture above is with Karlena's first teddy bear. The day we found out we were having a girl my sister Beth brought me some pink flowers and that teddy to my work.  When I pulled it out and laid it next to Karlena it was bigger than she was! She is such a bitty little girl!

 I had to show these 2 photos. Karlena and Elijah are about the same age in these pictures.  All of our boys looked identical when they were born so we were a bit curious as to what a girl might look like.  As you can see they definitely have similar features - but thankfully our girl has enough feminine features that makes her different than the boys! :)

Gabriel is such a good big brother. He is very concerned about how Karlena is doing and if she is "ok". If she cries he wants to know what is wrong with her and he really wanted me to take his photo with her this morning.  I tried to get Elijah in there as well but he wasn't having it! 

Isaac is a natural with her and although I don't have an updated photo to add here (I will get one soon I promise!) I can say that he has already changed several diapers - without being asked, and will hold her anytime I am willing to give her up (this is getting better). He is going to make an incredible father himself someday...when he is MUCH older!! :)

We hope you are having a great week and I will try and post lots more pictures soon!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


This sweet gift is such a joy to have here finally!  But with the addition of another family member comes many adjustments.

Karlena has such a wonderful disposition. Overall she is calm and snuggly. It is so much fun to just cuddle her in your arms and nap while she naps....which seems like a lot of the day!  I took a nap with her yesterday morning and then Dominic got some chair time with her in the afternoon.

She is having trouble nursing though and that has been my biggest challenge so far. With all of the other boys I never really had any trouble and so this is frsutrating for me.  Being able to provide for my daughter is something that I want to do - but she is being a little uncooperative! :)  I am determined to keep trying and hopefully we can figure it out.

At this point she won't nurse unless I am standing and walking around with her.  Sometimes I can sit for a few minutes but typically she gets fussy and struggles and I have to stand up again.  She has lost almost a 1/2 a pound since she was born and as tiny as she seems already I don't want that to continue.

So on Monday we will be heading back to the doctor for a weight check to see if she has at least stabalized...please pray about this for us. I feel inadequate about the whole thing.

Besides that the only other thing I struggle with is sharing her.  I feel jealous when I have to let others hold her. :)  Dominic hasn't had near enough cuddle time with her and he will have to leave on Wednesday again for a few days so I know that I need to share her more. I am trying, but there is something so wonderful about having a newborn in your arms!

The other adjustment we have had is with Elijah.  At 19 months he is feeling the change in the family too.  Last night in the middle of the night I found myself in my recliner with Elijah on one side of me and Karlena in the other arm.  I have to make sure that I am making time for him too so that he knows he hasn't been replaced!

And the first time that I picked him up after holding Karlena I couldn't believe how heavy he seemed.  When you have just held a 6 1/2lb baby a 30lb toddler seems huge! :)  And changing the diaper of a toddler is such a different experience from a tiny baby too.  We have never had 2 in diapers before so we are getting used to that as well.

All in all we are doing well. It is hard to believe at times that she is here.  On Thursday we had the opportunity to go and introduce her to "Big Karlena's" family including her husband and son.  That was such an awesome experience. I just wish Kar had been there in person too. She would have adored her namesake.

Kerry - her husband - gave us a very special gift. Karlena had a Bible that she brought with her everywhere. He gifted that to our daughter in the hopes that some day it would be a treasure to her as it was his wife.  Overwhelming.

I am honored to be given the opportunity to be Karlena's mother and just thank each of you for walking with us as we do our best to instill God's word in her heart. Have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Headed Home!!

We are headed home!! We just got the ok that we can take our sweet girl home! Isn't she precious in purple?! :)

I am so excited to be all together as a family in our own space. Thank you so much for all of your visits and e-mails and support of us. I have said it before but we are so very blessed by each and every one of you!  Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Introducing Karlena Anne Smith

On December 20th, 2010 at 11:03pm I heard the words that we were waiting for 9 months to hear....your daughter is here! What an amazing night and an amazing blessing!!

I wasn't sure if it was the "real deal" earlier in the evening and so when I finally did call Dominic to tell him he needed to come for sure I was worried that he might not make it on time.  They had TONS of snow again in Tyler and so he had a terrible drive to get to me. Thankfully my mom was with me and encouraged and supported me until he got there. 

It was a fast and tough labor and when Dominic walked in the door I just bawled. So very thankful he had made it in time!!

I only had to push for less than 15 minutes so that too was a blessing. Karlena was crying right away and I got to just have her on my chest as they checked her out. She was perfect and healthy - Praise the Lord!

She weighed 7lbs (our smallest baby yet!) and was 20in long. She has long fingers and toes and LOTS of soft brown hair. She has some of the same features as her brothers but looks so much leaner than they did!

She is a beauty and we are thrilled to have her as a part of our family. God has blessed us in so many ways and this Christmas will just be time of celebrating our Savior's birth that made our new blessing possible.

Thank you for all of your prayers throughout this season. We feel so blessed by our amazing family and friends and can't wait for you to meet our daughter in person!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Family of Six

Last year, right after Christmas, Isaac went with my dad to Haiti.  They got home just days before the big earthquake that hit there and so the country and the people hold special places in our family's heart.

Isaac brought a few things back for our family and one of those things is the metal piece pictured above.  It is a tree with 6 birds in it.  He said at the time "I know we don't have 6 people in our family yet - but the last bird could be for the next baby we have".

Little did he - or any of us know - that almost one year later exactly we would be anticipating the arrival of that final addition to our family! It amazes me at times that we will be a family of 6 in just a few short weeks!!

I loved this "family tree" he found and wanted to do something special with it. So I found a large white frame at our local Goodwill store for $5 and painted it brown.  The I covered the "artwork" within the frame with a large piece of burlap material I found at Walmart and hung the tree in the center.

I love how it turned out! It is hanging at the end of our entryway hall so every night that we come home we see it when we walk in the door.

Today I am so grateful for all of my blessings. And I anxiously await the day when we will "officially" be a family of six!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am SO proud!!!!

I am just so very proud of my husband that I needed to take just a minute and brag him up a bit here!! It has been 9 weeks since Dominic started his new job up in Tyler MN. It has been a very stressful time for all of us and every time a weekend is over it is so difficult to leave each other. But we are pressing forward with prayer and faith and God is granting us much peace during this time.

Part of the change with a new employer was passing the MPRE – which is an ethics test for attorneys and a portion of each State’s Bar requirement. He needed to get a scaled score of an 85 to be able to practice in the State of Minnesota. So during the first 5 weeks of his employment, while living away from home and trying to learn a new position, he also spent hours and hours and hours studying for this test which he took on November 5th.

As I understand it this was one of those tests where the questions are so tricky and sometimes logical thinking doesn’t get you to the correct answer. Dominic was not feeling great about the test when he was done and then we had to wait almost 5 weeks to get his score results! And as an added pressure, the next available date that he could retake the test if necessary was the same day we are all scheduled to fly out to Florida for a vacation with my whole family. So he has been waiting and praying that he would at least get the 85 that he needed to be eligible to continue moving forward in licensure in Minnesota.

Today we finally got the news and he not only did well – he hit it out of the park with a score of 111!!! When I called to tell him the news he almost didn’t believe is probably still settling in! I couldn’t be a more proud wife. He worked so hard and we prayed and prayed about this and when I called him today he said “God gets the glory on this one”!

I know that many of you were praying with us and for us during this time and we are so grateful. We both know that God had His hand in this and we continued to be excited about what will happen next. Dominic still has to apply to the MN Bar so every hurdle isn’t yet complete – but this was a HUGE step in the process of moving forward with this new job.

Thank God for good news!! Have a wonderful week!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ornament Exchange

I am participating in something fun this year and wanted to share it with you! Check out Kate's blog for all the details...but do it soon, signup to participate ends in just a few days!

I LOVE Christmas ornaments. Right now we only have 1 tree that we put up every year and I probably have enough ornaments to fill SEVERAL trees. This year we ended up just putting up a few of them, which is probably a good thing because Elijah can't seem to stop himself from touching them.

So basically what happens with the ornament exchange is that you get a name of another person to buy an ornament for and someone else get's your name. And you have the opportunity to bless a "stranger".  So if you love new ornaments like I do please consider joining in on the fun!!

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