July 31, 2008

Heaven's Newest Angel

We just wanted to let you know, that last night our beautiful baby boy left us to go to Heaven. We know that many have been praying and standing strong for us and continue to do so, and for that, we thank you... We treasured the moments we spent with him and we are at peace knowing that he is in Jesus' arms right now.

Thank you for your prayers and we will keep in touch...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

July 30, 2008

Wednesday Update

Once again, we want to express our thanks to each of you who are supporting us with your prayers, scriptures, and words of encouragement.
As of right now, we are at 66 hours since Alyson's water broke. We just heard the heartbeat of Jonathan again and it is a strong 144 beats per minute. The baby continues to move and the nurses keep finding him in a different spot each time they come into check and listen for the heartbeat.
We have had wonderful visits from our family, friends, and pastors from our church that have helped us to continue to stay strong and trust in the Lord.

If you would, please pray for the following:
1. The baby to continue to develop his organs and lungs.
2. For Alyson and Jonathan's bodies to resist infection.
3. The amniotic fluid to rebuild and stay close to Jonathan.
4. For Alyson's cervix to stay strong and as closed as possible.

As my mother drove me from my home in McKinney, Texas to the hospital she remembered a chapter in the Bible that Alyson and I are encouraged by.

Psalm 91
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

July 29, 2008

Tuesday Update

Before I give an update, Alyson and I both want to express our sincerest gratitude towards every one of you! We have been so blessed by all the prayers, all the scriptures, and the kind words that you have given to us. Even those who we don't even know...thank you! This truly shows what the Body of Christ really is. Alyson and I have both felt the Holy Spirit in this room as we have read encouraging words and have talked to so many people who have given us their support.

We both wanted to give you a quick update. As of right now, 2:oo PM on Tuesday, we are at 36 hours after Alyson's water breaking. Her temperature has remained below normal (no sign of infection), and Jonathan's heartrate has remained strong. Alyson can still feel the little guy moving and tap dancing. The location of his heartbeat even moved from one side to other last night. So he is still going strong! Please continue to keep praying because things need to continue like this for weeks to come.

Alyson told me to let you all know that she wants to post a blog herself as soon as I bring her her laptop from home.

God Bless you all,

Justin, Alyson, and baby Jonathan

Exodus 23:25-26 "Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span."

Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

July 28, 2008

Please Pray With Us

Yesterday Alyson went to Abilene, Texas to visit some friends of ours. After she arrived in the afternoon, her back started hurting. At first she thought it was back pain from driving but then she noticed she was also having some bleeding. She called her doctor in McKinney, who advised her to go to the local hospital to get checked out. She was quickly checked in to labor and delivery where they started to monitor her and baby Jonathan. At first, they didn't think that she was having contractions but over the next five hours they realized she was because they increased to 1-3 minutes apart. Right before her water broke at 10 PM, her doctor pretty much said that if the baby was delivered at this time, at 22 weeks, there wasn't really a chance of survival.
Once her water broke, they gave antibiotics and miraculously over the next 8 hours, her contractions slowed pretty much to a hault by 7 AM. The doctor was able to get a Fort Worth Hospital that has a high level NICU to admit her today. This was a huge answer to prayer since Abilene doesn't have any such NICU. At 12:30 PM, Alyson was flown by helicopter where she arrived at Harris Methodist Hospital of Fort Worth at 1:45 PM. Since then, she has been admitted into the high risk floor where cases like hers are their main focus. So far everyone has told her that she has the best doctors and nurses.
As of right now, 8:00 PM, Alyson has had very minimal contractions throughout the day, Jonathan's heartrate has remained in the 150's, which is right where it should be, and they are considered stable . Pretty much this means that Alyson has a new home until delivery, which we are believing will be many weeks from now. Amazingly contrary to everything we knew, babies can survive without amniotic fluid as long as there is no infection. We will continue to keep you posted.
In the midst of the hardest days of our lives, God has shown his incredible faithfulness. We just wanted to share with you some ways we've seen this:
1. We have prayer warriors here and all across the country, some we are finding out are people we don't even know.
2. Alyson head nurse in Abilene is the sister of one of our closest friends.
3. Alyson has been surrounded by medical staff who are believers in Christ (Example: Last night before I was even there, and prior to her water breaking, Alyson was faced with a decision to either go ahead and have a C-section or continue on with the possibility to deliver breach with the potential of the baby having even more injuries. Alyson told the doctor that she didn't know what to do, and she asked the doctor what would he would do, and his response was, "do you want to pray?" So the doctor prayed with Alyson. Afterward, Alyson decided to continue on, and the doctor told her that she had made the right choice.)
4. Late last night, as I was packing to drive the 3 hours and 30 minute drive to Abilene, one of my best friends, Lance, called me up and asked me if he could drive me to Abilene. During the drive, Lance and I prayed together and asked for God's peace, which he gave me.
5. When I arrived at the hospital in Fort Worth, about an hour after Alyson arrived, we met with a doctor. This doctor only talked to us about the negative statistics and issues the baby would have if the baby was born this week. Right when I was praying against the negativity, doubt, and worry, my sister text messaged me, "Justin, everything is going to be ok. God's ordered your steps thus far."
6. Right after this doctor left, I opened the door and recognized a pastor from our church who surprised us with his visit. We immediately went into prayer together asking God for healing and protection and rebuking negative thoughts and worries. (The text message from my sister and the visit from one of our pastors couldn't have come at a better time while we were thinking about the negative possibilities.
7. Alyson's mother's friend told her about a dream she had last night about Alyson. Her dream was of Jesus crawling into bed with Alyson cradling her and hugging her as the contractions eased.

We ask that you continue to pray with us. Please pray with us about the following:
1. That both Alyson and Jonathan remain stable.
2. For Alyson to carry Jonathan at least two weeks. (These next weeks are crucial in the development of our baby.)
3. For wisdom from the doctors on the right treatment options.
4. Patience and peace for Alyson as she lays horizontally, for a minimum of two weeks. (She says that she is willing to stand on her head if she needs to.)
5. Strength, wisdom, and peace for me as I am faced with having to work and give my time to my family.
6. Time for our baby to grow and have all of his major organs and systems develop enough to be able to survive ouside of Alyson.
7. Overall, for miracles in each and every way.

We are constantly feeding ourselves with God's Word.
Philippians 4:8-9 "And now, dear brothers, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you."
Matthew 18:19-20 "I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them."
Psalm 136:4 "give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever."
Psalm 139:13-16 "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it. You watch me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

Alyson and I thank you for your agreement and prayer with us and are genuinely humbled by the support and love from our friends and family. We love you all and will keep you updated.

July 24, 2008

Great friends...

Here is the promised post of the great time we had with my friends the last two weeks...

My best friend from high school, Jenny, along with her husband Jeff, helped another set of friends, Katie and her husband Nic, move across country from Boston back to California. They were nice enough to take a slightly southern detour into Texas to spend a few days visiting us!! We had such a wonderful time with them! We girls had a great time cooking a meal all together. One thing I love about spending time with these friends is that they always make me laugh--what fun!

Jenny, Jeff, Katie, Nic, me, Justin, Betsy
With the cars...
Eating our dinner...
Best friends--always!!!
The last part of my friend extravaganza was when one of my best friends from college, Dara, and her daughter Brianna came to visit for a long weekend. She was even nice enough to leave her little boy Riley and husband Brian at home so we could have a girls weekend! I really feel so lucky to have such great friends that are willing to come all the way to Texas to spend time with me!
Dara, Brianna, and I had so much fun--we went to the waterpark, a big flea market, swam in our little pool, and went to Sam Moon (a great purse store)! Fun girl time--poor Justin, who had to work most of the time!! Here are some pictures from their time here.

Brianna and Betsy are best buddies--I think Betsy played fetch with Brianna more in those four days than she has in years!! =)
Such a cutie pie!
Having fun in the wave pool...
Dara and Brianna on the big water slide!
Chilling in our little pool!

I can hardly believe what a little lady Brianna is. She will be 6 in December, and it just amazes me how much she has changed since the last time I saw her! She was born just 7 days before I got married, so I can hardly believe she is starting kindergarten next week! It goes so quickly--I know if will feel like just a blink and our little Jonathan will be starting kinder, too! Time sure flies! Thanks everyone for coming to visit us--I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciated it!!!

July 23, 2008

22 week update

What a great couple of weeks we've had!!! Some of my closest friends, some from high school and some from college, came to visit me over the past few weeks! I feel so lucky to have such great friends who would come out of their way to spend time with me! I will post details soon--still waiting for a few pictures to be emailed to me so I can put them up here!

On the baby front, some EXCITING things are happening!!! As (I think) I've mentioned before, I started feeling our baby kicking from the inside at about 19 weeks. Absolutely amazing, but I was dying to feel him kick from the outside, and let Justin feel him as well! That happened for the first time on Saturday, July 19th! I was lying in bed in the morning, feeling his usual movement, and I put my palm against my belly (for the hundredth time!) hoping to feel a kick. Sure enough, about 30 seconds later, a tap on my hand!!! I think I jumped and looked at my stomach, but then proceeded to feel him kick two more times!!! Justin was out playing golf with some buddies, so of course, the first thing I did was text him the great news!! He actually checked his phone and was excited too! Our friend Dara and her little girl were here, and I told them at breakfast that I had felt the baby kick. So sweet little 5 1/2 year old Brianna, leans her head onto my tummy, and sure enough, we feel the kick at the same time! Jonathan kicked her in the head! Not to sure how good of a start that was for him with the ladies, kicking a girl in the head, but she sure was excited!! =) Justin was able to feel him for the first time Sunday morning. Jonathan was kicking up a storm on my right side, which seems to be his place of choice right now, and Justin was able to feel the kick on his hand! He was so excited to finally connect with our little guy! Since then, he's only felt him one more time, but I'm sure in the months to come, he will be feeling him regularly! Now on to wait for the next phase, which all our friends say is spooky--seeing him moving!!
Another piece of big baby news is that our bedding has started arriving!! After the HOURS I have spent looking, I finally found just the right set. Of course, like most of my favorites, it turned out to be a discontinued line from Koala Baby called Locomotion. However, this ended up being a Great thing!! I have found all sorts of stuff on ebay, in great condition, for a fraction of the price!! I really thought I had wanted the bedding new, but I just couldn't pass up these deals! I think I'll be able to get everything I wanted, including extra matching material, to make other things from, for about $100!! Amazing! It is such an adorable set, mostly blue and green with bits of red, and it has all sorts of things that move: trucks, trains, boats, planes, and caars--perfect for a little boy!!
Below are some pictures of what has already come in. I'm still waiting for the quilt, dust ruffle, and a few more pillows, but I wanted to show you how cute what we have gotten is!
Train pillow
Bumper and crib sheet (sheet is actually from a really similar line from Target that I can get extra pieces from if I want)
Crib, so far. Will look even better once the dust ruffle comes!
Even a lightswitch cover and diaper stacker. We also got some wallpaper border--not enough for the whole room, but maybe can be used in another cute way!
Adorable night light
I couldn't resist--Justin and Betsy hanging out in the nursery! You can see the ottoman for the glider we bought behind Justin. We are waiting for the chair, but at least the footstool was in stock! It is going to be perfect!
Now on to deciding the color to paint and if we are going to put up chair rail. So many decsions and things to do, but SO MUCH FUN!!!

July 13, 2008

Baby update...

I wanted to post with some updated information about our sweet little guy! As everyone (hopefully!) knows by know, we found out 2 weeks ago that our baby is a boy! See an earlier post for all the details on that great day!

We have decided that his name will be Jonathan Paul Steiner. This is a name that Justin and I had decided on when we were just dating. I've always loved the name Jonathan, and it was a fitting tribute to Justin's late Uncle John. John Steiner was killed in a car accident when Justin was young, but to this day, he tells me of his great memories with his Uncle John. Here is a picture of them doing magic tricks together.

The meaning of the name Jonathan also has a wondeful meaning, "Gift of God", which is truly what this baby is for us! Paul will be his middle name, which is Justin's middle name, his dad's middle name, and his grandpa's middle name as well. So our little boy is joining the Steiner tradition!

We have also been working on planning and getting his room ready. I know, I know...I'm super early (it's July and he's not due until November!), but I'd rather take my time and make his room perfect than be rushing around at the end! =) I have spent many hours looking online for furniture, bedding, and all the things that are needed to have a baby in our house! We found some adorable furniture at Sears, and it came a lot faster than I thought it would! Justin and I spent Saturday putting it together, moving our guest room into the other bedroom, and starting to get his room together. We have a long way to go, since we haven't yet chosen bedding, colors, and we still need to decide on the perfect glider and ottoman. But I was just so excited about the nursery furniture actually being put together and in his room, that I wanted to share the pictures with you! I'll keep updating as the room gets more and more put together!

His crib--it can also change into a toddler bed and a full size bed!

Cute dresser
Changing table
Look--already clothes in his closet!! We have received so many wonderful clothing presents, plus we found an awesome deal on baby boy clothes on Craiglist, so we are already adding to his wardrobe! I'm now working on figuring out what bedding/colors we want. Gosh it's hard to make all these decisions! But I love it!! =)

I'm still feeling really great--My belly is definitely growing! Here is my 20 week belly...
No stretch marks yet--thank goodness! I can definitely tell that he is growing --just this week I have felt a lot heavier in my belly. Yikes--20 weeks more to go!! I have a feeling that I'll be huge! But it will all be completely worth it!! I'm also feeling him moving a lot more inside me. I think he's still to small to kick really hard though, since I still can't feel anything from the outside. It is going to be such a wonderful day when Justin feels him for the first time!!
More to come soon!

Finally...a new post!

Hello everyone---I'm still here! I'm so sorry that it has been so long since my last post! I know I said that with my last post, too! =) I was planning on being a much better blogger in June, but time flew by and I was busier than I thought I would be!

The last few weeks have been incredibly full, but wonderful! I thought that once the schoolyear was over that I would have some relaxation time in June. That didn't quite happen though! I was lucky enough to get a job as a instructional specialist during summer school. It was a great job to have for 3 1/2 weeks--I got to work with more groups of kids and had a lot of fun! It ended on Friday, and I really am glad to be done! My plan is to be at home full time now...planning and getting ready for Jonathan! (Watch for my next post for more info on our little guy, his new furniture, and some more updates!)

The last couple weeks of June we enjoyed having my parents in town. They are hoping to relocate to Texas by this fall, and were here working on details and looking for work. This would be such a huge move for them, after spending over 30 years in Fresno, where I grew up! They are really praying and trusting God to show them to the perfect jobs, the perfect home, at the perfect time. I know they are really excited about their first grandbaby, and we would love for them to be nearby! They were so helpful to us while they were here as well. I told them they were my little house-fairies!! Every day Justin and I came home to a delicious dinner cooked, laundry done, and even clothes ironed!! Thank you so much, mom and dad, for all your help during a busy time!! You can come stay anytime!! ;-)

We left on Tuesday for a great 4th of July trip in Colorado and Nebraska. Every year, Justin's extended family has a yummy barbeque and a huge firework show. The last time we were able to get there was in 2004, so it was definitely time for us to get back there! We were able to spend some quality time with his family and relax!! Justin even went out with the guys for a round of golf before the meal! Just what he needed! We were also blessed by his family with our very first baby shower for Jonathan! Since we don't get to see the whole family very often, they wanted to throw us a shower! What a great day! See below for pictures of our time in Nebraska.

Ryley, the Rocker Princess
Before going up to Nebraska on Thursday night, we spend a few days in Denver with Justin's sister Joy, husband Ryan, and our neice Ryley. She is turning 5 next week, and since we couldn't be there with her for her actual birthday, we wanted to spend a special fun day with her while we were there. We told her it was her pretend birthday! We took her to a great amusement park called Heritage Square in Golden, Colorado all day on Wednesday. We had a great time... Uncle Justin especially! I don't think that Justin has EVER ridden as many kiddie rides as he did that day!! Ryley had a blast, and we did too! Even though being pregnant, I couldn't ride the rides, I loved being the photographer and just enjoying watching their faces!

Following are just some of the pictures of Ryley and Justin riding just about every ride in the park!!!

On the swing
Riding the hot air balloon ride...Justin just about took up the whole bucket!

Ryley, the Nascar driver
(not quite ready for her driver's license yet, but she did a great job!)

Justin got quite the workout with this paddleboat!

The ride of the day...Justin and Ryley rode this roller coaster 9, yes 9, times!! She loved it, and screamed the whole time!

Something I could do--mini-golf!

No holes-in-one, but it was fun!

Hiking up to the best ride of the day... You can kind of see the amusement park in the background.

This was the Alpine Slide--an AWESOME use of a ski lift in the summer!!! You ride the chair lift up to the top of a pretty high hill (gorgeous view!), and then have a great ride down!

The warning said that this wasn't recommended for pregnant woment, but to make your own decision. I just had to try it...I had seen pictures and heard about this for years, and just couldn't miss it! I didn't go too fast and I was really careful!! =)

Justin and Ryley ready for their ride.
It was such a fun ride!! You slide all the way down this long track--what a blast!!

Snow White Ryley and the wicked witch

The final rides of the day...the carousel and the ferris wheel.

The 4th of July Barbeque at Dana and Cindy Korell's house (Justin's extended family)...
Having some fun with Ryley
Family picture--Justin's mom's branch of the family

Justin and Ryan--with their Chuck Norris shirts. I just don't get why he's so popular.

Ryley with Priscilla--the cutest little dog--just her size!!
Pictures from our family baby shower...

Cute decorations and cake!!

We got so many wonderful presents: gift cards, a diaper genie, onesies, a play mat, adorable outfits with matching bibs, hats, and blankets, and even an Nebraska outfit! Now Jonathan is official part of the Nebraska family!!

The belly--at 19 1/2 weeks.

Fun with Ryley--she was our present assistant!

What a wonderful week that we had in Colorado and Nebraska! There is just nothing like being with family, especially when it has been awhile in between visits. Thank you everyone for making out time so wonderful! We love you all and promise that we'll see you again soon!