Monday, November 30, 2009

Those Eyes!

I finally got some pictures of Eli with his eyes open. It's not that he's asleep all the time (oh how I wish that was the case at 2a.m. last night) but it's just that my hands are the most free to grab the camera when he is asleep. I did manage to catch these pictures the other day while he was happily swinging in his swing. Aren't his eyes beautiful? I guess I would call them a very steely blue/grey- though at times they also look a bit brownish/greenish. If I were to guess I think he is going to have hazel eyes like Joe (I call it the mystery eye color since Joe's seems to change depending upon the day)! Either way I love staring into those beautiful eyes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I have much to be thankful for these days. There is something about having a baby right around Thanksgiving that really puts this in perspective. We are blessed beyond measure.
Not only are we blessed with all of the things that really matter but we have also been very blessed in tangible ways lately. There have been many family and friends going out of their way to take care of us (both before Eli's birth and now after). And there seems to be a non-stop delivery these days of goodies to our house in the form of flowers, gifts, and lots of hand-me-downs for little Eli! And so many people have also been thinking of Lily- bringing/sending little gifts. My sister-in-law (when they visited yesterday) even brought homemade sugar cookie dough and sprinkles so that we would have a fun little project to do with Lily. This is just one example of the thoughtfulness we have experienced from many around us. Another example is the picture of Eli above. As I looked at the picture I realized that everything in that photo has been given or lent to us. The little newborn cushion he is on is borrowed from my friend Amy. The blanket he is laying on was from our friends the Winslows. The knit blanket on top of him was knit by a women in one of the churches that supports our ministry. The outfit he was wearing was a hand-me-down from a friend. And I could go on and on...
So yes, this holiday season I am beyond thankful- for all the things that really matter like faith, family, friends, etc... but I am also thankful to all of you who have provided for our physical needs. While I haven't managed to get any thank you cards out yet (they will be coming)- please know how grateful we are and how loved you have made us feel!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Above: Lily and Brenna "baking cookies"
Below: Eli and his Aunt Mary
Happy Thanksgiving (a day or two late)!!!
I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends!
We didn't really know how to plan for this Thanksgiving given that we weren't sure when we would be having a baby! One of the reasons I was so excited to be induced on Monday was that I knew I would be home by Thanksgiving- and I was (we actually came home the day after he was born- Tuesday). And Joe's family went WAY out of their way to make it a nice Thanksgiving for us. Joe's mom and dad cooked an entire Thanksgiving feast and brought it all the way up here for us! Can you imagine? Think about how much work it is to cook a holiday meal for 3 families and now imagine packing up the entire thing to drive two hours north!! We were also joined by Joe's brother and his family for the afternoon. It meant so much to me that they all made such an effort to be with us on Eli's first Thanksgiving!
Of course Eli was having a bit of a hard day nursing and I felt like I spent about 75% of the day upstairs in his room trying to calm him or get him to eat, but such is life with a newborn. I did get to enjoy the delicious meal and manage to watch a little bit of the Green Bay Packers game. The best part of the day though was watching Lily and her cousin Brenna play and laugh and just have the best time together. Lily likes to play with other friends, but there is nobody that she plays with like she plays with her cousin Brenna- it's like they have a special bond. Oh why can't they live closer?:)
The one thing that I didn't get to do on Thanksgiving was take very many pictures. To steal my friend Sarah's phrase, "I'm off my game." It's true- I've seriously slacked off in the picture taking department this week. And when I do manage to catch a few shots it's usually done quickly (thus not as good). Hopefully I'll remedy that this next week...we'll see.
Overall it was a great Thanksgiving because all day (even in the moments where I felt overwhelmed) I was reminded of how much I have to be thankful for- by looking around at our wonderful family who made such an effort to love us that day, or at Lily playing, or at my husband who was doing everything he could to help me, or at our precious newborn baby boy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday To You...

Eli's Birthday Cake

Above: We let Lily blow out the candles in Eli's place

Below: Here is what Eli was doing while we celebrated his birthday!

I wanted to do a few fun things for Lily when Eli was born. One of the things I did was that I had Lily bring a present to Eli in the hospital (I don't have pictures, but it was a cute knit puppy stuffed animal). A few weeks ago she even helped me wrap it and she had been excited to give it to him ever since. Lily also recieved a present from Eli- it was a toy doctor's kit. I'm told that she had a blast the next day (while we were still in the hospital) pretending to be a doctor and a nurse. I believe she's already used the entire box of Curious George bandaids that I included with the kit!:)
I also had Lily and Nonnie (Joe's mom) make Eli a birthday cake while we were in the hospital. Lily really likes helping to bake and loves all things having to do with birthday cake (singing happy birthday, blowing out the candles, licking the candles, eating cake, etc...). So we did all of that to celebrate Eli's birthday! Lily and Nonnie baked and decorated the cake and the evening we came home from the hospital (just one day after he was born) we had dinner and celebrated with Eli's birthday cake!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Here is Lily saying, "Gobble, Gobble" to her turkey! And yes, she is dressed in a poodle skirt costume!:)
Can you believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving?!!
Last week Lily and I did a little Thanksgiving project making handprint turkeys! We had a great time coloring and tracing each other's hands (to make the feathers).
Lily decided to name her turkey "Mouse" so I named mine "Cat."
It was a fun little project and we will keep our turkeys to use with Lily's puppet theatre.
We have lots more to post, but in the meantime I thought I would share about this little project!

Eli's Birth

Above: One very tired looking mama and one adorable sleepy baby
Below: The 3 of us right after Eli's birth
I know that some of you really want to hear all about Eli's birth, so here you go (I'll try not to be too graphic)!:)
First let me say that comparing Lily and Eli's birth is literally like night and day- they were that different! Similar wonderful outcome, but totally different experiences!
So on Monday morning we went into the hospital in Bangor for me to be induced. I was awake at 4a.m. that morning- excited and pretty nervous. The hospital backed us up 45 minutes, but we were still there by 7:15a.m. It was a strange feeling driving to the hospital without being in labor. With Lily I had been in labor for 17 hours before I was admitted to the hospital. It was a much more comfortable drive, but an odd feeling knowing what we were headed towards. It sort of felt like asking someone to inflict pain on you!:) And yet I felt really good about our decision to do the induction.
Once we were at the hospital and checked in (and Joe passed his flu screening) the nurse got us all settled in. They did my IV, vital sign checks, and fetal and contraction monitors. I was actually really happy to find out that I was already having regular contractions on my own (just a few minutes apart)- it's just that I wasn't feeling all of them (which is why I thought that they were so irregular). That was further confirmation for me that it was time for our little guy to be born! At around 8:30a.m. the nurse started a gradual dose of pitocin to kick in my labor and make my contractions stronger and closer together. About half an hour later my doctor came to check on me and break my water.
Those first two hours of the induction were fairly relaxed and my nerves began to calm down a bit. They continued to increase my pitocin every 15 minutes and while I was definitely feeling all of the contractions with increasing strength I still felt like the pain was manageable. But after two hours that all began to change and very quickly my contractions began to hit me like a freight train. I am still amazed at how quickly I transitioned into active labor and how fast the contractions became as strong as they did. At around noon I was experiencing the benefits on an epidural! The time that it took for them to put the epidural in was by far the most difficult as I was experiencing really painful contractions and trying to hold very still at the same time (Joe claims that I nearly crushed his hand from squeezing so hard)!:)
The epidural worked great and I was able to call my dad and then lay down and relax. Over the next hour and a half I went from 3 to 10cm dialated!! As I was resting my nurse would come in every now and then and ask if I was experiencing any pressure. Apparently as they were watching the baby's heart rate they suspected that the baby was getting pushed down and that I was getting close. I thought they must be crazy. I was HOPING that we might have the baby by early that evening, but I thought that I still had many hours ahead of us. I did begin to notice an unusual pressure (that was painful but tolerable) with each contraction, but I just thought there was no way I was ready to have the baby. So when the nurse came in to check me we were BEYOND shocked when she said that I was fully dialated and that I was ready to have the baby!!!
In that moment I can't even tell you how much joy, relief, shock, and excitement that we were feeling. When the nurse said that the baby was right there, ready to be born, and that I wouldn't likely have to push very much I welled up with tears. Not only was my labor very long with Lily (26 hours), but after two hours of pushing her head turned and got stuck and the doctor had to do a vacum delivery. So when the nurse said that this delivery would be much different I was so overwhelmed with relief! Five hours of labor- unbelievable!!!
Right then the nurse started getting everything ready as my doctor ran over from her office. As Dr. Rinaldi rushed in she just kept saying, "I can't believe it" as apparently she was just as shocked as I was about how quickly my labor progressed! About 10-15 minutes later of pushing our amazing little Eli was born!!! This time around I was very present and aware of everything that was happening during his delivery (all of the amazing things and the hard/not so pleasant things). I wouldn't have wanted it any other way! When they lay that screaming little bundle on your stomach there is nothing like it in the world! What an incredible experience!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Elijah Daniel Cousins

Shortly after being born

Lily & Eli meet for the first time

Eli Daniel Cousins
Born Monday November 23rd at 1:20p.m.
9lbs 1oz
21 inches long
The newest love of our lives

Sunday, November 22, 2009

40 Weeks!!!

Well, today is my due date (40 weeks)! And I am still pregnant. I was so sure that this baby would be early. Apparently I am never right about these things! On Friday night I was having lots of contractions (some pretty strong) and I thought it might be the beginning of labor. But they were still really irregular and after 4 or 5 hours they slowed down and everything is back to "normal." So here we are on Sunday just getting all of the last minute things ready (for example, I finally packed my hospital bag last night). Joe's parents come tonight to take care of Lily and we will go to the hospital tomorrow morning at 6a.m. to be induced! I guess I could still go into labor on my own today, but at this point I am planning for tomorrow! It feels like we have been waiting forever for this baby to be born and yet at the same time I just can't believe that we will actually meet him tomorrow!!!
The other day Lily came up to me randomly and kissed my belly-so cute! This picture was taken yesterday of her giving her baby brother a little love (and yes she is wearing a party dress,a sweatshirt, a tutu, fairy wings, and assorted jewelry- she's very excited about dressing up these days)! Very exciting times around our house! Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery for me and the baby and for a smooth transition for Lily and the whole family. We look forward to sharing our exciting news soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Birthday Cookie!

On Wedn. we celebrated Joe's birthday with a giant homemade chocolate and coconut cookie! It's Joe's favorite kind of cookie so I decided to try to make it as big as possible- and it turned out great! Unfortunately I'm not quite so experienced in writing with icing so that part is kind of sad- but it sure tasted great! Joe had class all day (his EMT class) so we had to settle for a small little celebration with some tasty takeout Chinese food. I was happy that I didn't have the baby that day- I just feel like everyone in the family needs to have their own special day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


In the Lifelines ministry we are always trying to think of new and creative ways to reach out to students on campus- to get them involved in healthy, engaging activities where we can meet them, build relationships with them, and eventually get to share with them the hope that we have found in Christ. This isn't always an easy task- especially with men on campus. These days it can be pretty hard to get students away from their video games long enough to engage them in anything. So this semester Joe started a weekly outreach on Friday afternoons called "BloodBall." Joe bought this HUGE red ball (it's really big- I'm not quite sure the pictures do it justice)- and every week a group of guys from campus gather on the campus mall to play...I mean attack each other. From my limited understanding they play a game that is similar to rugby- basically there are two teams and each one is trying to get the huge red ball into their scoring zone (like soccer)- 0nly I don't think there are very many rules. It's just kind of a free-for-all with a lot of tackling, running, grabbing, etc... And the guys on campus are loving it. Pretty much every week they have guys who are just passing by come to join them. Most of the guys that play aren't otherwise involved in the Lifelines ministry. In fact many of them are from one of the fraternities on campus- and just recently a bunch of guys from the Rugby team have been coming out to play! It's been a great way for Joe (and our intern John) to get to know guys on campus and to introduce them to what we do with Lifelines. And like all the other guys Joe loves it- he comes home a little sore and beaten up- but it seems like a great way for these guys to get outside.
Lily and I ventured onto campus last Friday to try to get some pictures of them playing. As you can see it got dark pretty quick so I wasn't able to get a lot of great pictures- but I got a few to give you an idea. I also didn't want to get too close to the action (since there really aren't any boundaries or rules)! For some reason Lily was really intimidated by the guys- and at one point she said, "Mommy, I don't like boys." I'm pretty sure that this is music to Joe's ears!:)

Monday, November 16, 2009


A few days ago Lily and I ventured onto campus to take some pictures of Joe's weekly "Bloodball" outreach (post, pictures, and explanation to follow in a few days). Once it got dark and cold (at about 4:45p.m.- so sad) Lily and I turned around to head home. As we turned this is what we saw- the most amazing sunset. God's creation is absolutly incredible!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Introducing Bitty Baby!

I would like to introduce you to Bitty Baby- the newest member of our family! Now don't get too excited- this isn't THE baby (I'm still pregnant)- but this is Lily's new little baby doll. Maybe you've heard of the American Girl doll collection. Well, this is the American Girl baby. My grandma (Lily's great grandma) bought this doll for her and it arrived at our house a couple of weeks ago! Lily has been loving on her ever since. She loves to change her diapers, rock her, and even entertain her (you can see Lily in the last picture shaking a rattle for her). My grandma and Aunt Pam also bought her a few outfits for her baby (including a diaper bag/changing pad that Lily LOVES)! Lily often calls her Bitty Baby- but has also named her "Libby" after her friend that we spent all summer with in Colorado. I'm thinking (and hoping) that Baby Libby will distract Lily and help her adjust when the real newest addition enters our family! Thanks Grandma and Aunt Pam!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves!

Chasing leaves through the air (above and below)!

We have leaves everywhere! Lily has had a blast playing in them (as you have seen in some other posts)! She even enjoyes "raking" them! Joe has raked the yard a number of times, but with a two year old who likes to rake them, run through them, jump in them, swing through them, hide in them, throw them, and chase them through the air- well, they simply don't stay in a neat pile for very long! Maybe Joe will be able to get them out of the yard before the snowflakes fly, but I'm not counting on it!:)

Friday, November 13, 2009

We Have a Date!

My due date is a week from Sunday (Nov.22nd)! Over the last few weeks it seemed like I was making some progress and I was convinced that our little guy would arrive early. But after a week full of irregular contractions I haven't made any further progress (I saw my doctor this morning). I was convinced that I would be further along- but apparently I am very bad at predicting these things! My doctor assures me that things could happen very quickly- so we'll see. In the meantime the doctor and I decided this morning that they will induce me if the baby hasn't arrived by Monday Nov.23rd (the day after my due date)! Because I had a very difficult time delivering Lily (and almost ended up having a c-section) we want to make sure that this little guy doesn't get too big for me to deliver. So, a week from Monday it is! Of course it is still my hope and desire that I would go into labor on my own before then. And really I hadn't made any progress at all with Lily and I still went into labor with her the day before her due date so I am optimistic that I may not have to wait to be induced. But... I have to confess that I am slightly relieved that we have a date set...I am relieved to know that I only have 10 more days left (at the most)... and I am relieved that if everything goes smoothly with his birth that I won't be in the hospital over Thanksgiving! So, 1o days and counting (but hopefully more like one or two)!:) We are ready to meet you little man!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shower Tree!

Instead of hosting lots of wedding and baby showers our church instead sponsors a "Shower Tree" for these events. They put up a little tree in the church lobby and hang suggestions for shower gifts. Over the course of a couple weeks people in the church can come and drop off shower gifts under the tree! It's really a pretty good idea! Our church did a baby shower tree for us and about a week and a half ago I got to bring home all the goodies and spend a fun Sunday afternoon opening them up! We got lots of adorable clothes, homemade blankets, burp cloths, bibs, and even some gift cards (which I have already spent on some basics like diapers, wipes, and pacifiers)! We have such wonderful and generous people in our church and we felt very loved! Thanks to all of you there for continuing to make us feel like we are really a part of a church family!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Nursery!

The baby's nursery is done! Well, actually I have a few more toys to clean and another wall project that I'm saving for the Spring- but everything else is done! All of the baby gear is ready to go, his clothes are washed and put away, and the ity bity little diapers are stacked!

And I LOVE the way the nursery turned out! It's very clean, simple, and slightly modern. It's a nursery and yet it's not overly "baby" if you know what I mean. And maybe best of all is that I spent very little money converting our office into this wonderful room for our little man!

In fact, most of my favorite touches were created by my mom and I while she was here visiting in October. Most of the ideas were mine, but my mom is the one with the creative power to figure out how to actually make them!

For example, my very favorite part of the room is the mobile hanging over the glider. I came up with the original idea, my mom and I modified it, and then my mom figured out how to actually create it! And it's one of those rare things that actually turned out so much BETTER than I even imagined! I absolutly LOVE it!!! One of my other favorites is the painting over his changing table. I have to admit that what you see here is my second attempt at the painting. The first time I tried it the colors turned out too dark. I tried to brighten it up, but only made it worse. It really ended up looking a little bit psycho in the end. Joe and my parents thought I was crazy, but I just had to do it over again- and this time I was so happy with the results!

So there you have it- our little guy's first room all ready to go. Now we just need a baby!