Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day!

Here are some pictures from Claire's first snow experience...

Our good friend Mike came to visit us this weekend. Here is the snowman he and Spencer made...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Growing Up Fast

It's so hard to believe that it has already been a month since this precious little girl came into our lives. She has already grown up so much, it's hard to believe. Here are a few pictures over the past month.

This one is Claire at the hospital the day after she was born.

Claire getting ready for her first big outing at two weeks - a Thanksgiving dinner at our church.

I love watching Claire's face while she sleeps - she makes the best expressions! I'm just ready for her to smile at me when she is awake!

Don't be fooled, she is really very sweet. She just looks super intimidating in this picture.

Claire's mommy (I find myself increasingly referring to myself in third person these days) has had quite a ride over this past month. From the rough delivery to surgery to infections to complications and mistakes made by the medical team during surgery, I have had to change my perspective on what my new mommyhood was "supposed" to look like. Of course, I had envisioned myself leaving the hospital ready to take on the world with my new little girl - running five miles with Claire in the jogging stroller, keeping up with all the housework, cooking gourmet meals, making frequent trips to the store and visiting friends and basically saving the world. Instead I have officially now spent one month on the couch. It's been one of the most trying times of my life, both physically and emotionally. At some point along the line it dawned on me that I should be putting our middle of the night feedings to good use, so I have now moved my quiet time to 2:00 AM. I just finished Genesis (one of my favorite books) and was reminded of how nothing in Joseph's life went as he had planned. Things really didn't make sense when they happened - bad things happening to this good kid. But Joseph didn't despair over his circumstances - instead he allowed God to use them to mold him into the leader he was meant to be. I don't know why I've had to go through all this pain, but I trust God has a good purpose in it. Maybe He's developing my faith or patience. And one wonderful purpose is named Claire Alyse, and she is worth every ounce of pain I have been through.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Girl

Saturday, November 7...3:30 Am...Spencer wakes up to the sound of Jana doing laundry and thinks to himself, "Please let this be what they call 'nesting'" Nope, sorry Spencer - you might as well forget studying for that anatomy test... My water broke!

What a day that was! It started early as we headed to the hospital around 4:00 in the morning. After a few hours of very light contractions, the doctor decided to start a flow of Pitocin to help speed things up a little. Well, it sped things up all right! I got the Pitocin early in the afternoon, between 1:00 and 2:00. Within about an hour I was feeling the contractions pretty heavily. The nurse checked and I was dilated to a 6; the next time she checked I was at 7cm; and 10 minutes later I told Spencer, "I think I have to push!" He ran and got the nurse and sure enough, I had progressed to 9 1/2 in that small amount of time! Claire was not ready to wait any longer! After pushing for about half an hour, Claire arrived in this world at 4:58 PM. Her daddy and I loved her at first sight. I soon realized that things were not over yet, though, because the doctor seemed to be inflicting even more pain now than I had felt during labor. As it turns out, little Miss Claire was in such a hurry to get out that she was not very careful with her mommy, and I had multiple 3rd degree tears and had lost a large amount of blood. I was able to endure labor and delivery without an epidural, but now I had to be taken to the OR and put to sleep to repair the damage! Not a great experience...but it was all worth it after one look at this precious little girl.

Claire Alyse Shugart...7 lbs...20.5 in...11/7/09 @ 4:58PM

More pictures to come! God is so good!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wonderful Maker

Spencer has been out of school for a few days for a short fall break, and we have really enjoyed spending some time together without having to think as much about school, studying, and anatomy terms! Thursday we went to the Blue Ridge Parkway to take some pictures and do a little running/hiking on a trail, and then Sunday we hiked to the top of Mount Pinnacle, just a few miles from our house. We so enjoyed the time together and were completely amazed by the breathtaking beauty of God's creation!

Starting out on our seven and a half mile hike (I begged Spencer to just let me say "eight-mile hike" because it sounds so much better than "seven and a half mile hike" but he wouldn't let me)...
Here are some pictures from the top of the mountain...
We could see our whole town from the pinnacle!
This is one of my favorite close-ups...

There were so many pretty waterfalls along the way!

Psalm 95:4 - "In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him"
It is truly amazing that the Author of all this beauty would love us so infinitely, even to the point of clothing Himself in flesh and willingly taking our sin on Himself on the cross. What a wonderful Maker, what a wonderful Savior!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yay for my Camera!

I got a new camera when I graduated from seminary - a Nikon d40 - in preparation for some serious baby photography in November. Yesterday I was playing with the camera, trying out different settings, and I used the self-timer to take a couple of maternity pictures. I was excited about the results and can't wait to try it out on ClaireAlyse!

34 weeks! Only six weeks to go!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Little Claire's nursery is coming along. I've had a lot of fun decorating...and watching my sweet, patient husband go through the man-grief of building all the "easy to put together" furniture :) Here are some updated pictures of Claire's room...

Spencer's mom refinished this table and put tile on the top, making the most beautiful changing table! The next picture shows off the tiling that she did. Everyone who has seen it agrees that Mrs. Kay should do this professionally!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I think she has your nose...

Today the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to have a FREE 3D ultrasound at the local community college! Miss Claire was not exactly cooperative, but the sonographer did get a couple of pictures of her face, although the quality is not the best because of the way Claire's head was turned...

Here you can see her face, kind of from the side. She is facing toward our left and is resting her cheek on her little fist. If you don't see it at first, don't give up :)

The next one is called "Pouty Face"

And, of course, her foot. For some reason, we always get really good pictures of her foot.

Spencer was in class, so he didn't get to come to the ultrasound today...but my parents (aka "Papa and Nan") made the trip to get their first glimpse of their granddaughter!

Here is Claire's Papa, doing his best imitation of his granddaughter...

Here is Nan, talking to Aunt Jeni on the phone...

Papa and Nan

Here's me at 33 weeks!

We had a good time and we all praise the Lord for His blessings! Can't wait to meet Claire Alyse in just seven weeks!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This One's for Jordan!

Alright Mrs. Lewis, you asked for belly pics, so here they are!!!
This was around twenty weeks, I think.

Same shirt, six weeks later!

And this one was taken today at twenty-nine weeks! My how she has grown :)

Here are a couple more pictures. I'm having a lot of fun decorating the nursery on a budget. I really wanted to have Claire's name above her bed, so I cut out and painted the letters in her name, mounted them on scrapbook paper, and hung them in inexpensive frames. Here's the result...

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm back!

Okay, my track record for keeping up with our blog is not off to a very good start. But now that things have settled down a bit (at least for me) I think I'll be able to do better! We moved to our new little home in Sylva, NC exactly one month ago. Spencer has been in school now for a week, and the pattern in his life is this: get up, eat breakfast, study, go to class, eat lunch, more class, study with classmates, come home, eat supper, study, then sleep. He's a trooper - he is really working hard to get off to a good start in PT school.

I am spending my days running errands, reading, cleaning, and trying to look for a part-time job or work that I can do from home. I've made a few contacts in some area schools and am waiting to hear about some possible positions that will open up soon. We are praying about what the Lord has for me to do to help provide an income and yet try to be at home as much as possible when little Claire Alyse arrives.

Speaking of Baby Shugart, she has grown in size and strength lately! I think some days she is trying to bust out of my belly a little early! She definitely has her father's "I can't sit still for more than five minutes" syndrome! Now that I am in my third trimester, I will be going to the doctor every 2-3 weeks. So far everything has been perfectly normal, praise to the Lord!

Here is Claire's daddy, working hard to put her crib together. Now that we are only eleven weeks from her due date, it's time to start preparing the nursery!

And here is the "finished" least for now. Pink and green it is for little Miss Claire!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome to our lives!

Well hello! I guess it's about time for the Shugarts to get in on this "blog" thing! Since we are at such a transition point in our lives, with family and friends in many places, I thought it might be a good idea to have a place to share our lives with those of you whom we can't see often! We are so blessed...Spencer just got into physical therapy school...I am graduating next month from seminary...and we are expecting our first baby in November! The Lord is good, and His faithfulness gives us peace amid all these changes!

Here is our first picture with our sweet little baby growing inside. Ummm... Spencer has decided to call the baby "Truck." I told him we'll talk about it.

And here are the newly complete "Pickard girls." Jeni and I are so blessed to have Bonnie as our new sister. She is perfect for our brother, and we couldn't be prouder!