Friday, February 21, 2014

An attempted walk

Last week, the kids and I were craving adventure.  It has been a month of being pretty shut in because  of the incredible wind and cold and rain.  Well this particular day, it wasn't supposed to rain until the afternoon and the wind was much lighter than it had been.  We ventured out to a beautiful park with trails that are great for kids.  We saw ducks and little birds in the bushes.  We saw a mom with a couple boys and a dog. Suddenly, we hit the puddles...  Zariyah thought it looked fun so she walked right in... just past her knees.  Her boots were full of bacteria laden frozen (there was still ice!) water. This was only about 200 meters from out car and we had intended on about a mile and a half walk.  That dream was over.  Back to the car we went.  Zariyah's feet were already frozen from the water.  Her socks were removed and we headed back home.  

How often do we hold expectations on how days are going to go.  Or how our life is going to go.  What if our 5 year plan doesn't work out quite as we expected or turns in to a 10 year plan or a retirement plan or a never happened plan?  I'm learning to let things go.  I'm learning to set boundaries for what is right for our family and when things don't work out, let it go.  
That walk felt monumental to my tired, overwhelmed brain. I was looking forward to the peace and quiet, but instead I got a freezing cold adventurer that needed to experience what it was like to run into knee-deep water in the middle of winter.  I get it.  I sometimes do that too... not run into knee deep water, but choose to do something that I instantly regret.  It's part of learning.  Just like Zariyah learned that her action probably shouldn't be repeated, I was learning how to let go of my intention and be on point for my child. We went home and played trains and got cozy.  

I feel grateful for the experiences that I get to have with my kids. I'm grateful for being challenged  and having an opportunity to make the right choice in the same way that I expect my kids to make right choices.  I'm learning right along with them. 


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Saturday, February 15, 2014


Today, I'm thankful for laughter.

I've struggled finding joy for years.  It seems that pains from childhood like something one person said or an another person took or an observation made can change the way we perceive the world at a very young age.  Until it comes to the surface.

My very children are bringing back memories from my childhood.  The carefree laughter and pure and simple joys.  I miss feeling free to feel.  I want that joy that is carefree and full of love.  With the help and healing from my father in heaven, my joy is returning.  Love is being made new.  Freedom to be me in the most unique of ways is being given to me.  No more guilt, no more shame, no more fear.  I'm thankful for the gift of children.

Blessings to you and yours

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Just about two years later

A lot has happened in the past couple years.  For instance, this little beauty went from a pretty little chunker to a beautiful little lady.
The boys grew into men
Instead of killing myself in an attempt to recap our last two years, I will tell you what we are doing now...

Nathan is doing great at work. Moving up and enjoying what he does.  I am so thankful to God that He has a job that allows me to be home with my kids.  We are so blessed.

I am staying home with my three and watching another girl 5 days a week.  We homeschool and are learning how to play together nicely right now.  :) She is a wonderful addition to our group and we are thankful for her every day.

Ezekiel is growing up way too fast.  He is tall enough to reach the kitchen faucet and if he struggles he finds a chair and gets the job done.  He loves helping, tickling, snuggling and making inventions.

Isaiah is learning how to express his imagination through story telling.  He told us an adorable story at the dinner table about two friends who were fighting off a thumb...  he was using his one hand for the whole story.  We love seeing his free thinking.

Zariyah is our little spitfire.  Extremely beautiful with an attitude. She is sweet and loves to hug and kiss and snuggle, but also loves her independence.  She can be demanding and can through fits with the best of them, but she is learning boundaries and keeps us laughing almost constantly.  She is a little warrior too... she is constantly instigating attack style play with her brothers... growling like a tiger and chasing until she can catch them and give them a tickle.  Apparently she is pretty good at tickling too... based on the belly laugh and begging for mercy that Zeke was expressing the other day. :)

We are Expecting our 4th baby on July 4th! We are so excited and looking forward to our journey with another little life.

Keep checking back because this blog will soon be more active.


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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Zariyah Toa

Zariyah Toa Allen is 1!!!

One year stats:
Weight: 18 lbs 11.5 oz's - 15th percentile
Height: 30.5 inches - 90th percentile
Head Circumference: 18 1/4 inches - 80th percentile

Her weight is not one the same pattern as it used to be so she is scheduled for another weight check in one month.  Crazy girl!

Zariyah is such an incredible girl.  She is sweet and loud and ferocious. She keeps up with her brothers and is absolutely stunningly beautiful as she does.  She loves digging in the dirt with them while wearing her dresses and keeps her princess fingers poised. Zariyah is a thinker.  She will look you in the eye until she has you figured out.  She will go to some immediately and others have to wait until she is ready.  At one year, Zariyah, babbles...  she reads to us.  She likes to point out tree and practice trying to make the sound.  It sounds more like t-hee which is more like the sound of a deep exhale. She says pretty - p'tee.  She knows she is beautiful and loves to pick her own outfits.  She loves being adored.  She loves her Dad.  She will attack her brothers almost on command and loves to laugh and play with them.  She is the best shower snuggler and wants to be with Mom all.the.time.   She feels safe and special with me. She likes to eat the things I eat and doesn't like it at all if she can't taste my coffee.  poor girl is going to have to get used to that one.  She sleeps through the night, but wakes about 5am and cuddles me in bed for 2 hours until her brothers wake up.  I love those cuddles.  I love the little remnant of co-sleeping that we have left.  I'm so thankful for her.  She has been walking since she was 10 months and has been trying to run lately.  she signs more and claps and nods her head.  Zariyah is perceptive and loves to share her beauty.  She loves beards and playing peek-a-boo.  Chocolate is her favorite and drinking water from a water bottle.  She likes to point out the eyes on her baby doll and likes to take things out and put things in or take things off and put things on.  She has an incredible sense of humor and loves laughing and smiling and hanging her head upside down and having "upside downtown" time.  She has 6 teeth and two on the way...  teething has been crazy lately since she had her first on December 5th!

Dear sweet Zariyah,
as I sit to write this post, I am brought to tears.  Remembering how you first entered the world and changed my life forever seems like ages ago.  Life would not be right without you.  When God gave you to me, he gave me a gift that I never could have known in my wildest dreams would mean so much and be so different than any other.  You love so deeply and so purely.  You have taught me how to be free.  You have taught me how to go back to the beginning with knowing how to be a woman.  You have shown me true beauty.  Zariyah as you grow, please remember the beginning.  Remember how beautiful you are.  Don't let the world tell you that you are not beautiful or that beauty could go to your head.  It can't. Know it.  Own it.  You were created to be a beautiful beacon of light.  You were made to light up a room.   I'm so thankful that I get to be your mom.  I love helping you.  I love teaching you and protecting you.  I love watching you learn and grow.  You are destined for greatness and I'm so blessed to be a part of your journey.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zariyah Toa Allen

Zariyah Toa Allen
Born at home on 5/8/12
at 6:46pm
7 lbs 1.5 oz 19.5 inches

Zariyah's birth story:
I had been having contractions through the week...  I think the first painful one that I had was on Wednesday May 2nd, but it was just one contraction and done.  I think I had another one a couple days later too...  Then I started having a couple a day and so on.  It was odd to me because with the boys, I had braxton hicks throughout the pregnancy, but I definitely didn't have labor contractions until labor started.  So Sunday May 6th we got up early to meet Nathan's parents at the Bellingham airport.  They were returning from their 4 month stay in American Samoa.  After that we went to breakfast with the family and then to church.  At church, worship began and so did my contractions.  I had about three painful ones during the 30 minute worship set.  I started wondering if my body was ready...  They stopped after that and returned that afternoon while eating at a family BBQ.   Once everyone went home, they got closer together.  Probably consistently 30 minutes apart and then closer... 15 minutes apart and in the evening after putting the boys to bed I was timing them at about 10 minutes apart for a couple hours.  We got excited!  We made sure we had everything ready just in case she came that night...  and as soon as I got in bed, they stopped.  I noticed right away and was upset.  I know that so many woman go through false labor, but I didn't think that false labor contractions acted so similar to "real" ones.  I prayed about it and went to sleep.  I woke up around 4:30 with very painful contractions for about an hour and a half.  Then they stopped and I went back to sleep.  I got up around 8 frustrated with my lack of labor and decided to go for a walk around Lake Padden with Keturah. We got to Padden and immediately, Isaiah did a huge poop in his diaper.  We were strapped for time because Keturah had to be at work soon.  I started changing his diaper only to realize that I was so distracted that I forgot to bring diapers! I decided to just put his pants on him and put a waterproof pad in the stroller and walk anyways.  I needed labor to start and I needed to be outside!  I had already told Zeke that we could play in the play area for a bit so we had to try to fit that in too...  once we got to the play area, Isaiah had wet himself.  I felt sooo bad for him!  It was totally a bad mom moment...  I know.  I let Ezekiel play for about 5 minutes and then explained to him that Isaiah was uncomfortable and we needed to go home. While that was going on we talked the whole 2.6 miles about my frustration, what God was trying to teach me through allowing me to go through this pain and frustration.  I realized that I already knew what he was doing.  I needed to change my perspective and start worshipping him through trials instead of whining about it.  During and after the walk the contractions where strong, but probably only 30 minutes apart.  I had to stop through a few of them or pause conversation to focus at some points.
I went home and they continued to be about 30 minutes apart.  They stopped for a couple hours in the afternoon and then picked up again a little bit when we went to a friend's house for dinner.  We had such a nice time with them and I was trying the whole time to just focus on enjoying that time rather than allowing my frustration with the "false labor" to carry on.  Once we got home, they hit hard again and were much more painful than before.  Nathan put the boys to bed while I laid on the bed trying not to cry as the contractions came and went.
I talked to Nathan a bit that night, but it was frustrating for him too.  How could a guy really understand  the frustration of false contractions when they have no idea how they feel?  He really did a great job trying to be understanding, but it was difficult for both of us to know how to deal with it.  We went to sleep and I had a few contractions.  I don't remember any waking me in the night.  So Tuesday I woke up to contractions around 7am when the boys woke up. Nate was getting ready for work and running a little late.  He was trying to help me get set up for the day knowing that I was exhausted and in pain.  by the time he was ready to leave, I was beside myself.  I was in almost constant pain at this point even between contractions because the muscles were so exhausted from the "false labor" I begged Nathan to stay home from work because I didn't want to be alone with the boys in that state of labor.  I felt irritable and didn't know how I would survive the day without snapping at the boys constantly just for being kids or needing me for something.  I needed him to be home.  Finally he got it and walked out of the room and called his boss to let him know he wouldn't be coming in that day.  Thank God!!! I laid in bed all day!  I continued having painful contractions and Nate would come in to sit with me, rub my back or just listen to me in my frustration.  They were still inconsistent at this point... between 30-18 minutes apart.  But painful.  I was really having a hard time though them.  At around 3pm Nate prayed with me.  He sat on the bed and rubbed my arm while I relaxed against him.  I was focusing so hard on relaxing my body that he thought I was sleeping during his prayer.  My husband's prayers are amazing, but when he doesn't think anyone is listening... They are even more amazing.  I am so thankful to have such an amazing man of God as my husband and friend.  As he was finishing his prayer a song came on pandora by Jesus Culture from the album Come Away called My Soul Longs.  It caught my ear and I started singing it in my head:  Let it rain, let it rain.  after I sang it through, I immediately had my most painful contraction.  Then 18 minutes later had another one after continuing to sing to myself.  I felt at that point like God had given me a war cry.  It was my inspiration to carry on and finish what was started.  I got up and the contractions stopped.  I used the bathroom and came out feeling frustrated that the contractions stopped, but announced to Nate that I thought we needed to just call the midwife, Ann, to let her know what had been going on the past few days.  He agreed so I called and explained that I knew that I wasn't in "active labor", but felt like something was happening.  Since my birth with Isaiah happened so quickly, Ann wanted me to come in to check dilation quickly before she had an appointment at 5.  So I jumped in the shower and then Nate and the boys brought me to her office.  I went in by myself at about 4:35.  She checked my dilation and got a strange look and said that I was dilated to a 5!!!  When I went into labor with Ezekiel, I was dilated to a 2 and with Isaiah it was 0.  I was shocked and so relieved that I was actually making progress and that the baby could actually make her appearance soon!  Ann asked if she could strip my membranes and I agreed.  She said that if that didn't send me into labor, she wanted to discuss breaking my water  because walking around at 5 centimeters dilated in my case meant that I could go into labor and have my baby anywhere... driving, at the grocery store, alone with the boys...  anything so I told her that I would talk to Nate about that and that she could call after her 5pm meeting.  I got in the car and told Nate what happened.  I felt such relief that something was actually happening!  I had my first contraction on alabama st on the way home.  The second one when we parked the car and the third one on our door step.  I had a feeling it was actually happening.  I timed the contractions for about 30 minutes and they were consistently 3 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to a minute.  Nathan called an and told her that what was happening reminded him of what happened last time (while in labor with Isaiah) and asked her to come.  Then called Abby who was at work so he called Jesse and he came to pick up the boys.  They were soooo excited! as you can see!!

while they were waiting for Uncle Jesse to pick them up, they started getting concerned for me as my labor was getting more intense.  Between contractions I was explaining to Zeke how the bones in my body had to move to make room for his sister to come out.  Below I was telling him how her head would pop through and then her shoulders...  He thought it was hysterical. I on the other hand was having a hard time thinking about what was to come!

Jesse and our midwife Ann got here at about the same time.  I continued laboring and as it got more intense, focus got more intense too.  This is my mid-contraction focus face.

I was laboring in my room on my knees with arms up on the bed for a while, but once the boys were gone and things quieted down, my body needed to have something lower to lean on.  I moved to the living room so I could lean on the couch.  Ann and her assistant were sitting in the corner talking quietly and Nate sat on the couch talking with me while I went through it.  He was encouraging me, telling me how good I was doing and giving me kisses and rubbed my hands.  He is such an amazing birth partner.  I could not believe how amazing he was.  Every labor and delivery he has been amazing, but it still makes me love him more and more every time.  He is such a blessing.

Suddenly things started changing... first of all... I'm sure all of you want to know this...  I totally started to notice that I had some intense body odor.  In between contractions I actually said "I stink!!"  I needed to use some deodorant stat! Which was odd because I usually don't stink.  I haven't used any deodorant in maybe 3.5 years?  sick.  Anyways, I was getting closer and closer and then my water broke and I made a comment about how I felt what I thought was her face moving back and forth and then she entered the birth canal!  Transition started and I felt every bit of her body moving through.  Man!  I think that was the most painful of my three labors.  Once I started pushing I think I may have pushed for 10 minutes...  It could have been 5.  I know that part always seems like an eternity.  When she reached the "ring of fire" I heard/felt a pop and thought that I had torn big time! Her head was out and then her shoulders... They hurt worse or the same as her head! I found out later that she had her little fist right up next to her chin as she was coming through the birth canal. Silly girl. Once her body was out I felt almost immediate relief.  I felt my body going back to some sort of normal and almost forgot that she was still attached to me and we had the placenta to deliver too.  I rested for a brief second and they passed her up to me.  I sat back on my knees expecting excrusiating pain from my tear, but I felt no pain.  It was odd....  Then they asked me to spin around and lean on the couch so we could deliver the placenta and as I tried to sit, I couldn't sit straight.  It wasn't until the next morning at the chiropractors office that I discovered that I may have broken my tail bone during delivery, which would explain the pop and I didn't tear which I am incredibly thankful for.
When they put her in my arms I was so taken back by how beautiful she was.  She had a full head of dark brown hair and beautiful little eyes, ears, lips, nose and cheeks! I instantly fell in love with our little baby girl!  So in all, once the midwife got to our house we had her about 45 minutes later.  It was fast, but also felt like an eternity!

This was as soon as I turned around.  She was still attached!  The placenta took it's merry time to deliver. :)

Zariyah is a great nurser and is growing and changing so fast.  It really is amazing how fast things change.  She went down to 6lbs 14oz the first few days but at two weeks was back up to 7lbs 5.5oz.  She is growing and changing and super strong!  Her eyes are stunning! They are three distinct shades of blue like a rainbow.  Light in the center then a ring of medium blue and then a dark ring around the edge.  I can't wait to see what color they settle into. 

Nathan's first time holding his daughter
Look at that hair!
The boys got to see her the next morning.  This was their first time meeting their sweet baby sister.

Isaiah was so eager to hold her.  He kept saying "me? me? hold, baby?" So cute and of course lots and lots of kisses! He is such a great big brother!
Zeke was a little more unsure of her.  He loved her from a distance but has since warmed up quite well.  He is a great big brother!

We are so thankful to God for blessing us with the most perfect children.  We love them in every way and we consider ourselves blessed beyond belief. 
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's in a name?

A lot.  In my mind, names can be a blessing or a curse.  It's something that you speak over someone every day of their lives and in a sense declare it over them.  I am not writing this to criticize anyone for their name or name choices.  This is just a strong conviction that I have for my family.

My name is Shaloma.  It comes from the Hebrew word shalom (שלום) which means: "Peace, wholeness, safety, prosperity, wellness, to restore..."

My husbands name is Nathan.  It is also a Hebrew name (נטהן) which means: "He (God) has given" or "He will give."   The popular translation is "Gift of God."

We named our first son Ezekiel (אזקיל) which means: "God will strengthen" or "Strength of the house".
His middle name is Manuia which is a Samoan word meaning: "blessing, peace, grace"
His personality lines up very well with his name.  He is a tough boy with so much heart and cares for the people around him.  His mind is strong and he can focus intently on tasks that would make my mind feel crazy!

Our second son is Isaiah (ישייה) which means: "God is Salvation" or "Salvation of the Lord".
His middle name is Tumau which is a Samoan name meaning: "to stand up/to stand firm"
God has recently shown me how much the word salvation means love.  Or how great love is to save to the extent that he has and wants to do for people.  Isaiah is a bundle of love.  He hugs and loves constantly!  He gives kisses and still at 21 months old, loves to just rest on my chest with his head on my shoulder and hug me for minutes at a time.  He looks you in the eye and has the most tender of hearts.  He also knows what he wants and stands firm in it.  He is a very decisive little bugger sometimes.

We obviously put a lot of thought into our kids names.  When it came to naming our little girl we had a couple names picked out from right around the time that we found out we were pregnant.  Our understanding of the meaning of the name was that it meant "princess of the Lord" or "daughter of the King".  However, after doing a ton of research, we found that it means: radiance in Russian, Shining/flower or beauty/light in Arabic, I saw one site that said it means princess in American. It's across the board.  We finally decided that we needed to be ok with what ever it actually means considering that all things seem positive and go with it the way that God gave it to us.

Last May I had been reading a book called Captivating by John and Staci Eldridge which was amazing.  God was showing me a side of being a woman that I had never allowed myself to embrace.  I went on a long run from home down the interurban trail.  It was raining and when I had run about 4 miles I noticed a name etched into the cement on a corner that I had run on for years.  This was obviously very old etching and it was the first time I had seen it.  The name caught my eye.  I will reveal it in a minute. I continued running for another few miles and felt led to pray Psalm 23 into my and Nathan's life. As I was praying this, I saw a vision of Nate and I on a hill.  It was a stormy, cloudy day with the wind barely blowing.  We had conquered the hill together.  Nathan was holding a long sword out with a strong stance. One hand on the sword and one arm back as though he was protecting me. Eyes fixed forward as if he was defending what had been conquered.  I was beside and slightly behind him wearing a long flowing white dress. Obviously dirty and torn from battle holding a small dagger with my eyes fixed on the offending party.
The feeling I got from this picture for me was that I can be rugged and beautiful.  I can battle in a dress and be graceful and beautiful and strong and a threat.  That Nathan and I can and do work together and that it had to do primarily with spiritual warfare.
At this point in my run I ran another mile or two and turned around.  I was praying about what I had seen and again passed the etching on the sidewalk.  When I was about a mile from home I saw a homeless man up ahead on the sidewalk in an area that was a bit secluded and started feeling a little nervous.  Mostly because at that point I was exhausted and he had looked up and taken an interest in me.  At least enough of one to stare as I was running toward him.  As I got close, he stepped back and took a very royal bow toward me as I passed.  I felt like God had spoken to me at that very moment.  I am his princess, I can and will defeat the enemy and He made me to be rugged and beautiful.  I am a daughter of the king.

Later that night I asked my sister if she had heard of this name that I saw etched in the sidewalk and without hearing my story she responded by saying that she though it meant "princess of God" as she was going through all her knowledge of Hebrew words and trying to put it together for a meaning.  Come to find out that it doesn't mean princess of the Lord....  If the first letter of the name was changed from a "Z" to an "S" then it would mean princess of the Lord.  However, I felt strongly that she needed to have this name that God showed me on my amazing run that left me feeling very empowered as a woman and a mother and feeling somewhat capable of raising a daughter now that I knew what my place was in the eyes of the Lord.  Nathan and I have discussed it and discussed it and decided together about a week ago that this is what she needed to be named.  There was no other possibility for her and we need to trust that His intentions are met with the meaning.

So the name...

The second part is the middle name which I have loved ever since I saw it the first time.  The Samoan word for Warrior.  How fitting with the vision that I had at the time that I saw the name etched in the ground.

Our beautiful daughter is to be named:

Zariyah Toa Allen

A name fit for the beautiful daughter of the King that she is and will always be.  We are so excited to have a little girl join our family and we are excited to see the personality that God has chosen for her.  We are honored to be entrusted with her care.
It's hard to see, but this is the etching in the cement from my run.  I went back several months later to take a picture. 
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

36 weeks and updates

This picture was taken Tuesday.  I was 36 weeks and 2 days.  I also had my midwife appointment where I was unfortunately lectured because I am still sick.  I have been sick for between 4-6 weeks so far.  Coughing, sneezing, tired...  Doesn't feel good with an almost full term belly.  I have been ordered to go to the Dr. for antibiotics by the end of the week if it isn't better.  :(

Her heartbeat was in the 140's and sounded strong!  My blood pressure was good and all seems to be well.  The one thing that I had as a complaint this time around was how intense the braxton hicks (BH) contractions have been.  She informed me that this happens the more babies you have.  Pretty crazy... I've had one BH contraction last for 5 minutes...  it isn't painful, but it is intense.

My belly grew two centimeters in the last two weeks and is now measuring at 35 centimeters which is technically small, but she has already dropped so Ann said that it isn't reliable as an actually measurement at this point. I also learned that I have only gained 15 lbs during this whole pregnancy so far!  That is far below what I gained with my previous two.  I will thank the Paleo lifestyle for that!

Yes, I look excruciatingly tired in this picture...  Mostly because it was late in the evening and I've been sick and it's been difficult sleeping lately with all the aches and pains associated with being this far along.  I will say that since then, I feel much better and intend on only feeling better from here on out!

In other news, the boys are now officially in their bunk beds and absolutely love it! Nathan finished them about a week ago and we couldn't wait to get them into the room so the boys started sleeping on them a week ago today actually! We have rearranged their room a bit and we are trying to get our room arranged to fit her crib until we move her into the boys room in a few months.  We finally have a car seat and we feel like we are close to ready.  Still have a bit to do, but at this point if she came early, all would be well.

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