Saturday, August 2, 2014

week 28 of pregnancy:::::hello, third trimester!

So much for writing every two weeks or so! More like every two months... At this rate my next post will be after my little cub is born!! Oh well. This has been a pretty busy summer, and blogging just got put on the back burner. Plus, it was easy to take weekly pictures of my belly when I was pregnant with Naomi because I didn't have a little one (her!) to chase around yet. Now my phone is filled with pictures of her and hardly any of myself. Which is perfectly fine, except when I actually want pictures of myself to document for my sweet boy. Oh well.

So I'm currently 28 weeks, 3 days, and it has been an interesting start to the third trimester! (Yes, you read that correctly: THIRD TRIMESTER. Where in the world did the time go!?) This past Thursday, the hubs and I officially decided to switch healthcare providers. So if all goes according to plan (work with me, baby boy!!), we'll be having baby #2 in a birthing center instead of the hospital! I am really excited about this, as I have been struggling with anxiety over being the hospital again... (another post, another day...maybe). The anxiousness is still something the Lord is working on me about, and it's a constant surrender to Him. All things for the good though, right?

So I guess I'll get to the questions about the pregnancy progress. Since it's been so long since I last updated, I don't know that I'll actually catch up on the entire past 8 weeks. I'll see what I can do though. :-)
How Far Along: 28 weeks, 3 days. 12 weeks to go!!
Total Weight Gain: I think about 7 pounds...crazy, right!? I feel like it's got to be more than that. More than likely, the weight gain will end up being the same as last time and I'll just pack on the pounds at the very end. 
Maternity Clothes: So I've really got to invest in some maternity shorts, because the way I have to finagle myself into the current pairs of shorts I have is absolutely ridiculous. I remember one day when there was this outfit I was looking forward to wearing. I put it on and felt like someone had just zipped me into a wet suit that was three sizes too small. (At least, that's what I imagine a wet suit would feel like...) I didn't feel like changing after all the energy it took to put the outfit on, but from simply walking from my bedroom upstairs to the living room downstairs to trying to sit on the floor, I became short of breath. Too...*gasp*...tight!!!!! So I struggled back up the stairs into something less attractive but much, much more comfortable. The moral of the story is... I need to stop trying to fit my pregnant bod into my non-pregnancy clothes.
Stretch Marks: (So I'm just gonna copy and paste from last time, guys...) The ones from last time are just slightly more visible since my stomach is growing. I can't really tell if I have more or not. I'm just trying to keep the belly moisturized to hopefully prevent getting any more than I have to!
Sleep: My little cub does not want me to sleep. But I always feel so tired! So it's rather sad. Just last night I was laying in bed wondering why he was choosing that exact time to practice martial arts in my belly.
Best Moment of This Week: If I remember correctly, Thursday was probably the best day this week. I was able to have some super edifying fellowship with two other moms and all our kids were able to play together while we chatted. The Lord is so timely and true to His Word, and I'm so thankful for the reminder and encouragement I got from that time! Later in the day, the hubs and I went to the birthing center for the first time this pregnancy, and I was so excited about the experience there. We were there nearly 2 hours (mostly from time with the midwife), and it wasn't like your typical doctors office visit. The rest of the evening was pretty exhausting, but that's okay. Oh yes!! Another moment was when Jeremiah was changing Naomi's diaper. She all of a sudden developed a bad diaper rash that was really bothering her, so she was bawling her eyes out during the diaper change. I wasn't in the room, but I could hear the hubs comforting her while he changed her. Then when he was done, he began singing "I Feel Better" from Doc McStuffins to her! He loves his baby girl :-) 
What I Miss: Same as last time, guys....Fitting all my clothes! Except now there are even more things I can't fit. Alas. The sis in law actually gave me some stuff she was giving away, so there are a few things I've been able to add to my wardrobe (skirts...elastic waistbands ftw!) I just can't bring myself to spend a ton of money on maternity stuff though!! grrr... I'll stop now, since this isn't the maternity clothes section.... Oh, I also miss sleeping on my belly, and being able to turn over in bed without feeling like I have to pick up my stomach with my hands. lol. Oh and not having to pee every 10 minutes. Okay, that's all. 
Baby Movement: I've got an active one, ya'll!! Even though I've been feeling my little cub move for months now, I still am shocked by many of his movements. I can definitely see his movements, though I wish I could distinguish what body part of his that I'm seeing! I love the hubs being able to feel and see his son in my belly though. :-)
Craving: My cravings still fluctuate quite a bit. When I want something, I really want it, typically not for long though. For example, I really wanted to make these meatballs that my best friend, Nikki, had been raving about for the longest. So I got the recipe from her mom and all the ingredients, but due to being really busy I had to put off making it for days. By the time I made them, the craving had passed :-( I ended up giving the whole meal to my family since the hubs is picky and doesn't eat meatballs lol. They loved them, thankfully. Right now, I'm wanting some curry chicken and roti, and I'm hoping I can convince my older sis and her hubs to make some for me soon :-) I've been liking Burger King's fries lately, but only if I have ranch dressing to eat them with. Weird, I know.
Queasiness: I only seem to feel queasy when I don't eat when I should. And if I've waited that long to eat, I'm more than just queasy; I'm also moody/irritable and fairly antisocial. The cure? Feed me! And sleep seems to help. :-) 
Pregnancy Side Effects: I'm still having some strong Braxton Hicks contractions. When I have them, my chest tightens, head starts to hurt, and then when it passes, I'm pretty much back to normal. Labor prep, I suppose. Thankfully I'm not having as many as I was before because I've been doing much better with drinking fluids. I've been pretty tired lately, but it's hard to say if it's from the pregnancy only, or from having a busy summer and chasing around baby girl. :-) Probably a mix of both. 
Mood: Still soooo excited to meet my sweet boy! Whenever I look at how big Naomi is getting or some of her baby pictures, I just start looking forward to holding my little boy even more!! Love him to pieces already. I'm still praying through some anxiety I have about the postpartum period... I welcome prayers about that. I've definitely made progress though. 
Looking Forward To: "Mood" and "Looking Forward To" seem pretty much the same in my mind, but yes, I'm looking forward to my son's arrival, as well as starting to choose some things we need for him. We literally are starting all over again! We gave away the majority of Naomi's stuff as she grew out of it, so aside from a swing, changing table, dresser, and diaper pail, pretty much everything is needed. Even if hadn't given it all away, everything was pink anyway! We may be moving to another place, so we're looking forward to seeing if that works out for us. I mentioned last time that we'd like to travel to Texas as well as the beach, but this summer is flying by so quickly, it's hard to say for sure if that'll be happening! I'll keep ya'll posted though :-)

Hopefully I'll be able to post more frequently! I'm on my phone much more than I'm on my computer, but even though I have the blogger app, I can type soo much faster on the laptop, so I end up not posting much (clearly). But I have some recipes I can share, as well as my busy month of June, and some things the Lord has been doing in my life and in my family, so yeah, I hope I can make it happen soon. :-)

Here's the cherry on top to this post: an adorable picture of my snugglebug. :-) Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

it's a...... (week 21 of pregnancy)

I can't believe I've actually passed the halfway mark of this pregnancy!  Time is flying by much faster than when I was pregnant with Naomi. I think since I have her occupying the majority of my time, I'm not marking every single day and week that passes quite like last time.

Baby's due October 22, which was exciting to my brother because that's the day after his birthday. I was due in March last time, so now I'm enduring the summer heat in its entirety. So far it's not so bad, but it's also not officially summer yet. I love the heat typically, but while pregnant I feel like a little oven!

Okay I won't draw this out much longer.  I know all you really want to know is the gender of our newest little one. Let me clarify something for you guys though. We've known the gender for awhile now, probably about 10 weeks (yep, over two months!). At my first or second prenatal visit, we were filling out paperwork about which genetic tests we wanted to have done. I didn't have any last time, and we opted out this time as well. At least initially we did. We found out that one of the tests (can't remember what it tested for) could also find out the gender as long as I was at least 9 weeks along. As soon as Jeremiah heard that he didn't have to wait months to find out the gender, he was all over that idea. Me, not so much (lol), but I went along with it. At the time I was just dismayed that they'd need additional blood other than what they were already taking.  Plus I was dehydrated, so it took a reeeaalllly long time to get out what was needed. My arms were sore for weeks after that.  Other than that no-fun experience,  I truly am glad that we found out the gender early. Of course I'd be happy no matter what, but I had an extra squeal of excitement when I found out. :-)

Okay, okay, enough of the talk! Here's a pic from the latest anatomy scan, and it was re-confirmed....

IT'S A BOY!!!!

Can't wait to meet our precious little man. I know Naomi will be a great big sister to her little brother. :-)

I'm going to do posts either every week or every other week with pregnancy updates and belly pictures. It all depends on how much time I have and how I'm feeling! I'll use the same general format of questions as I did when I was pregnant with Naomi. Looking forward to sharing the last half of this pregnancy with you guys!

How Far Along: 21 weeks, 1 day.
Total Weight Gain: I have no idea... I definitely feel bigger at this time than I did when I was 21 weeks with Naomi, but since I don't own a scale it's hard to keep track.
Maternity Clothes: Since it's so warm, I can get away with wearing dresses most of the time. (Maxi dresses for the win!!) I've been wearing my maternity skirts and dresses from last pregnancy, but I haven't invested in any maternity pants. I'm just trying to stretch my shirts to be long enough to cover my unbuttoned (and sometimes unzipped...) jeans!
Stretch Marks: The ones from last time are just slightly more visible since my stomach is growing. I can't really tell if I have more or not. I'm just trying to keep the belly moisturized to hopefully prevent getting any more than I have to!
Sleep: I was having the WORST dreams during the first trimester, but thankfully I haven't been having as many bad dreams lately. I'll usually start out the night sleeping on my side, but I end up changing positions a lot. All in all though, I'm sleeping pretty well.
Best Moment of This Week: It's been a pretty ordinary week, but one thing that warmed my heart was in Bible study last night. We broke into small groups to pray, and when the woman I was with and I began to pray, 14 month old Naomi folded her hands and bowed her head! It's so exciting to see when things (especially spiritual things) are beginning to catch on. Now after a few minutes, she was trying to stick her binky in my mouth (I guess we were getting a bit long-winded for her haha). Such a sweet moment though.
What I Miss: Fitting all my clothes!
Baby Movement: My sweet boy moves around quite a bit, and I've been feeling him move for weeks now! I absolutely love it. I can even see his movements from the outside of my belly, which is awesome.
Craving: It changes all the time!! I'll be craving something and it'll be all I eat for two or three days. After those days are up, I'm absolutely sick of it and don't want to even see it haha. I can't say I'm craving anything in particular right now, though I have been eating quite a few chicken nuggets and taquitos lately...
Queasiness: Thank God, it seems like that has passed for good. Especially since I ran out of Zofran and I don't plan on refilling the prescription. (That stuff was AMAZING by the way.) Sometimes when I drink water on an empty stomach or while driving I'll get a little queasy though.
Pregnancy Side Effects: Braxton Hicks contractions started much sooner this time. I've been feeling them for weeks!! And they're more uncomfortable now too. I can definitely notice a difference in the amount of them that i have when I'm drinking enough liquids or not though. My skin hasn't been breaking out as badly as first trimester, but the damage is done :-( So long, clear skin.  
Mood: Anticipation! With a hint of anxiety, which I'm praying through lol. I am incredibly excited to meet my baby boy, but there are so many other changes that are (potentially) happening in our lives right now that will affect us so I'm just waiting to see what the Lord will do!
Looking Forward To: My son's arrival and some other decisions being finalized in our home/family! Also the BEACH, and hopefully going to visit my Grandma in Texas this summer so she can meet Naomi in person for the first time!

I'll be blogging again soon! Stay tuned!

Monday, May 19, 2014

redefining what a good day is

I would typically define a good day as a day that's gone my way. A day where things went according to plan or better than planned. A day without mood swings and when happiness abounds. Anything opposite that? A not-so-good, potentially bad day. My perspective has been challenged lately though.

When I say "lately", it's not like I haven't always known that what goes on in a day shouldn't necessarily define it as good or bad. When you grow up with verses like Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 (respectively, the Husband and I's favorite verses), it's hard to forget that no matter what, God is in control and has a plan and even "bad" works for believers' good to the ultimate glory of God. With that being said though, I don't think I can honestly say that I have been living like I believe those Scriptures. So often I allow fear and worry to consume my thoughts, and then after the fact I remember, oh yeah, God's got this.

The Bestest (aka my best friend, aka Nikki, but we'll just stick with the Bestest) gave me a book a while back. It's called 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I simply cannot give a description of the book that would do it justice; it was just that challenging and amazing. But one thing I really pulled from the book is this: "All is grace." That phrase is repeated all throughout the book, and my summary of it is basically you count EVERYTHING (good and bad) as joy because God is ALL good; therefore, ALL is grace and worth giving thanks for.

I love this verse from Isaiah 14:

"The LORD Almighty has sworn, 'Surely as I have planned it,
so it will be, and as I have purposed so it will happen.'"

Reading this, it's clear that nothing happens outside of the sovereign knowledge and power of the Lord, and all that happens is for the ultimate best, which is His glory and magnification.

So where am I going with this, you ask? Well I was reading my Bible one morning in Psalm 16. Verse 2 really stood out to me:

I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."

In the margins near the verse, at some point I had written these words: "My goodness is nothing apart from You!" and "God is more than good; He is the ULTIMATE good!!" When did I forget this? Somewhere along the line I once again began defining my days by what I thought was good, not on the God who defines good.

This is my challenge, to myself and you: when you come to the close of your day, or throughout your day as things arise, don't look at it and think, Because this happened/didn't happen, my day is good/bad. Instead, have the perspective that everything in my day happened in the knowledge of Almighty God and because it will work to my good and His glory, I count it as grace and thus praise Him for it! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

mother's day 2014

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms and mom-figures out there! I had such a wonderful 2nd Mother's Day. I am sooo blessed with an amazing mom. God was gracious to give me a mom who is in love with Him, and she is a great example of loving her husband (my daddy!) and children. It is such a blessing to have her as Naomi's Nana also! Annnnd, this Mother's day I'm happy to say that not only am I the mom to Naomi, but also to and another little one on the way!! I'll be 17 weeks on Wednesday. I know I keep saying that everything is a blessing, but really, it is a HUGE. BLESSING. to have another little one joining our family in October!
My little cub at about 8-9 weeks old.
The hubs got everything ready for church the night before (we should really do that more regularly...), and I got to sleep in a bit longer than usual. I woke up to a squeaky clean kitchen and living room (yes!). He had me come downstairs while he made me breakfast. I had mentioned the day before that I'd like a breakfast sandwich, so that is what he made! I wish I would have taken a picture! It turned out super yummy from someone who rarely makes breakfast. Hehe. I sooo enjoyed watching him make it for me. Love that man so much! He had some cards laid out for me on the living room table so I opened my first one while I ate.

Naomi wore a pretty yellow dress that I fell in love with a month or two ago. I saved it just for Mother's day I was happy to wear a new dress that the hubs got me a few weeks ago. Love it! Yay for maxi dresses and warm weather. While pregnant, maxi dresses are also called miracle dresses. When I wore it, you could actually see a little belly! Sometimes I show a lot, and other times I just look like I ate a big meal, not like I'm pregnant. Anyways. I felt lovely either way! Hubs looked handsome as usual, and while we didn't match, we kinda coordinated! 
Fast forward to church. Service was good, and I especially loved the hubs teaching in the adult Sunday School class, which he's doing for the whole month. After church my "leetle seester" Erin took some pictures of us on the grassy area behind the school where we meet for services. They turned out soooo amazing!! They were better than I thought they would turn out given the fact that Naomi wasn't too into the photo session lol. Once we left, we ran off to a couple stores to get some picture printed to give to my mom with her cards. She loved them so yay!
Three generations!
We ate some Chinese food at my parents' house, which was awesome because I'd been craving it for a while. The only Chinese food place in VA that I really like is by my parents' house, and the hubs and I live well out of delivery range. Since we're both pretty picky about our Chinese cuisine, it's super rare for us to eat it. Oh, and I also could have settled for some chicken fried rice from this Chinese place in Miami, but that wasn't exactly an option, hehe. Anyways, it was fun hanging out and eating with the fam, as well as opening cards. I got some very nice ones from everyone! Naomi was fun to watch as she interacted with her uncles and Nana and Grandpapa. Great time! (Again: why. did. I. not. take. PICTURES!!?! alas.)
The hubs and I stopped at home for about 30 minutes to relax and pick up a few things before heading to King Street. (Yet another place no pictures were taken...) Aside from heavy smoke in some areas as well as some...questionable things we saw, it was a really great time. Being there brought back so many memories of when we would hang out there while dating, and it was nice to go there with our growing family.

I truly had a great, GREAT day! It was an amazing start to the week. So blessed!

Monday, May 12, 2014

no facebook: day 1

I've known for a long while that I needed a Facebook break. I love having one and keeping up with people's lives and allowing them to keep up with mine. After a while though it can easily get out of hand and out of moderation. There have been times that I would click on Facebook as soon as I was on my phone when I got up in the morning. When I would go to make a call or send an email or check my calendar, I'd find myself on Facebook instead, and whatever I'd actually gotten on my phone for would be forgotten. Plus, there really is a such thing as seeing too much of people's lives. When something like social media isn't kept in proper place and priority (low), especially in relation to spiritual life, it's easy to find certain un-Christlike attitudes and habits slipping in. Jealousy, comparison, procrastination, laziness, and concern for things of the world that don't even have current, earthy value let alone eternal value are just a few of the things I found popping up in my own life with greater and greater frequency. My walk with the Lord was greatly diminished, and with my priorities all out of whack I found that my real, in-person relationships were being negatively affected.

So. That's why I'm taking a Facebook break. Props to those who have their lives in balance and don't have to do this. For me though, it's essential.  Simply telling myself and others that I won't get on Facebook wasn't an option. I just don't have that sort of discipline yet. I literally had to deactivate my Facebook, delete the app, and cancel any emails from being sent to me. I plan on taking it a week at a time, but I'm really going to push myself to go longer. I am seriously impressed by those who don't allow social media to consume their lives in this technological age. This is what I'm striving for:  self discipline, proper priorities, genuine relationships in life outside of the internet.
Blogging is a perfect outlet to go to instead of Facebook. Part of the reason I stopped blogging and not following through with my goals for this blog is because I'd be writing, pause to think or something,  and find myself on Facebook. All that got me is quite a few unfinished posts. I know writing is something I want to be doing long term so once again, priorities.

I don't plan to write every day or even frequently about my Facebook break. This is just my jump start back into the blog world. And I'm not doing it for anyone else but me. My Lord, my husband, and my daughter are the reasons I make these changes, and I know that doing so has the effect of benefiting me!

This will definitely be hard because, no doubt about it, I'm an addict!!! Lol. The first day hasn't ended yet, and I can't begin to count the amount of times I've found myself subconsciously clicking where my Facebook app was. My Pandora app has replaced that spot though, so...yeah. We'll see how this goes! I am definitely renewing my mind with Scripture about self-discipline, and I'm encouraged by 1 Timothy 4:7b-8: "Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

I'm excited to see how this goes! One thing I plan to start (once I get a new little notebook) is numbering daily blessings again. I used to carry a notebook around with with me everywhere, and I would count graces. It really made me more aware of the innumerable blessings God provides me with on a moment to moment basis. (Shout out to Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts! :-)

Have you ever had to take a break from social media? For what reasons, and did you find it beneficial?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

labor of love: the birth story of naomi grace {repost}

Originally posted here on May 28, 2013~~happy 1st birthday to my sweet baby girl! :-)

Two months have passed more quickly than I ever imagined it would. One day you're waddling around, back sore, hands wrapped around a belly with skin stretched tight. Next day you're lying back, pushing and panting and pouring forth life as one body becomes two. It all happened so fast.

The contractions were about ten minutes apart, and I lay there in the dark, attempting to grasp at fleeting bits of sleep between each tense moment. My eyes were blurry with exhaustion, and I kept a pen and note card underneath my pillow to remind myself to write down each time I felt the pain. I was far too tired to remember anything. Minutes became hours, and I finally shook my hard-working husband awake.

I was completely indecisive about whether I should go in or not. The day before I was one centimeter dilated, and who is to say whether it would be an hour or a week before my girl was to come? Early labor, false labor, whatever. I ditched all the titles and just called it pain. It started in my sides and seared through my back, and I realized the fetal position was for more than just the unborn. He decided for me, so off to the hospital we went.

The drive there is a blur, though I remember wincing as we went over every bump and pothole and  braked for every light. And when we had to slow down because of the early morning traffic, I squeezed his hand and the handle of the door and both he and I told me that I could make it.

I was weak with exhaustion and exertion by the time I made it to the maternity ward, and the midwife said, no way I would I have the energy to push without having had any sleep in 24 hours. And upon being checked and found to be still at one, I faltered at the thought that it would be a long time coming before anything (or one) would be coming out of me.

A long, long hour, the longest it seems I may have ever experienced, walking around the giant loop of the ward. Around and around, arms wrapped tightly around the husband's waist as he whispered quiet encouragements and he pressed hard against the pain that ripped through my back. Around and around, and we passed someone else, a mom and her daughter, reflecting the glazed look I had in my own eyes as she too walked her way towards a new title in life: Mom. Around and around, pausing for ice chips and bathroom breaks, but who can let loose fluid when all your muscles strain and tighten in rebellion? More pauses and prayers and as the intensity increased so did the volume of those whispered encouragements to speak over the noise of doubt in my mind that I'd really be able to do this.

Finally the hour ended and they asked me to lay back once more, and I writhed and curled as the lines on the screen spiked and leveled out in tune to the contractions coursing through my body. After an hour of becoming not one, but three centimeters dilated, I was sure there was no way I could do it. (I had hoped to be further along.) Lack of sleep overwhelmed my thinking and my thoughts were taken over by every. single. person. who told me that I'd want to do this without least until the pain came. Then I'd be in my right mind and would take whatever they would give me, no questions asked. (Didn't you know that in a time of crisis the pessimists completely take over your mind? Watch your company and conversation, that's what I learned.) So the midwife talked, and I rolled and tossed and simply wanted silence, and she told me again if I didn't get some sleep I wouldn't have the energy to push. Tears welled up and and I felt like a failure and the husband stepped in once again and told me I could do this, told the midwife no medication would be necessary except for something to help me sleep.

So slept I did, as much as one can when it feels like a sumo-wrestler has made up his mind to squeeze every last breath out of you every few minutes. An hour passed, another half hour passed, and I was wide awake once again. There'd be no more sleep for hours to come. 

The midwife came, and I laid myself back, and was shocked to hear that I went from one to three to eight. She talked and I listened and squeezed squeezed squeeeeezed on the husband's hand and looked right into his eyes and asked him if I could do this, and he said I absolutely could. And every five minutes I squeezed and I asked and he answered and I believed him. I absolutely could do this. No turning back.

Time in the tub and then time over the toilet and it's incredible how one takes for granted the most basic of bodily functions. The fear of the tube coming in me and draining me came on far stronger than the apprehension of a baby girl coming out of me, but the husband was there and he made me look at him and told me it was okay, it wouldn't be bad, and I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought, but I know I couldn't have done it without him.

It was time. How did I know? I have no idea. But right before that my mom came in, checking on me as she had this whole time, and I love her so much for it, but I had eyes only for my husband, because at that time we were one like never before. She came and she smiled and supported and cared and empathized as only she could, for six times over had she been in my place and she knew what was to come. She was there, then she left--but not far away, just outside the door as I came to find out later on.

Are you ready to push? came the question to me, and I had no idea because I'd never done this before. Forget all my research and my planning about positioning because I was in pain and I wasn't getting out that bed until there was a baby in my arms. The bed tilted and I realized, this is real...this is real! And as the contractions came, I grabbed hold of my husband and the nurse at my side and chin down, eyes squeezed shut, breath held, I pushed and I pushed and I stopped and panted and looked at my husband and he told me I could do this. I could do this. I would do this.

So an hour of this but it really seemed fast, and maybe there was a shift change? I don't know; it's a blur. But a new nurse came in with the first nurse and husband and midwife, and it's amazing how annoying people can hinder your progress. In frustration and pain, I yelled (or screamed?) for the very first time and the midwife told me that it had be my most unproductive push yet. But one can't explain the searing pain as you stretch and you tear and open yourself up for someone else, so literally! I determined in myself (and with the help of the husband) that if I would hurt, I would hurt with purpose (productive pain), so there would be no more yelling for the rest of the delivery.

The mirror came out, much to my dismay, and the glass reflected a red messy blur, and thank God I didn't have my glasses. No matter how much they were amazed at how well I was doing for a first-timer, I needed no convincing that my baby was coming out. And speaking of God? oh, how wrong of me it would be to not place Him at His proper place and give credit where it's due because there's no way in the world I would have made it through without Him!

GOD gave me that man, my wonderful husband, the amazing one without whom I would not have been able to focus on my breathing and relaxation between and during every push. God gave me someone who's word I could trust when he told me that I could do it, and I'm doing amazing, and he was so proud of me. God gave me this man that I have come to love in a whole new way because of the labor and delivery process. So I give God his credit. And oh, for the Word! God's glorious Word! Scripture memory is so important, and the verse that echoed through my mind on that day was the same one that helped me during emotionally troubling times of high school. Incredible how, years later, as I experienced both internal and external pain it came to mind once more: this light but for a moment...worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory...things that are not seen...are eternal. The verse was fragmented and out of context and I held onto it for dear life, quite literally! How light the affliction was in light of what was to come, the birth of my sweet baby girl.

And so the time came, and I vaguely remember it, almost an out-of-body experience of that final request to Push! and I did, with all my might! And I felt it--I can't even explain to you what it felt like... (When two become one, and one becomes two-in-one, and that two-in-one becomes two separate beings!?'s a miracle, really.) Then came that indescribable feeling of life coming out, and of being so confused when she said, Stop! Stop pushing! Breathe! and I had no idea why til I felt and I saw, that's my girl! MY GIRL!! And the cord was clamped and her daddy cut it and she was placed in my arms, and it's all so surreal, but as I saw her wide eyes, open mouth, curly hair, body small and slick, I knew it was real. So real. I was (I am) a mom.

The rest of the story I'll (maybe) tell another day, about the postpartum recovery and such. (Let me just say, the labor and delivery was a breeze in comparison.) But who cares about all that? Because all that really matters is that I gave birth to a precious little girl named Naomi Grace who I have the blessing of mothering which both excites and scares me. I don't have to do it alone though. She has an awesome daddy who loves her to pieces, another awesome Daddy who died for her and we're praying for her to one day be in a relationship with, and Nanas and Papas and Aunties and Uncles and Godparents and just a whole big huge support system with a vested interest in her growth and development, physically, spiritually and beyond.

I love this new life as a mom. I'm tired and showers are sometimes optional and when you're your child's sole source of nutrition for months on end, it can be quite draining (literally...). But it's worth it, and I love her and would go through this process again for sure. May I never forget the miracle of new life. 


happy birthday, naomi grace!!

She's one! She's one!! I am so excited about my sweet girl's first birthday! I just may use an exclamation mark after every sentence!! (just kidding; I'll stop now....!!!!) It is crazy-hard to believe that it was A YEAR AGO that I was in the hospital, laboring and preparing to deliver our first child. Like...what!?!? The Lord has brought her and our entire family SO FAR. I struggled to enjoy those first few weeks to the full extent I wanted to since my postpartum recovery was so rough. It took a huge emotional and physical toll on me, and even though my stomach still turns a little when I think about the hardest times I went through, I'm thankful to have gone through it because it definitely strengthened my reliance on the Lord and grew my relationship with the hubs (who is an amazing husband, and even more amazing father to Naomi!). Plus I got a precious, beautiful, smart, silly, fun-loving baby girl out of it! :-)

There have been so many happy milestones and memories. I remember being in so much pain one day and then she smiled for the very first time, and her smile LIT. UP. MY. WORLD. From lifting up her head to pushing up on her arms during tummy time, nothing was too small to celebrate. I remember how my mind was blown when I realized that she had learned how to scoot around places, and how I bawled my eyes out when she was cutting her first tooth! And jumping ahead to when she took her first steps...I was so in shock, Jeremiah had to remind me to pull out the camera! Oh man, what a joy she is.

Then there are those times that at the time we were like, wahhhhhhh, whyyyyyyyy. But now we look back and (kinda) chuckle. Like the first time we gave her a bath and she pooped THREE. SEPARATE. TIMES. Brand new to the game and she was already making us learn quick. Boy, were we a mess that day!! Poop. Everywhere. There are so many other diaper blowouts I can think of, but I'll spare you. Then of course the sleepless nights. Sometimes I was okay because I enjoyed snuggling with my sweet girl, but other times (most of the time) it was more like begging her to sleep. Now she's got a bedtime and sleeps through the night, and we certainly don't take that for granted. Ya know, at the moment I'm actually struggling to come up with any other not-so-great times. I know they happened, but all the amazing, happy stuff so outweighs it, those moments aren't even at the forefront of my mind.

I guess I said all that to say this: I love my sweet girl, Naomi Grace. She has brought me so. much. joy. Words don't even describe how much!! The Lord is teaching me so much through being her mom, and I am just BLESSED that he entrusted me and the hubs with her. I am really looking forward to celebrating her birthday this weekend with family and friends!! 


Friday, March 14, 2014

fearless friday: FAIL

One reason I don't start things sometimes is because I fear that I'll end up failing at it once I get going with it. I was tempted to not even begin fearless fridays, because even though my intent was to do it consistently on Fridays of each week, I had this nagging feeling fear that it wouldn't end up happening that way. Nonetheless, I started the posts, and as I suspected, I have found it difficult to maintain my weekly posting on Fridays.

I have legitimate excuses for one or two Fridays. I had a terrible migraine one week, and the other week I was sick (I think). I clearly remember simply being unmotivated to write on another Friday. Actually, I can't say I'm that motivated right now. My daughter is taking a nap, and Special Agent Oso is on (or is it Octonauts? Oh Disney Junior how you suck me in...) I could really just veg and watch it, or take a nap myself. Or clean. There's always cleaning to do. Or...something...anything. But I am determined that not another Friday will pass without me writing SOMETHING. I hate the idea of people writing me off because I don't write consistently, but I figure writing inconsistently is a good start to writing consistently. I mean, if I'm not writing at all, I'm making ZERO progress. At least now I'm making some. I'm working on it, ya'll. I love to write, but the hardest part of a writer's life is WRITING. Go figure.

So here I am. Writing... This Friday isn't a failure at all. I'm sticking to what I said I'd do, so that for me is a success. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Done anything fearless lately?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

fearless friday was not forgotten!

Unfortunately there was no post yesterday because I have been laptop charger-less all week, and quite frankly there's no way I'm typing out all I had planned to write on my phone or on my husband's tablet. I like a good ol' fashioned keyboard. Or pen and paper, but that doesn't help me get it online.

So since there's no fearless post I shall share about my Valentine's Day. :) The hubs got off work early, which was a gift all by itself because it is hard for him to get off early certain days, Friday being one of them. I was able to do a bit of shopping, and the best part about that is almost everything was on sale!  Woot woot! Jeremiah didn't tell me where we were going, just to dress up. I was SUPER excited about that because I basically never have an occasion to wear dressy clothes, and even more rarely do I get to wear a non-nursing friendly outfit. So I had lots of fun putting on a little makeup and wearing a nice dress that I knew the hubs liked but had yet to see on me :-) He ended up taking us to Fogo de Chao, YUMMM. Needless to say I am still stuffed. If you aren't familiar with the restaurant, it is a Brazilian Steakhouse where they provide several different cuts of meat in rapid succession until you tell them to stop. I'll post pictures of the cards you use there below.

Anyways so that was alot of fun. Naomi's godmom watched her the evening, so we had a few hours to ourselves which is pretty rare and such a blessing.  We are definitely getting old though because we talked about going up to Howard for old times sake or going to a jazz club but we were full and tired and ready to head back home. Ha! The things parenthood does to ya. Just a couple years ago, our night would just be getting started around ten pm!

To be honest I really used to look down on Valentine's Day because it seemed so shallow. I remember so many girls in middle school and high school desperate for a boo thang they could claim as their own, even if their "relationship" began two days before V-Day and ended two days after. I never wanted to get caught up in such empty displays of so-called love so I ended up shunning it altogether.  Now I look at it more from the perspective of having the opportunity to show the people you truly love that you love them, whether it's family,  friends, or someone you're in a relationship with. The day is also a great time to make those who may otherwise feel unloved feel special. I was one of the ones like, Why in the world do we need a day set aside to show people we love them when we should be doing it anyway!? Oh how I chuckle at my younger immature self lol. Now I know that there's nothing wrong with showing a little extra love.

I hope each of you are having a wonderful weekend celebrating love! Later today my love and I will be going to a couple's Valentine's event that our church and another church are co-hosting. It will be our very first one since getting married :-) How do you celebrate Love Day? Show someone you love a littlw extra love today, and go be fearless and show someone who may feel unloved (or maybe that you think doesn't even deserve to feel extra love) some Christ like love today (and every day!).

This is my commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you.
John 15:12

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8

It was so nice to get dressed up!
If the green side is face up, it means keep the meats coming! Red side means you need a food break. I actually had green side up a good portion of the time!
Hubs said he was too full to smile. He's still adorable. :-)
We received this before we left the restaurant. How cool!
Me and my boo :-)
'Tis I.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fearless is my new normal: an introduction to fearless fridays

These past ten (TEN!!) months of being a mom to Naomi have been full of exciting moments, but I have to say the times that I enjoy most are watching her and the hubs have daddy-daughter time. It used to freak me out seeing Jeremiah flipping her over, tossing her in the air and such, but now that I see how much Naomi enjoys it and looks forward to it, I just sit back and let it happen.
Super-baby Naomi!! Her daddy makes her flyyyyy!!!
It's funny that as I watch Naomi playing around with her daddy, the only person in the room who's on edge is me. Of course Jeremiah is being careful, but not to the extent of padding the walls and floor (which kinda sounds like a good idea as I type it out...). Naomi, the one who's being tossed around, is the least fazed of all of us. She doesn't really know to do anything but trust us.

Oh that I would have the same kind of trust with my Heavenly Father! He has given me no reason to distrust Him, and He has a track record of perfection. He is to be trusted above all others.

Yet more often than not my actions are more characterized by comfort and security than by fearlessness and faith. I question the things the Lord calls me to do and quite frequently end up not doing them at all because I've talked myself out of it. And when I do obey, I love to have a safety net. Just in case this obedience thing, this leap of faith doesn't work out, I better have a back up plan. I like to have contingency plans for my contingency plans. I love the idea of being fearless, but taking actual, fearless action makes me, well, fearful. 

This know what? Scratch that. This week will be different. I've found that when I stretch my goals out over the course of a year without setting specific deadlines for them that the goals often go unmet. And so begins fearless fridays. Every Friday I will post on a fearless act the Lord has led me to do. It could be big. It could be small. It could be something for someone else, or it could be something in my personal life. No matter what the acts are, they'll all be great because I'll be doing them in obedience to my Father, Who enables us to act in spite of our fears, Who enables us to overcome our fears.

I've always believed that God is far too big and great for me to live a basic, ordinary life. I am taking Him at His Word that if I obey Him I will see extraordinary things done in His name that point others to His Son Jesus Christ and give Him all the glory. I'm not looking for accolades about what I do. I'm just looking to obey and thus be blown away by the amazingness (I made that up!) of God in my every day life.

Care to join me in being fearless? In the comment section each week, share a link to a fearless friday post in your blog. Let's live fearless lives for the Lord together!

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Move by Flame

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New year, same laundry

I think by this point it's officially too late to be saying Happy New Year. I mean, the year hasn't been new for two weeks now. New year, old news, right?

Naomi partied it up til 1am without a problem at a church event. I think she knew that if she was getting the chance to stay up, she'd better take advantage of it. And did she ever!! She was wide awake, but you better believe when we laid her down in bed around 1:30 am, she was knocked. out. Lil' girl wore herself (and her parents!) out!
Our tired little family post-church New Year's bash.
To be honest, it didn't even feel much like a new year to me. I think when you still have to change diapers and feed and console a crying baby the day feels pretty, well, ordinary. Plus there were loads of laundry that had built up into monstrous heaps that threatened to eat the laundry room, kitchen and dining room alive. Oh, and me, too. 2014 greeted me with 2013's dirty laundry.

With it came the attitude.

Seriously, who is in a good mood when they're doing laundry!?, to be honest. I don't usually mind sorting, and washing and drying. When it all needs to be put away, that's another story. On THIS day though, New Year's Day, I wasn't happy about the laundry. For some reason I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and wasn't altogether pleased that this motherhood thing doesn't afford you a day off. So off I went to do my daily thing of taking care of my sweet girl and the household. I grumbled grumbled grumbled inside myself about how just when the laundry seems to be done, it needs to be done all over again! *sigh* Such is life. And there's just nothing like starting out the new year with stuff from the previous year! Granted, it was just the day before, but c'mon, can't it just disappear??

It isn't just physical things like laundry that follow us into new days and months and years. Things like attitudes and bad habits have a way of creeping right along with us. Sometimes we know it; other times it has become so ingrained in us that we don't even realize the negative changes that have become a part of who we are. We go about our days and then it hits us out of nowhere--since when have I been doing/saying that? How long have I been neglecting this? When did that end up at the bottom of my priority list? Just like the new year sometimes seems to hit us out of nowhere, so does the realization that we've been carrying things along with us, bad thins, negative things for a while now and we wonder how in the world we ended up in this place. We then (well let me not say "we"--I know I can do it) I can end up getting frustrated with myself. I mope, and then that grumbling starts again, and I wonder how in the world am I supposed to persevere to the end when I can hardly keep up with everything in a year?

I think we tend to notice these things at the New Year more because it seems to be a bigger milestone than a day or month. After all, we celebrate birthdays after a year, right? (Though it would be pretty fantastic to have a birthday party every year. Gifts galore! Or, if you're a fatty, I mean, foodie like me, that might mean going-out-to-eat galore.) I feel like I write the same thing every year, but that's because every year the same is true. His mercies are new. And His mercies aren't simply new every YEAR, praise Jesus. they are new every DAY. Every day we are given is a milestone. Every day is a new beginning. Every day is another opportunity the Lord has given to rely on His grace more than we did the day before. And if I really break it down, it's really moment-by-moment grace and mercy.

Something else I can often forget is this: It is God who works within you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. We're only two weeks into the year, but I can't begin to count the amount of times the Holy Spirit has gently reminded me of this Scripture. He is doing the work in me, not me in myself! I also need to remember that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ! Why do I weigh myself down with self-reliance? Why do I depend on myself to please God? I need God to please God. I overwhelm myself at the beginning of the year with all these things I must do to serve and honor God with my life, and at the end of the year I overwhelm myself with self-condemnation for not completing everything I burdened myself with. I say it again: I need God to please God. My bestest recently reminded me of passage in 1 Thessalonians 5 that is so often quoted:

So many commands!! If you're like me, you may have recited these over and over in your head, beating yourself up for not being able to follow these clearly written directions. If you go to verse 24, you can see that we are missing a big part ALL of what we need in order to be able to do these things in our lives!

I know I just wrote it above, but I think this needs to be re-stated with some emphasis. HE who calls you is FAITHFUL; HE will surely DO IT! This is quoted much less often yet it is pivotal in our understanding of how we do these things God commands us. We allow Him to do the work in us...through us!! In and of ourselves we are incapable of being who God created us to be. I can't be the wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend that I'm called to be when I'm doing it on my own! I can have all the good intentions in the world and fail. And fail. And fail. Remember how I was talking about the laundry? It can be just like that. I try and try to keep up with the wash. And it just. keeps. building. up.

And ya know what? The laundry will build up at times. Sometimes we'll find it piling up more often than not. Sometimes we will turn around and find that we've wallowed and steeped ourselves into negative, damaging habits that have hurt our relationship with Christ, with our spouse, with our children, family members, friends. The amazing and grace-filled thing is this: At the time we notice that laundry, that mess, that dirt? At the time the Holy Spirit, through His Word, opens our clouded eyes to see the baggage we've been hanging onto that we're meant to let go of? That is the same time He extends His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness. Please don't forget, friends, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

My goal this year is to redeem--make the best use of--the time I'm given. Life is so short! So I don't want to waste time dwelling on why I did so much wrong yesterday. As the Lord shows me, I want to conform to His will and move forward. Instead of wasting precious moments in self-condemnation, I want to dwell in His daily sufficient grace.

New mercies each day. New mercies each year.