Friday, August 31, 2012

Sweet Reminders

I'm spending time reading through the book of John, which has been more fulfilling than I anticipated (silly me!). I would've considered that of any part of the Bible, I'd be most familiar with the Gospels. I still wouldn't disagree with that, but I have been so faithfully reminded that God's Word is alive and real. Just thought I'd leave you with a sweet affirmation I came across in the last few days.

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" John 9:1-3. Shortly after saying this to His disciples, Jesus then healed the blind man, who then went throughout the town proclaiming what great things Jesus had done for him.

How many times do we go through life questioning the "hard things"? Like, the unfair circumstances or the undeserved judgements. You know, the difficult things that are hard to make an answer for. There are only so many times you can listen to "every gray cloud has a silver lining" or even just "don't worry, things will get better." Eventually, these sentiments only serve to infuriate someone going through hard times.

But what a sweet reminder God gives us here in the book of John. I'd so often heard of the story where Jesus heals a blind man, but was comforted most by Jesus' dialogue between the disciples: A simple reminder that God not only knows our struggles and ailments and difficulties, but allows them in order to display His great works through our broken lives.

Lord, help me to remember this truth in the times when I question the hard things.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Name Game

Baby M's gender continues to be a mystery, so we are gearing up for either sex to make an appearance come due day. People comment to me regularly (usually as soon as they hear the baby will be a surprise) that it must be awfully hard to plan for this baby. How do you know what to buy? How can you get a nursery ready? How in the world can you prepare for that? I can't tell you how many times i've heard, "I just HAD to find out, so that I could plan accordingly! Isn't it hard not finding out???"

And in truth?

It's not.

Ok, so maybe last weekend when I was baby shopping for a dear friend's shower, I may have had a fleeting moment of curiosity. Because that little girl's outfit would just be perfect.... if I knew this baby was a girl! Aside from this moment and maybe a handful of others, I am much more excited for the surprise that awaits me! There's just never going to be another moment in life like the moment this baby comes into the world and we hear, "IT'S A......."

Endlessly exciting! So while we wait, here's a little run-down of our baby plans thus far:

Here's our gender-unspecific baby nursery plan. We've picked out furniture, girl bedding, and boy bedding. We picked a paint color to match both bedding sets and will ideally have the room painted and the furniture set up by due day. Then, after baby arrives, we'll order the bedding to match whatever sex we're blessed with! We were gifted with a lovely pack & play that has a newborn sleeper attachment that will reside at our bedside for the first few weeks. By the time baby M is ready to transition to crib life, the room will be complete. I have a few cute "neutral" decor ideas for the room as well as some girl-specific ideas and some boy-specific ideas. It'll all come together in time. While I'm sure my stress level will escalate as the weeks go on, as of now, I'm pretty comfortable with our "start now, finish later" plan.

And of course (this is what you've all been waiting for!), we've picked out 2 baby names.......

If this baby is a girl, we are about 99.9% positive her name will be Natalie Anne. 

And if this baby is a boy, we are about 99.9% positive his name will be Isaac Edward.

It took us a lot longer to narrow down and settle on a boy's name than it did the girl's name. I think we've been settled on Natalie since about week #20 and just "finalized" Isaac a few days ago. The name Natalie doesn't really hold any kind of special meaning. I just like it. I think it's a sweet and classic (but not overdone) girls name. Technically, Natalie means "born on Christmas," which won't hold true considering this child is due November 1. But then again Hollie (Holly) has Christmas tie-ins and I was born in June. Anne is our family tie-in, as both my mother, my nana, and Jordan's mother all share a middle name Ann(e). Isaac has a little more significance, as it is not only a strong OT name, being Abraham's son, but it also means "laughter." Jordan is well known by his less-than-common-and-very-loud laugh and thought it would only be appropriate to give his child a name that means "laughter." I don't think that this whole hurricane thing was even on the radar when we settled on our boy's name, but I did mention that if hurricane Isaac magically turns into a category 5 storm and levels our house and town, that we should probably re-think our baby name. Funny enough, I had a patient today who was naming her boy Isaac. Edward is also another family tie-in, after Jordan's Papa Ed (and it just so happens one of my nana's brothers was named Edward).

So there you have it. Baby M might be a Natalie or might be an Isaac. Only time will tell!

What do YOU think baby M will be???

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Shower Numero Uno

We are back and somewhat settled from our trip to Augusta this past weekend. Traveling and being constantly on the go from Thursday to Tuesday wore me slap out! As someone who's normally very active, it's hard for me to slow down and take it easy these days, even though I am now 30 weeks pregnant (That's 7 months folks!). By the time we finally arrived home, I was starting to look like the Sta-Puff Marshmallow man, but with lots of water and propping my tootsies up, my ankle bones are now visible again.

But enough whining about edema and feeling like a wimp, this post is about a baby shower! I was completely honored when my sisters, mom and incredible friend approached me about showering this little baby with love. Little did I know, I'd be completely blown away at the shower itself. Overwhelmed was certainly the theme from last Saturday, as I was surrounded by dozens of dear friends and family members.

The theme was a baby "shower," like as in rain shower. So cute! There were little umbrellas around and fresh wild flowers and cute little raindrop-blue accessories (not to be confused with "boy" blue!). The girls did a fantastic job! The food was delishhhhh and made this preggo's heart very happy. My sister even went to the trouble to make both pink AND blue cake balls! Yum! There were lots of my own special requests (like Buffalo Chicken Dip! I think I could've eaten the entire pan!) and equally as many surprises (like individual Oreo Cheesecakes... swoon.) I think I'm gaining weight just thinking about how great the food was! 

I just can't even express into words how blessed I am (we are). It truly was a joy to share time with such special people, many of whom I haven't seen in years. Being 1000 miles away from "home" makes it nearly impossible to catch up with everyone, much less a handful of people when we are in town, so I was so thankful to spend just a few hours hugging necks and smiling and laughing with some of my favorite folks.

And don't even get me started on the crazy amazing gifts we received. With some strategic packing and some cooperation by the folks at Babies R Us, we now have all of our gifts under our roof. I could probably write another post about the baby gear that's starting to take over our house! People are just too kind. It makes my heart happy to know that this baby is already so well loved. I just can't say enough "thank yous" to all the people who came out to show love to this little pumpkin, and to the 4 people who went to great lengths to assemble such a wonderful shower. We are so very fortunate and for that, I am profoundly thankful. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting our feet wet

We've made it through our second weekend in a row hosting friends or family with kids. This past weekend we were visited by Jordan's sister, Amanda and her husband and kiddos. It's always so much fun to catch up with Amanda and spend some quality time with our nephews and niece.

The kiddos were particularly fond of patting and rubbing Baby M and feeling baby kick and move around. Everyone insisted that Baby M must be a boy, which is surprising!

On Friday, we spent time together at the beach, which is probably the first time I've been out to the water this summer! Isn't that a shame? I somehow squeezed the belly and all my other pregnant bits into a regular bathing suit and waddled out. I also managed to get a bizarre sunburn, but of course no real tan. The kids loved the water and we had a hard time convincing them to leave when it was time. The older two kids were on the lookout for jellyfish while the littlest was perfectly content sitting at the shoreline and playing in the sand. We even made friends with some tourists who let the kiddos ride around on their boogie board. It was a fun and sandy day.

On Saturday, we loaded up into Amanda's car and headed to Corpus to check out the Aquarium. Despite now living in South Texas for over 3 years, it was the first time Jordan & I had ever set foot in the aquarium (We haven't seen the Lexington either!). Mark that off the list! And what did we learn? Maybe going to the aquarium on a Saturday in the summer wasn't exactly the smartest idea we've ever had. Maybe a Tuesday in November would've been better. It was both scorching hot and completely packed. Thank goodness we had more adults than children so that we could easily stick together in the masses of people. Despite being crowded, I think everyone enjoyed the trip.

I guess spending the last 2 weekends with young kids has more than given Jordan and I a taste of what parent life is like. I think we both enjoyed and observed a lot of different things in the last 2 weeks. Next up is baby shower #1! We leave Thursday and I'm so excited to be spending a nice long weekend back in Augusta. Many pictures and stories to come!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Third Trimester! (28 weeks)

It's HARD to believe I've only got a measly 12 weeks left until this baby is due! At the time, it seemed as if the first 12 weeks were never going to end. Between feeling puny and keeping the whole pregnancy thing under wraps, each week seemed like an eternity. My, how things have changed! This last trimester is here and there's no slowing down now. Here are a few of my 28 week observations:

  • Baby M spends all day wiggling and kicking. 
  • Painting my own toes is getting ridiculously difficult.
  • I thought the glucose test drink was pretty palatable. Fingers crossed for a passing grade.
  • Running is still a joy. The aftermath is painful. 
  • Heartburn!
  • My time spent sleeping is slowly decreasing, while my waistline is slowly increasing. 

See what I mean? This little red tank top isn't gonna cut it much longer.

But then there are some things that just haven't seemed to change, like the fact that baby M's gender is still a mystery. This might be especially surprising given that since I work in labor & delivery, I have access to an ultrasound machine every day I work. The girls I work with are dying to know, but I am determined to keep this kiddo a surprise! We have narrowed down our name possibilities to a few different boy names but probably have settled on a girl name. The gender survey looks pretty one-sided right now, and to be honest, I've had 2 "girl" dreams! We'll see if my subconscious is right... in 12 weeks!

Another constant is my lack of cravings and aversions. I've heard friends confess cravings for caesar salad, swedish fish, and canned peaches (not together!), but still haven't had any legitimate cravings of my own. I will admit to not being much of a raw tomato fan pre pregnancy, but find myself happily scarfing them down these days.

I am so very thankful to have had a healthy pregnancy so far.  For me, it's hard not to imagine all the different variables and things that could go wrong since I see the "wrong" every day at work. Sure, 99 deliveries are smooth and uneventful, and then there's the 1 where something goes awry. But as of my appointment today, everything is measuring right on track and there's no sign of distress on the horizon.

On the flip side, in the very near future I will have my first baby shower! We've also almost got the nursery room-to-be cleaned out and have some big plans for color and details. I'm excited to see our little one's room start to take form here in the next few weeks! He (or She!) will be here before we know it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Prayer Request

Hello blog friends and family and occasional readers.

I have a special request.

I don't know that I've ever blogged about specific prayer requests outside of the occasional camp-mission-trip-safety-travels-student-transformation type thing. I spend lots of time each week praying over the different people in my life, but for many reasons, I keep my personal prayer time, well, personal. And then yesterday I got a special request from a special friend and desire so desperately to honor her request. Here's a very brief synopsis of her back story:

I met Jaci through the blogosphere. We're similar on many big levels: obviously we both blog. Then there's the fact that she's also a nurse. Her husband also does the ministry thing as a Christian counselor. And then she's also expecting her first little one within days of my first little one. Aside from similarities- she's really funny! 

Since the end of June, Jaci's mother, Nancy has been fighting for her life. Previously healthy and in her early 50's, Nancy has suffered numerous massive heart attacks in the last 6 weeks and two days ago, instead of continuing her stay in cardiac rehab, she experienced yet another heart attack and was readmitted once again to the hospital. The damage to her heart from the last 6 weeks of injuries is severe. Her future is very uncertain and the whole family is reeling. Think about your family. My mother is only a few years older than Nancy and I could hardly even imagine the turmoil that Jaci's family must be facing right now. It makes me think back to when my father-in-law suffered a stroke and what intense pain and frustration and uneasiness you face when family is sequestered to a bed in an intensive care unit. Friends, her pain is palpable and her family is desperate. 

That's where YOU come in. Yes, I said YOU. And anyone else you can muster up to help with this very special request. I know many of you are ministry wives and families and can share this story and pray over this sweet family. Nancy's birthday is August 17 and Jaci is making a very special plea to those people who have chosen to pray for Nancy. She would love to be overwhelmed with letters and pictures and encouragement to share with her mother on her birthday. Jaci has left contact information on her blog and is already receiving cards and pictures from around the nation from people showing their support to Nancy. Will you be one of those people? It takes only minutes to cover this family in prayer, snap a photo with your phone and email it their way, but just think of the far-reaching effects of seeing evidence from hundreds and maybe thousands of people who have all joined in prayer together for Nancy and her family.

Please go do this.

Jaci Lou

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I seem to remember mentioning some sort of "quiet" or "lull" in our life for the next few weeks. I can't imagine what possessed me to say that, considering nothing has been quiet and there has been no lull and I can't seem to see any such thing on the horizon either! This summer is coming to an end quickly and our fall is already getting so full it's hard to think of a time where we won't be gearing up or winding down from some sort of event! 

This past weekend we were absolutely blessed to pieces to have some of our most favorite and wonderful friends come share our home for the weekend. They brought their two kiddos and we spent the weekend getting wet at the pool & beach and eating mexican food! It was pretty much perfection.

Sweet babies in the sand!
It's so easy to forget how dear our friends are, isn't it? Especially the faraway friends, whose foundations are tested when many miles are placed between two people. When visits are once or twice a year and the busyness of life gets in the way, it's just second nature to put our heads down and buckle into whatever we're doing. Before you know it, we learn to do the robot each day and completely lose sight of the joy our friendships bestow upon us. I am so thankful to have spent a weekend with incredible friends who allow us to laugh and encourage us and teach us what it means to be a loving friend once again. I had forgotten how much I'd missed them. Isn't that funny?

As our Strange friends were packing their bags for home this morning, Jordan was packing his bags as well. He is once again gone on a summer trip, this time with a group of our college students. They'll spend a few days floating the Frio and fellowshipping before getting back into the swing of things with fall semester being just a few weeks away. The first year of the college ministry will be coming to a close in the coming months and it's been such a blessing to see this group of students grow both in numbers and in maturity. Last October I felt like the Lord was providing many answers to the questions that Jordan and I had regarding a separate ministry for the college class. With the unwavering support of the ministry staff @ FBC plus some input from our other youth leaders, we stepped out in forming this college class. Since then, we've seen such remarkable growth from these folks, many of which are taking on roles of leadership and discipleship around the church. I pray this group has a wonderful few days together to be refreshed and encouraged and transformed.

Next weekend we'll host another dear family at our house - my sister in law, her husband and kiddos are coming to spend some time before school starts. We are thrilled to have them!

The weekend after that, Jordan and I will be headed to Augusta for one last visit before I'm too pregnant to fly! I'm having a hard time believing I'll be in my third trimester by the end of this week and have a little over 12 weeks left to be pregnant! That's just crazy!!!

Shortly after that weekend, Jordan and I are hoping to take a little vacation to rest and relax and enjoy each other before baby arrives. Any babymoon suggestions?

Sidenote: If the vacation AFTER a wedding is called a honeymoon, then why is the vacation BEFORE a baby called a babymoon?

What do you call a man with no arms and no legs laying at the front door?

What do you call a man with no arms and no legs hanging on the wall?

What do you call a man with no arms and no legs and no head?

Why did Sylvia fall off the monkey bars?
-Sylvia doesn't have any arms.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Not sylvia.

And I'm done.
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