Yep, 10 out of 10

Thursday, December 28, 2006 12 Comments A+ a-

10 Signs You Are VERY, VERY Pregnant
  1. Every time you laugh, sneeze, or even smile, you pee your pants a little.
  2. Every time you pick up your toddler, you can sit her on your belly like a shelf.
  3. Every commercial involving a family, a baby, or a dog makes you cry.
  4. Flatulence… need I say more?
  5. You freak out the male cousins when they can see your belly moving from across the room.
  6. The wavering emotions between “Awww, we’re having a baby” and “Oh crap, we’re having a baby”.
  7. You now walk with waddle, belly in front, trying to keep the weight off your back.
  8. Most strangers can’t even look you in the eye, all they see is belly.
  9. Your belly has become a catch-all for any crumbs, spilt drinks, or runaway food.
  10. And last, but not least, the maternity shirts you couldn’t wait to wear, no longer fit and your belly is hanging out from underneath them!!

Open, Honest, and Real

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 8 Comments A+ a-

I had a good cry on the way to work this morning; it was exactly the emotional release I’ve needed for a while. The only problem is now that I’ve started crying, I can’t seem to stop the tears from welling up.

I’m sorry that I’ve been absent for almost a week, we’ve had a lot going on and I really haven’t had a moment to myself. There are so many things I want to touch on and keep record of but I find that I’m still processing a lot of it still. But here’s a small list of what’s been going on in my life:
  • The Blizzard of 2006, where we got over 2 feet of snow!
  • Having little to no time with Jon, who ended up working 78 hours within one week. At one point, he put in a 20-hour shift from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon.
  • Watching out-of-state family deal with changing travel plans due to the unexpected weather.
  • Attending a viewing and small service for my great-grandmother.
  • Dealing with a two and a half hour drive from our local mall to my sister’s house, approximately 8 miles away. (I’m not going back to the mall for at least two months!)
  • Dealing with high tensions and tempers as cabin-fever set in.
  • Handling and nursing back to health a very sick, tired, and cranky little girl.
  • And last, but certainly not least, a tragic accident involving Jon’s aunt and uncle on Christmas Day, where they were t-boned by a driver running a red light. Thankfully, Aunt Kara is okay and the worst Uncle Gary suffered was six broken ribs, but the emotional toll on the family was a little hard to bear.

What a week!! Quite frankly, I’m feeling completely empty; I am emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. Normally, I like to keep this blog as positive as possible but I also know that I’m human and I want to keep it real too. And at this point, I’m drained and my emotional state is just starting to reflect in my physical exhaustion. I’m ashamed to admit that this is reflecting in my mothering as well; Devyn is so sick and I just don’t have the patience to deal with her. (Ahhh… I can’t believe I’m even divulging that information!)

I know that some alone time with my husband will go a long way in bringing balance to my life again and I’m desperately hoping that wish comes true over these next couple of days. I’m sorry that this is such a downer of a post but this is me… honest, open, and real. As soon as I can see light again, I’ll be back to visit everyone’s blogs and catch up with everyone’s Christmases. I really hope that you are all doing well, I’ll pop in soon.

Blizzard of 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 2 Comments A+ a-

My mom's car was completely covered from the snow storm.
Our neighbor, across the street; check out those drifts!!
Just another example of the amount of snow we received.
The walkway from my sister's apartment to their parking lot! Insane!!

Let it snow!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6 Comments A+ a-

Our whole state is under a blizzard warning as I write those words. It's going to be a white Christmas indeed! My husband has worked one 16-hour shift and one 12-hour shift, with a number of 12-hour shifts looming ahead of him. It’ll be great for his paycheck in January, but makes for an exhausted husband right before the holidays. What a hard-working guy I married!!

Here’s the irony. My grandpa and his family live in Arizona and the last time they were out visiting over Christmas, was during the Blizzard of 1982; where snow drifts were as high as my parents’ roof. Grandpa vowed at that time that they would never again visit during December and has kept that promise. Unfortunately, with the death of his mom, Grandpa, his sons, and their families all flew in last night for her funeral tomorrow. And what has been forecasted for the week? A blizzard…

I don’t know if we’ll make it to the funeral tomorrow, or if there will even be a funeral, but I am enjoying having the whole family snow-bound. What a sense of humor our God has!!

Sad News...

Monday, December 18, 2006 5 Comments A+ a-

On Friday, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 95 years old. Unfortunately, I did not know her very well at all; so I hurt mostly for my mom and grandpa. She left behind four children, eight grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild (Devyn). I do feel very fortunate that she got to meet Devyn this past summer, something that I'll be sure Devyn is aware of in the future.

My grandpa, uncles, aunts, and cousins are flying in today and tomorrow, and the funeral is set for Thursday. Please say a prayer as everyone travels, as they deal with Grandma's death, and as things get crazy, both in preparation for Christmas and the funeral.
I'm sad that I didn't get to know her better and I wish that I had gotten to know a little more about her life. It would have been amazing to hear how she raised four children, what she remembered from her life experiences, how it felt to watch some major milestones in American history, and the list goes on. It seems the older I get, the more I want to reach out to grandparents and family. Their stories are amazing and I know there are so many lessons I can learn from them. It may be too late to get to know this great-grandmother but I can make a more conscientious effort to reach out to the other members of my family.

Homeowners? Us?!

Friday, December 15, 2006 11 Comments A+ a-

When Jon, Devyn, and I moved into my parents’ basement last June, we had some very specific goals in mind. The first was to get our credit report completely cleaned up; we had made some very poor choices during the first years of our marriage and the consequences were a messy credit history and repeated calls from creditors. The second goal was to become completely debt-free by paying off vehicles, loans, etc. And last, but certainly not least, was to qualify for a home loan and buy our first house. We wanted to accomplish all of these things in the hope that I’ll be able to start working part-time within the next year. It was a long list of goals, some that seemed unattainable at times, but we were determined to see them through.

While it’s not an ideal situation to be living with your parents at our age, we realized that some drastic measures had to be taken while dealing with our financial decisions. My parents were gracious enough to open their home to us while we worked on meeting our goals. I was afraid that living with my parents would strain relationships between us and them but have been pleasantly surprised to find that the transition has been relatively easy. (I say relatively easy because in my family there are strong personalities, strong opinions, and passionate tempers. The hardest transition was living with two sisters again but we’ve come a long way.) We’re very thankful that my parents have opened their home to us and have allowed us to fix these issues.

I am extremely happy to report that two of those goals have recently been met; we have completely cleared up our credit reports AND we met with a mortgage lender last night to get pre-qualified for a home loan. It was an amazing feeling to sit in that office with our stack of receipts and bank statements, showing each debt had been paid off. As we worked down our list of debts and creditors, it was liberating to write paid beside each one. Once that had been done, the lender sat down with us and went over our information from pay stubs, W2s, etc. We walked out of that meeting being told what we qualify for in a house payment; what programs will work for us regarding first-home-buyer programs; and having a very good idea of the price range we want. What a difference six months makes!!

We’re planning to start looking at houses this weekend with our realtor and are leaning towards building a brand-new home; there are some really good incentives out there. I find myself in a much different frame of mind now that I know what we can afford and feeling like we’ve learned some valuable lessons. Before our meeting last night, I was very anxious and stressed out about the whole situation. But this morning I woke up at 4:30am and couldn’t fall back asleep, just thinking about what the future holds for us. I found myself extremely excited at the prospects!

We should have our final loan paid off by the end of January and I’m hoping to be part-time by the end of the summer; after my 12-week maternity leave this spring. Slowly and surely, we’re seeing our goals being met and are so thankful to God for this time of maturity and growth. We have come a long way from the early years of our marriage and young, foolish decisions.

Belly Pics - Take 4

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 7 Comments A+ a-

18 weeks pregnant with Hudson.
22 weeks pregnant with Hudson.
26 weeks pregnant with Hudson.
30 weeks pregnant with Hudson.

O Holy Night

Monday, December 11, 2006 6 Comments A+ a-

I mentioned before that I absolutely love being pregnant during this time of year and I find that I’m continually reflecting on the miracle of Jesus’ birth. I’m in awe that Mary experienced so many of the same things I’m currently feeling through my pregnancy right now. Can you imagine knowing that the fetal movements are coming from the Savior of the world, her own Savior, and the magnitude of that?!

I wonder if his kicks brought a smile to her face; I wonder if she lovingly pushed an elbow or knee back inside; I wonder if she gasped as a foot found its way under her rib cage. I wonder if she worried about the birthing process or had doubts about her abilities as a mother; I wonder if she daydreamed about holding him in her arms or thought about what he would look like. I wonder if she complained about backaches or swollen ankles; I wonder if she grumbled about the weight gain or painful cramps.

And upon His birth, did she marvel at his tiny toes? Did she feel that overflowing, overwhelming sense of love that only a mother can feel? Did she caress his tiny features, whispering words of love, praise, and prayer over his safe arrival? Did she cry at the sound of his first whimper? Did she cuddle him close, vowing to do her best as a new mom? Did she worry about his future, knowing the sacrifice that was going to be made for our sins? What an incredible gift, giving birth to the Son of God!! O Holy Night, indeed!

1000 Gifts - Week 5

Sunday, December 10, 2006 4 Comments A+ a-

My husband just returned home after being gone for a week; bare with me as this list may seem a trifle too much about him. I can't seem to help it, as I've grown incredibly thankful for all the things he does for me, both as a husband and father.

106. His excitement in sharing about things he's learned this past week.
107. His welcoming embrace and absent-minded kiss on my forehead.
108. His overwhelming joy at being with his wife and daughter again.
109. The excitement on Devyn's face as she "sees" Daddy for the first time in a week.
110. Her abundent giggles as Daddy smothers her face with kisses or tosses her up in the air.
111. Long, passionate kisses (these are always nice!).
112. The sound of his snoring next to me.
113. Waking early with Devyn and tip-toeing upstairs to give "Mommy more time to rest".
114. The sounds of Daddy and Devyn enjoying a "quiet" breakfast together.
115. Feeling his arms around me as he cradles his unborn son.
116. Putting Devyn to bed as I get to enjoy a hot bath... alone.
117. Getting face time as we talk about our week; the joy in sharing a conversation in person.
118. The feel of his scruffy skin against my smooth cheek.
119. The comfort in cuddling in bed together.
120. His thankfulness for all I did for Devyn last week.
121. The sound of him helping Devyn clean up her toys.
122. His excitement in showing me the gifts he brought our children during his time away.
123. The comfort, joy, and excitement in being together as a family again.

Moving on...

124. The image of Mary, being nine months pregnant and preparing herself for the birth of our Lord and Savior. Wow!!
125. The sounds of Christmas carols emanating from the speakers in the stores.
126. Watching Devyn run up to the nativity and pointing out Baby Jesus.
127. Egg-Nog
128. People-watching during the Christmas season; everyone just SEEMS so much nicer.
129. The lyrics from "O Holy Night" - my favorite Christmas song.
130. Making plans with friends who are returning home for the Christmas season.
131. Getting so excited at the upcoming births in my friends (and my) lives. (Cassie - 10 days and counting...)
132. Feeling God's peace in getting pre-approved for a home loan, knowing He's in control!

Formal Portraits

Thursday, December 07, 2006 16 Comments A+ a-

I know that I'm incredibly biased but I really think these are wonderful pictures! We went to JC Penney's the day before her birthday and had a heck of time getting her to smile for the photographer. As you can see, once she'd warmed up, her infamous faces wouldn't stop. These photos are just so precious to me and I will treasure them always!!

The Cat's Away

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 6 Comments A+ a-

“When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

Jon has left us for a week-long training in a town about two hours from where we live. He is required by his job to attend this week-long training every single year; both to learn new skills and sharpen the skills he already has. My question is this: why is it that Devyn senses his departure as an excuse to act up and act out?! Why, I ask?!

Last night, Miss Devyn Paige decided to wake up at 2:30am. I thought she might be hungry (as she didn’t eat much dinner) and I grabbed a granola bar for her, which I might add she ate pretty fast. I laid her back down with me, only to have her toss and turn in bed for another thirty minutes. Within that thirty-minute time frame, Hudson woke up with the hiccups. Now when my son (in-utero) gets the hiccups, he gets decidedly upset and will kick anything and everything in an effort to stop them. So, I had one child tossing and turning in bed next to me and the other child kicking inside me, both doing their best to keep me awake.

Around 3:45am, I gave up and hauled all of us upstairs. I situated Devyn and I on the couch; turned on the Disney channel; calmed my upset, hiccupping baby as best I could; and proceeded to cat-nap through The Littlest Einsteins. At 4:30am, the TV went off and I finally was able to settle everyone back to sleep.

When I woke up to get ready for work at 6:00 this morning, I gave thanks that normally this is a two-parent family and that my husband will often step in and handle moments like those. And as far as next year’s training goes, I got a brief, slight glimpse of what it’s going to be like when both children are here in flesh and blood during Daddy’s week-long absence. Oh Lord, give me strength!!

Oh Baby!!

Monday, December 04, 2006 3 Comments A+ a-

I feel like my little world is being inundated with baby news left and right. It’s quite exciting to see my family and friends being blessed in such miraculous ways!

First of all, my sister and her husband became an aunt and uncle for the second time within the past week. His brother, Josh, and wife, Shamree became the proud parents of a baby girl named Abigail Mary. She weighed 8 lbs, 10 ozs and was 20 inches long. We are so happy for the whole family and love that my sister’s two nieces have birthdays just seven days apart!!

Secondly, we want to extend our congratulations to Drea and Cory who are expecting their second child in July! We are looking forward to watching Isaac as a big brother and are sure that everyone will adjust well.

And the one I’m MOST excited to announce, I can’t even give names because they haven’t announced it to their families yet. Regardless, I just want to say that I have watched this friend and her husband go through many struggles in their 2+ year quest to conceive. And I have never seen a woman, with a more positive attitude and determination to succeed, despite a number of setbacks. I was in awe as I watched this couple come together as a unit during this time of uncertainty and doubt, stronger for it in the end. I am honored that she shared such an intimate time in her life with me; that she allowed herself to be vulnerable and share her hurt on what is normally such a private struggle. I cannot begin to express my happiness, giddiness, or overall excitement at their news and I’m truly looking forward to meeting this much-wanted, very-anticipated, constantly-prayed-for-baby in July.

It’s definitely time for a baby roll-call again:

December
Jeremy & Cassie – Expecting their second child, Elijah Steven.

January
Jeff & Katie – Expecting their third child, a surprise.
Ryan & Kristin – Expecting their second child, Aubrey.

February
We are expecting our second child, Hudson Jonathan.
Peter & Rebecca – Expecting their first child, a son whose name is being kept secret.

April
Jeremy & Jill – Expecting their first child, Kila Jean.

June
Tommy & Amber – Expecting their second child, a surprise.

July
Yet-Unnamed-Parents – Expecting their first child, a surprise.
Cory & Drea – Expecting their second child, a surprise.

And in the Blogosphere, a number of dear, dear friends are expecting little ones of their own.
Mary, from Hess Hit Factory, is expecting her second child, a daughter named Zoe.
Amanda, from Something Beautiful, is expecting her third child, a son named Ezekial.
Amy, from Amy, Oh My, is expecting her second child, a surprise.
Erin, from Embracing My Cup, is expecting her third child, a surprise.
Andi, from Tales of a Crafty Mama, is expecting her second child, a surprise.
Joy, from Living Joyously, is expecting her fourth child, a surprise.
And Overwhelmed, from Overwhelmed with Joy, is currently in the process of adopting her second child, also a surprise.

Please pop in on these ladies and give them some much-needed encouragement and support when you get a chance. I’m sure you’ll find their stories from motherhood, pregnancy, and adoption thoughtful, informative, and fun!!

1000 Gifts - Week 4

Friday, December 01, 2006 0 Comments A+ a-

May I never cease to be amazed at the number of gifts and blessings God has bestowed on me! I am so thanful to have a loving and gracious King.

81. The smell of pine from the Christmas tree.
82. The sight of Devyn covered in flour from baking cookies.
83. The scent of my husband’s cologne.
84. The sound of Christmas carols coming from the stereo.
85. Watching Devyn pick up snow and her look of dismay when it melts.
86. Convictions of the heart, knowing that I’m still a work in progress.
87. The sight of my husband dressed up for a date-night out.
88. The joy of forgiveness and restoring a relationship with a sister.
89. Watching Devyn’s face as she takes in the Christmas lights.
90. The gentle pressure and warmth from our dogs as they lay at our feet.
91. A late-night text message from Jon, reassuring me that despite cold weather, icy roads, and plowing while exhausted, he’s ok and safe.
92. Cuddling with Devyn under a warm blanket, watching classic Disney movies.
93. The knowledge that God has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination.
94. An unexpected gift, in the shape of extra time off, bonus, or Jon’s overtime.
95. The gift of silence, either alone or with my spouse.
96. Getting to relive childhood moments through the eyes of my child.
97. Chocolate advent calendars.
98. My husband starting my car on a cold winter morning.
99. Having my face cupped in Jon’s hands, feeling precious to him.
100. The sight and sound of Devyn’s joy when her daddy comes home.
101. Watching a friend (or relative) as they adjust to new motherhood, the utter contentment and abundant love in their face.
102. Excitement at finding the “perfect” gift for a loved one.
103. Red cheeks and noses after a good tussle outside in the cold.
104. Hot chocolate with marshmallows.
105. The sight of our church’s sanctuary decorated for the Christmas season!