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:

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Pregnancy, Hormones, and Christmas

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 13 Comments A+ a-

I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy is flying! I’m currently between my 29th and 30th week of pregnancy and I just don’t remember my pregnancy with Devyn progressing this fast. Physically, I’m feeling pretty darn good. I had my 28-week check-up last week and I have now gained 23 pounds from the start. I cringe a little as I say that because I’m a little nervous as to how much more weight I’m going to gain these last ten weeks or so. But I know that in the end, its completely, totally, and utterly worth it. Amy and I were talking last week about weight gain during pregnancy and I told her that I’m just preparing myself to work a little harder this time around to lose the pregnancy weight but I’m sure breastfeeding will go a long way in helping that along.

At my 28-week check-up, I was still measuring about 2-3 weeks behind (and yes, this is fundal height), so my doctor (I just love her) sent me for another ultrasound to make sure that things are going okay. Honestly, I wasn’t that worried because I always measured small with Devyn and I just figured that to be the case with this one too. Imagine my surprise when the ultrasound technician said that my measurements show Hudson is measuring at 29 weeks and 4 days; approximately two days larger than he should be. Regardless, it was wonderful being able to see him again and we were also treated to a pleasant surprise when the technician pulled out the 3D ultrasound machine. We got some wonderful shots of Hudson Jay (short for Jonathan, but too long to say) and I think Jon and I both fell in love with our little guy all over again. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Emotionally I feel like I’m on a roller coaster; there’s so many ups and downs that I’m not really sure which way is up any more. I have moments of extreme highs, especially with the Christmas season here, and I’m so confident that I’ll be able to adjust to being a mommy of two that nothing can faze me. In those moments, I’m excited to meet Hudson, hold him in my arms, and love on this new life. However, on the other end of the spectrum, I have moments of complete doubt, wondering how I’ll ever love this child as much as I love Devyn. There are times I feel sad at the thought that Devyn won’t get my full attention anymore; that it won’t be just the two of us on errands or special outings. And then the moments of guilt set in as I feel I’m not giving Hudson the proper excitement and joy at his coming birth. It’s a vicious cycle, one I’d love to break but I’m sure that won’t happen until his arrival and everything just “clicks” into place. Any reassurances from veteran moms would be greatly appreciated!!

I wanted to end with this, I absolutely LOVE being pregnant during the Christmas season. Despite the fact that this is one of the most joyous times of year, there’s just something special about wandering from store to store with this belly sitting out in front of you. Strangers bestow special smiles on you; doors are held open; I’ve been ushered to the front of the line a couple of times now; and there’s just a sense of warmth coming from fellow shoppers. I do LOVE it! However, with that said, if one more person tells me I look like I’m about to pop; or is shocked when I say that I’m not due until February; or kindly tells me his friend/neighbor/relative is due next week and I’m bigger than she is; I may lose it… Christmas spirit or not!

ABC Meme

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3 Comments A+ a-

Mary, from Crankin' Out the Hits, tagged me to do this ABC meme, so enjoy!

A - Available/Single?
Of course not; been in a loving, supportive relationship for 9+ years.
B - Best Friend?
My husband and sisters.
C- Cake or Pie?
I’m a pie girl – especially cherry pie.
D - Drink Of Choice?
Iced Tea
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday?
Hmmmm… a hair brush.
F - Favorite Color?
G - Gummy Bears or Worms?
Gummy bears.
H - Hometown?

I - Indulgence?
Bubble baths.
J - January or February?
February – our son is due in February.
K - Kids & Their Names?
Devyn (2) and Hudson (in-utero)
L - Life Is Incomplete Without?
My relationship with God – Good one Mary, I’ll just ditto this.
M - Marriage Date?
May 31, 2002
N- Number Of Siblings?
3 wonderful, hard-headed, loving, stubborn, and vivacious sisters.
O - Oranges or Apples?
P - Phobias/Fears?
Snakes, BIG time. Give me spiders and bugs any day!
Q - Favorite Quote?
This is fast becoming my favorite quote from the movie Shall We Dance.
“We need a witness to our lives; there are a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything; the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... All of it, all of the time, every day, you're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."
R - Reason to Smile?
Whenever I feel life moving inside of me. Amazing!!!
S - Season?
T - Tag Three People?
Katherine, Amy, and Wendy
U - Unknown Fact about Me?
I am addicted to the salad at the Olive Garden. Frighteningly addicted!
V - Vegetable you don't like?
I will NOT eat beets, hate them!
W - Worst Habit?
Biting my nails and my lips.
X - X-rays You've Had?
Do MRIs or ultrasounds count? I had MRIs done in high school and several ultrasounds for two pregnancies.
Y - Your Favorite Food?
Mexican or Italian.
Z - Zodiac Sign?
While Mom would kill me for saying this, I am a classic Virgo. My poor, poor husband!

Nodding Off

Sunday, November 26, 2006 9 Comments A+ a-

Jon had placed Devyn in her booster seat while we prepared oatmeal for her; something she likes to eat before going to bed. As you can see, she was utterly exhausted and we just couldn't resisting pulling out the camera. The entertainment value was priceless!!

1000 Gifts - Week 3

Thursday, November 23, 2006 4 Comments A+ a-

Reasons 60 - 80 that I am so blessed!

Psalms 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

4-Wheeling, Baby!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 3 Comments A+ a-

Devyn Paige is one of the most adventerous little girls I've ever met, and I'm not saying that just because I'm her mother. Here is proof that she adores adventure and is willing to try anything; listen to her laugh! I pray that these qualities stay with her throughout life!!

Birthday Fun

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 4 Comments A+ a-

The balloons were a huge success; she played with them all morning long!
The birthday girl, in all her glory. (I think she's a little tired here.)The cake and party hats for the guests.The birthday cake for Devyn Paige; Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy were a huge hit!Trying to play with the big kids; she gave it her best shot!She finally became an observer of the game, which lasted about 10 seconds before she was off and running to do something else! Uncle Josh and Devyn playing in the tube/slide-thing. Great photo!!
Devyn absolutely LOVED this ride, it simulated 4-wheeling and tossed her everywhere. Daddy loved that she giggled through the whole thing. (Video to follow soon!)
The best part of the whole night, helping Miss Devyn open her gifts. Family and friends were extremely generous and we're very thankful!!

Happy Birthday Munchkin!

Sunday, November 19, 2006 8 Comments A+ a-

My firstborn turns 2 years old today. I was talking to my aunt this past week about what a bittersweet feeling it is to see Devyn celebrate another year older. While I’m truly enjoying each moment with her, I can’t help but remember the baby days with fondness and a sense of longing.

Yes, I miss the nights of nursing, the special bond between Devyn and myself; where time stood still as we stared into eachother’s eyes, memorizing the features of each other’s faces. I miss cuddling her tiny body on my chest, letting her rhythmic breathing sink into my soul. I miss her tiny hand clutching my index finger. I miss being the center of her universe, where I was her only source of nourishment and entertainment, all rolled into one.

There have been very few moments in Devyn’s life that I have not enjoyed, loved, relished, or treasured being her mother. She has been one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. I am completely humbled that God would not only give me one of His children to raise, but that He has faith that I was the perfect mom specifically for Devyn. She has taught me patience in ways I have never thought possible. I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love; I know that my heart will forever be hers. I’m finding joy in the smallest things; a new word, a discovered skill, a wet kiss, a stroke of a cheek, or a beautiful smile. The list goes on and on… Becoming Devyn’s mommy has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life!

So, Happy Birthday Munchkin! Happy Birthday to the child who has touched my heart in more ways than one, who has changed my life for the better, and who will always be my baby girl!!

1000 Gifts - Week 2

Friday, November 17, 2006 5 Comments A+ a-

And the list of blessings continues...

27. The smell of puppy breath.
28. A quiet evening with a glass of wine and good conversation.
29. Skiing, feeling as though you’re flying.
30. A heartfelt conversation with a good friend.
31. Mom’s homemade fettuccini alfredo.
32. A back massage from Jon.
33. Christmas cards from family and friends.
34. My dad’s eagerness to maintain a strong relationship with each of his girls.
35. A brief, but poignant, memory of my great-grandmother, Grammie.
36. Grammie’s pickles… yummy!
37. Bacon Salad
38. Jon’s laidback attitude.
39. The clutching of my face and puckered lips, as Devyn leans in for a kiss.
40. Comfort offered in the arms of my husband.
41. The smell of white cotton blossom emanating from my bubble bath.
42. A good discussion with couples from our bible study.
43. The blessings that are each one of my sisters; Christine, Allison, and Courtney.
44. Forgiveness that is offered when it is least deserved.
45. Christine’s gentle, loving spirit.
46. Listening to music and Devyn asking to “da-ance?”
47. The song “My Little Girl” sung by Tim McGraw (tears… every time!)
48. Listening to Devyn sing to her baby dolls.
49. Allison’s tiny features but strong will.
50. Watching the grin on my husband’s face when he catches the “big” fish.
51. Jon’s boyish grin, no matter the reason.
52. My Aunt Debbie’s wise counsel.
53. Courtney’s sassy attitude and big heart.
54. Escaping to the family cabin for a weekend alone.
55. 4-wheeling through the mountain roads.
56. Holiday meals with families; the food, the conversation, the warmth.
57. Having my mother in the delivery room when Devyn was born, such strength.
58. The joy in having two brothers, given to me through marriage.
59. A beautiful, crisp fall afternoon.

Sassy Little Girl

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 11 Comments A+ a-

Devyn still doesn’t turn 2 years old for a few more days but within the past week we’ve hit the “two” stage in full force. Some of the changes include the word “no” as the most used in her vocabulary; a flair for defying Mom and Dad’s wishes; and a surprisingly willful spirit. Our recent conversations look something like this:

“Devyn, it’s time to help me clean up your toys.”


“Devyn, you cannot say no to Mommy. Come help me clean up your toys.”


“Young lady, you’re heading for a time-out.”

To which one of three things happens, either she’ll cry, scream, and throw a tantrum while I’m dragging her over to the time-out corner; she’ll give a deep sigh and start helping me clean up the toys; or she’ll walk herself over to the time-out corner and sit down. *Sigh* I am in SO much trouble when she hits the teens years.

Of course, she’s also learned how to throw a wrench into the disciplining process. Yesterday afternoon Jon was asking her to throw away some of her trash and she was answering with the usual “no”. Jon was starting to get exasperated.

“Devyn, you have until the count of three to throw this away.”



And then in the tiniest, sweetest voice you’ve ever heard, she responds with, “Two…”

Jon and I both erupted into laughter because it was the cutest, funniest thing we’ve ever heard. Of course, all hope for any discipline after that has gone completely out the window.

Life with a sassy, two-year-old is going to be an adventure!!

Chaos Reigns

Monday, November 13, 2006 9 Comments A+ a-

There are so many things that I want to write about and expound on but I find that my time is rapidly shrinking. For instance I want to write about the following:

  • Devyn’s upcoming 2nd birthday; when did she turn into a little girl?!
  • Thanksgiving plans with the whole family; my parents are expecting between 32 and 40 people.
  • My 1000 Gifts list, I have so much for which to be thankful!
  • The fact that I entered the 3rd trimester on Sunday.
  • Some recent visits with wonderful friends.
  • Our plans for the future.
  • My struggles with controlling my anger; recent developments in a familial relationship.
But I am so busy right now, and I feel like I’m desperately trying to keep my head above water. I find myself trying to maintain some sense of balance at home. I don’t want to be that mother that is so focused on doing “stuff” that I forget to cherish the time with family and friends. What am I so stressed out about?

  • Preparing for Devyn’s 2nd birthday party; again, when did she grow up?!
  • Helping Mom plan menus and help cook for 32+ people for the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Planning a baby shower for a friend; coming up in 2 weeks!
  • Preparing to send out 75+ Christmas cards, complete with letters and photos.
  • Getting ready to be pre-approved for a home loan and signing the appropriate contract with the builder of the house we like AND can afford.
  • Preparing for the Christmas season; drawing names, buying gifts, Christmas carols, baking, all while trying to teach Devyn the REAL meaning of Christmas. Any suggestions on how to do that with a two-year-old?

(For those that don’t know, I do work outside the home; please no judgments. Those that know me, know that my heart’s desire is to be home with my children, and hopefully will be soon.)

  • Mastering additional, new duties at work.
  • Administering 4 Flu Shot clinics for 1400+ employees.
  • Finishing the completion of insurance forms for 1400+ employees.
  • Planning, marketing, and finishing details for a Blood Drive at work.
  • Planning, marketing, and finishing details for one-on-one consultations with our retirement representatives and 1400+ employees.

*Sigh* Life just got a little too crazy right now, which always seems to be the case around the holidays. From my heart to yours, I hope that everyone is able to maintain a sense of peace and balance during this busy time of year.

1000 Gifts - Week 1

Friday, November 10, 2006 4 Comments A+ a-

This has started circling the blogosphere within the past week or so, originating from the site of Christian Women Online. I don't normally participate in these weekly memes but I just can't help but think what a wonderful idea it is to stop during this crazy time of year and reflect on the number of gifts God has given me! I was hoping to get all 1000 gifts listed before January 1st, but then I did the calculations and I realized I'd have to do 125 every single week between now and then! I'm not trying to punish myself; I want to reflect on these gifts as God brings them to mind without worrying whether I have 125 for the week or not. So my lists will be posted as I go, without rhyme or reason.

1. That God's graces are new every morning.
2. The sound of little feet pitter-pattering across a wood floor.
3. Every time my husband leans over and whispers "page 111" in my ear.
4. An updated post from a beloved blogging friend.
5. The smell of my mother's homemade stew.
6. The innocence of children's laughter.
7. A passage from the bible that speaks directly to my heart.
8. The pressure on my back as my husband turns over in bed.
9. Watching the rolls and bumps move across my belly, proof that life is growing inside.
10. The feeling of my daughter's tiny arms around my neck.
11. A worship song that moves me to tears.
12. Lunch with my sister, a cherished weekly ritual.
13. Watching my daughter jump into the water at the pool without fear!
14. Time to write out my thoughts or post on my blog.
15. The smell of my daughter's freshly washed hair.
16. The sight of the mountains and the setting sun.
17. Arranging a coffee or lunch date with a much-missed friend.
18. The sight of the mountains after a fresh blanket of snow.
19. A friend's good news of a coming baby or new engagement.
20. Watching a friend persevere through a hard time and come out victorious in the end.
21. Feeling replenished and peaceful after a great worship service.
22. Knowing that my mom is constantly praying over my children, my husband, and me.
23. A date with my dad.
24. A shared-look with my husband, knowing instantly we're thinking the same thing.
25. The feeling of my daughter, limp with sleep, on my chest.
26. Watching my daughter raise her arms during worship in church.

Belly Pics - Take 3

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 11 Comments A+ a-

18 Weeks with Hudson
22 Weeks with Hudson

26 Weeks with Hudson

26 Weeks with Hudson - Jon was feeling artistic, can you tell?!

Tired and Weary

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 9 Comments A+ a-

I am badly in need of some encouragement, ladies, more than you know. I’m not willing or able to go into all the details but the bottom line is that I’m currently feeling discouraged and weary as a sister, daughter, and Christian. Some family stuff plays into it, nothing concerning my husband, daughter, or pregnancy, just some really hard stuff outside of them. And don’t get me started about some of the political stuff going on in this country. The bottom line is that I’m desperately looking for some verses that will offer peace, encouragement, or truth. Please share, I’d love to hear what verses get you through moments like these!

Weekend to Remember

Monday, November 06, 2006 11 Comments A+ a-

Jon and I walked into the hotel room on Friday night and felt such an overwhelming sense of freedom that we fell onto the bed laughing at our good fortune. About two months ago, we had signed up for Family Life’s “A Weekend to Remember” and we couldn’t believe that we were actually there!! We had attended this conference as an engaged couple and at that time, couldn’t participate in all of the sessions on marriage. With adding a second child to the family and realizing that we hadn’t spent a weekend apart from Devyn since she was born, we thought this would be a perfect time to reconnect as husband and wife, while learning and re-learning some valuable tools for our marriage and family. Needless to say, we’ve anxiously been waiting for this weekend!!

On Friday afternoon, we packed our bags, said our good-byes to Devyn, and headed out of town. As I said earlier, the feeling of freedom really overtook us and we felt like newlyweds again with no responsibilities or obligations. It was wonderful!! The sessions during the conference were great and we really enjoyed them; despite the fact that a lot of the subjects have been covered during our pre-marriage marital counseling, bible studies, etc. It’s always feels good to get a refresher course on how God designed marriage, His plan for husband and wife, and all the ways that Satan tries to break-up a Christian marriage. Good stuff to hear…

On Saturday night, the conference releases all the couples to what they call a “date night” where couples are encouraged to spend the evening alone and reviving the romance we originally found in dating. Jon made reservations in this beautiful lodge for dinner, where the food was delicious and the view was spectacular. Since the lodge was built on the side of a mountain, the view from every table in the room overlooked the small mountain town below. With the dark night and twinkling lights below, it was simply gorgeous! We had an incredible time reminiscing over our last nine years together, our hopes for our marriage and our life, our dreams for our children, and promising to get away more often.

It really was a “Weekend to Remember” and even though the conference itself was great; the best part of the whole weekend was just getting to spend time alone; that the greatest blessing from our weekend away.

Pregnancy Update

Friday, November 03, 2006 9 Comments A+ a-

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted an update regarding this pregnancy and it’s probably time that I do so. I am going to be 26 weeks along on Sunday and I’ll try to post another belly picture sometime next week.

I went in for my 24-week appointment last week where I was weighed, measured, given the glucose test, and received a flu shot; all in all, not a really fun appointment. First the doctor had me come in an hour early to take the sugary-drink that they use in their glucose test. I hate this drink, really I do. My insides start getting jumpy and the baby starts moving like crazy; I am NOT a big fan. The good news is that I do not have gestational diabetes; however I am anemic so I’m popping iron supplements once a day now. I’m not worried about the anemia, I had it when I was pregnant with Devyn but I just don’t remember it occurring so early in the pregnancy.

I then went in for the actual appointment and they first took my weight. I cannot believe that I’ve gained 20 pounds already!!! It actually makes me a little sad; I gained a total of 30 pounds with Devyn and 20 of them were gained during the last eight weeks. I’m a little scared to see the end result with this pregnancy. =) I’m determined to take up jogging once this little one arrives, I have a feeling I’m going to have to work a bit harder to lose the pregnancy weight!

The rest of the appointment went pretty well; Hudson’s heartbeat is strong and his movements are very consistent. The only downside to the appointment is that despite gaining 20 pounds, Hudson is measuring about two weeks small. I’m not that worried about it; Devyn consistently measured two weeks small throughout the whole pregnancy and then didn’t come out until 10 days after her due date. If he is still measuring small at the next appointment my doctor wants to perform another ultrasound; see, there is a silver lining!! At the end of the appointment both Devyn and I got our flu shots for the season and Devyn handled her shot a lot better than I did; she didn’t flinch, cry, scream, or anything, whereas I had to hold tightly to Jon’s hand.

Overall, I am really feeling good. My energy is starting to return, I haven’t been sick in almost three weeks, and I’m treasuring every one of Hudson’s movements. He is far more active than Devyn was as a baby and I love this part of pregnancy. I love knowing that I have life growing inside me again; I love watching his movements from the outside and seeing the bumps and mounds roll across my belly; and I just love this special time between me and my son. I’m bonding with Hudson in ways only a mother can and I’m getting so anxious to meet this little man.

PS That is not my pregnant belly, just a beautiful photo I found.