Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pregnancy Update

I am almost 22 weeks pregnant. Which means I am over half-way there. Which is just crazy to me, how 9 months can just fly by and yet crawl at the same time while we're waiting to have our own house. I mean, how am I supposed to let my nesting instinct kick in when I have nowhere to "nest"? It's one of the great mysteries of the universe.

For everyone who has asked, and for my own ability to remember this pregnancy, I thought I'd include a quick update on how things are going at the half-way point.

- I have finally stopped throwing up, for the most part. I've concluded that I *might* still be having some issues with dairy products setting me off all over again. And if you know me at all, you know that staying away from dairy is next to impossible. How can I NOT have cheese and ice cream on a weekly daily basis?

-So far I have gained 5 pounds. It's funny because when people find out I'm pregnant they inevitably make a comment about how little I look for being 22 weeks pregnant. I always like to respond with my usual sunshine and optimism (and definitely not sarcasm) about how the trick is to throw up constantly for 20 weeks straight. And let me just set the record straight that this is NOT how I looked with Jayci. In fact, I think I was wearing my "huge skirts" by now with her.

-What are my huge skirts? Well, last pregnancy months 6-8 we spent at camp. And the kids always like to remind me: "remember when you wore those huge skirts all the time?" Yes, yes I do. Thanks for reminding me.
-I was more than a little hesitant to post this lovely-straight-out-of-bed-shot-of-me-without-makeup in a public place. But seriously, do you see that bump in my hair? I would just like to state, for the record, that is my violent and uncooperative pregnancy cowlick. I swear to you, my hair has never been more difficult to tame than it has during this pregnancy. My friend Danielle cut my hair for me, and she asked me "have you always had this cowlick? It's a big one." No my friend, I swear I have ever noticed it before, and therefore I'm concluding that it is yet another reason that this pregnancy is driving me crazy.

-I have thus far not had any specific cravings or anything. However, I'm not sure if I've mentioned that we're now living with some friends. My sweet friend Esther (who has graciously opened her home to us) is also pregnant, she's two months ahead of me. So our lucky husbands get to live with TWO hormonal emotional delightful pregnant ladies. Who may or may not force the husband to run to Dunkin Donuts after dinner. And then for ice cream the next night.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Slice of Life

Ok so I'm not sure if you can tell from this picture, but Jayci is giving me her best sassy face. In fact, she wasn't doing it on command, rather it was her response to my request for a smile. Because basically her answer to EVERY SINGLE THING that I ask of her these days is a loud and emphatic "NO." Which is especially fun when accompanied by screaming and hitting, particularly in public places. It's like she can smell my fear of humiliation and knows my moment of weakness. Sigh.
The truth is that parenting her feels a little bit like a battle these days (a battle I am undoubtedly losing). Not to say there are not moments of joy and fun and laughter too, but I am straight exhausted at the end of the day (not to mention the exhaustion that already comes from being pregnant and homeless (well, that's a slight exaggeration. It would be more accurate to say "not having our own space"), and Adam working 15 hours a day on the house (leaving before she wakes up and coming home after she's in bed). I'm tired and discouraged and just want sassy Jayci to disappear for a while so I can have a few days of peace without batting every decision.

Ok enough complaining, I just wanted to get your pity and admiration for all I'm doing  portray accurately and fully what our lives look like these days. And that sassy face right there? Pretty much sums it up.

For more "slices of life," check out I Heart Faces this week!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Renovation Update

I'll go ahead and admit it: this is a boring update. The pictures don't even show anything exciting or cool, unless you count my little baby bump. BUT I do want you guys to know that we are, in fact, working on our house and even making some progress. In fact, drywall guys come tomorrow -- woot!
From the front of the house, looking back out the back door (ps still no windows, hence the dark)
Yes that is an INTERIOR brick wall - and I'm pumped about it.
Currently, I feel as though I might be drowning in decisions regarding our house. Adam calls me and tells me to mentally prepare myself to make some decisions now before he comes home and asks me about it. The truth of the matter is, I'm sort of at a point where I don't even care anymore - I just want a house, to hell with what it looks like! But I also know, like I've mentioned before, that I want our home to be a haven and a safe refuge for our neighbors and the kiddos we work with . . . So for now, that's my main goal in decision making - to create a happy, healthy, cozy, welcoming home!

from Kasey Buick
From The Nester
From Houzz
from Pure and Lovely
From My Home Ideas
from My Home Ideas
Since my pictures of our actual house are slightly boring, here's a few more pictures from my files to make you jealous of other people's decorating skillz inspire you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enough

Some mornings when I wake up and stare bleary-eyed into the mirror, I wonder what in the world I’m doing. Raising a two and half year old, while living out of suitcases for almost a year is just flat-hard. Not to mention trying to do it without my husband because he is working 14 hours a day on our house, so we can move into an arguably dangerous neighborhood to work with some arguably difficult kids . . . It is in these moments that I hear a sinister voice whispering in my ear: “you are not enough.” In the book Captivating, Stasi Eldridge says that every woman hears one of two lies - you are either too much or not enough. For those who live out the gospel on a daily basis, the Liar whispers ever-louder in an effort to derail their work – God’s work.

When the sinister whisper threatens to overwhelm me, the only solution is to listen to the other voice - a familiar voice that quietly and insistently reminds me because of Jesus I am, indeed, enough.

Over the past two years, I’ve discovered the importance of remaining grounded in Truth. Truth: I AM enough because God designed me and shaped me specifically for this work. Truth: He loves the kids I work with even more than I do - His love flowing through me is enough. Truth: Jesus is working through me in Jayci’s life, and everything I do has eternal significance and impact, even when I don’t see the results. Truth: God will not ask me to do something He doesn’t also equip me to accomplish.

When I don’t remember the Truth, I am easily swayed by the enemy’s lies - I am not enough; I don’t know what I’m doing; and it doesn’t make a difference anyway. But ask any of the kids that we work with if it matters, ask Jayci if it matters, and I think they would tell you it does. They know that I love them and they can trust me. For kids living in the chaos of poverty, trust and love are incredibly significant.

So this morning, tomorrow morning, and next week, when you wake up and look in the mirror, examine your heart to discover what lies you believe. Even more importantly, ask yourself: what Truth do you need to rest in today?

*Originally published here in 2009

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's a . . .


In case you can't tell from the blue onesie Jayci is proudly holding up, our next little one is going to be a boy!!! We are all completely thrilled, including Jayci - although she might be a little confused by the whole thing and keeps calling him "brother sister" . . . we're working on it though.
 
Isn't she going to be the cutest big sister ever? 

Oh and did you want to hear the story about why we thought it was a boy?

While we were house-sitting, Adam went over to introduce himself and explain that we were watching the house for a few weeks to one of the neighbors, on one of the first days we were there (meaning, I was NOT really showing yet at all). The neighbor said: "oh yes, you and your wife and your son." Adam corrected him and pointed out that Jayci was, in fact, a daughter. The man replied that he knew that, but he was talking about his son on the way. Adam asked if he had noticed I was pregnant, and he replied: "No sir, I just sit out here and talk to God all day and He told me to tell you that you are having a son." 

Cool right? We love thinking about all the ways that God is already working in our little boy's life, and we have no doubt that he is going to be a blessing in so many ways to so many people.

For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be. 

Psalm 139

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Answers to Questions You're Not Even Asking

Happy Wednesday everyone! So I've been getting a few questions over and over lately, and although the majority of you might not care about this stuff, for those who do (hi mom), I thought I'd oblige with some answers.

So without further ado, the infrequently asked questions:

1- How are you feeling these days?
Every day I get asked how I'm feeling. Which I totally appreciate because it means people are thinking about me. And I'm truthfully feeling about 80% better than I have been feeling the rest of the pregnancy. I've had several days that were vomit-free, which is totally a victory. That said, I feel really yucky today and have thrown up a few times . . . so while I'm feeling better, I'm still not feeling totally back to normal. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to enjoy a few totally nausea-free days before I start getting to the uncomfortable stage . . . Because that would just be lame.

2 - Are you having a boy or a girl?
As of right now, we don't know. As of tomorrow morning, we will know! That's right, tomorrow is the big day. However, we're feeling like it's a boy. Why? Well, I'll tell you that story tomorrow if we're right (cliffhanger, I know). As far as whether we WANT a boy or a girl, we will be completely overjoyed with either.

3 - How is the house coming?
The short answer is this: slowly, but surely. But since y'all know I can never limit myself to the short answer, allow me to expound. We are still in that frustrating, inevitable stage with a 100 year old house where you're fixing leaks, bracing the floor, taking off plaster, framing out walls, replacing rotting beams, taking out walls etc. While all of this is necessary and good and foundational to the house, it just doesn't FEEL as satisfying because it's hard to SEE any progress. That said, we will hopefully be getting drywall up next week, which will definitely feel more satisfying!

I took some pictures for y'all, but we're having technical difficulties uploading right now, so I will try and post them later. But dont get your hopes up too high, because there's not much to see at this point.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Heart Faces: Flare

The problem with using the name of the day in your post title (ie - Wordless Wednesday) is that it because glaringly obvious how long it's been since your last post. My bad.

That said, I will try and do better about updating around here this week. But I'm not making any promises. As I've mentioned a time or two hundred, things are a little chaotic in our lives right now and the chaos is permeating all areas apparently.

That said, I do want to be on the ball enough to participate at I Heart Faces this week, because y'all know I love me some sun flare. And that's the theme this week, if you were wondering how that love might be pertinent.

I had the privilege of shooting a beautiful wedding this weekend and the sunshine was glorious, so I thought this picture would be perfect for this week's entry!
As always, head to I Heart Faces for more glorious sun flare!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

We were thoroughly enjoying the nice spring weather - complete with flowers (did you really think I was capable of adding a completely wordless post?)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Why does time go so fast now that we're older? OK, now that I'm older, I won't speak for how old all of y'all are. But seriously? It's March? Ridiculous.

This weekend went by so fast, but that tends to be how things go around here. Particularly because we keep ourselves stupid-busy on the weekends. We need to work on that.

Friday night, Adam's sweet momma watched Jayci so we could have a date night for our five year anniversary. Because we are highly romantic and enjoy doing exciting things (ha), we went to Johnny Carino's for dinner (only because we didn't have a printer to print out our coupon for dinner at my favorite Mexican place. I know, I know, how lame are we?!) My pregnant self quite enjoyed the pasta and bread. Because carbs = tasty. And then I let Adam pick a movie and we went to see "I Am Number Four." I will admit it was entertaining; however, I'm not as certain as Adam is that they should make at least 3 sequels.

Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early and headed to a baby shower I was helping throw for my sweet friend Esther. I forgot my camera - bad blogger alert - so I stole this picture of her off her facebook. Hello, could she be any cuter? Seriously, she's pregnant and STILL fits into the tutu my friend Erica made for her baby.
 Want to know what else Erica made? A hair-bow tree. It was cute and impressive all at once. And lucky for you, she has an adorable Etsy shop where you can get your own.
Saturday night, we finally used that coupon and got us some delicious Mexican food. I would just like to point out how Jayci opted against using chips for her cheese dip and went straight to her finger. That's my girl.
She was understandably excited about the cheese dip.
Sunday night at church we had a Soup Potluck dinner. And I want to know who doesn't love a potluck? So much delightful food to choose from! We Adam made one of our favorite soups, buffalo chicken soup. When we make it for the boys, they call it "hot wing soup." My friend Courtney requested the recipe a while back and I realized I never gave it to her, so I figured why not share the love with the whole inter-web? Because it is both delicious and easy to make. I mean, I can make it, which means it can definitely be considered elementary on the difficulty scale.
Buffalo Chicken Soup
Serves 4, prep time 25 min

1 sm onion – chopped
2 ribs celery – chopped
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup milk
¾ cup chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
½ cup buffalo wing sauce (to taste)
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp garlic salt
-In a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions and celery.
-Stir flour into pan, slowly whisk in milk and broth.
-Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer over med-low heat.
*A few notes: we usually at LEAST double the recipe, because when it says it serves 4, I would say it barely serves just Adam and I (although granted, we both like to eat). We usually also add extra milk and broth to thin it out a little . . . Remember, when I say "we" I mostly mean "Adam"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five years ago

Five years ago, on this day, Adam and I were about to get married. I can remember the mixture of emotions flitting through me: nervous, excited, joyful, anxious . . .
I know, we look young. We were.
See? Not much has changed at all . . .
I didn't actually know (well duh, of course I didn't) what the future would hold for us. All I knew is that I was marrying my best friend. The person who anchored me, who made me laugh, who would tickle me mercilessly, and run to the store in the middle of the night to get my diet coke when I needed it. . . And guess what? Five years later, I'm still married to that same person. There is still no one who can make me laugh like Adam. No one who pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to loosen up. He still willingly rushes to Kroger at midnight for ice cream and diet coke. And we are still stepping together into the unknown, one day at a time.
We went to a beautiful, luxurious all-inclusive resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon. And I would still count it as possibly the best week of my life. We did absolutely nothing except lay around in the sun, read books, eat LOTS of delicious food (including second dinners and midnight buffets - because, hello? all-inclusive). At the time we knew that it would be a while before we could afford another such vacation, but we were both working full-time, fairly well-paying jobs, we we assured each other that we would do another big trip for our five-year anniversary. Well, now it's our five-year anniversary and unfortunately, I'm not writing this post from some exotic getaway. However, our life took a different path than we anticipated, because we decided to follow Jesus and embark on a new sort of adventure. An adventure that includes living off support, moving into a slightly-dangerous neighborhood, raising kids, serving children . . . an adventure that I truly wouldn't trade for hundreds of all-inclusive resort-stays. Because if there's one thing I know for certain, it's that we are truly blessed to be doing what we're doing. And we are blessed to be doing it together.
Like I said. Babies.
Our journey actually began as a couple much longer than five years ago. We started dating our senior year in high school. And truthfully, looking back at that time never fails to remind me of how clearly God's hand has been on our relationship from the very beginning. I know He has been leading our steps, protecting our hearts, guiding our decisions, every single step of the way. Because even before we were walking closely with Him, He led us to make decisions as a couple regarding purity and our relationship that protected us and bolstered us and made us the people we are today.
This one's from the first time Adam came on vacation with our family. I can't get over how dorky cool we all look.
Since high school, we have both grown and changed so incredibly much. We've been changed by each other, by our friendships, by our circumstances, and by our walk with God. And we've been through so much together:
We bought and sold our first house.
Spent every summer working at camp.
  Had a baby.
I've learned so much about myself, about life, and about God from being married. I was just telling someone yesterday how cool it is that the Lord uses things like marriage and becoming a parent to reveal Truths about Himself. I never fully understood what it meant to be the "bride of Christ," or that we are children of God until I experienced them in my own life. Seeing Christ work through Adam, and watching how carefully Adam loves me, while still always pointing me back to God, has changed me in so many ways. And I know that each step of the way, each new adventure, will teach us new things about ourselves and about what it means to walk closely with our Heavenly Father.


Adam and I have spent the last few months in transition, to say the least. Living out of suitcases, working on a new house, starting a new ministry, adding to our family . . . And it hasn't always been easy. I don't want people to think that marriage is easy. Or that we have it all together. We sometimes fight more than I care to admit. We take each other for granted. Forget to pick up our messes or talk about our differences. Stop connecting on a heart level and simply act like roommates rather than partners and best friends.

But I was thinking today that OF COURSE the enemy would be especially attacking our marriage right now. He does NOT want us to move into a season of ministry as a couple united and in love and loving and serving together. But if Adam and I can remain rooted in the Lord, if we depend on Him for our strength and our love every single day, then I know that nothing will be able to stop us!
So Adam, thank-you for five wonderful years of marriage. And you know what? If I had it to do over again, I'd choose you. Again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Counting Blessings. . .

Last night a line of severe thunderstorms made its way across Georgia. Tornado sirens were going off and the wind was fierce, to say the least. This morning, the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant clear blue. And with the return of the sunshine, I was reminded of just how blessed I really am. Sometimes I can so easily get bogged down in the negatives that I forget to count my blessings. But when I think about my daughter and how I hope she will view the world, I always hope that she will remember her blessings, that she will stay optimistic and look at things on the bright side. And how will she know to do that unless I model it for her? For that very reason, today I am choosing thankfulness and a heart of gratitude and hope in knowing how richly blessed I am.


Counting blessings:
- I have a wonderful husband. And on Friday, we will celebrate our 5 year anniversary of marriage.
- We are finally making progress on our house. In fact, all the framing is done. Booyah (I say that like I helped. I didn't).
- Jayci is a gem. Seriously, she cracks me up and makes me smile every single day. And she's totally understanding of how sick I've been and has been easy and fun throughout. For example, the other day in the car I started crying (because, hello hormones) and Jayci said: "you're a little sad mommy? you want to hold my hand to feel all better?" Yes Jayci, yes I do. Sweet thing.
- God is providing for our ministry in nothing short of miraculous ways.
- We have the opportunity and freedom to do what we love and to serve the kiddos on a daily basis. And nothing makes me happier.
- I have a healthy little one growing inside of me. Which is also slightly miraculous considering the extremely small amount of food I'm able to keep in my stomach (side note: I'm still not feeling 100% and I throw up at least once every day, BUT I definitely will count my blessing in that I feel much better than I did!)
-Because I'm almost 18 weeks pregnant and still weigh 5 pounds less than I did when the pregnancy started,  I figure I have lots of catching up to do - which means no worrying about weight gain whatsoever for the next little while. Bring on the cheese dip. 

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