Sunday, July 31, 2016

30 Days of Praise Challenge

Good Sunday morning to you!
Yesterday, my sister gifted me with a new Bible study devotional. It's called The 30 Day Praise Challenge

I started reading it last night, and I sent her this message. 
Life has been rough lately. The Husband has been trying hard to find another job to better provide for our family and to get him out of an awful work-environment. He and I have been arguing a lot, and the stress in our home has risen steadily. Raising toddlers and being pregnant leave me exhausted and wiped out and with little energy to have common marital discussions/arguments most days. 

We struggle with finances, with who we are, with our faith, and with being content with where we are. 

Life is hard, and often we find ourselves wondering if anything will ever change. If we will stop struggling so much and find the hope and faith that have gotten buried down beneath so much negativity and sadness. If our marriage, that has gone through the loss of our first child early on, the loss of jobs, the loss of our home, the loss of ourselves will ever be strong and beautiful and amazingly-fantastic like those of the couples we admire.  

We are not the same people we were five years ago, and I miss that girl. I miss that girl that worshiped and prayed and trusted like there was no end. The girl who sang her heart out each Sunday in worship and who caught the ear of her future husband just doing the thing she loved most. That girl has been gone a while, and I'm hoping she's not gone for good. 

We finally have started going to church on a more regular basis, mostly because he has stopped working overtime on Sunday mornings. My heart yearns for a church with music that will lead me before God's mighty throne, and although we haven't found that place yet, I'm hoping this study will lead me there every day. I guess I shouldn't be relying on one service a week to supply my spiritual needs. 

We live in a small town with many lovely churches filled with even lovelier people. The sermons are usually very biblically sound. But most Sundays, the music leaves me wanting. We did visit a local church several times where the music was wonderfully uplifting and left me feeling thankful and in awe of our King, but The Husband wasn't thrilled with the teaching, so we haven't been back. 

So, like I said in my text to my sister, I'm hoping this study will fill the gap in my heart and will lead me to praise my Maker with my whole heart every day. 

Day 1 of the study this morning was great and reminded me that I can ask for wisdom, and He will supply what I need. Because He is good and He is God. I'm thankful for both. 

I challenge you to do the same. Praise our God for 15 minutes a day and see what happens. Listen for His voice. Listen and take to heart the words being sung. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

15 Weeks - Pregnancy #4

Each Monday, I'd like to do a highlights post, including a picture, summarizing the differences in my pregnancy from week to week.  I totally "grabbed" this idea from Kelly.  I've done this with my three previous pregnancies (you can go to the search box and type in "pregnancy," or "week #" if you're interested in how my previous pregnancies progressed), as well, and I still think it is a great way to jot down the things that I don't want to forget later on.  

Pregnancy Highlights:

How far along:  15 weeks 

Size of baby:  This little one is 4 inches long (top of head to tip of tailbone) and the size of an apple.

Total weight gain/loss:  I'll see my OB next week, so I'll know how much I've gained this pregnancy so far. I was up 5 lbs at my last appointment. 

Maternity clothes:  I purchased several cheap spaghetti strap shirts (think like $2 a piece) a size up from what I normally wear to get me through the heat of summer. I also was gifted a few shorts, shirts, and skirts/dresses that will help me be comfy and cute :) 

Gender:  At our last appointment, the technician didn't even check, so we have no idea. Fingers crossed we find out at our next ultrasound because this momma wants to tackle names :). Even if The Husband has poo-poo'd my list of fantastic monikers. 

Movement:  I have felt a few flutters this week :)

Sleep:  Sleep has been ok. Not great, but not terrible. 

What I miss:  My coffee milk each morning. 

Cravings:  ice cream, the occasional Dr. Pepper with lemon, peanut butter crackers, cherry limeades, pizza. 
Y'all, I'm soooo hungry all of the time, y'all. 

Symptoms:  As stated above, I feel like I'm hungry all day long. 
I'm still visiting the bathroom quite frequently. 
I've had some minor (ok, it didn't feel "minor" at the time) cramping after walking at the mall or doing something my body isn't used to (like our golfing expedition last week). 

Exercise:  I've been doing squats and yoga stretches 4-6 times a week. I've also started to add in walking but that seems to only take place once or twice a week. My goal is to find 3-4 mornings a week to walk. 

Best moment this week:  Going on our anniversary mini-vacation!

15 Weeks (taken yesterday before church) - I got this non-maternity, stretchy, x-small skirt (plus the same one in a different color) on sale last week, and I love how comfortable it is and the fact that I'll be able to wear it next spring/summer, too. 
Yay for sales and stretchy!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Half a Decade

Happy anniversary to The Husband. 

We've made it through 5 whole years of heart-breaking trials and beautiful moments and utter disappointments and exciting, breathtaking times and the ordinary day-to-day-to-days of life without giving up on each other. 

High-five!

We're doing this marriage thing, Babe!  I love you bunches! Muah!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 2 of our Mini-Anniversary Vacation

Yesterday was our last day on vacation, so we made the most of it. 

We got up early and drove an hour to spend the morning playing golf at Topgolf. It was a lot of fun (mostly because I'm a truly terrible golfer with zero experience and few athletic skills in my pocket). 
My highest score. Hahahahahahahaha. 
The Husband's highest score. 
We ate lunch there, and it was super delicious. 
The Husband suggested we try to see family and friends while we were in town, so we headed out to visit with my lovely cousin and then on to see my wonderful friend, Tina, who I haven't seen in over a year. On the way, we were able to stop by to see our Hadley Grace, which was tough, emotionally, for both of us.  
We loved visiting with our loved ones, and I'm so glad we decided to call them up and visit them before heading to dinner and then back to the hotel. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner last night, and it was pretty tasty. 
This morning we packed our bags and loaded up the truck to head home back to reality and back to the arms of our sweet babies. 
I'm so thankful we were able to spend some time away. It was very worth it, and it allowed us to remember how much fun we can have together and how much we enjoy each other's company when given the time alone. 
And I'm so very grateful for our family members who stood in our place with those two little people. What a blessing they are to us!

Monday, July 18, 2016

14 Weeks - Pregnancy #4

Each Monday, I'd like to do a highlights post, including a picture, summarizing the differences in my pregnancy from week to week.  I totally "grabbed" this idea from Kelly.  I've done this with my three previous pregnancies (you can go to the search box and type in "pregnancy," or "week #" if you're interested in how my previous pregnancies progressed), as well, and I still think it is a great way to jot down the things that I don't want to forget later on.  

Pregnancy Highlights:

How far along:  14 weeks (2nd Trimester!!)

Size of baby:  This little one is 3 inches long and the size of a large lemon.

Total weight gain/loss:  As of my last checkup, I had gained about 5 lbs since before I was pregnant.  I wasn't super fastidious about weighing myself pre-pregnancy, so I don't know how accurate that is, but I do know within a week of finding out we were expecting, my shorts stopped buttoning. Good grief. 

Maternity clothes:  I don't have much to wear yet, but I'm sure I'll be purchasing more soon. Mostly I wear cotton shorts and tank tops or t-shirts. It's too hot to wear anything else. Sleeveless, above the knee, loose-fitting dresses are also comfy. My friend Stacey brought by two cute maternity dresses yesterday, so those will be placed in the rotation for sure!

Gender:  At our last appointment, the technician didn't even check, so we have no idea. The first month after I found out, I had in my mind the baby was one gender, and now I've changed my mind completely. It's weird. The other three times I've had a guess and the feeling stuck with me the whole time until we were fairly certain with the ultrasound. And I was right all three times. This time? No clue. 

Movement:  I don't think I've felt any movements yet, but since I read that I was feeling movements this early with Jack, I'll have to start paying more attention!

Sleep:  Well, I'm still having to make a trip to the bathroom at least once a night.   But unless one of those people (aka my toddlers) in the next room is having a rough night, I'm sleeping pretty good now thanks to my pregnancy body pillow I purchased at our local consignment store! I don't even care that someone else slept with/on it!

What I miss:  My coffee milk each morning. 

Cravings:  ice cream, the occasional Dr. Pepper with lemon, peanut butter crackers

Symptoms:  I feel like I'm hungry all day long. 
I'm still visiting the bathroom quite frequently. 
I've got acne. Gross. 
But, everything else has been pretty good! :)

Exercise:  I've been doing squats and planks, but not daily. The last month or so I've done this set of pregnancy yoga poses almost every night before bed. It's relaxing and strengthening. 

Best moment this week:  Getting to see our sweet pea for the first time and hearing that wonderfully steady and strong heartbeat!

14 Weeks (taken yesterday before church)

Friday, July 15, 2016

So This Happened

About two months ago, the week we were reading Dr. Seuss books from the library, something felt off. Weird. Hinky. I couldn't put my finger on it, but things were definitely not "normal," if there is such a thing in a house of toddlers and shift-work and exhaustion. 

I waited each day to feel differently, and the feeling only loomed larger. 
Finally, after crying every time I read Horton Hears a Who to the kids (and partially because The Husband kept nagging me to), I gave in and took one of these bad boys to assuage the feelings rolling around inside my head and my heart. 

So, yeah. This happened. 
The thing I thought would never happen again, did. And, without going into details, we were actively preventing, but nothing is fool-proof, and God had other plans. Beautiful plans. 

After a week or so of shock and awe, we are pretty happy and thankful. 

I had my first ultrasound (one of the MANY I will have to have in the coming months since I'm considered high-risk due to my wonky uterus), and I got to see this sweet little one. 
Good heart rate and good measurements. According to the technician, I'm due mid-January, but with my history, I'll be surprised if I make it to mid-December. 
But we shall see! God is full of surprises :)

After weeks and weeks of exhaustion and morning sickness, I'm starting to feel like myself again except for the fact that I no longer fit into my shorts, which is super inconvenient and uncomfortable. 
A packet of these babies gets me going each day upon waking. They settle my stomach pretty quickly as I lie in bed and get ready to start the day. 
I'm still tired most days, but it's not the I'm-going-to-fall-over-if-I-make-any-sudden-movements exhaustion I felt in the beginning. That was rough. 

So, that's been our secret for the last couple of months. It's been difficult to keep, but I appreciate those friends and immediate family members who honored our wishes and kept it secret for us. I just wanted to hold onto this and keep it ours for a while :)

Look for my weekly updates, and if you think to, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Nutella Pumpkin Crepes

This guy has been working incredibly hard the last week at work, and then he tested with a local police department on Monday for much of the day on very little sleep.
So, I decided to whip up something new and tasty to treat him. Monday night right after dinner, I started fixing these Nutella Pumpkin Crepes. (Note to self--trying a new recipe right before bedtime is not the brightest idea you've ever had...).

With the kids sitting in chairs by the stove, I followed the recipe. They ooh'd and aah'd as I let them smell the vanilla extract and the different spices before adding them in. They even got to test out the first one I made. Um, they LOVED it. It could be that it was smothered with deliciously-smooth Nutella...
I got zero pictures of them "helping" or tasting because a hot stove and ingredients everywhere and wild, tired toddlers do not mix well. So.
My crepes turned out more like pancakes and look nothing like the pictures of the ones on that gal's blog, but they sure. tasted. like. Heaven. 
H-E-A-V-E-N, people. 
So go check out the recipe and make them for your honey or yourself or your neighbor. So yummy. And mostly healthy. Mostly ;)
P.S. I left three plain so that the kids could have some for breakfast the next day. Even plain, these pumpkin crepes/pancakes were tasty, and the kiddos enjoyed dipping them in applesauce :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Once a Week

I feel like blogging has taken a back burner. I love writing. I love expressing myself in written words and seeing my thoughts on a page. I just haven't found the time or haven't made the time or time was lost. 
So I guess I'll have to try to at least keep writing once a week if only as a reminder that this place still exists. 

This girl and her Shetland pony mane. It's crazy how much her hair has changed in just a year's time. I love putting it in pigtails and ponytails, but I really like just swooping it to the side with a clip and seeing all of those sweet, soft curls. 
I tried out a few new recipes this week (from Pinterest, of course). 

These crescent roll pizza roll-ups were a hit. 
The kids helped me with these crockpot baked potatoes. I liked them, but they definitely could have cooked another hour or two on low in the crockpot. They would have been even better if they'd been a little mushier inside :)
The faces this girl can make. Sheesh. 
The Husband and I took the kids for an early morning walk at our local mall. I kept walking while he took them to an indoor playground there. He felt they had not truly lived until they rode one of the rides haha.  They enjoyed it :)
This boy is a puzzle-doer-extraordinaire! He completed these four puzzles on his own in less than 30 minutes last night while I got Ella ready for and into bed. Puzzles are a great distraction for his hands and mind when I need some time to do something without his presence or "assistance" ;) I will be adding to our collection. 
And then this happened this morning. 
Right before nap time, of course. And right after The Husband had laid down to sleep, of course. Darn coffee tables and running toddles and slippery feet and blanket-tug-of-war. After icing it and giving Tylenol, with the advice of The Bestie, we decided she probably would need a stitch or two. 
So off we headed to the local urgent care clinic for an exam and some medical-grade glue. 40 minutes and $150 later we were back home, and she was down for a nap. 

I'm sure she'll have a mighty big bump and an ugly bruise for a while, but she's still our pretty girl stuffing her face full of crackers and raisins haha! 
Here's hoping I can get back into the writing swing of things and keep this thing updated more often than once every week or two. 

I hope your week has started off far less eventful than ours has!!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th, Y'all!

If you're wondering about the scratch and bruise on Jack's face, here's the 'sitch. 

Yesterday, both kiddos were in time-out. At the same time. Because they were being awful to each other. 
Not five minutes after they were "released," they were playing chase, and Jack tripped on the rug and slammed his face into the trash can. Who knew a trash can could inflict so much damage?!
I iced his cheek for a long time (hence the redness) and gave meds, but he was pretty miserable for the rest of the afternoon. And we all joined in his misery because an unpleasant toddler makes life miserable for everyone around. 
Eating an icy treat was pretty much the only thing that distracted him for any length of time. 

So there's that. 
Anywho, it looks a little better today, but he is still telling me often that it hurts. :/

Happy 4th, y'all! I'm thankful for the freedoms the citizens of this country are still afforded. 
 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

These Summer Days

This week has been a good but hot one. 
Thursday, The Husband and I went on a date to a shooting range :). It was SO loud in there, but I had a lot of fun learning how to shoot and watching my husband, who is an EXCELLENT shot. 
My targets hehehe (I did NOT do those scattered shots at the top...those were test shots by The Husband before handing me the gun. Just wanted to make it clear that I'm not THAT sucky of a shot) ;)
And his! Pretty impressive :)
Unfortunately, the night ended with him having a major migraine headache, but the afternoon together beforehand was really nice. The kids and I spent a lot of time outside, and they got to try their first flavored ice. I may have had 5 or 6 that day....Thanks, sweet neighbors, for giving those yummy treats to us LAST summer, hahahaha! They've been waiting patiently in our freezer for just the right day :) Those things sure are tasty. 
Friday, we just lazed about after a morning of yearly well-check appointments for the kiddos. Nothing super exciting going on. What? You don't ride your child-sized basketball goal like a rocket ship with your sibling? Oh. 
Today, we celebrated my sister's birthday a few days early. Our three families met at one of her favorite Mexican food restaurants and pigged out. 
This girl right here passed out as soon as she laid down in her quiet, cool, dark room. So big and so little all in one picture. 
This afternoon was another sweltering one. Pool time cooled the kids off, and they worked hard at keeping my feet cool  while I watched. :)
I hope you're staying cool, too!