Friday, September 28, 2012

One more week down

I have this problem.  A memory problem, if you will.  And I can't even blame it on pregnancy brain.  My husband will forever laugh at me when I attempt to tell someone my age...

"27...I'm 27"

He just shakes his head.

"Am I turning 30 this year?"

More shaking.

For a year we had a sign on the fridge that exclaimed "Happy 27th Birthday" and yet I spent that whole year telling people I was 26. 

So the truth is, I'm 28 years old.  And I forget often enough that Alex just knows he has to keep track for me.  Nowadays when I get asked, he typically just answers before I get a chance.

Well now my memory problem is playing around with my gestation age.  Thirty weeks? Thirty-one? Despite my countdown, I still can't seem to keep it straight.  This morning I was convinced that I was 32 weeks today.  But we just celebrated 32 weeks last Friday. 

I turned to my Baby Bump app and sure enough, today I am 33 weeks!  Oh.My.Goodness! Seven to go!  Where is the time going?  Soon it will be October, and it will be my last full month without a baby.  Without being a mom.  How is that possible?  If you would have asked me at this time last year if I thought this is where I would be I would have exclaimed ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, I couldn't be more excited and thrilled and ready to meet our baby girl.

Every day I fall more and more in love with her.  When she wakes me up at 4am squirming, I grimace, but then I smile, thinking that this is real...she is real.  This morning she was literally dancing in my tummy at 7:30am and I just laid in bed watching her movements through my belly.  She is a little miracle and I am so anxious to meet her. 

Last night I watched the National Geographic documentary "In The Womb."  I almost started crying realizing what a true wonder life is.  The happenstance that a baby can come out of all those complex systems is beyond amazing.  It is nothing short of a miracle and I truly believe only God could create a life in such a remarkable way. 

One amazing fact from the video is that only 50% of all conceptions result in birth.  How can that be and yet I am lucky enough to carry this child, already to a point that we know her life can be sustained.  We know that she can survive.  I fell more and more in love with her knowing what a miracle her life is. 

So 33 down...7 to go! I am trying so hard to focus on the "right now" instead of 7 weeks from now.  I don't want to miss out on these moments with Alex when it is still just 2 instead of 3.  I don't want to miss out on time with friends before life becomes crazy.  In an effort to stay in the moment, I have created a quick bucket list for us this Fall.  These are our must-dos before Eleanor arrives.
I'm hoping this will help us have just a little more fun before everything changes!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Good morning!

Cookies and milk for breakfast? I am telling you...I hate breakfast.  This was all that I could manage this morning.  I'm just holding off for a reasonable lunch hour so I can scarf down some leftover Mac and Cheese (this version is vegan!)  At least my cookies were Mama Pea's No-Sugar Cookies.

Today was an early morning.  I had a fun errand to run.  I drove out to Denver this morning to pick up a crib mattress that I found on Lake Norman Mommies Forums. 
It was being offered for free and I snagged it up.  This isn't the first free mattress I have taken off the side of the road...and probably won't be my last.  Now we can check it off the to-do list. 
I think Alex was a little nervous when I told him where I was getting the mattress from.  But keeping in mind that this crib mattress is like plastic on the outside and can easily be cleaned, I think we were more than OK with it.  It also came from a nice-looking home, not that that really matters or anything, and is in great condition.  Gotta love a freebie!

So the nursery is coming together slowly but surely.  I have been working on several Pinterest projects for Eleanor's room and will hopefully share them with you tomorrow.
In old news...Alex and I enjoyed a fun date night a few weekends ago.  Hillsong was performing in Charlotte and friends from church gifted us two free tickets!
It had to have been one of the most powerful worship experiences of my life.  If you ever get a chance to see Hillsong live you totally should!
Have a great day friends!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I am not vegan

I could have sworn to writing a post yesterday.  I mean, I'm not sure what I blogged about, but I really thought I had taken the time time to write...perhaps I wrote one in my head while I was in the shower or on my walk and that translated into real time in front of the computer in my pregnancy brain.  Anywho...sorry you missed out.  Or maybe I'm not.  Can we really call these pregnancy posts quality material? 

Blogging makes me happy in so many different ways.  I love the forum for expressing my thoughts and emotions.  I love the archives of my life.  What did we do for Christmas last year?  Well, let me just check the blog.  I love the ability to connect with others on so many different levels. 

What I don't love is hypocrisy.  I AM NOT VEGAN. There, the cat is out of the bag.  In my real life I do not even pretend or try to be vegan anymore.  But on this blog I am labeled as such, and it makes me feel really bad about the messages I am sending.  I believe it keeps me from enjoying this blog as much as I used to.

On an average day I am at least 90% vegan.  In our home, the only exceptions to the vegan rule are Greek yogurt and eggs.  They only make an appearance on our grocery list about once or twice a month and I honestly just don't love either very much.  But they serve as useful sources of protein and I kinda suck at protein.

Outside the home there is no discrimination.  To some extent I am cautious about the meat products I eat.  But let's just say I'm an equal-opportunity-eater if someone else is going to cook for and feed me.  Chick-fil-A is high on that list, although I imagine those chickens can't come from a reputable source.  Arby's is on my pregnancy to-do list.  I just need to taste a Beef and Cheddar with extra Arby's sauce.  And ice cream makes it down the hatch almost daily.  I wish I was the normal me and had photos to share with you, but alas, I've been hiding the food even from my camera so there was no chance of revealing my secret to my world of vegan friends. 

What does this mean for me and the blog? 

I desperately want a new blog.  I want a new title that doesn't pigeon hole me.  I want something that can follow me through life and I can relate to forever.  So yes, I am looking for that broad, non descript title.  (I'm not sure that will go so well in the blogger world) I also have no idea where to begin.  I don't want to lose this blog, my archives, my recipes, and most importantly my readers and followers. I don't want to be a food blogger anymore, but I don't want to lose this chapter in my life.

Part of me is waiting, to see if my food tendencies change, once again, with the hormones after pregnancy.  Maybe I will go back to my old self, creating and photographing recipes.  Honestly, I don't think that I will.  I never truly enjoyed photographing food.  I enjoyed the product it created for the blog, but it was time consuming.  I can't imagine enjoying that when there is a baby around the house. 

I think this is the new me.  Being more open and relaxed with what I eat.  In general, being more open and relaxed with all things in my life.  I just want to continue writing, documenting and sharing life because I've enjoyed it for so many years.  Now where to start?

Monday, September 24, 2012


Happy Monday Morning to y'all!

I am coming down off one really terrible week.  Physically I was feeling so great, but mentally it was a very challenging week.  I was in a terrible funk that I just couldn't shake and it took a powerful message at church yesterday, and surrendering it all to God, to wake from that terrible mood. 

Plus, there is nothing like a Monday morning laundry day to snap you out of a funk...right? Am I right?  No, just me...ok, fair enough!

Seriously though, last week I questioned my happiness, my ability as a wife and mother, my sanity.  And I know now that the only way to rise above those strong emotions and terrible lies is to trust in God.  I questioned Him and doubted Him all last week, feeding into the persuasive nature of the devil.  But through truth and prayer I can feel like myself again.  It is so difficult.  So much of me wanted to give into my pride, and walk away from church with as much anger and fear as I entered with.  I knew I just couldn't do that though.  It would hurt, but I had to use humility to bring me back to a fresh place.  I never want to go back again. 

I want to be a living example of what Christ can do in a life.  I want to take my past and turn it around and be a new person.  I want to lose my anger and my pride.  I want to walk with Christ and surrender to Him.  I want my emotions and feelings to represent a life lived for Jesus and I want my friends, my family, my husband and even my daughter to witness this.  Change is humbling.  When pride is your foe it is difficult to allow others to see change in your life.  It shows them that the way your were and acted was wrong.  Who wants to admit they were wrong?  God calls us to humility.  If Christ can humble himself to death on a cross, surely I can admit that that argument was my fault, that I have been careless with my words and nasty with my thoughts. 

This morning I am still shaken by the terrible week that lays in the past.  I am tempted by the emotions that want to bring me back.  Despite the sun and fresh air, the darkness urges to suck me back in.  But today I have a choice.  I can choose to trust God, choose His side, choose lightness instead of dark and heaviness.  It is a struggle to not become "unglued."  But that is not the life I want to continue living.  I choose light.

Friday, September 21, 2012

To-do Lists

Another Friday...another week!  Can I just say it? 32 down, 8 to go? There I said it.  Still counting down.  While I know at some point this will drive me crazy, right now the weeks seem to be flying right by.  October is just 9 days away, our 4 year wedding anniversary is 49 days away, and of course my due date is now just 56 days from today!  We all know how Autumn can just fly right by.  Before we know it I will be cuddling with my baby girl this winter!

Last week I talked about what we still needed before our baby girl arrives.  Y'all should know, there really isn't a single thing we need!  (Ok, maybe just a crib mattress!) Many wants, many like-to-haves, but I have to say we are so blessed to have our needs met.  Lately I feel I have been overusing the word "blessed."  But there truly is no other way to describe how I feel! 

As far as material items go, we are thankful to have our needs met.  But we still have a lot on our to-do list before this baby arrives:
  • find a pediatrician or family doctor (we have another interview today)
  • sign our baby up for health insurance (does this have to be done before she arrives?)
  • hang the wallpaper in the nursery
  • install carbon monoxide detector and check all smoke alarms
  • schedule any guests for after Eleanor's arrival (call me if you want to come visit!)
Those are items that are high on my list right now.  But before too much longer we will have to start thinking about:
  • installing the car seat
  • packing a bag for the birth center
  • stocking the freezer with extra meals
  • and of course, decide if I want to take any maternity photos
It is no secret I am not a big fan of pregnant photos of me.  You have seen all of 3 I think.  I am not sure why this is, I may just be uncomfortable with all this sudden change in me.  But I may want to capture a few photos before it is all over.  I found this awesome idea on Pinterest and while I wasn't considering maternity photos at all before, now I think I may want a few:
How great is this idea!  I would love to do this on our anniversary since it is just days before my due date.  We can recreate one of the special photos from our wedding day:
Now I just need to find a long white maternity dress!

What do you think of maternity photos? Yay or nay?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Humble Pie

One of the goals in my home is to create a sanctuary, a place to come to rest and rejuvenate.  It cannot be a place of stress or turmoil, and certainly not include anger and strife.  When after a long day at work, home should be the place you want to go.

This week my home hasn't been a sanctuary.  Not for my husband, not even for me.  Probably not for Eleanor either.  You see, I have become a bit "unglued."  I lost my cool on Monday, and I can't seem to find it again.  Alex and I argue, like many normal couples.  Unlike others, however, I tend to make an argument last and last.  And although it is Thursday, there are still remnants of resistance against reconciliation in my heart. 

I believe the culprit is pride.  It is a tactic the devil knows he can win with when it comes to me.  It is my own fatal flaw.  While yes, anger is a danger lurking in the background of my heart, and rears its ugly head in the midst of a disagreement, it is actually the pride that keeps me from submitting and reconciling.  My pride keeps me from admitting I am wrong, and resolving the fight.  It holds me in a cell and cycles me through all my hurtful emotions.

What I love about God, is despite my flaws and failures, and my inability to pull out of a murky situation, he is always there as my life preserver.  To show me the way back to light.  It never ceases to amaze me how he will pop right into a situation to save me.  I have started a new study with the women in my fellowship group on Tuesday night, and it couldn't have been better timing.  We are starting Lisa Terkeurst's "Unglued."  In the first lesson she gives us three strategies to remain on God's side when you feel yourself becoming unglued:
  1. Use truth (What does God's word say?)
  2. Use self-control
  3. Use prayer
Ok, I must admit, in the midst of my anger those are the last 3 things I wish to do!  But they are the answer, and I know this to be true. I need to just find a way to make myself implement these strategies even though all I feel is anger.

So for the last 2 days I have tried and tried.  Use truth, use self-control, use prayerUse truth, use self-control, use prayer.  I can only hope Lisa gets more specific in the weeks to come, because while I know these strategies, they weren't exactly working for me.  I would pray, but become weak again, I would attempt self-control, but yup, was too weak.  And each day I would force myself into the Word, only to find that by the time my husband arrived home from work, the Word had slipped from my memory.

I realize it is my pride keeping me from letting these 3 things work.  This morning, as I forced myself into my daily devotion this is the verse that popped up:

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. "—1 Peter 5:6-8

 The devotion talked about the tactics the devil uses to pull us away from God.  Anger being one of those.  This is how James MacDonald puts it:

Getting serious about prayer always involves running into resistance. Someone doesn’t want you praying without ceasing. The devil would much rather have you worrying about him. Fortunately, God has told us about the devil’s tactics. Satan uses terrorist tactics to unsettle our lives and distract us from giving our attention to the only One with whom we are truly secure. Watch out for the following three enemies of prayer in your life, things that will keep you from praying: anger, doubt and fear.

Recognizing the devil's ways and his presence in this mess helps me to realize that it isn't just me.  I don't just suck that bad.  I have an adversary, and one who is ruthless.  I don't use this as my scapegoat, but as a way to help find resolve from being unglued.  If I am aware of the devil, I can put up my shield against him.  I can loose my pride, release my anger, and ask for forgiveness.  I can submit to my mistakes and change for good.  My home can once again be a place of peace and rest. 

God: I am casting my anger and pride Your way right now. I’m naming them and assigning them under Your care. I’m choosing not to worry about them anymore because You will deal with them under the authority of Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Ramblings

My first pregnancy green smoothie.  Not going to lie, looking at it sorta repulsed me at first.  After first sip, I was a believer again.  It only took 7 months!

In the mix: banana, frozen papaya, vanilla protein powder, almond milk, oats and kale.  Yup, lots and lots of kale!

So most days, my job at Girls on the Run is pretty awesome.  During registration it gets a bit stressful, a bit crazy.  But then I get my reward!  Look at these awesome girls enjoying their first day of practice!
Yup, you can tell they are having a blast learning a new "Energy Award!"
These moments are what makes everything we do totally worth it! I am relieved registration is complete, but wouldn't change it for a moment if it meant we wouldn't be able to offer this program to all of these wonderful girls!
This season we had over 400 girls register in Iredell and Rowan County! And by the looks of it, they are already having so much fun! 

So today I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing the first days are over and our coaches are doing a fabulous job.  I just finished one last--very tedious--task for registration and now I am relishing in this beautiful September weather.  We finally opened up the windows last night and actually became chilly!  I believe our AC has been running non-stop since March so this is such a welcome relief!
I love how airy it feels in the house right now!

So now that the tedious work is over, I am off to get out of this house.  Just some errands, but it's something to do before lunch!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Funky and Silly

It's laundry day here...even though it's not a Monday or a Friday.  What gives?
Baby laundry! 

I have been so anxious to get everything set up lately.  So for the last two days I have washed everything! The blankets, crib sheets, clothes, swing and bouncy chair covers.  Everything!  Is this what they call nesting?
I love to hang out in the baby's room.  It is full of cute stuff, who wouldn't want to hang out in there?  But as I hang out in there, I get the urge to clean, organize and sort.  I suppose there could be worse things. 

Today has been a funky, silly little day.  I have been back and forth between answering emails and the washer and dryer.  In between I have learned several lessons for the day:
  • Friends are amazing...especially those who drop anything at a moment's notice to hang with you, and especially those who pray with you over the phone.  Love that!
  • Careful what you wish for...and then when you get it, at least be grateful for it.
  • Always make vegetable soup on Sunday to eat throughout the week.  Best idea ever!
 Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 17, 2012

7 months!

I know, I know, I went for months not even mentioning the pregnancy on the blog (or pretty much anything at all), and now that's all you get to hear about!  But alas, today we celebrate another major milestone in this journey!

This is certainly cause for celebration! (Or at least a blog post).

I can remember being 7 weeks pregnant. Boy I never want to go back there.  I can remember the first trimester.  It is as they say, your mind forgets how bad it was.  However, I remember it was bad enough to not reminisce about.  The second trimester wasn't too terrible.  We did a lot of traveling to visit family and friends and Alex and I spent a ton of time together.  Now into the third trimester, I have to say this is the greatest I have felt so far!  In fact, month 6 has altogether been amazing! 

My biggest complaint right now: HEARTBURN! Oh the reflux!  To help manage I have been tossing back almonds and papaya enzyme chewables.  Both work, but only some of the time.  Still, I will take it.  So many have told me that in the third trimester they reverted back to symptoms from the first.  Ok, so bring on the heartburn, but please, leave the nausea and exhaustion for someone else!

One symptom that may or may not have to do with pregnancy, and came upon me just yesterday was an incredible amount of anxiety.  From whence it came, and why, I haven't a clue.  But last night it was awful.  Maybe it's just the "7 Month Jitters" driving me crazy.  Perhaps there is some sort of biological reason for it, or maybe I was just being nutty last night.

I considered all the reasons I could be feeling this way.  Could it be work?  Girls on the Run practices begin today and I questioned if that was weighing in on me.  I didn't think so.  Was it the conversation I had with my sister?  Had I over-stepped my bounds?  She assured me I didn't and she appreciated what I had to say.  I didn't think it was that.  Was it because Alex was at class for more than 3 hours and I simply missed him?  Well, he came home, and I still didn't feel better.  I was concerned it had to do with the baby.  Was she kicking enough?  Was I becoming worried something was wrong?  And then thump, thump, she began to wiggle and squirm.

Anxiety is such a weird emotional feeling.  Especially when you can't place the source.  I slept just fine, despite the crazy evening.  And this morning I woke up straight away at 5am.  I decided to jump start the day with cycle class, hoping that if I wore myself out enough the anxiety wouldn't return.  I was already anxious about my anxiousness! 

I am happy to report, I am feeling much more relaxed this morning and at ease.  I still feel so weird about it.  Why did it happen?  Will it come back? 

Has anyone ever experienced anxiety in this way before?  When you can't place the source of your emotion?

Friday, September 14, 2012

31 Weeks: Preparing for Baby

Fridays are a celebration around here.  We celebrate another end to a work week, which means uninterrupted time for just Alex and me.  Like so many of you, we relish in the weekends, hoping they will last beyond the last possible second.  I don't mind the week so much, the Mondays don't bother me, but I really, really like the weekends! 

We celebrate Fridays because it is laundry day.  Yes, silly, I know.  But I enjoy being able to get all the laundry done before the weekend.  Sometimes I will even clean the bathrooms on Fridays too.  It just makes the weekends that much more enjoyable.  No house work to do!
This Friday I was surprised with an empty laundry basket however.  Alex did all the laundry last night!  I know, I'm bragging.  So today I will just celebrate no laundry!

Fridays include one other major celebration...this is the day we mark as one week closer to meeting our baby girl.  My due date is on a Friday, so each week I count down to the end of pregnancy and the beginning of a new journey.  31 weeks down, 9 to go!  Whoa, 9 to go!  That is only 63 days! 

Yup, I know it could be 8 more weeks, or 10, or even 11 or 12.  I know I will probably drive myself nuts with this countdown, especially near the end.  But I can't help it.  It is just too fun now to recognize each passing week. 

At 31 weeks, she is a squirmer!  Her kicks and jabs and twists and turns are all over the place.  Sometimes I get giddy with excitement, sometimes I just pray for her to lay still.  Her hiccups are the craziest, and honestly the most annoying.  It is a weird sensation that repeats itself over and over and over and over.  I can only imagine what that 3 pound child inside me is feeling with each hiccup.

Throughout this journey of pregnancy, I have moved from a minimalist to a maximist...meaning I want it all!  All the baby stuff!  I'm only slightly teasing here, and I must clarify that I certainly don't want it all designer or even brand new.  We are so excited to have so many "love-me-downs" gifted to us.  From play mats, to walkers, to jumpy and bouncy things and exersaucers and even a changing table/dresser combo.  Most of these things I never knew existed and would have never known I wanted until now. 

Other gifts we have received as hand-me-downs: lots of baby girl clothes for when she is over a year old, a breast pump, a carseat (that meets all requirements), cloth diapers, blankets, glider and a bassinet! We have so been blessed by all these gifts. 

And then there are the home made gifts! My favorites!  The blankets, the outfits, the toys, the onesies. So, so cute! 

And of course the new gifts: the crib and countless more adorable baby outfits, the dolls and stuffed animals and blankets and the Boppy.  All for our precious baby girl!

Early on in the pregnancy we had no plans for a nursery.  The minimalist in me wanted nothing of the sort.  I was convinced that she would take up no more room than the space in the bed between Alex and me.  But now this is our reality!
Partially I was misguided to believe that she wouldn't need much.  After all, where would I have put her clothes and diapers.  The rest are just handy extras I'm sure.  Not necessarily needed, but things I am oh-so-grateful for!  As I attempt this whole Work-At-Home-Mom thing I believe I am going to need lots of gadgets to entertain little Eleanor with.  I wouldn't give up anything we have received so far!

So what is still needed? I get this question so much, especially with my upcoming baby shower:
  • We still need lots of clothes for 0-12 months. We have several outfits already, but I imagine we are going to need more.  Hand me downs are always accepted and loved here!
  • Cloth Diapers: of all sizes and shapes.  Again, I would love them used or new! We have a bunch already but certainly need to supplement those.
  • We also need baby shampoos and all the little extras like nail clippers and those bubble things that suck boogers out of the nose!
  • And books! We want lots and lots of books!  Not so many toys, but lots of books!
  • Oh, and we do still need a mattress for our baby girl to sleep on.  Although admittedly, she may not sleep there very often. 
  • I also believe I need a baby carrier of some sort.  Either a Moby Wrap, or Baby K'Tan, or my personal favorite the Beco Gemini Baby Carrier.  
And wants...oh there are many of those:
  • I have a stroller, a great fantastic stroller.  But I would love this stroller:
It is a travel system with our carseat and gives the lightweight, easy to handle City Mini a run for it's money! 

Other wants include:
And what I want more than anything else:
  • A giant case of Charlie's Soap so I will never have to spend money on laundry detergent again!
  • And one of these two beautiful Diaper Bags (yup no longer a minimist!)
The one above has Eleanor's name right in the description (Ellie Blue) and below is the Alex Baby Bag, so either will work!
Ok, I know those are both over the top and not at all necessities.  But they are on my very-much-like list!

If our baby girl came right now we would have plenty.  All of her needs would be met.  So even the needs on this list are loosely described this way! She is a fortunate little girl and we are fortunate parents to have everything we need!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who I am

Days like today sometimes make us stop to reflect.  It is important to pause and remember but also to look ahead.  Most importantly, it is important to be aware of right where you are, to feel gratitude for the things in your life and be reminded to not take anything for-granted.

This has been quite a whirlwind year.  And we aren't even close to the biggest change of all.  We began this year on a mission.  Our mission was to become missionaries.  We will end this year as missionaries, just in a completely different context.  Our mission has become our home, our family, our child.  At the start of 2012 I felt ready for change and I was expectant of something big.  Little did I know what God had planned for Alex and me.

So today I am a very different person.  A different person than I was a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, and most certainly a different person than I was 11 years ago on that fateful day.  So who am I today that makes me so different?  Well I am a mother.  I mean almost.  But I think anyone would agree that you become a mother way before your child is actually born.  This is a big and starring role in my life and one that will take much getting used to!  This new role has changed my perspective, my passion, my motivation and my outlook.  I feel an intense need to provide, prepare and protect.  This is very different than 6 months ago when I was ready to leap, abandon and conquer. 

Today I am more settled in my life than I have ever felt before.  If I can think back even 11 years, I can remember always being very independent, an adventurer, and always ready to move and go.  Until recently that has been my personality.  But right now I feel so dependent.  I am dependent on God.  Dependent on Alex.  On my church family and my friends.  The idea of leaving all this behind is so scary to me.  I need them, I need to be here.  I no longer want to run to new places.  I just want to experience this place in a whole new way.

The change I see is change for the better.  I am so much more aware of how I act and react.  Alex and I are constantly working together to make our marriage even stronger and better, before our baby girl arrives.  We know the challenges that lay ahead and we want to be a united force, unwilling to separate when things become difficult.  It means that I have to be more willing to give in, to accept when I am wrong, and to acknowledge our differences of opinion.  I have to be less willing to fight, and more open to compromise.  I struggle with pride and it keeps me from being more understanding and open-minded.  These are weak areas I recognize in myself.  Areas that I am willing to change to become a better wife, and a great mom. 

Oh it's hard.  I got mad at Alex just last weekend for eating the breakfast that I wanted out of the fridge.  Yup, that's how stubborn I can be.  But we are learning and changing.  It won't be perfect, but it will be great.

Who I am today is a combination of past, present and future.  What I have experienced, what is near to me in life right now, and what is to come.  It all combines and creates me.  Today I am thankful for who I am and what I have.  I am thankful that in nearly two months I get to meet my baby girl; I am thankful that Alex is my husband and loves me unconditionally; I am thankful for an amazing career; I am thankful for our friends who support us even when we change our minds 18 times a year; and I am thankful that God is patient, merciful and full of grace!  I am thankful!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday Date

Happy Monday from two Happy Bears Fans!  Yup, the Bears won their opening game for the season!  Sorry Indianapolis!  What better way to start the season than with a great win, not to mention the gorgeous (almost) fall-like weather we are experiencing.  It made for quite the perfect Sunday!
Ha! This photo cracks me up! I swear it fits better than it looks here.  I think we might make it through this pregnancy without investing in a new jersey!

To make our Sunday even more memorable I took Alex out on a very special date last night. 
Alex wasn't even aware that the new Whole Foods had opened in Charlotte so it was quite a little surprise.  We indulged with dinner at the hot bar.  Alex's grand total plate: $17!  Now that is one heck of a hot bar experience!
I tease him, but it really is easy to rack up quite the bill at the hot bar.  We opted to eat back by the "bar" and wine-loft area.  Alex got a $3 pour and we were content to stuff our faces!
I have been so weary toward Indian food and curries for the entire pregnancy, but this Chana Masala hit the spot last night!

After eating, we perused the aisles for nearly an hour, gawking at all the fabulous foodie finds.  We walked away with just a great deal on laundry detergent, but were happy to just window shop. 
Today the great weather has stuck around and I am loving it!  I hope it's here to stay.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thoughts at 30 (weeks that is)

I am currently in love with life.  I think I may have found that "happy stage" of pregnancy!  Mornings are a little less strained to get out of bed, and once the sun is fully up I am wide awake, and most days even a bit cheery.

I am head-over-heels in love with my husband.  I mean, I have always loved him, but I think this pregnancy has drawn us closer and deeper in love.  I have to believe that we are bracing and preparing for what will be a crazy couple months or even years ahead of us.  We are building up that dam to protect our marriage from what is to come.

I love, love my job.  For a while last year I became a bit complacent with it.  I was itching for a change.  And now with the biggest change of all on its way, I think I am learning to appreciate and enjoy what it is right in front of me.  I couldn't imagine any other career right now, and I am so excited I get to work for Girls on the Run every single day.

I am also so, so, so happy with our house.  Remember last year when we emptied all of our furniture from our home and attempted unsuccessfully to sell the house and all of our possessions.  I couldn't get out of the house fast enough!  And yet today, I am so settled and so happy that this is where I live.  I must admit, I have never been more content in my entire life!

The biggest piece of all is that I love going to church again.  Alex and I have this phenomenal church that feeds our souls.  It is full of people we love and the Holy Spirit is always present.  But I went through a long phase of hating church and, must I admit, I even despised the interaction with people (not just church people, but all people).  I was suffering tremendously in the first and even early parts of the second trimester.  Not only did I suffer physically, but also spiritually.  In many ways this baby sucked the life out of me. 

And so today, I sit here, counting my blessings.  Thankful that despite my curses, this baby stuck with me.  And now on the other side of the second trimester, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  While I am so anxious for 40 weeks to get here, I couldn't be happier right where I am today.  I am thankful that my husband cares for me so much to really take care of me for the last 6 months.  I am thankful that my friends and church family stuck by my side, even when I didn't want them there.  I am thankful that through it all, God had my back.  He let me slide just a little, so I would need to rely on Him to pick me back up. 

This love and thankfulness didn't come overnight.  About 6 weeks ago I realized I was in a really dark place.  I was sad, and depressed and still very sick.  That is when I decided to do the only thing I knew to make me feel better.  I picked my bible up and created a daily discipline of prayer and scripture.  I chose to thank God despite not feeling thankful.  I chose to love others, despite not feeling very loving.  And I chose to let God take over my heart and heal it. 

My story isn't one of tragedy, but it is my testimony of how God worked in me to refresh my spirit and restore my love.  I love because my Father first loved me.  He sent His only son to die that I may have life.  He made a choice and so now I am given choices.  To love, or not to love.  To live or to die (spiritually, I mean), to rejoice or to give up hope.  I have made my choices.  Which ones will you choose?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"But I can't..."

Do you ever feel inadequate to a task at hand?  Do you feel like you are not the one who should be at it, maybe there is someone better, more equipped than you?  Too frequently in my life that is how I feel. 

With my job I can get discouraged, and think, surely someone else could do this better.  In my marriage I often feel inadequate as a wife, wanting to be more patient, more kind, clean more, cook more, etc.  As a friend, I wonder if I am caring enough, am I a good listener, do I consider others' needs before my own?  Already I am fearful of my new role as mom, how will I react, will I be able to love her unconditionally? And in the few situations that I am called to be a counselor, to give Godly advice, I feel extremely incapable. 

Did you know, even Moses was shy to the tasks God laid before him? 

Exodus 3:10
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

This morning as I was reading my daily devotional from James MacDonald and Walk in the Word, I was given this scripture and this message. 

I quote James here: "When I hear the name Moses, I picture a true colossus of a man, a giant in faith with a long grey beard and weary eyes as he stands on a mountain with arms outstretched, viewing the Promised Land as he waits for God to take him to heaven. I revere that vision of Moses."
Isn't that how we all see Moses, as a strong leader of God's nation?  And yet, even he, who spoke directly with God, was nervous and fearful of his own abilities. 

I am struggling with a situation in my life that calls me to step outside of my comfort zone.  I believed until this morning that my role here was to just be a good listener, and a supportive friend.  But I wonder if that is not making me more of an enabler.  When we know what is right from wrong, when is it time to speak out loud?  When is it time to take more action?  How do we know what role God has created for us? 

Honestly, I wish the bush outside would go up in flames and I would hear God's voice booming.  "DO THIS, DO THAT." Honestly, with that direct contact with God, how could Moses even question he was the one if God was telling him that he was? 

In Exodus chapter 3, God goes on to assure Moses:
“But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

God promises He will be with us.  He will lead us and guide us.  I think maybe I should wait, and see what opportunities arise.  I pray that God will be in my words and if I choose to speak out, that my words will be out of love and the truth will be received with love.  One of the questions that plagues me is this:

"If not me, then who?"

Maybe sometimes, we are the only ones that can make a difference.  I trust that God can work in any situation, and in any time.  But if he has purposed me specifically for the task, then it is Him working through me.  And if not me, then who?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cloudy Day

This is the cloudy day we are having.  While I would prefer cloudy and cool, I must admit I am not at all minding the gloom.  Gloomy weather creates an excuse to take it a little easier on ourselves.  And after the long day yesterday, I am relishing in the clouds.  Not to mention the significant rainfall we received last night.  I hope my hyndrangeas are happy!

Last night I trained nearly 30 new coaches for Girls on the Run.  It was my biggest training group to date and I was so super nervous.  At the last minute I had to change venues and emailed (multiple times) to let the coaches know where to go.  Thankfully everyone made it and we had a wonderful group and I couldn't be more excited for this new season.  Just today I added two new teams--even though we are already half way through registration.  I am trying to go with the flow more this season and it sure is paying off!  In total we have over 120 coaches this season!  This is almost double any season before! How awesome is all this Volunteer Power!
(Oh Boy! Bad rainy day hair!)

You know the worst place to have to go on a rainy day like today? Walmart!  But that is exactly where I am headed.  Since I have two new teams, I need two new supply boxes for those teams, which means I need more supplies! 

What is your favorite activity to do on a rainy, cloudy day?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Keeping Sane

Happy Tuesday and Happy Short Work-Week to everyone!  I am one excited lady as this week is very hectic.  Keeping me sane and at peace are these beautiful hydrangeas my mother-in-law brought for me this weekend. 

Girls on the Run is in full swing now with registration taking up pretty much all of my time and energy.  We have had a great turnout so far but there is still so much to be done...including coaches training tonight with almost 40 coaches!  This will be my biggest training to date.  I'm a little nervous.

The rest of my energy is consumed growing this baby...

Eleanor is now 29 1/2 weeks along and according to some sources is the size of an acorn squash.  This little girl is nearly 3 pounds now and is kicking her momma all the time!  The best moments are when Alex gets to feel her moving around.  I grab his hand and place it on my belly and she usually quiets right down, but sometimes he gets to feel all the movement!

Last night was a particularly rough night for sleeping.  She was bouncing around and my mind was racing.  So around 2am I trekked downstairs to curl up on the couch.  I can sometimes get better sleep when I don't have as much room to toss and turn.  It still wasn't perfect, but I managed to get a little more rest before Alex came down for work this morning. 

Before being pregnant I would have described a baby's movement in the belly as very alien-esque.  And even being pregnant, at times it is so weird to have a living thing inside of you moving about.  Most of the time I enjoy her movements though and it makes me excited for when she is here.  Other times I become very annoyed, especially when I'm trying to sleep or read and relax.  When I lay on my side she kicks like crazy which makes relaxing extremely difficult! 

Well, time to get back to work and quit babbling! Have a great Tuesday!