20 Weeks [A Bumpdate]

*Note: You may notice I'm dropping "baby's development" and "baby's size". It seemed a little pointless to me since it's really all guess work, not solidified every-baby-grows-this-way. And since this is more a keepsake memory for myself and the little pea if they desire to read over it, I thought I'd drop those two "bullets" or whatever you want to call them.*
Ummm...I feel like I've grown A LOT since last week. I'm hoping it doesn't mean I find out I gained a TON of weight :/ And yes, I'm well aware I'm supposed to be gaining. I just don't want to find out I gained way too much.
How Far Along: I am 20 weeks and 5 days135 days until I'm 40 weeks.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: All I know is I had gained 6 pounds when they weighed me at my last appointment.

Food Aversions (and "no nos"): Bananas! They smell AWFUL! Still not been around BBQ so I'm not sure if that's passed or not.

Gimme' some of that!: I had an actual craving this Wednesday: lemonade. And I kept wanting it until I satisfied it with some of the best fresh-squeezed lemonade I know of: Chick-fil-a's lemonade. I drank two full glasses, thank you very much! Haven't craved it since. Haven't had any other cravings, either.

How I Feel: Pretty good. Though nausea hasn't completely worked its way out of my system, I consider myself blessed in that something generally has to trigger it and I haven't had to reach for the Zofran for a couple weeks now. The hardest part right now is probably my sleep which hasn't been great this week, so I'm a little sleepy. And yesterday was horrible in terms of sleep: woke up at 3, stayed in bed until 4 when I realized I wasn't getting sleep or rest, and was up and having to move around at 6 since I was helping out with worship at church. It made for a very foggy brain, but thankfully God was gracious and helped give me what I needed to be able to serve. And as always, serving on the team is such a blessing. I know it's a way to minister to others, but sometimes I find it truly ministers to me.

Maternity Clothes: Only thing that fits. Even my favorite stretchy maternity capris are too tight now :( Also, I really want to boycott full panel maternity pants. But most elastic otherwise is too tight. I'm wondering if there isn't a way to make demi bands a little less snug. Anyone? I've had several people suggest skirts or dresses, but I don't find that as comfortable as a good pair of shorts or pants and it's really hard, in my opinion, to chase/play with a toddler in a dress/skirt.

Movement: :) It's still not completely consistent, but I can usually count on a meal to liven the little bean up enough I can feel him/her move!

Sleep: I think I accidentally covered this under how I feel. :)

What I Miss: A good nights rest that allows me to wake before Zoë is bringing in the rising sun with her singing. I will say the silver lining is she's singing and not screaming with the sun's rising. Definitely a blessing. Also, I miss my hormones being at normal levels. Pregnancy hormones really mess with me.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Finding out the gender of our little one. Not too long now before we'll know. Eeeeeek!

Favorite Moment of the Week: Zoë randomly came up to me to pat and kiss my tummy. Confirmation whatever bumps we will have will only come from the normalcy of adjusting to sharing her parents and life with an added tiny human. She is going to be a WONDERFUL big sister! 

For My Memory: I'm not sure that I will truly ever forget this, but in the beginning of pregnancy I do, so in case we do have another little one: my patience goes out the window when I am pregnant. I don't know if it's a mix of hormones and sleep deprivation or just the hormones alone, but I snap at the drop of a hat. And all the great changes I've seen God bring about in my struggle with anger seem to come right back becoming a hard fought daily battle to work with Zoë in the way she needs to be worked with without losing my cool.


Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! [Book Review & Giveaway]

*UPDATE: The giveaway officially closed yesterday, Saturday, October 5, 2013. Congratulations, Dena! You will be receiving an e-mail. Please contact me within 48 hours so we can get your copy of "Rufus and Ryan Go to Church" headed your way.*

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned in this post for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

When I was contacted about reviewing this book, I immediately opted in. I knew it may be slightly ahead of where Zoë is, but the title itself seemed like a book we could start reading with her now and she would grow in more understanding of as she aged. My hope is by the time we are taking her with us or giving her the option of joining us in the service, she will know what to expect, but have learned it in a fun way.

I am so glad I opted in! This book really is a fun way for a kid to see the church service, though big and possibly scary, is really more like a big class with people of all ages. There are some differences in the way our church works and this book describes how a service goes, but it's on such a child's level that you can easily adapt it so you're child will know more of what to expect when they join you.

Zoë loves to sit and read the story to herself and also frequently comes to find her daddy or me so we can read it with her. It quickly became a favorite for her, finding it's way into the rotation of nap or bed time stories, frequently, I might add. She has even gone to find it first thing in the morning:
Still in her PJs

I also loved how there are already aspects of a relationship with Christ we are incorporating in the home she is learning occur in the service, too: prayer, praising God through worship songs, reading bible stories. We want all of these to be a "norm" in our household and I think they can help bridge the "I'm too little for the service" gap. Thus, reading about a kid who is her age who sees these similarities will hopefully be an encouragement for sitting through a church service. (I do know that there may be some kind of interruption or childhood-energy causing us to leave the service in the middle. I just think discussing what its like before we ever get there will help her enjoy the service a little more, whether or not we have to leave early.)

If you want to look up a bit more about the book, or buy it, feel free to check out the book on the publishers website or their facebook page. (And no, I was not required to put those links on here. I figured I give you easy access if you want to go straight to the publisher for more information.)

Now, on to the giveaway!

Might I suggest, even if you don't have a child in your home who is in the age range for this book (it is recommended for ages 2-5), but you know someone with a child or you have a niece or nephew in this age range, go ahead and enter! You can give it as a gift or a simple "I was thinking about you". My guess is they will love it!

What you need to know:

I have one copy of Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! to give away. This giveaway is open to US residents with a physical address (no P.O. boxes. Sorry!) age 18 and up. The giveaway begins today, September 26th, at 12 am CST and will close on October 6th at 12 am CST. There is only one mandatory entry for this giveaway: blog comment on this post. The winner will be randomly selected using Rafflecopter. The winner will be announced in an addendum note at the top of this post, as well as in the Rafflecopter form, within 48 hours of the close of the giveaway. They will also be contacted via e-mail. (Please make sure you use a valid, working e-mail address to enter using the Rafflecopter form.) The winner will have 48 hours to contact me via the e-mail listed in the announcement post to claim their prize. I will need the winners full name and physical address to forward to the blogger network so they can mail them their copy. For any other information you would like on giveaways hosted on my blog, please visit the official giveaway page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Thursday to everyone! Be sure to spread the word so your friends don't miss out on a chance to win a great children's book!


Praying for Him: What Can Haunt Us All

I'm a little afraid to even start this post. Truthfully because I believe in being honest, and I didn't really have the greatest start when I first glanced at the title of the chapter this week: "His Past". My immediate thought was, "Yep! I certainly need to pray about his past."


Prideful in this area much? (Ouch! That realization hurt.)

Thankfully, that wasn't where my heart stayed. God quickly opened my eyes to the bigger picture: praying over my husband's past is of utmost importance for our relationship. But praying over my own past is just as important. I believe everyone should be praying in their own lives that their past does not hinder but help them move forward. And when the prompting is there, they should be willing to pray for someone else's past as well.

I am very familiar with the past haunting me. I don't think I'm alone in this either, realized or not. And the past doesn't have to be chalk full of abuse, horrible parenting, alcholics and/or druggies, all the situations people typically think "Oh, that poor child is scarred for life." You can come from a great home, but your home is still full of fallen people. As such, there is likely something from your childhood that seems to hang over your head, if you let it.

The reason I say childhood is because I agree with Stormie, though she says it this way: "The events of your husband's past that most affect his life today probably occurred in his childhood." (p. 144) Of course, she's specifically talking about husbands in her book, but I think if we were to ask her, she would say that for everyone. And even if she doesn't, I'm going to go ahead and say that the events of anyone's childhood are the most likely to be what affects their life today.

Staring the past square in the face is scary. It brings up so many different emotions, unwelcomed emotions nonetheless. (Who really wants to stir up anger, fear, lack of trust, sorrow, etc.? I'm pretty sure Donkey wouldn't be yelling "Pick me!" on this one, you guys.) And sometimes, when you do choose to wade through the past to help better your future, you can feel like you're never going to make it out alive.

Yet, if you are a follower of Christ, you have the power of the Holy Spirit residing inside of you, who goes before the throne of God and intercedes for us, even when we have no words! (see Romans 8:26, 27) You guys, the implications of this verse should give us the courage to face our past, no matter how difficult or dark it may be. And if you need courage to face because it seems there is no hope, remember the words of Paul in Philippians 3: 13b, 14: "...forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (I'd recommend reading Philippians 3:12-14.)

May I ask why any of us would allow our fear of facing the past hold us back from reaching towards the ultimate gift: Christ? I even see my cowardly, curled-in-a-corner old self as stinkin' crazy to choose to stay in a place which, honestly, was quite miserable. Living with the past hanging over my head was one of the worst times in my life. I hope to never allow my past control like that again.

So I encourage you, pray over your past. Work through it. Walk alongside someone who is willing to encourage you, be a listening ear, share their past with you so you can do the same for them. And if you don't have anyone now, ask that God would give you the courage to go ahead with working through your past all the while asking for the blessing of such a comrade who will jump right in where you are in your journey. (I can't help but think of Christian and Faithful in The Pilgrim's Progess.)

And since this entire series has been spurned by praying for my husband, if you are married, I dare to ask you: who better to walk through your past with you than the man you have committed the rest of your living days to? Maybe if you're husband isn't willing to go there with you yet, you will open doors by doing so with him first or continuing to do so if you have already begun the journey. Pray that God would allow your husband's past to not hinder him, but to help launch him forward as her learns from it. Ask that God would open your husband's heart to delve into his past with you so you might be an encourager through it all. And ask that your heart would trust your husband to do the same for you.

Here are the rest of my posts from this 30 week series I've done on praying for my husband:


The Stuffed Animal Basket

So life around here seems quite monotonous. I've been told that is very normal, even if you try to switch a couple days around, have different activities throughout the day, the big picture can many times feel like you do the same. exact. thing. every. single. day. It can make for some long days.

Because I knew life could seem quite dull, I resolved within myself to try and laugh every day with Zoë. I wanted to be able to see the funny, good, happy, sad all together and realize it was beautiful within itself.

So the other day, I'm in the kitchen cooking and had already talked with Zoë about playing with her toys in her room. This generally doesn't take much prompting, and thankfully, she'd felt like I'd spent plenty of time with her that day so she wasn't trying to "watch" me cook or feeling as though she needed me in her room. (If you missed her 18 month post, she asks to "watch" anything that goes on in the kitchen. Sometimes, if it is simple and easy to keep her out of harms way, I actually allow her to be in the kitchen with me while I cook. This day was not one of those days.) She headed to her room and I buckled down to hopefully have dinner on the table in time.

Somewhere in the mayhem of cooking dinner (as organized as I am with almost everything, dinner always seems to feel like I didn't plan or organize enough as I find myself moving from one part of it to the next. It always makes it to the table and I've yet to have a complaint yet, so I'm going to still count it a win.), I hear Zoë whining/crying in her bedroom. At first I think she's frustrated with a toy. Then it continues and grows a little in volume. I begin to wonder what exactly is going on because she will usually come find me when she needs help with something. Somewhere in the whining, I'm starting to hear an occasional "mommy" strung into the complete whiny/crying babble.

After about another minute of the whining/crying, which has intensified, I decide I'm better off hoping dinner doesn't burn while I go to check on her. As I walk into her room I'm a little alarmed she's not in my immediate vision. (Her room is set up where I have visibility of everything except the far right corner, which is completely parallel to the door way and slightly blocked by curtains hung on that same wall.) I turn my head to check that corner, only to find, well, why don't you see for yourself:

She had pulled all her stuffed animals out of their basket so she could climb in. Maybe because she enjoys doing this with empty boxes, which have much larger openings, she thought this would be a good idea. However, she didn't realize that she'd likely take out the lining in the basket nor that the basket is much smaller than boxes she's climbed in.

She was stuck. Completely.

I had to take a photo op before I helped her out, but honestly, she didn't seem to mind:

Saying "cheese"

As soon as I snapped the first pic, she started smiling and saying "cheese" for me. I'm guessing I didn't scar her by taking a couple photos of her basket-fun-gone-wrong since she immediately was all smiles. Plus, she gave me a couple of laughs and some really cute pictures.

I think this one would have been better had I not needed to use my AUTO mode and flash.

Oh this little stinker cracks me up! I'm so thankful for her huge sense of humor and ability to laugh in situations like this. Once she realized mommy was going to help her out of her little mess, she could have cared less she was stuck in that basket.

I am so unbelievably blessed!!


19 Weeks [A Bumpdate]

How Far Along: I am 19 weeks and 5 days. 142 days until I'm 40 weeks.

Baby's Size: The Little Bean is about 6 inches long. (Apparently, the size of an heirloom tomato, though I'm not up on all my tomatoes so I'm just going to have to take their word for it. Ha!) (S)he's now weighing a half pound at about 8.5 oz. 

Baby's Development: The brain is really working on some hefty development this week as the areas designated for smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision are beginning to form.  Also, motor neurons are continuing to develop allowing for more concious, controlled movement.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: All I know is the 6 pounds since my last visit. Curious to find out at my next visit where I'm at.

Food Aversions (and "no nos"): Bananas are awful. I can't stand the smell of them. Period. I haven't tested being around BBQ since early pregnancy so I'm not 100% sure I still have an aversion, though thinking about it still isn't something I really like. It certainly doesn't make me want it.

Gimme' some of that!: Nope. So far, this aspect of my pregnancy has been the same as with Zoë. Something might sound good, but I don't have a craving I must satisfy. And even avacados haven't made it there yet. (Avacados were the only food I craved when I was pregnant with Zoë.)

How I Feel: Much, much, much better! Nausea hits me at times, not really sure why, but it quickly passes. Nothing that really just makes me want to lie on the floor for hours. However, I am extremely exhausted. Though, this doesn't really surprise me because I never got my "second wind" with Zoë either. There are still days I'm so exhausted I will wake up on Zoë's floor and feel awful her mommy fell asleep while playing with her :/

Maternity Clothes: Yep. And as far as pants go, I have to wear the dreaded full panel (I avoided them completely during my first pregnancy.) or it has to be an ultra-stretchy, not-tight athletic or elastic waist. Anything too tight, including some full panel maternity pants, messes with my circulation and makes my right leg feel like it's going to fall off. I wish I had regular t-shirts that were long enough, but so far, I've carried low and my t-shirts end up sticking WAY off my middle...not so attractive and I'm definitely not comfortable sporting that. Plus, wearing them is a sure-fire way for everyone to see half my cami because they ride up. Horribly. No thank you!

Movement: I'm really starting to feel movement on a consistent basis. I feel little kicks here and there, as though (s)he's trying to find the most comfortable position. I'll usually feel a couple kicks followed by a fluid movement of some part of the body pushed up and moving against me. Always puts a smile on my face.

Sleep: Been waking up 1-2x/night for bathroom breaks. Sometimes I can't go back to sleep, others it's no problem. What I find really strange is I seemingly have been waking somewhere between 4 and 530 on a consistent basis with no ability to fall back asleep after. I'll usually rest in bed for a while before I actually get up, but I'm pretty sure it's part of the culprit in my extreme exhaustion.

What I Miss: Not needing to use the bathroom every 0.0000005 seconds. Ok, not literally, but I sure do feel like I go to the bathroom and before I can wash my hands I'm having to go again. I know it's because I stay on top of drinking all my water, but it's also really annoying to pull up a shirt and cami and then have to pull down the full paneled pants. I feel like I'm practically undressing every time I go. 

What I'm Looking Forward To: Really getting excited about finding out this Little Bean's gender. 

Favorite Moment of the Week: I have a feeling I'm not going to be great at this question. Wanna know why? I can't remember half my week. I kind of know what we did and some events are on the calendar, but the "meat" of each memory made..well, lets just say I hope I recollect it after all my hormonos have started to calm down, which will be a while. HA!


She's how old?! [18 Months]

Waking up on her 18 Month Birthday
A year and a half? 18 months? You mean I've had my little fire-cracker, full of life, loves to laugh, smiles to steal your heart, whines to [attempt] getting her way, sweet Zoë for a whole freakin' year and a half? As in, I'm only 6 months shy of being the mom of a full blown toddler? (Let's face it, as much toddler as she appears to be and acts sometimes, there is still plenty of baby left to go around.)

Cheering on our LSU Tigers :)
18 Month Stats
  • You're up a whole pound from your 15 month check, weighing in at 22 pounds 5.5 ounces. This puts you in the 47th percentile. Funny enough, that's up almost 17%, where as I would have thought it meant you were down. Still plenty of baby chub left to love, though I can't look at the above picture long or I'll start crying because you're looking so grown up. Height is also up, now measuring 32 1/4" tall, which is 64th percentile (up from 50%).
  • You still can wear your 18 month size bottoms and we had to purchase size 18-24 month pants for your "Fall" clothing. Unless you shoot up quite a bit, they should hopefully last until Summer returns. (We really only have a HOOOT season and a "eh, it's kind of cool" season. Thankfully, it's windy here and that helps in the cooler "Fall" and "Winter" to make it seem a bit more of the season.) As far as tops, you barely fit into your 18-24 month size tops. They're almost too short. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure how long your 2T tops will fit you. However, 2T dresses are really long on you, so we're in 18-24 month or 24 month for those, for the most part :) Oh, and your pajamas are 24 month size.
  • You now wear a shoe size 5. The shoes in the pic above are your absolute FAVORITE! Poppa bought them for you on your first birthday and they happen to be perfect for this fall! They light up so we'll find you standing in one place stomping away to make the lights go off.
  • You listen when we ask you to hold our hand when walking outside. That's been successful for almost a month now, which is great because up until then, you refused to let anyone, including mommy and daddy, touch your hands for any reason.
  • You love your stuffed animals. Frequently you will stop what you're doing, go to your stuffed animal basket, pick one, make it's sound, and then proceed to hug and kiss on the animal.
  • You've started patting my belly on your own and waving hi to the baby. However, you don't quite remember that it's on my front and will sometimes pat my bottom and say hi. All I can do is laugh at how cute and innocent you are when you do this. You will bring me your baby dolls at times and ask me to love on them. Then you will take them from me and give them a hug and kiss. You're going to be such a great big sister!
  • You still love to read and have favorite books that you go to. Your newest favorite is actually a book that I'm reviewing. I'm not sure if it's because it's new or it's about church or what, but you frequently bring that book or the book about being a big sister to me.
  • There are several words daddy and I have to spell so as not to upset you if it doesn't happen or isn't quite time yet: bubbles, outside, eat, food. You're not quite to a point where you understand that just because we say it doesn't mean that we were saying that is what we were going to do.
  • You're vocabulary is taking off, so much so that I can't even begin to list all the words you know now. You clearly say "baby", "apple", "outside", "bye bye"...I may be missing some but those are words you use daily and annunciate very well.
  • You love to "watch" mommy or daddy from the step stool in the kitchen when we are doing anything in there. Making breakfast? "Watch?!" Cleaning dishes? "Watch?!" Cooking dinner? "Watch?!" I'm convinced if we were having to clean up the nastiest mess you wouldn't care, you want to be with us and you want to learn from what we're doing. You also love to help in whatever way you can. This frequently means you're wiping a cloth on the counter when we're cleaning or you're banging a spoon trying to "stir" whatever we're getting ready to heat for you. I know most toddlers want to watch everything their parents are doing, but I'm convinced part of it is you enjoy helping as well as you just wanting to be with us. Sure, you're curious and want to learn, but I don't think that is the only driving force in you wanting to "WATCH?!" everything we do. And yes, "watch" is in quotations with the question mark and exclamation point because you excitedly ask/say "watch" whenever we ask if you want to do it with us or you've noticed/think we're preparing to do something in the kitchen that you can "Watch?!" :) So sweet!
Clapping your hands because you successfully climbed into the box and sat down.
  • You enjoy playing with boxes, empty containers (especially ones with lids that screw off/on), old magazines, etc. Pretty much anything that wasn't ever designed to be a toy :) I have to say that boxes are probably some of your faves. 
Stinkin' Cutie Patootie
  • You've recently gained a love for looking out the windows. Sometimes I can't find you because you're so quiet and then I find you with your lovie behind the couch just staring out the window. So cute!
  • You can throw a ball like a champ! And you're not too shabby at kicking one either, for that matter. I'm a little surprised by the athleticism you're already showing and I wonder if you'll be more into dance and gynastics or volleyball, softball, soccer, etc. Only time will tell, but I'm not going to force either on you. We'll let you decide what you'd prefer to try. Oh and in the past couple of days, you've even caught the ball without help. It's not consistent but the fact you've even caught it is pretty amazing.
  • When you put your mind to something you get it done. You may have a slight melt down if it doesn't go as planned the first time, but with a little encouragement, you will usually keep trying until you get it.
  • You're highly resourceful (see above picture). You scooted the box up to the couch and used it as a step stool to help you get up there. You're still not climbing onto the couch on your own, but I think part of that has to do with you wanting to boost yourself up with your leg and they're not quite long enough yet.

I am so glad you made me a mommy first. You bring such light and life to our home. Oh and the laughter! So much laughter. I forgot to mention it in the actual stats, but you have quite the sense of humor and are generally attempting to get everyone around you to join in laughing. I hope that never gets snuffed out. As you grow and become more and more a toddler and lose what's left of the baby in you, I can be nothing but proud. You have such a sweet spirit and seem to genuinely care about others. You have quite the strong will, but I know it will come in handy as long as daddy and I parent you with the wisdom given us by God. (It honestly just makes it harder for me to parent you and teaches me about my short comings :) I am so blessed to have been given the gift of raising you!

I love you, sweet pea!!


Praying for Him: His Fatherhood

*I want to preface this post by saying that I may or may not properly communicate my support in Ben's fathering. I would not rather any other man to be the father of my children. He loves fiercely and truly wants what is best for our kids and wants to parent in a way that fosters growth in our children. My goal is to support him in this, but I am tire and pregnant. Please ask if you have any questions or it seems I am doing anything but supporting him.*

If there is one area I cover both myself and Ben in prayer in it's our parenting. More than anything I want our parenting to guide Zoë, and any other kids we might be blessed with, to God. To set a foundation that is open to her questioning and helps her start to listen for God's voice in her life, hopefully hear His call early in life.

What I didn't realize, somehow overlooked with all the fears of failure I feel as a mom, was how even if he never voices them, Ben feels just as many fears and worries about being a horrible dad as I do about being a mom. There was one quote that really opened my eyes to how much I should pray for Ben's fatherhood: "Thoughts of failure and inadequacy are what cause so many fathers to give up, leave, become overbearing from trying too hard, or develop a passive attitude and fade into the background of their children's lives." (p. 138)

And though Ben is a far cry from being any of what that quote depicts, I have found myself asking that God would give him truths and constantly remind him that he has a perfect Father who desires to see him succeed in his journey of fatherhood. A heavenly Father who isn't looking for perfection but a desire to do what is right and to live as Christ.

I have felt the truth that Ben is the perfect father for Zoë and any other children, biological or adopted, we are blessed with resonate in my heart and give me a passion to cover his fatherhood in prayer. (I'm throwing adoption out there because we're open to it, but right now are unsure if that will happen.) He is exactly the father God designed our children to have, and as such, is the father they need because of his many assets, despite the failures he will have as a father. And so I never want to see him give in to Satan's tactics which are designed to lead to him giving up, however it may look, on raising his children.

And so here is what I encourage all women to pray for:
  • Married with or without children: if you desire to have children or you already do, pray for your husband's fatherhood. Ask God to give him the wisdom that comes only from Him so that he might positively influence your children, leading them to the foot of the cross simply through how he loves your children.
  • Single but desire to be married: pray that, should He grant your request to be married, the man intended for you would walk with God daily and that through that God would prepare his heart for whatever children He has in store for you. Starting now is the a great way to help you continue to do so should God answer those desires.
  • Any other woman not covered by those two categories (sorry, those two stuck out to me with more specific ways to pray over the fatherhoods of men): pray that every man on this earth granted with the opportunity to father a child would seek God first and imitate Him in the way they parent their children.
As for myself, I will be covering both my parenting and Ben's parenting in prayer, asking that we seek His wisdom in every aspect so that we might teach our children to live at the foot of the cross.
Here are the rest of my posts from this 30 week series I've done on praying for my husband:


18 Weeks [A Bumpdate]

How Far Along: I am 18 weeks and 5 days. 149 days until I'm 40 weeks.

Baby's Size: Little Bean is about 5.6 inches in length, which is about the same as a sweet potato. They've also gained a few ounces now weighing approximately 6.7 oz.

Baby's Development: Though their ears have been externally developed, this week their bones are starting to harden, of which the inner ear bones are the first. That said, LB is probably starting to hear sound. I hope they heard the many "I love you"s said to them this week :)

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Well, we'll find out in a few weeks, but for now all I know is that my total is 6 pounds. If I had to guess, I'm going to say I will have gained about 4 pounds by my next appointment, totaling 10. But...won't know until I am weighed at my 20 week visit.

Food Aversions (and "no nos"): Still no BBQ. Please, let's stop the convo there. Aside from that, I've been able to reintroduce cucumbers, watermelon, apples. Pretty much the foods that were fine and then not are all ok again. Yippee! Also, I can only handle small bits of vinegar/acidic food. Olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper on tuna? Yeah, I might as well be choosing to be sick for at least a good 6 hours. Yummy balsamic dressings? About the same as too much vinegar. And by "too much vinegar" I'm saying I can't have more than the little bit I get from eating a tiny baby pickle. Sensative to it much?

Gimme' some of that!: Nope. Not yet.

How I Feel: Really starting to feel like myself like I'm healthy again. The nausea is almost next to none. Just small bits here and there, mostly noted when I can't sneak in food. I wonder why I have trouble remembering to eat? Oh wait! I'm chasing a toddler. Ha!

More for myself than anything - I am already struggling with swelling. I can't stand for long periods and I have to prop my feet up to keep it at bay if I am able when I sit. This started at 20 weeks with Zoë so for this LB it's about 2 weeks sooner.

I'm also struggling with what I believe to be circulatory issues in my right leg only. There is a pair of maternity shorts I can't wear because the demi (below the belly) band is now, apparently, too tight (I'm unsure if it's because it shrunk, I've spread out more [I know I haven't gained weight in that area more than the expanding of baby], or a little bit of both) so that it causes a huge discomfort and my veins to bulge in my right leg. However, my leg becomes uncomfortable and the veins bulge after standing, as well. I'm under the belief that part of this is caused because of my epidural. I didn't have this problem with Zoë and my right sciatica never went away after. Not sure, but I'm going to discuss it with my OB at my next visit. I'm really hoping I don't hear the words "compression hose". 

Maternity Clothes: Yep. All the time. I'm really wishing that I had a reason to wear my scrubs. If I find out that I can't wear my demi band pants I may just have to use that as my excuse for scrubs. 

Movement: Feeling more on a daily basis. And I'm loving it! This LB seems to move in a "graceful" manner the same as Zoë did in utero. I have felt some little kicks and elbows here and there but I think it's more of "I'm trying to get comfy" because it's never drawn out much. May also be that it's still a little early to feel "every" movement. No clue. Only time will tell.

Sleep: I've been sleeping like a log this week. Thankfully. I'm having trouble waking up in the morning  and I struggle to keep myself awake at night so I go to bed at a decent hour and ensure that I'm not waking up before there is light out and not being able to go back to sleep. I am having to get up 1-2 times a night, but I generally fall right back to sleep.

What I Miss: Being able to easily get comfortable. This may sound horrible considering it will only get more uncomfortable, but I really can't find that "sweet spot" for comfort. I feel like I have to move every few minutes to allow blood to flow differently and my legs to not get achey or a hip to not get too much strain from being stuck in one position.

And call me crazy but I also miss my morning time to myself before Zoë is awake. Getting up before her and having time to spend with God and read and blog were all morning activities I enjoyed doing prepregnancy. However, I know my body is tired because it needs the rest to provide LB with what they need to grow, so I don't try to fight it. I just will be trying to get back to some kind of routine like that as soon as the newborn fatigue has kind of become "normal" enough that my body won't be in shock from me choosing to get up before 7.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Finding out the gender of the baby. I know many people say they "can't" not know, but honestly, if I didn't care about being able to pray for my child by name, I'm pretty sure we'd be a "surprise" couple. Wait until baby arrives to hear the words, "It's a ________!" I just love the extra touch of connection being able to pray for my little one by name (and gender specific, at that) BEFORE they are born. It meant a lot to me with Zoë and I am certain it will be just as meaningful with this baby. (I still hate the fact that I can't pray for my angel baby by name.)

Favorite Moment of the Week: Ummm...I'm honestly not sure. Time just seems to fly by. And I'm doing my best to soak up my moments with Zoë where she is the only child I have. As excited as I am about her getting to be a big sister and us growing our family by one, part of me is sad for the changes I know it will bring. Part of me knows I will miss the focus I am able to give her. The attention that can be bombarded by nothing if I turn off all electronic devices ability to notify me of anything incoming. And I don't really have to fight for that. I will want to fight for it with each of my kids, but I hate knowing that I will have to fight for it. However, maybe that means it will mean more in hindsight. I don't know. That's just where I am right now.

17 Weeks [A Bumpdate]

*I'm posting this because I didn't want it to get lost with drafts or accidentally deleted. I skipped posting this last week in effort to shed light on "mourn[ing] with those who mourn." This truly is more for my records and knowledge in the future.*

How Far Along: I am 17 weeks and 5 days156 days until I'm 40 weeks.

Baby's Size: Little Bean has grown to about 5.1 inches (roughly the size of an onion) and weighs approximately 5.9 oz. 

Baby's Development: This week the LB has mastered a few simple reflexes: swallowing, sucking, and blinking. They may even have a bout of hiccups, and if they're anything like Zoë was in utero, I will feel them a lot the last half of the pregnancy.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Man, answering this really makes me want to get a scale so I actually know how much I've gained to date. Of course, it's only in the first half of the pregnancy that I have to wait every 4 weeks. Anyway, all that to say is I only know I had gained a total of 6 pounds at my 16 week appointment. 

Food Aversions (and "no nos"): Still absolutely no BBQ! I struggle to even listent to people talk about it much less smell it or be forced to eat it. I've found that I've been able to tolerate some of the foods which were a problem for my stomach a bit better: watermelon, peas....that's all that comes to mind.

Gimme' some of that!: Still no cravings that stick around so that I go searching for it. I randomly had a short craving for Frosted Flakes. Not really sure why, but hey! At least I'm starting to want to eat.

How I Feel: MUCH better! The morning sickness isn't completely gone, but I've finally gone a week without Zofran and the dry heaving is much less and definitely farther between bouts. YAY!

Maternity Clothes: All the time :)

Movement: More and more. It makes me so grateful each time because every day is one day closer to not losing, but gaining this life. A day closer to the possibility of it joining my little family come February.

Sleep: This week I have slept really, really well. Maybe I just need to take more weekend trips that don't allow me to nap. Ha! Even Zoë has been "sleeping in" 'til 7:30.

What I Miss: Wanting to eat. Still have to force myself to eat on a consistent basis to keep nutrients provided for my body and the baby. Also, I miss my back not hurting daily. And knowing it's bound to only get worse just makes me hope that stretching and staying active will help alleviate some of the discomfort.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Another day passing, another day closer to greeting this little life, holding him/her in my arms, and allowing us to warm one another.

Favorite Moment of the Week: Feeling my little one kick me for the first time. It was almost a light tap, like something jumped inside me. A reminder that (s)he is still growing within.


Praying for Him: His Relationships

If there is one area I have truly spent time praying for my husband, it is in the area of relationships: that he would be surrounded by godly men and seek out relationships with godly men.

I don't say this to pat myself on the back or toot my own horn.

Honestly, I say this because I know the importance of relationships. Period. Which, coming from someone who frequently wishes she would have listened to her hermit-like inner-voice, is saying a lot, in my opinion. (Though you can take it all worth a grain of salt if you'd like considering I just promoted my opinion there. It was on accident, however. I digress.)

How do I know the importance of them? Because I have lived where I really didn't have any friends and then I have been blessed with friendships that I'm pretty sure I will have until the day I die. The latter is extremely rare as well as lots and LOTS of HARD WORK! I'm not saying the hard work is bad, but it most definitely takes putting myself aside, trudging the nasty waters of conflict, and learning to accept all of a person. (And YES, my friends have to do the same for me for it to work. Not saying I'm an easy person to get along with. In fact, I know I'm not an easy person to get along with.)

Choosing friends who will build you up is important. And it's imporant for your spouse, too.

Thankfully, I saw a quick answer to my prayer asking for great relationships when we moved to Houston. I knew that friendships can take a lot of time, even for someone who is as outgoing, sociable, people-oriented as Ben. (The guy doesn't know a stranger, okay?) Even all that being said, I wasn't under any ideas that we would get to Houston and Ben would just start connecting right off the cuff.

However, it wasn't but a few months we'd been here and he was meeting with one of our pastor's and another guy weekly. I was shocked, to say the least, but I was also extremely grateful God had already provided for him. I knew that Ben building a foundation was important because I knew that men struggle with building deep relationships since 1) they are men: men are typically not emotional like women and thus don't typically build great relationships very easily, and 2) relationships with other guys, good relationships, are put on the back burner because of the demands of their career.

I didn't want this to happen. So I prayed.

And when I sat to write this post, the realization of just how quickly God had answered my prayer hit me. I'm even more grateful now.

All of that to say, I encourage you to continually seek God's guidance in your marriage or relationship with your significant other, if you are in either life phase, but also to ask Him to build healthy relationships for you and your spouse daily. (And yes, if you aren't even dating yet, you can be praying that your future spouse is already surrounded by great, healthy, godly relationships.)
Here are the rest of my posts from this 30 week series I've done on praying for my husband: