Five Minutes


When I first found out we were having a boy, one of the first things I did was buy Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson. I was pretty overwhelmed at the thought of raising a boy. Mostly because I'm a girl - I've never been a little boy, so I don't know how they think, and I decided any insight into little boys would be pretty valuable.

I'm almost done with it now - it has taken me forever to finish it, because we've been so busy. There are a couple of things that Dr. Dobson says in the book that I don't completely agree with, but I've found the majority of the book to be interesting and helpful.

I was reading a chapter last night about building meaningful relationships with your kids, and something was mentioned that I never thought of before. It said "the first five minutes occurring between people sets the tone for everything that is to follow".

When I read that, I realized how true it really is. My interactions with Derek in the first five minutes of the day, or in the first five minutes after he gets home, does set the tone for the rest of our time together. If we're cheerful and greet each other with a smile, we typically have a lovely day or evening. But if one or the other of us is grouchy or distracted, our time together is usually less than enjoyable.

I've written before of my conviction about my words, including this verse:

"But I say to you that for every idle word that men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement."
Matthew 12:36


Not only will I have to give an account for my careless words someday, but they also have an immediate effect on a relationship. I knew that, but I never thought about the fact that one careless word could affect the rest of my interaction with that person, whether for the rest of the day, or even the rest of the relationship. It's a sobering thought.

I'm going to attempt keep the effect of "the first five minutes" in mind in my interactions with those I love - because if I can control my own attitude in those first few minutes, alot of conflicts and tension could be avoided, and my relationships with my family and Derek could be much more peaceful and satisfying.

I wonder if this principle applies to dogs too? Harvey has been driving me nuts lately . . .


Award Recipients

Alright, time to pass out some awards! I've been a major slacker for the past several months on accepting and passing these awards on, so I'm finally getting caught up.

These awards basically require you to share 7-10 random facts about yourself and thank the person who gave you the award - which I did in Monday's random post. Then you can pass them on to 5-7 other bloggers!

I always have a terrible time picking winners for these awards - because I really do love all the blogs I read. But I don't think I've given some of these ladies awards before, and it's been a while since I passed awards on to some of them. So, without further ado, here are the recipients!

Stylish Blogger Award



Goes to . . .

Claire at Fast Forward Girl
Felicia at Open Up The Sky
Jen at The Life Accounts
Cait at The Blessed Life
Vicki at The Johnsons

The Versatile Blogger Award



Goes to . . .

Kristin at Deeply In Love
Ashley at Joshley And The Charles
Mrs. A at Adventures In The Life Of Mr. and Mrs. A
Elizabeth at Hope Scribbles
April at Learning

The Sugar Doll Blog Award



Goes to . . .

Amanda at A Sweet Serenity
Ashley at Crosseyed
Anne at Where Your Treasure Is
Melanie at Country Roads
Rachel at Rachel and John

I appreciate all you ladies, and I love reading your blogs! Enjoy the awards!

Death Of An iPod

My iPod is dead.

Dead as a doornail.

Okay, well, actually not quite that dead. But it's pretty useless.

Apparently iPods will not keep working if you close them in a car door.

I usually listen to my iPod on the way to work, so one day recently when I arrived at work for the day I turned my iPod off, wrapped the cord around it, and I thought I put it in the center console of my car.

However, when I came out for lunch, my iPod was lying in the space between my seat and the door. I figured it just fell off my lap or something, so I grabbed it, put it in my purse, and didn't think anything more about it.

That is, until I pulled it out later for the drive home and saw this:



Yes, my iPod is actually bent in the middle.



And the screen is just white.

The ironic thing is that the controls still work, and I can still get it to play music. But I can't always get the buttons to work, and when I can, I can't see what I'm doing anyway.

This is precisely the wrong time for this to happen. Why? Because listening to music on the iPod was a major part of my pain management plan for labor.

Now I'm scheming about ways to scrape up enough money for a new one before Babykins decides to make his appearance.

I'm just not sure it's going to happen.

I also might be able to borrow one from someone.

I just have to figure out who.

Rats.

And if that wasn't bad enough, I was reading in my pregnancy book this past week, and they even suggested taking an iPod with a variety of music to help with labor.

Double rats.

*Sigh.*

On a more cheerful note, I'll be passing out awards tomorrow - so stay tuned!

Surprise Date Night

Yesterday, I was sitting at the computer typing an e-mail, when I heard Derek come through the door downstairs. Thankfully I was almost finished with my message, so I signed off and turned around. That's when I saw these on the kitchen table:



My husband brought me flowers! His favorite flower shop moved several months ago, and we could never figure out where they moved. Derek was really disappointed, because he always used to buy me flowers there, and they did a nice job. But he found them again yesterday and surprised me with these!

There are three roses. Derek told me that there is a taller one, a medium height one, and small one. One for him, one for me, and one for the baby. I thought that was so sweet!

I exclaimed over them and read the sweet card, then gave my hubby a thank-you kiss. Then he grabbed my hand and told me to get my shoes as he pulled me toward the door. Once we were in the truck he pronounced that we were going to dinner! I was wearing a new outfit, and he told me he thought I looked really pretty in it, so he thought we'd go out to eat. He wanted to do something special for me.

We haven't been out to a "just because" dinner in a while - it was so nice to just get out of the house, talk, enjoy each other's company, and have a real date!

I love my husband. I'm not sure why the Lord chose to bless me with such a wonderful man, but I'm so grateful that He did.

Just thought I'd brag on him a bit.

Love you, Babe!


Le Bebe And Moi - 34 Weeks

Time for the 34 Week update!

Moi

According to the doctor's office, I'm up four pounds in two weeks. Four pounds! How did that happen? To be completely fair though, I ate lunch right before my appointment, and the nurse didn't let me use the restroom before she weighed me - so it's probably more like three pounds. Still . . . well, nobody said anything about it, so I guess it's normal.

I've still been feeling good, but I've noticed that I've been more achy in the past couple weeks, particularly in my feet and legs. I haven't been doing anything abnormal, so I'm not sure why my calf and thigh muscles are aching so much, but I figure it must have something to do with the extra weight, or maybe a shift in my center of gravity. And like I mentioned before, I've gotten these sharp pains when I've been walking too much, so I'm trying not to overdo it.

I also get these feelings of pressure and sharp pains in my lower pelvic region, which my doctor assures me is normal. I worry sometimes though, because the little guy tends to punch me down there, and I wonder if it could cause me to dilate too soon or something - but I think the same thing must happen to everyone, and my doctor never seems concerned, so I'm not worried.

Le Bebe

My little man probably weighs about five pounds by now, and is about 18 inches long. Though I think the weight probably varies quite a bit from baby to baby at this point, so who knows how big he is.

His movements seem stronger over the last couple of weeks, and we're to the point now where alot of his movements feel uncomfortable for me - must be because he's growing! Sometimes he sticks his little foot out the side of my stomach so forcefully that it hurts. He also likes to get himself wedged up under my ribs, which can be pretty painful too. I usually have to stretch out my torso when that happens so that (1) it doesn't hurt so much, and (2) so I can breath! He has hiccups fairly frequently - hooray for developing lungs!

News From The Doctor (Sorry, I don't know French for that one. . .)

Oh wait! I can use Google Translator!

Nouvelles du Médecin (There we go . .. )

Yesterday at my appointment, my doctor measured my uterus, and I'm measuring almost 3 centimeters behind where they would expect me to be. Usually they don't worry about it if you're measuring ahead or behind by a centimeter or so, but my fundal height hasn't grown since my last appointment.

She assured me that she's pretty sure everything is fine - she said that tall women with long torsos (that would be me) have more room for the baby to stretch out and move, so she's pretty sure it's not measuring as big just because I'm so long. But she said that at my next appointment we'd do an ultrasound, just to check to make sure he's growing alright, and to check the amount of amniotic fluid.

I feel slightly worried that something might be wrong, but my doctor wasn't too worried - she said it would just be good to check. And honestly, the little guy moves too much for me to stay worried - he's going to be strong, I can tell. You could all say a prayer though, that Babykins and my fluid levels look good. My ultrasound is next Wednesday.

At my appointment yesterday, I also asked my doctor if she could check to see if she could tell what position he's in - mostly because I'm just curious! I've had guesses as to which body parts are poking me and changing the shape of my stomach. I was pretty sure the "nubs" that stick out my sides are his feet, and the big bulge that makes my stomach look lopsided at times must be his little bottom . . . but I wanted to hear what position he was in so I'd know for sure.

So she pressed my stomach in a few spots and pronounced that he's most certainly head-down - and she even said she could feel his bottom right where I always knew it was! Now I know that all my guesses were correct. She actually said his head is pretty low down too. He's assumed the position and he's ready to go! But he'll have to wait a few more weeks like that, I'm afraid!

So this picture from Babycenter.com is actually a pretty accurate representation of what he looks like inside my belly right now, except my placenta is low and posterior, instead of anterior like in this picture:



Photos du Ventre de Bébé, aka: Baby Belly Pictures

I took these a day late this time, because Derek was gone on Saturday and I forgot to ask him to take pictures when he got home - my first time missing picture day. Rats.

I don't know that I look that much different from two weeks ago, except I feel like he's sticking out front a bit more . . .







La Fin.

Why am I writing in French today? I don't know . . .




I've Got Nothin'

I feel like such a bad blogger lately. My normal goal is to think of a good, thoughtful post for Mondays to get the blogging week off to a good start. Yep. That hasn't happened in quite a while. Everything is just too busy around here - I hardly have time to breath on the weekends lately, much less write a blog post.

So I'm afraid, my friends, that "this is all I got".

Here are some of the thoughts running through my mind today.

1. I cut my foot twice in the same spot within about a week. No sooner had the first cut healed than I went and cut it again! And I don't even know how I did it - I just looked down, and my foot was bleeding. Isn't it supposed to be a bad thing when you can't feel when you've injured yourself? Maybe I need to start doing nightly inspections of high-risk body parts.

2. I think I love Dreft laundry detergent. My project over the weekend was to try to get all of our little guy's clothes washed in a baby-friendly detergent - I got about 2/3 of the way through. But my entire house smelled so fresh and clean while I was doing laundry with Dreft - a "new baby" fresh smell. I've been snuggling the clothes that I've already washed up to my face (so soft!), and just breathing in that wonderful new baby scent - because it's the same fragrance I'll be inhaling when I'm snuggling my little man after he's born. I love it!



3. I have a full day of shopping ahead of me today. I have to buy some items that we still need for the nursery, buy a shower gift for my co-worker, and pick up some other random things that we need all of a sudden. Shopping is a great way to get in my daily exercise (all that walking, you know), but I have a hard time with these marathon days lately - if I walk too much I get these sharp pains in my middle. Maybe just ligaments? I don't know, but it can't be a good thing. I think I'm going to have to start breaking up these shopping trips into more manageable chunks.

4. I was thinking about what outfit to dress our baby in for his "going home outfit", and I then started thinking about my "going home outfit" - and I have no idea what to wear home from the hospital. I was advised by our hospital tour guide not to bring pre-pregnancy pants to the hospital, because I'll try to get them on, then they won't fit, then I'll cry. But I'm not sure I really want to go home in maternity clothes - that would just be depressing. Maybe I should just go with a skirt or something. For all you ladies who have had a baby, what did you wear home from the hospital?

5. I have a doctor's appointment today too, and I have some questions for her. I want to know which way the little guy is turned. I'm wondering if they can feel my stomach and guess as to whether he's head down or not? Supposedly he's supposed to be head down by now, but every day he jabs me in my sides quite forcefully - I don't think he can get that much power coming from a head-down position.

6. My co-worker and I are due about a month apart from each other, and we're having a joint shower over lunch break at work this Thursday! I'm excited - it should be fun! I need to find something to give my co-worker though - she's having a little girl in April. So many girls being born this year - does anyone else feel that way, or is it just me?

7. Pride and Prejudice is a great movie. One of my favorites. While I was working on repairing a baby quilt that The Dog (aka: Harvey) chewed a hole through, my wonderful hubby made me dinner and and sneakily put Pride and Prejudice into our DVD player - because he knows I love it, and that I haven't watched it in forever, and he wanted me to have a nice evening. He's the best!



8. I've received three blog awards over the last several months that I've never passed on. I know, it's pitiful. If I keep slacking on accepting awards like this my sweet blog friends are going to stop passing them on to me.


From Ashlyn at Miss Magnolia. This is a pretty new blog to me, but Ashlyn seems like such a fun person!




From Melanie at Country Roads. I've been following Melanie's blog for several months now, and she is so sweet! Her blog is real and fun - I like that.




From Vicky at The Johnson's. Vicky's blog is semi-new to me, but Vicky seems so sweet and smart and I'm really anjoying getting to know her better through her blog!

All of the above awards require sharing 7-10 random things about yourself, and passing them on to other bloggers. The random things I shared in this post aren't necessarily about me, but please accept them as my "randomness" requirement.

I'm running out of time now, so I'll have to announce the next recipients in another post. Thanks for your patience (in advance, you know), and thank you to all of the sweet ladies who passed these awards on to me! Each one cheered up my day when I received it from you, and I'm flattered that you chose to give them to me.

I'll try to get back on the ball this week and get them redistributed.

9. Since posting my complaint about spammers on Friday, I've received 12-14 new "anonymous" comments, with ridiculous compliments and no link, most of them on that Shutterfly Christmas card post. They're just taunting me now. I'm seriously considering turning off anonymous comments for my blog. Those few people who I know in real life that comment through the "anonymous" commenting feature are the only thing stopping me.


That's all for now, Folks . . .



Go Away Spammers

Does anyone else get these ridiculous anonymous comments on their blog posts?

Sometimes they're unusually complimentary. Sometimes they tell me that I need more evidence to substantiate my argument. But every time I get one they make no sense.

Why? Because they're usually left on a blog post the doesn't warrant such a comment. Like my post about getting 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly.

Does someone really think that my argument was weak and I needed more points and research to make that post better? Because all I was doing was sharing a few Christmas card designs so I wouldn't have to pay 50 bucks for Christmas cards this year.

I just checked my spam comment tab. Here's a good one: "Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing".

Really. All that for a Christmas card post?

Does someone really think that such a post is worthy of such ridiculous flattery? Because, once again, the post mainly consisted of a few pictures of Christmas card designs and some ramblings from me about which one I'd pick.

Not exactly my best work.

And I can't tell you how many times I've gotten this comment on some obscure post that has been hidden in my archives: "Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too."

And these stupid spam comments don't even include a link. What's the even the point if you aren't trying to sell me something or get more traffic for your site?

It's enough to make a girl want to scream.

Leave me alone, Psycho Spammers! Leave me alone!


Productive Days

Yesterday I assembled this:



This:



And this:



Just me and my screw driver! I'm pretty proud of myself.

I do believe I'm nesting. I did all that in addition to sewing the valance for the nursery, finishing most of my thank-you cards, blogging, and making a nice dinner for Derek. Plus, Derek and I got to watch another one of our childbirth lessons - two more to go!

*Happy sigh*

I love productive days.


Nineteen Books

Time for a little New Year's blog house-keeping! It is no longer 2010, so I need to close down the 2010 Book Reviews page (possibly to make room for a 2011 Book Reviews page).

But I don't want to just lose all that work, so I'm posting it here. These are all the books I read in 2010, and my opinions on them.




Stranded in Paradise by Lori Copeland

A cute Christian romance novel. Just a light read, with humorous catastrophes and a little romance thrown in. My only problem with this book was that it was slightly fluffy. The main character became a Christian by the end, but the conversion wasn't very strongly explained, and that bothered me a little bit.


Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd

Didn't really like it too much. The story would have been really cute, but the main character, who was a Christian, was a little hostile toward church at the beginning, had various crushes on guys and didn't bother to determine if they were Christians, and decided one of the guys was a Christian just because he knew about a Bible story and went to church.

Any spirituality was mainly referred to in the vague terms of "being a Christian" and "God", and Bible verses were mentioned, but it didn't really talk about Jesus at all, which kind of bugged me. Much too fluffy. It's too bad, because if Christianity was explained, and the change of attitude was stronger, the book would have been a fun read.

On top of the the end was quite disappointing - I wouldn't recommend it.


The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverly Lewis

I liked this book. Beverly Lewis is known for her fiction books about the Amish, and this one involved the story of a woman named Sarah Cain who is named the legal guardian of her five Amish nieces and nephews after her sister's death. Sarah Cain is a very modern woman and she is abruptly thrust into the world of the Amish. A really good story about her decision on what to do with the children - I don't want to give anything away!

It's a rather laid-back book, but the story wraps up very nicely, and the salvation message is shared effectively, which I always appreciate with Christian fiction.


Bittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake

This book had so many twists and turns - it definitely kept making me pick it up to read more.

One thing that I liked about the book is that Cathy Marie Hake took every opportunity to incorporate good, biblical principles and the salvation message throughout the book, but it was done in a very natural, friendly way.

It's basically a Christian romance story set in California in the 1800s, but the whole thing unfolds in a very unusual way. About halfway through the book I was even wondering if it was going to turn out alright or if this was going to be one of those books that just ends in disaster. I won't say anything more; I will say it was an easy read and definitely kept you guessing until the very end but I didn't really like it overall.

I don't think I would let any younger girls read this (at least until you've screened it first) - some of the subject matter is a little disturbing and more suited for adults. It wasn't explicit, but the situation one of the characters finds herself in toward the end of the book is disturbing. I think it should be evaluated for appropriateness for younger girls on an individual basis. The situation that occurred near the end kind of ruined it for me. Overall, I would have liked it better if it didn't deal with such a heavy subject, and I wouldn't really recommend it.


Over The Misty Mountains by Gilbert Morris and Aaron McCarver

This was a historical fiction book regarding the French and Indian War and the very beginnings of the American expansion Westward. The book started out a little slow, but then it got rather interesting and it ended quite well.

The story follows a "long hunter" (which is like one of the first mountain men), Hawk, through a tragedy and subsequent turning away from the Lord. Then he meets the McNeal family while leading a wagon train west. The wagon train is attacked by indians, and the way the McNeals handle their own personal tragedy makes Hawk question his own decision to turn away from the Lord so many years ago. Interesting, strong message, a little romance thrown in there. It was quite a good book, and I enjoyed it.

Disclaimer - The story includes the journey of a saloon girl out west. The book isn't explicit at all, but you should be aware of that before letting any young girls read it.


Soon; Silenced; and Shadowed (a three-book series) by Jerry Jenkins

The premise of this series is that in the future all religion is outlawed. It follows the story of a man named Paul, who works to capture people who violate the no-religion law. In the process he starts to witness miraculous happenings, and eventually becomes a Christian himself, working on both sides. The whole thing takes place before the Rapture, in case you were wondering how it was supposed to fit in with biblical prophesy.

It was a very interesting series. The premise was interesting, and it kept my attention. It also included the salvation message nicely, which I like.

I would screen this series before letting younger kids read it, just because of some of the disturbing violence against the persecuted Christians, and references to infidelity before Paul becomes a Christian.


Take Two by Karen Kingsbury

I wouldn't recommend it, because I felt some of the situations described in the book were inappropriate. Though this book did open my eyes to how I need to be more careful of my reading material. Please see my post "Watch That Reading Material" for more information.

Knowing God by J. I. Packer

This is one of those "Christian classics". It definitely encouraged my in my walk with the Lord and made me think harder on spiritual things. There are a few things that I wasn't quite sure I agreed with, or I didn't like the way they were stated - I ended up writing notes on many of the pages in these books describing my thoughts on a specific subject. Many of the pages of this book have sentences or paragraphs highlighted, and I gained alot of insight into God's character and my own walk with Christ. I think this is a great "spiritual growth" book, and I'd recommend it for any Christian to read.


Start Your Family: Inspiration For Having Babies by Steve and Candace Watters

This book addressed the way our culture tends to have a negative outlook on the child-raising years, and gives some compelling reasons why starting your family now is an option worth considering. Determining when to have children is a big decision, but so often couples delay that decision because they are afraid. This book tells the other side of the story and helps bring a more balanced view to the decision of when to start your family. I'd highly recommend this book - in fact, I think every newly-married couple should read it.


Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris

I read this book at a point when I felt like I was just floating along in life, with no real purpose to drive me to try harder. If you've ever found yourself in a similar situation, then you would definitely benefit from this book - in fact, even if you can't relate to that feeling, you can benefit from this book. It is more geared toward teenagers, but the points brought up are applicable to people in any stage of life. The premise of the book is a challenge to stop just "floating along" and to start doing "hard things" that push you outside your comfort zone, because when we are looking to do hard things for the Lord, whatever those things may be for us individually, that's when the Lord can really use us for great things. It is challenging and thought-provoking, and by the time you're done reading it you'll be ready to get out there and start doing hard things for the glory of God. I'd highly recommend this book.


The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

This book was fascinating, but I must say that alot of it went over my head. The book is about what may take place were unsaved individuals allowed to have a glimpse of Heaven - though they never encounter the Lord face-to-face, saints are sent from Heaven to a sort of "meeting place" to try to convince these people of their need for the Lord. It's highly speculative, and as I said, alot of it went over my head, but I was able to draw some insight from some of the conversations that take place between these unsaved individuals and the saints who have already gone on to Heaven. I think this may be one of those books you'd have to read several times to really understand it, and I'm not entirely I agree with every aspect of Lewis's speculation, but it was a good read nonetheless. It made me think more about Heaven and spiritual things, which is always a good thing in my mind.


The Postcard by Beverly Lewis

I really enjoyed this book! The first several chapters are very tragic, so be prepared to cry during the beginning. After that the book takes a mystery-type turn, which made this book stand apart to me from Beverly Lewis's other books. The story takes place in Amish country, and involves a reporter named Philip Bradley who discovers an old postcard while staying at an Amish-run Bed and Breakfast. He starts to investigate the story behind the postcard, and his investigation leads him across the path of Rachel Yoder, a young, blind, Amish widow. The story was excellent, and the ending made me want to run out and buy the next book called The Crossroads. I still haven't bought it yet, but it's on my list, and I'm looking forward to reading it soon!


Ulterior Motives by Terri Blackstock

This book is a mystery/suspense novel, and I enjoyed it. The story involves a divorcee named Sharon Robinson whose ex-husband is accused of murder. She believes him to be innocent and does what she can to prove it for the sake of her children, even though it leads to her ex and his new wife staying at her house through the story. I do have one grievance against it though that I've noticed in alot of Blackstock's books. The Christian characters in her books are often willing to go on dates or get involved with unbelievers, even though they go into it knowing that they don't believe the same way. The Bible speaks clearly against being "unequally yoked" and I feel like her books don't address the seriousness of that, even though the person usually becomes a believer before they end up falling in love. If you go into it with a critical eye on that aspect, her books really are hard to put down. It was a good mystery, and I wouldn't have a problem recommending it.


Presumption of Guilt by Terri Blackstock

Another mystery/suspense novel. This book had the same problem that I mentioned in the Ulterior Motives review, with the Christian characters getting too romantically involved with unbelievers, before the unbelieving characters come to believe in Christ further along in the book. The mystery side of it was very intriguing though, and made the book hard to put down. This book involves the efforts of a reporter to expose how the director of a local Children's home is using the children in a crime ring. It's kind of sad to read about these poor kids being controlled and coerced into becoming burglars, but the end of the book was very good. And just to put your mind at ease, the director of the children's home mainly uses manipulation techniques and threats to get the kids to perform these crimes. There is some physical abuse to the kids, which is deplorable; but that's the worst of it. And the story comes together in the end quite nicely. I'm all for happy endings! Overall, I wouldn't have a problem recommending it.


This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

This book is a thriller-type novel about a New-Age conspiracy to take over a small town called Ashton. It follows a young pastor and a newspaperman as they struggle to uncover the conspiracy. What makes it unique is that it also includes the spiritual battle that is going on behind the scenes, and the power that the prayers of Christians can have in the spiritual realm. This book will make you look at the world in a different way, and it's a great motivator to me to improve my prayer life! I think every Christian should read this book - the story is not only gripping, but it's convicting, and it can open your eyes to the spiritual dimension of things we may encounter on any given day. I'd highly recommend it!

I would screen it before letting younger people read it, because it could be disturbing for younger audiences.

Radical by David Platt

Please see my post "Book Review: Radical By David Platt" to read my opinion on the book.

Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti

Another thriller novel regarding a sinister plot to set a court precedent in the United States that would limit teaching kids certain religious beliefs to "protect them". The Christian characters in the story are working against said plot, and (spoiler) eventually the plan crumbles. Once again, this book was very interesting because it was written in the same style as This Present Darkness in that Peretti also wrote about the spiritual warfare aspect of the battle - a great sequel to This Present Darkness, and just as gripping. I'd highly recommend it, but with both This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, I'd say to screen it before you let your kids read it - it could be too frightening or disturbing for younger kids.




Yes, I only read 19 books in 2010. Definitely a slow book year for me. I just had a hard time getting into my books this year, maybe because I've had alot of baby preparations taking up my thoughts and time. Who knows.

And yes, I didn't even read all of the books on my 2010 reading list that I posted last January. Fail, fail, fail. This is why I usually don't make New Year's resolutions.

Though I may make it a goal to at least finish the aforementioned list this year. . . but I'm not committing to anything. . .


An Update To My List

Remember that massive pre-baby "To-do" list I posted back in December? Well, I'm happy to say that I've made significant progress on it! It feels good to get so much of this done.

However, I've also found myself adding to it as I think of more things that I'd like to do. I'm feeling like it's pretty manageable at this point though, if I make sure to work on the list on my days off. Unfortunately that leaves less time for blogging, and blog-reading (if I haven't been commenting lately, this is why). Hopefully I'll finish the rest of this stuff soon, and then I'll have plenty of time to fill up with blogging before our baby comes!

So here's an update to the list. You can skip most of the first part, since I've already finished all that.


Before Christmas:

1. Buy gifts for my dad and brother.

2. Wrap all gifts.

3. Buy presents for Derek.

4. Send out Christmas cards.

5. Make Christmas goodies (six or seven items fall under this).

6. Figure out plans for Derek's birthday, which falls right after Christmas.

7. Get new washer and dryer.

8. Clean out dresser drawers.

9. Move bedroom furniture into basement.

10. Do something with old couch.

11. Move desk into basement.

12. Clean up all the junk in our spare bedroom and office (which used to be our bedroom.
A. Get Storage boxes.
B. Sort through crazy amounts of clutter.
C. Get rid of the junk.
D. Find places for the things we're keeping.
E. Clean bedrooms (vacuum, dust, etc.)
F. Move furniture/start setting up the rooms.



Before January 8th (Baby shower is that weekend):

13. Refinish and stain baby dresser.

14. Clean remnants of construction stuff out of baby's room.

15. Paint the baby's room. (I did decide to paint the baby's room.)

16. Fill out hospital paperwork and send it in.

17. Schedule "Birthday Wishes" consult with hospital.

Before February 10th (I'll officially be full-term then, and the baby could theoretically come at any time):

18. Clean out spare room closet.

19. Move storage/organization boxes into closet.

20. Tear down old shelves in new bedroom closet. Still working on it. We decided just to clean all the shelves off and keep them for now. It's not the best arrangement for shelves, but we won't get a chance to re-do it completely for a while, so we'll just use the shelves that are there right now for Derek's clothes. My clothes won't be moved in there until we get a more efficient shelving system.

21. Finish the baby's quilt.

22. Make curtains for the nursery. On the list for this week.

23. Set up the crib.

24. Take inventory and buy the rest of the stuff we need for the baby. Working on it.

25. Take maternity pictures.

26. Organize and set up the nursery. Working on it.

27. Finish knitting the baby blanket I started for the little man. Working on it. I decided I definitely want to try to get this done before he's born, just in case we decide to use the blanket for pictures.

Stuff that was not on the original list, but that I'd like to accomplish before February 10th:

28. Clean out my junk drawer.

29. Clean out and organize my kitchen cabinets.

30. Clean out the bathroom cabinets.

31. Dust some of the hard-to-reach places in the house.

32. Buy artificial flower dusting spray, and dust my artificial plants.

33. Clean out our car (I do not want to bring him home in a messy car).

34. Take our car seat to the police station to make sure it's properly installed.

35. Finish watching our childbirth video (we decided to do our own at-home class instead of one at the hospital). Three lessons left.

36. Clean out our freezer.

37. Write thank-you notes from my shower.

38. Paint changing table.

39. Find a pediatrician.

40. Organize/clean out laundry room.

41. Make crib skirt.

42. Plan Valentine's getaway! This is a fun one!


And that would be the updated list. Today I'd like to start working on finding a pediatrician, organizing the nursery (still haven't finished that), and possibly writing thank-you notes and working on the window valance for the nursery. In between cleaning my house, because I have a friend coming over this afternoon.

I'm sure I won't be able to resist a celebration post when the To-Do list is finally completed, so stay tuned . . .


Shopping In Pajama Pants

Have you ever seen someone grocery shopping in their pajamas?

Alas, another thing I don't understand. I can understand it in theory - after all, it would be nice and comfortable to be able to shop in your pajamas. But aesthetically? I just can't picture letting myself be seen in public in my old pajama pants.

And I wonder if the girls I see shopping in pajamas just realized they needed something and ran to the grocery store real fast without changing? Or do they just want to be comfortable and really don't care how they look? Or do they intentionally put on their pajama pants to go grocery shopping - like some sort of shopping uniform?

Oh, so many questions that will never be answered. Unless some of you are Pajama-Grocery-Shoppers and can explain your reasoning to me.

These burning questions of mine made a commercial I saw recently really amusing to me.

Have any of you heard of Pajama Jeans?

Apparently someone else out there wouldn't want to be seen in pajamas in public either, because they invented Pajama Jeans - they feel like pajama pants and look like jeans!



It's the best of both worlds - Pajama-Shoppers can still feel comfortable while shopping, but they can also look like they got dressed that morning while doing it.

I love their promo line: "Just because you're busy doesn't mean you can't look sharp! Put your best self out there and wear your PajamaJeans®!"

It's actually a pretty brilliant idea. I might even consider becoming a Pajama-Pants-Grocery-Shopper with something like that.

Pajama Jean Inventor - I take off my hat to you.


The Older I Get

I feel as though the older I get, the more I appreciate the Psalms. When I was young they just seemed like alot of poetical words put together, but not alot of them seemed to apply to my own life. But as the years go by, I find can relate more to David's struggles and problems, and the Psalms become ever more meaningful to me.

Now, whenever I'm facing a tough situation or trouble of any sort, I find myself flipping open my Bible to Psalms and just scanning. It usually doesn't take long to find something relevant and comforting. One of my favorites for times of trouble is Psalm 37. I thought I'd share a few verses from that Psalm today (Note: I picked these verses randomly from the entire Psalm, there are more verses in between the ones I'm sharing here).

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;

The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.

I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.

Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.

The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.


So many good verses in Psalm 37! What a comfort to know that even when everything is against us, if we are doing what is right, the Lord is on our side! I hope you are comforted by the Word of God today.


Birthday Shoes

I'm a clearance section shopper.

The clearance section is the first place I check when I go shopping for something. Sure, sometimes you have to pay full-price to get an item that you're looking for, but if I can get something that will work for 50% off (or more)? Yes, please.

I was at Target this week and realized I needed to find a birthday present for someone. So I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and buy a birthday present for someone else at the same time, so I don't have to try to find a gift again in a few months.

I don't think either of these lovely ladies read my blog regularly, so I'm going to take the chance and assume they aren't reading right now. Here are my finds. I decided to check out the shoe section, because I got both their shoe sizes and they had some really cute ones on sale - and what girl doesn't like shoes, I ask you? I'm hoping they fit, but I think they will.

These grey ankle boots. And that ruffle - fabulous, no?



Rosette ballet flats. I tried these one to test for cuteness and comfort, and they passed both tests - the elastic sides weren't uncomfortable at all, which is what I was mainly concerned about. And they look adorable on too!



This bronze metallic wedge. It also has a slight pointed toe, so if you're not a full-fledged pointy-shoe-wearer, this is a great starting point. I actually got a pair of these for myself too . . .




The great thing about birthday shopping from the clearance rack (especially if you're shopping for someone who you are close to, who won't mind getting a clearance item), is that you can get better gifts that you normally wouldn't buy for budget reasons.

Now I have to hurry and post something else, so in the off-chance the birthday girls are reading this week they won't see their birthday presents . . .

Maternity Session Preview!

I was so excited to see an e-mail in my inbox this morning to tell me that our maternity picture preview is up! Here are a couple of the pictures for a sneak peek. Our photographer friends, Scott and Danae, did our maternity session for us, and they did an amazing job! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures!











If you'd like more information on how to contact Danae and Scott, please send me an e-mail at throughcloudedglass@gmail.com, and I'd be more than happy to give you all their information. They were very professional and efficient, and I'm very pleased with our pictures! Thank you, Danae!

When the rest of our images are finished I'll be sure to post more, so stay tuned . . .

Our Baby Shower

My baby shower went really well! My sister and sister-in-law and my two cousins threw the shower for me, and they did a great job. Lots of cute blue and green decorations too!

We've had two real snow storms this year so far (very mild winter for us), and of course one of them had to be on the day of our shower, so there were several friends and family that couldn't make it. We still had a good turnout though, and I was so thankful that the family and friends who were there were able to make it! So if any of you are reading this, thank you - it meant alot that you made the trek through the snow to be there.

Here's a couple pictures of me at the shower - did I not tell you how the belly looked alot bigger on Sunday? It's weird how much his position can affect the shape of my belly. So yes, Sunday was a large day.





We played the string game - where all the guests made a guess as to how big around I am with string. It was funny to see all the guesses! We measured me with a string that was my actual size to see who won.





The winner!



And we couldn't not do the classic melted-candy-bar-in-a-diaper game. Mmm, lovely! I'm told when candy bars are melted into a diaper the resulting mixture is actually very realistic looking . . .



And my niece Ashley and my friend Ashley won by guessing the correct candy bars for the correct diapers!





And my favorite - unscrambling a list of baby words in 3 minutes.



It was my favorite because I won! I think it's because I had all those baby words floating through my head anyway because of all the baby preparations. I got 16 out of 20 and I won on of the awards - a Dairy Queen gift card!



And of course lots of presents - the majority of my "to-buy" list is now able to be checked off! We got our crib, stroller and car seat combo, a baby swing (swings in two directions), our audio/video baby monitor (a really nice one - it looks like a cell phone), a diaper pail and liners, a bouncer chair, a changing pad for our changing table, and lots of clothes, books/toys, bath stuff, medical stuff, and other miscellaneous baby items!

I also thought it was pretty cute, because my sister got Babykins a onesie that says "My aunt is the best!", and Derek's sister got him a onesie that says "My aunt rocks!" It made me laugh!





My aunt also made me this nursing cover - I think it's really pretty!



And my grandma made us a diaper cake! It was so cute, I was sad to take it apart to bring it home - it's going to be hard to disassemble it in order to use the diapers!





My sister-in-law brought the cake, and it was so cute - it had a little blue carriage on it and the words "Welcome Baby {Last Name}".



Overall, we had a wonderful time, and everything went really well! I'm so grateful for my wonderful family and friends who made the baby shower special!

Now I'm looking forward to sorting through all our gifts and organizing them in our nursery! I'll keep you posted on the progress.





P.S. Thanks to my friend, Ashley, for taking pictures for me too! This post would be pathetically lacking in pictures if it wasn't for you!
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