Soulmates And Bargain Books

The bargain book section is irresistible to me. I love searching through the rows and rows of books at my local Christian bookstore and seeing if I can pick up anything good for under five bucks. Sometimes you end up getting what you pay for, but occasionally you find a gem hiding between the Christian chick-lit and the reference books.

The latest gem I've found is a book called "When Two Become Three: Nurturing Your Marriage After Baby Arrives" by Mark E. Crawford.



A new baby can sometimes be a challenge to a marriage, just because it's a change. It's completely normal for a baby to change your relationship - but you have to learn to work through the change together. I'm definitely up for improving our marriage relationship, so I snagged this book to see what it had to offer.

So far it's really good - I think it's completely relevant for any married couple, whether you have a new baby or not. And how much did I pay for it? All of three bucks.

Like I said, I love the bargain book section.

I read something in it yesterday that got me thinking:


" . . . A soulmate is created rather than discovered. In other words, if you and your spouse make a commitment to spend years together building a family, creating a mission statement, changing and evolving as people, celebrating life's best moments and sufering through life's worst moment's together, then after many years, you may find that the person you've traveled that journey with is, in fact, your soulmate. "


I had never thought about it that way before, but as I think about that quote now, it makes perfect sense. I think it's probably the best way to look at the marriage relationship.

If you expect that a soulmate is someone that you find, when you go through rough times in your relationship, you may start to think that you made a mistake, and that you didn't marry your "soulmate" after all.

But if you expect that as you travel through the hard times with your spouse, working through the issues in your relationship, going through all of life's changes, building your life together, that you will gradually grow to become soulmates . . . it makes every hard time and every conflict a challenge to overcome together, instead of a trial that can tear you apart.

All of a sudden, the status of being with your "soulmate" isn't something you may or may not find, but something you work toward together, something you achieve when you stick it out through every difficulty, something you can aspire to and reach someday with alot of prayer and effort and God's grace.

There is something precious and beautiful about that.

What do you think? Have you ever thought about the concept of "soulmates" in this way before?


Poor Cripple Girl No More!

Today I'm going to my orthopedic surgeon for my follow-up appointment . . . and after that I should be able to walk again!

I love what my sister said right after this whole thing happened. I made a comment about being a poor cripple girl, and she looked at me and smiled and said, "Jesus heals the lame."

I had to grin at that - the thought of Jesus healing the lame definitely brightened up my day. We both chuckled as I said that I know He does, though He would probably choose to do it over the course of six weeks in my case.

And He did! I've been healing up quite nicely, and my knee doesn't even hurt anymore when I test it with a little weight (I know, I'm not supposed to be doing that). I am so grateful to the Lord for letting my healing time go so well, and for letting this happen at a good time for our family.

After all, I wasn't holding Wyatt when it happened; I don't have to take any extra time off of work; alot of our bills are going to be covered through our insurance since this happened in the same year as my labor and delivery; and this happened before Wyatt started crawling, which would have made the six weeks much more complicated.

The Lord was certainly watching out for us.

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Still, I'm glad this chapter in my life is coming to a close. I am so excited to walk again, I can't even tell you.

Freedom is so close I can smell it.

Granted, I may have to use a cane for a little while until I get the strength back up in my right leg. It's really weird to compare my legs right now. My left leg is nice and muscular, and my right leg looks skinny and flabby. It really is true that if you don't use your muscles, you lose them.

I am so discouraged about my body right now. Besides the whole skinny-right-leg issue, I've gained a bit of flab in my stomach area from sitting on the couch constantly and not really being able to work out for the past six weeks.

Prior to my knee injury and surgery, I was working out pretty regularly. My goal was to get back in shape in time for summer so that I'd look good in my swimsuit.

So much for that.

And, of course, we happen to be going to a wedding at a hot springs next week, and I'll have to be seen in my swimsuit for the first time of the summer.

I'm going to look flabby and icky.

*sigh*

Maybe this is the Lord's way of telling me to be less vain.

Still, anyone have any advice about how to get in shape quickly? Maybe I'll just not eat the day of the wedding?

I know, I know. Lesson not learned.

I am vain, and I know it.

Seriously though, I'll take that advice now.




Expert Baby Talker

You know, I used to feel somewhat awkward talking to babies.

Way back when, I used to (1) smile at my friend's babies, (2) say "Hi" in that high-pitched, baby voice, (3) grin again, and . . . that's pretty much it.

I mean, I could have gone all out and had a nice little conversation in baby talk, but that would look silly. Those babies don't know me, and if I'm not sure my silliness is going to be rewarded with some reaction beyond crying, I'd much rather just stick to a smile and "Hi". It's safer.

Oh, but then I became a mom.

And there's no amount of silliness I wouldn't subject myself to in order to get a reaction from this boy. From kissing all ten toes and attempting to count them while they're between my lips, to "eating" his tummy, to repetitive kisses all over his face, to silly voices - yes, I've done it all.

I can baby-talk with the best of them.



It just comes naturally once you have your own baby.

So for all of you awkward baby-talkers out there, there is hope. Trust me, one day when you're a mom, you'll find yourself contorting your face in ways you never knew you could and munching on your baby's toes, and you'll remember "Callie told me this would happen . . . "

And trust me again when I say, all the energy and ridiculousness is worth it. Because for all the rounds of peek-a-boo, for all the silly voices, for all the kisses, you'll get rewarded with one of these:



And then you'll find yourself dong it all over again, even though you're tired, because you just won't be able to get enough of that.


Today . . .

This is what we're doing today . . .



As a sidenote, don't you think dinosaurs are just the cutest thing for little boys? I melt.

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Wishing you all a peaceful Tuesday.




Beachy Thoughts

Around this time last year, I was here:



Isn't it beautiful?

*sigh*

I have serious post-cruise blues right now. And I'm afraid the only thing that's going to cure it is a beach.

But alas, there is no way to get to one at the moment.

Since I can't get to a beach, maybe I'll just think beachy thoughts.

If I could go to the beach, this is what I'd bring. . .

I'd grab one of these hats . . .



Some of this sunscreen . . .



The current book I'm reading . . .



Some "PrettyEedgy" nail polish to match my swimsuit:



Or maybe this "Brazilliant" color:



Throw it all in this beach bag:



Grab my two favorite guys . . .



And off we would go!



*sigh* (again)

I guess a Mocha Coconut frappaccino and my Coconut Lime Verbana body spray will have to suffice for now.





Moms And Babies - Anna






This week I'm featuring Anna from Hope Road! Anna is a wonderful woman of God, and her blog is always a great encouragement to me in my own walk with the Lord. I really appreciated the insights into motherhood that came through in her answers, and I know you will too!


Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and love it... most of the time. :) I've been married to AJ for two years, and we're expecting our second baby in September. I grew up in the Midwest but now live in Florida.


What's your baby's name and how old is he?

His name is Christian Andrew and he's almost 15 months old.

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Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

We have a little family time before AJ leaves for work - I feed Christian while AJ eats. Afterwards, Christian plays while I eat my breakfast and wash dishes. Then we both get dressed, brush our teeth, and tidy up the house. Afterward, I usually read or sing with Christian until he goes down for his first nap - which I'm still hanging on to! - and then I have some time by myself to read, exercise, or veg. ;) Then comes lunch and more playtime... then another nap... then fixing supper, and family time when AJ comes home! Of course, we also run errands, take walks, play outside, etc. I like to get out of the house at least once every day if I can.


If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Sweet, curious, and determined!


What's your favorite part about being a mom?

I think it's twofold. I love being the person who my son relies on the most for comfort and security. And I love watching him learn, grow, and explore, even though it means he will always need me less and less.

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

Exercise while you're pregnant. :) Breastfeed if you can. Stock up on healthy snacks, especially in the beginning when your body is establishing a milk supply. Walk a lot as soon as you can after giving birth... I lost most of my baby weight just by walking and 10-minute pilates videos.

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

We make time for each other. You have to be more intentional about it once you have a child. Christian usually goes to bed by 8:00, so we have free time in the evenings, and Friday is our "date night" - even though we don't go anywhere, we focus on each other and do something fun, like watch a movie. Depending on the couple, I think it can take awhile to reorient yourself into your new life as a family of three, so just being patient is part of the process - A.J. had to remind me of that often when Christian was a newborn, had no routine, and I felt like we never had any quality time anymore. :)

Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

A Moby Wrap! They're a little pricey, so I didn't buy one - a friend gave hers to me when Christian was 6 months old. He was a chunky baby so we didn't use it for long, but we both loved it and I can't wait to use it with my newborn this time around.



What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

An especially memorable outing was our first anniversary. Christian was only two months old and exclusively breastfeeding - I didn't have a pump at that time - so we couldn't leave him anywhere. We didn't really plan anything, but decided to go to an oceanfront park we found online. We got there and it was not at all what we expected, so we left and ended up finding a historical museum that was really interesting and fun (I love history). Christian was kind of a fussy baby, but he was so good and sweet the entire afternoon, and I was really glad he was with us.

Any advice for first-time mothers?

Be patient and know that your baby will get into a routine and life will seem more normal. Also, it really helps to keep taking care of yourself - getting dressed every day, maybe putting on a little makeup if you want, and getting outside. It helps you feel less like a zombie after all those sleepless nights.

Definitely look to the Lord for help and strength. Becoming a mother is a complete turnaround from the independent, self-sufficient life we knew before, but God gives grace and patience and strength when we are most in need!



Thank you, Anna!

Be sure to check out Anna's blog, Hope Road, and say hello!

The Prodigal Has Returned

So yes, remember the week of my surgery? Something else happened that week that I never got a chance to blog about. We lost our dog Quincy on that Wednesday.

Honestly, we weren't too worried. We knew we'd get her back.

That may seem like a callous reaction at first glance, but oh, you do not know this dog.

She's a runner.

I can't remember how many times she's ran away from us since we got her, but it's a big number. The first time we were worried and I cried, and we thought we'd never see her again. Then we got her back.

Then she ran away again, and we got her back again.

And again.

And again.

Everytime she runs away, we get her back somehow. So it's kind of gotten to the point where we don't even think twice when she runs away. Usually this is what happens.

I call Derek: "Guess what?"

"What?" he says.

"Quincy ran away again," I say with a twinge of frustration.

Sigh from Derek's end of the phone. "When did that happen?"

"This morning. I drove around for a few minutes, but I couldn't find her."

"Oh well, she'll come back. She always does."

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, back to the story.

So she ran away the week of my surgery. Obviously alot was going on that week, so it took us a couple days to track her down. Derek finally found a small little ad placed on an online forum that said a small dog had been found on our street.

We knew it was her, but the people didn't leave a phone number! I mean, if you advertised a found dog, wouldn't you leave some way for the people to contact you?

Derek jumped through a few hoops, got a hold of the administrator for the forum, and got the number.

We called. The people wanted to keep her, which wasn't surprising. She's a cute dog. No wonder they didn't leave a number.

Oh, but that's not all. We found out that our little dog was no longer at the house just down the street.

No, our dog was in Missouri.

Apparently the people who found her had a trip scheduled and took her along. And they wouldn't be back for three weeks.

We waited the three weeks and wondered if they would ever come back.

Turns out they were delayed. We finally got her back last week. Four weeks after we had lost her.

She had been all over the country. And (surprise, surprise) we found out she had run away from the people who had found her too - twice. At least we know it's not just us.

It was kind of different having her back at first - we had lived with two dogs for a month, so when she came back it felt like we had gotten a brand-new dog again.

The prodigal dog has returned!



I'm afraid we didn't exactly kill the fatted calf. Instead we gave her a chewy and promplty beefed up our invisible fence.

Yep. That ought to hold her this time.

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As a note - we really are glad to have her back. She's the happiest little dog I know, and it just wasn't quite the same with her gone.

And I was just thinking - isn't it great that no matter how many times we may stray from following our Master, the Lord Jesus, He always runs to us with open arms when we return? And He really does kill the fatted calf to celebrate. What a loving God we serve.




Oh, The Weather. . .

. . .Outside is frightful!

Well, not anymore, but last week it was. Yes, I know - it's the middle of May. We should be past snow season in any sane world . . . but not here.

Last week we got a good snowstorm, and the three of us were home for the afternoon.

So Derek and I did what any new parents would do in such a situation - we decided to build our boy's first snowman!

We got all bundled up in our snow clothes . . .



Wyatt and I took a little siesta (turns out "Frosty The Snowman is a great lullaby) . . .



While Derek did all the work.

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And of course we had to take picture of Wyatt with his very first snowman!





Wyatt wasn't too happy about the pictures. He was perfectly fine when we were sleeping and he was all snug and warm, but the snowflakes on his face made him a little cranky.

We had alot of fun overall though, and it was a fun family memory to build our very first snowman together!



Bullet-Points

-I've got a bunch of random, disjointed thoughts running through my mind today, and I can't come up with a coherent post for the life of me. So my bullet-point ramblings will have to do for today.

-Blogger still hasn't restored my Moms and Babies post from last Thursday. I'm starting to wonder if it will ever come back. I'm officially disturbed. What if Blogger loses some of my more cherished posts forever next time? I don't even want to think about it. Is anyone else still waiting for their lost posts to reappear?

-On Saturday I went to a tea party hosted by my friend, Ashley! She did a beautiful job of it too - red and white china, white roses, little sandwhiches, quishes, vegetables, punch, chocolate oranges, tarts, Russian tea cookies, sugar cubes with little roses on them - and of course, tea! She really knows how to set a table. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera, but I'm hoping she'll have a post up soon with pictures, so be sure to hop over and check her blog out.

-I am in desperate need of new jeans. None of my jeans fit properly anymore. Boy, Kara wasn't kidding when she stated that things move during pregnancy! My grandma used to comment about how things get "rearranged" after you have a baby. Oh, and it's true. My skinniest skinny jeans are too baggy now( they make me feel frumpy), but my stomach is twice as thick.

-My blog e-mail gets tons of posts from scammers. I mean, how many deposed foreign royalty needing my help and million pound (as in British pounds) contests can there be? Seriously, people, how dumb do you think I am?

-Chloe had her baby! So did Mrs. Gibby! I've been stalking their blogs and Twitter for details all weekend. I saw pictures, and they're pretty cute! Congratulations to their lovely mams!

-Wyatt has these little red spots on his face. They first appeared on Saturday, and I thought they were baby acne, but then they got worse and spread on Sunday. Has anyone else's baby had anything like that? I think I need to take him to the doctor. I hope he's not developing some sort of allergy.

-Oh yes, and I had that ultrasound to check on my blood clot. It's still there. I was very disappointed, because I was really hoping it would be gone. Now my doctor is consulting with a hematologist to see what we should do next. My guess is that I'll be on high-powered blood thinners for the next few months, but we'll see. I should still be able to feed Wyatt, but I kind of worry about him getting medication from me that he doesn't need.

-We could use some prayers for the two afore-mentioned medical issues.

-On a happy note, Derek's dad might give us his old mattress! The mattress that we have now is so uncomfortable, it's not even funny. It's old. The mattress we might get is a pillow top. I can't wait to try it out! Sound-sleep-with-no-backaches-in-the-morning, here I come.

-Have any of you heard of Charming Charlie? It's a color-coded accessory store. I had never heard of it before, but my sister-in-law gave me a gift card for Christmas. I haven't been able to use it yet, because all the Charming Charlie stores were too far away from me. But, there is one coming to a shopping mall near me now! I'm thinking my accessory collection could use a serious boost, and the last time I checked it out they had a ton of fun pieces for very reasonable prices.

-And that's it. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I'm not sure what pictures to include, and I just don't have it in me to go on an online picture-search today . . .



Quarter Of A Year!


My baby boy is three months old! I can't believe he's so old already. Where does the time go? It feels like I just wrote his two month post.





We had a few firsts this month. . .

Because of my whole knee injury fiasco, Wyatt spent his first night away from home at Grandmama and Grandpa's house.



We celebrated Wyatt's first Easter.





We celebrated our first Mother's Day.



Wyatt got his first piece of mail (besides his social security card) - an invitation to his cousin's birthday party!



Wyatt wore his first 3-6 month, summer outfit.



Wyatt slept through the night for the first time.



I'm especially excited about that last one! Wyatt started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, and it's so nice. He still has off nights, but most nights he'll go anywhere from 8-10 hours between feedings. He's always been a good eater and sleeper, but Derek and I started making sure he didn't take a nap too late in the evening (don't know why we didn't do that before), and I think that helped him start sleeping through the night.

And finally, I was going to write about how Wyatt is so close to laughing. In the past month sometimes I'd be playing with him, and he'd just get this big grin on his face and make these little grunting sounds - I did't think they quite qualified as a laugh yet, but he was trying so hard.

But then, yesterday afternoon (after I had already started this post), as I was feeding Wyatt he got distracted and stopped all of a sudden. I looked down at him and smiled at him, trying to coax a return smile (because I just can't get enough of them). He gave me the biggest smile - bigger and brighter than I've ever seen him smile before.

And then all of a sudden he made this "Aha, ha" sound! That was it, and he didn't do it again, but my heart just leapt into my throat, because it was his first real laugh! It was amazing. The best moment this month.

So "first laugh on May 10th" gets added to the list of firsts!

He started eating way more this month - all of a sudden one day he was eating about 30% more! He must be growing.



I'm not exactly sure how much he weighs yet, but we have an appointment for shots today (poor boy), so we'll probably know after that, and I'll update this post.

Update: Wyatt weighs 12 pounds 12 ounces now! Almost double his birth weight!

He's also smiling way more! It's so adorable. And my boy has dimples!



See? Dimples. I have no idea where he got them. Neither Derek nor I have dimples. But I love them - they're the cutest thing ever! I try to catch his smile with the camera, but he tends to stop as soon as I pull the camera out . . . I have to be sneaky.





He and Derek also have "conversations", like in the video I posted. I'm loving all the baby babbles! Our boy is a talker.

His neck strength has improved even more. No new signs of crawling, but he loves to exercise his legs on his play mat.

His eyes are starting to change - they aren't a clear blue anymore. The color is more "dull" near his pupils. We can't really tell what color they're going to be yet - it could go hazel-greenish-bluish (like mine) or brown (like Derek's). I can't wait to see what color they're going to be.



He hasn't lost his hair, and I'm glad - I love his baby hair. It's so fuzzy and cute! I love my little blonde baby.

I've used the word "love" alot in this post . . . but I can't help it. I love everything about my munchkin! Even his grumpy faces are cute.





See what I mean?


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Dear Wyatt-Boy,

You are growing so fast! I can't believe you're already a quarter of a year old. You are such a sweet, happy baby - we are always getting comments on how good you are, and we can take you anywhere without worrying about you crying.

You are such a blessing to your dad and me, and it's getting hard to remember what life was like without you. We wouldn't go back to those days - you add so much joy to our lives.

We pray every night that you'll grow into a strong, godly man, and that you'll come to know Jesus and serve Him with all your heart - that is our greatest wish for you.

We love you, Snuggle Bug! More than we can say.

Love,

Your Mama






Baby Gifts From Blog Friends

Can I just say that bloggy friends are the best? I've met so many wonderful girls through blogging, and several of them were sweet enough to send me little gifts for Wyatt!

I got these from Melanie:



Pee Pee Teepees. To prevent little boy "accidents" during diaper changes (*ahem*). And they work very well, actually! The only times we had a mishap were when we weren't using them. . .

Amanda made me these matching burp cloths and bibs! They are so cute. The bibs are in two sizes too - some little mini ones, and some nice big ones for when we start solids.



Anne made me these cute burp cloths! They have terry cloth on one side, so they're nice and absorbent.




And Emily made me this customized sign with Wyatt's name on it! It matches his nursery perfectly.





Thank you ladies! It meant alot to me that you thought to send us gifts, and I love them and use them all. I'm lucky to have such sweet blogging friends!


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