Smoothing Out The Rough Spots

In case you missed my giveaway last week, one of the entries was to "answer a question", in which I asked what you all would like to read more of on my blog.  And "more marriage posts" came out as one of the winning answers (ie. multiple people mentioned it).  

Honestly, I've been thinking about writing a post about marriage for a while, but my plans never quite come to fruition on it.  And the request for a post on the topic of marriage made me think about why I haven't written more posts on the subject, and I realized it's because this is one of those areas of my life where I have no illusions of thinking I know what I'm doing.  

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I always find it a bit funny when someone who has been married all of a year (or less) talks about how they never even had that "first fight" with their husband, and then they proceed to give advice on marriage.  I personally don't think you're really qualified to give marriage advice unless you've successfully made it through one "big" argument.  Since Derek and I have (actually several big-ish arguments, to be honest), I figured I should get over my insecurities on the subject and just say what's on my mind.

Marrying Derek was the best decisions I've made in my life, behind accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  Being married has been one of the most stretching and humbling experiences in my life so far, even more than motherhood.  It's been stretching because when you are married you realize the need to put someone else's thoughts, feelings, and needs above your own; it's been humbling because through the last four years of being married I've realized how terribly bad I am at doing that.  

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C.S. Lewis once wrote that you don't realize how bad you really are until you really try to be good. I think that's absolutely true.  Just when I think I'm making progress something happens to show me that I'm really just as selfish as I was at the start.  

I've always followed the "rules" and done what was right, and was generally considered to be a "good girl".  But marriage has made my selfishness, my pride, my sinful nature glaringly apparent to me, and it's a reminder of how much I need a Savior too.  Just as much as the most obvious offender I can think of.

In Proverbs it says that "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17).  That's especially true of marriage.  Learning to live with your husband, accepting all the ways you are different, learning to think in terms of your marriage "team" instead of just yourself, and seeing more clearly all of your faults - all of that has a sharpening effect.  I can't tell you how many times I've gotten upset at Derek for something he did or said, and then shortly after (even the same day), I found myself doing or saying the same thing to him.  

And each time one more little rough area is filed down, just a bit sharper than it was before. 

Will I ever be done being sharpened?  Probably not.  Will I ever feel like I've arrived to that "good wife" status?  I'm not sure.  But I do feel sure that God is using my marriage as one of His tools in the process of making me more like Christ, and without being married to Derek I couldn't be refined in quite the same way.

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That's the beauty of marriage.  You may clash with each other periodically, but each time God can use it to knock off another rough spot, until in the end you can represent and serve Him better having been together than you could have apart.  

It's another way to bring glory to God, despite even the rough patches and imperfections.  And I think that's the whole purpose of being married in the first place.  


34 Weeks With Baby Girl

Thirty-four weeks and counting down!

(Actually 35 weeks almost now, but close enough.) 

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I read that babies born between 34-37 weeks usually do as well as full-term babies, which is very comforting - if she were to come early now, she'd probably be just fine!  She's mostly just growing and maturing more in these last few weeks - central nervous system and lungs are maturing, laying down more fat, getting ready to be born!

The last couple of weeks have been pretty non-eventful.  I've had some heartburn and rib pain, and more Braxton-Hicks contractions. I had a couple days where my fingers felt a little puffy, but I'm calling it a fluke until the doctor tells me otherwise. 

Little Lady still sticks her feet straight out the side of my belly, and I love it!  She is also officially big enough to make the shape of my belly look funny - sometimes she'll push off to one side and I can feel her little back pressing against my hand (love, love, love it). 

She also keeps shifting up and down - sometimes my hips just start to kill me because she's sitting so low, and other times I feel her up in my ribs.  This is different with Wyatt, because he was pretty low the whole time - I don't remember much rib discomfort with him.

I suspect that she's head-down now, just because of the movements, but I have a doctor appointment on Friday and I'm going to ask my doctor then if she can tell what position she's in.  I'm also curious to see how I'm measuring, because I was measuring a couple centimeters small the last couple of visits, but I feel like the belly grew by a couple of inches in the last week or so!

We've been working on a lot of things on my list, and I'm feeling really good about the progress we're making!  On the list for this week is watching our birthing class video, installing the carseat, and getting my hospital bag packed.  I most likely have a good month left, but with Wyatt I had my bag packed by 35 weeks, and it was a good thing because I had that overnight hospital stay at 36 weeks.  It was good to have my bag all ready to go, and I'll feel better once it's done.

I've also been working on a few nursery decorations, and I got most of the remaining items I need bought - newborn diapers, nursing stuff, etc.  

The last week or so I've started to feel just so anxious to meet her.  There have been moments when I'm sitting there, feeling her push her little feet out the side of my stomach, and I just can't wait to see her little feet.  I wonder what she will look like.  Will she get my blond-baby hair like Wyatt, or will she get darker hair like Derek?  Will she look like Wyatt?  I can imagine the little snuggles that we have in store, and I almost ache because I just can't wait to meet her!

I was asleep the other night, and Derek had his hand in my belly while I was sleeping and he told me later that she was moving around like crazy - it was fun for him to get that time to feel her move so much, and I think it made him anxious to meet her too!  We are just full of anticipation around here, and it's exciting!

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Deck The Halls! 2012

Black Friday Derek and I woke up super-early and got to Sears by 4:00 AM.  It was surprisingly quiet - I'm thinking more people are doing the midnight-openings these days instead of early morning?  

Anyway, we got a great deal on a new vacuum (yay!), then we went and picked up a few toys for Wyatt, went to Target and shopped for each other, went to the Christian bookstore and bought Wyatt another Praise Baby DVD for Christmas (he loves those movies, it's so cute),  stopped at Walmart for miscellaneous items, Dollar Store for presents for the dogs, and by 8:00 we were officially done with all our Christmas shopping!  

We still need a few stocking stuffers for each other, but we usually pick a store and a dollar limit and sneak around picking a few things out for each other while trying to keep from running into each other . . . so we'll still do that later.

We picked up Wyatt from my parents, went home, and started deep cleaning the house!  It ended up being a two-day project, but we got most of it done on Friday, and then we set up the Christmas decorations!

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I was really curious to see how Wyatt would react to the tree this year, since last year he was still pretty little - he was fascinated by the lights!

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He was even more fascinated by the ornaments!

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Once we started putting the ornaments on the tree Wyatt figured out what we were supposed to do with them, and he wanted to put them on the tree too!  It was so cute watching him grab the little hooks, look at the tree, and then stuff the ornaments into the branches!

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It was pretty late at this point, and Wyatt kept rubbing his eyes, so we put him to bed and then finished up the tree.
 
Me putting the skirt under the tree (not easy with a big, pregnant belly)!
 
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Derek putting the star on the tree!
 
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The finished product!
 
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We finished off the day by turning off all the lights except the tree and breaking out a bottle of sparkling cider. I bought three, one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas Eve (as is our tradition), and one for New Year's.  It's always a nice quiet time, snuggling on the couch and talking while we drink our sparkling cider, and it was the perfect way to end the day!

Our Thanksgiving 2012

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend!  Ours was lovely, and we got so much done.  Here are a few pictures from our Thanksgiving at my parents house this year!

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Wyatt's first time really eating Thanksgiving dinner (poor kid just had pumpkin and turkey puree last year).

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My sister found out the gender of her baby right before Thanksgiving, so she and her husband did the gender reveal after we ate dinner!  

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They wrapped a "present" with the answer inside, and then they found a left/right story - every time the words left or right were mentioned in the story we had to pass the package left or right, and whoever ended up with the package at the end of the story got to open it. I thought it was a cute idea, and a fun way to keep us all in suspense before the big reveal!

Guess who ended up with the present?

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So Derek got to open it!  However, my dear sister has not made the big announcement on Facebook yet, so I didn't think I should post it here until she did.  I'll add the pictures a little later, once she makes the news public!  So check back if you're really curious.

After dinner and the big reveal, we took a few family pictures, including some Christmas card pictures for us!  Here are a couple of the outtakes. . . 

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I'm not going to post the one we actually used for our Christmas card until I actually get them sent out.  Maybe later!

Our big family picture!

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My lovely parents.

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Then we went back inside for a bit and visited.

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Wyatt with his Aunt Olivia.

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Wyatt and Uncle Josh.

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Derek and Wyatt!

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Me and Wyatt!  Had to get lots of pictures with Wyatt!

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We watched a movie together first, then had dessert!  Wyatt got some too, and he liked it, alot.

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Me and the hubby! 

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 If it looks like the belly grew a ton since my last update, that's because it did.  At least I think so.  It feels like a gained two inches in the last week!

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We watched another movie after dessert, and Wyatt fell asleep all snuggled up next to me.  I was soaking it up!

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My sweet boy.

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 I had to disturb that sweetness and put him to bed before we left for the night.  My parents were kind enough to watch Wyatt that night, since Derek and I had big Black Friday shopping plans.  

It was a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration!  The Lord has given us so many blessings, and looking at these pictures I just remember them all again.

Black Friday recap coming up next!

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