32 Weeks - Baby #3

I am eight months pregnant!

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This week Baby Boy weighs 3.5-4 pounds, and is 17-ish inches long.  He has still been moving, but it seems like he's been slowing down the past couple weeks (of course, it might just seem like that because I've been so busy).  

My baby shower was this last Sunday!  It was a gorgeous shower, and I felt so blessed by Ashley, and my family and friends who came.  I'm writing up a post about it with lots of pictures, so keep an eye out for that next week!  For a sneak peek you can request to follow me on Instagram.

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I have clothes still from when Wyatt was a baby, but a lot of the clothes for the first six months are the wrong seasons for this baby - like the 0-3 month stuff is mostly sweaters, etc., and this baby will need more summery clothes.  I got a bunch of adorable clothes from the shower that will be seasonally appropriate!  I also got new bottles, another monitor, and things like that which we needed.

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Since my shower I've been spending a lot of time trying to get the nursery cleaned up and ready to go, and it's hard to find the motivation for much else right now (hence why this post is late, again).  I worked on nursery art this week, and we went hunting for an inexpensive lamp shade one day as well (no luck, and then the kids got tired, so I'm going again after work).  I got a fabric banner and the nursery art hung, clothes washed and put away, and the crib set up.  Next on the list is finding a rocker or glider or chair - something like that.

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(Working on some nursery art.)

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(Wyatt and I painted together one day - he loves painting!)

I'm now down to two-week appointments with my doctor, which is kind of exciting!  And I'm up to 26 pounds.  Ugh.  I'm gaining more with this baby for sure - with Gwen my final number was 28 pounds.  My goal at this point is just to keep it under 35.  My doctor tells me that she's sure I'll lose it all again "like you always do", but I kind of feel like my doctor and I are friends, so I'm not sure if that's the friend talking or the doctor.  Anyway, hopefully she's right!  

So last week I looked in the mirror and did a double-take, because all of a sudden it looked like Baby Boy was sitting way lower.  I brushed it off because I figured it was too early for him to drop so it must just be my imagination.  But then two separate people told me they thought it looked like he was lower too!  So maybe it wasn't just me.  My grandma wasn't surprised because she thought it looked like I had dropped around the same time when I was pregnant with Gwen.  But now I kind of feel like he moved back up again.  Is that even possible?  I don't know, but he does feel generally lower, and I suspect he's already head down (I'll see if my doctor can tell at my next appointment).  Which might also explain the sharp pains I'm starting to get down low. 

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I've also been thinking I need to start thinking about my hospital bag.  I like to have it packed by 35-36 weeks ever since that adventure with Wyatt, so that gives me a couple weeks to get it ready to go.  I'm thinking I'm going to get this nightshirt from Target to wear after I have him (short enough for checks, and button front for nursing):


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I also need to get some new nursing-friendly items.  And a baby book, I need a baby book.  Everything else I think I already have.  I already bought him an adorable little coming home outfit!  
Less than two months to go!

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Oh, What To Wear

We're taking maternity pictures for baby #3 in a couple weeks!  I'm not sure if this will be my last pregnancy or not, but I knew I wanted to have some maternity pictures taken again.  Thankfully my friend Danae can be our photographer this time!

So I've been trying to decide what we should wear.  I have a really hard time deciding what we should wear for pictures, because I feel like all of our outfits have to at least "go" together.  Plus it stresses me out deciding what I should wear for maternity sessions, since most of this pictures are going to include me!  

So this is what I have so far, but honestly, it could change if I think of a different combination of our clothes that I like better between now and then.

This is what I think the family will be wearing, or at least something similar:

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My outfit is the one that I am not sure about, because I have to try to decide which one I like best and which one I am going to feel good in.  These are the possibilities I've come up with so far for me:
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 I think I like the idea of this one the best, but I'm wondering if the pattern in the shirt would be too much with the other patterns that the family would be wearing.  Though I might be able to pick a shirt with a more subtle pattern for Derek to even it out, like this one:


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 I also have to see the pants in person to really get an idea for what color they are.  But I would not be wearing combat boots like that.  Yuck.


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This is another outfit I could wear, only the pants I have are a little more stone colored and not so grey.  I might add a belt, and I would not be wearing those shoes . . .


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And then there is a part of me that likes the idea of wearing a dress.  I like this one, but I'd have to try it on to see how it fits.  I'd probably add a belt and a fun necklace.  If it is cold out I could always wear leggings and boots underneath.

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Oh, I don't know.  I like elements of each outfit.  I think I'm just going to have to have a decide-what-to-wear day, go and try everything on, and then figure out what I want.

What do you think?  Leave your opinions in the comments!

Update: I picked a greyish shirt for Wyatt to wear instead, and I think I've almost figured out my outfit now, but I still want to hear opinions!  Just for fun.

From One To Two - Becoming A Big Sibling



When I was writing posts for my "From One To Two" series, I got questions from several people asking whether I had any tips for helping your toddler with the transition after having a new baby.  However, this was one subject I felt I didn't really have any good tips on! Wyatt adjusted pretty easily after we had Gwen, and there weren't a lot of difficulties that would give me a good basis for advice.  

However, I knew one of my dear blog friends, Kara, did have more experience on helping a toddler who is having trouble adjusting to baby, and I asked her if she would write a guest post for me.  I have to say, I love all her tips!  Kara is such a godly mother, and I loved reading her perspective on this.  I knew she would have good advice, just as she always does on her own blog, Just 1 Step.

I'm keeping everything she mentioned here in mind for when we have this next baby - Wyatt will be a little older, and it is yet to be seen how he will react to a new baby now that he understands a little bit more.

So without further ado, for tips on helping your toddler with the transition from only child to big sibling, read on!


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As I neared the end of my second pregnancy in the summer of 2012, I had several friends tell me stories about their first-born children struggling with the arrival of their second child. Most of these tales involved toddlers who became angry and defiant toward their mothers. Given that our then 2-year-old, Krewson, was a HUGE Daddy’s boy and gave me very little attention anyways if Daddy was around, I figured things couldn’t get much worse and that there would be no reason for him to lash out at me for bringing home a baby. I listened to their stories, put them in a “could possibly happen but probably won’t” box in the back of my brain, and excitedly prepped for the arrival of our second son.

Our second child, Greyden, was born on July 28th, 2012. I was so excited for Krew to come meet Grey at the hospital, but the encounter was far less exciting than I had hoped. Krew looked at the baby, sort of half-smiled like what in the world is that thing and what is going on, carelessly dropped the ball we’d purchased for him to give as a gift on top of Grey, then proceeded to run around the hospital room playing with all the relatives, never giving his new little brother a second glance.




We arrived home as a family a couple days later, and it became obvious fairly quickly that Krew was not overly excited about having a new sibling. He showed absolutely no interest in the baby and strongly disliked the crying. My husband (Dave) and relatives showered Krew with attention while I tended to Greyden, which seemed like the best thing to do, but before long it started to backfire.


For some reason that I’ll never understand, Krew started to avoid me and lash out at me, just as I had heard others relate. It absolutely broke my heart. He didn’t want to be in the same room as me, and flat out said so. He wouldn’t let me touch him or hug him. He would push on me and tell me to go away. He would gleefully run to anyone else, especially his daddy, but gave me a cold shoulder almost every time I initiated conversation or contact.


I cried and cried and cried, wondered what I had done to my child that he would hate me so much, questioned how I’d ever thought it would be ok to bring another child into our home. I felt like I’d ruined Krew’s life and mine. It was a difficult experience in the midst of dealing with a newborn and all the raging hormones and life changes that go along with that.


I’ll never forget the day that marked the turning point in those struggles with Krew. Dave had to leave for ultimate frisbee practice for the day, and so Krew had to stay home with me and the baby by ourselves for the first time. As Dave was leaving, Krew was hysterical crying. I yelled to Dave, “Lock the door!” because I knew Krew would try to run out the door after him as he left. Sure enough, as soon as Dave was gone, Krew hung by the front door, sobbing, pounding on the door screaming, “Daddy come home!! Daddy come home!!” I sat in the living room, nursing Greyden, tears of hurt and betrayal and uncertainty pouring down my face. At one point Krew’s screaming stopped, and he came walking into the living room. He took one look at me, turned around, ran back to the front door, and started sobbing and yelling and pounding all over again.


After 10 to 15 minutes, Krew realized his daddy wasn’t coming back and came whimpering into the living room. I asked, “Do you want me to hold you?” He answered, “Yes.” I put Greyden down on the floor and pulled Krew into my lap, and as I did he angrily kicked the Boppy I had been using to nurse Grey. Then he curled up in a ball in my arms and cried and cried and cried.


It was an incredibly emotional day, but we had a breakthrough. Once the tears ended, a wall had been knocked down. Krew started acting like my little boy again. That night I laid in his bed with him for a while, and he reached over and grabbed my arm and pulled it around his little body. I cried silent tears of relief and thanksgiving and thanked God for that moment a million times over.




I’m writing this blog post because Callie asked me to share my tips on helping a toddler transition to having a new baby in the house. I felt that it was important to share my story first so that you understand where I’m coming from. Our transition was anything but easy, and one of the most painful times in my parenting experience so far. But I do feel that I can provide some helpful advice as a result.


1) Make sure both parents are spending equal amounts of time with the toddler.

In most cases, as in ours, I would assume that the dad tends to spend a lot more time with the toddler than the mother. But I can imagine there are situations where it is reversed. Whatever the case, just make sure the toddler is getting an equal amount of attention from both parents. If one parent gives a lot more attention to the toddler and the other gives a lot more attention to the baby, this sets up the parent with the baby to be the bad guy. Not a good at all.

2) Make sure this time with the toddler is QUALITY time.

When parents are spending their time with the toddler (#1), make sure a good chunk of this is fun quality time. Do things the toddler wants to do. Read a book, play a game, go outside, run in circles through the house, have a tickle fight, whatever. Just make sure you are doing activities that bring your toddler joy. Forget the housework and to-do list for a bit and instead focus on bonding with your child and reassuring him that life is still ok.

3) When relatives offer to take the toddler to give you a break, ask them to take the newborn instead.

This is counter-intuitive, but it’s very important. Your toddler needs moments where he feels like he still has his old life. He needs time with his parents, time to be the center of their attention. Although he will enjoy attention from relatives, this won’t help at all to reassure him that his parents are still as devoted to him as they were prior to the new baby. So hand off the new baby, not the toddler.



4) Do not allow aggressive or defiant behavior.

Maintain your rules and your methods of discipline. When Krew pushed me or spoke rudely, he received the same reprimanding that he would have received prior to Greyden being born. This does two things. First, it prevents any defiant or aggressive behavior from becoming acceptable and habitual in the toddler’s head. Second, it maintains consistency in the toddler’s life. The same behaviors that were unacceptable prior to the new baby are still unacceptable after the baby.

5) Allow non-defiant regression.

Krew wanted to suck on a pacifier, lay in the baby’s crib, and lay on the changing table. All things he hadn’t done for quite a while. But we let him. I’d read about this type of regressive behavior, and I’d read to just go along with it. We did, and it all passed fairly quickly.

6) Try having your toddler “help” with the baby, but don’t get your hopes up.

Prior to Greyden being born, I had read that it was good to have your toddler help with the new baby in order to keep him feeling involved. I tried this, and it didn’t work. I would ask Krew if he wanted to help with little thing (baths, getting me a pacifier, talking to the baby, etc.) and 9 times out of 10 the answer was NO. We didn’t push it, and I really think it was the best choice. No sense in making him see the baby as even more of a hindrance on his life than he already did.



7) Pray for your toddler and for yourselves.

I wish I had done more of this. Pray for your toddler, and pray for you and your spouse as parents. Pray that God direct you in the best way to handle your situation. Every family’s situation is unique and will need a slightly (or drastically) different approach. Pray that God help you find it. Also pray that God take away any fears, anxieties, or hurts in your toddler’s heart. He knows better than anyone what is going on inside that little toddler’s soul, and He can help you better than any book, article, or blog post.

8) Be patient.

If you do end up with a struggling toddler, healing and adjustment to the transition will take time. You must be patient. I have heard of toddler acting up for months when a new baby arrives. MONTHS. Thank the Lord this did not happen for us (our biggest struggle was just for a couple weeks), but it does happen. You have to be strong and have faith that this too shall pass. Maintain your consistency, follow the steps above, and wait. It’s hard but necessary.

9) Finally, give yourself grace.

I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to mess up this thing called parenting. You already have, I already have. We’re fallen adults trying to raise fallen children in a fallen world. We cannot ever know how to best handle every parenting situation, and even if we did know, I don’t think we’d have the willpower or strength to follow through with it. Learn to rely on your Father to guide you. Extend yourself grace for your messups just as you know He does. He gave you your children, and He’s there to help you raise them. Listen for His voice and follow His direction. You’ll make it through.



Now, Greyden at 18 months and Krew at almost 4.

The Happiest Life Review

 I like talk radio, and Hugh Hewitt is one of the talk show hosts that I like listening to, when I can.  So when I saw that a book of his was up for review, I knew I had to request it!

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(Yes, I realize putting a book down this way can ruin the spine.  But they're my books, and I will continue to do it anyway.)

In The Happiest Life, Hewitt examines some of the characteristics of a happy person, which he calls "gifts", because they are also things that can be a blessing to others.  These include encouragement, energy, enthusiasm, empathy, good humor, graciousness, and gratitude. He also examines seven different "givers", people who are in a unique position to give these gifts to others - namely, spouses, parents, family members, friends, coworkers, teachers, and the church.

There were a lot of good nuggets of wisdom in this book, and several of his points made me think.  I especially liked his chapters on good humor, which talked about what a gift cheerfulness is, and spouses, which focused on the importance of giving these gifts of happiness to your spouse.  

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting in that a lot of it seemed more autobiographical than practical.  I went in thinking that most of the content would be practical advice, but more of the content was focused on personal examples and people who had touched Hewitt's life with these gifts.  
Since I didn't know some of the people he referred to, some of the content was a little slower for me - but I did take several useful points away from the book that I appreciated.  It was also interesting to read some of the "behind the scenes" information in this book since I do listen to Hugh's radio show.

You would probably appreciate this book more if you are a listener of Hugh Hewitt's show - if you do, then it is a book worth checking out!  If you are not a listener of the show I think there are still things you could take from this book, but just be prepared for the autobiographical content.

Note: I received this book for free from Booklook in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Jesus And Me Bible Storybook

My philosophy is that my kids can never have too many storybook Bibles.  I feel like every one has something a little different to offer, and you never know which storybook Bible will offer an explanation that will resonate with their little hearts.

I was pretty excited to read the Jesus and Me Bible Storybook, because I wanted to see what this one would be like.  And you know what?  I love it.  It's probably my favorite of all the ones we have so far.

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This is a storybook that is entirely focused on Jesus - each page has a story, fact, or characteristic about Jesus.  It also includes a prayer and a "Jesus and Me" section - which is like a practical application of whatever was discussed in the story.  It's almost more like a devotional than a story book, but the devotions are appropriate for young kids - Wyatt listens when we read it, and I try to pull out a lesson for him to remember from each page.

This is seriously my favorite thing of everything I have from Tommy Nelson.  Wyatt really loves it too - he asks for more than one story when we read it at night, and he carries it around with him during the day.  The other morning he came downstairs to our room, wanting to climb in bed with me, and he had the Jesus and Me storybook Bible in tow!  I tucked him in next to me and we had morning devotions together.

(I have to share this, because it's so cute - the other night we read a story from this book about how Jesus healed people.  Derek mentioned that he was feeling like he was getting sick, so I told Wyatt and said we should pray for Jesus to make Daddy feel better.  So we said a prayer, and then I sang him a song and tucked him in, but he said he wanted to "pray for Daddy" again.  So I started praying again, but he jumped in and said "Please Jesus, make daddy feel better . . . in Jesus name, Amen."  It was his first real prayer that he has prayed all by himself, and it pretty much made my heart explode listening to his sweet little voice, talking to Jesus.)

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Another thing I love about this book is that it includes telling kids about believing in Jesus as their Savior in the majority of the stories - and I love that.  I love the constant reminders of what Jesus did for us and how to spend eternity with Him.

We're a little over halfway through the book (we've been reading one or two stories every night), and I'm already sold on it!  I would highly recommend this book to any parents with young kids!

Tommy Nelson has also offered to give one of my readers a copy of the Jesus and Me storybook Bible!  Enter below for a chance to win!

Note: I received this book for free from Tommy Nelson in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

8 Randoms

I'm just going to ramble a little today, okay? Okay.


1. Our Valentine's Day was pretty much awful.  I had a bad back day at work - I could barely get up out of my chair at one point it was hurting me so bad.  I clearly need a chiro adjustment.  

Then I thought I'd surprise Derek with Qdoba for dinner, but when I stopped to pick some up, the car started smoking!  A mechanic happened to see it and tell me (which I'm really grateful for, because if he hadn't noticed I might not have either, and I might have ruined the car).  One of our hoses was leaking coolant everywhere.  

So I had to wait there for Derek to come get me and the kids.  Kind of ruined the surprise.  Then we were really worried that I ruined the engine, because I don't know how long I was driving like that or how hot the car got, because my temperature gauge is broken.  But we got the car towed, and had Qdoba for dinner anyway, so it was okay.  Though my car has been in the shop, and the kids and I have been stuck at home most of the week.  I finally got it back just in time for MOPS!


2. Despite the Valentine's fiasco, our actual Valentine celebration on Saturday was fun!  We went out to see The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.  I was skeptical, but it was actually a really good movie!  Then we had Japanese food for dinner and went to the mall for a blended chai.  It was a nice date.


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3. Derek surprised me with this for Valentine's Day:

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Yes, my friends, that is a Keurig!  I've been wanting one for a while, and Derek just showed up with this on Saturday morning!  I was a little shocked, because I thought we'd have to save and get one for ourselves next Christmas.  I'm super excited about it.  First stop - Target to get some mocha coconut K-cups!  Mmm.  I also want to try the iced coffee varieties, and I like that I can also make tea or whatever with it.  Any tips for me?  I'm still figuring the thing out.


4.  I bought this little book for Derek and me:

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It's been so fun so far!  We've been filling out the questions together every night. It basically asks you a question a day, and you each write out a short answer.  It's a fun getting-to-know-your-spouse-better project.


5.  I got the kids this CD for Valentine's Day:

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Although I got it late because I totally slacked and didn't order it in time for Valentine's.  So poor Wyatt had to wait for his Valentine.  I think he was expecting something when Derek gave me my present on Saturday, and I felt so bad.

But about the CD, it's pretty much a classic.  I listened to it myself growing up, and I still remember certain verses because of the songs on this album!  Like Philippians 4:8.  I can list all the "whatevers" only because of the song I learned with this. Wyatt sings to certain songs, so I thought this would be a great way to help teach him some Bible verses, and begin "hiding" the word in his heart!  We're going to listen to it today on the way to  MOPS and I think he'll like it!


6. Our church is re-organizing and attempting to get the congregation more involved and connected with each other.  So they've started offering "equipping classes" on Sundays and "growth groups" during the week.

Derek and I have been wanting to get more involved at church for a while, so we're kind of seeing this as our opportunity!  We start our growth group this Saturday - it's basically like a small group, but the discussions will be focused around the sermon topics.  We signed up for one that was organized according to life stage, so I'm also excited to start meeting more couples at church with young children.

We've been going here for several years, so you think we'd already know a lot of people, but it's a big church.  I grew up in a very small church where everyone knew everyone by necessity, so it's been hard for me to figure out how to get more connected in a larger church setting.  I'm proud that the church elders saw the need for better fellowship and are taking the steps to make it happen!

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7.  We're also taking a class on Global Outreach with our church.  We had our first one this past Sunday, and Derek and I are both pretty excited about it.  I'll probably write more as the class continues, but I think it will be good!


8. I dropped off the baby quilt to get quilted last week!  I think I already mentioned that, but I'm just rather excited about it.  I can't wait to get it back and get his nursery all set up!  We're at T-minus 8.5 weeks until EDD!  But I'd be pretty surprised if Baby Boy didn't come before that, so it really is probably less.  That's kind of crazy.

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31 week belly, via Instagram.


Okay, that's all I have. Ramblings at their finest.  Okay, not really, but thanks for reading!

Elements Of A Good Blog Design

One of the questions that I got in my reader survey from a couple months back was "What makes a good blog design?"

I've been designing my own blog from the beginning, and it has changed a lot - even the styles that are popular have changed a lot since five years ago, so anything I say in this post is up for adjustment to future trends, etc.  Personally though, I think there are a few timeless elements of good blog design.  And I have probably broken all of these before coming to my current conclusions!  But here are my tips, in no particular order . . .

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Blog name at the top.  
Obviously.  I don't care whether it's in your sidebar, stretches across the page, or whatever, but just make sure it's at the top.

Make it clean.  
When your blog design becomes too cluttered it's hard for people to find what they want.  Plus it just doesn't create a peaceful, welcoming environment for readers.  If there are too many things going on above the fold (the part of your blog that shows up before someone scrolls down), it just gets confusing, and that applies whether it be too many ads, too many buttons, too many graphics, too much text, or whatever.  Keep it simple.  Try to keep your sidebar well-organized.  Just don't let it feel too chaotic.

Add pages.  
It is important to make it easy for readers to find critical information about you or your blog without having to scroll through all of your content.  The pages I think are critical?  An "About" page - every blog should have one, even if your blog is very small.  A "Contact" page - create a blog e-mail and make it available so readers who want to contact you personally can do so.  And if you are accepting ads or reviews at all - a "Sponsor/PR" page.  You can have more pages than this, but just keep in mind the above rule - don't let it get too messy.  Also, not all pages have to go in your tabs section - you can put some in your sidebar.

Put social media buttons up high.  
Keep your social media buttons near the top of your blog - you want to make it easy for readers to subscribe, and easy for them to find you other places on the web.  If you do not have blog accounts for other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook (which I strongly suggest you consider doing if you don't), you at least need to have subscription links - an RSS button linking to your feed, a button for Bloglovin (right now that's a big way people are subscribing to blogs), and an e-mail button (to "link" to e-mail, just insert this where the link usually goes: mailto:youremailaddress).  For more info on how to create social media buttons you can check out this post.

Put some sort of intro or picture of yourself in the top of your sidebar.  
Once again, make it easy for readers to know who they are reading about!

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Those are the basics that I think are important, but I do have opinions on a couple other things - some may disagree with me on these, and I have seen nice blog designs that don't obey the following "rules".  But as a rule of thumb, I think it's good to keep these things in mind.

Make sure the title of your most recent blog post is visible before scrolling down.  
I think this is important to draw the reader down into your blog.  Don't make your header too tall, and don't put other things above your posts.

Stick with a light background.  
This is definitely personal preference on my part, but I prefer a white background.  In general a white or light background is just happier and cleaner and more calming than other colors.  This rule can sometimes be broken and still work, but in general lighter backgrounds are just safer.

Stick with basic (aka: boring) fonts for your main page text.  
It's all about making it easy for your readers to . . . well, read.  And fancy fonts as your main text can be difficult for some people.  Have fun with your blog titles and post titles and sidebar titles and graphics, but keep the main text simple.

Other people may add more to my list, but those are the things that I think most good blog designs have.  I've been a little specific with those last three, but I don't think people should get too much more picky than that.  You have to leave some room for personal style! If you like to play with your post formats and alignment of the text - go for it.  If you want to experiment with the position of your header or pages - have fun with it.  Just keep the above rules in mind and you'll be fine.

Remembered, Redeemed, Refined

One of my favorite blogs to read is Kerrie's blog, Life On A Mission.  Periodically she hosts a link-up called "Hello, my name is ______".  The point of the linkup is to recognize some of the lies that Satan has been telling us, and to remember what the truth is - what our "new name" is in Christ.

She hosted the linkup again last week, and I sat there thinking for a little while about "names" that have come to mind lately that are really lies.  And this might sound melodramatic, but a couple words came to mind.

Forgotten.  Punished.

Things have not been running smoothly around here lately.  Derek is traveling again, and I am truly so over it.  It's hard.  It's hard to have him gone.  I feel lonely, I feel overwhelmed, I feel tired.  And that does sound melodramatic unless you have a husband who travels a lot - and then you understand.

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I give major props to military wives or single moms - because I only have to do it by myself during the week, a few months at a time.  I think it would be ten times harder to have to run a household completely alone for a year+, or indefinitely (and some moms have to work full-time too!).

Anyway, the bottom line is that it's just hard.  Not as difficult as a lot of trials other people have to walk through, but hard for me none the less.

Then our car broke down the other day, which seems minor (and really, it is), but this is the fourth major car issue we've had over the last six months. We've already got quite a bill we're working on from our previous car issues, and then this is adding to it.

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 So the other day I found myself wondering when we're going to catch up?  When things are going to start getting easier?  How much longer can I do this?  And it crossed my mind that maybe God has (1) forgotten about my requests here, or (2) that maybe I'm doing something wrong and He's letting all these frustrating things continue in order to punish me.

But you know what? Those are both lies.

God has not forgotten about me.  He loves me more than I can understand.  He knows of my frustrations, my loneliness, my weariness.  And He cares.  He hasn't forgotten about my requests.




He's not punishing me.   Are there areas where I need to search my heart, maybe correct my course a bit?  Of course.  But these bad things that happen aren't God saying "First you straighten up here, and then I'll take away that painful stuff".  That's not how He works.  I've already been forgiven for all my failings.  Jesus already took all that punishment for me on the cross. 

I do think that God works in us through the bad things in life.  I think He allows certain things to happen or continue.  It's not to punish us, or to get us to "shape up".  God is working through all our difficulties to shape us - to teach us how to be more like Him.  There are things we would never learn without the hard stuff of life, but God wants us to learn it - and He walks us through the hard times, guiding us and teaching us.

Not because He's angry at us.  Not because He doesn't care about the little things.





Sometimes He allows things because He loves us.  If He just took away all the pain and difficulties in our lives, what would refine us?  Which precious lessons would we never learn? He knows that the best thing that can happen is for us to draw closer to Him, to learn to be more like Him - and that's what trials do.  If we react rightly, they chase us further into His arms.  That is a good thing.  It is the best thing.

So I'm not forgotten.  I'm not being punished.

I am being molded.  I am being taught.

I am remembered.  I have been redeemed.

I am loved.

And because He loves me, He's refining me.

That is the best thing.

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(For the printables of the verses in this post, left click on the images above, then right click to save the full-size versions to your computer.)

30 Weeks Pregnant - Baby (Boy) #3

Time for another pregnancy update.  We are officially in the 30's!


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I've had a couple flair ups of that sciatic nerve pain again, but other than that I've been feeling good!  I've been more tired than normal, but I think that is more related to having a bit of a head cold over the last week.

I finally finished the baby's quilt and sent it off to my old neighbor, who has a quilting machine - so she will get it quilted for me, and then all I have to do is finish the edges!  I've also been working on sewing a valence for the window in the baby's room, a crib skirt, and a banner.  It's coming along nicely.  I would like to create some sort of plaque/wall display for one of the walls in the nursery, and I would like to find a lamp and a glider or rocking chair to put in the room, and then I'll feel like everything is pretty ready!

These past couple weeks have just been marked with so many blessings from sweet friends.  First, Melanie from Country Roads surprised me with a package in the mail!  She sent a valentine for Wyatt and Gwen, and an adorable little shirt for new baby boy!  She is so thoughtful.


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Then Alex from Inspiration Clothesline sent me this carseat canopy!  I don't know if she even knew that this was one of the things that I really wanted to get for the third baby - I had been seeing them around and thought they looked so handy, and easier than trying to cover the carseat with a blanket all the time.  It was such a blessing to get that in the mail!



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And then finally, my sweet friend Ashley called me about throwing me a shower for Baby Boy!  I was so excited when she offered - I didn't really think I would get a baby shower this time, but I loved having that time to celebrate before Wyatt and Gwen came.  I was feeling a little bummed about not getting that for Baby #3 when she told me she wanted to throw me one!  She has an adorable idea for a theme, and she created custom invitations to go with it:

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Aren't those adorable?  I was really impressed!  I cannot wait to see everything she has planned for the shower!  She is so creative, and such a blessing to me.

I finally decided on the hospital I want to go to - I was thinking of switching hospitals because of the billing issues we had last time, but decided against it.  I scheduled a time to go over my "birth plan" with one of the nurses (it's a program my hospital offers, and I love it).  The birth plan is probably a whole separate post, so I'll refrain from going over it now, but I'm glad we have the option to talk to the nurses about it beforehand, considering my history.


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I'm also trying to put together outfits for our maternity pictures in a couple weeks!  My friend, Danae, is able to take them for us this time, and I'm so glad - she does a great job!

Baby's movements just seem to be getting stronger and stronger, and I love feeling him pushing around in my stomach!  Wyatt finally got to see it too, and it was pretty sweet.  We were sitting on the couch and watching as the baby moved around in my stomach, and Wyatt kept talking about how the "baby's moving in there!"  Then I put Wyatt's hand on my stomach and he got to feel the baby move - he seemed confused at first, but then I told him it was the baby saying hi to him, and he couldn't stop chattering about it!  It was adorable.

I'm trying to enjoy every little thing about this pregnancy, since it might be my last, and I think Baby Boy will have a cute little personality.  He seems shy sometimes, but then at other times he'll push his little hand or foot against my hand when I touch my stomach, like he's saying hello!  I love it.


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Friend Me Review

After reading the description for Friend Me by John Faubion I was too intrigued not request it.


In Friend Me, Rachel and her husband Scott discover a new social media platform that allows them to create a "virtual friend". While Rachel tries to re-create her friendship with her deceased friend, Suzanne, Scott falls into the trap of setting up an "intimate" virtual friendship through the service, trying to convince himself that he is not being unfaithful to Rachel.  What neither of them knows is that an insane employee of the virtual friend company has fallen in love with Scott and is targeting both of them through their "friends".   Scott and Rachel slowly figure out what it going on and try to come up with a plan to rescue their marriage and lives.

What I wasn't so sure about:

The plot line creeped me out a little bit, just because it was so believable.  If a social media company ever figured out how to use artificial intelligence to create realistic virtual people, I think everything in this book could potentially happen, which is a little scary!  It made m
e want to avoid reading it at night so I didn't freak myself out (I avoid all suspense books at night anyway though). 

It was also disturbing to me how Scott used the site to cheat on his wife, while justifying that it wasn't really cheating because it was virtual.  Disturbing, but also a reasonable premise with this website's technology.  Let's just say I hope such a company/social media site never exists!

I felt like more of the book focused on the infidelity than I would like.  The other thing that confused me was an attack scene that was thrown in toward the end of the book - it didn't seem to fit in or add to the plot at all.

What I liked about this book:

It was a very interesting premise, and (in a scary way) quite believable.  The book was suspenseful and kept me wanting to read more to find out what happened. 

I also felt like it opened the door to look at social media with more critical thinking skills - social media as it is now can be misused in so many ways, and the extremes in this book bring up issues that people should be thinking about with current social media use as well - like online predators, the dangers of letting your virtual life become more important than your real life, marital unfaithfulness online, etc. 

I felt the ending was rushed, but it was also an ending with a positive note. If you like suspense and want an interesting read that will make you think, this book might be one to check out.

P.S.  There is a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway going on with this book release - you can check it out here!

Note: I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinon.

I Like Valentine's Day

Is it just me, or does it seem to be trendy to hate and/or "poo-poo" Valentine's Day?  I'm going on record right now to say that I like it.  

And it's not just because I'm married.  Sure, being married makes Valentine's even more fun (*wink, wink*), but I'm one of those who liked it even before I got married.  When I was all alone.  Not even dating anybody.

First off - candy hearts.  Sure, they are chalky, but there is just something comforting about sitting down with a bag of candy hearts and a cup of tea (they are really good with tea).  




Maybe this hearkens back to my childhood - as Valentine's approached my mom would always pick up a bag of candy hearts on our grocery shopping trips, and we would all snack on them on the way home.  She knew how to pick the good ones too - not the ones that were rock hard, but the ones that just crumbled the second they hit your teeth.  A skill she has thankfully passed down to me.

Speaking of childhood, I loved getting all those little paper valentines with different characters on them.  My mom would always let us each pick a box of Valentine's for our classmates - first for school, then after we started homeschooling, for our Bible Study classmates.  

The ones I picked that I remember most had different pictures of cute teddy bears on them.  I remember sorting through them all and making sure to give all the generic, non-love-related messages to the boys . . . unless there happened to be one I liked.  Then I was careful to evaluate the messages on each valentine and choose the one that seemed to fit him the best.  Over-analyzer, much?  Maybe, but it was fun. And I would always keep the ones from the boys I liked, even if they had given me one of the generic, non-love-related ones.  I was kind of bummed when I grew up more and giving valentines to everyone was no longer the thing to do.




My parents would usually get us a little something on Valentine's Day. One year we got teddy bears.  We got candy a few times.  I think we even got a new Adventures In Odyssey set once (this was a big deal).  Just small things, but it was enough to make the day fun.  My brother and sister and I would sit down and make valentines out of construction paper for everyone in our family, and we would all exchange them at mealtime. Even when I knew I wouldn't get anything from any boy, I knew I could count on something from my parents and siblings.

And honestly, I never did receive an honest-to-goodness valentine from a guy.  Until I started dating Derek.  He showed up at my hygiene school with a bunch of flowers and a big teddy bear, and all my classmates told me he was a keeper.  I, of course, already knew that - I had his ring on my finger by then!  

Let's see, what else . . .

Hallmark movies!  Cheesy, romantic Hallmark movies.  I still like them today.




Now that I have kiddos, I like pinning a ridiculous amount of valentine ideas for them to give to their little pals.  I like pulling out the construction paper and continuing the tradition of handmade valentines for family members.  I like the pink and red everywhere, I like the hearts, I like seeing men buying flowers for the ladies in their lives.  

Valentine's Day can be cheesy.  But I think I am probably a little cheesy myself.  Maybe I'm more of a romantic at heart than I ever labeled myself.  

But I do.  

I like Valentine's Day.

Hoping each of you has a great one with all the people you love!
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