Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Little Word 2016

Eleven years ago, I used my Christmas money to buy a 35mm Canon Rebel. Most of my friends, including my boyfriend at the time, asked for digital cameras that year. There was just something about the digital camera that turned me off and sent me toward the 35mm camera. I loved the way the SLR camera let me focus on details that the cheap point and click cameras missed entirely. 

Four years later, I tucked it away and asked for a digital camera for Christmas. It was a little better than the point and shoots of my childhood and teen years, but still didn't have the focus I sought after. We upgraded to an attached lens DSLR when we got married, but by our fifth anniversary, the camera was in sad shape. Our images weren't coming out clear and focused like we expected. I began searching for a DSLR in our budget, but I kept coming back to the D-Rebel. It was my dream camera. It would be everything my 35mm Rebel had been ten years earlier! If only I could afford it...

Five days after Hudson was born, a huge package arrived addressed to me. It was from Focus Photography. My push present from Trevor was my D-Rebel and a deluxe kit to set me up to take amazing photos of our family. I was so excited!

I played with it a bit and grew frustrated. It wasn't giving me the clear focus I desired, no matter what I did. I secretly hated the camera and felt guilty Trevor bought it for me...until this week.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was interested in film photography. I offered my 35mm Rebel to her, then dug it out. When I put it on the counter, I noticed that the lens had a macro focus. I compared it to the D-Rebel. There was no macro focus on the new camera. The problem hadn't been the camera! It had been the lens all along. Suddenly, I had my word for 2016. 

How often do we look at life through the wrong lens? How often do we use a lens that prohibits us from focusing on the right detail, that keeps us from enjoying the small things? I know I've been using the wrong lens lately. I've been focusing on the wrong details - if I have had any focus at all. I'm not going to spend 2016 in survival mode. I'm going to focus on my self, my health, my family, and my faith. I'm not going to lose focus on what matters this year. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I'm using the right lens. 

When I settled on my word earlier today, I typed it into the YouVersion Bible app and read through several verses that contained the word "focus." It didn't take long to settle on a life verse for 2016.

What will your focus be in 2016?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thankful Thursday | 11.26.15

20. Wine and ice cream "date nights" with Trevor after Hudson goes to bed
21. God and his generous provision 
22. Teething tablets
23. My sweet 7 month old baby boy
24. Trevor 
25. Our friends, Jennifer and Justin Place
26. My whole family :)

Thankful Thursday | 11.19.15

13. Spirit Airlines, for giving Trevor a job and for giving all of us a better quality of life
14. Our sweet kitties, for sleeping with me and keeping me warm
15. Our local Target Pharmacy, for always being so quick to serve us
16. Coffee, for turning me back from zombie to mommy each morning 
17. My planner, for keeping us organized
18. Jamberry, for the opportunity to make some extra money and for keeping my nails on point
19. Baby bottles, for letting Trevor feed Hudson once in awhile

Thankful Thursday | 11.12.15

6. Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS)
7. The Bridges Family
8. Crossroads Church
9. Lee Middle School
10. IKEA 
11. The U.S. Military 
12. Target

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thankful Thursday - 11.5.2015

I challenged myself to write down one thing for which I am grateful each day this month. I'm searching for things that were meaningful in each day, rather than a laundry list of obvious answers like my faith and my spouse. I'll be sharing the list on Thursdays until Thanksgiving. 

1. My awesome parents
2. Hudson's amazing pediatrician
3. Our fantastic friends, the Cerny family
4. Target
5. My sweet, snuggly baby boys (both the cat across my feet and the human on my lap as I type this)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hudson at 3 months

Stats @ 3 months:
Weight: 13 pounds, 2 ounces
Length: 24 inches
Wears size 2 diapers, 6 month sleepers, and 3-6 month clothes 

Hudson smiles, coos, and reaches for objects. He grasps with intention, but he is mostly grabbing at my hair! He likes to play with blankets, too. We always watch him closely when he has them. As early as six weeks old, Hudson would pull them over his head and make coos that almost sound like a giggle. I foresee him being the sort of baby who is very attached to a particular blankie one day!

He rolls from his back to his side sometimes. Rolling all the way over seems like it might be coming soon! Hudson has very good neck control already, so we will probably be introducing a jumperoo around the time he turns 4 months old. We have taken him to the swimming pool a couple times already, and he ended up being so relaxed that he nearly fell asleep in the water both times! 

Bath time is Hudson's favorite part of the day. He splashes, kicks, and coos happily the entire time. Trevor even wears swim trunks for bath time sometimes! This week, there was a night when I had to refill the bath tub four times because Hudson kept pooping in it. He also peed twice. Obviously, he loves water and feels very relaxed when he gets in the tub!

Hudson has been sleeping through the night since he was about six weeks old. He has slept up to 9 hours in a stretch, which has been glorious for me! He doesn't really nap during the day, though. Sometimes, if we swaddle him before a feeding, he will go down for 90 minutes to three hours, depending on how he has slept in the past 24 hours. He still sleeps in his rock and play in our room, but we will be transitioning him into his crib in the nursery soon. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

July Recap

July was a wasted month. We did nothing exciting. Trevor and I had a lot of sinus trouble. Hudson spent a lot of time gassy, constipated, and spitting up. It was rough!

Hudson turned 3 months on July 23. We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on July 25 with take out from Applebee's. Hudson gave us the gift of sleeping 11 hours straight that night! 

Here's hoping August is better!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The week in photos | 7.13.2015

Waiting in the car with Mom while Daddy runs into the store

Ruthless fridge and freezer clean out - we did the pantry about two months ago. It's so nice to be able to find everything!

Hudson spit up on the duvet cover, so it had to be washed. Minerva immediately burrowed into the bare duvet. She stayed there all day. 

Hudson was all smiles when I said his new friend David will be born on Sunday or Monday! I'm sure it was probably just a coincidence but I shared the photo with my friend Erin to help her smile through her labor!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Progress update on July Challenges

1. Publish a blog post each day. 

This didn't go so well, obviously. I think if I would have decided before July 1, I would have planned it out and done better. I'm going to muddle through July and start over in August. I may even recruit some blogging friends to join me. 

2. Daily Scripture Reading

I'm proud to say I haven't missed a day yet!

3. Minimalism Game

I have missed one day so far, but I caught up the following day. I'm so excited to see my clutter shrinking away! I may continue this one with a reset in August too!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Perfect Mommy Moments

The nursery door creaks open, slightly. The big yellow cat we call Crookshanks creeps in with a soft, kitten-like mew. He sniffs a bit, and walks toward the window. He glances at the rocking chair, where I am nursing Hudson. Crookshanks noses the curtains aside to create a patch of warm summer afternoon sunlight. He curls his tail around his body and lays in the sun, purring loudly in his sleep. 

Hudson is lying across my lap atop a pillow. His hands are clasped together on his chest, and he is drowsily nursing. I close my hand over both of his, and I smile. I am bursting with joy. This is a perfect mommy moment. This is what I expected when I was expecting. 

In truth, moments like this are few. Our typical nursing sessions happen in my queen size bed, and neither cat is anywhere in sight because Hudson has been fussing so much prior to his feeding. Or, sometimes, our smaller cat is crawling all over Hudson and me, whining for the Papa who won't be home for several days. And then there is the spit up. Hudson has reflux, so he often spits up a lot after his feedings. Sometimes it's to the point where I make a bottle of formula immediately after a feeding because I just can't imagine there's any supply of mother's milk left for him. 

But in their own way, these are also perfect mommy moments. Hudson eventually drifts off to sleep in my arms. Minerva eventually curls up beside me to sleep for the night. The tough moments will pass soon, and with them, all too soon, this year of infancy. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Another big change

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me. I turned in my resignation at work. I'm officially a stay at home mom now. 

From the moment I saw two lines on the test stick, I knew I would probably need to do this. My salary barely covered what I would spend on day care. I am not exaggerating - I would have cleared under $300 a month. Once I factored in the cost of transportation and new apparel for work, it just didn't make sense to continue working.

It was still a tough decision to make. I loved the school. I had an amazing administration and the most family-like staff I've ever experienced. It was so hard to say goodbye to that. 

Of course, I will miss the students too. I worked with some students who have very good hearts but need other people to help them see it in themselves. I cherish being a part of that process. I saw extraordinary growth in several boys this past year. It was the first time in my career that I've really felt that I can make a difference. I suppose in some ways that makes me feel more at peace with staying home. I know that my work this past year really had meaning. 

But now I get to embark on my most meaningful career ever, and I'll have the most adorable little "boss" in the world. Teaching was nice, but being a mom will be so much better!

Currently: July 2015

Drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper and coconut milk, plus lots of water

Eating: grilled everything. We purchased our grill a week after the positive pregnancy test, and we quickly realized smoke smells were some that made me nauseated. We finally have it together enough to cook real meals again.

Wearing: nursing tanks and yoga pants - the stay at home mom uniform!

Wanting: Hudson to start taking naps during the day!

Loving: sweet baby smiles and cuddles 

Needing: to buy groceries!

Thinking: about new clothes. Nothing fits, so I'm thinking about a fall capsule wardrobe. 

Reading: Revelation in my daily reading plan app. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Excerpt from Savor

I'm currently reading a seven day devotional excerpted from the book Savor by Shauna Niequist. Today's reading really touched me:

"There are things that happen to us that give us two options. Either way, we will never be the same, and we shouldn’t. These things can either strip us down to the bone and allow us to become strong and honest, or they can be the reasons we use to behave poorly indefinitely, the justification for all manner of broken relationships and broken ideals. It could be the thing that allows everything else to turn, the lock of our lives to finally spring open and allow our pent-up selves to blossom. Or it can be the reason we use to justify our anger and the sharp tones in our voices for the rest of our lives. We become who we are in these moments. I have a friend who falls back, whenever things are too hard, to an event that happened over a decade ago. It’s the thing that she uses to justify cruel behavior. But wouldn’t it be great, wouldn’t it be just like God, if that terrible thing could be the thing that lifts her up and delivers her to her best, truest self? It can. It happens all the time."

Never let your circumstances be an excuse - make them an inspiration to do better! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! This was my favorite holiday as a child (not counting Christmas, because we all know that's in a class by itself). The county fair was usually going on, and there was a huge parade. We would usually sit in front of the bank where my mother still works. 

It's been different since my husband and I have been married. This is our sixth Independence Day as a married couple. Trevor has had a better track record getting Christmas and Thanksgiving off than he has this holiday. I've usually spent the day home alone. 

This year is different, though. I have Hudson, and Trevor ended up having to call out sick for an ear infection. It will still be a low key day due to sickness and life with a newborn, but it's still pretty awesome to be together as a family for Huddon's first holiday! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Friday Five: Freedoms

In the spirit of the holiday tomorrow, I'm sharing five of the freedoms I'm especially thankful for this year. 

1) Freedom of Religion 
I love that I can practice my faith however I choose - and that others can choose to do the same, even if that includes practicing no faith at all. 

2) Freedom of Speech
I can post whatever I want on my blog or
social media. I can say what I want in public without fear. Artists can create works using any subject matter. This is a glorious thing!

3) Freedom to Vote
I get to cast a vote for leaders or ballot measures. I've been able to vote in three presidential elections so far. I've been a political junkie since I was 10, so this is a huge deal for me. 

4) The Free Market
The government is relatively hands off when it comes to our market place. We can shop at a variety of stores and choose from a variety of brands. This isn't the case in many other countries. 

5) The Freedom of Equality 
This is twofold. First, I'm happy that I can drive, work, and own property as a woman in this country. In most cases, I know I'll be afforded the same rights as a man. Second, I'm pretty psyched that my  gay friends and family can finally be married anywhere in the nation! I know a couple that's been committed for 12 years, but they couldn't be married in their home state until now. That's definitely something worth celebrating! 

Other July Challenges

In addition to the blogging challenge I created for myself, I have also joined two other challenges through Facebook.

1) My friend April Meza challenged hersf to read Scripture daily in July. She asked friends to join her, and she posts a daily question asking what we are reading each day. I'm reading two chapters a day right now. By mid-July, I should have completed a reading plan I began last November! I'm reading via an iPhone app while Hudson nurses, so this is very easy to keep up with!

2) The Minimalist Game

Discovered via my friends Marc and Tiffany Gough, this game is all about decluttering. For each day in July, I'll be finding items to remove from our home. The twist is that the number of items must match the number on the calendar. So, today I'll remove two items, and on Jy 31, I'll remove 31 items! I am looking forward to removing a few hundred things from my house in the coming month. Since I'm about to start reading the Konmari book, this is a perfect challenge for me!

What's your challenge for July? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A daily challenge for July

I'm sure I'm setting myself up for failure, but I'm challenging myself to publish something on my blog each day in July. I love writing. It is my first passion, and I so miss having it as a daily practice. I'm hoping to turn that around by writing daily and finding my written voice once again. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hudson's Birth Story

I went to bed in a pretty foul mood on the night of April 21. It was the night before my due date, and it was official: this baby wasn't coming early like the midwives had said he would.

I slept until noon on the morning of April 22. I think I felt that if I didn't wake up, I didn't have ot face the fact that my baby wasn't going to arrive on his due date. Trevor slipped out to run errands, and I stayed in bed a little longer. When I woke up, I felt damp. It wasn't the gush that everyone had said I would feel if my water had broken, but I was cautiously optimistic that maybe progress had been made. I waited a little while, and then decided to hop in the shower. I felt a trickle before I got in, so I was more optimistic that it was time to call my practice and get the OK to go to the hospital. I called Trevor to let him know that it might be time, so he finished up his errands as quickly as he could.

Trevor came home. We ate lunch. I dried my hair and finished packing my bags. Trevor potted his new basil plant while I called the practice. The triage nurse said to head to the hospital. Trevor scooped the litter box and filled the cats' dishes. We were sort of missing the excitement and nervousness that I expected us to have. We both thought this would be a dry run for when the midwives ordered an induction after our appointment on the following day.

At the hospital, the triage nurse tested me to see if I was leaking fluid. Her test said no, but she still brought my midwife in. Emily checked me and found that I was dialated to 5 centimeters, and she felt that I probably did have a small tear in the sac. She and the nurse also informed me that even though I wasn't feeling them, the monitors showed I was definitely having contractions. They suspected my belly was already so tight that I was numb. Emily had us admitted around 5 p.m. We were sent to walk the halls until a room opened up for us in labor and delivery. We called our parents. We texted siblings and a few close friends. I posted some crap on Facebook to throw the rest of the world off the trail. I wanted my admission to the hospital to remain a secret until Hudson arrived. Trevor was hoping we could put on the Minnesota Wild playoff game at 9:30 if I wasn't in active labor at that point.

We got our room just after 6 p.m. Emily came to break my water just after 7 p.m. My contractions were definitely stronger after that. I managed pretty well until 8. After 8, they hurt, but I thought I could still bear it. At 9, Emily checked me again and suggested I get an epidural if that's what I wanted. I said I thought that would be a good idea. The nurses hooked me up to an IV of saline solution and said I needed two full units before I got the epidural placed. At this point, I was in so much pain that I couldn't even stand listening to people talk when I had a contraction. I remember repeatedly thinking, "Oh, shut up!" throughout the last hour while we waited for me to take in the fluids. The anesthesiologist came at 10 p.m. By that point, I was really hurting, to the point that I could barely move. I was so happy to see him that I almost forgot the pain for a minute (obviously, we had forgotten about the Wild game by now).

That's when things slowed down. They let me go until 11, but I hadn't dialated all the way yet. It was pretty clear at this time that Hudson wasn't arriving on his due date, but rather the day after, which also happens to be his Aunt Jenny's birthday. By 1, I had dialated to 10, but the contractions weren't strong enough to do anything. At 2:30, the nurses had me start pushing. I pushed for two hours before Emily went to check with the OB on call about possibly using a vacuum for delivery. The doctor declined, saying that if the head got through, the shoulders may not. She said I would need to push for another hour, and then we would discuss our options. I think Trevor heard that and knew it would be a C-section, but I think I was too optimistic to believe that I was having a C-section.

Somehow, exactly an hour later, I did it. I pushed, and I heard, "Come on! That's it! He's almost here!" I pushed again, and then...I saw him! I thought to myself, "Holy crap, there's a baby!" An instant later, he was out of Emily's hands and on my chest, hot and wet and angry. I'm pretty sure this was when Trevor cut the cord, but I honestly didn't pay attention. For a minute, the entire world was just me and Hudson.

Hudson was only there for a few minutes before the baby nurse whisked him away to be checked out and cleaned up. While they were taking care of him, Emily and the nurses were taking care of me. I didn't lose much blood, but I was about to pass out from going nearly 18 hours without eating. I was brought juice and a banana while Emily did the stitches. I had a second degree tear, but Emily assured me that it would be just fine in a few weeks. She observed that my placenta had calcium deposits as though I had gone at least a week past my due date, so it was sent out for pathology just to be safe.

After a little while, the nurses unbuttoned my gown and laid Hudson on my chest. We snuggled, and Trevor snapped pictures of us. We attempted breastfeeding, which was a struggle for several days following the birth. Pretty soon, our golden hour alone was over, and the day shift nurse was there to get me ready to move to the recovery room. It was pretty horrifying. I knew it wouldn't be pleasant, but I was unprepared for just how unpleasant. We will leave it at that. :)

Once I was cleaned up, we formed a little parade. My nurse and me in the wheelchair, the baby nurse with Hudson in his bassinet, and Trevor with our bags rounded out our little procession to the recovery unit. We got our room, and immediately met our nurse for the day, Barbie. She had a million instructions for us, as well as pain reliever for me. I was told to nap, but I honestly couldn't. I had too much adrenaline in my system! We also had frequent visits from the hospital staff. Hudson had been "large for gestational age," so that meant he needed his blood sugar tested every 3 hours until he was 12 hours old. I also had my vitals checked every four hours, and various people stopped in to see how we were doing. The anesthesiologist, a Stephen minister, the midwife on call, and a few others I've already forgotten all stopped by throughout that first morning and afternoon.

We also had a friend stop by around noon that day. She was visiting a surgeon about her own operation, and since another mutual friend was on bed rest in labor and delivery, she came to see us both that morning. It was so nice to see a familiar face that wasn't there to poke, prod, or ask a million questions about our experience!

The pediatrician gave Hudson his first exam around 8 p.m. that night. Trevor and I watched our required videos after that, and we talked to our families on the phone. We had a horrible, sleepless night in the hospital. Hudson screamed and screamed, hating life in the outside world. I spent a lot of time holding him and catching up on all the well wishes we had received via Facebook and text message that day. It was while browsing Facebook that I learned that McDreamy had been killed off on Grey's Anatomy. I briefly considered posting something about how Hudson had arrived in time to be the new McDreamy, but I figured that might hurt some feelings since Dr. Derek Shepherd had been essential to the program that was in its 10th season.

We barely got settled down when the nurses came to take him for his "24 hour test" at 5:30 a.m. that morning. He was gone for about two hours, so Trevor and I got a good nap then. Shortly after he was returned, the midwife on call stopped in to let us know we could go home that day. We jumped at the chance. Trevor and I both agreed that if we would have another sleepless night, we wanted it to be at home!

Around noon, the nurses came back for his circumcision. I got another nap then as well. When he came back, I showered and got ready to go home. Once the car was loaded, it was about 6:30 p.m. We pulled into a space in the hospital parking lot, and we ordered two pizzas for pick up at Papa John's. We got home at 7:30, and I remember feeling a huge sense of relief. We had done it. Since Hudson was sleeping, I quickly checked to make sure both cats were fine, then hurried to eat two slices of pizza before Hudson would need to feed. Trevor did the same as I fed Hudson. Then, Trevor helped me upstairs and got Hudson and me settled in our bedroom before running to Target for a couple things we would need to get through the night. Hudson and I cuddled up on the bed and watched the Bruce Jenner interview - the one where he admitted he was in the process of becoming a woman.

When Trevor came home, we settled into bed, and began our first night at home as a family.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

He's Here!

Hudson arrived at 5:31 a.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2015. He weighed 8 pounds and 7 ounces. He was 21.5 inches long. He had a ton of strawberry blonde hair and dark blue eyes at birth, along with a couple little scratches on his face and stork bites at the nape of his neck. He initially looked more like Trevor, but his features have become more mixed in the past 6 weeks. 

We are loving life together as a family of three! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

So happy for you!

{Patterned paper - Simple Stories, ink - Studio Calico Color Theory, stamps - Unity Stamp Co., label - Studio Calico, cardstock - Neenah (white) and IDK who made the yellow!}

Can you believe it's been ten months since I last shared a crafty project on this blog? I guess it's pretty clear how my energy level has been - and where my focus has been - since getting pregnant last summer! 

So of course, when I finally did sit down to make a new card, I guess it makes sense that it's a "congratulations on your pregnancy" card. A couple dear friends announced last week that they are expecting in November. We are completely overjoyed to hear this because we've known them a long time, and it's their first baby. We are so excited for Hudson to have another little friend! 

PS: Apologies for the dark/uncrisp photo. I used my iPhone and it looked so much better there!

This post was written on April 21, 2015 and scheduled for publication in advance. Baby Hudson may or may not have arrived by the time of its publication. When he does arrive, I will definitely let you know!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

39 week update

I put off writing this update because I was in denial that I'm 39 weeks pregnant. I'm in denial that this child isn't here yet. I'm in denial that I will be giving birth in the next week and that I will have to take care of a little person very soon.

The news at my appointment this past Wednesday was very encouraging. I was pretty well dialated and advised that I could start my leave immediately as Hudson could arrive in the next 48 hours. More than three days later, I'm still sitting here, waiting for a baby to arrive. I've had contractions, but they've never gotten close enough together to call the triage nurse at our practice. I have been REALLY tired. I've been sleeping 10-12 hours a night and sometimes taking naps in the middle of the day, so while I am feeling guilty about leaving work a few days early, I know I couldn't have handled being there on Thursday and Friday this week.

Our bags are packed. The nursery is in spotless condition. Our room has a little corner set up for him to room-in with us for the first few months. All that is left is a baby.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maternity Session with Bridges Photography

Our sweet friends, Jessica and Anthony Bridges of Bridges Photography, gave us a photo session as our baby gift! We did our photos on March 7 at Starr's Mill, known for its appearance in the film "Sweet Home Alabama" as Jake's glass shop. 

Fun fact: We bought these shoes just for the photo shoot, and returned them the next day. They were newborn-size, and we already had a feeling that Hudson wouldn't be able to use anything that tiny. We are actively hunting for the next size up, though!

When we took this picture, I happened to look down to see that Trevor and I were standing in a pile of "It's a Boy!" confetti. I'm guessing those were the remains of someone else's gender reveal photo shoot!

I just love this one. I had just finished telling Trevor to remember how much I loved him if I start screaming at him when we are at the hospital bringing Hudson into the world.

This one is so going up in our nursery at some point! I'm just not sure where yet.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

38 week update

37 weeks, 4 days. I think I feel even bigger than I look.

I am miserable.

My allergies have finally set in. I'm sneezing and coughing non-stop. My throat feels raw. I'm having trouble sleeping because the allergy problems wake me up. I almost feel like I need an inhaler to open my passageways again. 

I'm also feeling really sore and uncomfortable from carrying around 30+ extra pounds. Walking up the stairs and getting off the sofa are becoming a struggle. A lot of my clothes have ceased to fit. Even things that were fine a week ago can't quite stretch any further. It's also super hot outside, and I want shorts so badly! However, I haven't seen them in stores yet, and ordering online is risky at this point. Will they fit? Will they even arrive before Hudson? Even if they do arrive, will the weather stay warm enough, or is this week a fluke?

The good news is that the MD I saw at this week's appointment didn't think Hudson was quite as big as the midwives and the ultrasound indicated at the two previous appointments. However, he is still projected to be pretty big. I didn't enjoy this appointment, though. The doctor seemed like she didn't know why the midwife wanted me to see her, and when I explained why, I felt like the concerns were completely brushed aside as though she thought I was the one requesting to see her instead of the midwife suggesting I see her. I'm really glad I'll be seeing the midwives again at my next two appointments!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Best wishes for a happy holiday! It's about so much more than chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, but it's also totally OK to be enjoying them today! Jesus came to give us freedom from sin, so your gluttony has already been forgiven! ;)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

37 Week Update

Less than three weeks to go until our due date! I am definitely getting big, and tired. I'm not miserable yet, and really, I'm not even all that uncomfortable. My feet and calves are quite swollen all of a sudden. My slightly too big Bobs are leaving bright red marks on my feet! On the plus side, my calves are finally filling out the skinny jeans I bought in January!

Even though I'm physically feeling well, I am so over my maternity clothes. My belly has outgrown several things, so I've got a limited wardrobe that mostly consists of winter apparel. With temperatures well above 70 in Georgia, I'm ready for summer clothes! I did order a couple lightweight dresses from Old Navy, so that helps, but I really don't want to invest in anything else this close to the due date.

The midwives have decided that Hudson is enormous. The ultrasound we did this past week estimated his size to be around 7 pounds 10 ounces with a head in the 97th percentile, and a stomach/chest area in the 87th percentile. Due to my petite stature, they have decided I should see one of the doctors at the practice this coming week for another opinion. They aren't talking about a c-section yet, but induction is a very real possibility. It's looking very unlikely I will carry this baby to 40 weeks!

I feel very excited to know there are really just days to go, but I'm also very nervous, too. My fears about caring for this little one are surfacing. My fears about the pain of birth (and a possible c-section) are growing. I've never been hospitalized before. I know these fears are mostly nothing. People have babies every day, but it's different when it's your body and your baby! I just have to remember that the providers I'm seeing delivery babies every day, and I have to put my faith in them and God to do what's best for me, too. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

35 Week Update

33 weeks, 3 days at our maternity shoot
About three weeks ago, Atlanta was projected to have a repeat of the SnowJam of 2014. School was canceled, and my women's health clinic was closed, forcing me to reschedule my 32 week appointment for the following Monday. The only openings that worked for my next appointment were on Wednesday, March 19, so we ended up having a 35 week check up instead of a 34 week check up.

Hudson and I are both doing well. The midwife believes he is over 6 pounds - so I could have a 9 pound baby! I am not dialated at all yet, but our midwife* made it sound like he could come at any time. She decided to put me on weekly appointments now because I've been having contractions already. I'm guessing he will be arriving before his April 22 due date! 

Since the last update, I've definitely been more tired. My sinuses are acting up, so I'm having a tough time falling asleep and staying asleep. I've definitely had to slow down quite a bit as my belly has grown a lot. It's hard to believe there are about five weeks left to go. It's becoming a struggle to find clothes that fit, so I've had to order a few things to make it through the next few weeks of work. 

Hudson is moving more and kicking less. That is, his motions are less violent and feel more like his whole body is shifting rather than the jerky motions of his hands and feet that I felt before. I'm sure he's getting crowded in there! Every once in awhile, I still feel a pretty strong kick, and in fact, about a week and a half ago, he got me hard enough that I must have had internal bruising because I was sore for nearly a week after!

We did maternity photos with our friends Jessica and Anthony of Bridges Photography. I'll be sharing more of those in a post soon. We had so much fun hanging out with them! We have known them almost since we moved to Georgia, as crazy as that is! We connected pretty quickly once we learned that both Anthony and Jessica had worked at ASA when Trevor did, although their overlap was brief.

We have three showers coming up in the next two weeks, so things are going to be really busy around here! Trevor is working every weekend, too, so our time as a family of two humans and two fur babies is quickly slipping away. Fortunately, the nursery just needs a couple more decor items, and it will be done.

*Our practice uses 7 certified nurse midwives who see patients in the office. Six of them deliver babies at the hospital, with the seventh being the clinical director for the practice. When I say "our midwife," I really am referring to the one we saw that week, not one in particular. However, we've seen one midwife in particular for nearly half of our appointments, so I'm really hoping she's on call for Hudson's birth.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

32 week update

Can you believe there are just 8-ish weeks left to go?

I am still feeling really good. I'm tired, but I'm not really uncomfortable yet. Some of maternity clothes are a little snug, so I'm having to size up in my tops. I hate that I'm having to buy new clothes with such a small amount of time left in my pregnancy, but it sure beats being uncomfortable and trying to make too small clothing work for me as my belly continues to grow!

My feet seem to have grown a little bit during my pregnancy. They aren't swollen - they are longer! The hormone that allows the rib cage to expand will allow all your joints and muscles to be looser. When you add the extra weight on your feet, it's totally normal for your feet to grow a bit. Since I had tiny feet before, I'm kind of hoping this is a permanent change. It's been tough for me to find shoes that fit so this could be a very happy change!

Hudson is moving a lot, and I can now see his movements, too. He seems to be head down, laying along my left side, with his limbs stretched out towards my right. He can definitely hear my alarm clock in the morning, and he doesn't like it! I can feel him thumping against my mattress each morning at 6 a.m. He has also found my ribs, which he seems to enjoy rubbing or kicking with his feet! According to my pregnancy app, Hudson is now about 18 inches long and weighs about four pounds, making him roughly the size of a pomelo. The average newborn baby is between 18 and 20 inches long, so he's almost full size!

We traveled to Minnesota from February 13 to 17 to see Trevor's family. We saw a dinner theatre performance with Trevor's parents and two sets of aunts and uncles for Valentines Day. The next day, we had our first baby shower with his family. Hudson will definitely be one well-dressed little guy thanks to his Van Nevel and Schwegel family members!

Our glider and ottoman set arrived the day after we returned from Minnesota, so Trevor and our friend Anthony picked it up and put it in place in the nursery. We finalized our decorating plans as well, so now we just need to finish up the DIY portions of the decorating. Our travel system arrived just before we went to Minnesota, so we installed the car seat base this past weekend. Ours was fairly simple to install, and it is definitely in there tight! We still need to pick up some little essentials like baby wipes and newborn diapers, but otherwise, the house is ready!

Right now, my focus is on getting our hospital bags packed and making a list of everything that needs to go with us. Our hospital is a 35 minute drive from our house, so once we are there, Trevor probably won't be running home for anything unless it's an absolute emergency (or I end up having a C-section and need to stay for several days). I also need to develop my Plan B in the event that Trevor isn't here when the time comes. It could take 7 hours or more for him to get back to Atlanta, depending on where he is. So, I need to find someone I can depend on to get me to the hospital and help me Facetime with Trevor in the event that he can't make it in time.

Our next appointment is in two weeks - and we will continue to go every two weeks until the end of March. Starting at 37 weeks/April 1, we will go weekly until Hudson arrives.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend Links

This was originally meant to be a Friday Five post last Friday, but I never did find a fifth link I enjoyed enough to include, so I thought it would become a Friday Four instead. However, the post sat all weekend, and I never hit the publish button on my laptop. So instead, I'm calling it the "Weekend Links" and sharing for this weekend.

What babies learn before birth

Historically accurate versions of Disney princesses Pocahontas is pretty much topless, so this isn't safe for work!

Why Evangelicals Need to Observe Lent

Lent 101 

Monday, February 2, 2015

28 week update

27 weeks, 3 days at Starr's Mill on 1.24.15

As of January 28, I'm in the third trimester. We had our 28 week appointment the following day. I passed my glucose challenge test, so there's no gestational diabetes! I also had an ultrasound due to a low lying placenta detected on the 20 week anatomy scan. We were able to see that Hudson was in position for birth and that the placenta has indeed been pulled upward. We were very happy with all the good news we received!

I'm still feeling really well. I've had no real swelling, acne, or fatigue yet. My hands were a bit swollen yesterday at church, but it subsided quickly and hasn't come back yet. I've been having a little heartburn, but it's impossible to predict what will do it. A banana might set me off, but the jalapeƱo ranch dressing on my salad may not. 

I'm also starting to have some mood swings, too. Trevor washed our sheets and mattress pad one night this past week, but the mattress pad came out of the dryer at 10 pm still wet. I definitely burst into tears and said I just wanted to go to sleep. It's been a few little things like that lately. I just keep praying that I won't have a swing like that at work. My students would eat me alive if they thought they had made me cry!

If you turn your head and look closely, you can sort of see his cute little face!
Hudson is now kicking away regularly. Most of his kicks these days can be easily felt by a hand on my belly, and last night, we were able to see him moving around. My whole belly was shaking off and on for about five minutes as he got settled in for the evening. In the mornings, I usually feel Hudson on my left side, kick boxing with the mattress when my alarm clock rings. We got to see just a bit of his face on the ultrasound last week, and he is definitely starting to have some chubby little cheeks! He had a hand up by his face and his eyes were closed. On Saturday morning, I was up before Trevor, and I saw that Trevor had his left hand up over his eye, just like Hudson had done on his latest sonogram. Hudson is definitely going to be just like his dad!

The nursery is almost ready. We just need a rocking chair and some decorations on the walls. I think I'll be spending some quality time on Pinterest this week and in my craft room this weekend to get something done. We sort of cobbled together our nursery design from a few different stores, so there wasn't really any decor that we could buy to match our nursery. Once I get some decorations up on the walls, I'll be sharing some pictures here.

These next few weeks will be super busy for us. There are lots of gatherings and celebrations coming up, including our first baby shower! Hudson's first friend, Reagan, was born on Super Bowl Sunday, so we are excited to go meet her soon. Her parents are our sweet neighbors and community group friends, Jeremiah and Stacy. With all that is coming our way, I'm certainly praying that I can keep the third trimester fatigue and pains away as long as I can!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday 5: January 9, 2015

1. Did you see Lilly Pulitzer is coming to Target? Oh, be still my heart! The line debuts April 19, right before Hudson's due date. I think some cute new clothes might be the perfect post-delivery pick me up.

2. We R Memory Keepers announced their Fuse tool this week, which lets you "weld" pockets into plastic page protectors or combine pockets for a flip book or water fall effect.

3. I loved this brief post from (Yes, pun intended!)

4. I'm saving up for this darling "cat lady" bundle from Studio Calico's new SevenPaper line.,

5. I'm currently addicted to I wish I had caught onto this website years ago, but I always thought it was just baby stuff! Now that I'm having a baby, I came back, and I found that there is SO much more!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year's Resolutions for 2015

We might be a week into the new year, but I still wanted to share my resolutions for 2015. I'm keeping it short and simple this year. I just don't think I have the time or energy to do anything major this year. So instead, I chose a few projects to work on and a few habits I'd like to form. Ideally, the projects will be finished before I start my maternity leave in mid-April, and the habits will be well-established before Hudson arrives a few days later.

1. Daily Bible Reading

I'm using the YouVersion app to help me keep this goal. I've chosen a few reading plans so that I spend about 20-30 each day reading Scriptures and devotionals. I'm really enjoying the balance between having a plan and having some variety. Currently, I'm reading an Overflow devotional from Hillsong United, a study on radical prayer, a set of 100 essential Bible passages, and a one year reading plan that pulls from several difference Once-A-Day Bibles.

2. Pray more.

With a baby on the way and my life about to change forever, I need to get into a consistent pattern of prayer. I pray at various times throughout the day, but I would like to get to the point where I consistently pray at the same times every day.

3. Declutter

Every closet in our house is full of stuff. I want to empty out at least one of them so Hudson has room for all his stuff. The closet in his room has held our Christmas decorations since we moved in. My plan is to clean out the office closet, move the Christmas decorations in there, and have Hudson's closet ready for all his clothes and toys long before we need it.

4. Finish A Clash of Kings.

I have been working on this book for nearly a year. I just want to finish it!

5. Be caught up on my Project Life album.

I'll be honest. I did not even one complete layout in 2014, so I'm calling 2014 a wash and starting fresh with 2015.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What I'm Cherishing Right Now

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 12:15 p.m. because Trevor needed to shower in the master bathroom. I had slept for nearly twelve hours with just one potty break in the middle of that time. That sort of sleep has been rare since I hit the second trimester. Sleeping like that was simply glorious.

I won't be able to do this when Hudson arrives.

Last night, I went to Publix by myself, without a list, and just wandered the store, picking up whatever looked yummy and figuring out what we would eat for the week as I went. I utterly failed at making a plan as I went, and I ended up having to make another trip to the store again tonight.

I won't be able to do this when Hudson arrives.

Tonight, I went to Babies R Us to pick up gifts for a couple baby showers I'll be attending in the next few weeks (yes, all of us are having babies at once, it seems). I spent 45 minutes wandering the store, and unsatisfied with what was left on my friend's registry, I went to Carter's to pick up a clearance outfit to round out her gift. While I was there, I noticed they had BOGO 50% off shoes next door at Shoe Carnival, so I popped in there for a good hour and walked out with three new pairs of flats for work.

I won't be able to do this when Hudson arrives.

When I got home from shopping, I played Candy Crush on my phone for awhile while Crookshanks snuggled on my lap. I'm cherishing these nights when he can jump on and off my lap whenever he pleases, with no baby crying for my attention or already occupying my lap.

I won't be able to do this when Hudson arrives.

Though we planned this pregnancy and very much wanted this child, I am so cherishing these last few months of freedom before we meet him. I'm doing my best not to wish away this time, to truly enjoy feeling his little wiggles at night. This stage won't last long - I've really only been able to feel him moving for a few weeks. Once he joins the outside world, I'll have him home with me for eighteen years. While I can't wait to see his face or hold him, each time I feel him kick, I know...

I won't be able to do this once Hudson arrives.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

24 Weeks!

As of New Year's Eve, Hudson is viable! Medical personnel can save him if he would be born after this point. It certainly wouldn't be easy or ideal, but I take a lot of comfort in knowing we have hope now. His lungs will be developed enough for him to breath on his own when he reaches 27 weeks. That will be January 21. I will be so excited when we reach that milestone.

Hudson is now over a foot long and weighs more than a pound. He's becoming more and more active each day. He is still most active overnight, so unless I'm waking up at night, I don't feel him that much. I was able to feel him really stretch out a couple days ago - a few little kicks along my right side and some little flutters just above and far below my belly button. I can only imagine that he was lying in a transverse position and stretched out his arms and legs as far as they could go. It was pretty amazing to feel him moving in so many spots at once. I can't imagine how those expecting twins must feel.

I am still feeling really well. I did catch a cold while I was in North Dakota this past week, though. It was pretty miserable until I found out I could take Robitussin that doesn't contain alcohol. It made a huge difference in my comfort level. I am still coughing a lot, but I am feeling loads better now that I am home in my own bed. 

Our next checkup is Wednesday. We will actually be at 25 weeks at that point, but my schedule and the midwives' schedules didn't match up during the holidays. This will be a fairly brief appointment, but our 28 week appointment will be fairly lengthy. I'll have the glucose challenge for gestational diabetes, complete my FMLA paperwork with the midwife, have an ultrasound to check my placenta (the anatomy scan showed a partial placenta previa), and discuss our birth plan. It will be over an hour, maybe longer. I'll probably take a personal day that day so Trevor and I can work on the nursery if I'm feeling up to it after the long appointment (and gross glucose drink).

Today, Trevor and I are taking care of about a million little things before I start school again on Monday. I'm co-hosting a baby shower next Sunday for a friend who recently moved into our neighborhood, so I'm working on decorations between loads of laundry, and Trevor is getting some painting done in the nursery so I can start organizing it in the evenings after school.

Here's to a great first full week of 2015!