Week 35 Update

I’ll add my new belly photo later, but for now, I have hit 35 weeks today! It’s hard to believe…. With everything that has happened since I found out I was pregnant, it has flown…

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I am ready to meet this new little guy and be done being pregnant 🙂 but I’m admittedly a little nervous about the whole 3 under 3 thing and the waking up during the night again. This mama needs her sleep! Just praying this little buddy sleeps more like his biggest brother Cale and a little less like his other big brother Gabe.

Anyways, in other exciting news, we’ve found a WONDERFUL midwife! She is a true blessing from God and exactly what we needed at this time. We’re having a home birth and I am now starting to get excited about this since we’ve solidified our midwife and are beginning preparations for it. I will update you with this whole process in another post soon.

Anyways, here’s my official 35 week update:

How far along: 35 weeks!

Total weight gain: At my appointment a week and a half ago, about 25 lbs. We don’t own a scale.

Maternity clothes: Yes, definitely! Although I have been wearing my regular workout clothes because I can’t seem to find any good maternity ones.

Stretch marks: Yes, from my first pregnancy with Cale, but no new ones thankfully!

Sleep: Surprisingly, not sleeping very well at all compared to my first two pregnancies. I’ve never suffered from insomnia, but now, when I wake up to use the bathroom or hear one of the boys moving around, I can’t get back to sleep. Mamas, if you have any advice, help!

Best moment of this week: It was paper grading week so it was very stressful, but I’d say getting everything done quicker than planned and having this morning to just rest with my family! And we’re making Christmas cookies tonight!

Miss anything: Going to a cardio dance class (I’ve had to cut this out due to a significant amount of intense contractions following it), but I still walk and use weights. And I miss my energy, but I know it’ll be back soon!

Movement: Yes, a ton!

Food cravings: Oddly enough, sugar the past few days, which could be due to the stress of grading for the end of the semester. But I haven’t been eating as much lately.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!

Have you started to show yet: Haha oh yes! Of course!

Gender: Boy!!

Labor signs: Yes, lots of contractions (some Braxton Hicks and some that are more intense) and they are regular at times (1 night they were 6-7 minutes apart for 1.5 hours). Also, this baby is definitely lower than my first two were at this point.

Belly button in or out: Way out! But it’s my 3rd in 2.5 years so I’m not surprised.

Wedding rings on or off: Still on thankfully.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, except when I’m tired, and then my poor hubby… 😉

Looking forward to: Christmas cookie decorating with the boys, another Christmas party, church and a children’s Christmas show on Sunday, and finishing final Christmas preparations and home birth preparations.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend friends!

The Giant Leap Has Been Taken

Hi Friends!

Sorry it’s been a bit since I have updated the blog. We have experienced a whirlwind of events over the past couple of weeks and we are, honestly, loving every minute of it! We had some crazy things happen during our trip out here to Bozeman, but if we weren’t having to battle through, I’d wonder if we were following the Lord’s will…

… And one thing we know for certain, we are definitely right in the middle of God’s will. 

First, while packing up our moving truck, we discovered mold on several pieces of furniture, our mattresses, and some clothing due to a leak at our storage unit where we had been keeping everything this summer. This storage unit knew about this leak, but never told its customers. We also found out it wouldn’t be covered by insurance :/ 

… But then, the Lord came through again! My mother-in-law called a company called Bed in a Box and they ended up donating a brand new high quality mattress to us! Something we’ve never been able to sleep on before 🙂 We’re still working to buy some of the furniture needed, but overall, we’ve been well taken care of!

Also, when we arrived, there were a few issues with the water, washer and dryer, etc. at our apartment, but we had some great help and everything was figured out eventually!

But what has been the most amazing thing of all is that everyone here is so accommodating and willing to help. And when I say everyone, I mean the people in this area as a whole will stop and talk to you in the middle of the store, welcome you into their homes, help you find what you need, and just help this new family of ours adjust to Montana life with ease.

Lastly, we’ve really gotten involved with the people here already! So far, we’ve joined an athletic center with a fabulous children’s play place that the boys love, I’ve been asked to join a moms club, we’ve been on play dates, we’ve been to an open gym and the library’s story time, and the children’s museum, among other events. 

We’ve also had people over for dinner and have been involved in a home group at the church we are attending who are supporting us on this journey towards reaching the people of Bozeman and eventually developing a church.

We’re also preparing for this newest little man to join our family in about 8 weeks and have begun sorting and putting away newborn clothes in the boys’ room.

Also, one funny side note is that this is the fittest city I have ever lived in. I mean, even the older people, are so in shape and can do the Cardio party class I’ve been going to even better than me! It’s pretty unbelievable. 

Here’s some pics to give you an idea of our past few weeks in the beautiful Gallatin Valley! Please come visit!

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Being pulled in the wagon by the boys’ new friend Park!

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The boys’ new bedding and their soon to be finished bunks!

 

 

 

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Just 5 minutes into our first real snow here!

 

 

 

 

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Cale asked Gabe to sit on his lap so he could read to him.

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Getting itty bitty newborn clothes into the boys’ closet.

 

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Family date night at a restaurant here.

 

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The boys were amazed at the hibachi chef!

 

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Early morning story time with daddy and our makeshift fireplace/kerosene heater.

 

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Playing outside while mommy works.

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Our first week in Montana, playing on mommy and daddy’s bed

 

 

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Gorgeous views most every day

 

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My two little firemen when we went downtown for Halloween.

 

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Oh yeah, getting ready for snowboarding season 😉

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Taken right beside our apartment

 

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Our family room with our borrowed couch while we search for one of our own.

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Our new donated king size bed and quilt!

 

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Our kitchen

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First Sunday at church

 

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With my little man at church

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Working hard while Cale is still napping

 

 

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Working hard while Gabe is napping

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A morning at the park with new friends!

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With our sweet new friend Korbin

 

Hope you enjoyed it and have a great weekend!

Homesick for Heaven Yet Loving Where We’re Going

The array of emotions I have felt lately have been overwhelming for this already burdened heart…

… The questions I’ve asked God, the questions I’ve asked myself, the questions I’ve asked Michael…

For a couple that is very family oriented, this is hard.

I very distinctly remember sitting in a communications class in college and, for the first time, truly realizing what cognitive dissonance is and how it relates to my life, but really, this still couldn’t have prepared me for the immense amount of cognitive dissonance I’ve experienced in the past few months and, even more so, in the past few days.

As I was driving down the road today as my two sick and very tired boys fell asleep, I let my mind go there.

Honestly, I’ve been holding it back for quite some time.

I let my mind go to the fact that we have permanently given our lives to the cause of Christ. This means so many things for so many people. I’ve questioned why, for us, that means going over 2,000 miles away from our closest family and very much loved friends. Why this means that we’re called to Bozeman, Montana permanently, unless God calls us elsewhere. We’re not committing for 2 years or 5, but for life, unless God has other plans. Wrapping my mind around the thought that my sweet babies won’t grow up with grandparents close by has been a hard one, but then the cognitive dissonance sets in…

… And God ever so gently reminds me that He hasn’t even called us to the ends of the earth or to sacrifice our very breath for Him at this time. We even get to stay in America and still have access to family via airplane, internet, Skype, and even simple phone calls.

So yes, while our children may miss the opportunity to go on extended family vacations, go camping with grandparents, spend time with cousins on a regular basis, or grow up in the South 😉

… In the grand scheme of things, our sacrifice is incredibly small compared to the martyrs who have given up their very lives as well as the missionaries who have committed their lives to some very difficult people groups in nations where they are very much hated.

The Lord has even blessed Michael and I so much with some very special little people that we get to take on this new adventure with us. How lonely it would be to be alone on this journey for the Lord.

But through all of this, the cognitive dissonance rings out even more..

I’m excited, we’re excited, we can’t wait! We have so many hopes and dreams for our ministry in Montana, for the people there, and we already love the place, and more importantly, the people the Lord has for us to serve there.

Please be praying with us…

… For our emotions..

… For my worries (Admittedly, I am a struggling worry wart in the area of finances and the Lord has convicted me on this many times)…

And most importantly… For our ministry.

And I pray that I can encourage you in some way to follow the Lord in what He wants for your life whatever that may be…

The sacrifice, however big or small, is so worth it!

This life is not about us and how we can be served and how we want to live…

It is about winning people to the Lord…

So that, even though I may leave some of what society tells me should be a good life behind and my babies may not have the extended family around I wish they could, it’s not about me, and heaven will be so much sweeter because the Lord has chosen this insignificant family to sacrifice very little for the cause of Christ. Oh heaven will be a beautiful place where we can rest and love on all who love Him.

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A Few Steps Toward our Giant Leap!

Yikes! It has been quite awhile since I have blogged and my intention was to keep up with it, but, alas, I have failed you. Not that I want to come up with a list of excuses as to why I’ve been absent, but here are a few of the crazy things that have been going on the past month and a half:

http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=8745a6d5c04dd90687d2808da&id=06a783a023

To go along with my hubby’s description of this summer, I’d like to add a few of my own.

We have traveled to Georgia twice, several different places within Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia a few times in an effort to both build partnerships and see family for the last time before we take this giant leap in moving to Montana.

We found out we are having our third little boy and we are so thrilled to welcome him into our home in January! Despite the comments from well meaning people saying “I’m sorry!”, we are actually very happy for Cale and Gabe to have a little brother 🙂

I have been seeing a home birth midwife here in Tennessee and have interviewed and chosen one in Montana too. I’m excited for this experience and will keep you updated as we get closer to it.

One week ago, we had to move out of our missionary housing while other people used it and then we traveled to Hendersonville, TN and got to see some great friends from college and meet with a church there. We are moving back in today.

Right now, I am preparing for my paper grading week for work in which I have 72 students who will turn in papers by tonight’s deadline… It will be a long week! After that, we’ll have a few more days here in our missionary house and then we’ll head to Liberty University’s Homecoming for one last time before we head west! We’re excited to see old friends and my family as well as join in on the school’s festivities!

We’ll get back from Virginia after Homecoming and Michael will load up the moving truck the next day and he and his dad will make the cross country trip to Bozeman, Montana on October 21st. The boys and I will follow by plane on Sunday, October 27th.

I really can’t believe this is happening…

… It seems like just yesterday, we were making plans to move to Tennessee in order to be able to devote our time to building partnerships without worrying about Michael’s multiple jobs in Raleigh and now, here we are, almost 4 months later, preparing to make the giant leap to Montana…

No, we’re not fully funded yet and we’ll still need to build more partnerships once we’re there, but we’ve realized that it’s time…

.. It’s time to be back in ministry, to begin this new journey in our lives, to begin to get to know people there..

God has asked us to go so here we go….

Have a great Monday!

Reflection of “Joy or “just wait”!

Today, I read the article “Joy or “just wait” as seen here: Joy or Just Wait

Man, how many times I’ve heard the attitude of impending doom from all parents during my 2 years and almost 3 months as a parent myself. Yes, I realize that 3 kids may have been more difficult than 2 for you or that its really the terrible threes rather than the terrible twos or that the teenage stage is WAY more difficult than the newborn stage, but how does saying any of that help a weary parent be more confident in how they’re doing as a parent? I think in every area of life, all of us can stand to think a little more before we speak, myself included. It is a hard, but beautiful life and very different for each individual. Happy Friday friends and make someone’s day this weekend!

Where oh where has evangelism gone?

Lately, I have been telling Michael that, with moving so far away from everything we know and loved ones so very soon, heaven has never seemed so so sweet as it does now. Heaven was always a beautiful reward at the end of a life of following Christ; a life well lived, but not as much of a reality in my current life (I had too many things to do before that).

Now, I do understand the longing for heaven while also fully living in the here and now. There are still many more things I’d love to see God do before I am taken to heaven (namely the lost ones in our lives now and the ones who will be in our future to come to Him), but my desire to be in one place with my Christian loved ones is a beautiful future, and is an even more beautiful thing with one of my very best friends Nicole accepting Jesus into her life.

With that, while listening to a sermon 2 weeks ago, I asked myself, “Where oh where has evangelism gone?”

I have been mulling over that question for the past two weeks, and I honestly don’t have an answer. When a pastor preaches on evangelism, we all give an “Amen!” either out loud or in our minds, but yet, we walk out those doors of the church and don’t think about it for another second until 7 days later while sitting in our same pew or chair acting like we are living this life we’re not.

What is evangelism in our day and time? While it’s great that you may put a verse or Christian song lyrics up on your Facebook, say you go to church, or take a stand for conservative values, this is not true evangelism. Evangelism is openly and honestly sharing The Gospel so clearly so that all who you speak to understand exactly what you believe and exactly how to begin a relationship with Christ. This means…

…actually talking with someone face to face… What?!

Yes, I said it. It means you need to be bold. It means you cannot fear for your own embarrassment as these are people’s lives and eternities we’re talking about.

I’m not sure when evangelism actually died, but let me tell you that the apostles made that their number one priority in life, despite the risk of DEATH, not just being laughed at or mocked…

REALLY think about that for a second.

Let’s make sharing THE GOSPEL with our friends and family members a priority in our lives and not an afterthought.

How can we do this?

While I don’t claim to have all the answers and am certainly guilty of making this an afterthought too, here’s what has worked for me.

First, I ask if I can share something about myself that is so important to me. I then tell them my testimony.

Second, I ask to know a little more about them and what they believe. I want to understand who they are as a person and where they are coming from. True love of another person comes from understanding them at a deeper level, rather than the shallow way many of us do.

Third, I ask questions about them. This leads to an even deeper understanding and isn’t so intimidating as I’m not forcing my beliefs upon them, but rather seeking to truly know them. And when you ask the questions, do not have any type of rude tone in your response no matter how much you may disagree. Remember, we are all created by the God and are people made in His image.

Finally, I ask if I can share why I believe what I believe. At this point, because I’ve sought to understand them, they will usually say sure. I then present the Gospel either just from the knowledge and experience I have based on my life change and the hope I have on Christ or, if I have my Bible, I will take them through a few verses about the Good News of being in a relationship with Jesus.

They can either choose to accept it or not. If not, and Depending on who I am sharing with, I may also offer some scientific evidence, a book of the Bible, or to talk about it again in the future.

Today, I leave you with this quote from a song that I heard while writing this:

“Whatever will come our way, through fire or pouring rain, we won’t be shaken..”

Happy Monday friends!

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The Classiness of a Duchess

I am not a big time follower of the events of the royal family and admit that, while I looked at a few pictures of the wedding later, I certainly was not up early in the morning to watch it. I also had no idea of a due date for the “royal baby” and have never once, until yesterday, mentioned it on any of my social media outlets. Yesterday; however, I wrote a status on Facebook that seemed to hit a chord with people so I want to discuss it in more detail here. Here’s what I wrote:

“Let me just say that I love the classiness of Kate Middleton. The fact that she wore a beautiful classy dress and wasn’t ashamed of her post baby body (and yes, to the idiots who actually think you have a flat stomach 24 hours after giving birth, you don’t), walked out of the hospital in heels, and did a press conference all with grace… Only 24 hours after having a baby! Thank you for showing the world the beauty of a woman confident after having a baby!”

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Photo Credit: www.graziadaily.co.uk

First of all, one of my favorite things about her is that, despite how she felt at the time, no one knew, and all they saw was someone happy and loving on her baby. As a former dancer, we were taught to put a smile on, be graceful, and bring the audience into the story DESPITE the incredible pain we may have been in (and I’m mostly referring to dancing en pointe- if you don’t know what that is, look it up, ouch! Especially when you have an ingrown toenail ;)) Ladies and gentlemen, classiness is fulfilling your duties with grace despite how we feel. Far too many of us have become a part of the complaining society who likes to scream “Woe is me” far too often.

Second of all, yes, I LOVE that she WALKED (was not wheeled in a wheel chair) out of the hospital after, yes, only 24 hours after birth, not 48. In America, we have made birth very much a medical/disease/illness type of issue where we go to the hospital and are treated as invalids for the entire stay from the wheel chair ride in to the wheel chair ride out, while being monitored for 48 hours. I admit, I was the mom walking down the hall with my baby the day we were leaving (24 hours after birth with my second) only to be ushered back to my room to be put in a wheel chair (I had almost made it to the elevator!). I felt so much better walking during labor and soon following. It helped me feel more like a human being and I bounced back very quickly after both boys. And the 48 hour thing, nope, I did it once and, as long as it’s my choice, I will never again! I can’t stand being woken up all throughout the day and night for 2 days straight! I just wanted to get home from the hospital so I could sleep.

Now, I’m not here to say I could do or be what Kate Middleton is, but I am saying I love how she made labor and delivery seem more like the perfectly normal and beautiful part of life that it is and that it is not THAT big of a “horrific” deal to do so.

Finally, that woman wore a beautiful dress that did not hide the belly that carried her precious baby for 9 months. She showed pregnant women, new moms, and the media that it is how it should be to have a belly (6 month size according to most statistics) when going home from the hospital. And I LOVE that she wore heels. I admit, I have never attempted that one. That is impressive and she’s on a different level and I’m sure she kicked them off as soon as they got into their car, but she did appear beautiful, classy, and well put together and displayed grace despite how I’m sure she felt.

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Photo Credit: http://www.usmagazine.com

So, the point of this post, is to say congratulations Kate Middleton, for not only delivering a beautiful gift from God, but for sharing your classiness with the world while doing so.

Happy Thursday friends!

Yes, I will have 3 kiddos 2 and under!

I know, I know…

Another announcement?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the last announcement for now.. that I know of 😉

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I am pregnant with our 4th baby (we had one miscarriage with our first as most of you know) due mid-January, which will make Cale 2 years and 8 months when the third is born, so yes…

I will have 3 children two and under with a move to Montana in between! 🙂

I know it seems crazy and, honestly… IT IS …. 

But we are so thrilled to welcome a new sweet little person into our family in January!

We know that God has everything under control and it is His timing and not ours that is guiding our life. We know that this little baby will fit perfectly into His plans if we make it about Him and not about us.

Regardless, I may need a little advice from women out there who have 3 children under 3 and, while this may be even more rare, also work from home 😉

If you know them, send them my way! 

I’m working now to get a good working schedule into place because, as other church planting wives know, it’s not easy starting a church on anyone in the family, but I want to do everything for the glory of God and not give up what I shouldn’t or do what I shouldn’t.

Now the fun part: the company that sells the Intelligender test sent me one to try and review on my blog, YouTube, and a few other places. I am working on that review now. For those of you who do not know what it is, it’s a test that you can take as early as 10 weeks in your pregnancy and it predicts the gender of your baby! I won’t reveal too much more about it yet, but I will post the review soon and my results! 🙂

Oh yes, and we are also planning a home birth this time so I will keep you updated on that as well!

Stay tuned and thank you for the support! Happy Friday!

Moby Mama ( A Review of the Moby Wrap)

There is NOTHING in this word that compares to..

.. The smell of a newborn baby’s head close enough to your lips to kiss while watching that sweet baby sleep on your chest… all while…

…Chasing after your crazy toddler whose holding your hand yelling “C’mon Mommy!!”

It’s like all your senses completely and totally experienced at one time.

That, my friends, is the experience of a baby wearing mama and this is why the Moby Wrap is soooo incredibly important to my daily life as a mom (whether you’re a mom of 1, 2, 3, or 10 😉

When I was pregnant with Cale, I had many of my “natural” mommy friends from our Bradley class talk about the Moby wrap and I thought I’d love one, but man the $40+ price tag was seriously holding me back from that purchase. But, I’ve since learned that, although the price is $40, it’s well worth it. Or you can find one used on Craigslist.

My friend Jenny and Gwen then each gave me material that was intended to work as a Moby wrap and they got the job done, but I struggled with the material constantly when Cale was a newborn and gave it up altogether much earlier than I would have liked.

When I was pregnant with Gabe, I decided no matter what that I would definitely have the original Moby wrap as it was a NECESSITY with 2 under 2. I was given one as a gift and boy, was that the greatest blessing!

So here’s my review of the positives and negatives of the Moby wrap:

Positives:

  • Most babies that are used to being carried will fall right to sleep in the Moby and will take a good nap in it despite the chaos around you.
  • The material is a stretchy jersey knit so it can “grow” with the baby.
  • Once you watch the instruction videos on the Moby wrap website, it’s fairly easy to do it yourself the first few times, and takes only a few seconds after those first few times.

Click on the hold you’re interested in to see the video for each hold here:

http://www.mobywrap.com/mw/how-to-moby-wrap.htm

  • Having your hands totally free while also cuddling your baby is the most vital aspect of this wrap (free to do the dishes, chase your other child, clean the house, etc.)
  • There are several different holds you can use as your baby grows that will keep them as comfortable as possible.
  • Keeps both of you warm during the winter.

Negatives:

  • It is definitely a hotter wrap during the summer.
  • Unless you wrap it on your body prior to leaving the house, it is tough as it drags on the ground while you’re wrapping it.

So that is my overall review of this product! It’s a must have for all moms, in my opinion, and it comes in a variety of beautiful colors! Here’s some of our uses of the Moby Wrap:

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First Sunday at church (5 days old)

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Just getting relaxed on a fussy day…

 

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Ready to go out and chase big brother around.

 

 

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Being interviewed by our college alumni for advertising purposes.

 

 

ImageAnd at a college football game (one of several).

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

 

Are Integrity and Honesty Dead?

Integrity: a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility: an unimpaired condition : the quality or state of being complete or undivided.

Integrity… One of my very favorite words as a teenager and a word I strived to live by and “hopefully” with great work, be known by. When asked in interviews what my favorite word was or what I hoped friends would describe me as, it was a woman of integrity. I loved everything about what that word meant, but unfortunately, due to some recent circumstances, I have begun to feel that this word is dead in our current society. I read this article recently: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2012/11/28/success-will-come-and-go-but-integrity-is-forever/

…. And it got me thinking (surprise surprise 😉

Where are all the men and women of integrity? Trust me, I have known some great ones… But let’s take a look at our society in general. People, as a whole, cheat their way to the top, stepping over whoever they need to in order to achieve their ultimate goal. As someone who felt like an abused door mat for the majority of my teenage life, I can say that I didn’t see much integrity among many of my peers and, now as an adult, I witness the death of this beautiful word on a daily basis.

As a mom of two young boys, I am striving to live a life they can learn valuable moral lessons from. I cannot allow a lack of integrity to corrupt my own life nor can I allow them to be influenced by those who are killing it one step at a time. Please take note that I am in no way stating that I am perfect, but I am running the race and integrity is an important part of that race.

So just think for a minute about the definition of integrity as stated above and read the article. Then, ask yourself the question: Are you practicing integrity or are you allowing for the destruction of it?

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Oh honesty! Have you also deserted us? While thinking through some recent struggles with dishonesty, I said to a loved one last night:

Honesty is dead.

This is heartbreaking for our next generation. If we cannot trust people, what will the world be like for them? Will our children have to grow up in a world in which they can trust no one? How does this affect our belief system? How does this affect our actions?

It is hard to write this post, but as I promised myself when I began blogging, I would write about anything that came to my mind and was on my heart, without reservations, so here it is.

The definition of honesty is:

obsolete : chastity
fairness and straightforwardness of conduct
adherence to the facts : sincerity
Oh friends, based on that definition, honesty is dead… But I beg you, please prove to me and, more importantly, to our next generation, that it isn’t.
Honesty does not just mean being honest with others..
It means being honest with ourselves.
It means knowing and admitting when we’re wrong.
It means admitting that it wasn’t us when undue credit is given to us.
It means following through with commitments as promised.
It means not letting people gossip about others without standing up for truth.
Ultimately, it means practicing truth, despite the cost.
Readers, let’s take a stand for integrity and honesty. Let’s watch our lives live these words out loud.