Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Difference A Line Can Make

cheap test & expensive test say positive
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

...and just like that, everything changes.

That's right!

Come November, our little family will expand to FIVE!!!

We are overjoyed. Andrew and I had been talking about baby #3 for several months, and then after I weaned Edmund, we got pregnant very quickly. Incredibly exciting and also mind-blowing.

8 weeks (april 2nd)
8 weeks along
I would love to document this pregnancy every few weeks on this blog, but you all know my shamelessly bad blogging record of late (and morning sickness doesn't help). So I'm going to give it a shot, and we'll see how it goes.

Up until now, this is how life has been going pregnancy-wise:

5 weeks: This is when we found out I was pregnant. 5 weeks is the latest we have ever found out...I typically suspect that I'm pregnant before I even miss my period due to the super freaky sense of smell I acquire when I'm expecting. In a funny turn of events, the week before I tested positive a friend gave me 3 pregnancy tests (after I told her we were hoping to get pregnant soon). I kept telling her I didn't think I was pregnant yet! Then a few days later I realized I was late and used up all three tests--with positive results!

At this point, the only symptom I had was frequent exhaustion. I had been marveling to myself..."Is this just how tired you are when you have little kids? I am so tired!" It was almost comforting to know that I was, in fact, growing another little human, and it wasn't just my two little boys completely zapping my energy.

Not that they are totally guiltless or anything...

6 weeks: This week I was really focused on trying to stock my freezer as much as possible. It was difficult to do while being super tired and with the boys underfoot, but I made some progress. No huge pregnancy symptoms this week except for exhaustion and the first hints of nausea. It's crazy to be suddenly aware that you are caring for not two, but three little people.

7 weeks: This week I was fighting off a cold, so I was pretty wiped out. The nausea was more consistent--popping up anytime I went any length of time without eating. But it was totally manageable...eating solved the problem! I am trying to make sure I get a protein-packed breakfast to help me get a good start each day.

I sure missed my boys! Happy to be home, even though the housework is taking over! Which is why I'm laying on the couch, of course. ;)
Notice how many of my Instagrams now involve me being on the couch.
8 weeks: Now I feel confirmation of being pregnant constantly throughout the day, whether it's my strong sense of smell (which makes me want to avoid the kitchen altogether), need of a nap, irrational emotions, or hard-to-manage nausea. The morning sickness has stepped it up a notch, and I'm finding it difficult to keep my stomach full, especially since the list of appealing foods is shrinking rapidly. I am still force-feeding myself eggs in the morning, which really does help. 

Excited to try these fresh, pastured eggs from a friend of a friend!

On the up side, I hit the 9 week mark today! And our sweet littlest one is almost an inch and a half long with a beating heart...and growing like a weed. My 1st doctor's appointment is on Friday. So excited.

In this first trimester I am focusing on: 
--Drinking enough water!
--Eating as healthy as I possibly can and as often as I can. So far this is going really well (as long as you don't count our Carrabba's date last night!).
--Exercising when possible.
--Napping every day when the boys nap.
--Saying "no" to certain events/obligations in order to do some of the above.
--Being thankful and taking morning sickness one moment at a time.

Want to know a special highlight of this pregnancy? My 2 best friends are pregnant at the same time! One of them is due only 2 days before me! We are texting each frequently with "Have you eaten your eggs today?" "How are you feeling today?" and the like. SO much fun.

Ok, I'll stop talking your ears off. Love to you. I'm happy to finally get a blog post up!


Monday, January 21, 2013

20 Books For 2013

8347166986_b9995fc626_o copy

I love dreaming up a new "To-Read" list every year. In 2012, my goal was to read 12 books. I stuck to the plan somewhat, but towards the end of the year I branched off the list and read a few random books that struck my fancy at the time. This year I'd truly love to read every book on my list, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm increasing my goal from 12 book to 20 books. That's just under 2 books/month, which should be do-able if I diligently carve out time to read.

20 Books For 2013

1. The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church by Alan Hirsh. I am over half-way done with this book and have found it very thought-provoking so far.

2. A Place At The Table: 40 Days of Solidarity With The Poor by Chris Seay. We are currently reading this book together as a family.

3. No Ebb by Arthur Burt Arthur Burt has recently started coming to speak at some of my church's meetings and I was very challenged by reading his book Absolute Surrender last year. He is currently 100 years old!

4. Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias My husband and I frequently listen to Ravi's "Let My People Think" podcasts, and really enjoy them. I have never read one of Ravi's books, however!

5. Treason's Harbor by Patrick O'Brian. This is#9 in the Aubrey/Maturin series, which I have been slowly making my way through in the past few years. 

6. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Time to re-incorporate some classics into my reading!

7. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. One of my best friend's favorite books, which I put off reading for far too long. I just finished this one, and I loved it! By the way, the Kindle edition of this book is FREE on Amazon (so is Crime and Punishment!). :)

While the kids play outside.

8.  Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer. I read Tricia's book Chasing Mona Lisa last year and had a hard time putting it down. An easy, fun read. 

9. Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews. Andrew and I just finished reading this, and it's started some great conversations. This ebook is a super quick read...and the first one I crossed off my list this year!

10. Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenrider. I started this book last year, and then stopped at the part where she has you go through your home room-by-room. At the time, we were living in our tiny apartment and had just had a second baby, so the thought of doing a thorough organizing job was just too daunting. It will be much more manageable now because our house has breathing room.

11. Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams. Recommended by our pastor.  

12. A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich. I just received this in the mail and can't wait to read it! This history book was written for children, but looks captivating to me.

13. Handmade Walls by Jamin and Ashley Mills. This ebook looks beautiful and fun! The Nester has a fabulous review of it on her blog. 

14. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. I am currently listening to the audiobook version of this book. Can you tell I like to have several books going at once? I try not to juggle more than 4 at a time...ha! 

15. Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas. I have two little ruffians to parent--God give me grace and wisdom! 

16. Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchoividjian. This on Lindsay's recommendation.

17. Abundant Simplicity: Discovering The Unhurried Rhythms of Grace by Jan Johnson. 

18. Fit to Burst by Rachel Jancovic. This book releases this year...I enjoyed Rachel's 1st book, Loving The Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches (read it in two sittings), and expect that her latest will be a pleasure to read. 

19. The Christian Family by Larry Christenson. A re-read. 

20.  Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young. 

It has been so hard to make myself sit down and read lately. But I'm always glad when I do....#naptimeforthelittles
I'm excited that I've already crossed two books off of my list. What books are on your reading list this year? If you've read any of the books listed above, I'd love to know your thoughts. :)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three Holidays, Three Birthdays

That's what November and December hold for us!

We got our tree! #merryandbright2012

November 22--Thanksgiving
November 24--Peter's birthday
December 25--Christmas
December 29--Edmund's birthday
December 31--Alicia's birthday

One celebration after another...the months are stuffed with memories.

Peter turned three! I can't quite get my brain around it. On his day, he woke up to streamers in his doorway and balloons filling the living room. A room full of balloons is a day's worth of entertainment in and of itself! This was followed by pancakes for breakfast (a rare treat!).

Pancakes for the birthday boy. :) #3rdbirthday

So far it's a jolly day! #3rdbirthday

His big birthday present was a red tricycle, which he LOVED. He even asked if it could be in his room that night when he went to sleep, haha.


In the afternoon we took Peter and two of the neighborhood boys to a local bowling alley (they were running a 99 cent/game special for kids)...he loves to bowl! Cracks me UP to hear him talking about strikes and gutter balls. He thinks the bowling balls are all kinds of cool and loves picking out which color ball he's going to use when it's his turn. And I get a kick out of watching him in a pair of tiny bowling shoes! Guess I need to brush up on my bowling skills if I'm going to keep up...

Daddy and his boys at the Bowling Alley...typical attempted photo here, with Edmund looking like he wants down and Peter distracted with a balloon.

We concluded the day with a pizza dinner and elmo cupcakes. Yes, this is the second year in a row of Elmo birthday cupcakes, but that was the birthday boy's request! Our sweet friends Chad and Diana joined us (they are Peter's personal favorites), and there were lots of laughs, some presents, and plenty of sugar.

Coming along...#3rdbirthday


Of course, he's growing up too fast.

It's crazy watching them grow up. #3rdbirthday

Dear Peter, my three year old boy,

Everyday I kiss your cheeks and try to soak you in. I love that earnest look in your eyes when you're asking me how something works. You've always been very earnest, but you've just entered the phase where you ask me five million questions a day...many times the same question 20 different ways. You're figuring out how things work. You're so much like me in some ways--in your mind fact and objects have a place where they belong...it's like you want to categorize them.

At the same time, you're full of boyish gusto and love the thrill of the legos all tumbling out of their box and the echo of singing at the top of your lungs in an empty room.

Your "Mommy, can you play soccer with me?" or "Mommy, can you read this book with me?" are impossible to resist...I cannot say no.

You are learning to take care of your little brother. I always smile when I hear you yelling across the room for Edmund...the two of you enjoy each others company, and I hope that never changes.

My deepest hope for you is that your heart will be soft towards the Lord now and always. May you follow hard after Him your whole life long.

My sweet boy! Today let's build train tracks, go for bike rides, tell stories, and play frisbee!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Family Life and....Adjustments.

3 pm and the house is hushed...the glory of naptime. Andrew just woke up from his post night-shift 5 hour nap. It's only just cool enough outside to open the windows--my favorite time of year! At the end of October fall is finally peeking its head around the corner. I sip my coffee and relish the crisp air...and the quiet.

There aren't many still moments lately, and sometimes it leaves me reeling. The last several months were a big momma-of-two adjustment period for me. Edmund started eating solids, crawling, and pulling up, and Andrew started his new job. Life is not the same (better now, but different), and I was still clinging to some of the old spaces of time that don't exist anymore.

Dying to sleep, but this little guy thinks it's party time. ;)

But something has settled in the last month, and I feel so happy and content in my job as mom. I'm happy in the busyness...and content to let it be busy. It is such a pleasure to be able to focus on my family and others.

In general our family has been switching gears: from a break-neck grad school lifestyle to one that involves a job, a house, and life with two boys on the move. I'd be lying if I said the transition has been all smooth sailing (for various reasons), but it is glorious to be done with grad school. We see Andrew so much more, and the burden of constant deadlines and tests has been lifted off of his shoulders. He tries to fix a bike in the garage, makes Peter a tire swing, reads for pleasure.


Peter will be three at the end of November. THREE! We had a rough patch with him a couple of months ago when Edmund started crawling...Peter was so excited because it was like having a new toy in the house. And what do you do with a new toy? Experiment with it to see what happens!

What happens when you hit him on the head?
When you step on his toes?
When you pull him around by one limb?

Peter's intent was not malicious, but regardless, we had to go into "you-absolutely-cannot-hurt-your-brother" bootcamp. After about a month and a half of repeated admonishment, it finally seemed to click. His approach (to much of life) is still rough-and-tumble, but he's not intentionally hurting his little brother often anymore. {breath of relief!}


It's incredibly sweet and rewarding to see the little ways that Peter's maturing...and to be able to interact with him in new ways. He sits enraptured and asks us to read books again and again. He tells us what he and Edmund are going to do when Edmund "gets bigger." He plays imaginary games with his trucks and uses this hilarious "big man" voice when he does so.


And Edmund? At 10 months old I am constantly catching myself going, "You're old enough to do that?" When did you get old enough to wave bye-bye, want to feed yourself, play chase, and stand on your tippy-toes to reach something?

Lately, Edmund cracks us up when he tries to wave because he invariably hits himself in the face. And then there are his table manners. What a voracious eater! The kid can put away a serving as large as Peter's and in half the time! He thinks baths are great fun...a tub filled with water can cheer him up even if he's tired and cranky.

The boy is tall and skinny (even for all his eating!), and I love to snuggle his little self close to me. He's still so small and I know it doesn't last. Edmund's not overly keen on snuggling (too busy!), but he will laugh and play with me at the slightest provocation. He's a bit shy around new people, but warms up. Edmund is much more of a "mama's boy" than Peter was at his age.

So...that's a peak into how our family is doing. These are such sweet days, and I don't want to forget them.

One of the big things I miss about blogging regularly is interacting with all of you in the comments. Leave me one and tell me what your family has been up to lately. :)

P.S. The winner of the cookbook giveaway is comment #11--Audrey!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook: Review and Giveaway!

I am a big fan of streamlining my time in the kitchen, and I do that primarily by prepping meals ahead of time and freezing them. Since my husband is working slightly crazy hours with his new job, I have taken freezer cooking on with a new zeal in these past few months.

So it was a happy mail day when my sneak-preview copy of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook arrived last month!

Excitement over what arrived in the mail today!!! @lifeasmom's cookbook!!!

This cookbook is written by one of my favorite bloggers--Jessica Fisher of Life As Mom and Good Cheap Eats. I already use many of Jessica's recipes in my regular meal rotations, so I knew that her cookbook would be a wealth of information! Jessica is a mom of six, so her recipes are family-friendly and cost effective while also incorporating fresh ingredients (no canned soups here!).

What I love about this cookbook:

--She covers the freezer cooking basics. If you've never tried out freezer cooking, Jessica will take care of your questions. This includes everything from what to freeze, how to package the meals, how to thaw meals, and how to get it all to fit into your freezer.

--The freezer cooking plans. These plans are customized to the amount and type of cooking that you want to do. Complete with planning worksheets.

--The gluten-free list. Our family is not gluten-free, but we have many friends that are. This list is a wonderful reference for gluten-free meals that do not require a host of expensive wheat alternatives.

--Reliably delicious food. Honestly, some cookbooks are hit and miss. But I've tried enough of Jessica's recipes to feel confident that my family and I are going to quickly devour anything that I make from her cookbook!

I am constantly trying to tweak recipes that I find in order to successfully freeze them. So having an entire cookbook of make-ahead friendly recipes that we consistently enjoy is such a time-saver. Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook has quickly become the first cookbook I turn to when I am menu planning.

Some of our favorite recipes from the cookbook so far: 

Easy Slow Cooker Red Sauce -- My go-to sauce for spaghetti, pizza sauce, and more.
Cheddar Soup with Zucchini, Broccoli, and Carrots
Soy-Balsamic Burgers -- Burgers with soy sauce and balsamic vinegar mixed into the meat! Yum.
Mix-and-Match Muffins

And we can't wait to try the recipe for ice cream sandwiches!!

This cookbook releases on October 9th and is available for pre-order now. I think it would be the perfect gift for any number of moms on your list (or for you...*wink*).

Want to win a copy of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook?
Simply leave a comment on this post (with your email address)!

You may also share about this giveaway on facebook, twitter, or your blog for additional entries (leave a comment for each).


Full Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook for review. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.

P.S. Family update post coming soon!