Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blessings from the Lord, Not Obstacles to Living the American Dream

I just read this great blog post at Passionate Homemaking. If you read it, it pretty much sums up how I feel about having a family. In short, I'll have as many kids as I want and not have the attitude that they are somehow hindering my pursuit of the American Dream of having a big fancy house, money, new car, money, career, money, designer clothes, money, you get my drift. My American Dream is to raise a houseful of kids that grow up to love and serve the Lord, to grow closer to my husband every day instead of growing apart and getting divorced after 25 years of marriage when the kids are out of the house, to be content with my used car, hand-me-down clothes, and clearance rack everything else, and most importantly to live my life with purpose, fulfilling the plans that God has for me instead of pursuing ME and the things that I want.

Two people at work have literally said, "You can't afford to have more than two kids". My flesh wants to be hateful and respond with some snappy remarks about priorities and such, but that's probably not the best way to handle the situation. But that's the attitude of society today. They say that kids are too expensive, they are too time-consuming, they are exhausting, they are too demanding. "What if I can't afford to buy them all new clothes for school? I want my kids to have everything their hearts desire." So we're just going to teach them to be materialistic and that life will hand them everything they want exactly when they want it? Reality check! Life doesn't work that way. Sure, it's nice to be able to buy things that you want and there's nothing wrong with that, but there's also more to life than THINGS. And sure, I imagine that kids are expensive, time-consuming, exhausting and demanding at times, but they are also a BLESSING. They are our future, our heritage, they capture our hearts from the instant that little stick shows two lines.

I choose to have the attitude that I'm going to enjoy motherhood and not let it pass by before I realize that I've taken it for granted. Our journey to parenthood seemed like it took forever, although I realize now that we are so fortunate. I want to live my life with purpose and to take pleasure in the small things. I want our home to be peaceful, a place of refuge, of hope, of love and laughter, of growth, exploration, unity. I'm so excited about the plans that God has for our family, even though I don't know details yet. I'm just standing on His word that His plans are good and His ways are higher than mine. No American Dream can compare to that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

20 Week Ultrasound

On Tuesday, we went to the doctor for our 20-week ultrasound. I'm halfway through this pregnancy already...could someone please tell me where time has gone?! It was such a blessing to watch the ultrasound technician type the word "normal" into every category that she checked during the anatomy scan. Head, heart, kidneys, bladder, diaphragm, spinal column, placenta, brain, everything was in place, functioning, growing, just as God designed it to. That's an answered prayer. Here's the latest look at our precious baby girl!


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She was moving her arms up and down and it looked like she was smiling at us! Granted, at 20 weeks, she still doesn't quite look human in the 3D ultrasound; head on she looked scary, but from this angle, she looked cuter, lol.

I went out to breakfast with a dear lady from church this morning and she gave me the cutest outfit from DaySpring for Natalie. I literally cannot wait for her to wear it.

It says, "Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens". LOVE!!! And another dear friend gave me my baby shower gift a little early today...our first cloth diapers! I'm so excited it's ridiculous. Two FuzziBunz all-in-ones and a pack of newborn prefolds! I showed them to Alex and he kind of just raised an eyebrown and said, "Hmmm", but at least that's better than a, "Good luck with that," or something smart. It's so much fun to receive gifts for Natalie. My lifelong friend, Boo, sent her a super cute polar fleece jacket this week for when she's a little older. It's like Christmas around here! I've got to get in that giving spirit and figure out what to do for a baby shower later this month. There are way too many cute baby craft ideas out there! Hope you're enjoying this beautiful weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken a Pan!

Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, or maybe it's because I've been making the same dinners for the past two and a half years, but I couldn't take anymore of the same old foods. The thoughts of eating some of our "old faithfuls" practically brought back the morning sickness. I've tried four new recipes in the last week and a half when, until now, I hadn't tried a single new recipe in months. Granted, some weren't anything special or glamorous (french bread pizza, my first pregnancy craving!) and one was practically a bust (homemade chicken alfredo), but tonight, attempt numero quatro, was a winner!!!! Makes me wanna yell, "Winner, winner, chicken dinner"! Or not....but you see how excited I am about finding a new recipe that is more than just a "Oh, that was ok for one night, but I don't think I'll ever bother to make that again" meal and is actually something that I could put into a regular rotation?! Alex and I each had two servings and there's still enough leftover to take for lunch tomorrow and freeze for another dinner. It all started when a friend let me borrow this book:

Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue by Carla Fitzgerald Williams

I looked through it and found a few recipes that I thought Alex and I would both like and got all the ingredients at the grocery store this weekend. Tonight, I made Chicken Divan, which is essentially chicken, rice and broccoli casserole, but this recipe changed it up a bit by cooking it all in a pan on the stove top.

I didn't use a rotisserie chicken, but cooked some chicken breast that I already had on hand while the rice and veggies were cooking. That's one thing I liked about the book - you don't have to use an expensive rotisserie chicken for all the recipes if you don't want to. In this case, it wouldn't have saved me any time making dinner if I had actually used the rotisserie chicken instead of cooking it myself. (Other recipes would definitely be more labor intensive if you cooked your own chicken.) Later in the week I'm going to try mac n cheese with chicken and broccoli. Usually chicken and I have a love/hate relationship, but seeing how it's less expensive than steak and I currently have an abundance of it in my freezer, I'm trying to find new ways to cook it that don't gag me. Literally.

If you're in a cooking rut, pull out those recipe books that are lonely, just sitting there in your cabinet, or ask a friend to borrow one of theirs and have at it! And if you have any good recipes that use ground beef, let me know! Besides making taco salad, chili and hamburgers, I have no idea what to do with the stuff and I have three pounds of it in the freezer!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Kick

Alex got to feel Natalie kick today! I started feeling her little flutters in the middle of my 14th week and have been eagerly awaiting the day when Alex could share in the excitement, too. It's so amazing how God designed the whole pregnancy process. I mean, how crazy is it that our bodies were made to create new life and that somehow all the nutrients we eat and the vitamins we take and our dna all works together (I'm sure there's a whole lot more to it than that!) and somehow a little human being is made. Looking at our first ultrasound picture at 11 weeks and comparing it to the pictures at 17 weeks is incredible. So many changes take place in such a short time.

I've been thinking about Psalm 139:13, "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made" and Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." I'm full of wonder at God's love for us. He already knows this little girl that I am so eager to meet and get to know. With His grace, my prayer is to be the best mom possible to her and build a relationship that will weather any storm and last a lifetime. God already has a plan for her life. He knows all the little details like whose nose and eyes and smile she will have. That's just amazing! How great is our God?!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Girl Time

Today, my mom and I went to Lexington to shop for a crib and fabric for Natalie's crib bedding. We spent a total of 4 hours in two different Hancock Fabrics stores (oh. my. goodness.) and finally found enough coordinating fabrics for what I hope will turn out to be the most beautiful crib bedding I've ever seen. Fingers crossed!

Anyone who knows me well knows how um...fickle....I am about making decisions. In the last week, I think I've changed my mind five times about how I wanted the nursery to look. First, I thought about painting over the two dark aqua stripes in the nursery with pink paint to coordinate with some bedding that I'd found. Then the next day I decided that I liked a different bedding set better. Next, I decided that I hated the horizontal stripes that my mother-in-law painstakingly lovingly helped me paint on two of the walls and wanted to paint the room gray or purple instead. Then I decided to paint over the stripes with more pale aqua paint (the main wall color already). Most recently, I decided to leave the stripes alone until all the furniture was in the room and see what I thought. I'd hate to paint over them and then regret it, you know, since clearly I can't make up mind literally from one day to the next!

So...I've decided to make a conscious effort to not be so stinkin' picky. Mom and I found a bunch of fabrics with the same dark aqua, green and white as the stripes and no pink whatsoever (which will appease Alex). She's going to make the quilt and I'm going to sew the bumper and crib skirt. I can't wait to see how it comes together.

We also went to a nursery furniture store that had a ton of beautiful cribs for sale. I had looked at a million cribs online and hadn't really found anything that caught my eye (surprise, surprise!), but when we walked through the store I think I liked nearly every single crib. They are just so much more beautiful in person. This is the one we picked out (and it got the hubby's stamp of approval!):
Regency Collection from Creations Baby

In other news, our next doctor's appointment is Tuesday and it's time for our 20-week ultrasound! I'm excited to see Natalie again and make sure that she is indeed a Natalie and not a Nathan. I had a dream last week that the first ultrasound was wrong and that we were actually having a boy. I cried hysterically in the dream. It was really kind of terrifying because if that were to happen, I've already been bonding with my daughter and I'd have to kind of start all over again and un-bond with her and start bonding with my son. Does that make sense? Sure, it won't matter in the end, because I'll be holding my child in my arms and will love them no matter what, girl or boy. In this moment, I really respect my friends who have chosen not to find out their baby's gender! No chance of human error then! I can't believe that I'm halfway through my pregnancy. Where has time gone?! Gotta make the most of the next four and a half months and stop being so fickle and make some progress! Ahhhh! Enjoy your weekend!