Monday, April 10, 2017

baby #7: pregnancy update 27+ weeks

I feel so behind on sharing this update, but a week isn't so late, right? ;) With two ultrasounds and a super early positive test, I'm pretty sure my due date is ahead of my actual "date" but I'm happy to keep that padding when it comes time to be two weeks late. :)

Feeling: I'm feeling really wonderful! I had a midwife appointment today and this little lady is growing right on schedule. 

Craving: I'm in LOVE with cucumbers and tomatoes, veggies, and fruits, and when hunger strikes I eat a Oikos yogurt. Coming home from Sam's and filling the refrigerator drawers is always a treat:

Maternity clothes: I pulled a couple of shirts out of my stash and I've been enjoying the length of those.

Looking forward to: Summer and the end of a few weekly commitments! Kind of, anyway. I know the weeks will slow down in May and June, and even more so when we have less happening. But I'm excited to have some time to get a few things done before the baby comes.

Something wonderful that happened: I bought a perfect watermelon! I think the first ones of the season are the best of the entire year. I ate two huge servings in one day and I couldn't exercise that night because I was so hugely bloated. I couldn't bring myself to eat any more after that, but I really enjoyed those first two bowls. ;)

Aches or pains: My hips have started separating, and I feel it the most in the hours after I do lunges or lunge jumps. Other than the occasional rib soreness from sitting, I have been feeling great. I can tell my round ligament is stretching too!

Belly: Varies dramatically during the day and week! Sometimes it's smaller and feels high and tight, and sometimes it's super low and round! Maybe it was because of her position, or what I had eaten, but one day last week I came in after break (that day after eating my first huge bowl of watermelon for breakfast!) and my belly was a hilarious-looking huge ball! I asked Rob if it looked funny and suddenly very round to him too, and apparently it was because he drew back in surprise and pulled out his camera to document it! ha!

Exercise: Still working out and teaching like usual- rebounding after weeks of sickness made me feel like I have lots of energy again! :) Pushups, situps, and planks are leaving my range of ability now with a uterus protruding. ;) It's disturbing more than painful and I'm trying to lessen any diastasis recti by not pushing it, especially if it feels weird. 

Morning sickness: It showed up again in the last couple weeks, and I was gagging on my toothbrush all over again. :( Must have been a growth spurt? It disappeared thankfully! :)

All in all, I'm so thankful and delighted to have made it to the 3rd trimester! :) It's fun to think that it is already April and she's due in June! 

I love looking back at my old posts to see how similar this pregnancy is- here's my 27th week update for Ivy (#6):

And 26 and 28 weeks with Zane (#5):

Monday, March 27, 2017

what I'm planning this week: tasks, books, meals, and more

After a couple of weeks of not being well, I'm finally feeling 100% and much more motivated to tackle a to-do list again. :) It seems so strange that writing down a list of goals helps me get them done, but the list definitely helps and I'm always happy I made myself do it after it's done. :D

here are this week's goals and menus:

// do //
pray alone daily
exercise 6x 
sweep and mop all of upstairs
order maternity belt
declutter 3 kitchen drawers
hang curtains in dining room
hang large mirror upstairs
change baby bed sheet
plan out month of April in detail
work on upstairs threshold trim
order 2 light fixtures
get propane tank refilled
clean downstairs for guests

// read //
1-2 hours of George Mueller's autobiography
Bible daily: 1 Peter, Psalms, Isaiah

// learn //
listen to two sermon sessions from The Shepherd's Conference 2017 + one podcast

// be // 
patient and perseverant 
I have probably listed "patient" here recently, but I’m needing more and more patience as I’ve been tired lately. :) We have a couple of big school projects, outings, and events involving work happening in the next month and I need to just keep moving forward, doing the next thing. :) I need the Lord to help me do the right thing so that I can continue with a steadfast, faithful spirit. And while the Lord's working that miracle, I'm going to be praying for a sweet attitude on top of all that... :P

Thankfully, I've got Paul encouraging me in the Spirit 2000 years ago:

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

last week's stove prep: sautéed cauli rice, corn, beef, polenta (not pictured), + tea

// dinners this week //
beef + bean burritos with rice, watermelon
spaghetti and meat sauce with salad
baked potatoes with beans + jalapeno cornbread
barbecue grilled chicken sandwiches + fries
scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and oatmeal
dinner out

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

life lately: spring break, shopping, and sunshine

Oh, March... :) You are ridiculously lovely in Texas:

This growing baby girl has certainly been enjoying all the fresh air lately: ;)

And the children have been too. I think they spent six hours one day collecting snails, tadpoles, and frogs:

And then, with the growing bump (and the growing children) grocery shopping weekly is a must these days:

We really only needed fresh produce, but anytime I can get out of Sam's for less than $200 it's a good day: ;)

The main items I really went for were these gigantic cucumbers. It's been such a weird craving this pregnancy! I can't get enough of them:

Unfortunately for me, no amount of cucumber could keep away the horrid weeklong cold/flu that was going around. Zane and Noah had it, and they so generously gave it to me a week later. ;)

Life can't stop when mama is sick and still has stuff to do, but much to the delight of the children, we were forced to take a spring break after all. :)

Later in the week I finally made a special stop to find some hydration:

And by last weekend I was feeling much more like myself. We took a hike with my dad:

Enjoyed more sunshine and fresh air:

And then we snuck away on a quick date to grab a bite and this delicious Sacher torte at La Madeleine:

Ahhh. So far everything I've tried there has been delicious! I have yet to be even slightly disappointed with their food. :) mmm.

This week, it's been back to school again as we finish up our last 6 weeks of Classical Conversations. We aren't far from the end now. It's going to be summer before we know it! :)

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

morning, noon, and night (life lately)

When a friend asked me if we were taking off for spring break this morning, I replied with I'm not sure yet (since we just took a week off for winter break). But the internal debate is definitely still raging because I've been tiiiiireeed these past few weeks. :) Maybe it's the wrangling of six kids or the growing of number seven, but phew. I've needed lots of naps lately. :P 

I guess it could also be that sleeping at night is MIA right now. George Mueller advises you (in his autobiography) to get up as soon as you wake up for the first time, but on my early-rising days I wake up at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4,... multiple times per hour. I get so worried I will miss my alarm that I startle awake and obsessively check my phone every time I wake up. Like 10x per night. :/

Random bits of my life I'm sure you wanted to know. :P

Good thing you can't see my tired eyes here since we were all blinded by the North Texas morning sun: ;)

And speaking of sunlight, I might be biased but I think East Texas has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. This was Saturday's sunrise:

And this little lady apparently wants to see the sunrise too these days:

She decided to put herself down (on top of everything) when we wouldn't take her to her room for her designated 11 a.m. naptime. :P 

She didn't stay there long, thanks to her 3-year-old brother, but had a catnap in the car instead and was thankfully mostly happy during a quick Sam's run:

(I say quick- I honestly wish it took a little longer to drop $300 there... ahem. :D).

We've been going for more walks in the evenings, and on a rare occasion even Zane gives up and takes a late nap. :D (waking up in hysterics, almost every time!)

falling asleep last week

Last night we grilled out after our walk:

The kids begged to sit outside, and it was perfect:

Tired and all, somehow we seem to make it through each day. It's not always easy but when I step back and look at the bigger picture, it's so beautiful. We're all living, growing, and moving, and it's amazing. The Lord orchestrated all of this- everything- down to the very food He provided for us to eat for dinner. My mind cannot comprehend how or why He decided to create us and place us here together, in this time, and give us all these precious people to love. 

I can't understand it, but oh, I'm so grateful for all of it. I am in awe of God's kindness to me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

goals this week (march 1)

This weeeeeeeeek... oh how does Wednesday get here before I turn around? :) We've had lots of events happening over the last week or so, but surprisingly I don't feel terribly behind (though I realize I'm posting my to-do's on Wednesday, ha!). I keep asking the Lord for strength to accomplish what I'm afraid I won't be able to do, and He helps me get everything done that I need to!! I don't understand why He cares about my silly tasks and small concerns but He does (!!), and I'm humbled by how much He loves me.

Here are my goals for (the rest of) this week:

:: do :: 
pray alone
wash 2-3 sheet sets
exercise/teach 5-6x
library trip
find lost library book
clean house for guests on the weekend (scrub bathroom, sweep every room + under sofas, mop)
clean master shower
organize games in cabinet
edit project
CC family presentation (done!)
bring brunch item for Grandparent's Day

:: read ::
1 Peter
Psalms (7 chapters) + the book of Mark

:: learn ::
3 days of 1 Peter study by Jen Wilkin
listen to 2 sermons + 2 podcasts

:: be ::
gentle and quiet in spirit. (1 Peter 3:4)
I want to to ask God to help me desire to say less and remember the Word that restraining your lips is wise (Prov. 10:19). When I seem to do the worst with my words is when I fear losing something I wrongly treasure (ego/pride, favor, position, control, time). It all sounds quite terrible when you say it aloud! BUT if I trust in God, I can be silent and at rest even when x, y, or z feels threatened. I no longer have to be right, and I no longer have to fear not being in control. I want to seek God's strength to help me be quiet and gentle in spirit by trusting fully in Him and His goodness and plan.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

life around the house: painting, planting, and growing

I think I've become a certified homebody over the past few years. Home is just the happiest place to be. :) Life around the house is always busy and full these days.

With all of the spring-like weather recently, it feels like we've been having more fun than our usual February. One Tuesday afternoon, we decided to imitate Monet for our presentation on famous artists the next day:

And when it's this nice out, we like to use the afternoons as much as possible to be outside, explore, or work on projects. Right before Valentine's Day, Noah decided to use his free time to write everyone in his class a specific Valentine's note:

I love seeing how all of the children are so different, and how God is developing their talents and personalities. It's so humbling to see God taking them into adulthood in their own ways.

And speaking of personalities, these two littlest kiddos constantly surprise and entertain the whole family with their (mostly adorable) antics:

One night I came home from teaching my class at the gym, and found this- his dad had given him a time out, and he used it wisely...! :)

Ahhhh it's so precious, I can't even stand it. :D

We used one lovely Saturday morning to plant our bulbs in the flowerbed:

And another Saturday to touch up the ceiling (don't worry, I was there on the sofa for moral support):

And though it feels like it takes about three hours every.single.night to eat and clean up, sometimes we have time left to play games or read: :)

The days are long and yet so SO short. Before I know it, this little lady will be making her appearance (~18 weeks left!):

We're definitely in the days of long, hard, constant work, but you know what? I wouldn't trade them for anything. :) They are the best.

Monday, February 20, 2017

valentine's day 2017

Thank you for loving others and sharing this post for the May family! You guys are so caring- thank you so much!

We were on winter break last week at Classical Conversations so we went ahead and took the entire week off. :) I actually didn't intend to take more than three days, but by the time Thursday came, I was really okay with an extra two days off. February burnout is real. :D Though we're back in the saddle today, it was so wonderful not to think about it for a while!

On Tuesday we went on a Valentine's date! Even with a drizzly bootcamp that morning, I hadn't the foggiest idea it was going to rain for the rest of the day! We ended up driving in the storm and had to stay more inside than I hoped, but it was still fun to be together.

We picked up a cake for the kiddos the night before- they all agreed the number of cupcakes it came with meant we were going to have 10 kids- 5 boys and 5 girls: ;)

They are always so sweet about holidays- they are so very good about planning ahead and making gifts for each other. Elijah really surprised me the most this year: he drew a little Valentine as a clue, and I later found out that he had set his alarm to get up early and clean out the car before our date!! I was blown away!! He's 13, so I was amazed at how thoughtful it was for a teenager to sacrifice sleep and do that without anyone knowing or asking. It was a beautiful, sweet gift! :)

Robert gave me these the night before too, and colorful flowers make up my favorite kind of bouquet: 

We didn't exchange gifts this year- a fun date and good food was plenty enough for us since we're saving to buy a larger car in the next few months. :)

The Cheesecake Factory never seems to disappoint:

He went for the Cobb salad (it was ridiculous), and I went for the lunch portion of the barbecue ranch chicken salad (still huge!):

Stuffed to the brim, we browsed next door to the lovely Container Store and A Pea in the Pod, where I realized at both places I must be closing in on miser with this new savings plan. I couldn't bring myself to even touch much of anything at their prices, ha! :P

We walked around the NorthPark mall for several hours, and (I) excitedly found a new Valentine's memento to replace my favorite recently-gave-up-the-ghost anthro mug:

On the way back home, we stopped at an long-time pregnancy favorite, Jerry's, for a giant 1/2 sausage and green olive pizza:

And another favorite tradition- buying our newest little person a couple of outfits of their own (on super clearance!):

Gap has my favorite baby clothes- they're soft and last for the longest time!! I can't wait to see how our little lady looks in these. We're officially on the downhill slide to meet her! :) 

How was your week?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

one of my worst nightmares

What I'm about to share with you is one of my worst nightmares.

On January 19, 2017, a father of seven young children drowned in an Austin lake within the sight of his sweet wife and family.

His name was Cody May.

It's one of the most unimaginable horrors a family can face, but our Almighty God was not taken by surprise. Though we do not understand, our Lord appointed long ago that Cody would be brought home and leave behind a young wife and seven children at 31 years old. The very thought makes my stomach churn and my heart want to weep. How do you deal with this as a wife? I can't even imagine the anguish she must be experiencing right now.

I don't know their family personally, but I heard about his death the very day it happened because I'm in a Facebook group with his wife, Kimberly. We also had several mutual friends who have since testified over and over that this man wholeheartedly followed Jesus, preached the Gospel to the lost (in the streets!), cared for the little babies who are being slaughtered daily, and made six children in need his very own.

And because they had just recently moved and were between jobs, they had no life insurance when he died. Which leaves you with the awful realization: not only are they all having to fight through grief and sorrow and the terrible pain of a tragic death- this sweet woman with seven children to care for no longer has a means of income.

She is truly a widow. And her children were orphans.

And they need us, the body of Christ, to care for them. This- this- is how we can tangibly follow God:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

One of her friends contacted me last week and let me know just how we can do this for one of our very own sisters.

1. You can give their sweet family a one-time gift (visit here), or...

2. Help to share in caring for their monthly needs through a tax-deductible donation.
A trustworthy family friend of theirs set up a 501c3 (non-profit) as a way for anyone to give, from anywhere, and possibly long-term:

I know it's a scary thought to commit to a monthly gift- something in our self-preserving nature is always so afraid to commit to giving in the future. But, if you can spare only $5 a month (one Starbucks specialty cup!), it could add up to a rent payment if only 200 of us do the same!!

God has blessed many (many!!) of us with more than enough, and honestly (I'm preaching to myself here) it would be to our great shame to let this heartbroken, believing family go uncared for while we enjoy our lattes.

Would you please consider giving a monthly amount, believing that as the Lord provided for you, you also will be able to give abundantly?

Oh, don't forget His promise:

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

And please, please, will you pray for the May family?
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