Thursday, February 24, 2011


Amid a bunch of other crazy stuff going on in my life right now, Lauren has been hit with the stomach bug. :( Last night around 1:00 I heard her crying. I went into her room and she said she needed to go poop. I took her to the bathroom but she couldn't go. I should have thought twice about that little instance because not more than five minutes after I got back into bed I heard her coughing and then...I heard the sound - the sound of puking.

Shawn and I both jumped up and ran into her room. She was covered in vomit and so were her "guys" (stuffed animals) and sheets and pillow and blanket and safety rail for her bed. I quickly got her to the bathtub and Shawn grabbed all the ickies and put them in the washer or in the sink or wherever he could get them. We searched around the house for new sheets and blankets...a major indicator that I should have just washed that basket of sheets already. I always leave them until the last because I think we need the clothes and towels more...well, not so much last night.

After we got her washed up and in new comfy clothes she got back into bed. She said she was alright and wanted to go back to sleep so Shawn and I tucked her back in and finished cleaning up the mess that was left behind before getting back in bed.

I had already had a hard time falling alseep. My brain was just stuck on a bunch of stuff. Namely my inability to trust God and the fact that I have been trying to find comfort in all my preparations for Easton instead of in God. I keep feeling like if I just get one more thing checked off my list I will be okay. If I have everything stocked up I will survive those first weeks. If I have it all prepared then I will make it. It's been a lot about me lately and I've had a really hard time trusting God because I remember so VIVIDLY what it was like after Lauren was born and I. Do. Not. Want. To. Go. Back. There. Ever. Please.

Forty-five minutes into my mind-racing and heart-racing (I kept thinking I heard her and I was worried about her) the sound came again. Shawn and I jumped up and ran back into her room. It. Was. Everywhere. Everywhere. Everywhere. I started crying. And gagging. And crying as I held her little trash can in front of her for her to puke into. Then I grabbed her up and took her back to the bathroom. I set her little body in the sink and washed her again. Shawn took care of the sheets again. (What a man, right?) I wanted to take her pain away. I would have given anything in that moment for it to have been me and not her in so much pain. As soon as she was done throwing up she seemed like a new person. We brushed her teeth and I took her in the kitchen to get her some fresh ice water. Shawn asked her if she was sick and she said, "My not sick. My bewwy (belly) moving." How precious is that? She later told me the same thing, that her belly was moving. She also told me there was water in her belly. Isn't that how it feels when you are sick with the stomach bug? I thought that was the cutest thing ever.

After clean up number two and new sheets and getting her tucked back into bed, I went back to bed or at least back to my mind running. I couldn't sleep. The adrenaline? I don't know. Maybe it was God keeping me awake. I know I was tired, but I couldn't fall asleep. In any case, He spoke to my heart last night and for the first time in a while I really heard him. I felt as clear as day him tell me that just as He had sustained Shawn and I so far during this night of sickness he would sustain me, uphold me with his righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10) in those nights of newborn haze. Nothing I could buy, nothing I could prepare, nothing I could check off my list would sustain me the way He would. The way He always will. The peace that came over me was remarkable. All the weeks of carrying the ball of anxiety and stress in my chest went away. And I let go of my need for perfection. I let go of ME.

Of course our night wasn't over. There was yet another round of massive throw up to tackle and a sick little girl to console and cradle, but I felt changed and more prepared and ready than ever for whatever comes. Sickness, a newborn little guy who will change my life, the next step in a (confusing right now) medical issue with someone I love dearly...He will sustain me. He will be my comfort. Nothing else. What a blessed lesson to learn.

Thought you might enjoy a little picture of my darling sickie today. We've been vomit free for about eight hours, so I am hoping that we are in the clear. She is still very puny and says her belly has water in it and hurts. Poor thing!

Also, I have the best friends in the whole world. So many have called to check on my in the last few days and some even today. My friend Mandie dropped a little surprise off on my front porch In. The. Rain. Today. Homemade chicken and dumplings (to die for!), a decaf mocha latte, and the yummiest of goodies from Panera! It blessed my heart in so many ways. Praying that I can be such an example of Christ's love to others as well.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What A Man

I've always known Shawn was a great guy. But, watching him with our daughter has given me an even greater admiration for him. He truly is a family man and in these weeks before Easton is born, I have been even more thankful for the things he does so willingly. He never complains. He always makes our daughter feel like she is important to him.

We spent Friday evening as a family playing play-doh at the kitchen table. As I sat there watching my man make my daughter's day it was almost too much to take. I love their relationship. I love that he makes her laugh. I love that she loves him so dearly. I love that on a Friday night he is perfectly content to play and make memories with his little family.

Saturday, while I was being kidnapped, Shawn took Lauren to the park. By himself. His idea. That is just precious to me. He texted me these pictures and made my day. They played at the park for almost two hours and she had the most fun.

I am so thankful that he is committed. To me. To our growing family. To the role God has given him as head of our family. My children and I are truly blessed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet Surprise

In the middle of the week last week I got a phone call from my dear friend Kelly. We talk almost daily so that wasn't a huge deal, but the topic of the conversation was. Basically I was told in no uncertain terms that I was being kidnapped Saturday afternoon. She told me she had already talked to Shawn and she just felt like I needed a good stress-free and relaxing girls day out. It sounded so good. Shopping and dinner and just hanging out. I was all for it. I knew that she had "an appointment" for us in the evening, but she wouldn't tell me what it was. I thought it could be a movie or a pedicure or ice cream. I had absolutely no idea what it was and I honestly wasn't even that concerned about it. I knew it would be nice to just hang out and I was up for whatever.

We spent the afternoon at the mall shopping without strollers or sippy cups and snack breaks. It was a little strange to shop at a leisurely pace at first, but it didn't take long to fall back into that pre-kids mentality. Well, I say that but in all honesty I bought a few little things for myself and spent the rest of my shopping money on Lauren and Easton. Ha! It really is fun to shop for little ones. And, I found the perfect little button up shirt for Easton to wear at my brother's June wedding in a size 0-3 month at Gymboree for $10! I couldn't believe my luck! He is going to look so handsome in it. :)

After the mall we headed to Barnes & Noble. We were both tired from walking so we thought we would take a little time to look through the books, find a place to sit, and just chat for a while. I think everyone else in town thought the same thing because we ended up sitting on the floor and laughing at the kazillion pregnancy books. At this point I was getting pretty hungry so I mentioned that we should just go ahead to Panera (where we had decided to eat) and get a table and just talk there. Kelly kept me pretty distracted and some more time passed before we decided to head on to Panera.

When we got there I noticed Kelly was walking really quickly and she wasn't going toward the counter to order our food but instead to the back area of the restaurant. We walked into a little room and I was floored! Kelly had arranged a surprise party for me and some of the dearest faces I know were there. I. could. not. believe. it. I remember just looking at each face there and thinking oh my goodness, ____'s here. I was seriously so surprised! I was in complete shock that Kelly had arranged all of this and that these sweet girls would want to spend their Saturday evening celebrating with me. It was really too much to take in and I am honestly still not over it.

We ate some yummy food and then Kelly had some fun little games for us to play. The first one was a How Well Do You Know Jen game and Tammy won!!! Then, Cara killed us with the purse game. She had the most points by far. If you are ever out and need something, ask Cara! She is likely to have it. :) It was really cute because Kelly had little gifts for the winners and we laughed and just had the best time. 

Some of the darling girls who were able to make it:

Cami and Cara

Leslie and Tammy

 Mandie and Desire'

I didn't get a picture of Kelly or Carissa. :( I had a hard time remembering to get my camera out! 

Our group photo!

Bethany, Leslie, Shari, Megan, Amber, and Alysia weren't able to make it, but it meant so much to me that they even tried to make it work!

This shower was unique in that all the girls brought gifts for me to use in the hospital or after Easton is born! I got some of the sweetest things. Adorable slippers, super soft jammies, Tums!!!, lotion and bubble bath, cute flip flops, fancy hair accessories, the softest nursing/baby blanket ever, a super soft nursing bra, a gift certificate to get a pedicure, comfy tank tops, fun note cards and pens, sticky notes (you have to know me to know how that pampers me, hehe), and the sweetest book to read my two little loves. It was just too much! I couldn't believe how thoughtful these girls were. What a blessing and such a great idea! I wish I had gotten pictures of all the gifts but I didn't. :(

My monkey jammies and slippers from Leslie! CUTE!!!

Cara and Alysia got me a sweet book and this was the best picture I got of it. Ha!!! Mandie and Desire' look good!!!

Cami made this awesome headband. The girl is crazy talented!!! Seriously, she made a few other little hair clippies for me that are so fun!

I have to say though, that one of my favorite gifts from the shower was a little scrapbook that held cards and words from these exceptional ladies. One of my biggest fears about having Easton has been that I would experience the depression I felt after I had Lauren. I haven't really talked much about it, but it was real and it was there. I never ever want to go through that again because I felt like it sucked the life out of me and it took me a really long time to find myself again. I am so scared of that happening again. Each girl wrote a sweet card or made a scrapbook page to go in the book with words of encouragement and bible verses for me to meditate on and every time I look at it I get weepy. I know that book will be a huge blessing to me after Easton is here because I already feel like it has blessed me. I plan on adding any cards or encouraging notes I get to the book so that I can look back on that if/when I have blue days or nights. Thank you Kelly, for planning that thoughtful gift. It really means the world to me. And thank you to each of you girls who wrote me a letter of encouragement. I know that God will use the words you thoughtfully wrote out to minister to me in the days to come. Thank you!

Thank you Kelly for planning such a fun and memorable shower for me. You worked so hard and did so much and I just thank you for the little details and for getting all those wonderful women together. I feel so unworthy of the love and friendship I felt from all you girls, but I am so extremely thankful. For your examples of friendship, being women of faith, motherhood, etc. You each inspire me in so many ways.

I am so blessed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Verse #4

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What a verse to memorize, huh!? Much easier quoted than lived out. But, as I prepare for our little guy and I soak up time with my lovely daughter I want nothing more that God's will for me. If it is to be joyful, then I am going to have to practice choosing joy. If it is to pray continually, well I have a lot of work to do in that area. If it is to give thanks in ALL circumstances, then I am going to have to keep on giving thanks even when I don't feel like it. I am going to have to choose to be thankful, even when things look bleak or ugly. If I have learned anything over the few short weeks I've been participating in this memorizing God's word, it is that his word is powerful. It is not weak. It has power over all my circumstances and can give a mighty blow to the enemy who so often tries to break me.

32 Weeks, What?!


It is seriously so hard for me to believe that in eight (very) short weeks I will hold my baby boy in my arms. I honestly cannot say that I am ready for that huge life change, but I know God is preparing my heart!!!

I think I am carrying Easton lower than I did Lauren. I didn't do a good job taking weekly pictures while pregnant with her so I can't compare exactly, but I still feel like I look different this time around.

How Far Along: 32Weeks
Total Weight Gain: 16 pounds. 
Maternity Clothes: Yes, but honestly, I am at that point when I would really like to be able to wear a pair of pants that button and zip!
Gender: A little boy. Easton Shawn.
Movement: He seems to move the most when I lie down at night or if I am holding Lauren on my lap. She has felt him kick her in the back. She thinks it is hilarious!
Sleep: I am having a much harder time falling asleep. I toss and turn forever before getting comfortable. But, once I fall asleep I am good. Shawn has been kicking me the last week or so because I've started snoring! How embarrassing!!! At first I thought maybe it was just a little light snore, but when I asked him he said it was really loud and it is obviously waking him up.
What I miss: Wearing regular clothing and Coke.
Cravings: Chocolate!!! I seriously crave chocolate every day. Shawn thinks this is a chocolate pregnancy because I literally cannot go a day without some sort of chocolate or sweet treat. 
 Symptoms: Heartburn!!! I carry a box of Tums around everywhere I go because I never know when it is going to flair up! Braxton Hicks contractions. Having a harder time bending over or getting out of bed. 
Best Moment this week: Spending Valentine's Day with my loves. 

I did ask my doctor about my belly button this week. It is REALLY sticking out. Like way worse than it did with Lauren at even the last days of pregnancy. He said it definitely looked and felt like a hernia. Ick! They are making me an appointment with a general surgeon soon to discuss the plan. It is looking like I will have to have outpatient surgery about 6 weeks after Easton is born to get it taken care of. The only reason I would have to have it before is if it developed into something worse. My ob explained it to me, but I have a weak stomach so I can't remember all he said, but something to do with if the intestine sticks out and gets stuck (?!?!) they will have to do an emergency surgery with me still pregnant. Praying that won't happen!!!

Other than that, everything looked great and Easton and I are progressing well. Can't believe we only have 8 weeks left. 8 weeks is nothing!!!! So super excited and nervous. I have big plans to get his nursery finished and pictures up this next week. I've received a bunch of sweet boy clothes from friends that I need to get washed and put in his closet and drawers!!! Kelly and Desire' both let me borrow clothes from their sweet boys that are practically brand new. I need to get them labeled so that I can get them back to the rightful owners after Easton uses them. So thankful for you girls!!!

Happy Heart Day!

Yesterday I celebrated Valentine's Day with my sweet little family. I am not the kind of girl who has to have flowers or go out on a romantic date on Valentine's Day with only my husband so it was great to hang out with the ones I love.

When I woke up, Shawn had a little surprise waiting in the kitchen for me! He gave me the sweetest and so him card and a box of decaf K-Cups for the Keurig!!! I popped one of those in right away and enjoyed a really yummy coffee first thing! Lauren also had a sweet card waiting for her in her mailbox from her daddy. I am going to put it in the journal I keep for her so she can always have her daddy's words to her. Loved it!

Lauren and I spent the morning in our pj's and just hung out. It was really nice! I decided that I would attempt to make Shawn a coconut cream pie (his favorite) so I called my Meme and asked for her recipe. I absolutely cannot stand coconut so you can tell this was definitely a labor of love!

My first attempt at the pie crust was way too crumbly. I don't think I added enough water. So, I made a new batch. Then, when I baked it, I left it in too long so it became burnt and crumbly. Ahhh! (It will be perfect for pie crust and strawberries later though!!!)

I decided I would try one more time. This one didn't look too beautiful (and don't even look at those edges, how in the world do people get them to looks so pretty?!?!) but it stayed together and wasn't burnt so I went with it.

I made the pie filling which wasn't too hard. It thickened up just like it was supposed to and went perfectly into the pie.

The meringue was a crazy experience. I've never beaten egg whites until they turn into the frothy mixture, but it was really neat! I sprinkled coconut over the top before I put it back in the oven.

Finished product!!! I can't tell you if it was good because I never tasted one ounce of it, but Shawn said it was amazing so that was all that mattered!!!

Shawn came home for lunch so he opened his little gifts from us girls. Lauren wrote him a card and made him a painted heart.

Lauren was so cute listening to Shawn read the words she had me write. 

Lauren got to open her Valentine surprise from Shawn and me. She got a new Dora book, some sidewalk chalk (because I am hoping it will be nice enough this week to!), Tinkerbell the movie, and some candy. She was really excited about everything!

I had a doctor appointment at 3pm and Shawn watched Lauren while I was gone. When I got back he surprised me with the most beautiful red roses. I really wasn't expecting flowers at all because, like I said, I don't have to have them, but it was such a wonderful surprise! They make my kitchen table look so pretty too!!! It's amazing how much some pretty flowers will brighten the mood of a house. ;)

He surprised us again and we loaded up the car to head to a little restaurant he goes to sometimes while working away from the office. It took about 45 minutes to get there, but we had the best time just talking and catching up. Lauren did great on the trip thanks to our portable dvd player. :)

The restaurant was a little barbecue place and we had some really delicious barbecue nachos. They were really really good!!! I wish I had gotten a picture of the HUGE plate, but I was so hungry I dove right in.

Lauren's first Valentine...her awesome daddy. :)

 Shawn and Lauren surprised me with a gift card for a pedicure!!! I am sooooo excited. I cannot wait to use it. :) 

Then, we headed to Branson to go shopping for a little bit. We got a few really good deals and then headed to the surprise store for Lauren, the Disney Store!!!!

There were hardly any people at the mall so it was the perfect chance to let Lauren just run around the store to her heart's delight. I loved capturing her childhood joy and watching her enjoy herself so much. It was perfect!!!

This wall of stuffed animals was almost too much for her. She ran around and around it picking out new animals to love on for a minute. This is the best picture I could get of her!!! 

She is in love with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and she found Clarabell the Cow!!! Shawn and I were both super excited because Clarabell was only $3.99!!! 

Love this picture of Lauren headed out the door with her Clarabell. She looks so big to me. And, this picture shows how long her sweet hair is. Love it!!!

What a special little night for our family. I am so thankful for my husband and my daughter. As we were sitting down to dinner I realized that next year on Valentine's Day we will be a little family of four. Crazy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grammys and A Huge Disappointment

Ummmm, I know it is Valentines Day and I have a sweet post coming about my family and love and all that, but can somebody please tell me what was up with the Grammys last night? They were seriously HORRIBLE. I'm not even that old and I couldn't stomach half of the performances. Not cool. But, what made the whole experience worse was when Johnny Depp, I mean John Mayer stepped out on stage.

John, how could you? Don't you know that this look has never worked for you before?

It's not good, buddy...not good. And, although I still LOVE your music I just cannot support your new stylist. Please fire him or her and cut that hair and scary beard off.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


I'm not sure if it is the pregnancy hormones racing through my body or the closeness of Easton's arrival or the weather in China, but I have been feeling so very tender the last few weeks.

I feel as though I might break at any moment. All that would come pouring out of the two pieces of me would be irrational fears and a tsunami of tears. I feel the dam right behind my eyes when I take someone's words or actions too personal, when I walk past Easton's room, or when I hold my little girl and realize I can't hold her the way I once could. I feel it when I go to put on an outfit and want to scream at the maternity clothes. I don't know why I am having a hard time with all these things. But, I am.

I am tender.

I've been trying so hard to be thankful, even physically counting my ugly-beautifuls. But, the more I count thanks, the more tender I become. The more a strand of her dark curly hair will bring me to tears. The more I focus on living in the moment, the harder the moment is to actually live in. When I take the time to really appreciate each moment, the beauty of it is just too painful.

I unload dishes with my little helper right beside me and she happily puts away the forks and spoons and I try really hard to be there to not let the rush of cleaning a kitchen get in the way. As I stand there fully in the moment, I can't breathe and the tears appear. It is beautiful and it will pass and there is absolutely no way for me to hold on to it. There will be a day when I ask her to help me and she gives me attitude. There will be a day when I am not her favorite person. There will be a day when  she doesn't want to "match mommy" and the very thought of that breaks me.
I am tender.

In less than nine weeks our Easton will be here. And how will we do? How will we manage with a newborn in our house and a toddler who keeps on growing up? I am afraid and I am nervous and I am excited beyond words. I keep trying to be prepared for his arrival. To anticipate the baby blues I am so scared of. I am stockpiling and planning freezer food and organizing and suffocating myself with the fears. I know what having a newborn is like this time. I will not be unprepared. But, will I kill myself and my spirit with over-preparation? How in the world will I love him as much as I love Lauren? Could it even be possible when my love for her overwhelms me to this day?

I am tender.

But, I am open to whatever God is trying to teach me. I am aware that my fears are irrational. That they keep me from enjoying the fullness of God's goodness and His grace in this season. I am trying to learn to live in the moment and without letting the weight of it, the beauty of it, crush me.

I am learning and failing and trying and learning again that trust in God eliminates the fear and keeps me grounded and fully in the moments that are my life right now. Fear makes me think I am going to miss something and trust in God helps me keep my eyes focused so that I don't.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Baby Question #4

So, my awesome friend Mandie sent me an email today with a few of her favorite "baby" things in it. She wanted to pass them along in case I hadn't used them or heard of them (I hadn't!!!) and now I am super curious what YOUR most loved baby item was. What is something you just can't/couldn't live without?

One thing I loved with Lauren was the Moby Wrap my friend, Cami, so very graciously let me borrow!!! I am thinking I am going to need to just invest on one of them...especially since I will need my hands a lot more this time around!

One thing I haven't used but am so wanting is the Itzbeen. I remember having such a blurry brain and trying to record the last time Lauren ate or pooped or slept and I had crazy notebooks everywhere and a rubber band on my wrist (for nursing) so I am thinking it might be a good little investment?!?! Anyone used one?

Okay so your turn!!! Let me know your must-have's!!!!!! And, thanks Mandie for getting my brain rolling!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Help! I am in serious need of some new makeup. I tried MAC and spent way too much on it. The foundation gave me tiny breakouts all over my face. :( I am so tired of paying a lot of money for makeup (I usually use Clinique) and I was wondering if anyone knew of any good drug store varieties that I should check out? A couple of things...I have extremely dry skin. I have to wear lotion underneath my makeup or my face burns all day. Also, I don't like anything too thick looking (the MAC was really thick) but prefer a more natural finish. I would love to be able to find a good drug store brand that I can use coupons on.

So far I've thought about these:

Cover Girl Natural Luxe

Neutrogena Healthy Skin

Let me know if you use either of these or if you know of another good drug store foundation that I haven't thought of! Thanks!!!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Be My Valentine Play Date

Today I hosted a Valentine Play Date for our sweet friends and we had such a good time!

I made a really simple lunch and used plenty of heart shaped cookie cutters to make the food a little more fun! The kids loved their heart shaped cheese, heart jello jigglers, heart sandwiches, and more!

Lauren and her friend, Kendall. These two were the only girls there and they sure do have their pick of handsome and good little boys in the far, far future. 

I made little picture frames for all the mommies and I tried to get a picture of everyone with their kiddos. I totally forgot to get a picture of all the kids. That would have been a hoot!

Leslie and Preston

Dylan, Mandie, and Kyler

Zane, Jaxon, Tiffany, and Brandt

Silas, Desire', and Isaac

Ryan and Kelly

Carissa and Kendall

 Me (my chubby face) and Lauren

After the kids had their fill of food and play I got out the supplies for them to make their Valentine's bags. I went with something really simple and it seemed to be perfect for this age group! Their little creations were just precious!!!

It looks a little crazy, and it was a little crazy, but it was crazy fun!

It was so funny to watch where the kids put their googly eyes. :)

Kyler was super creative and made his into a puppet!!!

We played a few rounds of  The Hokey Pokey, Ring Around the Rosey, and I'm a Little Teapot and then we got geared up for handing out our Valentines!!!

I think my favorite part was watching all the kids run around and give each other their Valentines. I could hear the sweetest, "here you go's" and "thank-you's" and it just melted my heart!

 Last but not least we busted out the balloons. Mandie usually has balloons at the end of her play dates and the kids just go crazy over them so I stole her idea! It is a great way to get the toys all picked up really quickly and for them to get rid of a little more energy before play date is over. I found the blow-up heart balloons at Hobby Lobby! They were perfect for our little party.

We had a lot of fun hanging out with these sweet friends and I am just so thankful for the wonderful and godly women God has placed in my life in this season of motherhood!