Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paying attention to God's messages

Last week, my beloved husband was on vacation, and was using the opportunity to get a LOT done around the house and play catch up on some of the things he'd been meaning to get to for a while. It was kind of awesome, actually - every day, I came home to ANOTHER house project being done.

One of the things on HIS list was getting my car appraised. He HATES my car - thinks it's a lemon...and with good reason. In the 10 months we've been married, I've had it in the shop or at the car place FOUR times: blown head gasket, broken gas cap, new tires, and car door switch thingy (they may have an official name for it, but that's what I call it). Yes, it's been annoying, but I have the extended warranty, so I have basically just been trudging along, and as each new thing pops up, begrudgingly dealing with it.

Because of the pending addition to our family, S thinks I need a new car - he wants me to get a big ol' SUV. He says it's for the baby's safety - which I am sure is partly true...but for the most part, I think part of him just wants us to look "cooler".

Unfortunately, when I got my current vehicle, I had JUST paid off my former car. The only reason I even got a new car when I did was because my other one was cost $1000 a month to FIX, and I decided I'd rather have a car payment than keep dumping money into fix it. (Yes, I realize I am cursed in the car department.) So, my current car is a long way from being paid off. Ideally, I'd like to pay this one off, and save up to buy a new one in CASH, if possible. I am a graduate of the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University, which means that I hate, hate, hate debt, and avoid it whenever possible.

However, since my beloved had done all this leg work of getting my car appraised and picking out a few suitable replacement vehicles, I had started to let myself be talked into taking on a BIGGER monthly car payment. I started down the path of thinking, "Well, I DO want the baby to be more safe" and "What difference would another $150 a month make, in the grand scheme of things?".

So, last Wednesday night, after test driving one of the cars that S had picked out for me, I found myself sitting at a used car dealership with a very nice sales woman, who was getting ready to run my credit to see what kind of rate that I could get on the loan I would need to get the car we had decided on.

In the course of waiting, she struck up conversation, and started talking about her son. Her son was also a Dave Ramsey FPU grad, and she somehow worked that into conversation, mentioning that he would never be sitting where we were, that he would pay cash or not get the car.

It seemed like a completely random statement - but it totally got my attention. I was already feeling very conflicted about applying for a loan, taking on more debt, etc., and then, this sales woman dropped into conversation the very name of the course I had taken that had helped me work my way out of debt in the first place! To me, it wasn't a random utterance at all, it was a little message from God, basically saying, "Stick to your guns, kid. The car you have is fine. Stay the course. Pay it off. Everything will be fine."

My mouth dropped open when she said it, but I didn't say a word. After another small pause in conversation, she went to check with the finance department to see what the hold up was (as it turns out, my last name changing when I got married had them all turned around...). As soon as she left the cubicle we were in, I turned to S and said, "Did you hear that?" He nodded emphatically and said, "Do you think that means we should go?" And so, after she returned back to the cubicle, we made our excuses and we LEFT, renewing our resolve on the way home to make double, triple payments and pay off my car and start saving up for a new one as soon as we can.

That lady may have thought she was just making conversation, but to us, in that scenario, she was conveying a message from God. In that circumstance, I had two options, I could ignore it...or I could pay attention! Today, I am grateful that my mind and heart are open enough to receive the messages sent down from up above and to PAY ATTENTION! I also know that they can happen anywhere: in a meeting, in a song on the radio, a billboard on the highway, an overheard conversation while waiting in line.

How do I know when I have heard them? When something that might seem random answers a question that I have been asking, most times without having to say the question out loud to anyone. When something catches my attention out of the blue and won't leave me alone. When I get that twinge in my gut that says "pay attention", or more importantly, "take action".

Today, I am going to work on being MORE open - because if God sends messages, I don't want to miss ANY of them!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why it's bad for my husband to be on vacation when I am not....

This week, my beloved husband is on vacation, while I am still at work. This morning, I seriously contemplating calling his company to find out if he can come back to work early.

We were having a perfectly lovely text conversation this morning - and then, THIS happened:

Monday, June 18, 2012

An incredible gift from my mother - and an apology to her

Over the weekend, in an attempt to start to get the soon-to-be baby's room, I started to try to clear out some clutter from the closet in that room. One of the boxes in the closet was marked "Photographs", in my mom's handwriting. I've never been able to make myself go through the box, mostly for fear of what I would discover in there or how emotional it would make me.

I have been missing my mom like crazy lately - I've really wanted to talk to her about her experience being pregnant and what it was like to be a new mom. She's been gone for 12 years as of next month - and these days, I miss her more than ever.

My mother was an incredible woman - and a fantastic mother. If I am half of the mother that she was, I will be happy. So, it shouldn't have been a surprise to find what I did in the box in the closet.

In a word, I found EVERYTHING. Every report card, note from a teacher, program from a play or musical, my acceptance letter to college, every Mother's Day card. She kept everything. I was sobbing while going through it, just amazed at the collection. One of the other things she kept was a series of apology notes that I had written her over the years for my bad behavior - this is my favorite:
It was a good little bit of comic relief during an emotional experience. I can just picture her laughing as she read it - either at my attempt at spelling "tantrum" or my assurance that I would never throw one again in "pubic".

While finding that little gem was fabulous, the absolute best item in the entire box was a spiral notebook that I didn't recognize. It wasn't something I had used in school, so I wasn't sure why it was in with all of the other papers...until I opened it. When I did, the tears started flowing again.

The first page read, "Dear Baby,", and what followed was a series of letters that my mom wrote to me while she was pregnant, and all through my first birthday. She described her experience of being pregnant, her labor, and what it was like to be a mom for the first time throughout my first year. Everything that I have been wanting to ask her - she answered.

All these years later, my mom found a way to reach out and comfort me and give me an incredible gift. I am forever grateful for the journal she put together, and I will be doing the same thing for my future child. Even if I am still around when he or she is ready to start having children, I know it's something that will be treasured.

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Ultrasound Pictures - to be or not to be?

As of today, I am 200 days pregnant - or 28 weeks, and 4 days, but who's counting? :)

We tried to get new pictures of the baby yesterday at another 4D ultrasound, so that we could share those...but this little one is as stubborn as S and I put together! He or she was nestled in to a comfy spot, and wouldn't turn around for anything. I had even loaded up on some sugar (cookie and sweet tea) before the appointment, just to try to make sure that we could see something more than we did last time.

My sweet mother-in-law and sister-in-law came from over an hour away to be there in person to see the little one...and no dice! I felt awful! My MIL did try to be sneaky and find a way for some alone time with the ultrasound tech - but luckily S was paying closer attention than I was and diverted her out the door before she could try to get the low down.

We are going to try one more time - July 3rd, and other than that, we will just have to wait until our big day to actually get a glimpse of the sweet face!

In the meantime, here's a couple of pictures of me these days:

In the studio - 28 Weeks, 4 Days along

I took the baby to the zoo - and we fed the giraffes!

Relaxing at home with Chelsea (she still has a little room on my lap!) and Bama at my feet

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How I Know My Husband Loves Me

Have you ever heard of Dr. Gary Chapman's "5 Love Languages"? It changed the way that I look at how to give and receive love in a relationship. I used to think that the only way to know if someone loved you was if they actually SAID the words "I love you", and said them often. I often wondered why it didn't feel as good as I wanted it to feel, or certainly wasn't sustainable in the long term.

According to Dr. Chapman, there are 5 different ways that we can feel special or make someone we care about feel special: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

As it turns out, hearing the words "I love you" isn't my best love language. After taking a quiz that my therapist gave me, it turns out that I am a girl that likes "Acts of Service". From www.5lovelanguages.com, here's what that means: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

After learning that this is my love language, S set about learning how to SHOW me he loves me - and has become FLUENT in "Acts of Service".

This morning, he woke up early to make me breakfast while I was in the shower. This is even more astounding if you know him at all. He is a man that cherishes his sleep, and needs a lot of it. So, the fact that he did this spoke volumes about how much he loves me.

This week, when I was out at a meeting, he cleaned the whole house so that it would be clean when he went on a short business trip, and to top it off, he left me a love letter on the nightstand so that I would see it when I went to sleep.

This month, he sat down and put together a household budget in a fancy spreadsheet for us. I'd been suggesting for a while for us to get on a budget - but hadn't made any of the effort myself to move us in that direction. So, now, prominently displayed on our refrigerator is our household budget.

Does a sandwich, a clean house, and a budget tell YOU that someone loves you? If not, maybe you have a different language than I do. S's is "Physical Touch", so it's my job to make sure that I reach out and give affection as much as possible. Is it a bad thing that we have different love languages? Absolutely not! The only important thing is that we know what the other one needs - and provide it to the best of our ability!

Lately, I had been feeling pretty gross and unlovable - which is par for the course with a lot of pregnant women. But now that I am paying attention to what S is DOING, I know, without a doubt, that S loves me - because he is speaking my language, loud and clear.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Quickie Gratitude List

It's been a while since I posted a gratitude list, so I wanted to make sure to do one today. Always a great tool to turn my grumpy attitude around. It doesn't have to be fancy, or even take that long...the point is just to DO it.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Taking a few minutes to actually sit down and do a gratitude list
- A clean house that I didn't have to clean (what an awesome husband I have!)
- A lovely weekend with my dad and his wife
- My Boppie pregnancy pillow thing - I don't know how I would sleep without it!
- Baby furniture being ordered

Dear God, thank you for the many blessings I have in my life - both those listed, and the ones that I am taking for granted by not listing them. Please keep an eye on __________ - there are lots of us concerned about her, and we need some serious backup. Also, if it by Thy will, could you give me some clarity about what I am supposed to do about _________. I feel nudged in a certain direction, but I want to make sure that's not just me interpreting what I WANT to hear. Please protect and comfort my friends and family, near and far, and show me where I can be of service. Amen.

Friday, June 8, 2012

How honest is YOUR toddler?

I can't stop laughing at this blog I've recently found: Honest Toddler. S's uncle Wayne told me to follow HT on Twitter - which I have - but the blog is just hilarious. I am sure I will eat those words after I actually have this baby, but the posts make me belly laugh (which shakes the baby around a bit too...hope he or she is digging the ride!).

Here's the one from this week that made me laugh the hardest:


Look mom. I can tell from the way you haven’t looked me in the eye since fetching me from my crib well before dawn that you’re upset about last night. Waking up every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours isn’t easy for me either.

In my defense, my blanket really did keep coming off, I was thirsty, and…I can’t remember the other reasons, but I’m sure they were equally valid.

There was at least one nightmare. I was in a strange house. I knew it wasn’t ours because the dishes were washed and your hair wasn’t everywhere.

I do want to thank you for bringing back the 3AM milk that you worked so hard to get me off of. It was delicious and instrumental in helping me wake up soaked in urine at around 4. Can’t wait to have it again forever.

You seem tired and short tempered this morning which is why I felt more comfortable writing this than having a face-to-face. Can I get you anything? A cup of coffee? While you’re up please bring me a sippy cup of juice and some unbroken crackers. Oh that’s right. We don’t have crackers… I recall you saying that around 1:15. That’s OK. Why keep the house stocked with my favorite foods? I’m sure we have two kinds of wine though. But that’s fine.

Anyway I wanted to thank you for changing my pajamas and throwing that towel down on my pee pee sheets. I noticed you didn’t open your eyes once (weird). It’s also OK that you didn’t actually change my sheets. I find the faint smell of ammonia comforting. Love means doing things halfway.

I mean, I know another mother or a grandma might have removed the soiled sheets and replaced them with freshly laundered ones but you just do you.

There is something I did want to discuss now that I have your attention. It’s none of my business what goes on between you and father after I go to bed but if you could just throw on a robe before coming into my room, that’d be awesome. I think you should definitely rock what you’ve got but angry nude lumbering zombie isn’t your best look. I want to be honest.

This seems like as good a time as any to bring up the possibility of reintroducing cosleeping. I can’t promise I won’t judo kick you to the face like I used to but at least one of us will get a good night’s sleep and isn’t that what matters?

Anyway. I hope this note brings you some comfort. You really do look awful. Maybe you’d feel better if you made us some breakfast?

love and hugs,

your HT

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A letter I wish I had written to my future daughter

For a long time, I have despised the "reality" dating show called The Bachelor (and all of the other related "reality" shows). I am not alone. I wish I had written this letter that I saw at Whimsy-Ma-Blog by Janice. I am definitely going to keep this around for my future children.


Letter to my daughter after watching The Bachelor

My sweet Belle,

I sat and watched a show the other night where a roomful of beautiful women competed with one another for the love of a man. I watched the drama as they quarreled, manipulated, flirted, cried and triumphed, but all I could think about was you. I saw your fresh face smiling at your baby brother, heard your silly giggle as you told Daddy a joke and felt the weight of your head as you laid it sleepily on my shoulder.

I know your two-year-old mind dismissed everything I told you that night so I wanted to write it down for you. Because someday, Lord willing, you will be old enough to listen and you will be wading through all the confusion that the world will toss at you about these things. Things like beauty, strength and love.

So, my precious girl, here are the things I desperately want you to know.

1. The most beautiful women in the world look ugly when they are mean. Beauty is complex. It involves your hair and skin and eyes, but all of those things are just a shell. That shell is transparent and I promise you that whatever you fill it with will be perfectly clear for the world to see.

Your eyes will always be beautiful when they look kindly at someone. You will have lovely lips whenever they smile a genuine smile. And your nose? Well, noses are tough. You either have a good one or you don't. Luckily for you, yours is adorable.

If you cultivate goodness and kindness and wisdom and strength then not only will that beauty shine out of you but you'll find that you breathe joy and beauty into the lives of those around you.

But if the most beautiful woman on earth lets herself be filled with jealousy and hatred, she will look like a troll.

2. No one, in the history of the world, has done anything out of jealousy and made it look good.
You'll be jealous a lot, sweetheart. Trust me. You'll be jealous of other girls shoes or hair or elbows. You'll be jealous of their friends, their boyfriends, their poise, their intelligence, their humor. (Maybe even of their mother, just don't tell me about it if you are.) You'll be jealous of people you've never met and people you love dearly.

When you focus on that thing that some other person has you stop caring about them at all and only care about the thing. Jealousy will make you act like a child because it is an utterly selfish feeling. Trust me, whatever you do or say when you are driven by jealousy will make you look like an idiot.

So be on your guard against it. When you see jealousy sneaking around (and you will) take a little time to be grateful for the things you do have. And if you can't come up with anything, call me. Because I can see that you have so much beauty and strength and wonder in you that it makes my heart ache and I'd be happy to tell you all about it.

3. Don't confuse SELFISHNESS with STRENGTH
Some of these women said terrible things to each other then defended themselves by tossing their pretty hair and saying, "I'm just being honest. I have to say what I feel."

Well here's a little nugget of wisdom for you, sweetie. Not everything you feel is worth saying. There will be plenty of times when you will have emotions tumbling around inside of you like a litter of puppies on crack. Some of them will be worthwhile but some will be stupid and you should do your best to send them packing.

You'll meet plenty of girls who don't agree with me. They'll claim it is strength of character to blurt out any thought that crosses their mind regardless of who will be devastated by it. But honey, a woman of strong character has the wisdom to shut her mouth until she's thought for a moment about what she's feeling to decide whether it's an emotion that she wants to own, an emotion that makes her into the woman she wants to be or one of those emotions that she should look square in the eye and say, "Yer outta here. You and the hormonal horse you rode in on."

4. Love
This one is a bit complicated, honey. You'll spend a lot of time looking for it and thinking about it and being jealous of it. It doesn't come in the same way all the time and it often ends up looking different than you thought it would.

But I will tell you one thing. If your hunt for love begins with manipulation, jealousy and games, it's going to have a very hard time finding its way to a happy ending. Real love will start when you find someone, get to know him, and you guys spend time being kind to each other.

And if you do it the right way, with the right kind of boy, it will involve a lot less drama than Hollywood says it should and a lot more happiness.

Oh, and one more thing the show made me want to tell you: If there is every a boy who you are - I was going to say "kissing" but the thought of you kissing boys will probably give your dad a stroke, so lets go with - rollerskating with and he is openly rollerskating with several other girls. Like six...or seven...dozen...other girls, STOP ROLLERSKATING WITH HIM.

This is not the type of boy that makes a good skating partner. Someone who's really fun to rollerskate with will like you because he sees what an amazing girl you are. He'll never ask you to prove to him that he should pick you over a dozen other girls. He'll be smart enough to know you're the greatest thing he'll ever find.

The only reason you should ever even go near the guy again is to point him out to your big brother so he can kick his #**. No, forget getting your big brother. You do it yourself. Go straight for his...ankles. Those two-timin' rollerskatin' ankles.

I love you, my darling girl. Go back to playing with your trains. We'll chat again about all this in a decade or so.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The deal I was willing to make to find out the sex of the baby

We went yesterday to TRY to get a glimpse of the little one - but he or she was stubborn and wouldn't move his or her arm out of the way. This is the best shot we were able to get!

We tried for several minutes, with me in several different positions, hoping that it would convince the little one to move enough so that we could see his or her face...but alas, NO LUCK!

They said we could come back next week for another try - so, next week, I'll eat a cupcake or something first to make sure the little one is all hopped up on sugar and MOVING!

We are on the home stretch - around 13 weeks to go! Of course, because we are both tall, this little one isn't exactly so little. He or she is already tracking about 2 weeks ahead of schedule in height and weight....YIKES!

Steven is staying strong with his resolve not to find out the gender of the baby - but mine is crumbling. After seeing his or her face (or a part of it, anyway), I want to know if it's a boy or girl!! I tried everything I could to convince Steven that we should just go ahead and find out. I even offered to change teams...to become an Alabama fan instead of my current status as an Auburn fan (he's diehard, as is his entire family!), and THAT wasn't enough. I guess we will just have to wait and see...

UNLESS, I can get his MOM to convince him. We invited her to come with us next week when we try again. Hopefully, between her influence and mine, we can get him to change his mind!

Monday, June 4, 2012

5 Second Rule?

As I expand further and further forward, I must also be developing a hole in my lip...or a dribbling problem. At pretty much every meal, I drop SOMETHING on myself. Here's the REAL problem: I don't just drop food ON my shirt, I drop food DOWN my shirt.

So, my question is this: Is there a 5 second rule for food that you drop down your shirt? I have heard it for food you drop on the floor, but never got any real clarification for food you drop down your own clothing.

Last week, I was at my favorite Mexican restaurant and because of the time I was there, I was the ONLY person in the whole restaurant. So, when I inevitably dropped a chip down my shirt, it never occurred to me NOT to go in there and get it. Otherwise, I just had to sit there with a chip down my shirt, and that wouldn't be very comfortable, now, would it?

When I looked up after retrieving the dropped chip, I realized that all four of the men that worked there were looking in my direction. I just meekly smiled, and held up the chip - and then, dipped it in my salsa and ate it. They quickly returned to their work, but they wouldn't make eye contact with me for the rest of the meal.

So, it got me thinking - did I make a faux pas? Is there a 5 second rule with regards to dropping food down my own shirt??