jude | 3 months

Jude - 3 Months

Hello, month 3! This month has been super fun, as Jude is discovering the world around him, and totally enjoying all of it! At the beginning of April, Jude learned how to blow raspberries, and he loves showing off his new trick. Almost anytime people are talking around him, he makes sure to chime in with coos and bubble blowing. Pretty cute.

Jude still really hates tummy time, and cries pretty much the entire time he’s laying on his belly. He hasn’t caught onto the fact that he can use his arms to push himself up yet, and does a full “superman” with his legs and arms up in the air, and the poutiest face he can conjure up. I keep trying to put his arms under him, but he refuses to cooperate. On the other hand, he LOVES sitting up, and is a huge fan of his exersaucer. He’ll also now stick anything close to him in his mouth and chew on it, and the drooling has been non-stop. Doc said although we might not actually see a tooth til month 6, Jude is definitely teething. Bring on the fussy stage!

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Easter Sunday

A few weeks ago we entered into an interesting phase of what I’m pretty confident is social anxiety. People have told me that it might just be separation anxiety, but Jude LOVES being by himself and is totally fine if I put him down and leave the room. He loves playing alone. The real issue is that he totally loses it around a large group of people. I think it stemmed from the first few days his eyesight and hearing started getting better, and it was just too overwhelming for him to handle. When people would crowd around him and talk to him, he would just scream until completely removed from the area. I’m not talking about baby cry. I’m talking sweating, shaking, and the most terrified look on his little face. Because he looks so frightened every time we were around groups, we decided to not push it and give him some space. He did so much better when being introduced to one person at a time while I held him. He’s definitely turned a corner, and now is content with people around if he’s sitting in his carseat and has his own space (doesn’t need to be held by me anymore). I researched a bit on it, and most of what I read said that this sort of thing starts around 6 months, which was frustrating. But in talking to other moms, I received a lot of encouragement by hearing similar stories and being affirmed that he’ll be alright and grow out of it. I got worried that we coddled him too much, but it really was a sudden switch. One day he was fine with people holding him, and the next he wasn’t. I’d always made a point to bring him in public while I run errands, and people have been holding him since the day he was born. Now that he’s getting a little better I’m seeing that it really is just a phase. One mom even encouraged me that he’s just creating boundaries, and that’s ok. Thanks, moms! It’s true what they say that every baby is different, and inevitably you’re going to run into a situation where there’s just no simple fix or easy answer. I am thankful for the moms that are understanding and not automatically judgmental when it comes to parenting!

DSC_0951.jpgJude trying to make a run for it

On that note, can we talk about unsolicited advice? Now, this started the day we announced we were pregnant, but it seems like it just keeps getting better and better (read worse and worse) as time goes on. What is it that people think the only reason a baby would cry is because he/she is hungry? I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when your baby is crying and some random person you’ve never seen in your life walks by you and in the most condescending tone says, “Bottle, lady” and walks away. I wanted to say, “Oh, wow, thanks! I never thought of that!” I have a couple issues with this. First, just because my baby is crying, doesn’t mean he’s hungry. You have no idea if my baby JUST ate and maybe he has gas, or maybe he’s tired, or maybe he just had shots the day before. Or maybe he’s just a human and is having one of those days where he just can’t deal. Second, it never helps a mom when you give your advice to her like that. She knows her baby is crying in public and undoubtably disturbing someone around her. She doesn’t need to be told that she’s being a disruption. What she needs is some grace, and maybe a, “You’re doing great, mama.” Third, what if her baby is hungry, but that mom is exclusively breastfeeding, so she doesn’t have a bottle on her? What if she’s doing everything she can to get back to her car quickly to feed her baby? She can’t exactly pop her boob out on the spot in every scenario.
Moral of the story, don’t assume you know what’s going on, or that you have all the answers. This is just one example of advice I’ve received from random strangers. And I know this is a very common problem discouraged moms have to fight. So, if you are that mom, know you’re not alone, and know you’re doing great. It’s true that moms (and dads) really know the best for their babies. Don’t let someone else drag you down with their careless words. Maybe they’re having a really bad day, too. If you aren’t that mom, I encourage you to be an encouragement to that mom the next time you see her. Offer a smile or a “You’ve got this.” It goes a long way.

That being said, let me leave you with an encouraging word. Ryan and I have had some moving pieces in life out of our control lately, and we’ve been really praying for peace and trust in the Lord’s hand, believing that he knows what is good and cares for us. These verses have kept coming up all over the place this week, and I thought I’d share with you in case you need to also be reminded of His provision:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34 

The verses right before that are the Lord’s prayer, and the scriptures talking about praying and fasting in private, and storing up your treasures in heaven. So often I forget that these verses are all in the same chapter. The Lord showed me that everything, even learning how to pray, He provides. This means he provides for our spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. We have no need to worry for anything in life. Our call is to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. A higher call. Let’s rest in Him as we seek His face.

jude | 2 months

Jude - 2 Months (1)

2 months already? I already feel like my baby has grown up. Ok, I might be a little dramatic. But look at him! Jude was never tiny to begin with, but he is now the length of my torso, and it’s both heartbreaking and wonderful. We had his 2 month checkup yesterday, and it looks like our boy is finally evening out and isn’t the chunky monkey he was at birth anymore. He’s close to 50th percentile for both height and weight, which might be hard to believe under those chubby cheeks!

We changed Jude’s schedule recently, and he’s been sleeping 7 hrs almost every night since! Someone say, “Amen!” With the plan we’re following, his schedule was supposed to shift from eating every 3 hrs to every 4 at 9 weeks, but because of daylight savings time, we decided to move it up a week early so that we didn’t have to confuse the poor guy twice. I felt like he was ready anyway, because he was starting to only eat for about 7 mins when I would feed him and sleep for only about 30 mins during nap time on the old schedule. Now he’s back to his 20-30 min feedings and 1 1/2 hr nap times. I love this new schedule because I have more time in between feedings to actually get some stuff done! With the old schedule, I’d have to plan everything within one hour, and it was like a race. Now I get 1 1/2 – 2 hrs to be out and about, and that definitely makes grocery shopping a little easier.

Jude - 2 weeks, 2 Months (1)

Jude is discovering the world around him, and totally loving it. He recognizes Ryan and me, and gives us lots of smiles, and even laughs daily. His little personality is growing every day, and we love learning who he is. He has found his hands, and tries to stick the entire thing in his mouth and gags himself. Ryan and I laugh at him a lot. Sometimes he startles himself awake from a nap, and then scrunches his eyebrows in confusion. He’s so cute and doesn’t even know it. Yes, I’m that mom. He still enjoys playing on his back, but gets impatient now that he’s learning to hold his head up. We pulled out the Bumbo seat, and he LOVES it because he can see everything around him without being held. Such a happy baby!

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I went back to work on March 7, and thankfully it was actually a lot easier than I thought it’d be. Didn’t even cry (is there something wrong with me?). It helps that I’m working from about 5:45a-noon at the latest, so I still get half a day with Jude. I had the plan to ease back into working out, but that didn’t really happen as planned. Go ahead and laugh at me; we all knew this would happen. My first day of work, I attended a new class that used heart rate monitors to gauge how hard you’re working. We all know I’m competitive, but competing against myself is the ultimate competition. We had all our numbers on a screen at the front of the room, so everyone was able to see their max heart rate (ps. it’s different for everyone). The monitors divided the heart rate into 3 different zones: blue to symbolize easy work, orange for moderate, and red for hard, or HRmax. Y’all, I was pushing 200bpm. Keep in mind that this is my first day back. I don’t know how to take it easy. I will say, it feels soooooo good to be working out again, and doing REAL workouts. I didn’t realize how much 30 extra pounds and organs stuffed in my lungs really held me back. Thought my cardio endurance would be shot from not exercising for 6 weeks, but I guess in comparison to not being able to breathe just from climbing a staircase, it’s not too bad. Just another perk to working out during pregnancy: your first day back, you’re not as out of shape as you thought you’d be!

Overall, this family is doing well at month 2. We’re feeling like we have a routine down for the most part, and we have a super smiley baby. So very blessed. We are looking forward to celebrating the resurrection of our Jesus on Easter Sunday! Let me encourage you to take some time over the next week to reflect on how Christ’s defeat of death has impacted your life. What a life-changing victory.

jude | 1 month

Jude - 1 Month

Say what?!

How in the world has it already been a month since our sweet boy was born? Talk about time flying. I love my job, but I am already dreading the day I have to leave my little man and head back to work.

The past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind. The first week and a half I really just felt like a zombie (sorry to those of you who visited us during that time frame). It’s like running a marathon and then never sleeping. Haha. BUT we think we have really turned a corner over the past 2 weeks, and Jude is sleeping 4 1/2 hrs straight at night, then another 3 hrs after feeding him! People have told me that I’m lucky to have such a good baby, but y’all, let’s be real. We worked hard to get that 4 1/2 hrs. If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about. At 2 weeks we started Jude on an eating/sleeping schedule. The first couple of days were pretty rough, and Jude was really mad at us during the day for not letting him sleep alllllll day long like he was before. But we really are a people of routine, and that is true about even the smallest of us. Jude is loving the predictability, and has literally started waking up within 5 mins of his next feeding time (win!). Parents, if you don’t have your baby on a schedule, I highly recommend it. Save your sanity and come back from the dark side of heavy eyelids and feeding time dread. If you want a recommendation on how to get started, please contact me! I’d love to tell you about what worked for us. Of course, every baby is different, so something else might work for you better, but it’s worth a try! On this schedule, we are on track for a full night’s sleep (6+ hrs) in just another month or so! Mainly, the schedule enables me to actually enjoy Jude, instead of dreading him waking or feeding him all the time. That is a game changer. I only did the feeding every 2 hrs (even through the night) for 2 weeks, but I thought I was going to lose my mind.

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On another note, this day is super fun for me because I tried on some regular jeans today and they FIT! Celebration up in here. That moment was so sweet for me, after all the times I chose chicken and veggies over Chick-Fil-A, and worked out even harder on the days I didn’t feel like doing it at all. Especially towards the end of pregnancy, I had no motivation. I felt the size of a whale, and nothing was comfortable (not even laying down). There was no motivation to make healthy choices because there was no result to be seen anywhere! But I did it because I knew it was good for me, not because I wanted to look good. Different mindset there. There’s also an aspect of discipline that is healthy to practice even if there is no reward (I’m not just talking about physical exercise). On my own, my self-control is a joke. With Christ, I’m able to do more than I could even imagine doing. It sounds silly to use such a deep truth for the application of deciding to put a brownie down, but for me in that last month, it was everything.

I love how we have stepped into Lent right after I have recovered mentally, and for the most part, physically from childbirth. I now struggle with the inability to exercise. 6 weeks off is a long time for someone who usually wouldn’t take 3 days off! God is teaching me an entirely different aspect of self-control this season, as I’m not able to do anything in my power to control lots of areas in my life. Most obviously, physically, as I have to wait for my doctor’s “ok” before I can exercise again. But also in my daily schedule and in caring for another person. My life is completely turned around. It actually makes me laugh that it now takes me half the day to get ready, as I shower during one nap, get dressed and do my hair during another, and maybe eat some food somewhere in there. Leaving the house is a joke… I’m pretty sure I’m just going to be 30 mins late forever. Or at least as long as my child’s meals are dependent on my body. Caring for Jude blows my mind. I honestly can’t believe how much I love him, and Ryan has said the same thing. It’s amazing to see into his little life already, and recognize personality traits and characteristics that make him human. Does that sound crazy? I just get these waves of wonder sometimes that I am caring for a human being… a soul that God created and loves, and Lord willing, this soul will one day grow to love Him as well. Such a gift.

This season, I’m learning to let go of my idea of control. Self control is not the same as will power. I can try to will my way through being a mom, and just because of my type A personality, I could probably do a pretty good job at it. But inside, I would be a mess. I already feel like a mess even when I’m actively surrendering my will to Christ! I literally sit up at 3a when my baby is crying, praying over his heart, mind, and soul, asking God to bring him peace and to be his refuge and safe haven. I know of nothing else that could be better for this baby than God Himself, so I surrender his life to Him, out loud, when I’m weak, as well as in those rare moments when I feel like I’ve got all my stuff together (PG version). I want to learn this Lenten season in the depths of my soul that HE is life, that He gives life, and that He is trustworthy to sustain our lives. I’m praying the same for you as well. May you see, feel, hear, experience Him this season.

Ps. Our kid is a giant. What the heck?!

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42 Weeks copy

Introducing Jude William Butterfras!

As you can probably imagine, Ryan and I are both head over heals for this cutie, and I still can’t believe we get to keep him! Truly the greatest gift our family could receive.

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I’ve been advised to write down the birth story before I forget everything that happened, so below that is what you’ll find. I will warn you (especially if you’re a guy) that some of the details you may or may not want to read (childbirth is not for the faint of heart). Proceed with caution.. you have been warned!

No one (not even my doctor) thought I would make it all the way to my due date, but I did! Thursday morning, January 14 I had an OB checkup, and found that I was still only 1 1/2 cm dilated and about 85% effaced. I asked my doc to strip my membranes to try to get things going, because after a certain point they have to induce you (because the placenta becomes too mature and stops producing nutrients for the baby after about 41 weeks). That day we scheduled my induction for the following Monday, but I was determined to get this baby out of me before that day came (I did not think I could handle 4 more days with him inside of me!). We went home, and that afternoon I put on a podcast and walked the halls of our apartment building for about 45 mins. By the end of that podcast, I was starting to get a really bad stomach ache (ps. I went poo like 7 times that day… the body is weird…. I’m just glad I didn’t poop on the doctor or nurses while pushing during labor). About an hour later (at 6p) I started having contractions, but wasn’t sure if that’s what they were because I realized that no one had ever told me what they felt like! FYI, super early contractions just feel like menstrual cramps. We started timing them, and once they became consistent between 5 and 7 mins apart, we packed up our toiletries and gave the hospital a call.

Once we got to the hospital, we waited around for a while until they had a room and nurse ready for us (which by the way, when you’re having contractions, feels like forever). Once in the room they checked me, and a few hours later decided that they weren’t going to send me home because my contractions sped up to every 2 to 4 mins. That night was a long one. I labored for 12 hrs with contractions that progressed to 2 mins apart all night long (meaning I didn’t sleep). At 6a the nurse came to check me again, and told me the last thing I wanted to hear: that I was only dilated 3cm. She talked to me about giving me pitocin, and as soon as she said that some women stay in early labor for DAYS, I said yes. There was no way I was about to have contractions every 2 mins for days on end. Nope. It would be different if they were more spread out, but with them being so close together I was not able to get any rest, and was already exhausted from being up all night. The pitocin made the contractions more intense, but spread them out to 5 mins apart, which I thought was a good trade off. The nurse also gave me an IV drug to make me drowsy so that I could sleep in between the contractions, because she was worried about me being too tired by the time pushing came. I literally would wake up to a very intense contraction, and then fall back asleep as soon as it was over.

Once I was dilated to 7 1/2 cm the contractions became no joke (my water broke when I was 7cm). No more sleeping in between. Word of caution – this is graphic and gross. Skip the next 2 paragraphs if you don’t want to know. Active labor contractions feel like a massive, dry tampon being pulled out slowly over a 90 second period. Yea, ladies. At least that’s what my contractions felt like. That went on for a few hours. At one point I told Ryan and the nurse, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” They both laughed. It got so intense that I started talking to the nurse about the possibility of an epidural. Something to remember: pray to God that you have a good nurse. My nurse was so, so very wonderful, and I really could not have done it without her. She reminded me that my first wish was to try to have this baby without meds. She said that we can definitely do an epidural if I really want it, but in that moment I was speaking out of pain, and she really wanted to honor my first wishes. She told me that I was handling the contractions really well, and she really believes that I can do it. It was her confidence in me that gave me the extra push to hang in there. I asked her, “But how much worse is it going to get?” Her response: “It’s going to get really bad. But I have no doubt you can do this.” That is a good nurse. I’m so glad she didn’t go the easy route for either of us. She helped me breathe through it, and gave me permission to do whatever I needed to do to release the pain. She told me at one point, “Girl, if you need to yell, go ahead and do it.” Haha. There was so much freedom being cared for by her, and I’m so thankful God placed her in my room.

When it’s time to push, you seriously won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. My doc walked in just in time, right as I was ready to push. It feels like the biggest case of constipation you’ve ever experienced, times 100. Everything in me had this compulsion to push, and my doctor was rushing around telling me, “Don’t push yet, I don’t have my gloves on!” My response: “I haaaave to!”
Some people told me that pushing is the worst part of labor. Not for me. The contractions were by far the worst. Once pushing comes, you really can’t think about anything else. It’s almost like the concentration of the contraction distracts you from the pain of it. Pushing is pretty exhausting. I only pushed for about 20 mins, and by the end of it I felt lightheaded. Ladies – start working out now, and don’t stop during pregnancy unless you doctor tells you to! You’re going to need the training in endurance, breathing, and efficiency of effort and energy exerted. My doctor had me push 4 times per contraction. During the pushing, you have to hold your breath as she counts to 10… you then have about 5 seconds to take another deep breath, and then back to pushing. You have to give your everything every time, which is why it’s so tiring. By the 4th push I felt like I didn’t have anything left to give! I already gave it all to you, lady! Ryan was my saving grace in the last 5 mins. There’s a part of me that thought to myself that he’s never going to come out, and I’m just going to be doing this forever (I know, irrational, but remember that I was in the worst pain of my life and I hadn’t slept all night). One of the last pushes Ryan said, “I can see his black hair! He has black hair!” What a trooper. Ryan watched the whole thing, and cheered me on the whole time. It was his words made me decide, “Ok, I can do this. I’m getting this baby out now.” A few more pushes and he was here!

Ps. You feel the shoulders, too. Not just the head… it’s the shoulders, too. Our kid came out superman-ing. One arm up in the air by his head (as if his head wasn’t big enough… he had to stick the hand out, too). As soon as he came out there was a sudden relief, and Ryan and I both started crying. Such an overwhelming feeling to see and hear your son, and realize that this was all worthwhile. Some people say you forget about the pain of labor as soon as you see your child. Not true. I still remember that pain. Worst pain of my life. But would I do it all over again to have him? Absolutely.

Here’s another paragraph you might not want to read if you don’t like nasty stuff. Because my kid was SO huge (8lb 9oz), I tore pretty badly, so the doctor had to sew me up. Now, because I didn’t have an epidural, I felt that mess. Yes, I did. My doctor told me while she was sewing me up that this was one part people who have epidurals never think about, because they don’t feel a thing. I saw the needle.. it looks like a fishhook…… and it feels like a fishhook. Good thing they gave me my baby so I could just stare at him and love on him while trying to distract myself from the stitches. And let’s be real, he is so stinking adorable.

Jude Collage

I still can’t take my eyes off our sweet Jude-bug, and can’t believe just a couple weeks ago he was living inside of me! He already has the funniest personality, and is totally chill (I think he’s going to be a lot like daddy). We can’t believe this little blessing. Such grace.

39 weeks | awaiting the babe

39 Weeks edit

We made it to 39 weeks! It’s crazy and kind of sad to think that my last post was 10 weeks ago (sorry, y’all). Life has been full in every kind of way, and I finally feel like I’ve crossed the finish line, while at the same time crossing the start of a new beginning.

The past few months have held holiday celebrations (Thanksgiving with my family in MO and Christmas with Ryan’s here in Houston), many, many CARES events, my belly growing beyond what I can comprehend, of course, work, another trip to the ER for a kidney infection (thanks to this child sitting so low and flattening my bladder so much that it’s prone to infection), and now, we arrive at the end of pregnancy, awaiting the birth of this precious baby.

I’ve been reflecting on my experience being pregnant, and savoring each moment I have left. If I’m honest, I’m going to miss this little bug being inside of me. I really cherish secrets and not everyone knowing my business all the time, and I feel like this baby and I share a secret that no one else has been invited into just yet. I feel him move throughout the day, and it reminds me of the miraculous wonder of God’s creation. I have had nothing to do with the growth of this now 7lb baby, and yet, I had the gift of sharing the joy of our Creator by witnessing first hand my son being intricately knit together. It truly is a gift, and I think a lot of women miss out on that because we’re so focused on the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy, namely the way it affects our bodies and minds. Truly, I have enjoyed being pregnant, and I thank God for a very uncomplicated journey; even the little gifts like not really experiencing much morning sickness. I am careful to tell people that I have enjoyed it because I know a lot of people have pretty miserable experiences, and I don’t want to disregard their struggle in any way. But as I sit and wait for labor to draw near, I can’t help but have some bittersweet feelings about the fact that this little secret of ours will be over. I am beyond thrilled to share him with all of you, but I have definitely enjoyed this one-on-one gift the Lord has granted me.

We had an appointment yesterday, and though I’m only dilating 1 1/2 cm, I am 85% effaced, so the Dr. isn’t very worried about the baby not coming on his own. He’s been sitting very low for a long time, and his head and shoulders are in place and ready to go. He’s really just waiting on my body to take the lead, now! We’re hoping that he comes after this weekend, but before his due date… all for selfish reasons. :) We’re throwing an event tonight for CARES, and tomorrow night we have a friend’s birthday party. I personally want him to come before his due date so that I don’t have to push out an 8lb baby. Pray for that with me?

I am a little anxious about delivery simply because it’s something I’ve never experienced before. I’m picturing giving birth in my mind similar to the way I’ve approached races. I’ve been exercising and eating healthy for the most part, and all of it leads up to this point! I often tell my clients that the mind battle they have to win is the majority of it. Get control of your mind, and you’ll get control of your body. If you’ve already given up mentally, you stand no chance against what you’re about to face. But if you walk into your challenge knowing that the Lord has already promised victory, you have already won. Many moms in my classes have told me that giving birth is very similar. The stress your body goes through is inevitable, but a lot of it depends on the stress you put on your mind. When you’re freaking out, your body freaks out, and responds with fear which can lead to more pain. Remembering to relax seems to be the key. We’ll see how well I remember all of that during delivery. ;)

Oh! We finally finished the baby’s room! I still need to make the mobile, but that shouldn’t take very long. And I’m also ok with the room being incomplete without it for a little while. :)

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I can’t wait til the next update, which will (please, Lord) be the introduction of our baby boy! Thanks for walking this road with me, and I look forward to sharing this joy with you!


 

39 Week Update:

How Far Along: 39 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Full on. I’m actually mostly wearing Ryan’s tshirts because not a whole lot else covers my belly!

Stretch Marks: Sort of, in a weird way. Just last week my belly started getting really itchy around my belly button, and I noticed some pull on my skin. I’ve been moisturizing multiple times a day just to keep the itch away! Baby is out of room!

Sleep: Still sleeping hard, but waking up to go to the bathroom about 5 times a night.

Best Moment of This Week: Finishing the baby’s room! Woohoo!

Miss Anything: I really do miss the simple things of having a normal body, like sitting in a chair the regular way, pulling my knees to my chest, sleeping on my stomach, not having to move (no matter what position) every 5 mins.

Movement: His moves have slowed down. Still consistent, but is more like stretching now than squirming or kicking. Like I said, kid’s out of room.

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular. Still a little of everything I have craved throughout the pregnancy, but not as severe or often.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: I’m cramping a bunch. Kinda like menstrual cramps, but the kind that make you feel a little nauseous. It’s like the beginning of pregnancy again!

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Ha. You should hear people’s comments.

Gender: Baby Boy!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: I feel fine, but I have lost my filter. Now everyone just knows all the things I’m thinking, whereas before I held some things back.

Looking Forward To: Holding our baby and feeling all his movements from the outside!

christmas letter 2015

20151128_Ryan&TiffBabe_011photo by ANH Photography

Dear Family & Friends,

We are delighted to share with you all that the Lord has done in 2015! It really is incredible how much can fit into a year, and how much life can change in such a (considerably) short time. Share our joy as we walk through some of our favorite parts from 2015:

Last January, I (Tiffany) completed my first full marathon! This was a huge milestone for me, and something I’d had on my list of goals to accomplish in my lifetime. After completing the half-marathon in 2014, I scoffed at the thought of having to do 13 more miles on top of that, and swore that I’d never voluntarily run that distance. Thanks to some friends who know my competitive nature all too well, and my desire to complete it at least once in my life (though I had buried that pretty deeply), I signed up for the full. I will say that training for that race was THE most trying task I’ve ever faced, and I was pushed to limits physically, emotionally, and mentally that I was not expecting. It’s amazing what God can teach you about yourself during a long, drawn out goal you commit to. My 21 mile training run was by far the worst thing I’ve experienced. Only God’s grace got me through that one. I was spent in more ways than I could handle, and God met me there to both break me and carry me through. Race day, on the other hand, was incredible, and I say to this day that I would do it all again if every training run could be like that race. I know better than that. :)

Speaking of long commitments, Ryan and I officially became a CARES Team at the end of January, and threw our first event in February. CARES has been a huge part of our lives, and has become a large part of who we are. God has done amazing things in us personally, and again has stretched us beyond what we ever thought we could handle. As a team we throw 3 events a month for the residents of our apartment community, as well as welcome new residents and check in on those who’ve been living in the building for a while. We act as an extension of the management, and our goal is to connect with residents in a way that the staff just don’t have the capacity to. Our first year with CARES has been an absolute gift, and we could not be more grateful for what God has done both in us and in our community. We’ve been able to build friendships with people we would have never encountered otherwise, and love how those relationships have grown. God is so good. Pray that we would do our job well, and that the Lord would use us to bring hope and a sense of belonging in lives of those who have none through our being present.

In April, we received another gift and found out we are pregnant! This news was such indescribable joy, and Ryan and I cherished this secret life, thanking God for his good gift. We were able to tell Ryan’s family on Mother’s Day, and then my family during a visit to Florida at the end of May. Everyone was so ecstatic, and could barely contain their excitement! We made them wait until June to share publicly, and I think we almost had a few family members explode during that time. In the beginning of September we had a party to reveal that the baby is a boy! Now as we await the arrival of our son, we anticipate how much our lives will change for the good. I’m due on January 14, so we will hopefully have an update soon about that baby!

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When we went to visit my family in Orlando in May, Ryan had conspired with my parents and surprised me with my first trip to Disney World! We all had so much fun, and that place really is magical (especially with kids). My oldest niece had her 13th birthday during our visit, and had no idea Ryan and I were coming! We got to surprise her with a horseback riding day, which is alone is a testament of how much we love her because I do not love horses. :)

In July we got to go back to Destin, our family’s tradition with Ryan’s side, and my parents and some siblings were able to join us for part of the trip! Now that my parents and little brother live in Orlando, it worked out to where they could come stay with us for a few days. We had lots of fun as always, but I sadly had to pass up some awesome boogie boarding days since I was still in the first trimester (not a good idea to go tumbling off a board with that current). That didn’t hold any of us back from some great volleyball tournaments, though. We always enjoy that vacation, and it is a great break right in the middle of the year.

In September we celebrated Living Water International’s 25th anniversary, and Ryan’s 3rd anniversary with the organization. Ryan is in the IT department, and has recently had the opportunity to expand his knowledge and explore some network administration within his duties. That is by far his favorite part of the job. I am especially proud of him as a wife, as everyone I meet at LWI is very quick to tell me how much they love him, and how helpful and friendly he always is. Love that.

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This fall we celebrated 4 years of marriage, and are so thankful for all we have learned and experienced together! We have been on countless adventures, and are no doubt about to enter the greatest one yet as we become parents! We can hardly believe this gift entrusted to us, and can’t wait to meet our boy.

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As you reflect on 2015 may you recall the good gifts the Lord has lavished upon you, and may you find thankfulness and joy overflowing from within. Let us encourage each other toward Him, and learn of His faithfulness as we walk through life. Live fully and love deeply!

Ryan, Tiffany, and Baby B

29 weeks | last stretch!

29 Weeks (1)

So many people have told me that pregnancy will fly for everyone but me. Well, I’m here to say that it has gone faster than I can blink! Every week I just think to myself, “How in the world are we already at [enter week]?” A couple weeks ago I officially entered the third trimester, and that about gave me a heart attack. I also saw a post that was reminding everyone that the Houston Marathon is just 12 weeks away. That race is 1 week after my due date… that means we have 11 weeks to go before this baby comes! That just seems unreal. 2 1/2 more months. I’m also aware that 2 of those weeks are holiday weeks (Thanksgiving and Christmas), so I’m trying to stay ahead of the game as far as preparation goes, since those weeks will be out of the picture in terms of getting stuff done.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is being mentally and spiritually prepared. Shocker, right? I feel that as a natural do-er, I lean towards getting all the “stuff” done, and often neglect my spiritual and emotional well-being. It seems God is always reminding me to slow down and rest in Him, and it seems I’m always fighting to believe that spending significant time reading/studying etc is not wasting time. Anyone else struggle with that? I know you’re not supposed to actually admit that as a Christian, but that is my battle, almost every day. It was before I was pregnant, and I know it won’t magically disappear once this baby comes. I need to often recite scripture to myself to remind myself that time with Him is more valuable than an entire day of crossing items off my to-do list. It’s not just with God, though. I do the same with people. I literally have to consciously remember that time spent with people is worth while… many times worth more than all the stuff I need to do. I am the worst at initiating hang-outs, and if I’m honest, I don’t even think about it majority of the time. I think a lot about things…. I like being “productive” and “accomplishing tasks”. When I do hang out with people, I am making a point to be and enjoy the things that really matter, while letting all the stuff sit for a while longer. I know it’s worth it, but it’s work! I’m so thankful for the people in my life that know this and love me anyway. They also are good about initiating hang outs because they know I am terrible at it. I so appreciate that.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your life when you get cluttered with whatever it is in your world? What do you do to combat that? One relevant thing I’ve done is decided it’s ok that my posts are becoming less and less. If I can invest in real relationships over having a new post on time every other week, I’ll take it. That’s a hard choice for me (that might seem silly), but it’s something I know is so very worth it, and I won’t regret later on.


A couple weeks ago, my sis-in-law threw us a baby shower with the help of my lifelong friend, Jenna. They did such a wonderful job, and we are so thankful for everyone who made it to the shower and prayed over us! It also relieved so much for me mentally, as my overwhelming list of things we need for the baby before he comes was cut down drastically. We’re now getting the last major things together, which includes a dresser so I can have a place to put his endless piles of tiny clothes! I’ll definitely post pictures once it’s all ready. Can’t promise that will be very soon, though. His room is a mess.

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how adorable is this hanging art that Micah from Blue Giraffe Art Works made for me??

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the lovely hostesses!


29 Week Update:

How Far Along: 29 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Still about 40% of the time

Stretch Marks: Not yet!

Sleep: I sleep hard, but it’s difficult falling asleep. I feel like I’ve inherited some sort of restless leg syndrome.

Best Moment of This Week: We’re celebrating our anniversary early, and we went to see Peter Pan 360 yesterday! Really wonderful show. We were so blown away by it!

Miss Anything: Just feeling like a normal person in general. Also looking forward to sleeping on my back and stomach again.

Movement: Constantly. He likes to squirm more than kick now. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to have bruised ribs by the end of this pregnancy.

Food Cravings: French fries!

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: I started taking an iron supplement, which I think is giving me a stomach ache every once in a while. Nothing too bad, though.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: It’s all out there.

Gender: Baby Boy!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Mostly happy. Just don’t make jokes about how I’ve really “let myself go” when it’s 5:45a. Not funny anytime, especially that early.

Looking Forward To: Meeting this squirmy little guy!

week 25 | it’s a….!!!

25 Weeks (1)

Boy! 

Well, if you haven’t yet followed my update on Facebook or Instagram like 4 weeks ago, here’s the official news! We are so ecstatic about this little guy, and are super thrilled to meet him! He still remains nameless, as choosing a name for your kid is a lot harder than it would seem. You can be praying that his name becomes clear soon!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, which kinda testifies to my crazy schedule lately. BUT, I want to share with you some photos from our super fun gender reveal party! Side note: it’s kind of hilarious when you tell anyone over 40 about your gender reveal party. That just wasn’t a thing before our generation, and most of our parents didn’t even find out whether they were having a boy or girl until delivery day. I’ve received lots of strange looks, confused comments, and some amazingly funny remarks concerning our party. One sweet lady asked me if I’m throwing a party to celebrate Caitlyn Jenner. This lady was like 70. I was impressed that she made that kind of association.

I have to say that my dear friend Jamie is a rockstar. I had this idea for a reveal party months ago, and while I was at a fitness conference in Dallas, she just ran with some ideas and turned this party into a most adorable celebration! Also, I do have to mention that I love throwing parties (if you didn’t know that already). There have been a few people that have rolled their eyes at me, and assumed that I’m just trying to make a huge, unnecessary deal out of my kid. If planning parties was a stressful thing to me, believe me, I would not have even thought about it. My husband and I plan 3 events a month for our residents in our apartment community, and it is a joy. This is just something God put in me, and it doesn’t matter what it is… I love a good party. In fact, I love parties even more when I get to throw them for someone else, because I have issues with a ton of attention being on me at once. Jamie is kind of the same way, and so she made this day elaborate and fabulous. I am very thankful for her. :)

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People asked me after the reveal if I was shocked. Honestly, not so much. I had a feeling the entire time that it was a boy, and there was really no way for me to feel that way. I just knew! It was such an exciting moment, but not surprising. :) Ryan, on the other hand, straight up ran away from me immediately after popping the confetti balloon and pranced around the room, ending on the floor making snow angels in the blue sea of paper. You could say he was a little surprised.

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It was so fun to be able to have my parents in town for that weekend! We don’t get to see each other often since they live in Florida, and I really do wish I could share more of my pregnancy with all my family members. It was such a gift that they were able to fly in for the weekend, and we had a great time helping them soak in as much of Houston as they could during their short visit. My mom is making plans to stay with us for a couple weeks after the baby comes, which really gives this daughter a form of comfort entering a whole new phase of life.

Since that party we’ve had another appointment, and babe is growing right on track! He is super active, and literally kicks me at least once every hour of the day. That anterior placenta thing is supposed to make his kicks more subtle, which kinda scares me with how not-subtle he has been. My favorite times with him are early in the morning, right when I wake up (which is about 4:45/5a since I’m usually at the gym by 5:45). He’s most active at that time, and I feel connected to him in the quietness of the morning as I just lay and feel him move around. I do hope this doesn’t mean he’s a morning person, though I am enjoying it right now.


25 Week Update:

How Far Along: 25 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: About 40% of the time

Stretch Marks: Not yet!

Sleep: It’s off and on. Some nights great, some not so great. The earlier I go to bed, the better.

Best Moment of This Week: Honestly? Sleeping til 8a on Sunday. Haha.

Miss Anything: My pre-pregnant body. Go ahead a judge me. I feel like a sumo wrestler. I’ll stomp on you.

Movement: Oh yes. He especially likes to kick my bladder (thanks, kid).

Food Cravings: Fall breads (pumpkin, banana, pecan). But let’s be real… that always happens around this time of year.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Not really!

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Yes. Even people I don’t know now know that I’m pregnant. Which is better than them not being too sure.

Gender: Baby Boy!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Mostly happy. Just really tired by noon every day.

Looking Forward To: The holidays! I know that’s a little ways away, but I LOVE this time of year!

week 20 | what not to say to a pregnant woman

20 Weeks (1)

Last week I asked women to send me the most outrageous things that were said to them while pregnant. Some things made me laugh; others left me speechless! Just in case you’re wondering while you read through, none of these things are ok to say to pregnant women, and most are not ok to say to anyone.. man or woman, pregnant or not. A great thing to do would be to never repeat these things in conversation…. ever. ;) Ps. Sorry if I left any out. I think I got everyone’s, but I also forget at least one thing a day, so there’s that.

Enjoy…

“Wow! You look like you’re ready to explode!” – said by vendor at farmer’s market
“I promptly left his booth and walked away.”

“Craziest (scariest) thing: someone offered to give me castor oil to induce labor at 34 weeks with [second child] (um… what???)”

“Don’t you own a television?!” (after seeing 5 children)

“I don’t remember you ever being this big when you were pregnant with [first child].” – said by husband of woman

“When are you due?” (after just delivering baby)

“Oh you CAN’T find out the gender. I didn’t!” Or, “You HAVE to find out the gender! I did!”

“I was talking to a lady in November and wasn’t due til March. She asked me if I was having a Christmas baby. I said no. She said, “How about New Years?” I politely told her no. Then she said, “how about Chinese New Year?” Finally, I just said that I wasn’t due til almost Easter and she just stared at me not knowing what to say. Later that week I had someone tell me they didn’t even realize I was pregnant because I was so small!”

“Are they ALL yours? Do they all have the same father??”

“I can tell that you’re gaining weight!” Or, “How much weight have you gained?”

“You should listen to 89.3… your baby would really like it.” – said by man at HEB

“Is there a baby in your belly? Can I touch it?” – said by 4 yr old girl at the mall

“No offense, but I think you are going to be huge! 3 months to go, and you almost look full term! I mean, are you not also scared that there is monster baby growing inside of you?” – said by husband of woman

“You sure there’s just one in there?”

“The day before I delivered, I was walking out of Walmart and an old man walked past me towards the store. As we passed we made eye contact. With a self satisfied grin and a tickled tone he said, ‘Damn girl you gotcha a whole litter in there don’t cha sweet toots, when you gonna push out dem pups?’ I was incredulous. I cannot say I was entirely surprised by the old backwoods trunk dweller. Still, I was speechless. I cannot think of another time in my life that I was rendered without words. It took me so long to process what he said, by the time I was confidant I heard him right and could respond, he was already safely inside Walmart and I was trying to squeeze behind my steering wheel. My water broke that night.”

“‘Can I touch your belly?’ I wanna be like, ‘Can I touch yours, random stranger in Walmart?'”

“This doesn’t so much have to do with being pregnant but I was asked if I was going to continue work and when I said no they asked what my husband did for a living. Who are you to be concerned about our financial stability?!”

“Oh, being pregnant is so much fun!”

“You’re too young to have a baby!”

“I had a coworker slap my hand once, like you would to a child, because I lifted my hands above my head. In front of everyone. She said it would make the cord wrap around the baby’s neck. I think I went at least a couple days without speaking to her. I was livid. Now it’s just funny.”

“Are you pregnant?”

“You know what causes that, right?”

“So are you like, really emotional/crazy/illogical now that you’re pregnant?”

“I didn’t know you were trying to get pregnant/You didn’t tell me you were trying/Was this on purpose/Were you using protection?”


On the other hand, here are some suggestions for you on what to say instead. :)

1. Instead of asking how she’s feeling (she’s been asked that 12 times today), start the convo with, “You’re looking good/great/cute!” Whether she believes you or not, it will help her to know that not everyone sees her as a balloon.

2. Are there any new things that have happened this week?

3. What are you looking forward to the most?

4. I know that stinks… I felt that way too. Sorry about that.

5. How exciting that you’re going to be parents! How can I pray for you/help you?

6. One day I had a client that started our convo out with, “If I say anything offensive or ask a question that you don’t want to answer, just let me know.” The very fact that she said that and acknowledged that there might be something she says or asks that makes me uncomfortable automatically gave me the ability to let my walls down and not be easily offended by any well-meaning but slightly rude comments that might head my way. That was a pleasant surprise!

The truth is, most people mean well. Not many people are looking to offend when they say crazy things or ask way too personal of questions. Just remember that not everything is your business, and some people are more private than others. Go into the conversation not expecting her to answer every question you have if she doesn’t want to. And think about how you would take it if someone were to ask you that same question or say that statement. Just be understanding, and know that she’s most likely already working hard to be kind among all those extra hormones. We’re on the same team here!


20 Week Update:

How Far Along: 20 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Some! Most are still too big, but some are working.

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Great, except I’m needing a LOT more of it in order to last the whole day. A nap in between works too.

Best Moment of This Week: Just yesterday we had our mid-way ultrasound (what.. we’re halfway?)! We got to see the baby, and they determined the gender! We had them put the results in an envelope, and we’ll find that out in a couple weeks. The technician also had to remeasure the arms, legs and torso because we have a little spazz and it wouldn’t stop moving!

Miss Anything: Hmm.. if I do I don’t remember. Still missing my memory, I guess. Lol.

Movement: A little every day. I found out at our appt yesterday that I have an anterior placenta, which is totally fine and only means that because the placenta has implanted itself at the front of my abdomen, I won’t be able to feel as many kicks, since it acts as a pillow. Babe is getting some punching bag action.

Food Cravings: Iced Lattes

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Not this week!

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Yep!

Gender: There is one human in this world that knows, and she is under lock and key.

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: This week I was definitely moody. I didn’t even want to be around myself.

Looking Forward To: Finding out what this lil chunk is!

18 weeks | a word to the wise

18 Weeks

Now that I’m showing more, I’m entering the awkward phase of people always wanting to touch me. Don’t get me wrong, there were those few that touched my belly even when we first announced our pregnancy, and that was weird (talk about making you feel self conscious about your stomach fat!). But now that baby is finally making itself more apparent, more people than I know what to do with have the impulse to touch me. Let me just say this: I’ve never been a super touchy person, and even hugs aren’t my thing unless you’re my husband or one of my best friends and I haven’t seen you in a million years. Other than that, I am totally content with the “what’s up” wave or the head nod. I’ll hug people if they want to, but to be really honest, I’m not really getting anything out of it (I hear my Ireland teammates laughing at me right now). So, you can imagine how awkward I feel when people walk up to me and touch (often rub… for a long time) my belly. If I didn’t have to worry about the way people take things, I would be wearing the shirt in this picture:

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Some people have no problem with this at all, and some people even invite others to touch their bellies. A word of advise to you… unless you are invited, or unless you are the husband, don’t touch. And an invite doesn’t work like this: “Do you mind if I touch your belly?” Ok, got permission. When people ask me that (especially around several other people) I feel obligated to say it’s ok. Often I say no anyway, but it just makes a really awkward situation, and embarrassment to all parties involved. I feel so much less awkward if you are the only one around and you ask for a feel. But when there are other people and you’re all staring at me and touching me, now that is weird. I’m not a museum! Oh, wait a minute, you’re not allowed to touch in museums either! Scratch that. Treat me like a museum!

For those who don’t understand this concept or why it’s such a big deal, just remember that it’s still my stomach, meaning that I can still feel your hand. Imagine if someone walked up to you after you just ate a huge meal and feel bloated, and starts rubbing your belly. Remember that when someone is pregnant, even though majority of that bloat is baby, a lot of it is still fat layering on top of that baby. And every woman FEELS like it’s more fat than it really is, so it really just feels like you’re rubbing my fat belly. I didn’t want people to touch me before I was pregnant, and that hasn’t really changed. I’ll let you know if it changes in the future. ;)

If any of y’all have come up with a good way to ask people to not touch without lying or being rude, please share your wisdom! One article I read said to tell people that you’re feeling sick, and touching it makes it worse. I’m just not ok with lying (people need to know the real reason!), so those kind of excuses don’t really help. I’m still trying to figure out how to decline without being really offensive or make people feel dumb or invasive for asking. Most people are completely shocked that I would tell them no. Still navigating how to work through that conversation.

On the other hand, if you put it there, or if you are invited, go for it!

18 Week Update:

How Far Along: 18 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: One friend let me borrow some super cute maternity shorts, and they are the only maternity clothes that fit me right now! So comfortable. It’s probably because she is so much tinier than I am… it worked out for my in between stage! Anyway, rocking those today.

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Ok, y’all. If you’re debating on whether to get one of those C shaped pillows or not, DO IT! DO IT. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t sleeping well until I started sleeping with that thing!

Best Moment of This Week: Last Monday (the 3rd) we had another appt and got to hear the heartbeat again! Everything is looking great.

Miss Anything: Sleeping on my back & belly.

Movement: So, I felt a very unusual sensation in my lower abdomen on Thursday. Hard to explain, but I’ll just say it definitely wasn’t gas. Weirdest feeling ever… and kind of awesome.

Food Cravings: Dr. Pepper float with chocolate ice cream.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Headaches (they make me nauseous). Which I’ve had a lot of lately. Boo.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Yep!

Gender: We get to find out in a few weeks!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Happy except when I have to be outside for any amount of time. Why is it sooo hot in Houston? Like, 104? Really???

Looking Forward To: The Fall!!