jude | 7 months

Jude - 7 Months (1)

We’ve had an exciting and increasingly active month! Such a fun age to be this kid’s parents, getting to raise him and watch him grow every day. He’s discovering new things daily, and it feels like we’re always seeing a new aspect of his personality come out as he reacts to his surroundings differently and more deliberately. He studies people and objects so intensely, and is starting to interact with humor (totally getting that some things are really funny!).

Jude is finally not hating tummy time now that he is figuring out that he can move himself around, as well as flip over to get out of tummy time whenever he wants. He isn’t crawling yet (still hasn’t realized that he can pull his knees under his body), but he moves himself in circles with his arms in order to grab whatever looks like it might be fun to stick in his mouth. He’ll stand for long periods of time with some balance support. He prefers using his hands to bring things to his mouth, so he doesn’t hold onto anything to help support himself, but we imagine that will be coming soon.

Whining doesn’t happen much, as Jude remembers after about 5 seconds that he can “talk” now, so he’ll stop complaining and spout out, “da da da da da da”. Everything is da da, except for when he makes smacking noises with his mouth and then puts sound to it, which comes out almost sounding like “ma ma”. He LOVES when “da da” comes home from work, and usually greets Ryan with squeals and screams, and lots of kicking. He also does this thing where he’ll try to not smile when you’re talking to him. Like he’s trying to keep a straight face and not let on to the fact that he’s enjoying your company, but his little smirk gives him away. Where in the world did he learn that from??


We are now doing solids (purees) twice a day after the two daytime feedings, and have tried several different foods. Jude absolutely hates greens unless I mix apples in with it. Who can blame him? His favorite is definitely apples, by themselves or with other foods. Probably the sweetest thing he’s ever tasted. I’m with you, Jude.

A sweet friend let us borrow their jumperoo, so Jude’s been getting some good exercise in! Good thing, too. Those chunky legs are just ridiculous. Ridiculously cute. He LOVES this thing, and loves it about 100x more when you’re watching him jump and applauding him. He also now expects to be cheered for when he flips over, and will look around for you and smile, like, “tada!” Everyone likes to be appreciated, right?

So yea, we’re still having fun with our little bug. So blessed that we get to do this parenting thing.

jude | 6 months

Jude - 6 Months copy

Whaaaaa….?? How can this be? Strange how time passes. In one way, it seems ages ago that I was pregnant, and at the same time it feels as if I blinked and have a smiley, avocado eating, drooly, upright sitting, into everything 6 month old. I’m simultaneously loving every second of watching Jude grow, and wanting my chubby baby to stop growing and stay small enough to cradle in my arms forever. It’s bittersweet, raising your child. Ryan and I are so proud of every little thing Jude does, still cheering like crazy people when he rolls over (we are reminded we’re crazy when he stares at us confused), and listening to our voices get higher and higher and faces goofier just to bring on a smile. I am still reminded daily: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”


It’s his half birthday today, and I am so thankful for this little gift entrusted to us. So beyond what I could have dreamed.

Jude’s personality is really developing, and we love who he is becoming! He’s sweet and silly, gentle and audacious, and very opinionated. We’re teaching him that we’re gentle with girls (mommy), and play hard with daddy. He still gives me the sweetest snuggles, especially when he’s tired. I’m hanging onto all of those moments. He loves grabbing Ryan’s face and pushing him away when he’s being tickled. Jude also has a block that plays music when you press the buttons on all the sides, and he’ll play it and rock back and forth while he listens. The cutest.

We recently returned from our first vacation with Jude, and it’s true that we need another vacation to recover from it. The time we spent in Florida was packed with so much fun! I was worried about Jude adjusting to being off schedule over a long period of time, but he did amazing. Because we are again, crazy, we road-tripped to Orlando and got to spend almost 5 days with my parents. Since Jude has had some anxiety with people he doesn’t see on a regular basis, we were praying that he’d be ok on the trip. To our relief and my parents’ joy, he LOVED Poppy and Gammy.


We even got to go to Disney World, and again, because we are crazy, did the park hopper and were there for 14 hrs, visiting 3 different parks. I was pumped because last year when we went (my first time ever) I was 8 weeks pregnant and couldn’t do anything. Not even the kiddy rides. So this time around we made up for it all and rode all the big roller coasters, finishing with Space Mountain at 1a. Told you we are crazy. On July 4th we headed to Disney Springs and got to watch the most amazing sunset, and then fireworks coming from the Disney parks across the lake.


Jude also tried his first solid food in Orlando: a banana. Not a huge fan of it, but we’ll keep trying. Since then he’s had some avocado, and he liked that much better.


After saying goodbye to Poppy and Gammy, we drove to Destin to meet Ryan’s family where they vacation every July. Jude was ok with the sand, but definitely did not like the waves. I think they scared him a bit, as they were loud and splashed his face. We got some good time in the sun, with breaks every couple of hours to cool down in the a/c.


It was a great trip, but we all (especially Jude) were very glad to be home and back to a normal schedule. I’m so thankful for a slow weekend!

Now, by popular demand, I will leave you with this: the man bun.


It’s tiny, but seriously? Hahaha, ok, I’m gonna go die because of how adorably hilarious by kid is now.

jude | 5 months

Jude - 5 Months copy

Our happy boy is 5 months! This month has been extra fun, as Jude is now interacting with us a ton, and has become so expressive. He thinks Ryan is just the funniest person ever, and it is super cute to watch them play together. Jude’s favorite games are peek-a-boo and patty cake. He’ll watch Ryan hide behind something and look around for him until he pops back out, squealing with excitement! Music is definitely a love, and he is captivated if you sing to him. He’s still mostly happy, unless of course, he’s not, thanks to teething. Still no visible teeth cutting, but we imagine they’ll be making an appearance soon. Drool everywhere and so much chomping on anything he can get ahold of. Jude really enjoys being naked, and his favorite time of the day is just after his bath when daddy lets him lay on his towel naked (risky business). Such a boy… he loves to be free. He’s also discovered a much louder voice, and thinks it’s the best to squeal and scream. That’s especially fun in a quiet waiting room or in line at the store. At least he’s happy, right?

Jude had his first swimming experience over Memorial Day weekend! We weren’t sure how he would do since the pool is much cooler than a bath, but he had a blast! He looked very comfortable in the water, and was kicking his feet and splashing with his hands almost the whole time. It was pretty adorable.


We recently got to hang out with my brother and sis-in-law, which was a fun surprise! The last time they saw Jude was back in February, so it was fun getting to catch up and for Jude to hang out with them again. We’ll probably be seeing Aunt Tina a lot this summer since she’s here for a while teaching at a summer camp!


In a few weeks, we’re headed to Orlando to visit my parents, and we’re all very excited! Vacation cannot come soon enough! Looking forward to all that the next month holds. We’ll probably have some photos of messy solid food adventures on the next update. And Sunday will be Ryan’s first Father’s Day! So looking forward to celebrating that day together.

jude | 4 months

Jude - 4 Months copy

Our boy is now 4 months old, and what an exciting month it has been for him! It’s amazing to look back at just last month and realize all of the ways Jude has grown. Even his personality has developed, which makes him seem even cuter if it were ever possible. Our little bug is definitely a mama’s boy. Ask me if I mind. He’s also a snuggler – if he’s in the mood – and will nuzzle himself in my arms and give me a look that amplifies how much trouble this headstrong mama is really in. Amazing how your own baby can melt even the most stubborn of us. It is such a gift from the Lord. If I were to ever question where I stand with God, all I have to do is remember how hardheaded and stiff I can be, and how quickly all of that can dissolve just by looking at Jude. If I, so flawed and in need of mercy can love like this, how much more does the perfect and infinitely pure God love us? His love truly has little to do with us, and much to do with His own character. So grateful for that.

Speaking of His love, let me tell you about how specific His love is for us. Sometimes I am just amazed that He cares about the little things that don’t even matter. It’s like He just enjoys whispering to us, “I see you” every once in a while. This winter, before Jude was born I did what every mom should not do and browsed online for baby clothes, just looking. I came across a cardigan from Old Navy that was just adorable (ps. best baby boy clothes, y’all… it’s hard to find boy clothes that don’t have cargo pockets these days!) but could not bring myself to spend $25 on an item of clothing that Jude would probably wear like 3 times. Cardigans for newborns are cute, but totally unpractical. They’re too puffy to put on before loading into a carseat, and babies really don’t need a heavy collar. They are so little! I passed up a ton of clothes, and literally only bought one thing for Jude, which was the outfit he went home in and I took photos of him wearing (I also used a coupon for it and got it 30% off… I’m cheap). God blessed us with friends who had babies a year before Jude was born, and were so generous to pass those clothes down. I recently went to Old Navy looking for shorts, which has been a lot harder than I feel like it should be. Lo and behold, there was the cardigan, in 12-18month size! In case you haven’t put it together, that’s the size Jude will be in this winter. I snatched it up and brought it to the cash register. 97 cents, y’all! Literally said, “Are you kidding me? Thank you, Jesus.” Call it good luck or good clearance digging, but I saw that moment as the Lord telling me, “I see you.” I chose to be responsible with what we have been given, and Jesus chose to gift me with His thoughtfulness. Had I bought the cardigan to begin with, I would not have died from spending $25 I didn’t need to spend, but I would have missed out on the intimacy of Christ speaking to me and showing me that He cares. Even about the little things.


Jude is sticking to that 50th percentile, and growing at a great pace! We’re still enjoying his chunky legs and squishy cheeks. He just recently decided to flip over. He really dislikes tummy time, and although we have been doing tummy time with him daily, it lasts about 3 minutes before he face plants in defeat and loses it. However, I think he’s holding out long enough now to realize that he can control his arms under him and flip himself over. Hooray!

Jude also is ticklish under his arms and on his feet, and that’s super cute. He’s gained good control of his arms and legs, and is starting the hair grabbing phase. He also grabs the curtains hanging on the window when we change his diaper. Yayyy. He’s a fan of books, and enjoys clawing at the pages. Above all, Jude loves sitting and “standing” up because he can see everything! His exersaucer is his absolute fav, and also mom & dad’s fav because we can cook or clean while he hangs out and watches! We still have a great sleeper, and Jude is definitely the best sleeper in this family! How amazing would it be to sleep almost 11hrs every night? Baby life is nice.

This Mother’s Day was my first, and it was really fun celebrating with Ryan and Jude. Last Mother’s Day we had just found out that we were pregnant with Jude, and this Mother’s Day we got to celebrate with him! So thankful for this baby who made me a mom, and so thankful for his daddy! Ryan did some incredible cooking and baking for this day. I am a lucky woman, being married to a man who loves to cook! It is so fun being a parent with him. Hashtag blessed.

Praying that you discover the intimacy of God this week, and that you cherish those sweet moments where He whispers to you. You are so loved!

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!

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!


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.


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?!


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.


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. :)


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!


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.


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.

20151128_Ryan&TiffBabe_002photo by ANH Photography 

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