27 Weeks (Pregnancy #2)

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How Far Along: 27 weeks! This week marks the beginning of the third trimester! I’m 1/3 through!

Size of Baby: Baby is about the size of a head of cauliflower and should weigh in around 2 pounds! That’s pretty big! He’s moving around all the time, and I’m PRETTY darn sure he is responding to Tera’s voice most often. She will come running up and jibber jabber to me, and then he will kick! Tera has refused to feel him move so far, so I’m still waiting for that moment!

And, yes…we do have a name picked out! It’s a little bit unusual and we are not sharing it until he is born. We absolutely love it and can’t wait to announce it, but we are going to be keeping it to ourselves for the next 13 or so weeks!

How I’m Feeling/Symptoms: Wow, hello pregnancy. I’m feeling fairly large and it’s getting hard to be comfortable, no matter where I sit or what I do.

Another pregnancy symptom: my skin! It might be glowing and healthy…I don’t know…but I have noticed these crazy spots that keep popping up. I’m working to get into a dermatologist because I was a little freaked out at first, but then I remember that pregnancy will do that to you. Isn’t that crazy? You can grow new moles and skin spots simply from all the hormones flowing through the body.

I’m having a harder time sleeping now, which is unfortunate. I’ve always been a great sleeper, so I’m hoping this is just a stage, or a side effect of how dang hot it has been lately!

And on that note: the heat! Each day this week has been in the 90s and we don’t have air conditioning. The reason we don’t have air conditioning is: 1. It saves A TON of money and 2. Neither of us mind the heat! Until this summer. Man, this pregnancy has made me a total wimp to the heat. I’ve been sleeping with ice packs and the fan directly on me, and most days Theo follows me around with the box fan plugging it in wherever I go. Haha!

Another funny “symptom” is my husband! This entire pregnancy, he will complain about an ache or pain that he has, and I just have to look at him and blink a few times, because what he is describing is EXACTLY how it feels to be pregnant. I don’t mean that I scoff at him because he has no clue, I mean that his body seriously seems to be taking on the pregnancy along with me! He gets these funny cravings and says the funniest things, too. And he’s nesting like crazy. I found him scrubbing out the spot under the sink earlier this week. Ummm, babe…aren’t I the pregnant one? Haha.

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Total Weight Gain: +15 pounds. Can I just say that the human body is amazing?? I am growing a human. Only two pounds of that weight gain is human, but the rest of it is my body housing that human. It’s insane.

Food Cravings/Aversions: I’ve had NO aversions this week! Which is fabulous…but also…not fabulous on the scale! Ha! I had a blast in DC, but I didn’t eat the best and now I’m paying for it. I need to build some better, healthier habits around snacking, especially curbing this insane sweet tooth! I have NEVER been a sweets/dessert person. But these last few weeks I just want to stuff sugar in my face. It’s so bad for me, and I know it actually doesn’t make me feel better, so I’m going to be working on enjoying my cravings in moderation.

Best Moment This Week: Getting back home to my babes! I was only gone…3 days. Hahahaha. Tera and Theo came to the airport to get me at 2 am…and when Tera saw me she did a total happy dance. It was the cutest thing!

Worst Moment this Week: It’s actually been a rather rough week for me. I spent Monday in DC, which was fabulous, but arrived home at 3 am on Tuesday morning. That one night of wild and crazy traveling was enough to throw off the whole week. I’ve been exhausted, dragging and feeling like I will never catch up on household chores and blogging (for the record…I write and schedule posts in advance, so all the post that went live this week were written at least two weeks ago. I have nothing scheduled for next week!). Of course, when exhaustion hits, it also seems that mental discouragement hits and that’s sometimes harder to deal with than the physical exhaustion. My poor Tera-girl also came down with a fever and has been under the weather for a few days. Poor thing.

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What I’m Looking Forward To: Family reunion next week! Tam’s wedding the weekend after that! Tera’s birthday party the week after that! And then…nesting! Preparing my little home and our little hearts for this baby boy’s arrival. Oh, AND I’m SO, SO, SO looking forward to having my parents back in the States in October. It’s going to be fabulous! I cannot wait!!!

Exercise This Week: Eh. I’ve done better. Lots better. I’m really looking forward to all the events that I have coming up, but I’m so craving having a routine back. I’ve just been dragging this week and haven’t been able to get myself out of bed in the morning to wake up. I’ve done one morning workout and I’ve gone running once. We have gone for a family walk every single night this week, though! So that’s a win! It’s something I plan on doing from here on out for the rest of the pregnancy.

If you are a pregnant woman along with me, I highly recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day (unless, of course, you are on doctors orders not to!). Pregnancy is so hard and we throw out so many excuses as to why we can’t do that, but it will be so much better for you in the end. Go for a daily walk, do some yoga…anything that gets your body in motion. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Aaannnd, that little pep talk might have been aimed at myself. 🙂

Weekend in DC!

And another trip of my grand summer 2016 is in the books!

This was a special trip as I got to fly to DC to visit my friend Tam and throw her a bridal shower! I had an absolute blast, although I seriously missed Theo and Tera back home.

I won’t bore you with too many words about my trip, but I do have lots of pictures to share!!!

I flew out Saturday afternoon, which worked out perfectly for us! Theo worked Friday, got home early Saturday morning, crashed for a few hours and then drove me to airport. It made it so much easier to not have to find a babysitter for the weekend.

I arrived Saturday afternoon and Tam and I hit up Target and then went out to eat. We talked and caught up and just enjoyed each others company.

Sunday morning we were able to sleep in and take the morning a little bit slower. We headed to church around 11, and enjoyed the simple service at Tam’s church. Immediately after the service, the church served a meal to the homeless population in the area, so we spent about 30 minutes relaxing while that went on in the kitchen.

As soon as the meal was over, we took over the kitchen with all the last minute bridal shower preparations! It was a little bit of a tricky situation, because as Tam put it, “I’ve chosen the life of a Nomad!”. She grew up in Philadelphia, then her parents headed overseas where she had the privelage of meeting me ;). Then she moved back to Philly, but her parents have made their home in Virginia. After living in Thailand for 13 months, she moved to Washington DC where she works at L’Arche! So, whoever was going to be planning her bridal shower was going to be doing it from a distance. I don’t recommend this, but between myself and Tam’s Mom, we worked with what we had, and we pulled it off!

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I didn’t take many pictures of the set-up and décor because we ended up being a little crunched for time, and because I was too busy MC’ing the event to take many pictures. But I did snap a few!

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We kept it super simple with a food table, a dessert table, and a gift table. We played two games and had a beautiful time of prayer over Tam and Vince’s upcoming marriage. It was perfect, really.

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Tam’s Mom did all the décor, including fresh flowers from her garden! It was beautiful!

There were people from near and far, and I’d say that fun was had by all!

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Despite how crazy and emotionally taxing this summer has been for me, I am SO, SO, SOOO glad I was able to be there to support this beautiful lady as she takes this next huge step into marriage.

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The shower was from 3-5 and immediately afterwards we went out to eat with Tam’s family, future in-laws and some friends. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day! And it was super fun to be able to catch up with Becca, who is also a Mom and just totally gets it. Sometimes I feel like I have to hold back from constantly talking about Tera and Little Miss, but not with this group!

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Sunday night we got back to the house and I asked Tam to grab some pictures of me in my new dress. Don’t worry, there will be a full post coming on Monday! The lighting was so perfect so I also took some pictures with Tam and got a few of Tam and Vince, too. Then, we just crashed. We were both exhausted and needed rest, so we relaxed and hit the sack!

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Meanwhile, back in Ohio, Theo figured he would go backpacking with Tera. I do not mean camping in the backyard. I do not mean camping in the woods. I mean backpacking. We got this awesome Kelty Kids backpack carrier at a garage sale, and Theo has been dying to try it out! He said that they both had an absolute blast. I’m still in complete amazement that he pulled it off, even through a thunderstorm!

Monday was so delightful because I had all day to spend with Tam…and we had nothing on the agenda! I’ve already done DC a few times in my life, so we decided to just take it really slow and have a relaxing day. We slept in, got breakfast, and then went to a local hotel that had day passes. It was $20 for the day, which is not something I would do on a regular basis, but I think it was worth the $20! It was a gorgeous day!

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I cannot even explain to you how relaxing it is to go to a pool without children! Oh.my.word. It was SO lovely!!!

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After a few hours at the pool, a huge storm rolled in. It came out of nowhere and was complete with wind and these dark, rolling clouds. It was actually breathtaking to sit next to the pool and watch it all unfold.

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Vince came and picked us up (since it was pouring), and we got some pizza for dinner before heading to the airport to drop me off. I arrived two hours before my flight was going to take off, but my airport motto is “you can never be too early”. Wellll, I might take that back this time around. I made it to my gate right away and knew I had two hours before boarding. About 20 minutes beforehand, I went to the bathroom and got myself ready for them to call boarding. I should have been ON my plane by 9:40, and leaving around 10. I would arrive in Columbus around 11:30, and then we had an hour drive back to the house. I knew it would be a late night, but I had no idea just how late it would be. Around 9:40, the other passengers and I started to notice that there was no action at the front desk. None. The cute little lady at the desk came on the intercom and politely announced that we had no plane yet, so we would not be boarding until 10:15. Then 10:40. Then 11:15. Finally, around 11:45, we boarded our plane and took off. It was only an hour flight, but we didn’t even take off until after we should have arrived in Columbus. We arrived in Columbus around 2 am, and finally got back to the house at 3. Poor Theo had been planning on leaving for the airport at 10, so he didn’t go to bed at all before coming to get me! Let’s just say we were all exhausted and are still recovering!

It was totally worth it, and I’m getting my rest and recuperation to do it all again in just two weeks for the wedding!

Dear Missionary Mom

Dear Missionary Mom,

It’s hard for me to begin this letter, because I have so many things that I want to say to you.

First, this is for all of you. For all the Mom’s who are living overseas in a country different from the stamp on the front of your passport. For all you Mom’s who, along with their husbands and children, followed the call to move to a different country. Or maybe a different neighborhood, or people group or religious background.

But most of all, I’m writing this to you, Niger missionary Moms.

To my Mom:

How in the world did you do it? How did you survive the heat? How did you survive the isolation? How did you do it? How did you put dinner on the table for us every.single.day when you had to make it all from scratch? How did you survive the anguish of watching me sick with asthma and knowing that the oxygen machine at the nearest hospitable didn’t even work? How did you work through living so far away from your parents, your children’s grandparents? How did you go so long without a date night, or a babysitter?

I honestly don’t know how you did it! And I don’t even the words to express how thankful I am that you did do it. You gave me the best childhood I could have ever imagined, and for that I will always be thankful.

I think of all the things I struggle with on a daily basis as a Mom. I struggle with keeping up with the chores, I struggle with patience, I struggle with the weather, I struggle with getting something on the table for dinner. I struggle with the weather and the routines and making sure that my child has access to social outlets and educational oppurtunities. I struggle with worry: will that huge tree fall on our house? Will she ever get over her cold? Why hasn’t she pooped in three days? I struggle emotionally within myself, worrying if I am doing the right thing, saying the right thing, being the right voice to my child. I struggle with trusting God and listening to his word and remembering that He is always faithful. And I struggle with lonliness. I struggle with my marriage.

I struggle with all these things every single day, and I’m sure that most Moms can say the same.

But, you, missionary Mom, you say the same…and more. I know that you struggle to keep your house clean when the Sahara desert blows more dust in than you can ever keep out. I know that you struggle with the weather and cannot comprehend removing yourself from sitting directly in front of the AC to change a poopy diaper. I know that getting dinner on the table is often a multi-hour long investment that includes making everything from scratch, with a lot of non-existent ingredients. I know that you struggle with worrying about your child, and you don’t even libraries and parks and play dates or playgrounds to put on your schedule. I know that you struggle with worry: will he get malaria? Will he get tetanus? Is there a suicide bomber nearby? Will he witness poverty, death, sickness and discouragement in a way that he never should have? Will he get stung by a scorpion? Will he have a “simple” medical emergency that ends in death because there is no good medical care in this country? I know that you struggle with lonliness. Here you are in a foreign country…a country with different rules and different customs, different ways to drive down the street. And on top of all that, everyone speaks a different language. I know you struggle in your marriage. Your husband is gone all day long, and it seems that he has such a ministry to invest in. I know that you struggle with your marriage because it’s near dang impossible to find a babysitter and have a date night.

I know these things because now I have a totally different perspective. When I was living in Niger, I loved it. The heat…was hot…but it didn’t bother me. It didn’t keep me up at night worrying about whether my child was actually going to suffocate or die from heat rash. I didn’t understand the lonliness because I spoke the language. I didn’t understand how hard a marriage is, and I didn’t understand how badly you needed a freakin’ break. Now I understand a little bit better.

And I admire you, missionary Mom. God has called you to something that is so incredibly difficult. Yes, there is no better place to be than in the very center of God’s will. And if his will is Niger, that is where you will feel the most peace. But that doesn’t make it easy. I admire you so much for following the call and being willing to weather motherhood through the messy and the difficult. I admire you so much for taking the time to trust God that He will protect you and your children, and never leave you (even though I know some days you would tell me that you are actually really struggling). I admire you so much for coming up with creative meal plan ideas that your children want to eat. I admire you for honoring your husband and working alongside him, even though sometimes it probably feels like the lonliest place in the world. I admire you for every single time you step outside your gate, the sweat dripping down your back, headscarf tied precariously on your head. I admire you every time you open your mouth and speak a French word, a Hausa, a Songhai word. I know that those words don’t come naturally, and every time you speak one, you wonder if you are going to be laughed out. I admire you for all of that.

And I think of you, dear missionary Mom. I think of during my day. I think of you in the morning when I wake up and wonder how you are doing over there on the other side of the world. I think of you when I’m changing a poopy diaper, knowing that you are doing the same. I think of you when I’m sweeping the grass off my floor, knowing that you are sweeping the dust off yours. I think of you when my husband leaves for the day, because I know your husband has also left for yours. I think of you when I go out to run errands. I buckle my kids into their carseats and browse the over-crowded aisles of my gloriously lit supermarket, while you stop at 19 different shops and stalls before you can find one bag of flour without bugs in it. I think of you when I notice my daughter has a rash, because I bet on the other side of the world your daughter also has a rash, and it causes worry in both of our hearts. I think of you when dinnertime comes around. I felt off today, so I ordered a pizza and took my kids to Chick-fil-A for dessert. But you, dear missionary Mom, don’t really have that option. Instead, you toiled (in your hot kitchen) to make dinner from your family, even though your son complained that there was no “real” Taco seasoning in the tacos. I think of you when you get on Skype to call your parents across the ocean, plaster on a big smile and show them what your children did in school today. I think of you then, because I’m doing that, too, on the other side of the world. I think of you when you hit “end call” and cry into your husband’s shoulder because it’s so hard to be so far away from family. I think of you when I bathe my kids and kiss them and tell them how incredibly much God loves them. And across the world, you do the same with your kids, only you tuck them in under their mosquito nets. We both sigh, and take our own weary bodies to bed, worrying about this and that and how to accomplish tomorrow’s problems.

And isn’t it amazing, dear missionary Mom, that the same God who sustains you, also sustains me? Isn’t it awesome how we serve a mighty God who can get us through those gloriously mundane moments in each of our days? Isn’t it beautiful how we are all Moms…Moms who struggle with different things…but all Moms nonetheless? Isn’t it fabulous to think about how we are not alone?

Oh, no, dear missionary Mom, you are not alone. You are doing a fabulous job and I hope that you hear me when I say that you are put there for a reason. A reason that you may never know. You are doing God’s work, dear missionary Mom. Don’t ever forget that.

With love,

An Adult Missionary Kid

 

What’s On Your….Feet?

Today I’m linking up with some of my absolute favorites for

“What’s On Your……Feet!”

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve got no fashionista in me.

I grew up in Niger where I roamed around barefoot most of the time. Ok, Ok…my Mom did have rules. Rule #1: You had to wear shoes if you left the gate. Rule #2: You weren’t allowed to complain to her if you got worms in your feet.

I’m actually not kidding. Those were my two rules for shoes growing up.

So, its safe to say that I wore flip-flops when I went outside the gate. And I tried really hard not to complain to my Mom when I got worms (don’t worry, she was actually very sympathetic).

I didn’t know how to tie my shoes until I was the ripe old age of 10. And that wasn’t because I was delayed or unable to. It was because I never wore shoes!

Now as an adult, I’m not much different. If you look down at my feet, they are almost always barefoot. And if not barefoot, they are usually clad with flip-flops.

These are the top three pairs of shoes you can find on my feet at any given time….

  1. My flip-flops. Old Navy for the win.

I have these in black, gray, green and blue. To be honest, I don’t even know where the green and blue pair are!

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2. My running sneakers.

I wear these when I’m running or going for a long walk or hike.

 

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3. My black heels

If I’m going to church or something that requires a little pop of dress-up, I throw on these black shoes. I got these from Payless several years ago for a friends wedding. I have worn them at least once a week since then. I was recently in another wedding and was asked to have nude shoes, so I went back to Payless and got the exact same pair of heels in nude! I seriously wear one or the other every single Sunday to church. It’s the perfect heel to not kill me, but still look nice and dressy!

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So what about you? What’s on your feet?

Shop Feature: Isla Jo Studio

Happpppyyyy Monday!

I am so excited to share this shop with you all today! It’s crazy how I got connected to this shop…it’s actually through Little Miss’ new Mom! She told me I should feature this shop, and I’m so glad that she did because I absolutely LOVE it!

I know that prints/graphic designs are popping up all over the place, but Isla Jo Studio is one you have got to follow!

Hi, I’m Kristen!

I am 26 years old, and originally from Brooklyn, Connecticut. After graduating college in 2011, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky where I worked for the Zappos.com video department before getting married and moving to Germany with my husband. There, we had our daughter, Rosie, and have since lived in Texas and now Alabama. I love anything that has to do with being crafty, and occasionally try my best to get back into yoga. 😉

I started my shop as a way to earn a little extra money while still staying home with my (soon to be three year old) daughter. I graduated college back in 2011 with a degree in Media Production and Graphic Design, and always enjoyed doing typography and print design layouts. I had been making prints for my home, and decided to share some of my designs with the “Etsy world.” Within the first two hours of being open, I had my first sale!

My husband is in the military, so we move a lot. I, personally, have lived in five different places in the past five years. Having an online shop allows me to bring my work anywhere I go! As long as I have my laptop and my hard drive, I can create anything, anywhere! I will sit at my computer, listen to music, and work on whatever comes to mind!
The name “Isla Jo Studio” was inspired by two of the most amazing women in my life. My mom, Joan, and my mother-in-law, Lisa, have always been so incredibly supportive of everything I do. I just scrambled “Lisa” to “Isla,” and shortened “Joan” to “Jo!”
Here are some of my most popular prints and bestsellers:
“Amazing Grace”
Amazing Grace Mockup
“Love Story”
Every Love Story Is Beautiful Bronze Mockup
“Arrow”
Follow Your Arrow Mockup
“Strength and dignity”
She Is Clothed In Strength And Dignity Mockup
“Wild Child”
Stay Wild My Child Mint Mockup
You can also follow me on social media and hit up my Etsy site for more prints:
And, just for you!!! I’ve created a shop coupon code TGM20 for 20% off for all The Glorious Mundane readers!!!
Kristen, thanks so much for letting me feature you on this little corner of the internet! Guys, what a steal! Isn’t her work gorgeous! I know that I mentioned that there are lots of print shops, but this one is hands down my personal favorite. I don’t even pretend to know how she does it! Check out the fabulous print that I got from Isla Jo Studios:
Isn’t it perfect? (she also makes police and EMS hero prints!).
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As always, if you are a small shop or business and would like to featured on The Glorious Mundane, please just shoot me an email at [email protected] If you think of a shop that you would like featured, please shoot me an email! I’m always looking for more shops and businesses to work with!
You can view all the other shops and small business I have featured by clicking here.

26 weeks (Pregnancy #2)

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How Far Along: 26 weeks! I just a week away from the third trimester! Now I finally feel like this pregnancy is picking up speed!

Size of Baby: Well, google told me that my baby is the size of a scallion. But to me, a scallion looks like a tiny little onion. So I’m going to go with another thing that google told me, which is a head of lettuce. That sounds much more accurate and makes me feel much better about the bowling ball sticking straight out of me than thinking of this huge bump holding a scallion.

He should be well on his way to two pounds and should measure about 14 inches long! So crazy how big he is getting!

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How I’m Feeling/Symptoms: Feeling pretty good this week. I am starting to feel uncomfortable more and more, but it’s not horrible yet.

This week, I have been SO HOT. I was crying to Theo that I just couldn’t stop sweating. It’s been in the high 80s and 90s and usually, that doesn’t bother me AT ALL. Look, I know I sound totally and completely wimpy to all my Niger folks. But I thought it was worth mentioning since I usually don’t view the 90s as miserable. Ha.

I’m having a hard time bending over now and I’m realizing that there are some things I’m just not able to do as well anymore. My exercising is slowing down and my energy levels are decreasing. I usually only have one day of nausea a week, so that’s nice to finally, finally feel like I have escaped the clutches of the horrid nausea.

I’ve still been sleeping great- usually waking up at least once a night to use the restroom, but I have no trouble going back to sleep. In fact, I have such a hard time getting up in the morning, which is really unusual for this morning person! I do wake up very sore and tired and that’s no fun, but hey- it’s pregnancy after all. I’m incubating a human.

Total Weight Gain: +14 pounds. And all of that has been in the second trimester. It seems like a small number, but I’m anxious to see how this +2 pounds a week turns out in the end.

Food Cravings/Aversions: This week, I got a serious sweet tooth. I mean, out of nowhere I just want sugar and especially in the form of chocolate. I saw some chocolate caramel squares at Aldi and I just knew I had to have them. But they were a little bit pricey and I knew I had an excellent recipe at home, so I went home and made them for myself. Guys, I ate the entire pan in about 4 days. On the last day, there was a large chunk left- enough for both Theo and I to have a serving. Well, when Theo went outside to do something I ate the whole chunk. I purposely ate it, even though I knew I should have shared with Theo. Ha.

No aversions this week, hallelujah!

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Best Moment This Week: Tera and I went to the zoo with Uncle Dan and Aunt Kelly! We had a blast!

Worst Moment This Week: Feeling exhausted and stressed out. Between now and August 9th, I’m planning a bridal shower, going to a family reunion, in a wedding and planning my daughters 2nd birthday party, not to mention growing a human. Each of these events are SO EXCITING and I will love them all, but they all happen within the next three weeks and it’s a little bit overwhelming for my already exhausted body.

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What I’m Looking Forward To: Flying out today to see my Tammy-loo!!! I’m so, so excited for a little girls weekend and celebrating her upcoming wedding! I’m also so excited for her wedding in just a few weeks!! I cannot believe this is all happening! It’s so exciting! Our annual Hines family reunion is coming up and I’m so excited for that, too! Then, Tera’s birthday party…and it’s going to be fabulous!!! After Tera’s party, I literally plan to do NOTHING except incubate this human for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy.

Exercise This Week: Meh. Like I said, I’ve been really tired and having a really hard time getting out bed, so my workouts haven’t been as consistent as they should. I went running once and hiking another time and did an at home morning workout one morning. So, I’ve worked out three times this week. I’ll take it. And try to do better next week!    DSC09805

 

 

 

And here I am at 26 weeks with Tera!

Stranded! with some Famous People

No, I’m not stranded!

But I’m doing a link-up with these two fabulous bloggers: Shay and Erika!

On the second Wednesday of every month, they host this link-up! I’ve been one of those “lurkers” until now, and I just couldn’t resist not joining in! Seriously, how fun is this link-up? If you were stranded on a desert island, what three famous people would you take with you?

So, first of all…I’m not really that into famous people. I enjoy watching movies and sometimes I even read through some tabloids because #entertainment. But, I’ve never had this burning desire to meet many celebrities. But, if I could have some famous people on this deserted island with me, it would be:

  1. First off, we would need some friends on this island. Lately I’m totally into listening to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Can she be my celebrity? Can she and Jen Hatmaker come together as one person since they are friends? I just feel like we would be able to have fun even if the circumstances aren’t ideal.

2. And what would stranded on an island mean if we didn’t have entertainment? One of the most hilarious celebrities and my favorite to watch on TV would have to be Nick Cannon. I feel like he is so great at improvising, no matter what the situation.

3. Bear Grylls. I mean…this one is pretty self-explanatory and would clearly be the key person I’d be grabbing to take with me. He could have a fire going in no time, and would probably have caught fish and some large island mammal before I could even determine which was is “north”.

So there you have it.  As I mentioned at the beginning. I’m not that big into celebrities. I honestly would rather pick three real-life friends and take them with me. Except Bear Grylls. I would certainly choose to keep him with me! After all, that could be the difference between life or death!

So what about you? What three celebrities would you bring with you?

 

I Don’t Know How You Do It

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I can’t even count the times I’ve looked at a fellow Mom and uttered these words:

I just don’t know how you do it

  • My sister in law who moved her and her family to the DRC to do ministry there
  • My cousin who has a 6 year old, a 4 year old and almost 2 year old twins
  • My fellow Mama at church who has 6 kids
  • My mother-in-law who has raised a child with special needs
  • The Mom on IG who always seems to have perfect outfits and picture poses for her children
  • The Mom on Pinterest who can style a party like nobdoys business
  • The working Mama who also seems to do so much with her kiddos

Honestly, honestly…I don’t know how they do it.

And then, we got Little Miss. And people started staying this to me on a daily basis.

Suzanne, I don’t know how you do it!

At first, I found it offensive. It made me feel like I was some unreachable superhero, that I was so much better than everyone else and totally excelling at the mom/foster mom life.

The truth is: I’m not. I never was. Most days I’m flailing around just counting down the hours until bedtime or naptime (whichever comes sooner!). And hearing comments from others about “doing it” just made me feel like surely I was letting someone down that I wasn’t actually “doing it”.

And then I slowly learned to take it as a compliment. Oh! They don’t know how I do it! That means: they admire me! That means they think I’m doing a great job! Just like when I tell one of those people listed above that I don’t know how they do it. I admire them because it seems to me like they are doing an amazing job at a tough task, a task that I don’t have to endure on a daily basis

 

But let me tell you a little secret: I don’t know how I do it, either.

Honestly. I look back on the pictures of the week we brought Little Miss home and I don’t know how I did it. Tera was hardly even walking, and I literally had to carry the both of them around everywhere we went.

I look back at the pictures from Little Miss’ first three months of life in our home…she cried for most of those first three months. And I don’t know how I did it.

I think back to March of this year when I had an 18 month old, a 6 month old and a super horrible first trimester of a pregnancy. Honestly, I don’t know how I did it.

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And as I think back on those times, I realize that I do know how I did it.

First and foremost…it was only by the grace of God. He sustained me and guided us and somehow I had the strength and the courage and the patience to get through those difficult days. It was not a human strength, guys. It was all him. He gave me the grace to start every day new and even when I felt like I was barely holding on, one day rolled into the next…and then somehow we had made it through the difficult stage.

And the other thing is? I didn’t think about it. I just did it. I didn’t wake up in the morning and think t myself, “Should I get up and feed the babies or should I just lay here?”. I moaned and groaned, but then I always just…did it. Some days it was the bare minimum. Some days it was a little more than the minimum. But every day it was one step in front of the other. One moment, one task, one hour, one day at a time.

And the third way I do it? Is by setting my priorities. We all have them. We all need to have them. But we aren’t all going to get it all done. We are going to work and play with our kids, but probably not keep up with cleaning the house. One Mom is going to be able to take fabulous pictures of her kids and spend hours editing them, but she probably struggles with meal planning and getting dinner on the table for her family. One Mom is going to have a spotless home, but doesn’t ever leave the house. One Mom is going to be making money for her family, but is rarely home. It’s our priorities. So when you see a Mom excelling at something that you are not excelling at, remember that we are all different. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we need to learn to cheer each other on in our priorities. My priorities are being a wife, a Mom and a foster Mom. To me, this means that I am present with my children, making home-cooked meals and spending nap time hustling on this blog. But your priorities? They might be totally different. Just make sure you know your priorities and you stick to it!

Mama, sometimes we are going through a hard time. It might be grief. It might be depression. It might be exhaustion. It might be overwhelming tasks. It might be two kids super close in age. It might be a husband’s deployment. It might be a difficult pregnancy. It might be _______ (fill in the blank!)

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And here is what you are going to do, Mama. You are going to do it. You are going to put one foot in front of the other. You aren’t going to focus on “getting through” or the end of this hardship. Instead, you are going to go moment by moment. You are going to wake up in the morning and get up. You are going to carry both of those children through the store since neither child can walk. You are going to get through the long weeks of this pregnancy. You are going to do it one day at time. Hey, maybe that’s too daunting. You are going to do it one hour at a time. One minute at a time. You are going to do it.

And remember this: you are not alone. Oh, God totally gives us more than we can handle. I’ve never experienced this more than when I became a Mom. But the thing is that you don’t have it go alone. Grace and mercy. And faith. And little moments of joy in times that you least expected it. Comfort and peace that passes understanding in these difficult situations.

 

And one day, Mama? One day you are going to look back and smile a little inside. Because suddenly you will see what everyone else saw. You will look back on yourself and your situations and your circumstances and you will say to yourself,

“I don’t know how I did it!”

But you did, Mama. You did it. Not on your own. Not without your tribe. Not without our great and mighty God. But you did it, Mama. You did it.

 

Local Feature: The Learning Tree Farm

Dayton area Moms…this one is for you!!!

You have absolutely GOT to check out Learning Tree Farm!

I think I will probably use 8 million exclamation marks and lots of ALL CAPS words in this post, because I am SO EXCITED about this place!

Basically, this place is my absolute dream hobby/job.

The Learning Tree Farm is a working farm that is open to the public. There are two barns complete with pigs, sheep, goats, cows, ducks, turkeys, chickens, ponies, donkeys, barn cats and two sheep dogs! The farm also has a large garden as well as corn fields. There are hiking trails and a small playground as well. On the property there is a century house museum which is set up like it would have been a hundred years ago. And also of note is the Learning Tree Farm Preschool!

But what good are all my words without pictures?

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We went on a Wednesday afternoon and there was no one else there! It was a beautiful day and we all really enjoyed our time there. From the Beavercreek area it’s about a 30 minute drive. Just a heads up: there is a small part of the drive in the west side of Dayton…aka the not-so-great-side. As we drove through, Theo pointed out at least 15 places that he has responded to several different “incidences”. So, fair warning there.

The Learning Tree Farm is open year-round from 9-6. There is a $3 entry donation, or $10 for a group of up to 10 people. If you are going with more than 10 people, they requires a reservation.

My absolute favorite part of The Learning Tree Farm that seperates it from any other farm I have been to is that you are allowed to go inside the animal pens on your own. I don’t know what this would have looked like if there had been a lot of people at the farm, but for us it was so perfect. Theo got to take Tera right up to every single animal and she got to have so much interaction with them!

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Did you know that pigs are actually really clean animals? They will always choose their bathroom spot, and will ONLY go to the bathroom in that one spot (unlike other farm animals who just go when the need so arises). Unfortunately, the pigs at the farm have chosen the corner right by the gate as their bathroom. Just as we were getting ready to leave the pig pen, Mr. Pig decided it was potty time. There was no opening the gate until he was done with his business! Of course, Tera found great delight in watching the pig go potty!

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ALL of the animals were so people-friendly…even toddler friendly! I mean, Tera is still pretty young, but she was squealing with excitement/fear the entire time, and not one animal acted aggressive or afraid of her. Honestly, I was really impressed!

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One thing I will say about the farm is that there is poop everywhere!!! The stalls are cleaned as much as people have time for, but they are certainly not catering to have perfectly clean and poop-free stalls. Animals poop. Welcome to the farm. Wear closed-toed shoes.

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Inside the chicken coop, you can check for eggs! Of course, you can’t take them, but it would be an awesome science lesson for kids to be able to see where hens lay eggs!

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Inside the second barn there are few interactive things like these fun hay bays saddled up! I think this might have been Tera’s favorite part of the whole farm…she keeps talking about “riding the horsey!”

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She was also thrilled to find the farm dogs, who are the sheep herders! Here the dog is laying next to the sheep pen watching over them.

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I’ve always been a little bit leery of donkeys. It might have something to do with the fact that one of my childhood friends got seriously injured when a donkey kicked him in the face. But these donkeys were SO SWEET. They were really short, so I’m guessing they were a different breed of donkey than what I’m used to. How cute is that white one in the background?

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Theo spotted the ponies way out in the pasture, and when we walked out there, they came right up to us. They were so beautiful!

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We took a family phot and got photo-bombed by the pony!

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My sweet Tera-girl in the meadow. I wanted to just set up a picnic out there in the meadow, it was SO beautiful and peaceful.

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We were running out of time, so we quickly walked through the garden. I don’t know much about gardening, but I was impressed! I also loved that they had a few raised beds just reserved for kids to play in! I’m sure that they get some practice planting seeds when they have a guided group!

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Right before leaving, I popped into the century house and grabbed this one picture. How awesome is this? This house is such a handy tool for making history come alive to kids!

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We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to hit up the playground or the hiking trails, but I’ve heard awesome things about those, too.

In conclusion, Learning Tree Farm is FABULOUS! If you have children, you MUST take them there! I just LOVE, LOVE how this family opened their farm up to the general public, and how kind they are in inviting us in. It felt like hospitality and it was so peaceful to be able to walk around the farm and interact with the animals without having to follow 9000 rules. If you are comfortable with animals and familiar with them, I highly recommend simply taking yourself and showing yourself around. However, if you are uncomfortable around animals I would recommend calling and scheduling a tour, just so you can get the full experience of interacting with the animals! Don’t forget the $3 donation fee!

The Learning Tree Farm is also available for birthday parties! How fun does that sound?? Not only do you get access to the pavilion, but you also get to interact with the animals with a staff member. That sounds awesome to me! Don’t even think about it stealing August 8th-ish!

Another item that I just have to talk about it the Learning Tree Farm Preschool. The preschool runs two days a week for 3-5 year olds and is a nature-based preschool. All lessons are built around interacting with nature and the world around us. The curriculum is child-centered and is based on the Reggio-Emelia approach.

Trust me when I say that you must get out to Learning Tree Farm! It is a fabulous place to kill some time, get in some hands-on homeschool lessons, or plan a playdate with your Mom friends. I have had some interaction with the owners of the farm, and they are wonderful people to work with! I know that if you have any questions or comments, they will be more than willing to answer them.

Don’t forget to also check out the schedule of events:

And don’t forget to follow and like Learning Tree Farm on Facebook!

 

 

25 weeks with Baby Boy!

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How Far Along: 25 weeks! Not too much longer until I’m in the third trimester!

Size of Baby: Head to heel: around 13 inches. That’s crazy, because it’s so close to what he will be at birth! Tera was 17 inches…so there are only a few more inches of length growth to go! Now, weight on the other hand is a different story. Baby boy will still be putting on lots of weight from here on out! I’m just hoping he won’t be a 10 pounder like his Daddy was. Baby boy is the size of an eggplant, or a head of cauliflower! I keep forgetting how big he actually is!

Total Weight Gain: +12 pounds

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How I’m Feeling/Symptoms: I’m feeling huge. I feel pregnant in every part of my body! Otherwise, the symptoms are pretty much the same as last week. I’m still sleeping well and keeping up with my daily activities/chores, but I kind of have to rock myself back and forth before I can get out of my chair or the bed. Haha! It’s getting harder to carry Tera and I’m for sure starting to slow down in my usual movement. But, otherwise…not too bad!

The nesting instinct is starting to kick in and I am realizing that I am so under-prepared! I need to start making some freezer meals and washing all his clothes and organizing the baby stuff to see what I need. I need to contact the hospital and start re-reading my birth books and planning ahead for the months of newborn haze that I will be going through! Phew, now if only the nesting energy would come along with the nesting to-do list!

Dr. Appointments: I had my monthly appointment on Thursday, and it went well. It was probably the fastest Dr. appointment I have ever been to. I took Tera with me, and she did alright, but it’s never easy to take the older sibling to the office. She was really nervous and clingy, which isn’t exactly ideal for getting my belly prodded and poked.

Heartrate: 140; Fundal Height: 25 (right on track)

I had to do my glucose screening test and it was NO FUN. I completely forgot about it so I had to do the drink while I was there at the office. I figured I would have lots of wait time and would do the drink and head straight down to the lab, but since my appointment was so fast I ended up having to wait a good 45 minutes at the lab before they could draw my blood. 45 minutes with this yucky glucose drink and a bored toddler did not a fun time make. Oh, no, not at all.

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Food Cravings/Aversions: I am having a serious sweet tooth lately! I am all about Frosted Flakes for whatever reason. They just sound SO, SO good for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a bedtime snack. I usually try to refrain and have just one bowl a day.

No aversions this week, although I have had a few evenings of still feeling sick. 25 weeks in, and still feeling sick on a fairly regular basis. NO FUN.

Best Moment This Week: Our sweet friend ran into us on Monday and invited us over for dinner. She is so sensitive to us our and feelings as we said goodbye to Little Miss. Even though it’s been over three weeks and most people have forgotten, we haven’t forgotten and we still have some really, really hard days. Well, Kathy had us over for dinner just to bless us, and then she invited several other families from our church over for dessert…to show their love and support. It was so special and so meaningful to me.

Worst Moment This Week: That glucose test was awful. Awful, I tell you. I think if I hadn’t had a toddler with me, I wouldn’t have minded so much, but it was just hard to sit and wait for so long while also trying to deal with Tera, who was bored out of her wits, poor thing.

What I’m Looking Forward To: Taking Tera to the zoo, enjoying summer, the Hines family reunion, my parents coming when this little one is born!

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Exercise this Week: I slowing down, but still trying to stay consistent with working out. I am trying to wake up early, but this week was not a good week for that. I just had such a hard time going to bed early enough to wake up early enough. I did manage to work out at least every other day, and I went for two runs. So, like I said…I’m still trucking along, but just wayyyy slower than before. I need to keep reminding myself that getting bigger and closer to the end is NOT an excuse to stop working out. Instead, I need to be even more diligent as I prepare my body for the marathon of birth!

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