Monday, August 31, 2009

a milestone

We are officially in the double digits on the countdown to baby girl's due date!!!

WOW! I cannot believe that we only have 99 days left until we get to meet our little lovey. We are so ready but have lots left to do. Better get going while I still can, right?!?

Also unbelievable to me is that September starts TOMORROW! I love fall--the smells, the colors, the decorations, the cool evenings and mornings {sometimes}, and some college football. In just a couple of weeks, my house will smell like this:

I love it! And, fall means that December is that much closer. Can't wait!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

home sweet home

Chris and I have spent a lot of time away from each other and away from home during the month of August. As of yesterday, we are officially done with traveling for a while, and we are definitely done with separate travels for a LONG time. Chris was in Rochester Hills, Michigan last week where he began a program to earn his Masters in Missional Leadership. He spent last weekend in a retreat getting to know the other participants in the program, and during the week, he was in class from 8-5 every day! He was sure ready to be done with class, but he had a great week and enjoyed what he was learning.

While he was gone, Wrigley and I packed up and headed down to College Station to stay with my parents and visit some family and friends. I was not a good photographer and didn't take a single picture. I know, it's terrible, but I was just enjoying my time and not worried about getting pictures. Although, now I wish I had some. Here is a little of what I did while I was there:

*Spent time with my mom and dad
*Enjoyed quality time with Sandy & Ashley Payne at McDonald's...love them!
*Visited with Jamie Bomnskie and got to see 2 of her 3 precious kiddos
*Shared a meal with my aunt and uncle and enjoyed seeing them
*Visited with my in-laws over dinner...I am so blessed to have married into such a wonderful family!
*Went to Kemp to visit my former students and co-workers and had the best time! I sure do miss them and am so thankful for my time there.
*Spent great time with my sweet friend Angela...she's one of those friends that I could always spend hours with.
*Went to Houston to visit my sister and Meghan. They made a fabulous meal, and we had lots of fun!

I had a great week and was able to see lots of great friends and family. We have been so blessed to have many incredible friendships. I was very thankful for the opportunity to visit, but I am so glad to be home with my sweet husband. We are ready to settle in here and find our "normal." And, I can't believe it is almost September. Where did the time go?! Enjoy your Saturday, and be blessed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

25 weeks

I tried to think of a creative title, but I decided not to force it! I am now 25 weeks along and still feeling great. I just love feeling her kick and move all around, and it is just so amazing to be in the middle of one of the greatest miracles ever. Lately, as I've thought a lot about our sweet girl, I am just amazed by the idea that God already knows her intimately--the gifts he has given her, her passions, her dreams, and her heart. I absolutely love thinking about that and dreaming about what she will be like. I wonder what she will look like and what kind of personality she will have {and I secretly hope she has some of her Daddy's zeal and spicy personality!}. But more than that, I hope with all of my being that she has a heart for the Lord and that Chris and I are able to live lives that reflect Christ. I can't wait to watch her grow in the Lord and fall in love with Jesus--those will be blessed moments in my life.

For now, my prayer is that we will both continue to be healthy, that she will grow and develop just as she is supposed to, and that God will continue/begin to develop in all 3 of us a heart that longs for him above all else. He is good.
Here we are at 25 weeks...

And, here is a picture of us at 16 weeks in the same shirt...I think she's grown a little, what do you think?!?

Monday, August 24, 2009

first day of school

For the first time in many years, I am not at school today. It is really a bittersweet feeling for me. At the end of May, I would have told you there was no way I would be sad, even a little bit, about not going back to teaching this fall, but I was wrong. I have missed buying all the supplies, getting my classroom ready, getting a list of students' names, and feeling the excitement and butterflies the days leading up to the first day of school. Not only that but I will miss seeing my former students and my coworkers. Seriously, I had the best coworkers ever, and my students weren't too bad themselves :) However, as much as I am missing being there today, every time I remember that I get to be home with our little lovey, it makes the nostalgia go away pretty quickly. As much as I miss seeing the excited faces and getting to know the new students and all the excitement/challenges that come with being a teacher, I am so ready for my new job as a Momma. I truly think it will be the best job I will ever have!

So, for all you teachers out there, I am thinking of you today. You have such an important job, and you are an incredible blessing in the lives of so many students and families. I am praying for your patience, peace, compassion, and wisdom as you learn to love a new classroom of students. In the words of my husband, "let the kingdom of God break out in new places around you this year!" I am touched by your dedication and willingness to do a truly tough job. You are appreciated, and I hope the start to your year is wonderful! Many, many blessings!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Warning: LONG post ahead

It's been a whole week since I blogged, and a lot has happened during that time. It is almost hard for me to remember everything and to figure out how to put it all in words. But, I will do my very best. Consider yourself warned concerning the length of and amount of pictures in this post and proceed at your own risk :)

The highlight of my little world since I last blogged is that on Saturday my husband returned from his 8 day trip to Ghana, Africa. Yes, he was gone for 8 whole days, and I only got to hear his voice twice the whole time! But, don't worry, he should win the "husband of the year" award, if there is such a thing, because he got me a card for each day he was gone, and without my knowledge, arranged for them to all be given to me by different people each day. Some even came with gifts. I know, I know...he's the best ever! I was also well taken care of and kept company by my sweet Momma. She spent the WHOLE week with me, as I am sure you noticed in previous posts, and we worked, worked, worked... and had a little fun too :) However, as much fun as I had with my Momma, I cannot even explain how ready I was for Chris to be home. Sometimes I think I love him too much.

So, what was he doing in Ghana? Good question :) I explained a little of that in a previous post, but I will give a brief explanation of exactly what went on while he was there. He left on Friday, August 7 and spent that whole day {and night} traveling. On Saturday and Sunday, he stayed at an orphanage there in the capital of Ghana called Village of Hope. He loved his time at the orphanage and enjoyed playing soccer with the kids and participating in their "devotions" at night. You should hear them sing...he got a short video clip of the kids singing, and it is the most precious thing ever! He got to attend church with the kids and staff from the orphanage on Sunday and was even asked to preach at the service on Sunday night! Talk about an experience. As I'm sure that any of you who know him can imagine, Chris was in his element at the orphanage, and he loved the opportunity to just love on those kids.  Here are some pictures of kids from the Village of Hope.



The next part of the week was spent at Lake Volta in eastern Ghana. He and 2 other men from St. Louis spent 10 hours of the day Monday traveling to Kete Krachi, a town on the lake, and got to meet some kids at the orphanage there, Village of Life. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent on the lake meeting some of the boys that are in slavery out there. His stories and pictures really are heartbreaking, and it's truly unbelievable that these boys, some as young as 5 or 6 years old, work 14 hours a day EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The most exciting thing about his time on the lake is that Chris got to participate in rescuing 3 boys from their lives of slavery on Wednesday. Praise God! He got to hold their hands, give them new clothes, and watch their new lives begin. Lives full of opportunity and love that they would have never been given had someone not decided to step up and make a difference. He spent the day Thursday, 13 hours, traveling back to the capital city of Ghana, Accra, and then flew out for home on Friday.  

Fisherboys on the lake...I'm sure you can see the contrast between their faces and those of the kids at the orphanages.




Here are the 3 boys that were rescued.


And, my favorite picture of them all...totally captures Chris's heart!

I am beyond proud of him, and I just love his selfless heart. I have a lot to learn from him, and I am just thankful that I get a front row seat for the rest of my life. The really exciting thing is that Chris and I feel called to really get involved with this mission of rescuing kids in Ghana and look forward to taking a group back in the summer of 2010. So, be thinking if you want to join us!  Stay tuned for some other ways you can help these precious kids between now and then.

Mom and I had a great time and got a lot done in baby girl's nursery. Chris and I are really excited about how it is coming all together, and once it is at least a little closer to being done, I will post some pictures.  They will be worth the wait :)  

Finally, I had a baby appointment on Monday with Dr. G. Everytime we go to the doctor I feel very good about our choice to go with Dr. G. I just really like her, and she always tells me how great baby girl and I are doing, which never gets old to hear! I did my glucose test where I had to drink the orange, sugary drink, wait an hour, and have my blood drawn. It really wasn't so bad, just got really sweet by the end. We are waiting on the results, but I am not worried. We got to hear our baby girl's heartbeat, and I promise that the little swishing never gets old. It is just precious. I have made it to 24 weeks and only have 3 weeks left in this second trimester. It's been so wonderful, and I am thankful for each moment of it that I have felt good and healthy. We know that December is going to be here before we know it, so we are just enjoying each day and phase of this pregnancy.


Whew... ok, I am done. Congrats if you made it all the way through. I am impressed! I promise not to let it get that out of hand, at least for a while! Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

i love mangoes!

And, that is exactly what size our baby girl is at 23 weeks--a large mango.

I can tell she is growing because I am too {as I am sure you can tell from the picture}, and her movements are getting stronger and more predictable. I love feeling her moving around, and I know I will miss that once she is here. So, I will just keep enjoying it! I have my next baby appointment on Monday, and I already can't wait to hear her little heart beating away. It is the sweetest sound that I have ever heard. I never thought I would love going to the doctor so much!

I have been very busy this week. Here is a little of what I have been up to.
giving Wrigley a much needed bath

sewing for baby girl's room
{I am still very new to the whole sewing thing, but so far, I think I like it :)}


getting in some quality time with my momma

Even though it's been busy, it's been fun! I am starting to get a little worn out from all the excitement, so I think my "mango" darling and I are going to go kick up our feet. Blessings...

Monday, August 10, 2009

oh, wrigley!

Is he not just about the cutest thing ever?!?
He is already enjoying baby girl's freshly painted room. I found him just like this after dinner tonight, and I couldn't resist! You can see a little bit of the new walls in the nursery that my mom, Gretchen, and I painted today. I love it! The color turned out perfect and is very soothing. I think Wrigley agrees :) I could hardly get him to leave the room, and I don't think that will change once our sweet pea arrives. I have a feeling he is going to be her #1 fan! I sure do love that dog!

Blessings...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

sneak preview


My mom is in town for the next several days, and we are working on baby girl's nursery trying to get a few things knocked out. Today we spent a couple of hours at the Joann Fabrics Super Store in Dallas, and let me tell you that store is super...super overwhelming! Oh my goodness! But, we had lots and lots of cute fabric to choose from, and I think we are off to a great start. The picture is just a peek at what we got today. It looks great with the other stuff we already have and will be just perfect for our little lady. I will post pictures as we make some progress throughout the week, and hopefully, there will be a lot to show!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

our little dancing queen

Last night was a big night in our house because Chris felt our little girl moving for the first time!  For a couple of weeks, I have tried to catch her in action and grab Chris's hand to place on my stomach, but she always decided to be ornery and stop.  But, not last night!  I could tell she was really on the move, so I took the opportunity to let her daddy join in on the amazing-ness that it is.  He was like a little kid and couldn't believe it.  He couldn't stop smiling and got super giddy.  I love it!  I teared up a little bit, and it just made me even more excited to see him with his little girl.  So, needless to say, we had a great night, and week 22 started off with a bang!  Here is a picture of me and the little lady from yesterday:


Last week, we were at Camp of the Hills with 3 boys and Gretchen, doing some work for them.  The boys worked really hard moving rocks and cleaning/organizing a lot of places that were in desperate need of some help!  Gretchen and I spent our time with Granny Field in the office, helping her out.  It is always a blessing to spend time with Granny, and I am always convicted by her selflessness.  We enjoyed our time out there, but it reminded me that I am definitely getting older :)  Here is a picture of the boys with their pile of rocks. {By the way, these boys are hilarious, and I laughed quite a lot last week.  It was good for the soul.}



We have started working on sweet girl's nursery, and I love it! I will post pictures of our progress soon. Make sure to scroll down and check out the Ghana post! Blessings to you all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ghana

Ghana is a country in West Africa and is slightly smaller than Oregon.  President Obama recently visited Ghana after the G-8 Summit.  Ghana is home to the 4th largest reservoir in the world, Lake Volta.  Ghana has a very stable democratic government.

So, why do I care about Ghana?  It is very exciting, really, and something we have been dreaming about for a long time.  Chris will be making a trip to Ghana this month!  Chris and I have talked and conspired about getting involved with some kind of overseas mission since we got married, and our hearts have always been drawn to Africa.  We didn't know how God would work it out, but we have prayed about it for a long time.  About 3 months ago, we caught wind of a book, Jantsen's Gift by Pam Cope.  Chris quickly got a copy and read it in about 2 days.  After he read it, he said, "we have to get involved with this."  {Jantsen's Gift is an amazing book about grief and redemption, and I would highly recommend it.}  Pam began an organization called Touch A Life Foundation after her 15-year old son died suddenly of an undetectable heart defect.  Through her organization, she has helped countless children in Vietnam, Cambodia, and now Ghana.  In Ghana, her organization is working to rescue children that are in slavery on Lake Volta.  These children work long hours every day and sometimes only get one small meal, so Pam and her team come to the men that "employ" these children and offer them better nets, to repair their boats, or even to teach them a new trade in exchange for the boys.  The next step in this process is to build an orphanage where the children can go after they are rescued because the Village of Hope, an orphanage they have taken a few of the rescued children to, is very full.   

So, Chris {my go-getter husband} got in touch with Pam and asked how he could help and how we could get involved.  It just so happened that a group of people was taking a trip to Ghana this month, and they had room for Chris to join them!  Seriously?!?  If you know Chris and I, you know that this is a dream come true!  So, Chris will be in Ghana, Africa for 8 days during the month of August where he will travel to Lake Volta to meet some of the boys fishing and will also be involved in the Children's Art Village at the Village of Hope where he will get to interact with hundreds of orphans.  We are so excited for this opportunity and feel so blessed that God has provided us a way to help His children.  And, maybe even more thrilling, our church plans to begin an annual mission trip to Ghana to work with the Touch A Life Foundation beginning in the summer of 2010.

Isn't God just so good?!?!  So, if you think about it, say a prayer for Chris and the group that will be in Ghana--for safety and that God will use them to help the kingdom break out in that small corner of the world.  And, pray for me--that I won't be too jealous :) or too worried about my sweet husband.  
Here is a video Chris made about his upcoming trip to show to the church.  Enjoy!


video