Friday, December 23, 2011

Nine Weeks

Sorry for the delay! Merry Christmas from one cute, growing little lady! 11lbs 4.8oz yesterday at the pediatrician.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eight Weeks

What a pose. Here's Surrey, eight weeks old, refusing to smile for the camera. Don't let that frog-like blank stare fool you. She's talking and smiling quite often nowadays, although not quite as often as she cries. As for her hair, we're still trying to tame it. Hopefully her bath tonight will settle things down, but that's only helped once.

Seven Weeks - Behind the Scenes

And this is why last week, when Surrey was seven weeks old, there was no blog post. Screaming, unhappy child. Dreary day with no sunlight. A computer that doesn't hold internet connection or allow me to upload photos. Week seven brought exhaustion.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Six Weeks

Our dear Surrey is six weeks old today. Wow.
In addition to her six week birthday, today also celebrated her first shots at the doctor. Bummer. Snoopy band-aids adorn both her thighs, but she was a real trooper. She has also officially jumped into the double-digit weight club, ringing in at a petite 10.1 lbs.
And because Surrey continues to be inconsolable pretty often while eating, her pediatrician has told me to eliminate dairy for awhile. It's a good thing I love my daughter. No dairy is a huge hit. No milk?! No cheese?! No MILK CHOCOLATE?! Bahhh! Oh well, in the name of getting our sanity back (and our ear drums), I'll take one for the team. Had I known this yesterday, I would've held off in filling the candy jar with holiday Hershey kisses. Whomp, whomp.

*To note, these are all still awful pictures from the old camera. So sorry, Mom and Dad. My MacBook has decided to stop reading CDs and so as of right now I can't upload the pictures.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Five Weeks

Somebody turned a month old and decided to start out-growing her 0-3 month clothes. Look how tight this onesie is now! She'll have her driver's license before we know it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Four Weeks

When embarking on this weekly photo project, I envisioned having a cute picture of Surrey smiling or sleeping soundly each week. And then week four rolled around and rained on my parade.
Then I realized it's better this way. It's better to look back and remember that four-week-old Surrey was different than one-week-old Surrey. Unfortunately, she seems to be in a lot of discomfort that I think may be reflux or GERD, and we hope to get some answers from her pediatrician this week.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Three Weeks

Yesterday Surrey turned three weeks old. I failed to adjust to the time change and missed the good sun in our condo, hence the worst photo you've seen yet. I also snapped some photos with our new Nikon D3100 (thanks mom and gift ever!), which look a whole lot better (duh) but we still have to purchase a USB cord so we can transfer the pictures onto my computer. Patience.

Surrey has decided to come into her own this week. Not nearly as much sleeping, and a lot more fussing. Fortunately, she's still the cutest baby ever birthed in the midst of giving us a run for our money nowadays. Crossing our fingers week four brings more routine to our lives!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Two Weeks

Yesterday Surrey turned two weeks old. What an old lady! She's gaining weight and building up those neck muscles, impressing the pants off the pediatrician. You go girl.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One Week

Our sweet Surrey Gray is one week old today.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Nine Months

Spoiler Alert

You're right. It's been over a month since an update. In fact, it's almost been two months. I'm not proud.
But while we're talking numbers, let's talk about an even more staggering statistic...

13 days til our babe's due date. That's less than two weeks people. Unreal.

Jeremiah and I are finally feeling ready for our girl to arrive after a couple weekends in a row of errands and necessary baby prep. Her room is ready to go, our hospital bag is as packed as it can be, and the car seat is installed. I never thought the day would come, but everything seems a bit natural and normal as her arrival gets closer. Don't get me wrong, it's still absolutely nuts to know that two weeks from today our life will be completely different. We'll be parents. We'll be in charge of a baby, of a child, of another life. Crossing our fingers we don't screw it up!

And now without further ado, the nursery reveal. Drumroll please...

And lucky, lucky you. You've gotten a sneak-peak at our little lady's first initial. Ahh!

My sincerest apologies. As if I'm not terrible enough at taking pictures, S's room doesn't have a single window and has a crazytown lamp, all making pictures nearly impossible to visualize the room as it appears in reality. So sorry. I tried with and without flash and both versions are horrible.

In the words of En Vogue... now it's time for a breakdown.

Crib - BabyMod Parklane, from Walmart
Bedding - my crazy talented mom
Rocking chair - Plow & Hearth
Ottoman - Target
Changing table/drawers - Ikea
Changing pad and cover - The Land of Nod
Mirror - Target, spray painted by Jeremiah
Curtains - fabric from Joann, sewn by my mom
Futon - Ikea
Fabric ribbon board - my crazy talented sister
Pillows - my mom
Bookshelf - Ikea (years and years ago), backed with wrapping paper
Chifforobe - my dad's grandmother's I believe
Ceiling and floor lamps - Ikea
Mobile - handmade by me
S - painted cardboard letter from Joann, rosettes handmade by me

And wouldn't you agree we're in big trouble if the ultrasound techs were deceived...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Under Construction

And here's a little taste of what we're working on. More of the little lady's room to come in the upcoming weeks.

Only 8 weeks til her big debut, are you counting down with us?

Grade A

Sitting in my closet, you will find this lovely Anthropologie ceramic egg crate. Although instead of finding a dozen Eggland's Best Grade A eggs, you'll find an assortment of otherwise flailing around earrings and bobby pins.
I can't take much credit for this ingenious idea. The instant a friend opened this exact bridal shower gift on Wednesday night my mind raced immediately back to something I had seen on my favorite of all blogs. And considering the jewelry atop my closet dresser looked like a scene from Twister, I knew it was high time I did something about it. Because (a) it looked unsightly, (b) it indirectly made my life chaotic, and (c) that movie scared me during my previous (see also: ongoing) fear of all things storms and I don't need those memories resurfacing anytime soon.
So, off to Anthro I went yesterday after work to make this $14.00 life-changer mine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Three's a Party

So says Andy Warhol.
And so seems to be our situation as our new roommate blasts youtube sensation Rebecca Black's "Friday" hit each week to ring in another weekend.
That's right, Cameron has officially moved in to our place here in Midlothian, Virginia. We've all been in and out since his pilgrammage down mid-July, but we're staring routine and daily life together in the face as Jeremiah and Cameron get ready to head to work in about a week. It's about time. This working during the summer stuff makes me ugly with jealousy.
Other than the pressures of having food in the house constantly (which I'm failing miserably at) and needing to contribute weekly towards his quest of becoming an MVC at Kohls, so far so good.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Link, meet Grandmother and Aunt Martha Stewart

No, we're actually not that famous. Our daughter has no relation to the Martha Stewart. The Martha Stewart who I just found out is 70 years old. Say what?! I don't believe it.
But even though we're not officially related, I think we could really fool some people with the just-as-good-if-not-better-than-Martha's work my mom and sister produce. They're so incredibly crafty and creative it's almost sickening. Usually I feel very sub-par to the two masterminds, always jealous of their attention to detail, patience, and magnificent end results. Luckily, this time around I was on the receiving end of their perfection and reaped every single benefit.
A couple weekends ago my mom and sister threw me (and the little lady on the way) my first baby shower. Woo hoo! It was a much-anticipated event for me, being that pregnancy hasn't really been what I expected. Namely, it hasn't felt real. I had high hopes that being surrounded by love, encouragement, and baby goodies (and my own swollen feet) would help it all sink in a little more. And it did. At least for a few hours.
Plan A was to have a backyard/garden shindig set amongst the summer foliage; however, mother nature threatened heavy with cloudy skies and high humidity. Fortunately, Plan B worked at wonderfully. Just a few steps away from my house was a delightfully air-conditioned room at my parents' church awaiting some decorative love. They took a p(l)ainfully bare room and made it pretty adorable.
Not one detail fell to the wayside. Pinwheel centerpieces. Coordinating fabrics and colors. Handsewn items. Real plates. Placecards. A freaking amazing cake (by none other than Chef Andria). Polka-dot and color-themed food. Delicious food. It was perfect I tell ya. Perfect.
Unfortunately, my pregnancy brain was in full-force, as I failed to snap even one photo of the celebration. Kate Joyce, where were you?? Luckily, my dad tried his best to capture a few moments pre-shower and we even got a handful of me with some guests post-party.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From Holding Cell to Nursery

That's right, the room off of our living room that our little lady will reside in is finally taking shape. Since we moved in, this room was more or less a holding cell. We had in the back of our minds that it had serious nursery potential, but were using it for a desk and a random book shelf in the meantime. Now with less than three months til her arrival, we have officially begun "nesting" as they call it. Weird.
Last week Jeremiah and Cameron painted the boring beige walls a calming gray. Glidden's Smooth Stone to be exact. Although I hadn't envisioned gray (since we have hues of it in other rooms), we think it's a nice neutral against some bold fabric choices.
In addition to the dining room curtains, my gracious mother also manufactured a set of panels for the babe's room. Jeremiah and I scored that crazy fabric from the same Joann sale I mentioned before. We don't plan to actually use the curtains to cover the french doors though. Hoping instead to find a pair of white roman or roller shades to give the girl some privacy and darkness for when she's sleeping straight through the night from day one of being home. You guessed it, she'll be the perfect baby. Aren't we lucky?
Another big excitement was the arrival of the crib. Thanks to the in-laws for the generous gift! Jeremiah got right to work putting his daughter's throne together and fortunately the process ran very smoothly. The white and brown will tie in other pieces that will go in the room and of course the added drawer is a definite storage plus. Loving it! Once it's adorned with a mattress and some fabulous bedding it'll be all ready.
Excuse the awful lighting in the photos. The crazy lamp I bought from IKEA casts much-less-than-ideal shadows all over the place and makes for a dimly lit room. I don't claim to be a photographer, but I sure know shadows and minimal lighting make for terrible pictures. You get the idea though...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dining Upgrade

Since December 29th the dining area off of our kitchen has been a bit lacking. And by a bit I mean a lot. Gray walls and a white table and chairs. We would have been a bit more ambitious with this space had we not found out about my pregnancy so soon after moving in. But in anticipation of the little one, some projects have been put on the back burner. Fortunately, several weeks ago Joann was having a big fabric sale (read: 50% off with an extra 15% off with the teacher discount) and soon after my mom was arriving for a visit. That meant, killer fabric for much cheaper than normal that could be made into curtain panels by a seamstress much more advanced than myself (see also: much more patient). I'm convinced I'm not cut out for sewing. I have huge aspirations, but every time I sit down to my trusty machine I just cannot produce anything either (a) quick enough or (b) legit enough. So thank God for my mom and her handiwork. We're loving how the fabric ties in to the living room color scheme since we have a pretty open concept layout.
Another upgrade came by means of a lucky last move. With my brother now living in our once-guestroom and a baby soon living in our last empty space in less than three months (!!!), we've had to get rather creative with furniture and storage placement. A childhood dresser we planned to have in the nursery (but then realized wasn't going to work in that space) was one of the last items left needing a new home. I was convinced it would never work, but it was one happy accident when my mom and I tested the dresser out in the dining room as a pseudo-sideboard. Of course, it needs a bit more love in the form of a substantial piece or pieces of artwork above to beef it up next to the tall curtains. I have some cheap ideas running through my head, but have a feeling it could be another seven months before this area sees another upgrade.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Details

The Big Reveal

Shamefully, most of you are just now getting a glimpse of the big bash we threw to announce our baby's gender on May 31. That's right, we decided to throw a "gender reveal" party the night I had my 20-week ultrasound that allowed us to know whether our little one is a boy or girl.

Without our immediate families nearby, we thought this would be a fun way to make the surprise a big excitement for us. Luckily, we've met some great people down here who were totally up for it and went along with the silliness quite well. My friend Kate offered to reveal the gender to us by means of filling the inside of a cake with blue or pink icing.

At first we thought we would have to find out the gender before the party in order to be able to tell Kate, and in order not to miss any details of the ultrasound. We were wrong, which made for even bigger fun that night as we welcomed our friends and informed them we still didn't have a clue. During the ultrasound we were able to see plenty of the baby's movements and features without actually knowing the gender. The technician moved the screen out of our view while she was looking and let us know it was very clear and she knew exactly what we were having. Ahhh! To our surprise, the ultrasound lasted for what seemed like forever because our child wouldn't cooperate, stubbornly refusing to move into one particular position. How surprising. My mom is currently eating that up big time. We ended up having to go back two weeks later in order to get this last measurement, at which point we were able to confirm the gender and see it for ourselves.
And how did Kate find out? Jeremiah flagged down a nurse in the hallway and had her call Kate and read what the technician had wrote on a slip of paper in an envelope for us. Perfect!
But back to the big bash.

Our friends played along and kindly showed up in blue or pink, revealing their prediction. Jeremiah dressed in pink and I was in blue. Although what seemed like 99% of people have predicted girl, our split was about even that night. We had a place for name suggestions, which as you may imagine, got slightly out of hand. Pink and blue candy, tissue paper pom poms, blush wine in blue cups, and a fabric table runner I made all created a festive atmosphere.

Once everyone was gathered and had had time to enjoy each other's company it was time for the big reveal! Jeremiah and I each made a cut in the cake and lifted the slice to unveil PINK icing.

It's a girl!

Everyone celebrated, and Jeremiah didn't gloat too much. I probably reacted know, like opening gifts in front of people, you always look fake or unappreciative. But oh my goodness I'm excited! I always thought it was surely a boy and always imagined having a boy first, but now envisioning our little lady I wouldn't have it any other way. We're in for one fun and wild ride.

And let's not forget a shout out to my friend and amazing photographer, Kate Joyce. You're so great!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Counting Down

Four months til D-Day.
Also known as the little lady's due date.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


You better believe I'm taking advantage of this. Oh, and so is Jeremiah.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day Five: Privileged

The last day of the challenge was a weird one.

I woke up feeling motivated and continued to feel immensely thankful as I listened to some good worship music on the way to work. I really felt God present during that drive and was able to set aside my normal high-stress road rage for a half hour of thankfulness to Him. Came To My Rescue by The Bridge Band really resonated with me as I reflected on the challenge and what our church is doing to seek justice and service here in Richmond and in other countries. "In our life.. be lifted high. In our world.. be lifted high. In our love.. be lifted high."

Then at work I crashed and burned. Stomach growling the whole day, and barely able to get down a half cup of rice. I think the babe might have a bone to pick with me when he/she comes out for sure.

That night Jeremiah and I went to a little celebratory get-together at church to conclude the challenge with other participants. As we talked with one another about when and how we were breaking the challenge, I felt a huge tension, much like the tension I experienced all week thinking about being pregnant. On one hand not feeling right withholding recommended nutrients from our babe, but on the other hand recognizing the reality of pregnant women's situations in places where there's no access to said nutrients. Neither felt right, not even creating a balancing act. All in felt indulgent, all out felt negligent. A balance felt half-hearted.
So the time came when we were free to break the challenge. Some people were going out for dinner that night, others talked about waiting until midnight, and some holding off until breakfast. No option seemed right to me. I knew that these kids and families starving across the world don't have the option of waiting til midnight and then being able to gorge. They don't wake up to a new day suddenly able to eat more than rice and beans. But I can. I feel privileged, extremely privileged. And I feel guilty. There comes a point when we can go back to what we know as normal life, but now it doesn't feel normal. It feels excessive and unfair. It feels like there's no good time to do it, because the reality is that no matter when I eat what I want, there will be about 983 million people who can't. It's frustrating and unsettling.

And all that being said, Jeremiah decided to go grab Cookout for dinner on the way home, as many other Hopers were doing as well. It felt gluttonous. And we didn't rejoice, we didn't speak actually. We ate. And then felt sick. And it was all kind of anti-climactic, as if this thing was all about me, like there should be a big pay-off for me in the end. And today I can go out to eat or to the grocery store and pick up our normal groceries. It's strange.

I believe the pay-off will literally come on Sunday, when participants give the gap. We will rejoice together knowing that the money we saved by sacrificing our excess will go towards fighting hunger and giving souls hope.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day Four: Mental Note For Next Year

I was just about to write about what a horrible night it was. And then, just as my tired fingers hit the keys I thought, perhaps it was actually a great night.

Tonight was Robious Night at the Flying Squirrels baseball game. Jeremiah and a bunch of his 8th grade teaching posse and spouses were planning to attend the game, so naturally I tagged along as well. I was looking forward to a night of being away from my kitchen and having something to occupy my time.

Clearly, the challenge is affecting my brain and intellect. And I have to think that pairing that with pregnancy absentmindedness is a deadly combo.

How quickly I forgot that once you pass through the pearly red gates at the diamond you are punched in the face with all the sights and smells of delicious, delicious food. Within a minute I felt like I was trapped in that room on Lost where they strap people to a chair and have them watch this crazy loud and bright screen that essentially brainwashes them. If you haven't seen Lost, moral of the story is it's bad and hard to escape and messes with your mind. Luckily, the couple I was with headed straight to our seats. Jeremiah was working the will call booth so he wouldn't arrive for about an hour.

And never was I so aware of the power of scent than tonight. Why oh why so high up and far from the food does it smell so good?! As more friends came, dinner talk grew from a murmur to something compared to Christmas morning. And oh was I tempted. As a friend offered me a fried pickle I thought: ah there's no harm, there's only one more day to go, not much harm anymore. And then it hit me. That voice that has been following me all week. And I thought of Jeremiah. For the off chance that he would be upset, disappointed, or discouraged in his own sacrifices, I decided it wasn't worth it. And just a few minutes later Jeremiah got a text from someone at Hope. I had a feeling this could be it, the dreaded point of no return. And it was. This friend texted Jeremiah to ask if we'd consider sharing about our experience this Sunday during one of the services. P-A-R-T-Y K-I-L-L-E-R. There was no turning back now. But the same things that poured on my food parade that night ultimately bring maturity and accountability and humility, which even I must admit far outweigh the joys of greasy food.

And this is why I dub this the worst night ever... but maybe also the best. As people continued filing in with hot dogs wrapped in foil (my fave!) and funnel cake and dippin' dots in baseball helmets and curly fries I just wanted scream. But here I am, at 10:45pm with a hungry, unsatisfied stomach. So it was awful, but yet something's happening. This is so unlike me to resist such goodness, especially food, especially when I'm pregnant and hungry and miserable.

So, just a mental note for next year. Although the Spirit may allow one to conquer the minor league baseball concessions, I'd stick more with the whole "flee from temptation" idea.

Day Three: It's A Choice

I came home from work to an empty home...for two hours.
I had free reign over the kitchen. Jeremiah was working the Flying Squirrels game so I wouldn't see him for quite some time. Hmmm.

But not much to my surprise, as I went in for the kill the Holy Spirit zoomed in ahead of me. He reminded me He was with me by bringing some things to mind and allowing my heart and my mind to make a conscious choice to sacrifice.
He reminded me that I was off to small group/book club/Bible study in a couple hours. He reminded me that there I would be surrounded with a handful of women who were all in with this challenge, too--who had been sending honest and encouraging emails all day, helping me to press on. He reminded me that my actions go deeper than I think they will. He reminded me that people are watching and learning, being encouraged or hindered. It's no coincidence that an old youth retreat leader from when I was in high school commented on Day Two and then posted a link to this blog on her own, proclaiming what my church is doing to help feed starving children. How could I give up the fight now? So not by my own strength, but by the Holy Spirit's, I was able to walk away from that dang Twix. And it's actually getting "easier." It's not easy, but it's become more of who I am this week, of what I'm living for. Funny, I suppose that's not so unlike our faith and character that God is shaping. Application point, check.
Blaring in my mind while I was alone in the kitchen was something my Bible study leader told me in college. Righteousness and obedience is not our natural tendency. We have to choose things that bring life, that honor Christ. It's exciting to know that God's truly doing something here, helping me yield to the Spirit. "He must become greater, I must become less."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day Two: Thankful for Jeremiah

Accountability can be a real party killer in the face of temptation. But I guess that's the whole point of accountability.
I stood in front of our pantry staring at the big vat of Utz Party Mix and the Chocolate Frosted Mini Wheats with a stomach growling for food. I actually I think I heard it say "eat the chips." Perhaps that was the baby talking. Or perhaps it was my weak and susceptible will power, about to fail me once again. And it most definitely was a reminder of why I can't face life's obstacles alone.. without God and without other believers in my life.
You see while I stared down those tasty treats with my right eye, I stared down my faithful husband with my left. There he was, cooking up a fresh batch of rice and preparing his tortilla and beans. He was rejoicing over a mango snack. Unlike me, Jeremiah has been doing this challenge 100%. Tonight's dinner was his sixth meal straight of simply rice and beans, with an occasional tortilla and mango. But who was the one bellied up to the pantry? And who even tried to talk Jeremiah into allowing himself a little wiggle room? Shamefully, me.
Thank God for my husband who God is using to teach me a lesson or two. I could have easily eaten out of excess and advantage and taken this whole thing for granted. But fortunately, I sat down to a disgustingly bland meal of rice and beans wrapped in a tortilla. I hate beans and I can barely get through rice. It was the slowest meal I think I've ever eaten. Hardly any food, but took awhile pacing myself through each bite to keep it down. The water chaser wasn't much of a help either. But I did it. And I'm hungry and unsatisfied. For now.
I think God's teaching me something. It's not all about me. I don't have to constantly be full and satisfied with life... food, clothes, money, etc. It's not about my comfort. And as much as I think I can, I really can't do it by myself. As much as I may strive to do or think what I should, I can't do it without relying on God and faithful people he puts in my life.

Two Weeks

Two weeks people! Boy or girl, what do you think?!

Breaking and Entering

I guess we can't legally be charged with the offense since it involved breaking and entering into our own home. Nonetheless, we looked pretty sketchy (and pathetic) trying to bust through our bedroom windows on Sunday afternoon. It was bound to happen, and I for one am surprised it took four and a half months to come to this.
In our new place we have to go into the building before then being able to go in through our front door. We lock our door religiously and also need a key to get into the building itself (theoretically). Because I've been fearful of this exact scenario, most days when we leave the house together I annoyingly ask Jeremiah if he has the keys. Sunday was no exception. I suppose a better question would have been to ask if he had all the keys--even our house key I lent out to his family while they were visiting for the weekend. Oops! Jeremiah freaked and I laughed. What does one do when they lock themselves out of their own house?? Can't call AAA (speaking of, we need to get signed up for that). Can't ask a neighbor. Shoot.
Luckily, my mind quickly raced back to mid-slumber Friday night when it started storming. I groggily got up and closed all the windows we had open, but didn't want to waste my precious sleep time locking them (those things require some serious elbow grease). There was hope! Until we trekked through the landscaping and bellied up to the window only to find you couldn't really grasp the screen. But by some miracle, Jeremiah got ahold of it and proceeded to bend it until it popped out. What a guy! I think it's his new found handy self. If it were up to me to get us in, we would've spent that night at a shelter. Unfortunately, the screen didn't go back in quite as well as it came out and the frame ended up snapping in half along the bottom before Jeremiah slid it into place. Fortunately, it doesn't look nearly as ghetto as one might expect from the outside.
I'm not sure whether it's a good or bad thing we live on the first floor. On one hand, there would have been no way to break in if we weren't on the ground floor. On the other hand, I guess we'd be a lot safer.

And that my friends is a lesson learned. Actually two lessons learned.
1. It's easy to break into our place.
2. We need to hide an extra key.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day One: A Rough Start

The novelty of the challenge quickly wore off about an hour into my workday. So hungry. My breakfast consisted of plain rice krispies with a little bit of milk. That'll curb anyone's hunger for oh say 25 minutes tops. I had a little snack of about half a cup of watermelon. Again, not the most filling of foods. I couldn't believe I was actually looking forward to rice for lunch. A massive headache set in around 10:30am and is still lingering as I speak. I've been getting these migraine-like headaches for several weeks now, which I'm chalking up to pregnancy since I never experienced such agony before. Not sure if the headache today was due to the lack of sustenance or just another day in the life of being with child. By 11:30am I got one dry-heave out of my system. I had packed layer lettuce salad leftovers from a cookout the day before. In light of the challenge, I didn't feel right about throwing the rest of it out. I considered this to be a very fortunate treat for me. That consideration came yesterday. Today, the thought of opening up that tupperware of salad made me cringe, and even in my desperation at 2pm I couldn't stomach it. Thankfully, there was a box of popcorn at the office. I confess, I popped a bag and prayed the headache would go away. It did momentarily, but came back full-force post popcorn. I indulged because I was starting to feel like this may be a big mistake with the youngster sucking up every last nutrient that sparsely entered by body and probably craving for more. I had next to no other food options and didn't want to give up so early, so I pressed on until 5pm. Came home to a 4 day old bagel for dinner and napped for a bit over 2 hours. I could really go for a Klondike bar right now.

Jeremiah just came home. He's going hardcore with this challenge and I commend that. For breakfast and lunch he had rice and beans. A mango for snack. At his small group tonight they had rice and beans on a tortilla and mango and banana for dessert. A cup of plain, decaf coffee to follow. He's bored. He had a headache all day.

Cold turkey is a killer.

No revelations right now, but doing a lot of thinking about how fortunate we are, how excessive we live. Doing a lot of thinking about pregnant women living in poverty and the 983 million other people just like me who experience each new day hungry.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Five Day Challenge

Jeremiah just returned from the grocery store with all the food we'll need for the next five days. He didn't even take a list. And the real kicker, he spent less than $20.

See we're joining dozens of other Hope-goers in take a five day challenge to forego our abundance and experience need, want, faith, and sacrifice. Rice and beans for five days. Then give the gap: donate the money you saved on groceries this week to support a cause. Millions of people are starving throughout the world as I eat my double chocolate Klondike bar to round out a day of three full meals and plenty of snacks to supplement.

I hate rice and beans. Well, I can gag down a few forkfuls of white rice (topped with butter, salt, and pepper), but I absolutely can't stand beans. Ugh, the texture is all wrong and the taste is unbearable. So when Hope announced its upcoming challenge, I threw up a little in my mouth and racked my brain for excuses. As luck would have it, I'm almost halfway through my pregnancy, so I sighed a big sigh of relief knowing I wouldn't have to participate. Jeremiah was excited about it, but I felt confident and good about my decision to opt out. Although, a decision usually comes with some thinking, analysis, or debate, doesn't it? I suppose this wasn't a decision at all. I didn't put much thought into it, and surely didn't consider the full picture.

This past Monday a slight revelation occurred to me. Pregnant women in other countries don't have special privileges. They don't get to sit down to a Thanksgiving feast while the rest of their family and friends gag through rice and beans. As quick as the thought came to mind, it was gone. I hate rice and beans.

Then this past Tuesday we went to our bi-weekly dinner gathering with friends. The topic of conversation a friend offered was our thoughts on Hope's five day challenge. What was our initial reaction? Were we planning to participate? As we all shared our honest feedback on the subject, we realized our reactions were pretty telling of what really goes on in our hearts. We talked about how we couldn't be inconvenienced, about how deserving we think we are. We talked about how it's not that much change, about how we don't have to sacrifice. We talked about wanting to keep the money we saved, about the fear of trusting God for provision. "Can't we add a little bit of chicken? I'll only do it if I can pick what types of beans. Can we just do the challenge for dinners?"

We have a lot to be thankful for. I can say I hate rice and beans because I have other options. We can add in fruits, vegetables, and meat. We can choose what type of bean, what kind of rice. We have the ability to give the gap.

How fortunate we are that we have a choice. As Jeremiah mentioned on Tuesday, these people just want to eat. Period.

I hope you'll read through the heart of this challenge on Hope's website. I also hope you'll consider what some of these things mean for you, for your faith. I know that I can go through the motions of this and miss out on a lot that God would have for me. I'm praying that this will be a time of maturity, humility, sacrifice, and faith. We'll let you know how we're doing.

Note: we are considering what are wise yet sacrificial choices for us. And likewise for those who want to participate. Maybe it's foregoing the daily lunch breaks out, maybe it's only eating what's already in your house, maybe it's 15 meals of rice and beans.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Measure Twice, Cut Once Is It?

Ah yes, it is. Or shall I say, it is now.

My first attempt at making flat shelves didn't go as planned. I measured once and debated going back for the second measure before heading out to Lowes but thought that was an unnecessary use of the next 30 seconds of my life. Little did I know what should have been 30 seconds turned into almost a week of impatience. My local Lowes lumber-cutter (I think that's a technical term) painstakingly cut me 5 pieces of plywood to 10.5" x 29". Perfect I thought. Luckily, I did decide to double-check the size before my next step. Turns out the pieces weren't so perfect. Turns out they were about an eighth of an inch too wide. SO CLOSE, yet so so far. Boy was I ticked. It was all my fault, too. At first I thought maybe the Lowes man cut it incorrectly. Nope, 10.5" on the nose.
Several days later I mustered up the energy to go back and see if they'd trim the pieces for me, being that the only tool we own that might do the job is a handsaw. Not even sure why I mentioned that as a tool that might do the job. To my surprise, the friendly customer service representative told me it would be no problem and off I went to the cutting station. My burden had been lifted... until it came crashing back down on my shoulders twice as heavy. The lumber-cutter working this day crushed my dreams. Now, I'll keep (most of) my criticizing comments to myself, but this guy seemed like a total amateur as he measured the length instead of the width to see what to cut. He proceeded to tell me it wasn't possible. I tried my hardest to charm him and explain to him how the previous lumber-cutter made the magic happen. I realized there was no hope. I suppose I could have asked for a second opinion, but a flicker of humility and kindness sparked in me and I decided to let it be.
Too bad that flicker went out by the time I came home and told the story to Jeremiah.
The following weekend we decided to go out and just buy a whole new piece of plywood and get it re-cut to the correct size. Story of my life. I finally put that frustration behind me once I got home and successfully dropped the shelves into place.
I inherited this wrought iron shelving unit from my mom, who actually won it at Longaberger basket bingo. She never really loved it in her dining room and was ready to pack it up and store it. Being that we're losing a room pretty soon (to the babe!) I figured I could use all the storage I can get my hands on for our bedroom when things transfer over. The unit isn't really my style but I think fits in nicely with our bedroom decor, which is a bit out of my comfort zone altogether. I've always been bothered by the opening shelving though. I mean you can't sit a frame on a shelf that's not flat. What a disaster. So, I had to find a solution. That's where the plywood came in.
To jazz the entire shelving unit up I decided to wrap the plywood in wrapping paper. I think you'll agree it's a great solution. Of course I couldn't be too matchy-matchy so I went ahead and picked up two different types of wrapping paper but in coordinating colors. Quick, easy, and inexpensive.

Tastes Like Fish

Jeremiah and I used to be big fans of frozen tilapia. The first couple times we tried out fish we bought it fresh, but found that the frozen tasted just the same. That is, until recently.
I suppose some sales are for good reason, like buy one get one free frozen tilapia for $5.99. No fish should ever be that cheap apparently. This was a different brand than we normally get and one that we'll never venture to get again. Although it reeked of fish when we took it out, I thought we'd just been lucky in all our previous experiences of unscented cuisine. Unfortunately, it tasted pretty revolting and we ended up throwing it out. We gave this brand another college try last week, but again were hit with a strong smell. Jeremiah took matters into his own hand and thought he could mask the unpleasant odor and taste with oh about a quarter of a stick of butter. Take a look, can you guess which is his?

When not even this much butter can make something good, you know you've been scammed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three's Company Too

We never watched the early 80's sitcom, and after listening to the theme song preview on iTunes just now I surely know why. And while that jingle is absolutely horrendous, I'm totally on-board with the concept. Why such the sudden interest in Three's Company you ask?
Perhaps because both Jeremiah and I are one of three children, or perhaps because we've been married a bit over three years, or perhaps because Jeremiah is just shy of three months from his summer break.
But, perhaps it's not for any of these three reasons. In fact, it's not.

Why we couldn't be more jazzed about three nowadays is because come October 16, 2011 we will be a family of three!

Ahhh! No need to adjust your screen, you read that correctly. Jeremiah and I will be parents to a little guy or girl this fall. I'm 12 weeks pregnant and on the brink of my second trimester. Although we're officially announcing our big news, we know this stage of the pregnancy is still considered risky and so we hope you'll pray with us for baby Link to continue to grow and develop healthily (yes, that's a word, I looked it up). Hearing that powerful little heartbeat and seeing that sweet thing alive and well via sonogram is a miraculous thing.
God has been gracious in timing this just right for us. I'm sure you'll be shocked to know I've been waiting for this bundle of joy for months and was starting to grow impatient. But how thankful we are that baby Link decided to make his/her appearance now. Moving into our new home is behind us. I've had time to adjust to a new job. Kristin won't have a Matron of Honor going into labor at her wedding. All good things.
I anticipate having many more things to update our fans on now that our life is getting a bit more exciting. We're in for a wild ride for sure!

Note the faded second line became much clearer after the second (and third) time I took a test. One can never be too sure!