Lifestyle

Forrest’s One Month Update

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Read about Forrest’s birth story here! 

Forrest turned a month old! This first milestone seems so small, but it’s crazy what all can happen in a month! We love this little boy and the crazy ride our first month with him was. Being in the hospital consumed a quarter of it, but our weeks at home have been so meaningful and full of growth!

Brady and I feel like we are learning more and more about our son each day. What he likes… what he hates… how to calm him down… how to make him happy. It feels so good as a new parent to learn these little things. We are getting to know our little guy and it’s the best!

We’ve taken so many pictures and videos to try and capture this season and already love looking back to see how much he’s changed. Our little man has graduated out of newborn diapers and clothes and is now in size 1 and 0-3 month outfits. This makes me happy and breaks my heart at the same time! I love that he’s growing, I just hate how fast it happens. Forrest keeps getting longer and we are pretty sure he is over 10 pounds now. The little guy is getting heavy!

Breastfeeding has been going really well which I’m so thankful for! Forrest loves to eat, and during month 1 he would get hungry every 2 hours. His sleeping varied night to night, but he would usually go about 2-2.5 hours before waking up hungry. He also did a lot of cluster feeding, usually at the beginning of the night, where he would want to eat every hour.

After a week or two we started a bedtime routine of a bath, jammies, reading a Bible story, and family prayer before eating and being put to bed. It has become one of my favorite parts of the day! He loves taking baths and gets super still while in the water. Holding his little hand while we pray always makes my heart melt and I love hearing his daddy teach him about Jesus through reading the Bible.

Our first month was also stressful. Trying to figure out why a tiny human is upset is HARD! haha. Especially when they are new! As a wife, I’ve really struggled with taking my stress out on Brady in these moments. Any moment of stress, actually. It’s been so humbling to learn this about myself, and I’m praying God refines me in this area.

Watching Brady be a dad has been so sweet! He loves his son so very much and has been such a good helper to me, even in the middle of the night. Forrest and I are so blessed by this man! I hope Forrest grows up to be just like him.

As a baby shower/Christmas present, my sister and brother-in-law gifted us with a newborn photo session. This was such an amazing gift (keep this in mind for future babies in your life!) and these pictures are my new favorites. They were taken by Shelby of JD & Liana Works and she was wonderful! So peaceful and calm and didn’t mind the many breaks we needed to calm down a hungry baby. 😉

Thank you for reading, and before we know it we will be back for month two!

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Lifestyle

Forrest’s Birth Story

Forrest turns 3 weeks old here in a couple of days! I can’t believe all that has happened over these 3 weeks… life has changed dramatically and there are lots of details I don’t want to forget. Forrest’s birth story was different than I ever could have imagined. It ended up being a little more dramatic than we would have preferred, but it got us our baby boy and all is well now. 🙂

It started at 12:30 AM on January 17th. I woke up because it felt like I had peed my pants. I didn’t have any gushing liquid, so I just went to the bathroom, changed, and got back in bed figuring I had peed. haha! #pregnancyproblems

Not long after falling asleep again I felt the same leaking liquid, but this time it was more and even trickled down my leg. I got up, changed, and this time let Brady know that I thought my water may have broken. I still wasn’t sure though because I didn’t have a huge gush.

A little while later it happened AGAIN and then I felt some light contractions start around 1:30. After feeling a few contractions I decided to start tracking them to see if this could be the real deal. Neither Brady nor I were still fully convinced and were honestly really confused. My contractions were all over the place, varying in length and in minutes apart. They weren’t terribly painful yet, but I started to get worried about Forrest knowing that my water had possibly broken. I called my friend Hannah, who is a 3 time mama and doula, and let her know what was going on and to get some confirmation on whether or not she thought my water had broken. She did think it had and told me we could go to the hospital and be admitted or we could stay home for awhile to labor before being put on monitors.

We ended up staying home until 7:00. By this time my contractions were pretty painful and I had high hopes that I had dilated at least a few centimeters throughout the night. We finished packing our bags, got in the car, and headed to the hospital with hopes that we would be meeting our baby boy soon!

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Once we got checked in and in a room at the hospital they checked to see if my water had for sure broken (by this time I was leaking everywhere, haha. Labor is humbling.) It indeed had, but even with all of the laboring I had done I was only dilated to a 1. (enter discouragement.) They called my doctor to ask him what we should do. He suggested putting in a foley balloon to help labor progress naturally, and to also get started on a small dose of pitocin to help me dilate quicker.

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To be very honest, the foley balloon was terrible! It was a new level of discomfort having that in there, but thankfully it was only in for an hour or so and it helped me dilate to a 4. The pitocin also kicked in and I was in quite a bit of pain by this point.

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My childhood friend, Paige, ended up being my nurse which was such a blessing! She talked me through everything and I felt super comfortable to ask all my questions. It was such a cool experience having her there and getting to watch her do her nurse thing!

It was at about this time that I decided to go for an epidural. The actual injection wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be and the relief it brought was wonderful. Labor from this point on was actually pretty peaceful, which I never expected! I think I even dozed off a couple of times. I could still feel the pressure of my contractions and I could move my legs, which is exactly what I was hoping for. And having that ability to relax made a huge difference! Within an hour I was dilated to a 9! We were all shocked, haha.

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They called my doctor again and he wanted me to labor for another hour to get Forrest down lower and with hopes that he would turn his body and face down. Forrest’s heart rate kept slowing down, so Paige would have me switch from laying on one side to the other which always helped it go back up. It was a little alarming to hear it slow down so much, but he was being taken care of!

One Dr. Christman arrived, he tried to rotate Forrest a little more and then let me know it was time to start pushing. This is when a million doctors entered the room. I ended up having a mirror so I could watch Forrest enter the world which was kind of weird but also so awesome! It gave me more motivation while pushing since I could see his head emerging more with each effort. Paige was my counter and let me know when to push with each contraction. We ended up pushing for about 25 minutes, and then at 4:14 PM I saw Forrest’s tiny body slide out and enter the world! It was surreal and beautiful and such an amazing moment!

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Brady and I were instantly in tears. It was the first time I had seen my husband cry and both of us were pretty emotional. They suctioned out Forrest’s lungs and wiped him down and then instantly laid him on my chest. I got to kiss his sweet head and snuggle his little body for the next hour or so. He latched and ate a little bit while Brady and I stared at all of his sweetness. During this time I also birthed my placenta and my 2nd degree tears got stitched up. That was a little uncomfortable, but hard to pay attention to with everything else that was going on.

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After awhile everyone cleared the room besides Brady, Paige, and our new nurse. Once we had gotten in plenty of skin-to-skin time, our new nurse took Forrest to weigh him and do a few other things. Brady was eager to hold his son once she was done and got up to take some pictures of our baby boy. He let the excited grandparents know they could come back to see him as they weighed him.

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This part is a total blur to me now. As the nurse was working on Forrest, she let us know that his temperature was pretty low and that she was going to test his blood sugar levels to see if that was the cause. She continued weighing him and Brady and I’s parents came in. Everyone was so excited. We found out he weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz and was 20 inches long. The nurse got the test results back and learned that Forrest’s blood sugar was at 24 and it needed to be at 40. I loved this nurse and hate that I can’t think of her name! She stayed pretty calm, let me know that they were going to need to put Forrest on a special floor so that he could get an IV, and continued to rush through the rest of the newborn procedures so that they could get him upstairs.

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Brady and I didn’t really know what it meant that his blood sugar was low. We didn’t know if it was serious or if this was normal. Once again, this part seems like such a blur to me now. There were so many emotions happening. They ended up taking Forrest upstairs and Brady went with him, leaving me in the room alone. I remember being in a daze, and now looking back, I have realized that this moment was really traumatic for me. My mom and sister came in to see if I wanted people around me. Once I saw them I started crying and all of the emotions came crashing down. My mom-in-law and sister-in-law also came in to pray with me.

After that, my nurse was back and she helped me go to the bathroom, get changed, and sit in a wheelchair so I could head upstairs to Forrest and Brady. Forrest was a champ as he got his IV in his hand and got hooked up to liquids to help his levels go up. Brady finally got to hold his son for a few minutes. They put Forrest under heat lamps once we got into our new room. They gave us tons of info and tried to explain what was going on. They needed his blood sugars to go up and to see Forrest regulate his body temperature on his own before we would be released. It was an emotional night for Brady and I. It’s so hard to see your new baby hooked up to monitors and to have an IV coming from his hand! I have so much new love and appreciation for the strength parents show when their kiddos are hospitalized.

Forrest was able to regulate his body temperature after a day or two. After a couple of days they started to wean him off of his IV fluids (his line was now in his head which looks awful. He was a champ though!) They would test his blood sugar every 3 hours with a foot prick to draw blood. (He got pricked about 50 times in his first few days of life which is so sad!) The whole process was an emotional roller coaster. He would be doing great and would be able to be weaned a little more, and then his next test would go in the wrong direction and we’d have to up his fluid levels again. Thankfully we were able to hold our little man and I could feed him as normal throughout the process.

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We ended up being in the hospital for 7 days. We were surrounded by awesome nurses and we were overwhelmed with the love and support shown to us from our family and friends. We were never short on food, coffee, prayers, or a person to talk to! Forrest amazed us with the way he handled all of the testing and disturbances, and finally by the last day he was regulating his blood sugars on his own and we were able to head home.

We’ve now been home almost 2 weeks and our time at the hospital feels so long ago! I’m so grateful for the care we received and for the knowledge that our boy is now healthy and ready to take on the world!

These pictures were taken by the wonderful Heather Kindall. Having a labor and delivery photographer was a last minute decision, but I’m so grateful we have these sweet moments captured! And Heather is awesome. If you need a photographer for any big life event you should contact her! 🙂

Thanks so much for reading this lengthy post about Forrest’s birthday! More baby updates to come. ❤

Lifestyle, Pregnancy

A Letter to My Son, Before You are Born

January 9, 2019

My sweet Forrest John,

Just typing that greeting brings tears to my eyes. You’ve been in my belly for over 38 weeks now and your dad and I are so incredibly excited to meet you soon! Feeling you kick and move and hiccup are highlights of our days. You’ve already brought so much joy to us, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and so many dear friends who love you already. God has given you a great community to be born into! You’re a lucky guy, little man.

First of all, you need to know that you have the best dad. Like, ever. He loves talking to you and feeling you in my belly. He prays for you all the time. And he dreams about watching you grow up and all the fun things you will do together! His deepest desire is that you will grow to know Jesus personally, and Forrest, he will be the best example of what this looks like for you. He is so wise and loving and serves with all of his heart. I can’t wait to watch the two of you together and I pray you grow up and take on so many of his qualities! You boys are going to have a blast together and I pray your dad becomes your role model and hero.

As your mama, I can’t wait to see what it’s like to raise a boy. I don’t feel like I know anything about boys, but I’m so thankful you’ll be the one to teach me. I can’t wait to see what things bring you joy, what little quirks you have, and the gifts God gives to you. I can’t wait to learn to be a mom. I love you so much already! I can only imagine how that love is going to explode once I finally get to see your little face. I’m going to mess up a lot and make so many mistakes, but I hope that through it all, you gain an understanding of our brokenness and need for grace. I pray I can be an example of humility and forgiveness for you through the next 18 years and beyond!

As I’ve prayed for you over the last 9 months, God keeps bringing the word “warrior” to my mind. I am praying that you become a warrior for the Kingdom of God. That you surrender your life to our Savior and see the need you have for grace. My prayer for your life is that you allow God to use you with the unique qualities you will be given. I pray you will live with an eternal perspective, always remembering the big picture and striving to love others as Jesus does. And I pray that your dad and I will be able to disciple you and guide you throughout your life.

I am so excited to meet you, son! I can’t wait to hold you in my arms and watch your life unfold. You will always be dearly loved!

Love you now and forever,

Your mama

Lifestyle

The Less-Talked About Effects of Pregnancy

As we enter into week 34 of pregnancy, I can whole-heartedly say that it has been a journey of both awe and confusion. Pregnancy is truly remarkable… never before have I been so convinced that we have a perfect Creator who has designed our bodies to do something absolutely amazing. At the same time, I have been confused, grossed out, and plainly surprised at what making a baby can do to your body and emotions.

A large number of my friends are already mamas, so I’ve heard tons of stories and felt semi-knowledgable about pregnancy before actually getting pregnant. Even so, there have been quite a few surprises for me and I credit that to the fact that every pregnancy is super different and there are some topics that are just awkward to talk about.

SO, I wanted to share some of my surprises here, because if you are going through the same thing, I want you to know you aren’t alone! Plus, I want to remember these things down the road when pregnancy is a thing of the past.

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Some of these may be TMI, so read at your own risk! But here we go…

 

I didn’t feel connected to my baby until I felt him move.

I was a bag of mixed emotions my first trimester and struggled with a lot of fears of losing my baby. This created an emotional barrier between us, and I remember struggling to feel connected to him even after seeing him in our first sonogram. It wasn’t until I felt him move at around 17 weeks that I truly felt like a mama. I wasn’t expecting that!

Having a “healthy” pregnancy isn’t easy.

In the past, I had always told myself that I couldn’t wait to have a healthy pregnancy so that I could be the best mama for my little babe. I had every intention to workout the whole time, eat healthy, etc. This all sounded great until my food aversions kicked in and just the thought of vegetables and chicken made me want to gag. I had a lot of nausea my first trimester which made exercise one of the last things on my to-do list. Basically, I made up every excuse in the book to indulge in carbs and watch Netflix over being active. Things have gotten much better with time and as my aversions have gone away, but it’s still a daily battle!

All the discharge.

Before I did some research, I got freaked out by the amount of discharge that happens… down there… during pregnancy. At first I thought something was wrong with me, but after some research I learned this is totally normal and healthy. It’s not a fun side effect, but it’s super common and I’m thankful my body knows what it’s doing!

Battling negative body image.

I’ve always thought pregnant women are so beautiful, but I’ve learned that having that image of your own body while you’re gaining weight and seeing changes is a challenge. I believe what my body is doing is absolutely beautiful, but I don’t always feel that way when I look in the mirror. Praise God for a husband who tries to debunk these thoughts as much as possible!

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The bra situation.

One of the first side effects I saw were my boobs getting huge. In fact, that’s how one of my friends knew I was pregnant! haha. This has been frustrating for me because finding bras that aren’t super pricey but make you feel comfortable has been a pain in the butt. I still haven’t found one that I’m completely sold on, so if you have any suggestions for a larger-chested gal please let me know!

The time is flying by.

Nine months sounds like such a long time! I always figured the time would drag by, but it has flown. I can only imagine how fast it’ll go once he’s actually here!

Oh hey there constipation and hemorrhoids. 

I already struggle with constipation, so that has only been exemplified with everything else going on in that region. And as of 31 weeks, I have officially experienced my first hemorrhoids due to the extra pressure from said constipation and my uterus. I had no clue this happened! Apparently it’s going to get worse before it gets better, so that’s fun!

Brady bonding with his son.

I wasn’t sure how well Brady would be able to connect with our son since he’s not carrying him, but it’s been so cool to see the two of them bond. Brady loves talking to him and feeling him kick and prays for him often. I love it! I can tell our little guy recognizes his voice and will be active when he hears dad after a day when I’ve been at work. I don’t know how scientifically sound that is, but I like to think he’s saying hi to his dad. 🙂

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Daily congestion.

Literally since week 4, I’ve woken up every day with a super runny nose. It typically goes away throughout the day, but never ceases to be back the next morning!

The mom community.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the community we’ve gotten to experience throughout pregnancy. From mom friends who give me advice, tell me what I’m going to need, and convince me that I’m not going crazy to the community who has gone above and beyond to help us with physical needs, we have been blessed. It is so reassuring to know we aren’t in this alone and that help will always be right around the corner.

All the nerves. 

Here I am talking about literal nerves, haha. Around week 12 the top half of my left thigh went numb and I haven’t felt it since! It is so strange. That along with sciatic nerve pain and random pains in my abdomen have taught me so much about how everything in our body is connected! Most of the times I look up a new pain or weird feeling, it has to do with baby pushing on one nerve or another.

The female body is incredible.

Pregnancy has only grown my appreciation and awe for the Lord as our Creator. He literally thought of every detail when it comes to forming a human within a womb, and all I’ve had to do is live life and let it happen. I’ve been fascinated as I read what is developing each week… from my immune system decreasing in order for my body not to attack the baby to our little guy growing peach fuzz all over his body to keep him warm before fattening up… no single detail has gone unnoticed. Praise God!

 

Were you able to relate to any of these? Let me know! Or if you had a different unexpected side effect, I’d love to hear what it was. Overall, I’m so thankful to be experiencing this gift and it’s getting harder and harder to be patient for little man’s arrival. Only 6 more weeks!!!

 

In the Word, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Recipes

9 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Hey friends! I hope you all are enjoying falls so far. Football+cool weather+sweaters+hot drinks+boots+changing leaves… all of these things are some of my favorites ever. And along those lines, I wanted to share a few things I’ve been loving! I’ve been telling friends and family about them, so I thought I better share here too!

This Journal

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This has to go first because it has become one of my favorite parts of each day. Throughout my walk with the Lord I feel like I’ve tried so many different journals, studies, reading plans, etc. and this is by far my favorite! It was recommended to me in a season where my time with the Lord felt scatter-brained and I couldn’t focus well. This journal is beautiful and also helps guide you through your time in the Word in a way that helps you experience Scripture in a new way. I see myself using it for years to come! It’s so worth the price to me, but I’ve seen a 10% off code floating around Instagram so check for that!

These Pajamas

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Am I the only one out there who would do almost anything to find the coziest pajamas?! I’d seen these from multiple bloggers and finally asked for them for my birthday.

They. Are. Wonderful.

So incredibly soft, they come in lots of colors, and I feel like they are going to last forever because of the quality. I’ve also heard they are great for nursing and in the hospital after delivery. So expectant mamas, treat yo self! I do see them on sale from time to time, so keep an eye on them if the price scares you a bit!

This Quick Lunch 

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This might seem like a weird thing to add, but I’m all about finding super easy and healthy meals and these fit the bill. I’ve loved throwing one of these little packets into my lunchbox (haha, is there a classier name for lunchbox?) to eat with a salad. Easy protein? YES PLEASE. I’ve been trying to make healthier choices for my sweet baby boy and these have really helped! I’ve been getting them at Dillon’s but I’m sure every grocer has them!

These Scrunchies

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Ok guys, if you’re into the scrunchie trend then you need these in your life. This pack of 20 beautiful colors is only $12.99. They make any ponytail a little more feminine and you’ll definitely have a color to match any outfit. I’ve loved them as a PE teacher because I’m always looking for ways to look a little more girly at work!

These Headbands

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And while we’re on the subject of hair things, these headbands have become my new favorite. They are pretty wide so it’s easy to find different ways to wear them. There are so many cute designs and colors, and best yet, you can get them with Amazon Prime! They come from a small business which I always love supporting, but they are also the best priced, quality headbands I’ve found so far. Love them! Also, you can get 15% off until the end of October with the code FALL15.

This Cornbread Recipe

Another random add, but this recipe has become a family favorite for us. Growing up I never liked cornbread because it was always so dry. This recipe is incredibly moist and goes GREAT with a bowl of chili. It makes a large quantity so it’s also great for entertaining!

This Mascara

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Mascara is a daily staple for me and I’m so so thankful to have found this brand! I got a sample in an Ipsy bag last month and loved it instantly. It makes your lashes seem longer and thicker with just one coat. I don’t know how it does it! Once my sample ran out I tried going back to my old mascara and instantly missed this stuff. I’m usually super cheap when it comes to make-up, but this mascara seems worth it to me! I also love that the brand donates an item of make-up to a woman in a rough situation with your purchase. If you’re needing something new for your lashes try this out!

This Book 

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This was one of those books that was very hard to put down and I finished it in a weekend. This is kind of embarrassing but I refused to pick up another book for awhile because I was so sad it was over! I fell in love with the main character and all of her quirks. It’s well-written, has a beautiful story, and it keeps you guessing as you go. If you’re in need of a light, fun read, Eleanor Oliphant is your girl. Let me know if you want to borrow my copy!

This Cardigan

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Last but never least is this lovely chenille cardigan. I’m a sucker for chenille and the fact that it makes you feel like you’re wearing a blanket. I’ll take that every day! I love the oversized fit and so does my preggo belly. I was in need of a black cardigan so I went with that, but it was hard for me to walk away from both the blush and mustard colors. So pretty!

 

Alright, I hope something on this list called out to you! And I’d love to hear something you’ve been loving lately in the comments below. Hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Thanks for reading. 🙂

Lifestyle, Pregnancy

When We Found Out We Had a Family of Three

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now, but I’ve been having a hard time coming up with a sensitive way of doing it. It has been made so clear to me that pregnancy is a miracle. A miracle that Brady and I are so thankful to get to experience right now.

It has also been made clear to me that it is not a miracle everyone gets to experience or celebrate. Pregnancy can be a topic that brings people pain and grief, and I never want my words to be the cause or trigger of someone else’s sorrow. Miscarriage and infertility are such painful parts of our world. I believe our Heavenly Father is grieving with you if those two words have helped write your story, and I’m so sorry for the loss you’ve experienced.

If reading about pregnancy causes you pain, please skip over these posts as you heal. If anything I say is insensitive please let me know privately, as I would love to grow in loving my grieving friends well.

With that being said, I’m thankful to have a blog to record these life events to look back on later. This is an exciting time in our lives and we are trying not to take a moment of it for granted! Thank you for sharing in our excitement and joy as we prepare for this next season. We have felt so loved and supported!

Finding Out We Were Pregnant

Ever since we hit our 1 year marriage mark, I’ve been excited at the thought of adding a little one to our family. Brady took a little more convincing. 😉 We talked and prayed for a few months and then came to an agreeance that we were ready to start “trying.” (Saying that has always felt so weird to me… it’s something so out of our control!)

A few weeks later, we were driving home after celebrating Brady’s mom for Mother’s Day. I knew I’d be taking a pregnancy test the next morning and we talked about how unlikely it would be for it to be positive. Basically, we prepared ourselves for disappointment and for the chances that we’d be “trying” again this next month.

I woke up and got straight out of bed the next morning. I had bought a few cheap tests to use first, and then my sister-in-law had given me a couple of nice ones that I saved for later. I took the test and started getting ready for the day, constantly preparing myself for it to be negative. After I checked it a few minutes later I was SHOCKED to see the + sign! I instantly starting bawling, so loud that it woke Brady up. (haha!) He came out of our room, I told him we were pregnant, and then we hugged as I continued to cry in disbelief.

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I took a nicer test a few hours later, just to be sure, and it still said positive! It was such a crazy day of disbelief, thankfulness, and joy. 🙂

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Telling our Families 

Once I got done teaching that day I rushed over to Target to buy a onesie to use to tell our families. We went over to Travis and Nichole’s house first, letting them know they had a new niece or nephew on the way. They’ve been praying for us, talking with us, and were so excited about the possibility of our family growing. It was lots of fun to celebrate with them! 🙂

Thankfully, we were heading to meet my parents and sister and brother-in-law for dinner that night to celebrate Mother’s Day. At the bottom of my mom’s present I put the book titled “How to Babysit a Grandma” on top of the onesie. Once my mom got to the book and read the title, all she could keep saying was “No, NO, NO!” before she started hugging and crying. My parents were pretty pumped to hear about their first grandchild! It was so much fun to celebrate with my family and Brady got it all on video. 🙂

Next up was Brady’s family! We decided to drive up to Junction City to surprise them that next weekend. We showed up at Brady’s parents house, waited for them to get home, and then passed them baby bottles full of Dr. Pepper. They were so excited to hear about their 5th grandchild and we got to celebrate with them for the rest of the weekend! We also have this surprise on video which I’m so thankful for!

Last but not least, we headed to Brady’s sister’s house to let them in on the surprise which was followed by a FaceTime call to his sister Teresa. This little babe has the best aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents waiting on him!

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Telling Everyone Else

Over the next few weeks we made phone calls and visits to let more people know our good news and was able to share it with our church family on a Sunday morning. At about 16 weeks we shared the news via social media and now the whole world knows. 😉 We feel incredibly blessed to have so many excited for us. God has blessed us with an incredible community! I’m so thankful we won’t have to do this parenting thing alone. 🙂

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Alright… your turn! How did you share your good news with those you love?!

In the Word, Lifestyle

When Love Isn’t All That Much Fun

What do softball and turtles have in common you might wonder? Let me tell ya…

It was a hot summer day out at the ball fields in my hometown. I was more of a “social player”… the type of athlete who cared more about being on the team her friends were on rather than the actual game itself because FOMO. You know, the kind of player coaches dreamed about. Anyways, I was up to bat, and with one of the pitches my bat made contact with the ball and made that sweet sound that meant I got to run to first base. I don’t remember where the ball went or how many bases I got to run, but I do remember hearing one of my teammates dad’s in the bleachers. As I ran down the line, he not-so-discreetly commented that “a turtle could run the bases faster than her!”

I never prided myself on being a fast runner, but man, those words hurt. Any confidence I had in my softball skills was damaged after that, and that comment has literally stayed with me for over 14 years. I can laugh about it now, but I also still remember how badly those words hurt and how much I detested that father from then on.

Maybe you weren’t called a turtle in your middle school years, but there’s no doubt that you’ve also been hurt in your life. We’ve all encountered people who make it really hard to like them, let alone love them. My example was silly, but I know there are so many of us who have been deeply hurt by other’s actions or words, or situations we’ve had to go through because of someone else’s decisions. Right now, who is hard to love in your life? When I look back at every season of my life, there is always a person or two who I’ve struggled liking or getting along with. And the humbling thing is, I know I’ve been hard to love for many people in my lifetime.

Sooo why am I writing a post about hurt and love?

Because right now in my life, God is telling me that loving people is something I need to get better at, and this past week He rocked my world with conviction on the topic.

I’ve been journeying through the book of John with a couple of friends and a few days ago I opened up to John 13. If you grew up in church you’ve most likely heard the story about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. When I read it this morning, something stood out to me that never has before.

Jesus is with his 12 best friends, celebrating the biggest Jewish festival, about to eat dinner together. He knows that his time on earth is coming to an end and that these moments will be some of his last before he’s arrested and later crucified. He also knows that one of his closest disciples, Judas, is the one who is going to betray him in the coming hours.

Jesus continues to blow the disciples’ minds by telling them that he is going to wash their feet before they eat dinner. Washing dusty, dirty feet was a chore usually left for the servants, yet Jesus wanted to teach these men something that could change the world.

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord– and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.”

John 13:12-15

In his last moments, Jesus wanted these men to know how important it was for them to serve one another. He served them by cleaning their nasty feet as an example of what they were to do for others.

Now here is what stood out to me today that I’ve never thought about before. Sure, these guys had been with Jesus almost constantly over the past 3 years and he knew them super well. They were buddies. But among those 12 men was the man that was about to betray Jesus. There was also a man who was about to deny Jesus. And despite knowing these hurtful truths, Jesus did not leave them out of the blessed foot washing.

If you’ve been betrayed before, you can imagine how hard this would’ve been.

These men didn’t deserve to be served by Jesus, but it didn’t matter.

Jesus still loved them. 

Crazy, right?!

A little later, Jesus went on to say “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (vs. 34-35)

In his last moments, Jesus wanted to make sure that these guys understood that they were meant to serve and love others. 

As I was reading this, the Lord showed me that I do not get to choose who I want to serve and who I want to love. I, as a follower of Jesus, am meant to serve and love EVERYONE. That means if I ever see the turtle-comment dad again, I’m meant to love him. When I hear about abuse or neglect or the many ways this world is not fair, I am to respond in love and service. This doesn’t mean I’m supposed to agree with sin or just accept the world for what it is, it means that I am to remember that I am also the worst of sinners, completely unworthy of the love I have been shown by my Heavenly Father.

Is loving people always easy? HECK NO. It’s one of the hardest things we are called to do. Yet, in doing so, we are known as the disciples of Jesus. When we love the unlovable, we get to give others a glimpse of their Creator who loves them beyond comprehension. Thankfully, we aren’t called to do this on our own, and the Holy Spirit is always ready to help us.

Just as I’ve been challenged today, I’d love to challenge you. Who in your life are you struggling to love? Who in your life do you need to forgive? Who in your life needs to experience the love of Jesus?

I know there is someone who comes to mind for you. Let’s join forces and strive to spread the love of Jesus in one relationship at a time. Ask Jesus for guidance and wisdom and strength, because he knows that he’s calling us to something hard and beyond ourselves.

Remember that YOU are loved. How can you spread that today?