Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Happiest of birthdays to my husband, Andrew!! I can not believe how long we have been a part of one another's lives! So in honor of his 27th birthday, I am going to list 27 facts about us/reasons I love him! And of course, some photos! ;)

1. We met when we were 12. Andrew moved into town so he started junior high with me.  We had reading together, I recall.  And some math classes. I immediately thought the "new boy" was cute.

2. I kissed Andrew first.  He was walking me to my car.  We were only friends, not dating at ALL, and he I assumed was going to kiss me but was only giving me a hug.  Overzealous much?

3. We attended Junior and Senior Prom together.

4. I love that Andrew is athletic.  I am not (at ALL) but he excels at every sport he played.  I dig it!

5. Andrew and I made a pact (although I don't think he whole-heartedly was as vested as me) that we would get married at 30 if we were both still single.  Looks like we beat that time clock!

June 20, 2009

6. Our first date was to O'Charley's. I got pasta and he got a buffalo chicken sandwich.  He let me snag a few of his fries. #truelove

7. Andrew is an amazing father.  Seriously. The way he loves our kids makes me fall for him harder each day.  He is an amazing example to our boys.

8. He did not officially start dating until two weeks before college.

9. We went on a break once during college. I called it quits and I was the one who wanted him back.  #IadmitwhenImwrong

10. Even though we didn't date in high school, I didn't want him to date anyone else either.  (This fact will not shock our high school friends.  Haha)

11. Andrew has always made me feel special. Always. Dating or not, he has always treated me with a respect and love that I can only hope I return to him.

12. He is an impeccable dresser. It was one of the first things that attracted me to him.

13. Andrew is a loyal and true friend.  I think he is one of the most liked people I know.  I think that is admirable.  I don't meet a lot of people like that.

14. He proposed on a boat with fireworks shooting off.  I was almost too busy with fireworks to hear what he was saying.
On the boat at sunset

15. He is my best friend.  He knows more about me than anyone else.

16. Our wedding was perfect.  Extremely hot, but perfect.  I will always remember seeing him for the first time that day.

17. Andrew and I are born two days apart.

18. I love that Andrew is outdoorsy.  As much as I complain about the camo, hunting supplies and hours in a stand with sometimes nothing to show, I love that he has a deep love and respect for the land.

19. I purposefully would try to make time to chat with Andrew before and after school in high school.  (I believe he will admit to the same).

20. Andrew is my favorite person to road trip with.  He seriously makes car rides the best.  We have driven to Tennessee (twice), Colorado, Alabama, DC, and to St. Louis and Chicago countless times.

Gulf Shores, Alabama 2007
21. In our four and a half short years of marriage we have moved 4 times.

22. I love that I still get butterflies when you walk in the door from work.

23. Andrew has always been comfortable with silence.  He and I have never had to fill the air with conversation.  He is someone I could always just "be" with.

24. We were engaged for two years.

25. I knew I could marry him July, 4, 2005.

26. His eyes are my favorite feature.

27. I love the way you have always loved me.  In a love that is selfless and sees past my flaws; that supports and uplifts.

Happy birthday, babe! I look forward to getting older with you each year!! Xoxo

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Away

Last weekend our family packed up on Friday morning to trek north for a family weekend.  My brother, Jay and his wife, Tori, life in the suburbs and we had yet to make a visit.  My mom had wanted to get everyone together for a birthday celebration and what better way then a little mini-trip.
**You may think us making a 5 hour drive for a birthday celebration is excessive but we were celebrating 5 (YES, FIVE) birthdays!! All in March; 4 right in a row.

Andrew took the day off and packed up to leave mid-morning.  We were actually ahead of schedule until about 15 minutes into our trek I asked Andrew if he had Beau's deer when he put him in the car. Andrew did not.  So we did what any sane parents would do? We turned around right quick to get that thing! Beau and his deer are inseparable.  Who really wants to possibly wreck a weekend because you forget the lovie??! Not I!!

Ode to the deer:

So once that crisis was averted, we were back on the road.  We made one pit stop for lunch and one pit stop about 5 minutes from our destination for a quick potty emergency.  Hud slept wonderfully.  Beau  must have known it was a party weekend because that stinker napped for a brief 40 minutes on our 5 our trek.  All things considered, drive up was really a success.  

We went to the hotel to meet my older brother, Zach, and his family, along with my mom.  My dad was unfortunately out of town.  I know feel like we should have made a Flat Stanley version of him to at least pose in pictures.  

Jay and Tori both had to work Friday (grown-ups) so we had a swim break at the hotel.  The dads took the bullet and braved the uber-strong chlorine pool with the three big boys.  Emmett hung with the ladies.  All the boys LOVED it.  Not one was afraid.  Graham and Hudson played on the steps leading into the pool since that is where they could touch.  Hudson would frequently go too far and complete go under and "swim" I guess. Which of course would send me, my mom, and Rachel into a panic but the dads always got him and he was always smiling when he came up.  *Sheesh*

After swimming, we headed to Jay and Tori's apartment.  It has a spare room and an extra bathroom so we bunking with them.  We got the littles showered as we waited for pizza to arrive and had a mini picnic on the living room floor.  Uncle Jay joined us later.  He has a little commute.  Then we settled in for Frozen and birthday cake.  The boys did really well given the long day and slept like champs.

Glad we didn't leave that deer at home ;)

The next morning we ate in at the apartment before heading out.  Zach, Rachel and the boys headed out before us to pick up a few things for Emmett and we had time to kill before heading to Lego Land so of course, to Cabela's we went.

Next we were off to Lego Land.  It was neat to see but just a tad bit over our boys heads. They do large blocks but not so much legos and it was PACKED!! We stayed for about an hour maybe and then decided to grab lunch and try Shedds downtown.

We got to Shedds and the line was a bit obscene.  It was around 1:00 and they said it was an hour wait just to get to the door to get tickets.  So we went ahead and walked our little booties right over to the field museum.  To be honest, I love the aquarium but I also love a good museum.  And I hadn't been to the field museum in forever. I also know Hudson's personality so knew he would love it too.  Bonus--it was so late in the day that we got in for FREE!! Free is my favorite price. ;)

The boys were in awe of the giant elephants and Sue on the main level.  And of course, all the animals we saw were a HUGE hit.  Hudson would clap as we left different exhibits he was so pleased.  And Beau was just happy to look at everything.  

After a few hours here, we were headed to dinner. Unfortunately Emmett had developed a cough that had gotten worse.  With being downtown on a Saturday, their family decided to opt out of driving back to the suburbs for dinner and just head home. :(

The rest of us headed to Bahama Breeze.  It was so yummy.  I wish I was one of those people that remembered to take a picture of yummy food but I am not that on top of things especially when starving.  I ordered fish tacos.  Lots of burgers , pasta, and fish were consumed.  Delicious!

By the time we got back to the apartment it was baths and time to wind down.  Our boys slept well again, PTL. Especially since we had our long journey home.

It was such a fun weekend.  I love that are boys are getting older and starting to enjoy and really take in the different outings we go on.  It was so much fun!! 

I can't wait for our next outing--and we have several planned this summer!! :)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tutus or Tackling gear?

That's right! No ties--if it's a boy he better get his tackling gear! One- because we love football in this house. And two--with two older brothers, he's going to need the padding!

I am 17 weeks along so we have three  more weeks (I think) until we get to find out if baby #3 will be a girl or boy.  I have an appointment next week (18 weeks) but they will not do  my ultrasound until 20 weeks.  And yes, I already asked. :)

So to pass the time, I talked Andrew into doing those old gender reveal wives tales you read about.  I thought it would be fun to see if they all pointed to the same gender or if they were scattered.  And to look back and see which ones were accurate.  We didn't do these with the other two so we don't have anything to go off.

Let's get started shall we!

First, we looked up the Chinese Calendar.  You put in your due date and your birthday and they use those dates according to the Chinese Calendar.  My due date is August 27 and my birthday is this month.  So when plugging that in, it revealed: GIRL

You can see our Chinese "due date and age" as the dark pink square.

Next, we took a little quiz that asked questions. This quiz was predominately GIRL although I question some of the accuracy on some of the questions.  I'll explain.

Questions 1,8,9,13,14--all body questions. I know I almost halfway but I don't really have a bump and I would hope my face hasn't drastically changed yet.  I don't remember that happening until the end of my pregnancy. So I took those with a grain of salt.
Question 2- I have only heard the baby's HB twice.  It is always higher towards the beginning of a pregnancy. Both boys were higher until about 20 weeks.  I can't remember if they were as high as #3 or not.
Question 7, 12-- I think that is silly because my husband's ONE brother has two daughters. And of course Andrew hasn't gained weight. He eats what I eat! ;)

The next few tests have a urine component.  Don't be a  baby and get all grossed out.  It's science people!! :)

Drano Test
I saw a couple of different ideas on this test.  It was advised to do after the four month mark.  (We are a few days past so I think it totally counts.) One specified liquid, another crystal form.  I've never seen crystalized Drano so we did the liquid.  One test claimed color change (girl= green; boy= blue).  Another claimed if it became a darker brown, then boy. No color change, then girl.

We decided this test was a wash.  Our test did not result in a blue or green color change.  Nor did it really become darker.  So I guess we  could assume girl based on one idea of the test but it was too inconclusive for these scientists. 

Red Cabbage Test
This test was one Andrew was very skeptical of.  The directions stated to chop of some red cabbage and put it in a pan.  Then you were to pour boiling water over the cabbage so it was covered (submerged) and let it set for 10 minutes.  Drain the liquid from the cabbage into the glass. You had a very blue liquid for the test.

The next step was to combine equal parts urine and cabbage liquid.  If the mixture turned red or pink, then boy; violet in color, then girl.  

Here is our result:
Result= GIRL

Baking Soda Test
In this test you were supposed to put two tablespoons of baking soda in a glass and then add your urine. (How many have stopped reading because of the word urine? Sorry!) If the mixture was flat, then girl. If the mixture fizzled (think soda or carbonation), then boy.

Our result= GIRL

Here is a picture I found of a test where the parents knew what they were having and were just trying to see if these tests worked.  Here is their boy result.  See the difference??

Ring Test
Andrew and I were both skeptics of this test because I mean really, how does this even work? This is the one I was most familiar with because I have heard about this test the most.  You tie a ring on a string and hold it over your stomach (or wrist).  If the ring begins to swing back and forth, boy. If it moves in a circle, girl.

This test BLEW our minds!!! It literally was still over my belly and then started to make a HUGE circular motion.  Like no doubt about it.  We tried it over my wrist, SAME thing.  We even tried it over Andrew's belly and wrist.  Nothing, nada, zilch!

Our result= GIRL

Number Test
The Mayans believed you could determine the baby's sex by looking at the mother's age of conception and the year it was when you conceived. It both were even or both were odd, the result was a girl.  If it was one even/one odd- the result was boy.    I was 26 when we got pregnant with #3 due in 2013 BOY.  Let's see if it worked with Hudson and Beau: 

Hudson- conceived 23 yrs old in 2010 BOY  
Beau- conceived 24 yrs old in 2012 GIRL  

Mayans are 50/50.  #3 will be the tie breaker for this test predictor. 

So, given our data, we have reason to believe that this baby could be a GIRL!! 

We aren't going out and buying any pink yet, because well, let's be honest, at this time God is the only one that really knows.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Being Busy

Our little brood has been quite busy the past few weeks.  And there isn't much sign of a slow down anytime soon.  But that is A-OK with me as long as warm weather continues to come our way.

Last weekend we headed home.  We still have most of our "professionals" in Decatur so Friday we headed back for Beau's 15 month well check and scheduled Lexi's vet check-up for Saturday. Oh and of course--mama made an appointment for a cut and color.  (Are those not the most magical hours of peace and relief?!)

Friday night I had some QT with some of the most wonderful women around.  These three have been through every twist and turn in life.  I am so grateful for these ladies and our friendship.  It was a FUN night but I am keeping those details close to my heart.  I am sure they will appreciate that! Love you, girls!

Saturday I rushed out to my hair appointment bright and early. Then we spent Saturday morning with our sweet nieces and my in-laws.  I love that Hudson and Beau have cousins so close in age.  They play so well together and it always cracks me up what they get in to.

That afternoon, Beau went down for a nap and Andrew and I took Hudson to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman.  He liked it. We liked it.  I think it was a bit over his head at times but he sat so still during the entire movie.  It could have partly been due to the fact that he was tuckered out from a play-filled morning.

Saturday night we went to visit our friends Luke and Tessa. Luke went to high school with Andrew and I and stood up with Andrew on our special day.  We simply adore him and his wife.  And they love our kiddos which always melts my heart.  By the night's end both of our boys were snuggled on Luke and Tessa's laps.  I think they would have totally stayed with them too!

Sunday we got to worship with our church family of Decatur and have lunch with my mom before heading back to Pittsfield.  The one good thing about the drive was the long nap the boys and I got to take on the way home.  That weekend exhausts me just thinking about it.

The week didn't slow down either.  With nicer weather we spent big chunks of our days outside playing.  When we were inside, this pregnant mama, who honestly thinks that the nesting feeling kicks in WAY too early for her, was itching to organize and clean.  Maybe part nesting, part the spring feel in the air.  So it was deep cleaning, sheet changing, laundry, the switching out spring clothes and washing those, as well as packing away the too small winter ones.

I also packed away some clothes and items for a rummage sale. I am just itching to find out the gender but irregardless the seasons will just be off.  So there are some clothes we will be getting rid of.  It is crazy to think how much Beau has grown since last summer but summer clothes in January will never work!

This week looks to busy too. Next weekend we are having a big birthday celebration in Chicago for all the March birthdays in our family.  I am so looking forward to that and all the fun we have planned for the boys.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I can remember a bible study in youth group my youth pastor talking about our life.  How we can't always see how the choices we make, the things we decide, are going to affect us later.  It is like through a hole in a fence and only seeing that is right in front of you, just a small view.  But God sees beyond the fence.  In my adult life, our pastor back at our church in our hometown preached a similar sermon.  He used the illustration of a movie.  When the artists for Snow White had to do each and every sketch to compile that film, they had no idea how it would really come together.  It was the final product, the masterpiece of their work coming to life that they saw what it was supposed to be.

For the past few months I have grappled with God about the pieces of my life.  So many seemed to be missing.  Truth be told, this summer when Andrew accepted the job and we began the transition to move, I was resistant.  I really did not see how this move was going to give us anything better than what we already had.  In all honesty, I felt like we (the boys and I) were asked to give up a lot.  And, once we got here, I felt like I had even fewer pieces of our life's puzzle.  I missed so many things about home: the people, our church, the conveniences we had that I had taken for granted.

It was all I could focus on some days.  We were in the smallest house we had EVER lived in with more people (and now growing).  We were making the least amount of income EVER since Andrew and I had gotten married.  Every solid "piece" of my previous life that I had worked hard for seemed very distant.

It was rough for a bit.  I was angry.  I was angry at Andrew.  I was angry at myself.  I was angry at my Dad (who encouraged us to take this job because he could see the points Andrew made in favor of the move and agreed with them).  And, sometimes, I felt angry at God.  I mean we had prayed about this.  And we both, at one time, felt that this was exactly what we were supposed to do.  I kept wondering where the blessing was in all of this.  Was this choice going to pay off?

What I realized was I had to let go.  I had to seriously let go of that anger and my ideas of what our lives were supposed to look like.  I had to let go of the control I wanted to have over everything.

This past month, God has slowly started to give me some pieces.  Slowly, He has started to reveal to me things in our lives that have happened as a result of this move that, frankly, probably would not have happened if we hadn't.  He began to reveal these things to me slowly.  When I would question- He would reveal a truth to me in something I was reading.  When I pushed to see if there was another route we were supposed to be on, He shut the door to that opportunity completely.

Some pieces He gave me:

My marriage.  Andrew and I are closer now as a couple than we have ever been.  We've had to be each others go to because we have been really all we have.  I couldn't run down the street to my best friend or drive across town to our parents. God has grown us to love each other in ways we always should have, but weren't really.

My children.  This move allowed me, forced me ready or not, to stay home with my boys.  I have had the joy of witnessing so many wonderful moments with them.  Sharing our days together.  Being the one to take care of their every need. It's exhausting.  I am not always wonderful and neither are they.  But these moments will be gone so quickly.  They will be in school and making friends and choosing activities that take away from our time together.

Dependence.  Before when Andrew and I both worked outside the home, we were not very dependent on God.  I mean we absolutely took our faith seriously but not in a way that we would say ok God- we are trusting you this month to help us figure out how to pay for X.  About a month after Andrew started his position, his insurance changed drastically, as it did for many with the new insurance policies.  It was a hit to our monthly income and there was a gap that we weren't really sure how to close.  About two months prior I had started working from home as a coach.  I started to pray that God would bless my business.  I started to pray that He would be at the center of it.  That the people I would help would find joy in themselves.  That the people who I coached alongside would become friends.  That He would equip me and trust me with much.  As I prayed that prayer- fully dependent on needing Him- He began to answer.  Every month we have always had what we needed. Even when we shouldn't, because of unexpected expenses and such, God has always provided.

Compromise.  This piece was one that I know would not have happened without this move.  I didn't see it before, but I was not one to compromise.  I always said there were things I wanted but when Andrew would present me with options of how to obtain those things (staying home, buying this or that, etc) if it didn't fit into how I thought we should get, or if I would have to give something up, I would  not compromise.  Now I consider things so much differently.  I'm willing to give a little.  To wait something out versus pushing for it now.

This move is still hard.  I still miss my friends and feel like I don't fit here sometimes.  I still miss the home we bought with such pride planning to raise our kids in.  But what I know, what I can stand firm on, is that this move was the right move. I don't have all the pieces yet. But I am ok with that now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Some randomness

It has been busy around here the past few weeks I feel but as I look back there hasn't really been a real reason for that.  Our calendar hasn't been jammed packed but nonetheless, I think that is just the reality of having littles that demand so much of your time and attention.

Last week, I took the boys to my doctor's appointment.  It was just a routine checkup.  Hudson was really excited to hear the heartbeat of the baby.  Beau wasn't sure about the whole process so he was up on the table with me.  As I laid down for the doctor to listen, Hudson kept asking if I was alright.  It was so, so sweet.  

I also think it is completely endearing that he adamantly refers to this baby as a her.  I think it is partly because he wants a sister and partly because he has this notion in his head that if we have another baby boy we have to get rid of Beau. His innocence in this whole thing totally blesses my heart.

It is amazing to me in the past month how much more the boys interact with each other.  They are playing better together (not for long periods of time, heavens no) but I can really see how  much Beau wants to be a part of what Hudson is doing.  Hudson really likes having a playmate and although Mommy or Daddy is his first choice, I think he enjoys Beau's company.  Sometimes I try to sit back and listen to their imaginative and pretend play going on.  That is, before I have to step in and settle some dispute! :) Oh, toddlerhood!

The other night Andrew and I were discussing parenthood.  Things that we felt we were doing well (minimal) and things that needed improvement (hence the purpose of the conversation).  This parenting job is such a big one.  I am reminded daily, many times throughout the day in fact, of the task at hand and wonder if I am doing it right, doing it well, doing it in a manner that God is pleased with.  

That conversation laced with many things but the common thread was our deep love for those boys.  It is amazing to me how much I want to succeed at this parenting thing.  We want so badly for our boys to experience the life God has for them, to shield them from the pains of the world, to protect them from so much out there that could cause them to stumble.  Well that prompted us to look at photos of our babies.  

So here are a few.  So blessed to be a mama to these two guys.