Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

I can certainly tell you how we'll be spending our Christmas weekend...spending time with our own little Christmas miracle!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elyse Love ~ Unconditional & Perfect

Elyse Ann Layman

Born December 13, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

6 lbs 4 oz, 19 1/2 inches long

Of course there will be more photos and a birth story to follow, and trust me our daughter decided to make an entrance in dramatic fashion,...if I can only pull myself away for long enough to type. She's perfect in every way & we're loving our life as a family of 3...God is so so so so Good!

Friday, December 9, 2011

From our family to yours...

Merry Christmas!



Since I really have no idea when my last post will be before Elyse's arrival, I wanted to share our Christmas cards this year with all my blogging friends. We included a "save the date" on the back of the card for Elyse's arrival and I just love how they turned out! Tiny Prints did an amazing job again this year!

Merry Christmas friends! May the next few weeks be full of joy, love, peace, and hope as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We'll be not-so-patiently awaiting Elyse's arrival, and have decided that there could be no better Christmas present than the precious miracle of our first child. (of course I'd definitely take her several days before Christmas!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Elyse Love ~ 38 Weeks


Total Weight Gain/Loss: As of our dr's appointment yesterday, I am at +37. Water retention has set in and I think it's definitely contributing to some of my weight gain. Frustrating for that total number, but I also keep reminding myself that it's not "true" weight gain but simply a fact of the late stages of pregnancy.

Gender: Our baby girl...Elyse Ann! Oh how excited we are to meet you!

Movement: She's still a moving little girl! I keep reminding her that she would have much more room to do her gymnastics & dance moves if she would come out and join her momma & daddy in the real world.

Sleep: As I reach the end of this pregnancy I am so grateful that good, quality sleep has been fairly easy to come by! A quick visit to the bathroom each night and I'm back to bed for the rest of the night...guess that probably won't be happening much longer!

What I miss: Putting on my own shoes and socks and tying my own shoes! ha! I've resorted to having Hubby help me with this and it's super annoying! I also can't wear most of my knee-high/riding boots because of the swelling in my legs...oh the joys of late-stage pregnancy!

Cravings: The yummy holiday treats have started to roll in and I've definitely taking advantage of those! But I wouldn't really call it a craving...more like just a desire to eat whatever I want at this point!

Symptoms: Definitely just a pregnant momma waiting on the arrival of her baby girl...I haven't really had any "labor" symptoms except for Braxton Hicks so I'm not sure when she's going to decide to arrive!

Maternity Clothes: This weeks' photo is all non-maternity except for a camisole underneath. I've made do with a lot of the clothes I already had in my closet and I'm making some of the flowing, loose-fitting summery dresses work with leggings and cardigans. I'm not about to go buy any more maternity clothes at this stage in the game!

Best Moment this week: I guess it would be our dr's appointment yesterday. Elyse was hiding from our nurse and so finding her heartbeat was a little more difficult than normal...but once we tracked her down it was good & strong! The dr's appointment was also a little frustrating because I haven't made any progress since last week. Ughhh....come on baby girl, come out and play with us!

Baby To-Do List: We're as ready as we'll ever be. The bags are mostly packed except for our toiletries, our Christmas shopping is virtually done and we have big plans to do most of the wrapping tonight. Now it's just time to wait for her arrival...and who knows when that will be!

And another belly bump photo...I keep hoping that each week will be the last appearance of my big belly! Maybe this week will be the last one...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Simple Prayer from a Stranger

Today was like any other day. Hubby & I got out of bed, came to work, had lunch with my mom, and came back to work this afternoon. About 2:30 that all changed.

A man came into our office with his mother who is an existing client to ask some questions and make some changes. One thing led to another and I went up front to introduce myself and it was of course very obvious that I am expecting a child any day. This man is a long time Baptist preacher at a nearby country church and started discussing his congregation and even invited us all to his church.

I graciously told him that Hubby & I attend church regularly and we made small talk for a brief moment before began to leave. However, God had other plans for Him today. Before he walked out the door he looked at me and said "Well I'm just an old-time Baptist preacher, but can I say a quick prayer for you & your baby before I leave?" I was dumb-founded.

Myself, a coworker, and this gentle man's mother circled up and joined hands right in the front of our insurance agency while we listened to this Baptist preacher pray an absolutely beautiful prayer over the delivery & arrival of our baby girl. Tears were definitely filling my eyes and I think the only thing keeping me from completely breaking down was just the awe I was in regarding what was happening.

Our baby girl could arrive any day, at any moment; but God chose this day to send a stranger into my life to bless my soul & put my heart at ease. God is going to bring this baby girl into our lives when it's her time to shine...and it's just not her time quite yet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Rewind @ 38 Weeks

When we originally found out that we were expecting a baby in December, for Hubby & I there became an unwritten, unspoken rule that we would seriously limit any weekend obligations for the month of December and even for the month of November.

No major plans were made and for the most part we tried to keep our schedules pretty clear. In my mind we did this for several reasons...a lack of knowledge in how I would be feeling, the possibility of an early delivery, and maybe most practically--the desire to watch our spending with a new baby on the way. While there have been a few times where I miss having those crazy weekends, the ability to veg out and relax for an entire weekend has certainly been enjoyable.

Hubby & I had absolutely NO must do items this weekend which meant I've spent most of it in comfy clothes doing the few things I needed to do from the couch. (let's be honest, it's also my vain attempt to help my ankle bones find the service again! ha!)

Friday evening we attended a Friends & Family event at the new Famous Dave's location that is opening in our area. One of the business partners is a client of ours and so Hubby & I joined my parents for a business appearance, that was really nothing more than an absolutely free meal of BBQ! We had a huge meal and I honestly probably ate WAY too much...but it was all so yummy! We also made a couple of other quick stops to take care of some additional Christmas shopping and we also stopped at Target for a few things for Elyse.

I've decided that quick stops for Elyse are going to be part of our weekly routine...similar to those stops at Lowe's & Home Depot we had 4 1/2 years ago with a new house to furnish! Except this time it's a little human being we have to furnish! ha!

Yesterday was ridiculously laid back for me. I had spent Friday night sleeping on the couch for comfort & I honestly didn't hardly move until early afternoon. I had been ordered to take it easy from Hubby & my momma so I didn't want to disobey! I wasn't completely unproductive as I got our Christmas cards all ready to be mailed...definitely one of my goals to complete before Elyse arrives.

We headed out last night for a nice dinner at one of favorite places...5 Spice China Grill. It's basically a local version of PF Chang's but in my opinion it's SO much better. They seriously have the BEST lobster & cream cheese wontons I've ever eaten! We also made a quick pass by one of the crazy Christmas light displays in town, stopped for a bit of froyo, and then came home for a movie on the couch. We had rented Crazy, Stupid, Love and it was ok...I fell asleep for about 30 minutes in the middle so I honestly can't give it an honest review, but Hubby enjoyed it.

Today has been another laid-back day on the couch. We headed to church, grabbed some lunch and I came home for a brief nap. We have our last official Financial Peace small group tonight and then it will be time for another week.

I honestly can't believe that anytime I could be away from the blog world for awhile because Elyse has arrived...don't worry I'll be posting a photo and birth announcement as soon as I can after she makes her appearance!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yummy Yummy Cookie Goodness

Earlier this week I hosted my 4th annual Christmas Cookie Exchange for all the lovely ladies in my life! I was hoping that Elyse would hold off so we could all gather together. Thankfully, and maybe for the last time in her life, she listened and we were able to eat some yummy soups & delicious cookies all while having a great time with friends!

I invited close to 15 fabulous ladies from my various circle's of friends, but unfortunately with crazy December schedules only about 5 were able to attend. At first I was honestly a little bummed, but our small intimate group made it a wonderful evening anyway. We were able to all sit around the same table, share in the same conversation, and eat way too many cookies since there were only 6 varieties to choose from!

Last year I had 12 of my friends come and that was almost TOO many cookies to be able to try them all! I know that may be hard to believe but after stuffing our bellies with yummy soup & appetizers, there's only so much room for the sweet treats. However, I just love filling my house with fun conversation and love that comes when all my girlfriend's get together so I wouldn't trade a big crowd for anything.

The recipe I chose this year was of course from Pinterest and could certainly be considered a Pinterest Success! Red Velvet Gooey Butter delicious!


8oz. (1 brick) Cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 c. Butter, softened (1 stick)

1 egg

1 t. Vanilla

1 (18-ounce) box red velvet cake mix

Powdered sugar, for rolling/dusting


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.

3. Beat in egg, then the vanilla.

4. Beat in the cake mix.

5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up.

6. Roll batter into tablespoon-sized balls and then roll them in powdered sugar.

7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes.

The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

This pregnant momma honestly wasn't too disappointed with the small crowd, since a small crowd also means a quick & easy cleanup! Next year hopefully the turnout will be a little more successful, but if not I know that me & my girlfriends will make the best of it!

The group this year...without my momma who's standing behind the camera!

Myself, Jennifer, Bethany, Jacinda, & Andrea

Thanks for coming girls, it was a fabulous evening!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elyse Love ~ 37 Weeks


Total Weight Gain/Loss: As of our dr's appointment yesterday, I am at +35...which is officially on the high end of average. It seems that my weight gain has practically disappeared and the only weight I'm gaining is going straight to Elyse! However, the water retention has definitely begun...I figure I've made it this far, so I should consider that a success.

Gender: Our baby girl...Elyse Ann! Oh how excited we are to meet you!

Movement: Lots & lots of rolling...and honestly there are times when I mistake her movement for a nice long Braxton Hicks contraction! It's quite amazing to lay in bed or on the couch and watch my belly roll from one side to another.

Sleep: Thankfully sleep is still coming very easily. I wake up feeling rested and ready to go. I'm trying to enjoy my sleep as much as I can since I know these sleep-filled nights will be gone very soon!

What I miss: The countdown is on at this point, and anything that I miss I know is only temporary. I'm looking forward to having turkey sandwiches, caesar salad, putting on my own shoes & socks, painting my own toenails (thanks mom!), and lots of other things...but holding Elyse in my arms instead of my belly will be oh so worth it!

Cravings: 1st pregnancy = Craving free for this momma! I've also pretty much decided that I've made it this far...I'll eat what I want! ha! My appetite isn't crazy out of control so I just eat small servings of yummy holiday goodies & seem to be pretty satisfied!

Symptoms: Hmmm...water retention is the big one this week. I feel like my face has gotten a wee-bit puffy and my cankles are officially here to stay. Sure, they might unswell just a bit, but for the most part I wake up with cankles and go to bed with cankles. Thank goodness for leggings & Ugg boots!

Maternity Clothes: Honestly everything I have on in this week's photo is non-maternity. I'm pretty proud of that fact & so glad that the various fashion styles right now have enough "flexibility" to be worn at all stages of pregnancy. Non-maternity pants were pushed to the back of the closet and the bottom of the drawer weeks ago...but leggings & tunics are still able to be worn in some cases!

Best Moment this week: Our dr's appointment yesterday was pretty wonderful. I breath an internal sigh of relief every time I hear that heartbeat going crazy! While I hadn't made any huge progress, I'm still moving forward which is encouraging. My mom is predicting Dec. 10...anyone else have predictions?

Baby To-Do List: I've got a small list of items I need to pick up for the hospital but for the most part I'm just SO ready for her arrival. I've started gathering things for our hospital stay in the nursery so that when the time comes we can throw everything in a bag and head out.

The first official December belly bump...I guess we'll for sure be having a December baby! We've been planning on a Christmas darling all this time...might as well make it official!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The LLLOOONNNGGG Weekend Rewind

It was quite the adjustment to go back to work today after being off work for the past 4 days...and even more of an adjustment since most of those days included little to no official plans! Hubby and I had a great Thanksgiving holiday and it was so great to spend time with friends, family, & just our little family of 2...soon to be 3!

We started off with our one and only Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday at my parents' house. I was in charge of the mashed potatoes and thankfully 2 pans turned out to be enough for the almost 40 people who filled my parents house. I was a big fat failure when it came to taking pictures on Thanksgiving, but I was forced to spend plenty of time resting so as not to overdue it with helping out. Definitely a hard thing for this girl to do!

We had a wonderful meal, followed by some time outside in the beautiful weather. As is tradition, we also had a Thanksgiving Day craft for the ladies. I'd share more details...but some of it turned into a Christmas gift so I can't share the details!

However, this is what the table looked like while we were getting our craft on!

Hubby & I spent the afternoon and evening with my parents' & my brother & SIL, just hanging out together...after the craziness of the crowds, it was nice to spend some quality time with just the 6 of us.

With no official plans for Friday or Saturday, Hubby & I took advantage of the Black Friday sales online and managed to get probably 95% of our shopping done without ever leaving the warmth of our bed! Since we obviously have no idea when Elyse will arrive, it's so nice to have so much of my shopping done. I'd love to be able to say that I was super prepared and finished up early, but that's just not true! However, I've only got a few things left to take care of and shopping will be done for this year!

We did stop by Lowe's and cashed in on some Black Friday deals there...including a great deal on another storage locker for the garage. Something about bringing another person into this house, makes additional storage a necessity! Hubby also spent a lot of Friday working on the outside lights before we headed out for a gourmet dinner at Chick-Fil-A and a little bit of legitimate Black Friday shopping. We checked a few more things off our list before coming home for a movie on the couch. The perfect Black Friday if you ask me!

Saturday was another day full of decking the halls! Hubby was incredible and unloaded almost EVERY SINGLE ONE of these boxes, put ornaments on the tree as I unwrapped them, and even spent a ton of time decorating the house. That's normally a task I look so forward to...but this year, the whole process was just a bit overwhelming! However, Hubby knew how important it was to me and so we knocked out the decorating in no time flat!

We took ALL of these boxes...

and created this....

and this...

and much, much more that I'll get show later on!

Saturday night we enjoyed dinner with my parents' before heading out to a Missouri State Bears basketball was a crazy overtime win, but a win's a win!

Sunday we had a fabulous church service and then came home for a bit of R & R. We had plans to have another productive day but both ended up napping on the couch! Ooops!

Last night we headed to Silver Dollar City in Branson with my parents for the incredible light display. If I'm being honest, it was also an attempt at possibly jump-starting Elyse's arrival! ha! All of the walking is bound to encourage her arrival to be sooner rather than later...right?!?

We had a wonderful evening as there was basically NO one there. We had hot chocolate, a funnel cake, and cinnamon rolls...yum! The food is incredible at SDC!

Hubby on a rocking horse...he tried to convince me to hop on, but there isn't much hopping left in this momma!
One of the beautiful light displays!

My wonderful parents

Hubby & I while riding the train

The highlight of the park...the singing tree...absolutely stunning!

Hubby & I

It was a fabulous evening and maybe a new family tradition...the weather was just perfect with just a bit of a chill in the air and the lack of a crowd made it even better!

Today it's back to the grindstone, but wonderful to have another Monday going to work together with Hubby. It's crazy to think about the fact that we have no idea when my last day at work will be...I have this feeling Elyse will definitely be making her debut before Dec. 17th! Only time will tell!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Elyse Love ~ 36 Weeks


Total Weight Gain/Loss: And some of the big news from our first weekly appointment is...NO WEIGHT GAIN in the past 10 days! Yippee! At this point my doctor wasn't concerned or anything because my stomach is still growing and Elyse is most likely packing on the pounds as well. This means that I'm still at about the +33 mark for the entire pregnancy...not too bad if I do say so myself!

Gender: Our beautiful baby girl Elyse Ann...she hasn't even arrived and I know that she'll be just beautiful!

Movement: Gymnastics, dance movements, sports...I'm not exactly sure what all she's doing there, but she's a busy girl! There have been some recent times where she decides to push her little booty out so far & it's not very comfortable for this momma!

Sleep: Sleep still continues to be pretty great. Sure there are those occasional nights when I'll toss and turn or wake up early, but thankfully sleep has followed me into my last weeks!

What I miss: Life as a pregnant woman has become my normal, but I'm certainly hoping to go back to my normal self very soon! I still miss bending over & my energy level & being able to go, go, go...but this is all just part of the process!

Cravings: 1st pregnancy = Craving free for this momma! And my hunger level seems to be completely back to normal...I've been doing great with 3 daily meals & maybe just one small snack.

Symptoms: I just seem to get uncomfortable really fast! I can't sit in one position for too long without moving. I've got some slightly swollen ankles that are hanging around for now and at times those slightly swollen ankles become full-on cankles! Thankfully lots of water & just putting my feet up for a bit seems to take care of the cankles! ha!

Maternity Clothes: Not really an option at this point! ha! I've got several non-maternity items that I can still wear but those items are becoming fewer & fewer!

Best Moment this week: Lots of fun this week! We had our first weekly appointment on Monday & Elyse has definitely started to make her decent. Of course my doctor isn't going to give any predictions of going early, but it's so nice to know that she's making some progress! We also found out that she's head down & all ready to go! We couldn't really ask for more...

It was also a pretty awesome feeling to know that her nursery is practically completely ready for her arrival. We certainly still have some details to deal with, but for the most part we're as ready as we'll ever be!

Baby To-Do List: The list has been put on hold for the most part until after Thanksgiving. But after Thanksgiving we've definitely got some things to do! You know those really un important things like installing the car seat, packing the diaper bag, preparing the hospital bag, etc.! ha!'s the Thanksgiving baby bump! I can't believe that at next Thanksgiving our baby girl will be almost a year old!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks to the Lord!

At our Thanksgiving church service last Sunday, we were reminded again & again that we should be thankful TO THE LORD for the blessings in our life. And so...

I'm so thankful to God for...

the precious miracle of a baby who will arrive so very soon!

an incredible husband who loves me for me and supports our family is ways that leave me speechless.

a family who never ceases to support, encourage, & love on each other in good times & in bad.

our furry son Bogey who makes me smile each morning & night.

a small group who lifts me up and makes me laugh on a regular basis.

a cozy home that Hubby & I can call our own.

the resources to give back to others and support those causes that are dear to our hearts.

a God who loves me, sent his son to die for me, and guides me through each & everyday regardless of how I treated Him the day before.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elyse's Nursery Reveal ~ Modern with a Little bit of Flair

And so it's time...while every single little detail isn't complete, my goal was to be practically finished with Elyse's nursery by Thanksgiving and I feel like I certainly met that goal! After a lot of hardwork, love, and creativity, I'm so thrilled to see my vision come together. I was going for a blend of modern but girly with just a little bit of froo-froo!

My goal was Thanksgiving, so I thought it only appropriate to post the big reveal the day before. Most all of the pictures can speak for here it is...our baby girl's nursery!

The Details:

Crib, Dresser/Hutch Combo, & 5-Drawer Chest of Drawers (located in other room): Davenport by Baby Appleseed

Rocker/Glider & Ottoman: Storytime Series by Best Chairs in Joker fabric

Raspberry Shaggy Raggy Rug: Ordered from Bella Baby

Bedding, Curtains, Quilt, Fabric-Covered Canvases and Embroidery Hoops: Various fabrics from Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, & all made with love by Gigi & Grandpa

Tissue Paper Pom Poms: Pomtastic via Etsy

Ornaments: Hobby Lobby Christmas Decor

Matching 11x14 Bible Verse Prints: MissNibbit via Etsy

Closet: Closetmaid Cubeicals Storage & Fabric Drawers from Lowe's & Target

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Rewind: Breaking Dawn, Basketball, & Baby Girl

It was certainly a busy, busy weekend and it was followed up by a busy Monday...which would explain why I'm just now posting our weekend rewind.

Friday night Hubby & I went our separate ways...he headed to dinner with one of his guy friends and I headed out for girls' night with fondue and a viewing of Breaking Dawn!

A local fondue restaurant sponsored a VIP Breaking Dawn night that included a drink voucher (non-alcoholic of course for me!), a voucher for fondue, and a ticket to Breaking Dawn! We met up around 7 and stuffed ourselves silly with yummy cheese fondue & chocolate fondue with all the trimmings!

Bethany & I @ Fedora Social House

Our spread of dessert fondue...oh my goodness, we were SOOO full!

The movie didn't start until 9:45, so this momma was EXHAUSTED by the time I got home...but it was such a fabulous evening with some great girls!

Saturday I headed to work until noon and then Hubby sent me to bed for a nap. We had plans to run several errands for Elyse on Saturday afternoon and I definitely needed to sleep after a late night on Friday! We were able to check several things off the "must-buy" list which is definitely a great feeling. After our errands and dinner we headed to the home-opener game of the Missouri State Bears. Hubby & I are season ticket holders this year, along with my parents so I'm definitely looking forward to lots of games this season! We've already got some good intentions of taking baby girl to the games...hopefully we're actually able to get that accomplished.

Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving church service and then came home to work on Elyse's nursery. I finally had most all of the wall decor so it was time to get it all hung up. I am SOOO incredibly happy with how everything turned out! My plan is to do a big nursery reveal on Wednesday...the day before Thanksgiving, my deadline for having everything done! But for now...a little sneak peek of some of the details...

Today was a fabulous Monday even if it was busy! We had our first weekly OB appointment and I'm so happy to report that Elyse is starting to make her move...definitely so crazy to think that hopefully in less than a month we'll be meeting our baby girl instead of just watching her roll around in my tummy!

Not only was it an exciting baby day, it was Hubby's first day at his new job and our first day as co-workers...everything went so well and I know that it's going to be such a fabulous opportunity for our family. Thank you God for having perfect timing!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A New Level of Teamwork

When Nick & I were first married, we quickly discovered that regardless of the situation we would have to be a team. We would need to be a team when it came to finances, and our faith, and decisions for our household.

As we prepare for Elyse's arrival I know that we are about to embark on an experience that will require teamwork in a way that we've never even imagined. Teamwork to make our baby happy & to protect her & to raise her in a home that loves Jesus & to teach her to respect others & have respect for herself & to discipline her when necessary & love on her every second of every day.

However, today as we are 4 weeks away from Elyse's due date, Hubby & I are less than 6 hours away from starting a new adventure where being a team will be ever so important. At 5:00 today, he will pack up his things and walk away from the job he's held for the past 5 1/2 years. At the end of the day today, he'll leave his job as an accountant and enter the world of insurance.

Starting on Monday, Nick will come to work with my dad & I and the other employees here at our insurance agency. Beginning then, we will have become a team in almost every single sense of the home, at work, and as we prepare for parenthood. Once Elyse arrives, and when I eventually come back to work we'll be together practically all hours of the day. We'll ride to work together, drop Elyse off together, have lunch together, ride home together and spend our evenings playing with our baby girl together.

While some couples might be scared of all that "quantity time" we're so excited for the additional "quality time" it will bring us as a family. We have been praying & hoping for God to open doors in regards to Nick's job, and for both us & my parents, this seemed to be exactly where God wants us to be. This certainly wasn't a situation where doors were flung wide open...more like a situation where doors were slammed shut.

We certainly don't know exactly how all the details are going to play out, and we know that it certainly isn't going to be easy...but we are so excited to see how God uses this new opportunity to strengthen our family & make us stronger than ever!

A and forevermore.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elyse Love ~ 35 Weeks


Total Weight Gain/Loss: I certainly don't feel like I've had any massive weight gain & thankfully I haven't been retaining much water so my weight gain should be right on track...this would put me about +35ish. That sounds horrendous when I actually type it out, but we've only got around 4 more weeks so while I'm certainly not "pleased" with my weight's still at a level that I consider manageable to lose once Elyse arrives!

Gender: Why a baby girl of course! Elyse Ann will be here so soon...I can't believe how fast time has flown by!

Movement: She's definitely GOT to be crowded in there! Meal times and when I've been drinking a ton of water seem to make her incredibly active...think that might have something to do with taking up even more of her space as my food digests! It's so fun to feel her going crazy in there...and it will be so strange to actually have her in my arms and not feel her move around inside!

Sleep: Awww..sleep. It's honestly been great and I hate to even mention it for fear of jinxing it! Still just once a night to the bathroom and back to bed! I'm hoping this routine will continue in the future...up once for Elyse and back to bed! ha! who am I kidding?!?

What I miss: As Elyse continues to grow, she is pushing on my stomach and digestive tract...I guess this is normal, but sometimes after a meal I am extremely uncomfortable as all the food I just ate digests. I go back to feeling just great after a little while, but it's definitely not a fun feeling. I'm also starting to just be uncomfortable in some cases...mainly in the evenings after I've been sitting for long periods of time. It's also becoming more & more difficult for me to bend over and pick things up. And seriously, let's not even talk about how badly this girl needs a pedicure! Thankfully it's boot season & not time for flip-flops!

Cravings: 1st pregnancy = Craving free for this momma!

Symptoms: Discomfort is really something I've begun to notice at various times. When I'm feeling uncomfortable 5 more weeks seems so far away, but when I'm feeling great 5 weeks seems like it will be here so soon! I was looking at some earlier bump photos and it's hard to believe how much my body has changed in these past 35 weeks. It's just the little things...a little bit of roundness to my face, a little more in my arms, and definitely a whole lot more in my belly!

Maternity Clothes: Yes please! There are still of course a few items that I can wear that aren't true maternity...I'm definitely thankful for the empire-waist tops or tunic trend right now!

Best Moment this week: Hmmm...not really sure what the BEST moment would be. We finished up our child-birth classes, I attended my epidural interview (so that all the paperwork is taken care of should I want the epidurl...which at this point I'm planning on), and we received some of the artwork in the mail for the nursery.

Baby To-Do List: Had a little bit of a concern moment yesterday as I realized all that we still need to purchase...but the word "need" really isn't correct. Sure, there are a few things we truly do NEED to buy before Elyse arrives and NEED to do before we head to the hospital but for the most part we've got absolutely anything she would need...even if she came today. I'm trying to keep all that in perspective and know that anything we don't have right now, we can always buy as we need it!'s the bump! I'm not exactly sure what to call it, but it's definitely not just a BUMP anymore! Thankfully Hubby's little angle on the shot takes a little of the hugeness away!

My Salvation Story

Salvation Stories

Today over at Through Clouded Glass, Callie is hosting a link-up for us to all share our Salvation stories. So many times I mention my salvation or faith in Jesus Christ, but I've never actually taken the time to put my testimony out there for the world to see.

So here it is, the story behind the biggest & most important decision I've ever made in my life...

Unlike some Christians, I honestly don't know the exact date or even the exact year of when I accepted Jesus as my personal savior. As I've thought about it over the years I can tell you that I was probably 11 or 12 and it happened at VBS. While I can't recall the exact date, I can tell you almost every single detail of how it happened.

When I was in elementary school my mom was the director of Vacation Bible School (VBS) and so I spent a lot of extra time at the church during that week of singing, crafts, & recreation. I remember one evening afterwards going into my parents' room and asking several questions, and then I remember asking more questions of my mom the next morning before we headed off to church.

Apparently, my mom knew that I was oh so close to making a big decision and she asked my pastor to speak with me. I'm not gonna lie, I was so nervous as I went into his study & talked about what it meant to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. I remember repeating a very simple "sinner's prayer" after we talked and when I walked out of his office I was so excited to be able to call myself a Christian!

Being in elementary school when I made this decision, I honestly can't say that there was this HUGE change in my life when I became a Christian...while I was certainly a sinner, I hadn't been some radical child who was making incredibly poor decisions. However, I knew I needed Jesus in my life and I also knew I wanted to go to heaven...and a personal relationship with Christ was the only way I was going to get there. Because as a small child of course you want to go to the good place and not the bad place!

Obviously as I grew up, I went through the peaks & valleys of my Christian walk. I had those moments when I was on fire for Christ and ready to share my faith with anyone who walked by. Of course I also had those times when I was a typical high school student with my own version of rebellion (even if it was a little more calm than what most might consider rebellion). I was always involved in youth group & managed to be a 'good kid' even in the craziness of high school.

As I graduated and went onto college, I really feel like I came into my own as a Christian girl. During the second semester of my sophomore year, I joined Campus Crusade for Christ and it changed my life. It challenged me to be a better person & to strive to live like Christ instead of just going through the motions of daily living. It was with Crusade that I really feel like I grasped what it meant to be a Christian and why that decision I had made all those years ago was so important.

I could go on and on about how God has put incredible people in my life to push me to be a better person and how those same people have helped me to find my place. Just as one incredible of my best friends' Jennifer I met in a college class...she was involved in Crusade & I decided to join her...we lived together for 2 years and became great friends...and it's actually she & her husband who are the reason that Hubby & I first visited Northbridge Church. While she & I aren't in small group together, it's because of her that Hubby & I have found a place where we feel like we belong. We've learned so much about ourselves & the importance of relying on Christ in every single aspect of our life.

God does some absolutely incredibile things if we'll just get out of the way and let Him have His way with our everyday life...Living a life without Christ is hard for me to even imagine, and something I would never want to experience.

~Go check out Callie's blog for some more fabulous salvation stories!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Showered with Blessings...and some gifts too!

Hubby & I, but mostly Elyse have been completely showered with blessings by our friends & family throughout this entire pregnancy adventure! We've had two showers and couldn't have been more excited about all the wonderful things we received for our baby girl!

On October 1st, my aunts held a family shower for us and all I can say is WOW! We received most a lot of our big items at the family shower which was wonderful! We received our stroller, carseat & extra base, Mamaroo swing, baby monitor, pack-n-play, lots of cute clothes, toys, & random items from our registry! We are so blessed by our families!

I posted a little bit about it in this post, but here are a few more photos from the fabulous morning!

The stack of presents before I ripped into them!
My momma & sister-in-law! The shower was held in the morning so the menu consisted of yummy strawberry muffins, fruit, mini quiche, mini chocolate eclairs, and veggies...It was delicious!

Check out that wrapping job...from non-other than my mother-in-law!

And then, exactly a month best friends (who are also my small group girls), hosted a fabulous shower at a local cafe'. It's actually a paint-your-own pottery place along with being a cafe & was the perfect location for a shower. We had yummy white chocolate raspberry cake & chocolate mousse cake! Not gonna lie...I definitely had a piece of both!

Instead of playing any crazy games, they passed around notecards and asked all the guests to write a prayer to Elyse. At the end of the shower, they asked everyone to stand and read their prayers. I think there were SEVERAL tears that fell during that precious moment. As each prayer was read, a bead was strung on a piece of suede. This was used to create a keychain that I've hung on the outside of my diaper that all of my best friends' prayers will follow us as we leave for the hospital and from each day forward. It was seriously a beautiful idea and something that I'll cherish forever!

The yummy desserts & a gift from the cafe'...a pottery plate with everyone's signature that will include Elyse's birth details once she arrives!

Listening intently, and fighting back the tears as my bestie reads her prayers to Elyse.

My momma reading her prayers...she definitely didn't make it through without some tears!

The entire am I blessed by some incredible friends!

And my beautiful hostesses...God really knew what he was doing when he brought these girls into my life! Several of these ladies are already moms & I know their experience & advice will be priceless in the coming months...

And of course my momma...the one whom I hope I can imitate when it comes to being an incredible mother & best friend!

While I would LOVE to be able to say that these showers provided EVERYTHING for Elyse's arrival, that's just not the case. Nick & I have got to sit down and make a list of the must-have purchases we still need to make! These showers were so much more than we could have asked for and I am so grateful for the generosity of our family & friends.