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I Think of Mary in Bethlehem

12/24/2014

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“The Last Christmas”

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

That night in a stable
Our saviour was born
Yes, we have so much
To be thankful for

On the last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

They’re choosing the colours
Preparing your room
For one day; Mid[spring]
The advent of you

Together we wait for
A heavenly gift
Is winter a wonder?
Enchanted that this is

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

See the stars shining for above
Hear the singing
Praise to the Giver of Life and Love
Maker of Beautiful things

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

When darkness was shattered
The dawn of God’s grace
And the journey’d begun
To the first Easter day

On this last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The very last Christmas

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

(Sixpence None the Richer)

PS. Tomorrow we get a very special Christmas gift — we will find out if we’re welcoming a baby girl or a baby boy into our arms in April.

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PSA: The Most Comfortable Maternity Pants Ever

12/18/2014

My mama blessed me with an early Christmas present two weeks ago because she knew I was running out of pants that fit. One pair of black pants that are suitable to wear to work and these sweats. These fabulous sweatpants that I have worn ever.single.day. from the time I get home from work until I get dressed the next day. They really are that amazingly comfortable. I highly recommend them to any expectant mamas out there. They’re lightweight and slim fitting but not tight anywhere. And they have pockets!

MAMA sweatpants from H&M for $24.95

hmprod

 

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20 Week Froggie Update

12/04/2014

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Twenty weeks. 4.5 months. Halfway to my due date. Baby’s kicks are harder and more obvious this week, which is nothing but amazing at this stage. I love the interaction. It was so fun seeing all that action on the big ultrasound screen Tuesday…rubbing an eye, touching toes to forehead, yawning, talking or chewing, kicking legs, wiggling fingers. Now I’m even more excited for the little one’s debut in April.

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Big sister is also quite excited. She likes to pretend there is a baby sister in her belly too. She thinks it’s a baby sister but is quick to add that we won’t find out until Christmas. We had the ultrasound technician write the gender and seal it in an envelope and we’re going to have a friend or two help us with the reveal on Christmas day. She also knows that the baby isn’t coming out until April, though I’m not sure she has much of a concept of what April means.

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Look at that cutie! In the one below, baby’s toes were all the way up by his or her forehead. I love that she captioned it “TOE HEAD.”

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I love baby feet! (The one on the right is one foot plus some umbilical cord.)

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Ali and Jason came with me to the big 20 week ultrasound, which was fun and sweet. I’ve been feeling lots of movement this week, hard enough now that Jason can finally feel it with his hands against my belly. The feedback is so neat – baby kicks, we push back, baby kicks, we push back, etc. It was really special to see all of the movement on the giant ultrasound screen because it gives me a visual for all the bumps and pops I’ve been feeling this week. I feel good in general but tired (which is why I’m so behind on blogging…and my to do list in general.)

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16 Week Froggie Update

11/10/2014

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Actually it’s 17 weeks now, but I intended to write this last week. My OB check ups are every 4 weeks so last week I had another one. Everything is perfect – baby’s heart rate, the way my body is growing, my blood pressure, etc. Thank you, Jesus! A few days before the start of week 16 something very exciting happened – we started to feel baby Froggie moving! For a couple days I had been occasionally feeling flutters but I wasn’t sure if was Froggie, since this is my first pregnancy and it’s early. One night Jason had his ear up to my belly, talking to baby and listening to the sloshing sounds in response. I was feeling little flutters that corresponded to the sounds he was hearing and then POP! He felt a push against his cheek at the same moment I definitely felt a little push from the inside. So neat! A week later I’m still feeling similar little flutters a few times a day, sometimes it’s as frequent as the “popcorn popping” feeling I’ve read about. My next check up and our big ultrasound appointment is at 20 weeks in the first week of December. Big sister Ali is excited to come along to that appointment both to see her little sibling on the screen and to find out what all these check ups are about. We’ve decided we’re going to hold the gender reveal surprise until Christmas Day. That should be very exciting and memorable. Now I can’t wait until Christmas! We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house so I’m using all my self-control to resist decorating the house for Christmas before Thanksgiving. (As if it’ll make Christmas come sooner!)

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At 16 weeks gestation, a baby is about the size of an avocado (at least in length, from head to rump). In honor of that, I ate a lot of avocados. We also had a visit from a real frog. Jason found this cute little guy while he was cutting back from elephant ear plants in the courtyard. He just missed getting his butt chopped off!

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One Trimester Down, Two to Go

10/22/2014

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I’m officially in my second trimester with Baby Froggie now. He or she is the size of a peach and getting bigger everyday, as is my belly. I’ve graduated to maternity pants. I can’t even bear the pressure of the belly band on my regular pants anymore – perhaps because I usually wear pretty tight fitting clothes. I’ve gained around 10 lbs. and it’s no wonder because food! I want to eat everything that crosses my mind or my nose. My only real pregnancy symptoms are hunger and tiredness. I’ve been craving spicy foods since the very beginning, and still do some as well as salty/vinegary things like soup, pickles and olives. I’ve had a touch of heartburn after too much of the above but no big deal. I’m very thankful to be feeling good. We got to hear a good strong heartbeat at my 12 week check up and we’ll get to take a listen again at my 16 week appointment. Soon after that I should be starting to feel Froggie’s movements which is fascinating and not as freaky as I initially thought. In early December we’ll have the big ultrasound appointment where we’ll hopefully find out whether we have a son or a daughter swimming around in there.

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On Belly Babies and Adoption and Things of that Nature

09/09/2014

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If you read my last post, you know that we’re expecting a baby. This time, the baby is in my belly. What?! I’ve spent a lot of time in disbelief the past few weeks. Not that I didn’t think it was possible but I just hadn’t really gone there mentally. I just wanted to be a mother; whether it happened biologically or through adoption didn’t matter to me. Even just being a foster mom was so fulfilling to me. Once we adopted our sweet Alianna in 2012 my mom-heart was totally content. But in the back of my mind there was a small hope for a forever sibling for her—one that she could grow up in our home with and grow old with.

I’m super excited to have a baby, another child—and particularly one that will be a part of our family forever, one that won’t leave. In other words, I’d be just as excited if we were adopting again. There is no difference in my heart. But this time, we get 9 months to prepare! In the past we’ve only ever had hours to prepare for a new kid. We get to name this one, too—from scratch! That’s pretty special. I’m confident in caring for a child—I’ve had five, including a teeny preemie. However…

I’m pretty nervous about the whole reality of being pregnant and giving birth. I’m kind of a wimp. So far I haven’t been too uncomfortable. It’s been more like mild PMS symptoms that have lasted four weeks.I’m tired and I basically need to eat all day—at least every two hours—and then I feel pretty good. I’ve been hot a lot of the time—very unusual for me! I have to pee approximately 15 times a day. The idea of a little person living inside of my body is amazing and also freaking weird. It has always seemed like such an alien concept to me. Lord, help me to have peace about it before I start to feel our baby moving.

“You know that always happens. You adopt and then you get pregnant!” I burst out in laughter when Jason said that to me shortly after we high-fived and hugged and stared some more at the positive pregnancy test. “What are you going to say when people say that?” he asked, “Because you know they will.” I told him I’d probably laugh just like I did then. I laugh because it’s so far from reality. Our reality is that we were actively preventing pregnancy from before we adopted our daughter up until earlier this year. I hate those kind of comments because it’s heartbreaking for people who have struggled with infertility before pursing adoption then adopt and still don’t get pregnant. One is certainly no guarantee of the other. I know lots of those moms and they’re my sweet friends. My biggest problem with the above statement is that it implies that pregnancy is what we really wanted all along but we settled for adoption. That’s not our story. We actively pursued foster parenting. It was hard work. It wasn’t a back up plan. We chose to become foster parents as our first way of becoming parents. We fought hard to adopt Alianna. As I mentioned above, being her mother as well as being a foster mother—a mother to many—has filled all of my dreams for motherhood. I have no regrets or unfulfilled longings. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

That said, we really are excited about this belly baby. As much as I was in shock originally, this baby is totally and completely wanted and welcome. All three of us are very excited. Alianna was such a wonderful big sister to baby Firefly and I’m really excited that she’ll get to be a big sister again, this time for good.

[Quick note: Several people have asked how this will affect us foster parenting. We have no plans to quit foster parenting. We’re still on the list of available homes, waiting for a call that could come at any moment. We may consider taking a year off around the baby’s arrival and then reevaluating. But as of right now, nothing has changed.]

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Expecting

02/02/2011

On Saturday I had the privilege of snapping some last minute pregnancy pictures of my brother- and sister-in-law. They were going to have a photographer friend of ours do some portraits but it never worked out and we’re down to the wire (2.5 weeks to due today) so I offered my free but mediocre photography skills. I was happy to try out my new Nikon in a portrait setting and I’m pleased that a few good ones emerged. Not bad for a point and shoot.

I played with some different photo treatments in Photoshop. Mama-to-be requested some black & white and some without her face in the shot. (Full term pregnant women are always a bit self-conscious about looking puffy in the face. I think Ginger looks radiant!) Photographer friends – feel free to offer your constructive criticism on my skillz (or lack of skills).

I think she looks so lovely in this one:

They’re silly. I’m glad I captured this moment because I don’t think it could be reproduced. Their house is always full of laughs and I know they’ll be super fun parents.

This is one of my favorite shots because Dan didn’t know I was taking it. I was setting up for the next shot while Ginger when to change clothes.

This is the only shot that I actually had a vision of creating the night before. I think it works and captures them fairly well. Daddy Dan, the thinker, a man of few words, a planner. Mama Ginger, always rubbing her baby bump and speaking sweetly to her daughter, lovely and content.

Marty can’t wait to have another master to lick…

Jason and I are so excited for them and excited to meet our niece. It’s been really cool to see how Dan and Ginger have grown so much the past 9 months in maturity and spiritually. I know that they will be great parents. I’ve been so encouraged and inspired by how positive Ginger has been through the entire pregnancy. She hasn’t had any complaints and has enjoyed every moment of carrying a baby (except maybe for that couple of hours early on when the mid-wife said she couldn’t find the heartbeat, but that all worked out). Her pure love and joy for their baby girl is contagious. Or maybe it’s just that as her auntie, I already have a lot of love and joy for her, too.

We love you guys and are looking forward to walking with you into this new adventure!