Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Springtime is here!

The weather has been SO beautiful the last few weeks! I was looking on facebook today and saw some people's posts from Pennsylvania who woke up to snow today! I'm so thankful we live in Statesboro where it's so warm a majority of the year. My allergies have been super bad this year from all the pollen, but I just can't resist being outside in this wonderful weather!

The ovulation kit worked great; however, no news to report. My cycle started Monday and surprisingly I wasn't too sad about it. Of course I was a little, but I think it helped a lot to get a better idea of what my body was doing. It started exactly around when I expected it to because I knew exactly when I had ovulated this time. We are just going to continue to use one every month until we get pregnant. In the mean time, I have plenty of things going on to keep me busy.

We are leaving for our cruise in 1 1/2 weeks! We'll be driving down to Fort Lauderdale next Friday April 1st and our boat leaves on Saturday! We are taking Princess Cruises this time because we found a great deal. Our boat is going to the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Roaton, Honduras, and the Bahamas. Our last cruise went to the Eastern Caribbean so we're excited to see the Western side this time. I've been busy working on sewing projects for the cruise: altering a few tanks tops, dresses, and sewing a bathing suit skirt.

This is the bathing suit skirt. It looks weird in this picture but its really cute on! I couldn't try it on with the suit because Michelle has it right now. I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures from the cruise!

I've also been taking full advantage of this beautiful weather and started a garden! I'm SO excited about growing things this year! We have these three little circles of dirt in our driveway that are close to our house, get full sun most of the day, and are perfect for vegetables. Well, one is square. :)

I think when the house was built there were trees there, so they laid the concrete around the trees. Well those are long gone now, and I've had these three dirt holes in my driveway just sitting there for 2 years accumulating weeds. So, I planted spinach, carrots, green peppers, and sunflowers in them.
A few days later. Growing so fast!
Carrots, spinach, and green peppers. Not much to look at right now. There are tiny sprouts but you can't really see them here.
Carrots and spinach. Hopefully soon these will be full of growth!
I've also started seeds inside to see how well they would do. I have broccoli, green peppers, cantaloupe, parsley, and basil. Everything so far has sprouted but the parsley. The parsley is taking forever!

Tons of broccoli sprouts
Big pot: cantaloupe, medium pot: basil, small pot: broccoli
Little green pepper sprouts
Green pepper
I planted some basil, parsley, and cilantro outside and they are sprouting too! I also have a tomato plant outside. Brice is going to build a box for me so I can plant my green bean seeds this weekend. I'll probably put the cantaloupe on the other side of the box. It's so exciting to walk outside everyday and see new growth! I can't wait until they get bigger and I start to see fruit and vegetables growing!

Tomato and herbs
Tomato plant
Cilantro sprouts
Basil sprouts
I've also been preparing for when I stay home with Braxton. I start watching him in a few weeks so I've been looking around for great deals on baby stuff. I found a changing table at a yard sale for $7!
She was asking for $10, so I offered $5 because the bottom shelf is broken. Then she went to $7 and I said ok. The shelf is very easily fixable with some wood glue. She said one of her kids tried to climb underneath it and they broke it. Overall the entire thing was in very good shape and very sturdy. We went to another yard sale and saw the same exact one in a different color for $35! So, great yard sale deal and now I have a cute changing table for Braxton! We are also getting a crib from our church building that the church no longer uses. That way it will be easier to just have something here instead of Michelle having to worry about dragging the pack n play around. It'll be great when we have kids too because we'll already have everything we need for just $7! The changing table came with a pad but no cover so I made a cover for it.

So I've been pretty busy the last few weeks. I cleaned out the flower beds in the front yard on Friday but didn't get to finish. I picked the first very hot day to do major yard work and got very sunburnt and worn out. Now I have a bunch of leaf piles all around the yard the need to be picked up. I'll probably finish all of that this weekend and enjoy this awesome weather!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Braxton's Birthday!

Braxton Nathaniel is finally here! He was born on Wednesday, March 2nd at 3:48am. 8 lbs 10 oz and 20.5 inches long! Such a beautiful baby!

Michelle's labor was wonderful and went very fast! She woke up at midnight with labor pains and Zach called me on their way to the birth center. They got there around 2:30am and I was there about 2:40am. Then she had Braxton about an hour later! Praise God she had a short labor and Braxton came quickly! I cried my eyes out when he was born. He's so perfect!

It was so empowering to watch a natural birth at the birth center. It's amazing how God created our bodies to endure labor and birth without medication. Michelle made it look so easy! Lord willing I'll be able to have my baby naturally at the birth center. I'm excited to go through it and experience it. I really hope that I am able to and don't have any complications with pregnancy or labor. It goes through my mind sometimes because it's been so hard to get pregnant. I sometimes think that pregnancy and labor with come with complications too. I've been praying for a long time that God will give us children and that I'll have a healthy pregnancy and delivery without any problems.

Speaking of, we are using an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) this month. I'm not really sure why we've never used one before. It makes complete sense to use it if you're trying to get pregnant. I thought about it before, but for some reason we just never really used it. We talked last night about how it probably should have been one of the first things we did to try to get pregnant. If I ovulate every month the way I've ovulated this month, we have been WAY off in "guessing" my ovulation day. We've been thinking it was around day 16, but according to the OPK it's been around 19-20. So we've just been completely missing it the past few years! Surprisingly, this is actually the first month we've seen it visually that I'm about to ov. We've just sort of been "not preventing" but also not really doing much to figure out my actual day of ov. I tried charting, but I was horrible at keeping up with it and gave up quickly. The OPK is SO much easier and doesn't feel too cumbersome on our lives. It's much less work and more accurate. We'll try this for the next few months and see what happens!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A lot of catching up to do...

I realize I have not blogged in a long time. Almost three months to be exact. I'm not really sure why I have not been blogging. I guess just the busyness of life and wanting the chill out and be with Brice during the down times I would have to blog. It's always so busy through the holidays and it's hard to find time to settle back down to life again.

I ended up getting the laparoscopy done in the middle of November. It went really well and the doctor only found extremely early endometriosis. He was able to laser it right off and only had to make two very small incisions: one in my belly button and one on my right side. The endometriosis ended up being on the left side, but I guess since it was so early in its growth he didn't have to make an incision on that side to get it out. I'm very thankful that he found something, and not nothing. I'm even more thankful that the something wasn't major and was easily removed. The doctor told us that endometriosis can do various things to prevent pregnancy. He thinks in our case the endo was releasing a chemical to prevent the sperm from getting to the egg. Now it's all gone and hopefully we'll have some good news coming up here in the next few months! :)

I had the surgery the Friday before Thanksgiving, so I was still a little sore through that next week. We went to Atlanta and had Thanksgiving there with Brice's mom and sister, and then we went to the North Carolina mountains for the weekend. I had SO much fun just being with Brice shopping at all the little shops, taking pictures, and hanging out at the coffee shop. It was also great to see all his family that we only get to see that time each year.

We went to snow mountain with Brice's family a few weekends before Christmas. It was such a blast to play in the snow again! We were also able to celebrate Christmas with his family that weekend.

Christmas was also great this year. After a few years of not celebrating it (in the traditional sense of the tree and decorating and presents) we decided to celebrate it this year.

In previous years we were unsure about how we felt about celebrating it with all it's pagan origins and what we felt at the time unbiblical traditions. However, we prayed a lot about it and felt the freedom to celebrate it the way we wanted to for the first time this year. We are still working through the details about how we want to incorporate Jesus into every aspect of it. Thankfully we've had time, and still have time, to research, pray, and talk about how we want to celebrate Christmas with our children. It's much easier when it's just the two of us because we know that it's not all about trees, lights, presents, and santa. We want to teach our children about Jesus with every thing we do in celebrating Christmas. We want it to be a Christ centered fun time where we develop our own family traditions and teach our children that it's all about the celebration of Jesus' birth and how and why He came to the earth and died for our sins. We also want it to be a day of serving others and showing Christ's love to the lost and hurting. We want it to be part of our tradition as a family to spend some of Christmas day serving in our community and have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others.

Christmas eve I made Christmas dinner and some great friends of ours, Zach and Michelle, came over to eat with us. Zach's family was in town and also came over to celebrate with us. Michelle got Zach an adorable puppy for Christmas and brought her over to our house where he saw her for the first time. They named her Leah. :)

Zach and Michelle stayed overnight that night and celebrated Christmas with us that morning. It was so fun having a sleep over and we had a great time celebrating Christmas with amazing friends who are like family to us.

We were all supposed to go to Rob and Sherri's for homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning (more great friends of ours who live right around the corner). However, their electricity went out so Sherri came over to our house to make the rolls and take a shower. Then everyone ended up coming to our house for Sherri's amazing homemade cinnamon rolls.

Afterwards Brice and I walked and met everyone at First United Methodist where there were many volunteers serving food to those in need. Brice and I had the opportunity to go out with Rachel and take boxes of food and Bibles around town to people who were hungry. We went to all the inns around downtown where people were staying and brought them Christmas dinner. It was such a great day of serving and celebrating Christ with others!

It also snowed on Christmas! Well, sort of. It lightly dusted the day after Christmas.

This past weekend we went up to St. Louis for the Mobilise conference. We rode up there with Zach and Michelle while Zach drove the entire way, there and back. He's crazy! Anyways, the conference was incredible! It was a such a sweet time of worship and prayer and a great time of encouragement. It started Friday night and went until Sunday morning. The main speaker for the event, Tope, spoke Friday and Saturday night and we were able to go to his seminar in the middle of the day Saturday.

What really spoke to me out of all the sessions was on Saturday night when Tope was speaking on living by faith. He talked about Joshua 5 and 6, about the wall of Jericho. He said a lot of Christians will get to the wall of Jericho in their life, whatever struggle they go through and they will stop and camp out at the bottom of the wall and get stuck in a rut.

As many of you know who read my blog or know me, my biggest struggle is infertility. It's a continual struggle until God gives us children, and maybe even beyond that if we continue to struggle to have more children. It's one of those subjects that everyone talks about because it's such a huge part of life. Almost everyone has children, and many couples decide at a point in their life that they want to have children and end up having one soon after trying. We constantly find ourselves engulfed in conversations about children because all of ours friends have them. When you meet new people, most times the first question they ask is how long have you been married, then, if you have any children, and afterwards, in our case they ask when do you plan on having children? I've learned to expect that question when we first meet people, and most times it doesn't really bother me. However, sometimes it will be a time when I'm really struggling and it will get to me. Infertility is such a huge sometimes seemingly unending roller coaster of emotions, even though I know one day there will be an end. So, infertility is the huge wall of Jericho in my life.

Tope says, "Jericho stands unrelenting, high, staring down speaking the whole time saying I'm here, I won't shift, come!" He says there are three ways to break through these walls of Jericho: 1) Acknowledge God afresh, just see God for who He is and worship Him 2) learn to walk by faith, trusting the One who has called you (the wall of Jericho came down by faith) Seek God and don't give up, don't give in, and don't break down. Believe in His promises and 3) Obey the last command. God says show me your faith by your works.

I feel like a lot of times through this struggle I hit the infertility wall and get knocked down. I realized as I was sitting there listen to Tope speak that so much of my words in that area lack faith in God. I struggle with asking God why is He not giving us children and often find myself saying in day to day conversations, "well if we ever have children", or "well your children will be grown by the time we have kids". I think about prophetic words that have been given to us about having children and say, well that hasn't happened yet so is God really going to give us children? Was that word really from God? Tope says negativity is a faith killer. I often have negativity in the area of us having children and, not even really realizing it, doubting God and not trusting in His promises by what I say to other people. I say I have faith that God will give us children, then act like I don't.

I'm so thankful that God has revealed this to me and now I can move on from here with faith that God will someday give us children. My faith has increased tremendously that God will someday give us the desires of our hearts. I have renewed faith that when I pray and ask God to give us a child, He does hear me and He will give us children someday. I just need to keep seeking God and living my life for His glory. To keep walking this life of faith in God and preaching His word and ministering to others. To keep serving Him in everything I do and helping others who are need of Him. To praise God for all He has given me and worship Him each and every day. I thank God so much that He speaks to His children and that His Holy Spirit is at work in our lives transforming us to be more like His son.