Friday, December 27, 2013

Today is my birthday.  Growing up, I always loved my birthday.  My presents were under the tree.  It prolonged the Christmas let-down.  I never had school and my parents rarely had to work.  Sometimes, if I was really lucky, extended family would still be in town from Christmas to celebrate my birthday.

As I've gotten older, I've begun not to like birthdays quite so much because I'm not really interested in this getting older business any longer.  But alas, it comes each year and there is nothing I can do about it.  So I might as well enjoy it, right?

Today, someone sent me this.  A blog reader I don't even know, who sent an anonymous email.  Someone I can't really even thank for the ways they changed my day.  I sat there at my computer with tears running down my cheeks because I am so beyond humbled by these kind words.

If you can't read it, it says this:
"You may feel you need inspiration.  Reading essays like "Welcome to Holland" or sentiments like this one may keep you going on days when you're feeling less than hopeful.  But you have a fair amount of inspirational power yourself. *** Others who feel they could never handle what you do are inspired by what you are able to accomplish - and people who have to handle the things you do are inspired by your example to try their hares.  Your efforts may inspire changes in the way others interact with your child and with all the other children to follow. *** The next time you're in need of a little inspiration, just look at all the lives you've changed with your love and hard work.  You really don't need to look any further than that. ***"

That was the single greatest birthday gift I've ever received.  

To whoever sent it, THANK YOU.  You've made my day.  :)

Lots of Love -

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

23 Weeks & Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Blog Family!
It's a little Christmas present from me to you that this BUMPdate is up a day early :)

Here is the 23 week BUMPdate: 12/25/13 -

And the side-by-side from last week:

I think she had quite a growth spurt this week, no?!  Both Julie & I thought it was quite a change from last week.  It's really hard to believe that next week we will be 6 months along.  SO crazy.

She is now over a pound and 11 inches long.  She's about the size of a mango this week:

I needed to find a picture that would give me a little size clue because one single mango on a white background wasn't helping me picture how big she is.  This picture really made me stop for a second.  She's actually that big right now.  Crazy.
In other developments this week, if Julie were to play a little music and begin dancing Kamdyn would recognize the movement.  Soon we should be able to see Kamdyn moving from the outside of Julie's belly.  {I'll say one more time that I cannot wait to lay on the couch and feel her move for hours upon hours…or until Julie gets tired of me! :)}  Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing and the sounds that her increasingly developing hearing can pick up are preparing her to enter the outside world.  Loud noises that are becoming normal to her {dogs barking, loud music, vacuum cleaner, etc} won't even phase her when she arrives.  {Julie, feel free to make as much noise as possible!  We have a loud family! :)}

I will be back this weekend with a recap and photo dump of the incredible Christmas we've had.  We are so blessed with family we genuinely enjoy, laughter, health, and joy.  We have unloaded and unpacked so many amazing gifts this Christmas - but my favorite gift this year?

Not only what's inside that belly - but the people who are in that home.  That family is one of the most incredible, life-changing, out-of-nowhere blessings I've ever experienced in my life.  Not only for me, but for the many people who have fallen in love with our story.  Many of you are reading this blog post because you know me in real life.  Others of you are reading this blog because you've heard about our story from someone you know who knows someone I know.  It has always been my prayer {and Julie's} that our story would be bigger than us…we wanted to share our story because we hoped it might inspire others to give intentional acts of kindness to others.  The magnitude of her act of kindness will never stop being incredible to me - but I am honored and humbled that this is the life God has given me.  I'm so thankful for this gift and have vowed that I will never stop telling Kamdyn the beautiful story of selfless, humble, Godly love that brought her into this world.

Thank you for making this little blog a part of your life.  You are one of my biggest blessings.  :)

Merry Christmas -

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grown up Christmas list

How is it possible that Christmas is tomorrow?!  I am enjoying slow time with my family over this break.  I'm not wishing away time.  I'm living in the moment.  I'm snapping pictures.  I'm eating lots.  I am being present in the present gratefully.

Do I ever know this!  I could make a list a mile long of things I want for the holidays that aren't really things at all.  I want children to not be sick, I want families to be together, I want peace, I want open-mindedness, I want kindness, I want families who want to have babies to be able to, I want cancer gone - the list could go on and on.  But none of these are things that Santa can just throw on his sleigh and bring.

Here's what I do love about Christmas though.  It's magical.  People are kinder.  They say please and thank you and Merry Christmas.  They smile more.  There is power in the season.  And I love that.

Give away something that can't be bought today.  I promise it'll be the best thing you do for yourself today.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

22 Weeks

Here is the 22 Week BUMPdate - 12/18/13:

And the side-by-side from last week:

She is 11 inches and a little more than a pound.  She's about the size of a spaghetti squash this week

As her eyebrows, eyelids, and lips become more distinct she looks more and more like a real baby.  :)  She's developing tiny tooth buds below her gums and her eyes have formed, but the colored part still lacks pigment.

She is head down right now and we're praying that she stays that way!  Julie has been feeling well lately and we are both having fun planning these final months of this journey together.  I get to see her in a little over three weeks and I simply can't wait to feel that belly.  I'm planning hours of just sitting on the couch with my hand on her belly waiting to feel my daughter move in there.  And I can't wait to read to her belly.  And talk to her belly.  Anyway, you all get the idea.  :)

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday - ONE more day until FRIDAY {aka…Winter Break!}

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So What Wednesday

This week I'm saying so what if:

  • I usually am right on the ball and have these posted early in the morning.  Today?  Not so much.
  • I am not really confident that I'm going to make it out of school on Friday alive.  It feels like I might not make it.  :)
  • I have approximately 10 gifts on my counter that need to be wrapped before Kaitlyn gets here on Friday…should probably make that happen.
  • There are 3 gifts I still need to purchase…this weekend I'll tackle that.
  • I am a perfectionist, but I'm beginning to get lazy in my perfectionism.  This article really spoke to me this week.  Like I'm thinking about doing another entire post about it.
  • I got my nails done today and I'm having my first experience with a "party nail" {where one is painted a different color} - the jury is still out about my feelings.
  • The chaos of holiday parties is about to begin
  • there is an enormous snow storm coming our way for this weekend and I'm irritated because if it's not going to result in a snow day, I'm not interested.
  • I'm not pleased with the winner of The Voice, but because my boyfriend Adam Levine is her coach, I'm going to move on with my life.
I think that's it for this week.  Head over to Life After "I Dew" (on my right sidebar) to tell her what you're saying SO WHAT to this week.  :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Be Here Now

I have a necklace that has engraved on it "Be here now." and I wear it often to remind myself to live presently in the moment.  I bought the necklace for myself a few years ago in the midst of the darkest time of my life when I was grieving my inability to have children.  I couldn't understand why this was happening to me, I felt guilty that I was dragging my husband on this roller coaster that he didn't sign up for, and I was frankly bordering on being really angry with God.  I caught myself being resentful and bitter - two traits that are not becoming on anyone.  And I was finding myself missing out on joy that was going on in my life without me.  I bought the necklace to remind myself that even though my present situation was not what I had planned for, my life was a gift and everyday was one that I wasn't getting back.  I didn't want to miss out on my niece & nephew growing up, or Kevin & I building traditions in our home, or my parents and the precious time we have with them, or my amazing friends and the nights we laugh until we cry…I didn't want to miss any of that in my quest to become a mom.  So I pledged to BE HERE NOW.

Well, as we have been preparing for Kamdyn - I've found myself relying on my old trusty necklace yet again.  Because not only in times of darkness is there a desire to hurry up, get on with life, and get to the destination - but in times of happiness (perhaps even more) there is a desire to "get there" - wherever 'there' even is?

And so today, I find myself reading and re-reading this quote from Maya Angelou and reminding myself that I will be present in the present gratefully.

Be present today, friends - Enjoy the season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Morning Musings

I just love weekends like this one.  It was a nice mix of work and play.  I really got quite a lot of work done this weekend and I also was able to stop and enjoy time with our family doing fun holiday things.

And in merely 5 days, I will be on holiday break.  Hallelujah.  Although I know my fifthsters will be wild & crazy this week, we sadly have a lot of work to do before break…so hopefully everyone will cooperate and we can enjoy the next five days.  :)

Saturday night, our family enjoyed a little smorgasbord of frozen pizza, rolls, chips & salsa, and chicken to go along with our first Christmas movie of the season.

This was Kaitlyn's first experience with The National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Kevin & I cracked up more just listening to Kaitlyn's belly laughs.  It was so hilarious.  Kevin shot this picture of our night.  I just love how peaceful it looks

Peaceful not for long with a ridiculous dog around…

Once we got Riley under control, we enjoyed a little carmel apple cider.  It's our home version of the Starbucks classic.  If you haven't tried it, go now.  You'll thank me.  Promise.

After Kaitlyn went to sleep, Kevin and I sat up on our respective devices listening to Christmas music.  He shot this picture of our beautiful tree.  I love the quote above our door about Home (it says "Home…where laughter is shared & memories begin") and the Crucifix on the other side of the door.  I just stare at it every single day.  It's so peaceful.

And to top of this weekend, I spent two hours wrapping gifts.  I still have a few left before I'm done - but I am doing MUCH better than usual for still having 10 days before Christmas.  I'm pretty proud of myself.  :)

I think that's it for this Monday Morning.  That was quite a photo dump - sorry bout that.  :)

Happy Monday -

Friday, December 13, 2013

Finally Friday

Can you hear the angels singing?!  It's Friday, It's Friday, IT'S FINALLY FRIDAY!

I'm stuck in a little bit of a bad cycle.  I want to stay in my warm bed, so I hit snooze, then I have to hurry and get ready for work, then I run around all day feeling behind at work, then I'm exhausted at night and just want to sit and do nothing {even though I have about 30,000 things to do} and then I stay up late…then it starts all over again.  Not good.

One more week until Christmas Break, which quite honestly feels like a bit of a "reset" button during the school year.  I always feel so refreshed when I get back from break in January - so I'm excited about that.

This weekend we are planning to stay home and tie up lose ends.  Wrap presents, finish addressing Christmas cards, write thank you notes from my shower, clean, do laundry, maybe bake some goodies, sleep.  Just catch up.  Then next week I can feel like I can enjoy my last week at school before my student teacher comes in January.  Basically next week is my last week with my fifthsters alone for the school year because Hannah will come in January and be there until I leave for the year when Kamdyn is born in April.  It's SO crazy to think about.

Speaking of Kamdyn, here is the video I was talking about yesterday…

That baby just loves her darn thumb.  I'm undecided on what to quite do about that…either let her self-sooth or put mittens on her and shove a binky in her mouth - I'm leaning toward the first one.  If she can self-sooth, I feel like I should just let her and then deal with it later.  I guess we will see.

Anyway, I think that's all for today -

Enjoy your Friday, friends

Thursday, December 12, 2013

21 Weeks

Here is the 21 Week BUMPdate: 12/12/13

And the side-by-side from last week:

She is the size of a carrot this week

Our carrot-sized cutie is about 10 1/2 inches from head to heel and weighs a whole pound!  :)  Julie has begun to notice a little bit of a routine to her movements.  I was relieved to know she actually stops moving for a little while during the night.  Mommy likes to sleep.

On Tuesday, Julie texted me to tell me Kamdyn got the hiccups for the first time.  Her eyebrows and lids are present now - she's looking more and more like a "real" baby each week.  :)

As an extra special treat, we had our halfway scan this week - so we have a few new pictures of Kamdyn!!  She is absolutely perfect.  Everything is healthy and measuring right on track.  Praise the Lord.

I just love that I have multiple profiles of her to compare as she grows.  I put the last profile I have of her (17 weeks) with this picture to show the difference 4 short weeks makes

I have a video of her sucking her thumb that I can't upload for some reason and I'm getting annoyed trying, so I will just have to try again tomorrow with a better (more refreshed attitude).

Thanks for all the prayers, friends,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So What Wednesday

Linking up with Shannon at Life After "I Dew" today {her link is on my right sidebar…go check her out}

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if:

  • This winter weather is terrible.  Like I want to stay inside my home and not come out until spring.
  • I stop by the mailbox everyday to see Christmas cards.  The bills…not so much.
  • I know the Sound of Music last week wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but I love Carrie Underwood - so even though I still like the original better, I enjoyed it.
  • My dog is about ready to be sent to another room because she is chowing down on a bone that Kevin just gave her.  I HATE eating noises..smacking, chewing, chomping - disgusting.  And she evidently doesn't care.
  • My husband is taking pictures of her doing this ^
  • Due to the above two bullets, I just gave away the fact that I'm actually writing this So What Wednesday post on Tuesday night.  I can't get my ass out of bed in the morning to write it.
  • Still no gifts wrapped.
  • Our favorite ice cream place has the BEST Peppermint Oreo ice cream that's only out during the holidays.  I have been craving it since it came out this year and haven't stopped for it yet.
  • Kevin just took said bone away from the dog, it's now bloody and chewy.  Sick.
  • My laundry pile is completely out of control.
  • I have 8 more days of school before break and am struggling right along with my kids to stay focused.  I just love Christmas time!
I think that's it for this week!  
Happy Hump Day, Friends -

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday {Afternoon} Musings

Well, I had this written and thought I clicked publish, but turns out I didn't.  So now it's more like Monday AFTERNOON Musings.  Oops.

This weekend was SO insanely busy I feel like I didn't even have a break.  I really don't like weekends like that because it makes my week feel really long.  However, I'm thankful that this weekend was full of things I love and memories that will last forever.

As I posted about on Friday, my dance team went to State this weekend.  Here they are before loading the cars.

And at our dinner stop...Olive Garden.  YUM.  They look skinny and perfect - every single one of them - but I'm telling y'all, these ladies can EAT.  :)

We were thankful that we didn't have to get up in the middle of the night (AKA 4:00 AM for the past 3 years) to compete.  They were able to "sleep in" (7:30) and have a nice, relaxing breakfast.  Here they are before leaving the hotel, ready for Pom.

 The girls performed AMAZINGLY.  I have never seen them dance so well.  I was so proud of them.  They ended up placing 4th in their Pom category and 3rd in their Jazz category.

Saturday, our family went down to an adorable little Christmas in the Village where there was yummy treats, fires, live music, shop fronts, and shopping.  We always love celebrating Christmas with these little traditions.  It was FREEZING this year, but we enjoyed it anyway.

And on Sunday, I had my very first baby shower.  I sat through most of it in complete disbelief that this is really happening to me.  As I opened gift after gift, I fought back tears at how blessed I feel.

Under the punch bowl - adorable!
The hostesses with the mostestes - and my two favorite women on the planet.  I love them so much.
Yep, that's alot of gifts for Baby Girl.  The big white thing?  Her crib mattress.  :)  I have to write this so I don't forget, the big pink bag on the far left of this picture says "Tickled Pink" - but Maicey kept telling people it said "TiNkled Pink" - that kid cracks me up!  :)
This is one of our very talented dancers, who doubles as a very talented baker/cake decorator.  She MADE this beautiful cake - it was SO adorable...themed after the Very Hungry Caterpiller.
Shout out to this beauty for stepping in as part pack mule and helping me haul all of the goods home and up the steps in the ridiculous Iowa weather Mother Nature blessed us with yesterday.  I don't know what I would've done without her!
Here we are.  Just a few new items for Kamdyn.
How adorable are these?!
I couldn't hold back tears when I opened this.  How absolutely, positively perfect is this?!  I cannot wait to put her picture in there.  And it's the perfect colors of her nursery.
And here's the same corner I posted about here - it's taking over the room.  Please Christmas, be over with soon so I can begin finding real places for all these new adorable things.
We only have 2 more weeks of school before break, so I'm going to vow to enjoy time with my students and try to spend time each day living in the moment and not wishing away time.  {It's ironic I'm writing that sentence directly after I wrote the caption to the picture directly above...oops.  I said TRY}

Happy Week, Friends!