Disney World.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's been a little quiet in this blog space. Shawn and I are in Orlando with my parents for the week doing the Disney thing. :)
See you next week!

Growing, growing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Me and Little E. We are growing. I've been feeling lots more fluttery kicks in the past few days and I'm loving every single one. It's such a sweet reminder from baby that, "Hey! I'm in here!" and an even sweeter reminder from the Lord that He's growing this baby without any of my help. I think the fact that this baby was a surprise has really helped me to just let go and enjoy the ride. I surely didn't know I'd be wearing maternity scrubs at my first job, or receiving a diaper bag for graduation, or reading about cloth diapering on blogs while I should be studying for the NCLEX... but I'm thankful God knew. And I'm so thankful for this new and unexpected life.

If you've been following the blog for long, you may remember that last summer I was accepted into an accelerated BSN program that allowed me to graduate in May 2012. When I started nursing school, though, I was scheduled to graduate in December 2012. I spent an agonizing weekend worrying and praying and mostly worrying about whether I'd be accepted into the accelerated program and be able to graduate 7 months early. Little did I know... and how the Lord did know... that the December graduation just wouldn't have been an option. He knew there was a baby that would need taking care of, and I surely couldn't have popped out a baby and graduated 6 or 8 weeks later. His ways are so much higher than ours.

I've been so thankful for this very uneventful pregnancy. Today, about 5 of my coworkers asked sympathetically, "How are you feeling?" which was so sweet, and I could honestly say, "I feel great!" I literally have no pregnancy symptoms other than this growing belly, and I know that's nothing to take for granted. I definitely didn't expect to be this big this early, but my midwife says it's just how my body was made - smaller frame, short torso, long legs... nowhere else for baby to go. I'm just glad to be out of the I-look-like-I-ate-a-huge-meal phase and into the phase where people know there must be a baby in there.

Keep growing, Little E. We can't wait to meet you.

Easy homemade guacamole.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shawn took these a few days ago when we caught the most incredible view of our backyard. Heavy rain, sun shining, everything just glowing. The pictures are gorgeous, but they hardly do justice to the real life view. It looked like paradise.

Just across the Kentucky state line.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good friends.
Yummy food.
An equally yummy little girl.
Bubbles. Chalk. A baby pool.
One perfect summer night.

My life in bullet points.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Work is going great! The staff could not be more welcoming to new nurses and I feel like I landed the best possible first job. It'll be super hard work (they call our floor the "workhorse floor" for a reason for sure), but I'm ready. I think.
• Baby E is avocado-size, and gave me the best first Mother's Day present - a flutter! I felt him/her move during church and have felt it a couple times since. Sweet thing.
• I am really loving this work-for-three-days, off-for-four schedule. 
• Strangers have started asking me my due date, which makes me feel better about my growing body. Because hey... they're not asking if I just had a big meal. :)
• We find out baby's gender on June 8! And we're having a party with some friends and family to find out all at the same time (even Shawn and me!). Our friend is baking a pink or blue cake (after the ultrasound tech calls her) that we'll cut into the night of the party and celebrate baby's gender all together. We're asking everyone to wear blue or pink based on their prediction.
• A garden is just not going to happen this year. It makes me sad... we just had too much going on to get one started on time. Bummer.
• I've been sewing, sewing, sewing, and got my orders down to 4 left (down from 24), then made 4 sales. So we're back to 8 bridal orders. A good problem to have - no complaints here - just lots of work.
• I miss my Shawn. We've been super busy and haven't made it home until late every night for days. Date night tomorrow. 

Happy Wednesday!

First job.

Monday, May 14, 2012


As I begin my new job today (!!!), I was reminiscing about my very first real job - and just how far I've come. It was in Chicago, where once upon a time, I was as part-time nanny for a family in a very ritzy neighborhood close to my school. I was just excited to be working, so I probably jumped at the opportunity a little too quickly. But for the first few weeks, it was a great job.

There were lots of positives. It was only a short bus ride away, paid pretty well, and allowed me the opportunity to explore the city as I chauffeured the kids to their many activities (karate, tutoring, play therapy... you know, the usual). :)

But there were also some negatives. Like the fact that the way-too-old-for-this boys would walk around naked more often than not... eating sushi naked, playing video games naked, doing their homework naked. I mentioned it to their mom once, and she just brushed it off as not being a problem. Then there was the fact that I would shop for their groceries, make dinner while the mom sat in the kitchen playing computer games and critiquing my cooking, and I even had to hand wash her underwear from time to time. It was feeling less and less like a "nanny" position as time went on.

But it was a job. And like any job, it had its ups and downs. After about 9 months of this, though, I'd had enough. I was spending less and less time with the kids and more and more time in the kitchen and laundry room, even though they also employed a full-time housekeeper. And all the while, the mom would be soaking in a bubble bath or hovering over my shoulder. She never left. Not exactly my idea of a good time.

So I turned in my two weeks notice, confident I'd be able to find something better. There are always nanny jobs available in the city, and I had a feeling I could land a slightly better situation than this one.

At first, my boss was just angry. She let me know in very plain terms that there's no way I'd find another job where I was paid and treated so well. :) But after this initial outburst, things between us seemed to improve - and she even told me the next day, "We want to have a going away party for you."

I was slightly skeptical, but excited that she had even thought of such an idea on her own. She even mentioned that she would have my "favorite cake."

So the day of the party arrived and I was asked to come at 2pm. After knocking a few times with no answer, I let myself into a totally empty apartment. I walked into the kitchen to find a box of dark chocolate cake and a note saying that they would return at 4pm to make sure I had plenty of time to make my cake and decorate the apartment with the streamers on the table.

I couldn't believe it. But I went ahead and made my own cake anyway, which was not my "favorite" considering I don't even like chocolate. I left the streamers on the table, fearing that I would be obligated to stay after and clean up after my own party.

The family arrived half an hour later than expected and found me sitting at their kitchen table, staring at my own dark chocolate cake. They hustled into the kitchen and the mom hardly looked at me as she said, "Sorry, but we just don't really have time to celebrate today. Boys, say goodbye."

And I think I can officially say that was the most awkward moment of my life. Me, her, two distracted boys, and a freshly baked cake.

The boys said goodbye and we gave hugs, then I turned to her and said, "Thanks so much for everything," and put my arms around her to hug her. She remained stiff as a board, her arms hanging by her side as I hugged her. Awesome.

I put the keys on the table next to my own cake, smiled, and headed out the door with the hugest sigh of relief that I would never had to enter that building again.

So here's to hoping my new job will be nothing like my first! I mean, it can only get better from there, right? :)

Do you have any fun first job stories? I'd love to hear!

PS - Thanks to my sweet, sweet husband who was sneaky enough to break into the blog yesterday to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. I love him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To my lovely bride/mom-to-be

Today marks your very first Mother's Day! Okay...so maybe you haven't had to change Little E's diaper or rock him/her to sleep quite yet. But I have a front seat in watching you love this soon-to-be born baby. You sing hymns in the car to Lil' E, you pray for Lil' E, you speak gently and write love letters to Lil' E. Honestly, I could not wish for a better mother of my child. Our child. Lil' E has no idea the privilege he/she has of being your baby. And it will be my privilege in November to serve alongside you in caring for this beautiful creation. You may still be getting used to this ever-changing body of yours, and though you may not feel like it, you carry yourself with such grace and motherly care that it would be a big mistake for me to miss this chance to wish you your first Happy Mother's Day! 

You're already such an amazing mom.

I love you,


Another letter to baby.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dear Little E,

Your dad and I got to hear your heartbeat this morning. It was 150 beats per minute, strong, and beautiful. I'm sure I'll listen to the recording a million times before I get to hear it on the outside. Everything else looks perfect. Since we're seeing a midwife, there aren't quite as many appointments or tests in these weeks, so every little bit of news is so exciting for us.

You're growing and growing, though I've somehow still only gained a couple pounds. But I look pregnant! So we're happy about that. You're also responsible for changing my center of gravity... and I'm a little less happy about that. Because when we go on trail runs together with you leading the way, it doesn't end so well:
Ouch. Thankfully I fell on my side and not right on top of you, but the midwife still wasn't too thrilled and said no more trail runs... and walking would probably be better than running. I sure hope you don't inherit my clumsiness. It's embarrassing.

Well, you're the size of an apple this week. You can move all of your joints around and you're kicking around like crazy. I can't wait to feel you soon! And find out in 4 more weeks if you're a boy or a girl!

Stay safe, little one. I'll stay off the trails and do my best to make sure you do. :)

Love you,

PS - Now I'm hearing how a heart rate of 150 means it's a girl... or is that an old wives' tale? Hmm... I could be wrong thinking you're a boy! We'll love you no. matter. what.

This makes me want a girl.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I saw this sweet, free pattern on Pinterest this morning and couldn't resist... I had to make one. It only took an hour or so. I didn't have piping, so I didn't add that - and I made the bodice slightly wider so it didn't have to fit only a 7- or 8-lb. baby. I have a feeling I may be making several more for friends who are seemingly all having girls this summer and fall. So sweet.


Monday, May 7, 2012

On the morning of graduation, I spent some time in 2 Chronicles 20. If you're not familiar with the story, let me fill you in on the high points.

The king of Judah at this time is Jehoshaphat. King Jehoshaphat is given word that his country is about to be attacked by a vast invading army that will surely overpower them - and the army is already headed their way.

His response in this moment?
"Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah." The entire land - men, women, and children - came from all over the country to seek the Lord's help in this very dire situation.

Jehoshaphat's trust in the Lord is astounding to me. He stands boldly before his people and declares who his God is: that he rules over kingdoms, that he is powerful. Then Jehoshaphat declares that no matter what happens - calamity, judgment, plague, famine - that "we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us."

The Lord saw this incredible faith and sent his Spirit through one of the Levites, who declared to the people, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army."
Umm... what was that, Lord? We're about to DIE over here, in case you hadn't heard. (That clearly wasn't their response - but it would've been mine.)

But then this... "For the battle is not yours, but God's." 
God commands Judah's army to march down to where the battle is being waged, but they won't even have to pick up their swords. This isn't their battle, after all. It's God's - and he has already taken care of it. Their job is just to stand, to not be afraid, and the Lord will be with them.

So they are obedient and march out to the battlefield, and I love this scene. The people of Judah begin to sing and praise along the way, and as they do, God sends ambushes against these vast armies and they end up killing each other! Judah's army didn't even have to pick up their swords, just as promised. God had come through victoriously to do all the work and to save them. The people celebrated, carrying off massive amounts of valuable equipment and clothing - so much that it took 3 days to collect it all.

If that's not God.

So what does this have to do with your life thousands of years later? Thankfully, very few of us have to be on the front lines of any battle - so it may not seem like it applies much at all. But do you have mountains in front of you? Are there days that feel like a vast army is about to overtake you, if it's not for the Lord to intervene? I know I do. They come in the form of the silliest things sometimes... a mountain of work ahead of me, a relationship that's taking a lot of work, a seemingly impossible decision that has to be made. Most recently, it's been nursing school. There have been several times I have seriously wanted to give up. And there have definitely been times when my first reaction is not to seek the Lord in my weakness. Lots of times.

But in this story, I hear God speaking loud and clear that the battle is his, not ours to worry about. We're to be obedient, to stand firm, to trust him without fear or discouragement, and to watch him work. And then we get to celebrate when he has been victorious.

And oh, how I have watched him be victorious over this past 16 months of nursing school. Sure, I've been diligent. Jehosphaphat was diligent and trusted. But I have done nothing in comparison to how he has worked.

I have stood with shaking knees next to the beds of the dying and watched him give them hope.
I have woken up with a terrible attitude at 4am to head to clinicals in the pitch black early morning and felt him transform my heart to one of gratitude.
I have felt so overwhelmed as I watched that pregnancy test turn to a very clear positive, not knowing exactly how I was supposed to spend my last and most difficult semester in nursing school while being in my first trimester. And he has proven himself even in that, giving me joy and love for this baby and keeping me from nausea in the most critical times.
I have just simply shown up and said, "Ok, God. You've called me to this, so I know you're going to get me through." And he has. He's done it all.
And on Saturday, when I walked across that stage and received my diploma, I echoed Jehoshaphat's cries of worship in my heart to this good, good God who has done so much more than I ever deserved. He has been victorious in the battle, and I have been the undeserving but oh-so-grateful recipient of the plunder.
I serve the same God who moves mountains, who renders vast armies to nothing, who spoils his children with lavish gifts that we so do not deserve. All because he is good. All because he loves us.

Being pinned by my sweet friend Cherry, an RN who has so inspired me over the years, and traveled from Texas to be here!
Words of wisdom
Growing Little E got to graduate, too. 
Women I love who are my biggest cheerleaders: Mom, Cherry, Grandma
Mama & Papa Newby came too - and somehow this is the only photo of them I ended up with. But I love it.
And this guy... this amazing guy. His support has carried me so much further than I could've gone alone.

Special thank you's go to:
Mama & Papa Newby, who drove in from Atlanta for the weekend to be here;
Mom who hosted two big gluten-free meals and many guests and Dad who woke up at an ungodly hour to fly standby and make it to graduation;
Grandma, who drove by herself from Ohio to be here;
My aunt Ginny who helped with my Grandpa all weekend so Grandma could be here;
Cherry, who flew in from Texas for the weekend;
Shawn, who "thank you" isn't enough. He's done so much.
I love you guys so much!

Watermelon sorbet.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My early graduation present from my parents was... drum roll, please... an ice cream maker! I'm so excited about it and think it's the absolute perfect gift for this growing pregnant girl who's about to spend a long, hot summer in sun dresses eating sorbet. (That's the plan, at least.)

My first creation: watermelon sorbet.
So easy and so delicious (adapted from this food.com recipe).

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
3 cups watermelon

1. Cook the sugar, water, and lime juice together, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and chill.
3. Cut up the watermelon and remove all seeds.
4. Puree in a blender or food processor.
5. Stir into chilled syrup.
6. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7. Pack into an airtight container and store in the freezer.

Hello, second trimester.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Terrible phone pic taken last week. We've yet to take a real picture of the belly. I'll get on that! :)
I'm officially into my second trimester and growing, growing, growing. I'll wake up one morning and wow - I have a belly! A bigger belly than the day before. Little E must be feeling pretty good in his/her little home and growing, too (at least I am hoping so).

To be honest, it's been an interesting transition as I watch my body morph into what it is right now. I have a little baby bump and have still only gained just under 2 pounds, but everything seems to be shifting quite dramatically so I am looking pregnant.

I spent a couple afternoons this week looking for a graduation dress and felt my heart sink a bit every time I tried a new dress and it fit very... oddly. I know I'm not even that huge yet, but it's been harder for me to accept than I expected. I really thought those first little pats on the belly from friends would be so exciting, but more than that, they remind me of what my body isn't. And trust me, I realize that's not the healthiest perspective.

I prayed about it this morning, which I should've done days ago, feeling pretty petty for offering up such a humble prayer. But it's my body - the one I have to carry around all day, which feels especially awkward when jogging - and I know that if it matters to me, it somehow matters to God. I needed a perspective change. The Lord was faithful to meet me and saturate me with his presence, and he helped me to remember just how much I have to be thankful for. I know that there are many, many women who hope and pray to have a baby inside, and for their bodies to change the way mine is changing. And I was reminded that my body was made for this! To grow and to stretch and to house a human soul. What an incredible, beautiful miracle.

I know that the ill-fitting clothes and probably some stretch marks are here to stay for a while. But I'm more ok with that today than I have been for weeks. Little E is healthy and growing, and I couldn't be more thankful for that. Thank you, Jesus.

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