Dear Addee:

You just turned 6 months old a week ago. Wow! 6 months ago I had no idea that you would turn into such a wonderful, beautiful, feisty, independent baby girl. You’ve totally changed my world! It’s difficult to remember what life was like when you weren’t here. Somehow, some way, it feels like you’ve always been a part of your daddy and I. Like Jesus was just up in heaven with you waiting for the perfect time to send you to us. You’re awesome and completely light up my life!

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Now, for what you’ve been up to lately. Well, you’ve become very mobile. If I leave the room for just a minute, I return to you on the opposite side of the room that I left you. You can scoot backwards like nobody’s business, but you haven’t been able to move forward just yet. You get up on your hands and knees in the crawling position and rock back and forth (see photo below), then seconds later you revert back to your tummy. I’d say within a month you’ll be crawling – and that means it’s time for your daddy and I to BABY-PROOF everything.

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Right now you love anything that you can make noise with or bang on something. Your favorite noise-making toy is your rattle and the little yellow school bus your Grammy & Poppy got you that plays songs. You also LOVE to be sung to – “The Little Green Frog,” “Row Row Row Your Boat,” and “Happy birthday” being at the top of your charts recently. You also love to jam out to Praise Baby DVDs – in fact, I’d say you’re addicted, which is why I have to ration your viewing. Sure, sometimes it’s tempting to let you watch them for longer than you should, and sometimes I let you when I need to get something done. However, I know that your interaction with me is what’s best for your development, which is why I play with you a LOT. In fact, you think I’m hilarious. Apparently I’m a downright comedian to you and am always making you giggle, which I love. 

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You are still breastfeeding and it’s still going very well! I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it this long and I plan on continuing until you’re at least 1, if all goes well. However, we are letting you try lots of different foods. So far you have had sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bananas, avocados, and oatmeal cereal – not to mention little tastes of other foods like pickles, balsamic vinaigrette, and Olive Garden’s alfredo sauce. You seem to really like just about everything we’ve given you.

You learn things so fast that I’m excited to see what you’ll be doing a month from now. I love you with all my heart, baby girl!

Love, 

Momma

Homemade Natural Baby Wash & Shampoo

Since having my baby girl, I have been concerned with the harmful chemicals in popular baby products on the market. Johnson & Johnson has been the go-to brand of baby care for decades, yet their products contain many questionable ingredients. The photo below is from a Walmart knock-off brand of baby wash, but the label says it compares to J&J so I’m sure it contains about the same ingredients (see below).

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Cocamidopropyl betaine, the third ingredient, is a surfactant (it makes the product sudsy) and is an irritant to skin, lungs, and eyes.
Sodium laureth sulfate, the fourth ingredient, is also a surfactant. It is very irritating and can cause hair loss, damage to skin, eyes, and your liver. Yikes!

I could go on with the other ingredients, but I don’t think I need to. So why do manufacturers put harmful ingredients into baby products? Simple, because it’s extremely cheap for them to make. Natural, safe ingredients cost more. Therefore, it doesn’t take a genius to see that we shouldn’t be slathering this stuff all over our children. Our skin is our largest organ, and what we put on it will be absorbed to one degree or another (think about the drug patches that companies make–they know our skin will absorb what is put on it and it will get into our blood stream).

So what’s a momma to do that wants to limit the chemicals that are put on our children? Homemade baby wash & shampoo to the rescue! I found an awesome recipe over at My Merry Messy Life that I really like.

Below are my renditions of the baby wash & shampoo recipes. Enjoy!

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CAUTION: The wash & shampoo are NOT tear-free. Please be careful not to get it into your little one’s eyes. However, it is not harsh so it won’t hurt them much, some even say that their child has got it in their eyes and it didn’t affect them.

This stuff is natural, easy to make, good for baby’s skin, and very cost effective.

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To read more on the harmful ingredients in popular baby wash/shampoo, see this article from I Read Labels for You and “The Real Lesson of Formaldehyde In Baby Shampoo” from Time.

Through Her Eyes.

I think I understand the gospel more than I did before being a mommy. God’s love for me has become so much more real and tangible. He loves me so much more than I love my baby girl, and that -blows- my mind. I can’t understand that, because I love my little girl so much, with my entire heart, yet God loves her even more. Wow. God willingly gave up his own Son to save the world from a life in hell apart from him. I don’t know about you, but there’s no way that I would ever give up my child to save everyone in the world. Not even a chance. Yet God did that for us, the church. I’ve been meditating on this thought quite a bit lately and it always leaves me in awe. Loving a baby is probably the closest I’m ever going to get to understanding how God loves me unconditionally. He took me, someone that can offer him nothing, and loved me knowing that I will constantly make mistakes and sin against him.

There’s a quote by Martin Luther that I love. He says, “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” I would add that God also writes the Gospel in the eyes of our children, reminding us of his love for us.

Fall.

Most who know me know that fall is my favorite time of year. I love the excitement of the upcoming holiday season, pumpkin flavored everything, sweaters, cool weather, cozying up with a cup of hot chocolate, and the feeling that life is almost perfect. But what I love more than anything about fall are the gorgeous leaves covering the ground! Yesterday morning I took the photo below. This perfect, golden leaf was in my driveway and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of it with my phone. The leaves everywhere remind me that the new year is coming and we’re in the final stretch of 2013.

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Fall also always makes me think about Ecclesiastes 3. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” From my viewpoint, Ecclesiastes is a book about how life is but a breath and we should try to enjoy our time here on earth, understanding that living justly and being in relationship with God are of utmost importance.

Sharing this fall with my little girl has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The world seems a little brighter and more hopeful because of her. Having Adalee has made me cherish every second of my life more closely and really put more understanding into the phrase, “there is a time for everything.” I know that Adalee will only be a baby for so long then grow up quickly, so making the most of every second I can with her has become so important to me. I thank God as much as I can for giving me such a special little girl to take care of and blessing me with a wonderful husband to share the joy with. Life is so good right now and I am doing my best to cherish every second of it I can, because “Life is fleeting, like a passing mist. It is like trying to catch hold of a breath…” (Ecc. 1:2 – the Voice translation).

Life as we know it.

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So, what is going on with us these days? Well, we bought a house a few months ago, and about a month after that at the end of August our baby girl Adalee was born. Corey is working hard at his job and working hard on our house (painting, fixing things, etc.). He’s a rockstar and I don’t know what I would do without that awesome man!

I graduate next month (Dec. 6th!) and I am so excited! I will finally have my B.A. after many years of hard work. I will have a degree in Bible and theology with a minor in intercultural studies. I should have graduated several years ago, but due to taking a year and a half off and going only part-time for some of my college days (and transferring to several schools!), it’s taken me longer. Everything happens in its own time though, and I am so glad that I transferred to Multnomah University. I’ve loved my classes and studied under some brilliant professors, but I am so glad that I will be finished. For now, at least.

So, what’s next? We will continue to love our baby girl and watch her grow – fast! She’s grown 2-1/2 inches since she was born almost 10 weeks ago and gained over 3lbs. Her smiles are the best part of my day and she rolls over from tummy to back all the time now. It’s amazing to see the new things she learns, seemingly every day. She’s the best baby ever. =)

I am debating whether or not I want to get my M.A. in counseling and if so, when do I start? I think I want to be a marital and couple’s counselor, but I’m not sure when I should start the program or even where I should go. I have several options, but it’s so difficult to decide. For now, I will wait and see how I feel once I graduate.

Life is good right now and I look forward to seeing what God has planned for our life over the next few months and year. =)

Sweet baby girl.

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This beautiful little girl, Adalee, is my baby. She was born on August 24th and since then my world has been completely changed. 8 pounds, 5.5 ounces of beauty & love! I never truly realized that I could love a little baby so much. Just being her wonderful little self lights up my life!

To me, she looks so much like Corey. I think she’s going to be a daddy’s girl too. She has his temper and my sass & feistiness. When she was in the womb I told Corey that I thought she would be a super sweet and super feisty girl, and boy was I right! When she’s mad, she’s M-A-D, but when she’s happy, she’s so happy and incredibly sweet. Every day I thank God for the beautiful miracle she is. I feel so lucky to be her mommy and I can only pray that God forms Corey and I into the parents he wants us to be.

 

21 Weeks Pregnant and I’m Slowly Starting to Freak Out

I am due with our baby girl on August 17th, and school starts on August 26th. It’s my last semester, so I can’t exactly put it off for a year, I just need to suck it up, take the classes and graduate in December. Since I first found out I was pregnant I thought, “oh, no problem! I’m superwoman and can do anything!” But now I’m starting to freak out. I hear statistically that a women first baby is typically late, being born past the due date. Yikes! How am I going to miss the first couple weeks of classes and still do well in them? Maybe I should just give up all hope of getting good grades my last semester and deal with it. But that’s not my nature – I’ve always been concerned with grades and my GPA. But then again, all things will change once I get to hold my little girl in my arms. I guess I just always have to come back to, “God, help me, I have no idea what I’m going to do.” Usually I have an idea of how things are going to work out and how I’ll figure things out, but this time, being that I’ve never been a mommy before, I have no idea what to expect. Luckily, I have a husband that will definitely help a lot – but he will be working during the day, when I have classes. So the day time is all me. I also have a mother who thankfully runs an in-home daycare so I know that I can count on her during the day, but really, who wants to leave their newborn baby? Definitely not me, and that’s regardless to the fact that I trust my mom. Like I said in a previous post, I already feel so protective of her and I know I won’t want her out of my sight. 

On a more fun and positive note, for about a week now I’ve been feeling baby girl move a ton! I can pretty much tell when she’s awake and asleep. It’s an amazing feeling! Like something is rolling around inside of me. I love it! Every time I feel her move I feel a little smile come on my face. =)

It’s a girl!

Several weeks ago Corey and I anxiously went to see the ultrasound technician to see if she could tell us the sex of our baby. After rolling around from side to side to get our little one to uncross her legs, the moment of truth came, and she asked us if we were ready to hear the sex. My heart was pumping a million times a minute because there were so many thoughts running through my mind! Boys and girls are so different and you can’t raise them both exactly the same way, in my opinion, so I knew that either way our lives would be changed forever! I took a deep breath and said, “yes!” as she said that we are going to have a little GIRL!!! I was so excited that a few tears welled up in my eyes as I turned to Corey and he had the biggest grin on his face that I’ve ever seen. It was such a priceless moment that I won’t soon forget. =)

I’ve always known that I would be a protective mommy, but now that I know I’m having a girl that has just magnified. The whole “don’t mess with momma bear” thing is TRUE!! And she’s not even here yet. I can’t imagine how I’m going to be when she actually arrives and I get to hold her in my arms. She’s only in my tummy now but I definitely feel like a mom already and can’t wait to see my little girl, who I’m sure will be absolutely perfect to me. I thank Jesus every day for her and pray that she is a baby full of joy and happiness. =)

Becoming mommy.

Tomorrow I will be 16 weeks along and most of my clothes don’t fit right anymore. My stomach is definitely protruding, and every day that goes by I feel more like a mommy. Every day I feel closer and closer to my little boy or girl that is happily swimming around inside of me. I cannot wait until I can feel him/her move! It shouldn’t be long now. Probably within the next week or two. =)

The fact that I have a little human growing inside of my body blows my mind. It’s almost hard to believe, even though my body definitely believes it with all of the changes its undergone. It became really real during our second ultrasound when the baby was moving all around and stretching its arms and legs. Talk about making our hearts melt! It was very emotional seeing that for the first time.

Motherhood excites me and terrifies me at the same time. What if I’m no good at being a mom? What if we screw up the child and they have to have therapy their entire lives? What if we are great parents and our child still turns out bad? Those are just some of the thoughts that have been running through my mind. But then I suddenly have an overwhelming feeling of peace come over me. I know that I am meant to be a mommy, and I know that Jesus has wonderful things in store for me, Corey, and the baby. 

I am going to try my best to enjoy every bit of my pregnancy, even when I’m riddled with heartburn. =) I love my baby so much already and can’t wait to meet him or her in less than 6 months!

 

It’s been a while!

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve blogged! Things get so busy when I’m concentrating on schoolwork and friends. Lots have happened in the last couple months… we moved into a little studio apartment on campus (that I LOVE) and Corey found a great job that he loves that we’re still thanking Jesus for.

I am really enjoying college and all that I’m learning. My favorite classes this semester are Bible Study Methods and Gospels. In my bible study methods class we are doing just like the title suggests – learning how to study the bible.

Now, the bible isn’t exactly a foreign concept to me. I grew up going to church, had Christians around me constantly, and even my grandfather and uncle have been pastors all my life. Yet still, I’ve never really learned how to study the bible. No one’s ever taught me.

I’ve heard that I should study the bible, but never how to actually go about doing it. This class is really helping with that and I’m fascinated with how much I’m learning, and I’m learning how much I don’t know! It’s quite humbling, to say the least.

I’m just about done with reading a book for this class called, “Living by the Book” by Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks.

This book has pretty much transformed how I read the bible and how I understand it. I recommend it for anyone that has never learned how to study the bible or that would just like to deepen their studying of the bible. It’s broken down into three major sections which are observation (what do you see), interpretation (what does it mean), and application (how to live it).

In the first couple chapters, the book explains why it’s so important to study the bible. Now, if you’re like me, you’ve had pastors tell you all your life that you need to be reading your bible…and blah blah blah, in one ear and out the other. However, it’s so true! Studying the bible is essential for our spiritual growth, maturity, and effectiveness. There’s a quote on page 24 that says, “The mark of spiritual maturity is not how much you understand, but how much you use. In the spiritual realm, the opposite of ignorance is not knowledge but obedience.”

Therefore, I’ve also learned that studying the bible doesn’t mean jack… unless I actually put it to use, which is the hardest part! It’s easy to read something and have the knowledge in my brain; it’s an entirely different ballgame when I let it change my actions, way of thinking, and most important of all, my heart.

I highly recommend “Living by the Book” and I’d be glad to lend it to someone once I’m finished reading it. Have a great spring break! =)