Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016: Psuedo-Resolutions, Goals and Prayers

2016 is going to start out fairly BIG- we are having a baby in February- which may make elaborate goals a bit too tough of a commitment for the coming year.  I mean, I will be too focused on keeping another human being alive, fed and dressed. Plus, let's all be honest with ourselves - a new year usually brings very specific GOALS that aren't always obtainable.  I often have new years ambitions - and sometimes I follow through (run a half marathon, lose weight, cook more, etc) but generally, I do better with small goals - ie, last spring I committed to train for and run a 10k and I did - or this Christmas, I committed to staying on budget (-ish) for Christmas and I came within $25 dollars!

So, no lofty specific goals from me this January - but I can't let this new year sneak up on me without sharing some general goals, hopes, dreams, etc. 2015 was filled with ups and downs - and no doubt, 2016 will include the same - BUT, there is something about a new year - a fresh clean slate, pages of a book that have no tears or regrets or pain written on it yet....another chance for God to do big things in our lives and through our lives! I can't help but start this year hopeful - for we serve a POWERFUL Lord who can work in our lives in huge ways!

Here are my spiritual, relational, financial and health goals or guidelines for 2016.  As you see, no specific plans, numbers or timelines - just goals of improvement in these 4 categories.  Over the course of a year, I will fail and improve in these areas at various times but my hope and prayer is that at the end of the year, I will see overall improvement and growth in each area.



I want prayer to be a big part of my life this year.  I want to document requests and struggles and confessions so I can see how God is answering in both big and small ways, to see how He is molding and growing me. I want to hope and believe that God can answer in over the top ways and pray for myself and others with this kind of boldness!

Personally, there are a few things in my life that I just want to see changed - circumstances, relationships, sinful struggles, etc. I know you can all relate!  And I have lived long enough to know that some change will happen simply by time and prayer.

Years ago, God placed a little personal motto on my heart - "Give it a year" and I have clung to that phrase ever since. I can do a year.  It's long enough to see change happen, but not so long that it can be daunting.  And, so when waiting and hoping for answered prayers- be it a spouse, a baby, a job change, relationships, finances, etc, I often tell myself that in a year, things could be better. So, in 2016, I commit to give it a year, to dedicate the next 12 months to faithfully praying - and to seeing how God chooses to act - and how He grows me in the process.


I know she will be too young to comprehend a lot of what we read - but I want scripture and prayer time to become a parenting habit.  I look back at my life and do not remember a time when scripture reading, worship and prayer were not a part of my life.  I am grateful that my parents started with Bible study even before I could comprehend - and this year, I want to start that with our daughter.



Dave and I are very happy together, but like most couples, we bicker and criticize and fail to show grace at times.  We both have areas where we can and should improve.  This year will be filled with lots of crazy good changes - and some of these changes might add stress to our relationship.  So, my goal is to still take time to focus on Dave - and to work on ways that I can love and serve him better. I do not want to forget to work on my marriage just because I am working at motherhood.


Being mommy and daddy will be so new to us - and we will fail just as many times as we succeed.  I have lots of parenting goals - a happy well balanced baby, a child that sleeps through the night, breastfeeding, etc.  But the reality is that babies can't be controlled - and parents are humans that will fail and learn and figure out better ways.  So, my prayer is that we can give ourselves a little grace as we learn!



Dave and I have worked hard to save a decent amount of money over the past couple years- but we could always do better with our finances- especially with our budget! (we don't necessarily overspend, but we don't always stick to a budget).  My financial goals for 2016 is to keep saving (even if it's less because of baby expenses, just putting a little away each month helps) and budget better.


Confession: We are not the best at tithing.  This stems from the fact that we moved right after we got married and were not members at a church (and still aren't) so we mostly just gave our tithes monthly to various ministries and missionaries instead - with an occasional donation to the church.  I think this was fine for awhile, but the reality is that we are now invested in a local church and are involved in their programs and ministries - and need to be giving monthly to a church (members or not).  So as we learn to budget better this year, I want to add tithing to the church into our budget.



Goodness, it couldn't be a new years resolution post without including some talk on weight and health right?  In case you haven't noticed, I have put on some weight over the past year (ha!) - and after AD arrives and we settle into our new life, I would like to get back in shape and lose as much of the weight as I can.


Over the past several years, I have become a runner - not a terribly fast runner, but a runner just the same.  I quit for awhile, but managed to pick it up last spring and train for 10K with my friend.  Soon after the 10k, I became pregnant and sick and quit running. So, post baby, I want to pick it up again - train for a 5k, then maybe a longer race. Picking small running goals like races helps me stick to it!


I am not sure where this goal "fits" in so I am including it in the health category.  Two things have become abundantly clear to me as I read about parenting and think about how we will both work full time, raise a baby, keep up with other activities, etc: (1) some commitments and fun things will get cut and (2) we will have to become schedule people (this will be harder for Dave than me as he goes with the flow a lot more than me!)  I am not sure what our schedule will look like - but we will have to work together with a plan of when things like gym time, baby, etc happen in relation to AD's eating and sleeping schedule.

Well, there you have it, folks - my "general" goals for 2016. I hope I succeed at improvement in all areas, but I am realistic so if I improve in half of them, I will be happy!  What are your goals for 2016?  Something big and specific? (run a marathon or save 10,000 dollars, etc) or general areas of improvement like me?


Monday, January 4, 2016

32 Weeks!

I can't believe I am 32+ weeks pregnant.  Seriously, we are under 2 months until baby girl is here. CRAZY.  It seems like it has gone slowly and quickly all at once.  Likewise, when I think of all we have left to do -  7-8 weeks seems like not enough time to get it done - and at the same time, how can we wait that much longer?

SEATGATE 2015/2016:  This is my "golden" time.   I look like I am with child- ain't no doubt about it.  There is no passing glance of "Is she just chubby?" or "Maybe she ate a big lunch"  I am clearly pregnant - and I would say, clearly very pregnant. So, bring it on, winter metro rides: I am CERTAIN to have several seat offers.  In fact, I was offered a seat TWICE this morning.  Laugh all you want - but there are few perks to being big, achy and swollen - so let me have my small joys, okay?

How Far Along: 

32 weeks as of this past weekend!

This picture was taken on Bourbon Street before the Sugar Bowl because my sister and I thought it would be hilarious to take a picture of a very preggo women on one of America's most notorious party streets. (Its okay if you think this is silly - pregnancy humor is not for everyone!)

The past few weeks....

31.5 weeks (maternity photos in Mississippi)

29 weeks (bridesmaid duties)

 Baby Size:
Baby girl is 3.75 pounds - the size of a spaghetti squash. (yum, I love spaghetti squash)  She is almost 17 inches long.  Baby girl will gain about a half pound a week now as she fattens up for delivery!

Maternity Clothes:

Nope, not really....haha, this is a joke question at this point right??  


Eh- not fabulous, but that's too be expected. I consider it preparation for sleepless nights during the first year of motherhood.


Yes!! Lots - although baby girl is still pretty stubborn, so if I tell you she is kicking and you place your hand on my stomach, she will immediately stop.  I think she senses the pressure so she stops. I am convinced that she does this intentionally - which makes her brilliant or difficult or possibly both. This frustrated my family - and it frustrates Dave- although I think if you are willing to sit with your hand on my belly for awhile, you will catch her. 

She has also been flipping around a lot which is occasionally uncomfortable but is a good thing as the doctor believes that she is finally head down instead of transverse.

Best Moment of the Past 4 weeks:

Hmmm...  baby showers, reaching the less than 2 month mark, metro seats (I am sorry, my best moments are sometimes lame)

Food Cravings:

Sweets. Cereal. Fruit. good Salads.  

Food Aversions:

Still don't like meat very much.....

What I Miss:

Wine and sushi.

What I Am Looking Forward To:

Getting stuff done!! December was crazy - 3 showers, Christmas, a wedding, parties, travel.  January is my get ready for baby months!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE lists so this week I am making a huge "baby to do" list - and we are crossing items off every weekend: decorating the nursery, taking our birthing class (all day Sunday), calling my insurance company, washing and sorting her clothes (and buying anything we still need), finding a newborn photographer, etc.  I feel a bit overwhelmed with all we have left to do- but I think as we accomplish a few things each weekend, I will feel a bit more ready.  Also, as Dave says - so long as we have a few clothes and a crib, we could make do if she came early and we weren't ready. But, you know how we ladies are - I want her to come home to a decorated nursery with her clothes neatly put up!!.

Oh, I am also looking forward to LOTS of time this month with Dave before I have to share him with another little lady. Plus lots of movies and eating at restaurants. Date night every weekend haha!


AD attended her first College Football Game (yay REBELS) and celebrated her first Christmas.  

Oh, and pregnancy-wise - she is now head down (stay that way please) and some would consider her 8 months (32 weeks!)

Pregnancy Symptoms:

 Weight gain, achy hips and lower back, constant bathroom trips, lots of leg cramps - AND my newest symptom: feeling like I am bruised in my upper ribs - or like someone kicked me in ribs.  The doctor said that my body is just running out of room for my organs - which, you know, is a perfectly reasonable explanation but also made me feel like I must be as big as a cow if there is so much baby and fat in me that my kidney or gall bladder is starting to feel squished. Pregnancy is so sexy.


A sweet baby GIRL!!! 

Weight Gain:

According to the Dr's office, 19 pounds. According to my calculations, 21 pounds - but you know what, lets just go ahead and say that doctors know more than I do and call it 19!  My biggest accomplishment of the past 4 weeks is that I lost a pound between my 30 week and 32 week appointments.  It's funny the things I count as successes now....also, I am sure I will make up for it with a big ole gain at my next appointment!

Sweet baby girl, we are counting down and SO SO excited.  I keep thinking about who you will be- will you be quiet and sweet or outspoken and brave?  Prissy or a tomboy?  Athletic or artsy? Silly or serious? And, goodness, with our mixture of family genes, will you be blonde or brunette? (Also, please have hair because I really want to put bows in your hair!)    Honestly, based on who your parents are - you will *probably* be strong willed (like me) and stubborn (like daddy) -- which may get you into some trouble but would make you quite the leader!  

Also, know that you are very loved.  You were very spoiled over the past month with showers and Christmas.  I think your Bella bought you every smocked dress that Remember Nguyen had so you will be very well dressed!  Keep growing strong - and please know that we would gladly welcome you at 38 or 39 weeks, so you know, keep that in mind when deciding your birth date....