Thursday, June 2, 2016

pregnancy love letters


To my baby:

From the moment we found out that you were a little peanut growing inside of me, we were both just thrilled. We had felt that it was about time to get our family started, and then, there you were. I almost couldn’t believe it at first, but your dad was so happy and so ready for you to be here already.

We kept you a secret for a good long while. We wanted to tell our families of your upcoming arrival in person, and I must say, I’m so glad we did. The reactions were priceless, and I can’t wait to tell you the story someday.

I’ll never forget the appointment when the doctor asked, “Do you want to know the gender?” We said yes, and right as she pulled up the ultrasound she said “Oh, look at that!” but then you moved (of course… you always love to make it difficult to get a good picture). I hadn’t seen anything, but the giant smile on your dad’s face made it pretty clear. He knew you were a boy all along, and when we got the confirmation, I noticed he was wearing a blue shirt, blue shorts… even blue socks!

You have been so easy to carry. You kept things pretty calm until about nineteen weeks when I felt your first little flutter of movement. A perfect moment. I was lying on the couch at the home where I grew up in California, and I felt you move. I didn’t tell anyone—just smiled. That moment was for me and you.

From then on you haven’t stopped! These days you love to stretch all the way out from side to side and make my belly very lopsided. You’ve had the hiccups two or three times. I think you’ll have a sweet tooth because your mom craves sweet, sweet, sweet.

I can’t believe it’s almost time for you to arrive. You are already so loved by so many. So many have been thrilled with the announcement of your coming and have showered you with kindness and generosity. You will be welcomed into the world surrounded by people who love you so much.

We will meet soon my little one, thank you for letting me carry you these nine months.


To my body:

Thank you. Thank you for letting me enjoy this pregnancy. Thank you for having the ability to carry a child; this is something that I do not take for granted. Thank you for being strong and healthy, and letting me exercise almost every day throughout these nine months.

The sleepless nights, constant fatigue, calf cramps, crazy dreams, and heartburn have all been well worth it. I have been blessed with few symptoms, and for that I am grateful. Thank you for letting me work with ease each day to keep saving up for when this baby arrives.

I always thought that I would love being pregnant, and I truly have. I have loved watching my body change and grow. I love having a pregnant belly, and knowing that there is life forming inside of me. What a miracle! What a beautiful thing! I don’t think there has been another time in my life when I have felt so naturally beautiful. Pregnancy is beautiful.

My entire life, I’ve wanted to be a mother. Thank you body, for letting me take on this amazing, challenging, and wonderful responsibility. I hope that we will be able to take this 9 month journey together again, but whatever happens, I will be eternally grateful to have had this experience.


To my husband:

All I’ve ever wanted is to be a mom. I never thought that my husband would be more excited than even I was to find out that I was pregnant. You have been so positive, so thrilled, and so optimistic these entire 9 months. I am so excited for you to have “your bud” here, and I cannot wait to see you hold him in your arms.

Thank you for the seemingly constant back and foot rubs. Thank you for getting me my water bottle when it is only 3 feet away. Thank you for letting me have the couch and falling asleep on the ground every time we watch a movie together. Thank you for putting up with my even worse-than-normal lack of decision making and for helping me research every possible item this baby could ever need.

Thank you for smiling every time you look at my belly. I have felt beautiful throughout this process—in part because you have truly made me feel beautiful. I love the way you look at me. Thank you for that. Thank you for loving me pregnant.

 I love that you love feeling our baby move. I love that you have made yourself a part of this journey, and that you’ve been there for me and baby every step of the way. I’m grateful for your calm and collected manner when things seem awry; I’m grateful for your faith that it will all work out.

You will be a wonderful dad. You have great examples of wonderful fathers, my dad and yours, and our grandpas too. At church on Sunday, a sweet woman came up to us and said, “You will be the CUTEST dad!” I have to agree. I can’t wait to see you step into your role as a father. I know you are ready. I know you are excited. I love knowing you are excited. I love you.

I can’t wait to take this next adventure with you, my love.

To my mother:

Thank you for carrying me. Thank you for patiently waiting for 9 months to bring me to the world so that one day I could do the same.

I feel a special closeness to you at this time: I am carrying my first, you carried me as your first. We will both be 25 when we labor and give birth for the first time. I am only beginning to see and understand what you have done for me, for each of your children.

Thank you for the wise answers to my endless questions. Thank you for always being just a phone call away. Thank you for listening to me while I list pros and cons of car seats, over and over. Thank you for telling me not to worry, that I can do this. Thank you for being the most wonderful example to me.

In the endless amounts of reading I’ve done while being pregnant, I read something silly about laundry and how it overtakes you. But I don’t really remember you doing laundry, I remember you being there—towel dancing, cheering at performances and games, staying up ‘til the wee hours of the night helping me finish projects, driving me to seminary, reading to me at night until I left for college, supporting and loving me every step of the way.

I could not ask for a better example of a strong and faithful mother. Thank you for that.

I love doing this, and I love that you did it for me.


To my Heavenly Father:

Thank you for trusting me to grow a little, imperfect mortal body for one of your precious, perfect spirit sons. Thank you for giving me this gift.

I have felt so close to you these past nine months, and I have called upon you for strength many times. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for giving us a plan, the Plan of Happiness, which fills me with hope, no matter what happens.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be a mother. To come to understand even more the love that you have for your children, for me. I am only beginning to understand that love, and I cannot wait to hold this child in my arms and be filled even more.

If I could have one wish, it would be that every woman who struggles with the ability to get pregnant or bear children could be healed, but I have also learned to have faith in your timing and plan.

Neill F. Marriott, a leader in our church who I admire and respect said, “Love is making space in your life for someone else...

Mothers literally make room in their bodies to nurture an unborn baby—and hopefully a place in their hearts as they raise them—but nurturing is not limited to bearing children. Eve was called a 'mother' before she had children. I believe that 'to mother' means 'to give life.' Think of the many ways you give life. It could mean giving emotional life to the hopeless or spiritual life to the doubter. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can create an emotionally healing place for the discriminated against, the rejected, and the stranger. In these tender yet powerful ways, we build the kingdom of God. Sisters, all of us came to earth with these life-giving, nurturing, maternal gifts because that is God’s plan.”

Womanhood is divine. Giving life and nurturing others in any capacity is our divine role. I have loved making space in my life for this little person who is soon to come into this world.


Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving me the divine, miraculous opportunity to create life, to become a mother, and to further your eternal plan for me.

Photography by Nikki Vickers Photography

bumpdate - 40 weeks


i am: 40 weeks - due date!!!

baby is: probably 7 pounds by now, and the size of a (small) watermelon

feeling: so excited and ready to have this baby come. anxious for him to arrive.

seeing: the clock at night. who knew these last few weeks would mean serious insomnia. also, baby stuff everywhere! we are all stocked up!

listening: beyonce's latest. birth affirmations and breathing techniques.

craving: fresh fruit and chocolate cake. i've been craving chocolate cake for weeks and i finally had to get some the other night (thanks to some leftover money on a cheesecake factory gift card, thanks spragues!). it was delicious.

reading:  the war that saved my life , between shades of gray, and the second sequel (third book? trilogy?) to ms. peregrine's home for peculiar children. all get my thumbs up.

wearing: i live in dresses, nightgowns, and mumus. loving the mumu. #mumus4life

lowlights: baby not being here already!!! having people comment on how "miserable" or "tired" i look, especially when i feel like i'm looking pretty good. pregnancy PSA: just tell pregnant ladies that they look great or beautiful or that you are excited for them—no matter what.

highlights: getting celebrated at my last day in the office, feeling baby's hiccups and stretches, having jenn in town with us for the summer!

jenn has been here with us in florida for a month now and it is just the best to have her around!
 i've been spending lots of time in the sunshine and at the pool.
 for cinco de mayo we went to this totally legit mexican place for tacos that andrew used to frequent on the mission. it was so tasty, and after we ate they were putting on this awesome little show outside. they questioned our ability to participate but luckily 2/3 of us speak spanish.



we went on a shopping spree and finally got a carseat, diapers, stroller, and a bunch of other things we still needed. we'll see if we actually need them any day now.
i wore this dress like 4 days in a row, nbd.
 so many cool pics of this preggo.
 last week was my last day of work! crazy that less than two years ago it was just scott, veronica, and i. now look at the team!
 i felt very celebrated. can't complain about that!
 bogo slurpees anyone? living it up these last few days!
 my mom pulled out a bunch of photos of when she was pregnant and first had me. isn't she beautiful? i loved looking and comparing.
 and now grandma is in town, so baby, we're ready when you are! can't believe we are at 40 weeks.
it's been a real treat.
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

babymoon


On April 9th, Andrew took one of the biggest tests of his career after studying 10-12 hours a day for six straight weeks. Killer. After the test (Step 1), we decided to celebrate his one week break between second and third year with a little "babymoon" trip to the Keys. 

We hadn't been down yet, so we decided to stay in the middle in Marathon and venture around for a few days. We ate LOTS of tasty food, tried every key lime pie available (more to come on that), explored all kinds of beautiful views, and enjoyed each other's company.

We kicked off the trip with dinner at Hobo's Cafe in Key Largo.
We decided to stay at this little hotel that was fairly inexpensive called "Captain Pips Hideaway." Sounds good, right? In our confirmation email, it mentioned that the check in area was tricky to find and gave some obscure directions including non-existent mile markers, billboards, and other randomness. Eventually after driving around in the dark and making several u-turns, we realized this green shed was the "lobby." Classic. We found our check in packet and then spent the next 30 minutes trying to find our "light tropical green" room. 

Aside from the challenge of actually finding where we were supposed to stay... our room was actually really nice! We'd definitely recommend Captain Pips!
It was quite quaint during the day.

We started the next morning with a killer breakfast at The Stuffed Pig (don't mind my ginormous plate... I ate it all) and then headed to Sombrero Beach, which was just a few minutes away from our hotel. It was a peaceful little beach, and we even saw a dolphin a little bit off the shore!



Can you see the dolphin?


Had to stop for a sno-ball!
After the beach, we drove down the rest of the way to Key West. 

We like to get a piece of art whenever we go on a trip, and we got totally conned into "buying" this work of art from Jeff. We lingered a little too long and suddenly he was writing a note to our baby in sharpie on the back of the canvas and giving it to us as a "gift." Of course we gave him a good tip and had a good laugh. 
We did a lot of walking, explored Duval Street, tried several different key lime pies, and even made it down to the Southernmost Point (where we waited 30+ minutes in line to get a picture!).
On our way back up Duval street, we popped in at the Butterfly Conservatory, and I loved it! The people in front of us were using this coupon, so I quickly pulled it up on my phone and we got the discount. It's small but with the coupon it's totally worth it. We saw tons of beautiful butterflies and birds. 




After another round of key lime pie, we headed back to Marathon and went to the Seven Mile Bridge to watch the sunset.


Can't get over those cotton candy skies!
It was perfect.
The next morning we slept in and did some relaxing in our hammock at the bungalow.

Then we packed up our bags and drove up to Key Largo to for a picnic lunch and Snorkel Tour in Pennekamp Park.
#bump
We decided to snag one of those sweet underwater disposable cameras at KMart (along with a rash guard for my very sunburn prone husband), and although most of our pictures turned out like this (LOL)... we got some good ones:

We saw a very random statue of Christ and lots of fish, including some HUGE barracudas. The water was gorgeous and warm, which was perfect for a day of snorkeling. I got some funny looks on the boat while i was trying to scoot off the edge with my big belly, but it was totally worth it. Love being a submarine for this little baby.





After our snorkel tour, we decided to have one last fancy dinner and ended up at Sundowners and got a table right on the dock. The food was delicious, the view was beautiful, and of course we ended the night with some key lime pie.



I sure love adventuring with this dude!