The State of Me

Hi friends, I'm sitting down this afternoon while my kids watch Charlotte's Web for the first time...isn't that the best book/movie??  I just love that they are watching this, I have such good memories of this book when I was growing up.  I'm sure I read it a dozen times.  It's cold and dreary today, which I don't mind entirely because it's a good excuse to curl up on the couch and relax.  Which is exactly what we're doing...

I'm borrowing an idea from a friend today because it seems like a great way to mark this particular season in my life.  Tomorrow is my birthday, I'm staring 34 in the face, no matter how much I want to remain 33.  Actually I made a great choice when I married an older man because no matter how old I get, I'm always his younger wife!  ha ha!  Softens the blow a bit, you know?  Anyway, I'm sitting here to write a little "state of the union" post, except that I'm writing about the state of me.  I spend a lot of time writing about my kids or Trav or what we're doing but it's been a while since I've stopped to think about what's going on with me.  I think this will be fun to look back on when I've long forgotten what's it like to be pregnant or what these days looked like with little ones underfoot.  Read a long if you'd like, but I'm writing mostly for my own self today! So here it is, life at 33 on April 23, 2014...

-Currently I'm sitting on the couch, laptop in my lap and my favorite cozy blanket, draped over me, keeping me warm. I bought it at Costco this Fall and I love it.  I wrap up with it almost every day.  

-I'm snacking on a bowl of vanilla bean ice-cream with bananas and mini chocolate chips, because it's 3pm and that's when I get hungry every afternoon.  So good. 

-I've got maternity clothes on because well, I'm very pregnant.  Almost 8 months pregnant, actually.  30 weeks on Friday.  I've got a new maternity shirt on I bought (on clearance) at Kohl's recently and some maternity jeans from H&M that my sister loaned me.  I've also got some new jewelry on, a little pre-birthday splurge from a shopping trip with my sisters.  And owl hanging on a necklace around my neck, some mint earrings and a bracelet with all the colors of spring.  They make me happy.  It's been a while since I've bought any jewelry and when you're pregnant, I think accessorizing makes up for the fact that you can't bend over to put your shoes on or fit into anything from your "old" life.  

-My back is aching, so I've got some pillows propping me up and I'm being kicked by the little guy growing in my stomach.  He's a wild man these days, I swear he's doing acrobatics in there, kicking me so hard and so often he takes my breath away sometimes.  I've had some braxton hicks lately, so I'm being careful to sit and rest after I've been out doing anything.  I took the kids to Target, which feels like climbing a mountain right now.  

-I went to Ava's preschool conference this morning with Trav.  Nothing makes you feel more grown up than sitting across from your childs' teacher, listening to her evaluation of your child.  Thankfully it was all good.  It's fun to hear what she's like in a classroom or with her friends.  Friday we go to her Kindergarten screening.  I feel like I'm aging by the minute these days. 

-I had a bowl of cereal this morning, some turkey bacon and a coffee.  I'm drinking coffee sporadically still, but I do love a cup in the morning if my stomach feels up to it.  I like Starbucks in my Keurig, sometimes with a little cream or sometimes I drink it black.  Feeling like I want to try something new these days, also like I need to clean the Keurig.  I think my coffee was a little bitter this morning.  

-My hair is growing fast, thanks to the hormones.  It's thicker right now and lately I think my highlights need to be touched up again.  I've got new life in my hair care routine for about the last year, thanks to the revolution of dry shampoo.  My friend and hairstylist told me dry shampoo would change my life and she was not kidding.  Seriously, I'm in love and totally dependent on it now.  I only have to wash my hair about 3 times a week now, which is crazy considering I used to be an everyday kind of hair-washer.  The funny thing is that I prefer my hair about a day or two after I wash it now.  It's easier to work with and it looks better.  I never would have thought I could do that, I've always had oily hair, but as it turns out, only washing a few times a week has changed it.  Perfect for being a Mommy! 

-Speaking of being a Mommy, my kids are 5, 3.5, and 29 weeks.  I have (almost) 3 kids.  Crazy! 

-My favorite Pandora station to listen to is All Sons and Daughters.  Mellow, worshipful, and beautiful.  Carter always asks for the Toby Mac channel and Ava always wants the Disney Kids channel, Trav picks Need to Breathe almost every time...we have music on a lot in our house and we all love it.    

-If we do watch TV, I love to watch NCIS Los Angeles, Blue Bloods, and Hawaii 5-0 with Trav.  Those are our shows and besides the news, it's about all I have time for.  We watch almost everything on the DVR, we rarely catch anything live anymore.  Kids shows and kids movies are on our TV the most these days.  Occasionally I watch cooking shows on Food Network or a random Design show on HGTV.  Sports are also always in the rotation, right now it's lots of NBA games or golf.  

-I'm reading a lot right now, mostly due to my pregnancy and my drastically reduced activity level.  I read almost everything on the kindle app on our ipad.  I love hard copies of books but I have to admit, I love the ability to buy a book instantly and for a cheaper price.  Trav and I are sharing lots of reads between our ipads and that's great too.  Currently I've got lots of books on motherhood, counseling, theology, and marriage.  My favorite subjects.  

-The last movie I saw in a theatre was The Muppets Movie, I don't even know the exact title, whoops!   It was a choice to make Trav and the kids happy.  It was funny and we had a good afternoon together.  I'm good if I never see it again though, ha!  

-My latest craving is to have a bowl of tomatoes, mozzarella and avocado, drizzled with a little balsamic, or some olive oil, or some champagne salad dressing.  I could eat it every single day.  It always sounds good.  

Signs of Aging: Maybe more than anything, being pregnant this time around has revealed the ways I've aged.  I'm so very tired, my body is not quite as young looking as it used to be and I'm using a lot more concealer around my eyes every morning.  Early bedtimes are a treat now and lately Trav and I have been talking a lot about our diets.  Like what we're eating and what's digesting well or not.  Seriously.  If that's not a sign of aging I don't know what is!  I recently bought Fiber cereal??!!!?? What's happening to us????

My birthday requests this year:  I've not thought a minute about this until now, or even uttered it, so I'm holding no one to this list :) I think a dinner out with Trav and some scrapbook supplies to finish Carter's baby book would thrill me most.  Also, giftcards.  I love giftcards!  We recently discussed what fun it is to have a gift card somewhere because it feels like guilt-free purchasing.  I also like to give them.

Plans for the near future:  Everything about the near future feels like it involves the baby.  Survive this pregnancy, figure out where Walker is going to sleep, get the kids as ready as we can for this transition and nest, nest, and nest some more...that feels like my future right now and I love it.  This week I have Ava's birthday party to get through.  We're all excited but I've got lists to get done and that feels like the biggest thing on my plate right now.

In the past year, I think I've gotten better at: Saying no.  Keeping my life simpler, my commitments fewer and my priorities in check.  It's been an incredibly freeing year and I've seen the Lord's hand so clearly this year.  I think maybe as I've become less busy, I've been able to see and hear from Him more.  It's marked me and changed me in the best ways.

In the next year, I want to get better at: Being patient with the kids, trusting God without anxiety, saying yes to Trav more than I say no, budgeting, deepening my prayer life.  

Some goals of mine are: To write more, to memorize more scripture, to speak the gospel into my kids and family, to take some steps toward some bigger dreams.

Guilty Pleasures: Hours alone at a coffee shop; time and money to spend at Homegoods, my favorite place these days; long dates with Travis anywhere; an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks or Dunn Bros; a day to craft with creative friends; trips home to Iowa; cooking with my Mom; snuggling in bed with my kids to watch a movie; dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt from Godiva or Lindt; jewelry from Lisa Leonard.

If I could have anything I wanted, I would choose:  A bigger place to live.  Not newer or even nicer, just bigger. More space for the kids.  More room to spread out.  Storage.  Places to entertain.  Room for our families to visit.  I think about it almost everyday.  It's my biggest burden and sometimes my hardest hurdle to get over.  But I know God is building my character and refining me because of it and that's not missed on me.
-This is the most recent picture of just me.  It's from last Friday.  I was exactly 29 weeks pregnant.  Over the weekend I was told "You look like you're ready to pop!"  and "Are you sure you aren't having twins??  You look ready to go any day!"  Yes, yes...welcome to the end of pregnancy when people say exactly what they think and the pounds just keep piling up no matter what you do.  Not glamorous, but I am thankful for the reward at the end!  And in case you're also wondering, no, we're not having twins!

-My days lately are spent at home, in my jammies if I can help it.  The kids do lots of playing, I'm getting really good at napping and we're all just finding our rhythm over here.  I'm in a very simple season, by design and due to a challenging pregnancy.  I'm not resenting it actually, I've chosen to embrace it and see it as a gift that's short lived.  Nothing wrong with slowing life down for a bit...

-The lesson I'm learning right now is to depend on Jesus for every single thing in my life...To find my contentment in Him, to look to Him for the endurance to get through a day, to find comfort in Him when I'm in pain and struggling, to trust Him with what I can't see and don't know about the future.  This is the gift of a difficult season.  While I want this pregnancy and all the limitations and pain to pass, it recently struck me that perhaps this is what the Lord wants to use to teach me to depend more on Him.  I'm self-sufficient and independent by nature, my tendency toward sin is often wrapped up in my faulty belief that I can handle something on my own or in being too busy to stop and let the Lord lead and guide me.  Having a hard time physically is actually a blessing in disguise...When I'm tempted to drown in self-pity or disappointment, I remember that He is allowing this for a reason and laying down my pride in place of His strength is better for me in the long run.  I'm taking this season day by day, sometimes hour by hour and He is faithfully seeing me through.  I'm so grateful for all of it.  And or course, the blessing of little Walker is totally worth the struggle to get him here.  

-The scripture that I go to the most right now is Galatians 3.  I've been focused, laser focused lately, on the Gospel and exactly what it means for every aspect of our life.  I've been thinking and reading and writing in journals about Jesus and the superiority of the Gospel over the law, how He fulfilled it and how we are justified because of Him, not because of our good works or intentions.  He is everything and I've spent much time preaching the Gospel over and over to myself.  I've been burdened for so many who lose sight of Jesus in the midst of trying to "live a good life" or find peace.  When Jesus is removed from the equation or when we try to add to what He's already done and who He is, we actually subtract Him all together and replace Him with a lesser thing.  Jesus plus anything ruins everything.  It's all Him and only Him.  And I can't get over how good the Gospel is and how it really informs every single area of my life.  

This is a great season in life!  Turning 34 is fine with me because I love the life God's given me and I love the people He's blessed me with.  My 30's have been the best years and I anticipate them getting better!  Life is not exactly how I expected it to be, in some ways it's a million times better and in other ways it's more challenging than I dreamed.  But God is good and faithful and I want so much for this year to be filled with more of Him and less of me!  That's the best birthday wish I could ask for.  If you've read this far, you're a trooper :)  Tomorrow turns a new page on a new year!  It feels good to close this one out with some thought about where I am and I where I hope to be.  Thanks for all of your sweet encouragement over the years you've read along with me on this blog.  I love this outlet so much and I am grateful for the friends I've made because of it!  You are part of my birthday blessings too!

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