Labor and Delivery, Round One :)

It's been an eventful 24 hours for us, all 3 of us.  No sooner had I posted about our big  snowstorm yesterday, when I myself, ended up in the hospital because of it!  Yeah, that was not part of my plan for the afternoon.  

While I was working, and trying to get out the door for preschool pick-up, I realized that I forgot my phone in the house.  It was snowing like crazy at that point, harder and faster than I had seen in a long time.  I was covered in snow, from head to toe, just from putting Barrett in the car so when I ran in the house to grab my phone, I did what I have been trying to avoid doing for 34 weeks.  I fell.  Hard.  I hit the wood floors with my wet, snow covered shoes and my feet totally flew up in the air and I landed squarely on my tailbone and my head.  Fortunately no one witnessed my lack of grace, except for Lola (the 3 lb dog in her crate) but I had to pick myself up and get out the door because Barrett was in the car and we were going to be late picking up Finn.

The second I hit the floor, I felt that wave of panic wash over me.  I was in pain right away, but I wasn't thinking for one second about that.  My mind was racing about Ava.  I can't explain that feeling, other than to say every mothering instinct in me was raised and I immediately started worrying about my girl.  Long story short, I called my OB and after they asked me all kinds of questions, they wanted me to check in to the hospital and get monitored for awhile, just to make sure all was well with both of us.  Travis prayed with me on the phone and left work to meet me.  I managed to hold myself together up until that point, but as I was driving there and asking the Lord to please keep her safe, I totally broke down and cried.  There is no feeling like that, knowing you can't do anything to undo what happened and realizing that her days are not up to me.  Of course I was also mad at myself for being so dumb and falling.  Talk about pride coming before a fall...I always thought it was so ridiculous that so many pregnant women fall.  I was certain I had much better coordination than everyone else :) Clearly not.    

Anyway, I checked into labor and delivery triage and they hooked me up to fetal monitors and took all my vitals.  Poor Travis was on his way, but since we were in the middle of a blizzard and our biggest snowfall of the year, he was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic with everyone else trying to get home.  It was music to my ears to lie there and hear her little heart beating so strongly for over an hour.  I loved that sound.  Every time she would kick,  the monitors made the loudest sound and more peace washed over me.  I went from total stress to total relaxation.  My nurse was so sweet and she put my mind at ease so quickly.  While she was watching us, she kept asking me if I was feeling "that."  When I had no idea what she was talking about, she told me I was having contractions, 5 min apart, then 4, then 2 even.  But I couldn't feel a thing!  She checked my cervix, just to put us both at ease and assured me I was definitely not dialated.  Which is good.  We want Ava to cook a little longer in there!  Meanwhile I was texting with Travis, who was still stuck in traffic.  I felt so bad.  Sure enough, as soon as they decided they could release me, he pulled in the parking lot.  Isn't that just the way it goes?  

On the positive side, I am so thankful that we were able to get confirmation that Ava is well and I spent a good portion of my time filling out all the pre-registration paperwork for when we come back next time.  Needless to say, I am sore today and feeling lots of aches and pain from every part of me that hit the ground :) I also still feel so stupid for falling.  Who runs in the house with snow covered shoes when they're 8 months pregnant??  Oh well.  At least it's a story we can tell Ava someday...Her first trip to the hospital :) Let's all pray Travis makes in time for her next trip!!  



Well, just when I told you it was a beautiful, sunny and warm day yesterday....

We are now in the midst of good old-fashioned snowstorm.  It's falling fast and furious outside, we're expecting between 5-9 inches by the time it's done.  Oh how I loved our short lived warm streak.  Oh how I loved seeing patches of grass again.  Oh how I loved not wearing a coat.  Oh how I loved running errands.  Oh how good my hair looked without a hat on my head.  Oh how I happily put my boots away.  OH WELL.  

I will say, even though this is not what I wanted, it is gorgeous out right now and I'm wishing I were at home, in my jammies, for the rest of the day.  I will be soon though, once I get done working.  I'm so happy that I don't have to stop at the grocery store or go anywhere tonight. Oh how I love the weeks that I'm organized :)  Ryley will LOVE running and playing in this when Travis gets home!  And speaking of Travis, he is at work right now, also loving this abundance of snow.  His junior high winter retreat is this weekend...what great timing for that.  The kids will have tons to play in up north!  I guess there is something magical about snow, even when you don't want it. 

I'm claiming mind over matter today and I'm determined to have a great Thursday anyway!  However, if you live anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line, and your weather is above 50 degrees today, I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!!!  

I love Minnesota, I love winter, I love Minnesota, I love winter,  I love Minnesota, I love winter, I love Minnesota, I hate winter....Whoops!!  That one slipped out :) 


It's a Wild, Wild World

***UPDATE!!*** PRINCE CHARMING HAS SPOKEN!!  For those of you who are curious, yes MckMama has been notified of my celebrity sighting today and I just received a comment from none other than himself, "Prince Charming!!"  Isn't that fun?  I would like to state that from now on, if I ever spot a fellow blogger, I will make sure to say hi and if I'm feeling good about my hair, I'll even ask for a picture!!  Thank you PC for making me feel less like a stalker and more like a blog friend :) I wonder what Travis would do if one of you spotted him someday??  

There are some very exciting and quite random things going on in my world today....

*I got an email from the sharpie people today, unveiling their brand new sharpie..."the stainless steel."  Be still my beating heart.  "Why do you get emails from the sharpie people", you might be wondering?  Because my friend Alyce, who is aware of my love for sharpies, hooked me up with some coupons and put me on their mailing list.  Much, much love Alyce!

*I just finished my lunch, which included a return to my old stand-by, the Spaghetti o's.  I do happen to have a fridge full of food, including leftovers from a roast I made, but for some reason those darn spaghetti o's sounded so good again.  Maybe I'm morphing back into my early pregnancy cravings?   I also finished it off with a salad and some Olive Garden salad dressing, courtesy of my brother-in-law.  Not to worry though.  My Mom will be here this weekend and she will shame me out of eating those "nasty" spaghetti o's!  I have to be careful or she might throw them out when I'm not looking :) 

*I am laying low today because I am fighting a bad cold and trying to keep it from becoming more than that.  I just returned from the doctor and thankfully my rapid strep test was negative, but I still feel crummy.  So, I'm doing a lot from my bed this afternoon.  Sore throat, stuffy ears, runny's all such a bummer, but at least it's not strep!

*Speaking of Target, the wildest thing about my day today is that I had a celebrity sighting while I was leaving the parking lot.  That's right people, I spotted Prince Charming and MckNugget, of MckMama's world!!!  If you don't follow her blog, you should.  She's really funny and so talented.  I have emailed her before, after a spotting of her entire family at our church, so I knew she lived somewhat close to me.  NOW however, I know that she's closer than I thought!  We shop at the same Target for crying out loud!  Of course while I was dying to say hi, as we were both headed back to our vehicles, I realized that I could not say hello because the only thing I know him as is "Prince Charming" and his son "MckNugget."  How exactly does one tactfully say, "Hi! I know you, you're Prince Charming, from the internet!" without sounding like a crazy stalker??  Trust me, I was tempted.  But I couldn't find the courage to do it.  I wonder what I'll do if I actually spot MckMama one day??  If this is any indication, I'll probably be hiding in an aisle somewhere :)  It was wildly exciting for me however!  For 5 minutes I grinned while I drove slowly past his big red truck....seriously, that does sound stalker-ish, doesn't it??  If It makes you feel better, I called Travis and texted my cousin Jenny to tell them about it.  Oh the life I lead. 

*Is it just me, or are you totally irritated by the negative backlash towards my favorite idol contestant, Danny??  Yes, he's the worship Pastor who lost his wife 7 months ago.  He's very, very talented and has made it into the top 12, but now people are giving him grief for "using" his wife's death to gain votes.  Are you kidding me???  As if he wanted to lose his wife?  As if it is somehow possible to never mention it or be affected  by it when it was only 7 months ago???  I can't stand to hear that.  Let the poor guy be who he is.  His life will forever be altered by her death, whether people like that or not.  Frankly, unless you've been through the death of a spouse, I don't think you have any right to criticize someone who has.  There are some incredibly bitter and heartless people out there....

*On a happier note, I am up to my eyeballs in Amish Friendship Bread over here!  Do you all know what I'm talking about??  The famous "chain letter" of baking?  I have had so many of these things over the years, but it's been awhile since I've participated.  Well 2 weeks ago, someone gave us a starter and now we've been roped back in.  In case you don't know what I'm talking about, you receive a starter bag of batter that you let sit on your countertop for 10 days, only adding a few ingredients here and there, until it's time to divide it again and bake it.  At that point, you bake several loaves for yourself and then pass out the starter bags and recipes to your friends, so they can do it too.   It's a lovely concept.  The bread is to die for, so rich and sinfully good!  But, it's a hassle to keep those darn bags and hand them out.  So, we have been nursing 3 starter bags for the last 10 days, because we were too lazy to get rid of them in time.  Last night was our night of reckoning and we baked 10, yes TEN, loaves of bread!!  It smells heavenly in our house and we both had generous amounts for breakfast this morning, but I am DONE with the amish bread!  I am handing those bags out to my neighbors and then throwing anything left over.  I can't commit 10 more days to those things and neither can my hips :) 

*It's such a beautiful day outside today.  It's sunny and like 38...Perfect for an afternoon nap :)  Thanks for all your fun comments on my pineapple post!  These are wild days for the Armstrongs, aren't they?  Hope you have a great Wednesday!!  I plan on napping mine away.


4 Pounds of Life and One Crazy Woman

My girl is a tropical fruit this week!  At 33 weeks she is now over 4 lbs and 17 inches long.  We are getting ready people!!  She is about the same weight as a pineapple :)  I love pineapple!  I did do a double take in the grocery store yesterday however, when I passed the pineapple display and stared intently at the size of each of them.  I have to remind myself to take a deep breath...somehow I will get that baby out like millions of other women...right??  I think it might be the prickly little things and the top of the pineapple that made me almost pass out.  Praise the Lord she won't be coming out prickly!!  
I had to pull out the skirts on Sunday this week...I no longer fit into any of my maternity pants, except for 2 pairs of jeans, which are also getting tight, especially to wear to church.  It's a sad day when your collection of clothes "for when I'm really huge" no longer fits.  How did I get there so quickly??  My outfit of choice these days is a stretchy cotton top and yoga pants.  I'd be in that all day everyday, that is if I actually get dressed!  Pj's are working just fine for me too :) We did have to make an emergency run to Target on Saturday night for some kind of nylons to wear (it's winter here people, bare skin is not going work).  They don't carry maternity nylons (0f course) so I had to do the next best thing...thigh highs.  Oh yeah, you can imagine how fun those were!  Let's just say they lost any kind of "appeal" after I put them on :) I could not bring myself to buy the xxl-queen plus size in regular control-top nylons.  It seemed to be a little too degrading to my very fragile self-esteem right now.  Speaking of self esteem, I'm not even going to mention the "stretching phenomena" that has NOT occurred on my stomach yet, for fear that if I do, I will certainly wake up with them tomorrow!  Let me just say that I am slathering my stomach with so much lotion lately, I am about as slippery as an eel :)  Please Lord, have mercy....
Here is a great look at my juicy little pineapple!  For the first time, I now see the "basketball" that I am carrying!  This particular outfit showed my profile quite well and both Travis and I got an ear full at Church about how big I am now getting.  Ava is definitely filling me out and taking  up every inch in my ever-expanding stomach.  My cousin Jenny's little guy Ryan, who is in 1st grade, told his Mom that it looked like I swallowed a beach ball!  I hear you Ryan, I hear you.  When, oh when, will this be over Lord Jesus??

The following photo may cause shock to one's system due to the glaring paleness of the skin being shown and the sheer size of the girl in the photo.  I do now know why I am sharing this with you.  Proceed with caution.
Both Travis and I have a massive case of winter-itis and we are dying over the fact that we cannot escape this year to someplace warm.  So, like a woman who has lost her mind, I sucked up all my pride and decided to participate in our volunteer appreciation night on Sunday, at a local indoor water park.  We, along with 800 of our closest volunteers at Church, went to the Waterpark of America for 2 hours of "fun" in a fake tropical atmosphere, simply because we all need a break from reality!!  I thought a few months ago that I was going to escape this pregnancy without ever having to put on a maternity swimming suit...and then my husband came home and informed me about this night.  I had no intentions of going, but at the last minute decided I needed to escape too and trick my mind into believing we were someplace warm!  A couple of runs through the lazy river and a game of HORSE in the pool was all I needed :) It felt great to float my big stomach in that water and to feel semi-weightless for awhile.  Plus, I beat Travis at HORSE, which made this preggo feel good :) 

I don't think I've told you but I keep having these recurring dreams that I am back at my high school, 8 months pregnant, and trying to play with the varsity basketball and volleyball team.  No one will believe me when I tell them I can still play, so of course I'm on a mission to prove to everyone that I haven' t lost my skills, even though I'm pregnant!!  Can you spell P-R-I-D-E?? I know, something is wrong with me :) Anyway, it was a fun night and I've already asked God to erase any mental image that any person I know has of me in a bathing suit.  I believe He's going to do it....
On a totally different and much less scary note, I somehow forgot to mention that the family I nanny for got a new little puppy a few weeks ago...isn't she the cutest thing? Her name is Lola and she is just a little fluff of fur. She's a cross between a Bishon and Shit-zu (no idea how to spell that, I basically just sounded it out!), she's a Shishon :)
The boys just love her and so do the rest of us :) She's kind of like a little stuffed animal and she loves to cuddle and kind of dog right now!  I pick her up and hold her like a baby...wonder why???  Until Ava gets here, Lola's my excuse for a little cuddle practice :) 


He Saw Me

Happy Friday!  It's snowing outside right now and I am sitting on our bed, contemplating what my plans for the evening will be.  Since I haven't showered and it looks cold out, whatever those plans end up being, they won't involve leaving the house!  Ryley and I are probably looking at a night of watching movies or finding a great book to read.  We both could use a bath, but one of us is more high-maintenance than the other!  I'll give you a hint, it isn't me...I think I'll wait to bathe Ryley until I have Travis' help.  I can handle my own bath :) 

My husband is gone tonight (after being gone all day-not that I'm bitter) doing a great thing with his small group of JH boys.  Today he volunteered at one of the metro middle schools, which he does often actually, but he forgot about it until this morning, when he happened to read an email.  There went our casual Friday together...He helped a group of students who were learning how to ski at a local place.  If you know him at all, that is the PERFECT activity for him!  He loves to ski, and is a natural at it of course, and he loves junior high students.  He said he spent most of his time helping kids figure out their equipment and survive ski school!  I know he loved it and the Lord blessed him when he went to the chalet to get lunch, a Mom recognized him from church and bought his lunch...I always love little reminders like that from the Lord....He knows our every need and provides in the neatest ways.  Tonight he is in downtown Minneapolis with his group of 8th grade boys.  They are serving dinner to homeless people and loving them like Jesus would.  I wished I could have gone with them, but they were going to be doing a lot of walking and standing, in the cold and falling snow....not a great idea for this preggo.  

Speaking of junior high boys, I want to share one of those moments that makes me remember why we are in full-time ministry.  Last night, he got the sweetest email from a boy who has had such a difficult life.  He's seen more heartache than any kid should and God has brought him to Trav for "such a time as this."  He thanked Travis for being "like a Dad" to him, which brought tears to my eyes and melted Travis' heart.  This kid's Dad died when he was young and most of the men in his life since then have left.  It was so sweet to us because it makes all the long hours, sacrifices, and hard days worth it.  God will use every part of your life for His glory if you'll let Him.  Some hard things that Travis went through as a kid were part of the plan the Lord had for him today.  He is able to relate to kids, especially those with similar backgrounds, so much better than someone who hasn't walked through hard times.  I love my husband for many reasons but I admire him even more.  He does such an incredible job of investing in kids and making them feel loved and accepted.  That makes me cry for Ava, because she's going to LOVE her Daddy and that makes me sad for all the times I feel so selfish for wanting to keep him home with me, when I know there are kids, like this particular boy, who need him.  That is one of the hardest things about being married to a Pastor.  Lots of lonely days and nights, that can make you feel resentful if you're not careful.  

It's not always easy to be the one at home, holding down the fort :) Sometimes I hate that I get stuck with the "business" of running our home and our life, while he's out doing ministry and spending time with people...but a few years ago, when I was really struggling with accepting our very non-traditional lifestyle and losing the battle at becoming bitter, the Lord showed me very clearly that I had a role too.  He helped me realize that He saw me.  He saw the time I put in opening the mail and paying the bills.  He saw the hours I spent cleaning the bathrooms, planning the menus, hauling groceries, and doing the taxes.  He saw the nights I spent alone, the weeks I worked more hours, and the Sundays I drove to and from church by myself.  He saw it and He validated it.  He helped me see how those little things that I do, and sadly, not always with a pure heart, help free up my husband to give more of His time to what the Lord has called US to.  My behind the scenes, mundane, insignificant "stuff" mattered.   Don't get me wrong, Travis told me I mattered and He appreciated what I did too, but he honestly didn't know half of what I really did at home.  And soon I realized, I didn't really know half of what he did at work either.  His ministry life was not as glamorous as I thought it was and there are things that he faced and burdens he carried that I am glad I knew nothing about.  

And so I learned a very valuable lesson.  The grass is not always greener on the other side.  Travis' call to ministry is very public and when I decided to marry him, my first call was to support him in that.  I don't resent it and I don't hate it (most of the time).  The Lord has blessed me tremendously by giving me a mind for organization and a love for all things "home."  In our marriage, the way that I can help Travis the most, is to take care of things at home.  I have learned to embrace this as best I can and to even enjoy it!  So although I'd rather be out with Travis tonight, I'm ok with being at home, candles lit and the bills paid :)  Ryley and I will probably watch a movie in our jammies (well, just me in jammies) and maybe I'll make some cookies.  I'm happy that 10 boys are getting my husband's full time attention tonight and a memory of service and outreach that they probably won't ever forget.  I know that not everyone gets to share their husband for ministry reasons, it would be much harder for me to accept his time away from home if I knew he was in a bar somewhere....but I'm so glad and thankful that he'll come home fulfilled tonight and I'll get share in the blessing of that.  

I hope you know that whatever the Lord has called you to do in this season of life, He sees you doing it and He will reward your faithfulness.  I have a feeling I have another lesson in this area coming, especially when I'm going to be home with Ava and most likely feeling like a single parent, but it always calms my heart to know that I'm not un-noticed in His eyes.  Every act of obedience is significant to the Lord.  Even when it involves dusting, laundry, mail, or vacuuming.  

Hope you enjoy your Friday night tonight, no matter how unglamorous it may seem :) 


32 Weeks Under My Belt, Literally...

Ava Page is the size of a jicama now (like I know what that is??).  She weighs about 3.75 lbs and is 16.75" long.  

I am happy to report that we are now in the middle of our 32nd week already!!  Yesterday I went to the doctor and all seems to be well with Miss Ava :) She is getting so active and starting to really kick me in tender places, like my ribs for example.  The other day I was reading in a chair in our room, and all of the sudden I felt this sharp pain on my right side.  I reached down and I swear I could grab the heal of her little foot!  It was so crazy...I tried to hold it, but she moved it and then kicked me all down my right side, that little stinker!  I am getting so excited for her to be here.  It seems so close now, I know these next 7 1/2 weeks will go very quickly...until the end.  That last week will probably be the longest of my life, right??  

I am making lots of progress now on her nursery.  We just got pictures last night of her crib from Trav's uncle Ron.  I am soooo in love with it!!  It's just gorgeous and better than I imagined when we designed it.  It's all built now and will be painted/sealed in a week or so, then it will be shipped here!!  I can't wait.  I will share some pictures soon, but I'm waiting for the finished product to show you.  Today I am headed out to choose some fabric for her glider.  I'm hoping to find something and buy it so I can drop the cushions off tonight with the sweet gal who is re-covering them.  We are hoping to get her changing table here this weekend.  It's all ready for us to pick up, we just have to use a bigger vehicle to get it in.  I LOVE it and know it's going to look great in there.  We are still hoping to find an area rug and some kind of closet system to maximize the space in there.  I also have high hopes of finding some artwork and accessories for the room, but that can wait a little's so fun to get to this point!!  I am longing for the day when her nursery is done and I'm rocking with her in my arms....


One Last Hurrah...

I know you're all wondering what we did for our big surprise weekend??  Well, after we had breakfast at home ( see pictures at the bottom of this post), I surprised Travis with a couples massage at a great spa that neither of us had ever been to.  It was amazing and we both LOVED it!!  I knew he would be thrilled with that because my man likes a good massage and these were the best we've ever had :) After that, we went to see an afternoon movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic- a perfect romantic comedy for Valentines' Day, right??  It was actually really cute and we both laughed through the whole thing.  It was the only movie that fit our "window of time" but we were pleasantly surprised with it.   Yes, even my husband agreed.  After that, we drove here....
...Downtown Minneapolis, and we checked in here...
...The Hotel Minneapolis!  We've done that several times now, but we've never stayed here.  This hotel just opened in August and it was quite fun...very swanky and retro :)  It's so nice to live by a big city and escape the suburbs every now and then...somehow it feels like you're far away when really you aren't.  
We had reservations at Zelo, a GREAT restaurant we had never been to before.  Travis and I both loved it, we both ate ourselves silly and then ordered some dessert to go! 
We laughed when we sat down because our waiter asked us if the white napkins would be acceptable and the blue goblets tonight?  Apparently we could have refused and asked for black napkins.  Not really sure why that was an option....something about a concern over lint from the white napkins??  We were quite happy to stick with what was on the table, we aren't very hard to please :) 
Happy Valentine's Day to us...Next year we imagine will be quite different!!  
Enjoying a little coffee break in the lounge of our hotel...I was totally wiped out from the small amount of walking we did after dinner! 
One of the hotel employees saw us taking pictures and she came over and offered to take one for us...very sweet of her.  
She told us this is a popular spot for wedding parties to pose in front of because the lights change constantly behind this waterfall.  It was gorgeous, but I'm wishing she would have cut us off from the neck down!!  My shirt looks like a tent...
Before we left, another employee was telling us about the renovation they went under to transform from a bank to a can tell because there was marble and coffered ceilings and huge pillars everywhere AND much to my delight, they left one of the huge vaults open...
So of course I made Travis pose!  And because he's such a wonderful husband who knows I will want that shot for my blog and our scrapbook, he happily played along :) Gotta love him...

In honor of the big day, I made us heart-shaped french toast, with some strawberries and whipped creme for dipping, and tropical smoothies...I'm kind of hungry just looking at these pictures again!
As you can see, the beautiful orchids Travis brought home for me, provided the perfect centerpiece :)  What a great husband I have and what a fun weekend we were able to spend together.  We don't always celebrate days like this, but in honor of our fleeting time together, before Ava gets added to the mix, I am so grateful we had the chance to do something out of the ordinary together.  I LOVE my valentine and always will.  


A Weekend of Love!!

Ok, so I have officially been referring to this weekend with Travis as "our weekend of love!"  It was supposed to begin this morning, but it started early when Trav walked in late last night, after a meeting at Church, with a GORGEOUS bouquet of flowers for me.  Ohh how I love him.  I will not be blogging until we get home, but when I do I will show you pictures of my flowers and some from our adventures this weekend.  Yes, you caught that...secret number one, we are spending the day and night "out," away from home!!  Ryley has his favorite babysitter coming tonight to stay with him, so we're all happy over here!    

I did want to quickly update you about the young Pastor and his wife that I asked you to pray for earlier this week.  I got an email from my friends, who know them, last night with a great update about Anna's progress.  I'm going to copy a few lines from that email below:

...Anna is experiencing what is being called a dramatic turnaround!!  The clot in her lung is decreased rapidly and her breathing difficulties and chest pain are decreasing rapidly as well. The clot in her arm is about the same, but has not moved. Further tests for more clots were done and have all come back negative.

As a result of this turnaround, she has been moved out of the ICU and into an OB wing of the hospital. They are going to try and wean her off of the IV Heparin in favor of injectable Heparin. If she does well on the injectable version, she will be released to home in a week or so with obvious restrictions.

Apparently, this young woman in Indiana has been surrounded in prayer from near and far. We know of the prayers from Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota..but just heard of others. Her mother's church had some people visiting from Nigeria and heard of Anna’s difficulties. They took the prayers back to their people in Nigeria…and the circle increases.

Anna is due at the end of May. The plans until today were to take the baby April 1, about 2 months early, at the NICU. Due to the recent dramatic turn around, those plans are now on hold and she will be evaluated on a continuing basis.

As you can imagine, she is not out of the woods yet, but she is doing much better.  The original prognosis was very, very grave but clearly the Lord has been moved by the prayers of his people and He has granted them grace and some healing.  Thank you for praying with me...I shared before that I personally don't know this couple, but I know if it were Travis and I going through this, I would covet every prayer from everyone and everywhere.  This story makes me so grateful that we are healthy and able to be out celebrating our marriage this weekend.    

Have a wonderful Valentines Day!!!  We will be!! 


Date Night at The Target Center

So we went to the Timberwolves game last night and got to watch it from a great suite with this view :) 
And these are the people we watched the game with.  A bunch of area youth pastors and their spouses.  Can't you just tell??  Everyone seemed to have the youth pastor "look"!  Someone tell me how the preggo girl got stuck standing on a seat in the back??  I was sure I might fall at any second.  I think I was squeezing Trav's leg with all my might!! 
And just because I love him, here's the cute guy whose job brings us lots of fun "perks."
If it seems like I am "glowing" it's because I am.  Not because of pregnancy bliss but because I felt like it was 100 degrees in that suite!  I knew we had a problem when we arrived and I began sweating within minutes.  I mean s-w-e-a-t-i-n-g, as in dripping.  That seems to be my latest problem these days.  I have abandoned all my coats and find myself dressing layers so I can shed them as the day goes.  Travis says I'm like an oven, radiating heat for all three of us!  He's right.  I am always hot and last night was no exception.  That turtleneck was only a tissue weight tee, but it was NOT a good idea!!
And what would a professional sporting event be, without a bunch of girls wearing almost nothing and dancing to crowds of cheering men with beers??  Not the dream I have for my daughter.  

And that is just one of the reasons why I love college sports more than professional sports.  The game was fun, the Timberwolves were ahead the whole time and gave it away in the last 7 minutes.  Classic.  We enjoyed ourselves but I think I paid a big price from all the walking we had to do from the arena to the parking garage.  I was in terrible pain last night and hardly slept.  Today I've spend most of the day at home, resting and cat napping.  We are sort of spoiled now.  I don't think I'd ever want to see a game unless I was in a suite again :)  It's awfully nice to have servers, private (clean) bathrooms, and comfortable seats with a great view!  How can I ever mingle with the "commoners" again??  Just kidding!  We did realize that Ava has now officially been to 2 professional sporting events.  We went to a pre-season Vikings game when I was barely preggo and now the Timberwolves.  We just need to hit the Twins and we'll be three for three in Minneapolis!   

On a totally unrelated note, I have been working on some valentines day stuff today and I'm totally excited about it!!  I really love surprises and they just kill my husband!  He begs me for more details everyday but so far I've been able to keep my mouth shut :) What about you??  What are you doing for valentines day?  And have you ever pulled off a great surprise for someone??  Do tell....  


Drizzly Day

Well it's a rainy, cloudy day here today and I am passing the time the best way that I know how.  I'm sitting in Caribou with a white hot chocolate and a piece of cinnamon coffee cake :)  I am consuming more calories than I should be, but it just sounded nice on this drizzly day.  It's kind of amazing that we're getting rain actually.  Usually it's way too cold for rain, so this is really a treat!  While we were in bed last night, the rain was pelting the windows and both Travis and I agreed that we would love to hear a great thunderstorm.  Rain seems like such a spring thing, so everyone here is kind of giddy that we're being covered in it!  

Anyway, I brought my laptop with me, so I thought I'd share the pictures today that I couldn't yesterday... but before you comment on the following things, I need to know if you are able to view the new background I put on my blog this morning??  It comes up every time on my laptop, but when I looked at it on Trav's computer, there was no background.  It was just white.  Will let me know if you can see it??  It's lime green and pink.  I'm hoping there isn't some kind of technical glitch that I'm not smart enough to fix...  

Travis and I have such a fun date night tonight!  He won tickets from a guy who has a ministry in the twin cities that connects local area youth pastors.  Every now and then he sends out an email offering tickets to some event for youth pastors and their spouses.  It's always a lottery to see who gets them and this week it was us!  We won tickets to watch the Timberwolves game in a suite that they have reserved.  So, although we could not care less about the Timberwolves, we are totally stoked for a free night, in a free suite, with some free food!!  The T-wolves are historically terrible, but they've actually had a winning streak lately and have turned things around under their latest coaching move.  We did laugh last night however, when we saw on the news that the T-wolves best player just got hurt and is out indefinitely.  There go our hopes for a good game!  Oh well.  We are looking forward to it anyway :) 

Here is my 31 week all its' glory.  Do you think I'm carrying her low?  That's all I heard this weekend, how low she is.  It would explain all my pelvic pain and now the increasing pressure on my tailbone.  I'm still so shocked at my ever-growing profile, it's hard to get past the size of my stomach to notice anything else!!   
What do you think about this lamp I found??  Isn't it the cutest thing?  I found it at my favorite place, Homegoods, and I thought it would be perfect in Ava's room.  I put a lightbulb in it last night and turned it on...Kind of made me want to read a book in the glider!  
Here is miss Ava's first winter vest!  On our way to the retreat, we stopped for a little shopping (of course) and we stumbled upon a big sale at REI.  Every little minnesota baby needs a vest and a cute gloves/hat combo :)  This will be perfect for her next winter.  
I also picked up this great fleece body suit for the same reason.  It will be a good warm/lightweight option for the car seat and it was marked down to a great price!  I love the little tassel on the hood :) 
This is where I went for my big scrapbook weekend, a cabin up north called "Raspberry Ridge."
Here was my work station for the weekend, after I cleaned it up!  It never looked like this :) 
I was there with 14 other women and we each had a table in the workroom downstairs.
I sat next to my cousin Jenny :)  We shared snacks and laughed at each other all weekend!  
And this was our view, our friends Sally and Melanie :)  It was such a fun weekend.  I got a lot done, although I didn't get quite as much done as I'd hoped.  I'm still half-way through 2008, but I think I can wrap it up in the next month and start 2009 before Ava gets here...on second thought, I'm not holding my breath...


Misc. Monday!

***Updated*** Can you pray with me for an urgent request involving a young Pastor and his wife?  I just learned of them through a friend, Matt and Anna, are their names.  They are expecting their 2nd child and just found out that Anna has life-threatening blood clots in her lung and arm.  She is in critical condition and only 5 months along.  It's a very serious situation for both her and the baby, and it may result in some very difficult decisions.  Will you join me and pray for them?  They have one other child as well.  I don't know all the details, but I do know enough to know that they are facing a medical crisis and are in desperate need of prayers on their behalf.  Will you pray for them before you read this post??  Thank you!

I'm home from a great weekend!!  Scrapbooking was lots of fun and just what I needed.  I am having problems getting my pictures up on blogger today, so I'm proceeding without them for now.  I'll try again later.  I did not get sick and I even slept really well while I was there!!!  It was great to get away for a couple of days and just do something that I love, without the distractions of laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. :)   Who doesn't love a little escape from reality every now and then??

Anyway, on to my list of random Monday thoughts...

1.  It's warm here!!  When I say warm, I mean above freezing.  At this very minute, it is 37 outside!  That's like paradise in February.  It makes me long for Spring, but I have to remember that we aren't out of the woods yet.  Last year it snowed in May.  And I'm not kidding. 

2.  While I was gone this weekend, Travis did something that I absolutely love.  He shopped and purchased an outfit for Ava to wear home from the hospital.  By himself!  Don't you know I wished I could have been a fly on the wall in Baby Gap??  And what he chose is so sweet.  I love it.  I was dying all weekend to know what he was going to get, but he wouldn't tell me over the phone :)  I can't show you now, but I will be thrilled to show you when she's wearing it!  I will also be thrilled to tell her someday that her daddy picked that out just for her.  And she will forever think that is special.  How do I know that?  Because that's exactly what my Dad did for me and now that I'm watching my husband do it for our daughter, it makes me want to cry and it makes me love my Dad more.  It's almost more than this emotional preggo girl can take...

3.  Speaking of being preggo, I am now 31 weeks.  I have officially had a few rounds of braxton hicks contractions, which is totally surreal.  So far they are nothing more than a few moments long and very random, so nothing to worry about, but they do kind of freak me out a little bit.  Not because they hurt but because I still can't believe I'm pregnant some days!  I don't know why I think that.  I'm doing all kinds of stupid things, I dissolve into tears very easily, and I am bursting out of my clothes.  This third trimester is all kinds of fun so far.  

4.  I am totally not in the mood to cook dinner tonight.  I have a pound of hamburger that I thawed this morning, but no inspiration to do anything with it.  I think in all my "domesticity" lately, I may have burned myself out on cooking.  That and I absolutely ate WAY TOO MUCH FOOD this weekend.  Seriously, it was pure indulgence.  And not in a satifsfying/deserving kind of way.  I'm feeling the need to fast just to recover.  

5.  I need to vacuum in a big way right now.  I'm sitting in my living room and I can see tufts of Ryley's hair all over the place.  The only problem is that I don't want to.  I have managed to get two loads of laundry done and the dishwasher loaded, but I need to up my productivity and get my act together this afternoon.  

6.  I spent some much needed time just reading the word and reflecting this morning.  I really needed that.  Did I mention I am a bit of an emotional wreck these days?  I had a total meltdown with Travis last night and this morning, over nothing, but involving everything.  I have some big things brewing in my head that I just needed to see in light of truth.  We are walking through the book of James in church right now, verse by verse and sometimes word by word.  It's been so good for me.  I listened to the sermon I missed yesterday and just like the Lord, He answered me so clearly through it and through His word.  I feel a little bit like I'm in a battlefield of the mind these days.  So much anxiety and worry can well up in me so quickly.  I have to force myself to quiet my mind and seek the Lord in every part of my day.  He is so faithful to bring truth to my mind and calm me...but somedays it takes me so long to remember that.  I feel refreshed from being reminded that He is not absent, but very active in my life right now... Just asking Him to help me make these times with Him a priority everyday.  

7.  We had a package delivered this weekend from Babies 'R Us.  It was full of some great things for the baby and from our registry.  Thanks Cherie for blessing us!  What a great surprise!  

8.  I loved the office last week!  I am totally hoping that they draw Holly back in the story line somehow.  She and Michael were the source of many laughs and I have missed her on the show.

9.  I'm excited about Valentine's Day this week.  Travis and I are celebrating on Friday, with a day that I've planned and that he knows nothing about.  It's killing him to not know, but I love to surprise him and I think he's going to love all that we're doing.  We haven't always made a big deal out of this day, but I think we need to this year.  It's already happening, our lives are beginning to revolve around this baby and she's not even here yet!  Obviously she's going to change so much of what we're used to, but I want to be so careful that "we" don't get lost in the shuffle.  I have been tender to that in the last few days....feeling like he needs my attention and a day for us not to be all about Ava :)  So this year we're going big for Valentines Day!  

10.  It's almost 2:00pm and I haven't showered yet.  Time to be done with misc. Monday....

Have a great day!!!


In a Cabin Up North.....

Happy Friday to me!!!  I am off tomorrow morning for the whole weekend, to spend some time with the girls, scrappin' it up!  I have been waiting to tell you about my big scrapbook retreat until it was closer, and now I'm running around my house like a crazy woman trying to get packed :)  I am SOOOO excited to get away and to spend 3 days catching up in my scrapbooks.  I have been so behind this year, but I've spent lots of my downtime in the last few weeks, trying to catch up and printing pictures like crazy.  I am now only 1 year behind :)  But, after this weekend, I hope to be caught up or at least closer!  

I used to scrapbook so regularly, but this last year I've really "fallen off the wagon."  It all started one year ago, when I went to another scrapbook retreat and got sick (like throwing up every 30 minutes) within the first 6 hours of being there!  Travis had to drive there to pick me up and bring me home because I was so sick...and the retreat was in Wisconsin!!  Here's hoping I do not repeat that scenario again.  It sort of soured me on scrapbooking for awhile :)  Anyway, I'm certain this will be a fun weekend and a great time to hang with some friends and relax.  I will most likely not be blogging this weekend, although I may surprise you!  

Travis and Ryley will be having a boys weekend while I'm gone...pray for them!  Although, they aren't being deserted, I've gone to great lengths to fill up our fridge and cupboards with lots of food and meals for them to survive on.  And, as I type this, the timer is beeping on some cookies I made for them.  So, I better run so I can get to bed soon.  

Hope you have a great weekend too!!  I'll share some pictures with you when I get back :) 


A Lazy Post

Tonight I am taking the easy way out and copying my list of "25  Random Things About Me."  This little game has been making the rounds like crazy on Facebook and I finally gave it and decided to do it!  

We are home tonight, watching Idol and LOVING the drama by the way!  But, I am soooo tired.  Today I took Barrett to Toddler Tuesday at Mall of America and we participated in "Breakfast with the Backyardigans."  It was totally cute, but there were hundreds of moms/toddlers there (in addition to the Backyardigans) and I was too stressed and tired to whip my camera out!  It was kind of a mad house.  Anyway, going to Mall of America at this point in my pregnancy is probably not a great idea...we walked and walked and walked until I wanted to cry!  I'll take the exercise but I hate the snail's pace at which I now move.  Couple that with a trip to Wal-Mart and Target this afternoon and now you can picture me with my feet up and no plan to move off the couch!  

But I digress....Ok, 25 Things....Enjoy!

1. I am a firstborn and have all typical qualities of a firstborn. (No comments necessary from my sisters)

2. I have lived in 5 states in my 28 (almost 29) years! Iowa, California, Florida, North Carolina and Minnesota. Lots of adventures and memories in each place, but I will always be an Iowa girl at heart!

3. ESPN the Magazine is my favorite magazine. I know, what a lucky husband I have!! I LOVE it because I think it's very well written; I love sports; I especially love reading about the stories behind the athletes. I read it cover to cover when it comes in the mail!

4. I LOVE to scrapbook, but I don't do it as often as I used to. It's good for me to get my creative juices flowing and expressed in that way. And my husband loves that we have so many memories preserved from our almost 6 years of marriage!

5. My senior year of college was one of the most transformational years of my life. God got a hold of my heart in a big way through a series of deaths and some painful relationships. Although it was the hardest year of my life, it was totally worth it. I was so broken and at the end of myself...the Lord did a mighty thing in my heart and pulled me out of that pit.

6. Shortly after, I met the greatest gift God has ever given me. Travis was and is my favorite blessing and my best friend. I could not imagine life without him. He is everything I'm not. Patient, sweet, funny, loving and very, very kind. Nothing makes me love him more though, than to see how much he loves Jesus and has been changed by Him. He is the man I prayed for, and then some.

7. I have a total obsession with Ultra Fine Line Sharpies. I write almost exclusively with sharpies and I ask for the multi-pack every year in my stocking!! They bring me so much joy, it's scary.

8. I am extremely wordy and long-winded in my writing. So much so that I feel the need to elaborate on that sentence...but I will move on :)

9. I loved sports and played many "back in the day." Volleyball was my favorite, Basketball brought me the most success, and golf was my sentimental favorite (my Dad was our coach). Although I played softball too, I never really liked it. Oh how I long to be in the same shape now that I was then!

10. Although I love sports still, I hate to exercise. HATE IT. I especially HATE to run and I am married to a man who LOVES it!! Put a ball in my hands and I'll play all day, but to run for the sake of running??? NO WAY!!

11. I have a love in my heart for Target. It calms me to walk in the doors and stroll the aisles with my red cart. And a starbucks.

12. I haven't had any real coffee since I've been pregnant and I'm DYING without it!! Decaf just doesn't cut it. Unfortunately, with breast feeding in my future, it will be awhile before I can indulge once again...

13. I cannot handle a book or movie that involves torture of any kind or anything to do with the slave trade. It disturbs me to my core and I CANNOT HANDLE watching or reading it. Ask Travis. Mercy is one of my spiritual gifts and this merciful heart can't take it.

14. My bachelor's degree is in Interior Design, but my favorite thing in the world is Floral Design.

15. I have been a florist, either in a shop or freelancing, for 12 years now.

16. Nothing has made me feel older lately than choosing a pediatrician for MY child. What in the world?? How am I old enough to be doing that???

17. I love my family. And I am fiercely loyal to all of them.

18. I have a love affair with Naples, Florida. I met Travis there, we fell in love there, and we got married there. No other city makes my heart beat like that one! We LOVE to go back to Naples and in our dreams, we'd own a place there someday...

19. I love to be at home. In my jammies. Cleaning and organizing. It simply brings me joy to "stay in" all day. I'm sure all of that will be out the window when little Miss Ava enters my world!

20. As the classic line goes, I am becoming my Mother. Right down to the last detail. I literally am a carbon copy of her I think! And I'm happy about that :)

21. I love being a Pastor's wife. Full-time ministry is a ride for sure, but the blessings far outweigh the struggles.

22. Right now I am sitting at our table with a pile of bills surrounding me and mail to sort through. I dread the beginning of the month for that reason. Travis calls me the CFO of our family, but I would happily relinquish that title if he wanted it. Unfortunately he doesn't.

23. I have become such a "blogger" these last two years! I love it, I love the friends I've made and I love being able to keep up with friends and family all over the country. 

24. I have loved being pregnant...but I can't wait to be holding my little girl in a couple of months. Sometimes I still can't believe this is happening. Especially when I catch a glimpse of my ever-changing profile in the mirror!!

25. My life is far from perfect, but it's full of blessings. God has LAVISHED his grace on me and I am incredibly grateful....not sure how "random" this list is, but it is what it is!


Misc. Monday, 10 Week Countdown Begins!

I am happy to say that I am finally feeling rested on this Monday morning, after a good night's sleep....something that has evaded me for the last week.  I have been so tired lately because I am now finding it so difficult to sleep.  But, last night I managed to get a great stretch of really good sleep and it's amazing how much better I feel.  So, on to to a list of misc. things on my mind this Monday...

#1- Well it's official, I'm now 30 weeks along and Ava is about the size of this squash below or a head of cabbage.  She's over 15 inches long and between 2.5-3.5 lbs.  30 weeks means that actually I only have 6-7 weeks left until I'm considered full term!!  However, because she's my first, I'm expecting her to stay in there until at least 40 weeks, if not more, so I'm counting down the next 10 weeks until she makes her long anticipated debut :)  Isn't this crazy how quickly this is happening??
#2- I mentioned earlier how hard sleep is coming these days...that is mostly due to the unbelievable pain I'm experiencing while my body keeps "stretching" to prepare for labor and delivery.  Awesome.  I've never felt such a deep ache in my bones before, but I'm here to tell you that I have a whole new respect for every woman who has lived through the horror of rolling over while feeling as if your pelvis might just break at any moment!  Let me just say that I told Travis a few nights ago, that I would give ANYTHING to deal with back pain (which is apparently gone now) over this pain.  I basically get in bed at night and then begin my 8 hours of moaning until the sun comes up.  I LONG for the day when I can sleep in any position that I want and when I can toss and turn with the best of them!!!  Someone tell me that's possible again??  Pillows, wedges, and mattress toppers are doing nothing for me right now.  I've just had to realize that I've got 2 months to stick this out and with the help of a magic pill called Unisom, I just might make it!  

The good news is, because of my discomfort (along with raging heartburn and indigestion) I've turned a corner in my mind.  No longer am I trying to slow this train down out of fear of delivery, now I'm looking forward to it!  Well, that might be overstating it a bit, but I'm so ready for some relief that I'm anxious for the end to be in sight!!  
Meanwhile, that baby bump keeps getting bigger and my clothes keep stretching too!  Please don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful for every thing I feel, good and bad, because I know it's all a sign of this gift God has given us in sweet little Ava.  But, as much as I'm enjoying the privilege of carrying her on the inside, I'm ready to be carrying my baby on the outside soon!  

#3- We've made some big strides this week in our two baby registries...which I apparently need to devote part-time hours to, just to "manage"!  I seriously don't know what I would do if I'd not had these last 5 years of nannying to draw from.  The sheer size of Babies R Us and the LIMITLESS choice of products for every thing you can imagine, is EXHAUSTING!  And I even know what I want and what I like!  I think I would cry if I'd never been in that store before and I had to choose between thousands of products I'd never seen.  This was our second trip (and hopefully final trip) to Babies R Us and we spent and hour and a half "editing" and selecting.  I knew it was time to go when I found myself standing in the "pack and play" aisle for over 20 minutes, physically sweating over which one to choose!!  Time to get out and breathe again!  

Travis was so great about it, happily using the "gun" to scan things while I marched through the aisles like a drill sergant, barking out orders that sounded something like: "gerber spoons- 3 packs" and "disposable nursing pads- 10 packs."  The poor thing, his whole world is being transformed and he's doing his best not to react in pure shock at everything I say and every graphic topic that now comes up regularly!!   He also happily accompanied me to Target this week to set up another registry there.  That one was a little less painful, until we got to the diaper aisle and the prices started sinking in :)  Then I knew he was starting to sweat!!  We made it quickly out of there before either one of us had a meltdown!  For all of our family members, I put the links on the side bar of the blog so you can find them easier :)  I seriously think it was easier to register for our wedding than for the birth of our first child!!  
#4- Although I dug these pictures up from our first trip in October, I'm happy to report that the weather this weekend was much like the conditions pictured here!  We actually hit 44 degrees on Saturday and we both thought we'd died and gone to Heaven!!  We were out all day with no coats (what a treat) and I was suddenly digging for my flip flops!  It was downright tropical here :) God is good to occasionally throw these days of reprieve our way, otherwise I think we might all sink into deep depression!  Saturday was the first day we were above freezing since November!!!  You should have seen the lines at every car wash in the twin cities....
#4- Finally, in an effort to wrap this up, I'm going to only say that my heart was racing and broken over the Cardinals loss last night.  I wanted to cry/swear at the way the game turned out in the final seconds.  I'm just going to say it...I hated the Steelers for a few minutes afterwards.  I don't hate them today, but I do wish the Cardinals could have held them off!!  It was a great game though and a fun one to watch until the bitter end.  At least it wasn't a blowout.  And there were some great commercials this year, don't you think?   

Well, Happy Monday friends!  I'm signing off to pay some bills and get my house in shape....Thrilling isn't it??