Lifestyle

Life Update // Finding Our Nest

It’s been a week since I last posted and I missed y’all! Life has been so busy and moving so fast that I haven’t had much time to just sit, relax, and write. I have a little bit of time today, so I want to share a little update about what has been going on with us.

As you know, one of my goals this year is to buy a house. Buying a house is a very daunting task, because there are so many pieces that can seem very confusing and complicated for people who have never gone through this process before. Over the past few months, Jeremiah and I have taken baby steps to accomplishing this goal: finding a realtor, learning about the process, finding a lender, getting pre-approved, and starting the house hunt.

House hunting seemed like the most fun part of the house buying process, but I actually found it to be the most frustrating so far. I would scour the realtor website for houses that interested us, find some really great prospects, and email our realtor about scheduling a tour only to find out that half of them are already under contract. We spent a few long days touring the homes that were available and we thought had promise only to find out the real thing was nothing like what was advertised.

This past Tuesday we had a house tour day set up with our realtor. We were going to visit six houses in our metroplex and I was excited and hopeful about the first two. Well my hopes plummeted when the first house we visited turned out to be under contract for three days and the status was never changed on the realtor website. When the day starts like that, you automatically assume it is going to be a long one. But the second house we visited was just perfect… and I mean perfect! I fell in love from just seeing the front, but then kept falling as we walked through. Honestly, I was sold, but we figured we would look at the rest of the houses because we already had tours scheduled. We visited the next house on the list and I was already comparing it to the other house and knew none of the rest were going to compare, so Jeremiah and I decided to buckle down and figure out what we needed to do in order to get the house we absolutely loved.

Our realtor gave us some stuff to do while she called and inquired about the house. A few hours later, she told us that the house already had an offer, so all offers had to be submitted by noon the next day. So that night, we figured out what our best offer was and submitted it along with a personal letter to the seller.

Around 1pm the next day, our realtor informed us that the seller received multiple offers and wanted everyone’s best offer by 7pm that night. The seller had also sent some changes they recommended we make to our offer to make it more appealing. Well Jeremiah and I knew we had already submitted our best offer. We didn’t want to be reckless and get ourselves into trouble, so we just altered one thing and resubmitted. We kept praying and knew that if this was the house for us that everything would work out. The seller said they would choose by noon the following day.

One thing to know, our realtor and our lender were pretty confident that we would not get this house if we did not offer over asking price or shorten our closing time. Realistically, we knew that we couldn’t offer over asking price or shorten our closing date – that would put house closing the same week that the baby is due. So as excited as I was about possibly living in this house, Jeremiah had to bring me back down to earth and remind me not to get my hopes up.

So Thursday morning I was glued to my phone constantly checking for an email or a text from our realtor. As noon came and went, I just assumed our offer had not been chosen. But around 12:30pm the greatest thing happened: I received a text from our realtor that said, “Hey guys! They accepted your offer!!!!” I about lost my mind with joy, excitement, gratefulness, and shock. We were then sent into this whirlwind of next steps.

The rest of that day was spent researching inspectors, signing different documents, and learning what all went into the option period. We had a pretty short option period, so it was imperative that we get an inspection done as soon as possible. I spent a couple hours on the phone with inspectors trying to find someone who could come out some time in the next 48 hours. Eventually, I found a great company with availability the next morning.

Our inspection started at 9:30am on Friday and we arrived a couple hours later to receive a verbal report and walkthrough. Just about everything checked out, but we ran into one hiccup: the sellers had not gotten the new appliances installed. Well the inspector can’t finish his inspection if the appliances aren’t ready to go, so that through a little wrench our tight schedule. He offered to come back later that day once the sellers had gotten the appliances installed. When he returned, he learned that the sellers had bought the incorrect sized appliances and they were not fitting in their designated places, so he had to leave and write up the report with that information missing. So right now we are waiting to hear back from the sellers on when they will have the correct appliances installed, so that we can request an extension on our option period.

While all this hectic house commotion was going on I had work, an extended family dinner, a chiropractor appointment, our maternity photoshoot, and a childbirth class. So I am being 100% serious when I say my life has been super crazy busy and I just need a nap, but I am so full of excitement and hope right now with the baby and the house. Please keep us in your prayers and send positive vibes! 🙂 ❤

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Bump Updates, Lifestyle, Pregnancy

Bump Update: Week 34

How Far Along Are You?

34 Weeks & 5 Days

How Big is Baby?

Hazel is as big as a butternut squash – approximately 17.5 inches and 4.5 pounds.

Total Weight Gain

26 pounds (139lbs)

How Are You Sleeping?

Sleep… ha! Going to sleep is definitely not something I look forward to. Good deep sleep is becoming more and more sporadic, so nighttime is becoming a bit more frustrating than it was before. Between the heartburn, constant need to pee, big uncomfortable belly, and overactive mind, falling asleep is just difficult.

Any Food Cravings?

Nope.

Any Food Aversions?

None.

How is the Nursery Coming Together?

The “nursery” is coming together wonderfully! This week we made serious progress on Hazel’s side of our room. All of the boxes and baby stuff piled everywhere was driving me crazy, so I buckled down and got to work. Thanks to my mom and bff Emily for building the dresser, I was able to put all her clothes, blankets, and swaddles away. Jeremiah built our utility cart that I am storing all of our changing and nursing necessities such as diapers, wipes, creams, burp cloths, and breast pump. I also got her changing basket set up as well as some decor on top of the dresser. To top it off, I filled a couple baskets with stuffed animals, books, and toys. I’m really excited about how it is turning out — I’ll give y’all a little peek once it’s done.

Any Symptoms?

Heartburn: Haven’t escaped heartburn yet. I keep finding things that work for a day or two, but then stop. Most recently popping a Tums or two has helped tremendously, but I don’t want to overdo it.

Nesting: Oh yes! I practically got the nursery put together in two days and am now looking forward to baby laundry!

Emotional: I have been an emotional wreck lately. I just feel gross and uncomfortable with lots of aches and pains. I’m not used to being so tired and exhausted all of the time, so I get frustrated with myself that I can’t do everything. The lack of sleep also doesn’t help the crying spells.

Swollen Feet: My feet are very achy all the time and I have had multiple days where they are sore or swollen for no apparent reason. I have been keeping them elevated as much as possible, but sometimes you have to walk on them.

Pregnancy Brain: Yes, pregnancy brain is back. I am constantly struggling to find my words and explain what I’m thinking or feeling. My brain seems so full yet so blank all at the same time.

Backache: My back tends to hurt toward the end of the day especially if I have done too much sitting, too much walking, or laid a weird way.

Stress: I have been extremely stressed out (which I know isn’t good for me or baby) due to Hazel’s positioning. I am very nervous about what her birth is going to look like if she does not turn head down. I am doing everything I can, but nothing seems to be working.

Migraines: I experienced a migraine a week or so ago. Headaches are not very fun, but especially when pregnant, because you can’t take the medication you normally would and getting into a comfortable position to sleep is quite difficult.

Baby Movement?

Hazel is still kicking, punching, and wiggling up a storm – the only thing she isn’t doing is turning upside down. Even though she isn’t in the ideal position, I still enjoy feeling her move around. She really enjoys music and when I am relaxing, so I love watching my stomach move as she makes her presence known.

What Are You Most Looking Forward To?

I am most looking forward to Hazel moving head down. She is currently breech and with my abnormal uterus, our midwife is concerned that the bigger she gets that she will not have enough room to turn. I have been doing exercises to coax her down with no luck so far and have not been able to get in to see a chiropractor. Next week we will be having a sonogram to see what her exact positioning is and if a doctor would feel comfortable trying to move her physically. Please send up prayers and good thoughts, so that Hazel and I would not be in danger and can experience an intervention free, natural birth. ❤

Faith, Lifestyle

Choosing Obedience Over Comfort

Christians love to claim that they are growing in their faith and exclaim that God is working in their lives. Having grown up in church surrounded by modern Christian culture, I used to fall in the trap of saying all the things I thought I was supposed to say, but not really acknowledging or sharing the details of how my faith was growing or what God was doing in my life. And because of that I had a faith that was stale and all for show. I was a Christian, because I had always been a Christian.

This year has been all about humbling myself and seeing my walk with God for what it is, so that I can genuinely grow in my faith and experience life change. Becoming a prayerful and trusting woman (and family) has not been the easiest of transitions, but in this short time God has really shown up in the coolest of ways! One of the ways I am keeping myself accountable is by sharing openly about how God is working in and through me.

A couple weeks ago, I shared how God completely healed my broken heart in a month and I am excited to say that He didn’t stop there. For awhile now, Jeremiah and I have felt very convicted to start giving, but we just didn’t know what that was supposed to look like. So we began to pray.

At first it felt really awkward to be praying about giving. The answer seemed obvious – just start giving. But we really wanted guidance on how much to give, where to give said amount, and to make sure we were giving for the right reasons. So our prayers morphed from letting God know we want to start giving into specific requests for direction on how much, where, and why. I’m still pretty new to keeping my eyes, ears, and mind open to how God might send His answer to my prayer, so I got so excited when I started to make connections between what we were asking for and what was happening in my life.

After a week or so of praying specifically, I was reading my daily chapter from the Bible, God let me know that He heard my requests for direction. That day, I was reading 2 Corinthians 8 which just so happens to be about “The Collection for the Lord’s People” – coincidence… I think not.

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own… And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. -2 Corinthians 8:3,5

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. -2 Corinthians 8:12

At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. -2 Corinthians 8:14

These verses told me that God was glad to hear that we had felt the need to give on our own and then He told us that because of our willingness, what we give will be accepted and be plenty. How encouraging!! After reading that, I was so giddy and immediately called Jeremiah to tell him how the verses had connected to what we had been asking for and that we had to keep praying. I then immediately sent up a prayer of thanks and then continued to ask for more direction.

The next day, I read 2 Corinthians 9 – which has a big focus on generosity. As I read, I got more and more excited.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. -2 Corinthians 9:7-8

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. -2 Corinthians 9:11

God had reiterated the importance of giving because you want to and are excited to. He also told us that giving opens up a space in our lives for him to bless abundantly and make sure we have all we need. So much encouragement in reading that! God also answered our question of what our ‘why’ should be for giving – our generosity will show thanksgiving to God. I again immediately called Jeremiah to tell him what God had shared with me.

We had been regularly attending our church for a few months and were slowly becoming more and more involved there. This year, they announced Missional Move: Hope for the City. Basically, they want to create harbors (church campuses) and hope carriers (followers of Jesus). Harbors are where followers of Jesus can unload and refill, so they can carry the hope of Jesus out to all areas of life. I have experienced many times churches asking their congregations for money to reach some kind of goal and most of the time it seems selfish and not God-centered. I really liked this idea and loved how much prayer and thought had gone into it. They are wanting to open four new campuses in the metroplex, so that lost people cannot escape the hope of Jesus in our area.

I had felt a slight tugging that this was the ‘where’ we were supposed to give, but I wanted to be sure it wasn’t just me getting caught up in the idea and the emotion. For the next couple weeks, I asked God to make it obvious if we were supposed to give to our church’s missional move.

During those weeks, I had started crunching the numbers in our bank account to figure out how much we could realistically give. After doing that, I became very discouraged. With our baby on the way, we had so many extra expenses that have to be paid in the next couple months and I just wasn’t sure we could swing it. I felt so ashamed that I had gone from being so excited to give to so scared to take the leap. I admitted to God how I was feeling and that maybe we should wait until after the baby is born to start, so that everything could be paid and we wouldn’t be stressed out in such a vulnerable time. But now my shame was stressing me out. I began to pray that God would take these negative, fearful thoughts away.

A few days before our church’s “commitment weekend” for the missional move, Jeremiah and I decided that obeying our conviction to give and having trust that God would provide was more important than having enough to pay all our bills and expenses, so that we could feel safe and comfortable. We prayed and told God of our decision. Literally the NEXT day, I received a call from my boss informing me that I had been promoted. With my promotion came a raise and a bonus that would cover one of our baby expenses in full.

I can’t even describe how amazing this whole situation was. I was ready to give into my fear and ignore this call to give, but instead made the hard choice to choose obedience and trust and God blessed that by doing exactly what he said he would in 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Colorado, Travel

Detours & Waterfalls // Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs was not originally on our honeymoon road trip, but we added it at the last minute, because I really wanted to see Garden of the Gods and thought when in Colorado. We actually only spent one day in Colorado Springs – most of which was spent driving around aimlessly – and it was by far our least favorite destination.

The Drive In

I will admit that driving anywhere in Colorado is freaking beautiful. We actually did a lot of our honeymoon driving in the rain or between storms and that made for some pretty cool sights.

first rainbow

second rainbow

epic sunset
Hotel Fiasco

Since we decided on visiting super last minute and only planned to be there one night, we didn’t spring for anything fancy, but when we got there, we hit the jackpot on misleading hotel pictures. We walked into our room – I should have taken pictures! – and dingy is the only way I can describe it. It smelled wet and mildewy, there was leak, and the bathroom was all sorts of disgusting. We could not stay there. I went downstairs, told the guy behind the counter we would not be staying, was refunded my money, and we ended up at a Holiday Inn Express.

The Search for Garden of the Gods

So the whole reason we added Colorado Springs to our itinerary was to see the beauty of Garden of the Gods. I saw a picture of it a few weeks before the wedding and knew we had to visit if we were going to be in Colorado already. So that morning, we woke up bright and early to get there for a morning hike. We followed the directions and kept getting stopped at every turn with construction and cones. Eventually, probably about an hour and a half of searching for a way in, we got stopped in traffic and I rolled down my window to ask one of the traffic patrols how we were supposed to get there. His answer: Garden of the Gods is closed today for a bike race. A BIKE RACE! We drove roughly 17 hours from Texas to arrive on the day they shut down an entire tourist attraction for a darn bike race. To say I was disappointed and upset would be an understatement and for this Colorado Springs is on my “stupid cities” list. Thanks a lot Colorado Springs!

Seven Falls

Because Garden of the Gods was unfortunately closed, we decided to check out our backup plan: Seven Falls. I love seeing waterfalls, so I was excited to check this one out. I hadn’t done any research since it was our backup plan – and I didn’t expect to use it – so I didn’t know what to expect. After paying – yes paying! – we walked up this asphalt road for what felt like forever only to find a very man made structure. Yes, there was a waterfall – just one, not seven – but it felt more like an attraction at Six Flags than a beautiful sight in Colorado. The water was a gross brown and it was behind crazy built up staircases and asphalt roads… not really my cup of tea. I was hoping for some beautiful nature and was seriously disappointed.

So Colorado Springs was definitely not a location I would recommend from my experience and after our day trip being such a disaster, I have no desire to go back (except for Garden of the Gods). I had just hoped for more, especially after driving such a long way, but the rainbows, storms, and sunsets were definitely worth it!

Lifestyle, Pregnancy

A Shower Celebrating Our Little “Alpacage” of Joy

This past weekend, Jeremiah and I had our baby shower celebrating our sweet Hazel Felicity. It was a blast and we are so thankful for everyone who played a part in making it such a wonderful event!! It was a chilly afternoon outside, but inside was full of love, laughter, and fun!

Theme

Alpacas and llamas and cacti, oh my!

For those of you who don’t know, Hazel’s nursery is going to be what I am dubbing “desert chic.” So with that I am incorporating lots of alpacas, llamas, and cacti. I was blown away with how adorable the alpacas and cacti were and how well the colors meshed together. I loved every single detail!

Decor

The absolutely adorable decorations definitely stole the show! There was a little something in every room and all the alpacas, llama, and cacti pieces made me so giddy! There were stuffed alpacas and a llama on the mantle, alpaca puns, llamas and cacti on the garland, llamas on the onesies, and real mini cacti for party favors.

All of the bright, sweet colors really made the rooms feel full of light. There was so much pink, mint, and aqua that I couldn’t help but smile! And it isn’t a party without balloons, so I really liked the ‘Oh Baby’ balloons hanging over the snacks and the balloon garland over the perfect onesies.

One of the best parts of the decor and maybe even the shower was how my mom incorporated baby pictures. I am a sucker for old photos and she found some really, really great ones to display. On the mantle were two baby pictures of Jeremiah and I + a picture of Hazel from one of her ultrasounds. To top it off, there was a slideshow of baby pictures going in the kitchen that were too much fun!

those two babies in the big frames are jeremiah and i — take a guess who is who — and in the small pink frame was a picture of Hazel from one of her ultrasounds.
the onesies were provided by my mom, aunts, and cousins — they were so sweet to throw us this shower!

Snacks

The snack spread was incredible! All the sweets and savories to choose from. My favorite was probably the llama cookies and berry punch!

For the Food:

  • llama cookies
  • cacti pretzel sticks
  • pink ladies
  • fruit cookies
  • veggie cups
  • mini cheesecake

For the Drinks:

  • berry punch
  • mimosa bar
  • cucumber lemon water
  • sodas
i didn’t snag any pictures of the snack spread, so enjoy this picture a friend shared of their plate.
Games & Activities

The activities at showers are always hit or miss, but I thought ours were pretty good.

  • guess how big mom’s belly is
  • over and under
  • diapering baby blindfolded
  • leave a prayer for our growing family

Guessing how big my belly was was pretty funny! It was shocking who got the closest to the actual size (but Jeremiah was just barely off!!). When making the game, Jeremiah and I got off on our numbers, so a couple of the answers were exactly right, so you couldn’t actually choose over or under – whoops! Not very many people wanted to participate in the diapering the baby game, so only a few boys played. So funny though! Jeremiah has never changed a diaper before, so watching him attempt with a blindfold on was gold. One of the soon-to-be dad’s from our small group won every game!!

Guests

We could not be more grateful for the awesome turnout that we had. So many friends and family came out to support us and celebrate baby Hazel. My heart is so full knowing how many people already love and care for our daughter. ❤

Last, but not least, my parents (aka GiGi and Bugs).

I also want to give a huge shout-out to the amazing women on my dad’s side of the family. This shower wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration and hard-work of my Aunt Kim, Aunt Kellie, Cousin Carolyn, Cousin Liz, and Mom! Thank you all so much for hosting this wonderful shower and for loving our little family. ❤