Friday, December 30, 2011

Clearing My Obstacles...

Today we went back to see the nurse for an unexpected non-stress test. Apparently the nurse had a "nagging feeling" and just wanted to go with her instinct to check him out again instead of waiting another 5 days until my next appointment. The test came out great and anything she saw the first time was not there this time... Woo hoo, awesome!

While there we talked about getting induced. I really don't want to be induced medically and they are in full agreement, but I want to try to get this process going a little faster so that 42 weeks doesn't roll around and I need to be induced...!

The nurse was saying that maybe I need to "clear the obstacles" (whether mental, physicial, emotional, etc.) that might be in my way of preparing myself for this birth.

She definitely got me thinking.

Maybe I've convinced myself that this little guy is going to stay in there forever!! haha... No, but I am going on 9 days overdue and I've really been FINE with it. I am really really grateful for the quiet time that I have had these past two weeks. I really needed it.

Now, however, I am ready to give birth to this beautiful gift from GOD!! I think that maybe it's been a mental block the past few days that I need to overcome as soon as possible so that I don't wind up at 42 weeks, sitting in the hospital room with an IV full of pitocin in my arm!

So, here are some obstacles that I think I have in front of me that I need to get rid of... !

Most importantly: FEAR

Fear of "Holy cow, a living human being is going to depend on me to survive!!!"

Fear of the pain of childbirth

Well, first of all...

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
I need to meditate on those promises and trust that God never breaks a promise. I mean, I KNOW He doesn't, but I still need to meditate on them.

Secondly:

Regarding the fear of labor pains... I know it is unrealistic that labor will be pain-free, but I also do not have to keep myself under the curse that Jesus died to break us free from! Not only were Adam and Eve cursed to die (most significantly, spiritual death.. being forever separate from God because of their sin), but God made specific curses to both Adam and to Eve:

"To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children...." Genesis 3:16
Jesus DIED to break these curses and I need to lay claim to it and not keep myself under it! I already believe that I will live forever in heaven, so how hard is it to believe that I am also no longer under the curse on Eve and her childbirthing pains being multiplied?!

"Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him." Colossians 2:14-15
My friend Jess reminded me of that the other day and thank God she did... It makes complete sense :-)


WORK

I need to accept the fact that there will be things that I should be doing for work that just will not be completed by me. We're coming out with a new website soon and I really want to be able to go through the new one and give my feedback, but I think I should just STOP working and start getting mentally prepared for this little boy to come.

THE HOUSE

Our house is somehow the messiest it's ever been... Well, maybe not ever been, but there's a lot of cleaning to be done! Tomorrow morning Jon and I are going to dedicate ourselves to cleaning up as much as we can. Today, Jon put insulation in the attic and I think that was his "gotta-get-done-before-the-baby-comes" chore... Now it's just picking up around the house so that when we receive visitors we don't have to worry about the way the house looks!

I think that's about it...

So, with that I am going to shut down the computer, not go on Pinterest, and read my Bible that I have severely neglected for weeks.... !!

I think this kid's going to be here before we know it!

THANK YOU GOD THE FATHER, THE SON JESUS, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT!!

xoxo

Jenn

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Traditions: New and Old


Noo, this baby boy has not decided that he's ready to make his grand entrance just yet.... but wouldn't that have been a quite fitting verse if he came yesterday on the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior?! 

Yesterday was a quiet and pleasant day... though truth be told, I was convinced I was in early labor from about midnight to 5 AM Christmas morning. But the contractions never really progressed in intensity or duration, and then they stopped altogether...

Since we've been together, Jon and I have been merging our Christmas traditions. Now that we will have a child to celebrate with, however, I want to make a list of all the possible traditions we will want to continue and which ones to add :-)

Some traditions are fun and some are just because "that's the way it has always been"... but I want to make sure that we also have traditions that are very meaningful and that, as the image says below, reveal who JESUS is and why we celebrate His birth.
from the shepherdproject.com

"Just for Fun" Traditions

Opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve... (I'm not sure about Jon's family, but I think we always got new jammies for Christmas, though I think we opened them on Christmas day.)

One of the gifts can be a new outfit that they can wear to church that day... or if we decide that we want to only go to church on Christmas Eve then they can open it that day... We'll have to talk about that one...

To eat or not to eat before opening presents?? I say EAT because that's what my family always did, but Jon's family always opened presents first! I'm thinking that kids these days need to learn a little bit of delayed gratification, so make 'em wait a little bit before they get showered in goodies haha

Jon and his siblings were infamous for guessing what was "inside the box", so Jon's mom developed different codes for labeling the gifts that she would switch up every year and that way the kids didn't know which gift belonged to whom. For example, one year she did zip codes of different places they've lived and another year she did colors, etc. If our kids will be anything like Jon, I am all for this idea. 

Watching all the classic Christmas movies (and new classics) in the days leading up to Christmas (starting the day after Thanksgiving?!):
Miracle on 34th St, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story (when they get much older), A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, Home Alone (when they get older), The Polar Express, The Santa Clause, A Christmas Carol (not sure which version?), The Nativity Story (2006 film), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (not the Jim Carrey version, but the original!), the classic animations like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy, The Year Without a Santa Claus, etc. and Disney classics like Mickey's Christmas Carol, Toy Tinkers, and all the short animations I used to watch when I was young. (I would also list National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation since that's on MY must-watch list, but after watching it yesterday I must say that is not a movie for children haha)

When to put up the tree?? The day after Thanksgiving? December 1st? My family was always a bit late putting it up, but I love having it up as long as possible! Some say that in putting your tree up too early that you are not really taking part in the Advent preparations of anticipating the coming of Christmas, but instead you're celebrating all month long. I think a good compromise is to put the tree up after Thanksgiving and then to come home after church on each Sunday before Christmas and to decorate the tree little by little. Maybe the week before Christmas we put the lights on and then on Christmas Eve we put the angel on top?

When to take it down?? I'm thinking maybe New Year's Day? Or maybe since Jacob's birthday will be soon after Christmas we can take it down the day before or the day of his birthday? Kind of like a "OK now it's time to celebrate your birthday" type of thing?? We'll see...

There are lots more that I can think of, but I'll stop here :-)

Traditions with a Deeper Meaning

Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day?? I guess this is really big up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (among other U.S. cities where they have a lot of people with a Dutch or Germanic background). My co-worker (from Milwaukee) was telling me that on the morning of Saint Nicholas Day (December 6th), their stockings or shoes are filled with candy, chocolates, fruits, and a book. I think that is so cool and I definitely want to start doing that :-) We would learn about how Saint Nicholas relieved suffering and helped the poor and then maybe we could go out and do some type of serving in the community.

Going to either candlelight service on Christmas Eve, service on Christmas morning, or both...

Making (or buying) Christmas cards and making some cookies or candies for neighbors on our street (even though we probably won't now many of them!). Go out early in the morning on Christmas Eve or a few days before Christmas and sneak them in their mailboxes. (Oh and leave one in our own mailbox for the mailman!)

Serving others.... Community kitchens, nursing homes, etc. When? Maybe on the Sundays leading up to Christmas and then Christmas Eve...?

Christmas Caroling. Some friends did it this year in a neighborhood in Nashua where there are lots of new Americans and they also went to a homeless shelter, etc. and the recipients of the caroling really loved it! (It was the day after my due date, otherwise I would have been there!) They said that God totally showed up in a big way and that they will for sure be doing it every year now. Can't wait!

Celebrating Advent in various ways and learning all about the tradition of Advent, which means "coming" or "arrival" and when celebrated it is the preparation of celebrating Jesus's First Coming (in the past as a baby) and the anticipation of His Second Coming (in the future as Judge). Ways to participate in Advent include: reading of scripture, adding the figurines to the Nativity set, lighting of candles, singing songs like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" etc., Advent calendar, learning the symbolism of the colors and the tradition of the evergreens and wreath.

Only giving three gifts to each child...? (Not including the stocking or the jammies the night before.) This one would be a bit difficult I think because it's very enjoyable to give gifts to those you love. However, I heard about others doing this because the King of Kings was presented with three gifts when He was born (frankincense, myrrh, and gold) and so why shouldn't that be good enough for us? Besides, it's not like they won't be receiving gifts from their grandparents and aunts and uncles! I want the gifts to be special and for them to truly appreciate them. So, if they know they are only getting three, then there isn't that "What's next?" factor... I just get upset seeing children tearing through Christmas or birthday gifts and then at the end they say, "Is that it?"... Oooh that drives me bananas, but it also makes me really sad to see....

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Well... we have the rest of the year to think about how we will want to celebrate, but I hope our children will remember the traditions and pass some along to their children as well :-)

What are some traditions (just for fun or full of meaning) that your family celebrates?

God bless you! Hope your Christmas was wonderful!

xoxo

♥ †

Jenn

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Adorable Nursery for My Son? Check!

I was re-reading the original post I wrote about how I wanted the nursery to be decorated, and I am pretty pleased to say that it came out very close to my vision!

I said I wanted browns, tans, greens, blues, and yellows.... CHECK


I said I wanted a sheep/farm theme, but to not be too "themey".... CHECK


I said I wanted to get the room as shabby chic and antique/traditional as I could afford.... CHECK


Thank God for the generosity of sooo many people and for His provisions because this nursery would not have turned out at all like it did and I am soo thankful and happy :-)

Details and Prices of Items:



The top portion of the wall was painted a light seafoam green. It was actually an "oops" paint can (where the price is marked down because they messed up mixing it) and it was supposed to be "Water Lily Pond Green". The brand is ColorPlace Interior Latex Semi-Gloss and it was purchased at Walmart. It's actually a very crappy paint and we had to do three coats and it still left spots. The bottom portion of the wall is "Fudge Truffle" by Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Semi-Gloss Paint & Primer in one and was purchased at Home Depot. This paint was 100 times better and we only had to do two coats, but honestly could have gotten away with one coat. (My husband didn't like that it was Paint & Primer in one. He thought it made it so that we had to do two coats...)


Changing table was purchased from Craiglist for $15 and then spraypainted the same ivory/cream color as the crib ($5). The changing pad is a Serta Nightstar 3-Sided Contour was $30 from Target (baby shower gift card!). The green basket on the second shelf was $14.99 from Michaels (purchased with 50% off coupon!). The diaper caddy on the second shelf is the Munchkin Portable Diaper Caddy from Target and is $12.99 (baby shower gift!). The two brown tote baskets on the bottom shelf are also from Target. Sorry, I can't find them online. They are very spacious and were a great deal at $13 each (baby shower gift card!). Inside are cloth diapers that I bought used or with coupons. (Used from my sister-in-law and I trust the way she cleans them!) The other hanging diaper caddy on the right side is the Jumping for Joy crib set by Kenneth Brown Baby. I purchased it on clearance for $5 at TJ Maxx, but you can buy it off ebay so as to not pay full price. I purchased the knit sweater hanging above the changing table for $3 at a flea market and the picture in the frame is from "The Real Mother Goose" images I found online and printed in color.




The bookcase was $10 from a yard sale and my husband spraypainted it the same ivory/cream color ($5). Above the bookcase, the hanging pennant decoration is  from the Jumping for Joy crib set collection by Kenneth Brown Baby. The framed picture in the center beneath it is the letter "S" from a boxed alphabet set that was given to my by my sister. The two pictures on the side I found by searching on google for "The Real Mother Goose illustrations" and then I printed them out in color. The frames were $7 each (2 for 1 sale though) at Michaels. The images are of the nursery rhymes "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" on the right and "To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Pig" on the left. On top of the bookcase are all gifts to me or hand-me-downs: lullaby sheep stuffed animal (not sure where it's from) and wooden toys. The blocks spelling out "Jakey" are from a wooden push toy that stored away wooden, rubber and cloth blocks. I can't find it online, sorry. The blocks with the sheep on it on the left are Melissa and Doug Sound Blocks and can be bought from ebay, Amazon, etc. The wipes warmer on the second shelf is a cloth and disposable wipes warmer (Prince Lionheart Warmies brand) and was $25 online at Target (baby shower gift card!). The cloth totes with toys in them on the bottom shelf are ClosetMaid Fabric Drawers purchased from Target for about $12 for a 2-pack. 




Crib was purchased from Craigslist for $35 and it included the bumper set, some crib sheets and baby monitor. The blue knit blanket hanging on the side was a gift from a friend and the stuffed animals and blankies were all gifts as well. A lot of the animal blankies are Douglas Cuddle Toys. The dinosaur is from Stellabella Toys in Massachusetts. 



The shelving unit in the "toy nook" is another modular craft storage unit purchased a long time ago from Michaels. I can't find the brand online, but search for "modular craft storage unit"... though I highly recommend using a 40% off coupon at Michael's or Joann Fabrics instead. (They accept each other's coupons, btw.) All of the wooden toys inside were gifts, as was the sheep "piggy bank" on top and the books. The Pinocchio record is a gift from my sister. Our father got it for her when she was little. The dark blue wicker toy basket has a chalkboard frame on it and was purchased from Michaels. They don't sell products on their website, but I've seen these baskets in the store for a couple years now, so they must be an item they keep in stock. It also comes in red. The rocking horse was a baby shower gift and I am not entirely sure what brand it is or where it was purchased, but this one looks very similar. It makes galloping and whinnying sounds.



The glider was given to us as a gift from a friend. The cushions were red, but I bought brown fleece fabric from Joann's Fabric and covered them. Hanging over it is a swaddling blanket with matching colors. To the left of the glider are two modular craft storage pieces that stack on top of each other. They were purchased at Michaels for myself a long time ago (I'm sure with a 40% off coupon). 


Advice for Achieving a Similar Look:

Start early, check Craigslist frequently, don't get too caught up on needing a particular "matching set", and know that compromises will need to be made due to finances!

Decorating style:

Traditional, playful and affordable





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God Bless You!

xoxo

♥ †

Jenn

Friday, December 23, 2011

Here Today and Gone Tomorrow

Life on this beautiful planet sure is short, but thank God in all His mercy that when we accept His Son Jesus as the Savior from our sins we are promised that we will live forever and ever in His glory in heaven.

It's a comforting feeling to know that I will see my husband again... and not only will I *see* him again, but I will see him forever! Forever times infinity! I don't understand the whole concept of whether or not you are "married" in heaven... (no, right??)... but would we remember that we were once married? Isn't that what a "soul mate" is? I need to learn more about that.. Anyway, I'm still glad we'll spend eternity together :-)

My hubby got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our "5-year dating anniversary" this past December 8th and in an attempt to keep the memory of those flowers alive, I threw out the dead ones and put the live ones in a mason jar and took a picture.

Such a shame that flowers don't last longer...

Are there flowers in heaven??
So much I still need to learn...



Thank you a million times over Jesus for Your sacrifice
and Your promise of eternal life.

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God bless you!
xoxo
♥ †
Jenn

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lullabies from Around the World

The other day I was looking for "French Lullabies" on YouTube and in the "related videos" it was showing all these lullabies in different languages. The art in the videos are all from "Art of Russia" (painted in the style of the particular culture featured in the lullaby video) and the videos were produced by Metronome Film, which is supported by the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography of the Russian Federation.

I started added them to a playlist so that I can play them for Jacob so he can get a taste of cultures from around the world at an early age!

I did end up adding others that are not produced by Metronome Film and are not presented artistically by Art of Russia, but I tried to stick with an "artsy feel" -- not that he will be watching them, at least not until he is over two years of age(If you don't know what I mean by that, check out the link. Also check out the original 1999 AAP Policy Report on Media Affect on Children)

So, without further ado, enjoy this beautiful playlist of lullabies from around the world :-)




I just love this art.. It's so beautiful.


(All of these can be found on the www.lull.ru website, but again the art is by Art of Russia and is done in the style of the culture presented in the particular lullaby video)


Moldavian


Russian



Greek



French



African



Georgian



Swedish



Turkish



Japanese


Azerbaijan


German



God bless you!



Jenn

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On Having a Christmas Baby

Source: bing.com via Summer on Pinterest


This kid is still in the belly, and we of course don't know when he'll make his grand entrance, but his birth will be within days of Christmas (might even be a New Year's baby though... who knows!). Anyway, if he does come immediately before or after (or ON!!) Christmas then I'm going to have to work "extra hard" each year to make his birthday special.... or so I hear...!

On the one hand, it makes for such a very special Christmas... for the parents at least? Also, this will mean that out-of-town family and friends will likely be in-town to at least celebrate with a little cake and ice cream!

On the other hand, I hear that almost everyone who has their birthday around Christmas feels neglected and they don't get a chance of having their own special day... or rather, most say they felt "cheated" out of receiving as many gifts as they would get if their birthday were another time during the year...!

Is it weird to say that it might possibly teach them that life is not all about material possessions?!? 

I mean... of course I remember being young and having birthday parties and I totally enjoyed and appreciated them... but there were also other years where big birthday parties and many Christmas gifts were just not financially feasible and I have grown up really appreciating where a dollar gets you and gifts that people give me.


Some ideas that could make his birthday special are:

  1. Wrap birthday presents in birthday wrapping paper. You can get wrapping paper at the Dollar Store, so it's definitely worth the $1 to give your child a gift with special birthday wrapping.
  2. Change the venue. I thought this idea was a good one, although a possibly more expensive one. Having a birthday party in your own home (or a relative's home) is free, but you've got all the Christmas decorations and Christmas tree looming overhead. So, go to a pizza place and have a pizza party or go somewhere like Chuck E Cheese. (I don't know though... some years he'll just have to deal with the Christmas decorations because this really could get expensive every year!)
  3. Do not combine presents. Start buying presents earlier in the year to ease the pain of having to buy all these gifts at the end of the year. Requires discipline, yes! but I think it is certainly doable.
  4. Half-birthdays! Celebrate the birthday with a party 6 months later when it's warm! Sure, it will overshadow my OWN birthday, but I haven't cared about celebrating my own birthday since I was a teenager. I wouldn't want MY birthday to then overshadow the celebration of HIS birthday! (Still get a little something on his actual birthday, but the bigger celebration can come later....) I've spoken with people who recommended this because they enjoyed it as a kid, but I guess we will have to see what Jacob thinks :-) Also, his friends will all have their own holiday plans during the Christmas season.... this way they should likely be in town to celebrate!


Well, it will be a challenge I guess, but we'll have to roll with it!

Now, when is this baby coming out to play?!

God bless and Merry Christmas!



Jenn

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY Infant Toys: Part I

I don't remember what even gave me this idea... Probably just browsing around on the internet, looking for inexpensive yet high quality toys... (I'm pretty sure that's an oxymoron?!)

I came across a site that listed some fun and easy do-it-yourself toys for your infant, toddler and/or older child. Then I stumbled upon Pinterest and I REALLY hit the jackpot!! Wow, that site is awesome!! It's invitation only at this point I guess, so I couldn't create an inspiration board (waiting for response to my invite request)... but here are some great finds on Pinterest from around the blogosphere... (Thank you to all you ladies and moms who put such effort into getting these ideas to others! You're truly a blessing! God bless YOU!!)

(Click on the embedded image to get to the original site for DIY Instructions)

Hand-Sewn Elephant


Sewn "Colors" Book


Stuffed Penguin


Bean Bag Frog





Carseat Toys

Source: etsy.com via Meghan on Pinterest


This one isn't really a toy, but it's still useful!

Binky Holder/Leash
Source: etsy.com via Meghan on Pinterest


If you end up making any of these, let me know how they turned out!! I really hope I can make at least SOME of them!

There are lots more I found that I will be posting later :-)

God bless
xoxo

Jenn

Sunday, December 11, 2011

38 Weeks and Counting!

I cannot believe that our son will be here so soon! I am *expecting* to go late, but it's crazy that my due date is 10 days away!!

This journey has been incredible! Thank you God for blessing me with such an awesome experience :-)

The nursery is so close to being finished. I had my baby shower - which was AMAZING! and such a huge huge blessing!! I am sooo incredibly thankful for everyone and everything!

I found out the other day that my lil boy is "sunny side-up" (posterior, meaning facing toward my tummy instead of my back... means more painful & difficult labor, including the dreaded "back labor")... So, I am getting nervous about labor, but praying that God will be my strength and that He will not only sustain me physically, but give me courage in the face of fear and uncertainty and pain.

I know that He will, but I know that I have to do my part too and draw near to Him!



♥ Thank You God ♥

xoxo

Jenn

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good

His love endures forever!!

I am so thankful for life... that God cared and wanted to create me, to create my mom, to create my husband, to create my SON (who I can't wait to meet this December!!)...

I thank God for new life... for being born again into His Holy Spirit, for renewed mercy and grace that He bestows upon us each morning, for the promise of new life after a long winter, for the anticipation of seeing my son's gorgeous face and tiny hands...

With life comes the capacity to grow. I thank God for all things that lead me to grow in Him more. I pray for even more growth in Him and pray that I will continue to be thankful through all circumstances.


Happy Thanksgiving!

xoxo

Jenn