Monday, April 29, 2013

Bumpdate: Week 23

How Far Along: 23 weeks and counting...

Total Weight Gain: Don't know, didn't check, can hardly stand to get on a scale...

Maternity Clothes: No, but I did go pick up some fun new summer dresses! I had quite a few from pre-pregnancy that have transitioned nicely and then this week I got really lucky and found a ton of fun summery dresses for a steal of a deal that should hold me over for quite a while!

Gender: Boy

Movement: Oh yes! I saw him kick for the first time this week and it was so fun! The first time I felt him move I thought it was the most amazing feeling in the world... until I had my hand on my belly and he kicked it and then I realized, no, that was the most amazing feeling in the world... until I was looking at my belly and it shot out in one spot at the same time as I felt him kick, and THIS my friends, I know is the most amazing feeling in the world. I am sure of it! And people tell me it gets nothing but more amazing from here on out - I can't even begin to imagine...

Sleep: Still loving every minute of it! Although it is getting more and more difficult to roll over. Ha!

What I Miss: Not. A. Thing. Life is good!

What I'm Looking Forward To: Next weekend we are going fabric shopping for crib bedding and I'm pretty excited to get that underway - fingers crossed we find what I'm envisioning in my head!

Cravings: Still all carbs - pizza crust, bread and chips. So unhealthy but I can't get enough of it!

Aversions: Nothing much...

Other Crazy Symptoms: None that I can think of!

Daddy Update: Brandon has just been on a mission lately to get things done before Cooper gets here... I'm LOVING it! He has become the ultimate list maker and each weekend we get to work on one thing or another... it's not always baby related, sometimes it's just stuff that has to be done - mow the yard, deep clean the kitchen, etc - but it's been really fun to feel like we are getting things accomplished together! Work is always so much more enjoyable when you knock it out as a team!! He's on a roll folks!

Best Moment of the Week: Cooper attended his first Thunder game this week! We owed my brother, Zac, tickets to a Thunder game as it was his Christmas present and we hadn't had a time when our schedules all worked until this week so we THUNDERED UP! The game was an absolute nail biter, as most playoff games are... but the Thunder came through with the win and we had an absolute blast! I so look forward to the day I get to (hopefully) tag along with Cooper, Brandon and Uncle Awesome to fun ball games... It's going to be fun!!

After the game, we took Zac by the Brandon's clinic so we could introduce him to little Cooper via ultrasound. The little man wasn't too cooperative until right toward the end when he turned and looked directly at the doppler! Because it isn't a 3D/4D/whatever-high-tech-ultrasound-takes-pictures-of-your-baby-looking-like-a-baby machine it instead made the little guy look like the freakiest skeleton/Beetle Juice character ever! We all three pretty much screamed and then cracked up!

Unfortunately the best picture we took at the game... Haha!

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:27-28

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Love & Marriage: Making Your Marriage A Priority

Date night at an outdoor concert
We are in the third week of Love & Marriage link up! If you missed the earlier posts, you can find Week 1: In the Beginning here and Week 2: For Better or For Worse here. I've really enjoyed writing these because they have really made me sit down and think... I take a stab at  what I think works best, what the hardest parts are, etc and then then I ask Brandon to see if we are on the same page or if I'm off chasing rabbits. So far - same page! Yay! It's nice to know that you are both thinking along the same lines about your marriage...
As for making your marriage a priority... The questions raised were along the lines of how do we keep our marriage interesting? How do we focus on us? How do we keep from being distracted?

One of Brandon's favorite things...
He's happy when I go even if I just sit there and work on my sun tan!
Well to be real honest, I'm not the least bit qualified to answer this... Ask me again in nine months when I've got a 6 month old on my hands! Currently our biggest distraction from our marriage is our crazy schedule - between Brandon's ever-changing residency calendar, my nine million law school events and my I-can't-stop-myself habit of planning a party/get-together/dinner date/whatever every week, we end up with a surprisingly small amount of alone time.
Date night at the movies
I have a wise friend who once told me, "If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." I couldn't agree more! The devil does his very best to keep us so crazy busy... Just one morning at home sounds so incredibly tempting, even if it means missing Sunday morning church. I selfishly look forward to a night Brandon is on call so I can be home all by myself and have no interruptions while cleaning, doing laundry, etc. And worse of all, on the few off nights that we are home at a decent hour we sit in front of a tv to eat dinner while watching our "shows" - that's great for conversation, let me tell you! 

Boomer Sooner!
Having realized how quickly we can loose touch with each other, we've done our best to focus on a few things in order to combat the busy disease.

Rylee is our only car time distraction allowed!
#1. We try to ride in the car together as often as possible - no phone calls, radio or social media allowed. Sometimes this means Brandon drives home from OKC only to turn around, get in the car with me and drive back, but we think it's worth the extra gas. Obviously, there are exceptions, but we do our best to be in the car together without interruption. Since we started dating, the 2.5 hour drive to my hometown was always something we looked forward to... great discussions occur while you're sitting still!

We love a little get away to the lake...
#2. Go somewhere and just get away! Right now the only thing that has slowed us down on this one is our number of days off and, you know, it costs money to go somewhere... I realize that in a few months with Cooper's arrival, packing our bags and hopping on a plane won't be nearly as easy but it is our goal to continue to get away from the craziness that is life. We try to schedule some sort of get-away every quarter. It doesn't have to be an elaborate trip to Europe, we've loved mini-road trips to Dallas or just staying the weekend at my parents' lake cabin! Just go someplace where you can be with your spouse and enjoy each other's company. I think you could ask either of us about our favorite part of traveling and we'd agree that it's the thrill of walking around some place new holding hands, talking and just being together.

Reminder on my phone that Brandon secretly set so that
I would know he was thinking about me while he was at work.
#3. Flirt with each other. I realize this sounds obvious, but I truly believe so many couples flirt, start dating, get engaged, get married and then just go through the day-to-day... Last time I checked there was no rule against flirting with your spouse once you were married! Flirting doesn't have to cost money! I can't tell you how giddy I get to find a little love note propped up on the kitchen sink! Send a sweet text in the middle of the day... Bake a delicious treat for you hubby just because you know he loves peanut butter... Plan a surprise date... ASK your husband to help you not throw like a girl and then go play catch in the backyard... Google "Rick Reilly articles," read a few (they are about sports, but you'll enjoy them promise!) and then surprise your husband by being able to have a somewhat intelligent conversation about the Masters or the NBA playoffs... Take off those yoga pants, put on some make up and try just a little... When you're just sitting around watching tv, go cuddle on the couch even if it means you don't get to sit in the most comfortable chair! I promise that not only will he appreciate your efforts, but he'll most likely return the favor. {MEN if you are reading this - stop at the grocery store and bring home some tulips. They don't have to cost a fortune or even be in a vase, it's the thought that counts! Make your wife feel special!}

See our smiles? They are there because we're waiting to board a flight to paradise!
#4. Pray for your marriage. There is ALWAYS room for improvement... Pray that God shows you ways you can be a better spouse. Pray that God strengthens and blesses your relationship. Pray that God opens communication or takes away any barriers that you and your spouse have that prevent you from being the best wife/husband possible. Pray that through your marriage you will be an example for others to see Christ's love for us. Just pray, pray and then pray some more! Remember that there is no person, thing or hobby that should trump your husband on the priority list other than God. He is our #1. Your spouse is your #2.
Again, I don't claim to know it all... I claim to know very little! But these are the things I believe... You have to be willing to work hard on your marriage, it is worth it! It isn't always easy, but typically the best things in life don't come free of charge. Brandon and I work hard every single day - some days it's definitely easier than others... but don't give up! Life is not always a fairytale and nobody ever should have told you it was - we have things that we struggle with, things that we fight over and things that try to cause us harm, but if we keep our priorities in order life together will always be good at the end of the day!
Be Blessed!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gender Reveal Brunch

Well, somehow I have let this post slip wayyyy through the cracks! Oops. Seriously guys, this pregnancy brain thing is for real. So, before I mentally check out again, let me fill you in on our gender reveal shindig!

We held a little gender reveal brunch at our house so that we could share the joy of learning whether Baby King was a girl or a boy with our families. We had the ultrasound on Thursday and kept our eyes away from all monitors so that we wouldn't be able to cheat - not that I would have known either way since I can never tell a thing about the ultrasounds until our doctors starts pointing and naming parts, but Brandon has quite a bit of experience and he would've known had he looked! But he didn't, I made him promise... And I tried my best not to count how many keys the doctor hit while typing BOY or GIRL. I may have a problem with over-analyzation of all things, can you tell?

We had my sweet friend, Cassie, make a cake and dye it either pink or blue on the inside. When we cut the cake, the color would tell us boy or girl! Cassie, is so incredibly talented, I truly can't sing her praises enough!! I couldn't really figure out what I wanted this cake to look like so I deferred to her expert opinion and sent her a picture of the invitation as a reference to the look we were going for. Wow, does she deliver?! The cake was a-dorable! If it hadn't held a secret that I was DYING to know, I probably would have never cut it.

Don't know where that food table picture ended up - I definitely took it!
But here's a little mantle pic instead!
We decided on brunch food because, well, I was planning the party and I really like brunch food! Ha! We had a waffle station with different toppings - strawberries, syrup, peanut butter, nutella and of course, whipped cream! Lots of other bite sized snacks - banana bread with cream cheese filling, muffins, brownies, homemade cinnamon rolls, chocolate and peanut butter fudge, egg casserole and fruit and other yummy goodies to be dipped in the chocolate fountain. But hands down, the most delicious thing of all was the cheddar biscuit ham sandwiches! Oh, they were a winner! I'll have to share the how-to on those in a Recipe Monday... you won't want to miss it, trust me!

The afternoon went off without a hitch and when it was finally time to cut the cake, the moment we had all been waiting for, Brandon was happy to do the honors! To be absolutely, 100% honest - we couldn't care less what color the cake was. Boy or girl, we already felt so incredibly happy and blessed that we didn't "want" one gender over the other.

We have spent so many hours and days praying for this little baby already - Praying that God would give us a sweet tiny miracle when He believed the time was right. Praying that he or she would be healthy and happy. Praying that we will be the very best parents we can possibly be and that when we do mess up, because let's face it it's inevitable, our child will show us grace and love. And more than anything, we have prayed that God would show us how to raise a baby that loves Him and serves Him and constantly strives to be like Him. So honestly, girl or boy, we knew God would give us exactly what we needed... and He did, He gave us a bright blue slice of cake! BOYYYY!

We were so blessed to have so many of our family members from near and far come to celebrate this exciting day with us. *I was unable to get pictures of everyone, but below is a pretty good sampling! We understood that planning a little shindig on a Saturday right in the middle of the day would keep some people from being able to attend, but little did we know how amazing everyone would be in their efforts to be there! From rearranging schedules to just spending their Saturday on the road, our family absolutely rolled out. It was overwhelming and humbling to see our home fill to the brim with the people we love and adore the most, all so excited for us and our sweet little baby. Cooper is already loved by so, so many... it just brings tears to my eyes to think about! Thank you, thank you, thank you to our sweet families for being so excited with us. We are truly honored.

My dad wore blue because he had a "good feeling!"

Cooper's "Uncle Awesome"
My sweet brother, Zac!

"Great-Grandparent Names Still Undecided"
My Grandma Tena and Papa Paul
Brandon's Aunt Edith, Uncle Jim & Sandy and cousin, Andrea

My beautiful cousin, Haley

"Aunt Ashlee" "Grammy" and "Big Cousin Brooks"
Brandon's sister-in-law, mom, Aunt Kim and nephew

My best friend from high school, Ashley and her husband, Sean

"Grandmother Whose Name is Still Undecided"
My mom and my bestie Sheridan's mom, Lynn
Brandon's best friend from high school, Jordan and his oldest son, Lane

"Aunt Ashlee, Uncle Caleb, Daddy and Momma"
Brandon's little brother and sister-in-law

"Big Cousin Blake" and "Aunt Callie"
My precious cousin Callie and niece, Blake

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bumpdate: Week 22

How Far Along: 22 weeks and counting!

Total Weight Gain: Fifteen pounds...

Maternity Clothes: That's still a negative, although I did buy a belly band this week. I'm undecided on my feelings toward it. While it is somewhat helpful, it hasn't been as wonderful as everyone led me to believe. Maybe my expectations were too high? On a scale of 1-10, I give it a 4ish.

Gender: Boy, all boy!

Movement: Still wiggling away! Brandon has this new fun thing where he pushes on certain spots on my belly (pretty much smashing it in) and Cooper will give him a quick kick. Poor kid, his parents are already annoying him and he isn't even born yet!

Sleep: Still sleeping like a champ.

What I Miss: I must admit, I miss my summer shorts. I tried them on this weekend and it wasn't a pretty sight. Kind of bummed me out...

What I'm Looking Forward To: I finally get my new mom car in next week! We were supposed to get it about two months ago and (abbreviated long story) they ended up having to special order a new one so I've been driving a loner all this time (granted a very, very nice loaner - thank you Mr. Bob Moore). I'm not at all complaining, the dealership has been very good to us, I'm just looking forward to finally getting to drive a car that belongs to ME!

Cravings: Nothing too serious. I've been pretty low maintenance on cravings, with an exception of the day I drove half way across Oklahoma for a particular convenient store bread sticks. I am still a big fan of all things pizza... actually pretty much any carb will work. I find this so weird since I've never been much of a bread fan and now I'm all about some bread, crackers, chips, you name it!

Aversions: Nothing I wasn't grossed out by before being pregnant.

Other Crazy Symptoms: The side pain is finally subsiding a little... or maybe it's just been replaced by added soreness in my back. Either way, it honestly isn't too bad. Slightly uncomfortable, but nothing I can't live with. Randomly, my gums are back to bleeding every time I brush my teeth... or sometimes just out of nowhere. This seems odd, but I've read that this is pretty typical.

Daddy Update: Brandon has been so stinking adorable to watch through this entire process and I know it's going to only get more and more precious! This week, Brandon's older brother and his wife welcomed their first little boy into the world, Aidan. (All three King brothers got married in less than a 6 month span and now we are all having babies less than five months apart! What can we say, we love a party!) Even though we are about six states away and haven't got to meet Mr. Aidan personally, Brandon has been beaming with pride for his big brother Chris. He was so excited as the texts starting coming to notify us that the little man was on his way! It warms my heart to watch him have such joy for his brothers and I can only imagine the level of emotion our little Cooper will bring!

Our new precious nephew, Aidan.
Is he not the most beautiful baby ever?!

Best Moment of the Week: One of my favorite things about this week was that we finally kicked off our very first small group! We had discussed starting a small group with a few of our precious friends and the timing never quite fell into place... Well, we finally gave up on having the perfect time and just went for it! In case you don't know what a small group is let me elaborate briefly - basically it's where you meet once a week with the same group of people to build/strengthen your relationship - your relationship with each other as friends and your relationship with God. It's kind of like Sunday School, but on whatever night of the week you choose! Anyway, this was my favorite moment of the week because Brandon and I truly value these friendships and we so greatly desire their presence in our lives! We need friends who will love us even when we drop the ball and who will hold us accountable when we need to be called out. We want friends that when we move back to my hometown will be “our people” to come visit in OKC. And we, very honestly, covet friends who we can trust to pray us through this new adventure of parenthood! After just one evening of hanging out in our living room, I felt so very encouraged and humbled... Knowing that "our people" are covering us and Baby Cooper in prayer is such a wonderful feeling! And we are doing the same for them!! I am so excited to grow with my dear friends...

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.

So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:27-28

Monday, April 22, 2013

Recipe Monday: BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon, Cheddar Quesadilla

Alrighty, so here is the ol' quesadilla recipe that I promised last week. I know quesadillas aren't exactly cutting edge cooking by any means, but who doesn't appreciate an EASY and super delicious recipe?! I know what you're thinking, "Apples? I don't know about that..." Trust me, this won't disappoint! Don't leave out the apple!

What you need:
2 Small Chicken Breasts (cooked & shredded)
1/2 C BBQ Sauce
4 Burrito-Size Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (No specific measurement)
1 Apple* (chopped)
Bacon** (cooked & crumbled)

*I recommend pink lady apples for this recipe and any other time you want a sweet and tangy snack. Never was a huge apple fan until I started eating these! Yum!
**Just go buy the Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits, seriously it'll change your life.
How many get to eat: 4 full grown people...

What you do:

Mix the shredded chicken with the bbq sauce. I just added it until I thought it looked like the amount of sauce I wanted - the 1/2 cup is merely a recommendation, use as little or as much as you'd like!

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and add your two tortillas. The best way to do it is by propping one against the other so that only half the tortilla is cooking at a time... This also helps you keep from over-filling it like I'm prone to do.

Spread your cheddar cheese on the bottom, again as much or as little as you prefer. NOTE: You will add more at the end so don't get too carried away!

Next spread on the chicken...

Then add the chopped apples...

Then comes the bacon (the more the merrier in my opinion!)...

And finally finish it off with a touch more cheese!

At this point you can go ahead and fold the propped up part of your tortillas down and adjust your heat to medium. Cook until the bottom side is golden brown, then flip and cook until second side is gold brown. (I occasionally used the spatula to smash them down just a bit to make sure it was cooking all the way through.)
Remove from heat and place on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges... I did my best to wait 5 minutes, but patience isn't exactly my strong suit so I cut them up a little early and it worked out just fine. I also served this with a small dipping bowl of BBQ sauce in case someone wanted more of a BBQ-ish flavor than I did!

Hope your family loves this one as much as we did! I made it one night when we came in late, I was tired and we were starving - it was the perfect solution! And as a bonus - very little clean up! Yay!!

Who should get the credit:

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Faith > Fear... Boston

On Monday, I had a typical post ready to roll for Recipe Monday, but the thought of talking about quesadillas on such a tragic day just didn't seem appropriate... it seemed so unimportant, so trivial, so much like "nothing new going on today" which was not how I felt at all.

On Monday, things got real. Life got real. Recipes and blogs and going to work and cleaning house seemed so silly, so pointless. I just wanted to go home, curl up on the couch next to Brandon and feel safe. Ironically, Oklahoma City - our home - feels so very safe to me. I was in 2nd grade when Timothy McVeigh left a moving van sized bomb parked downtown. The same downtown I go visit attorneys at multiple times throughout the week. The same downtown my husband's hospital is located next to... I drive by the Memorial every time I swing by to see him. Even though the OKC bombing shaped our city in so many ways, it still doesn't feel real to me. People bombing things in the United States, doesn't seem real to me... that stuff only happens on the news and in far away foreign countries.

On Monday, that all changed.

On Monday, my perspective was different than it's ever been before.

On Monday, I think I became a Momma. So far, this whole baby thing has been new and exciting and all fun (well minus those first few months of throwing up). In my head, Cooper is going to be this perfect little baby and is going to have this perfect little life and Brandon and I are going to kiss his boo-boos, make everything better and keep him safe and sound from all the bad things in the world.

And then Monday happened.

On Monday, this big world that we have chosen to a bring a baby into got really scary. I am a firm believer that there is more good in the world than bad. That just because there is one bad apple doesn't really mean the whole batch is ruined. I love the quote below by Mr. Rogers that reminds us to look for the helpers, the good guys. But on Monday, I realized that it just takes one bad guy to mess up a lot of good.

On Monday, I put myself in the shoes of the parents of precious little Martin Richard. I bet they thought they could keep him safe and sound from all the bad things in the world.

And on Monday, they realized they couldn't protect him... even if they were standing right there beside him. This is where the realization, and the fear, caught me. I could be standing right next to Cooper, holding his hand even and not be able to protect him. I'm sure it's a fear that all parents have, but it was a new one to me. My little vision of tiny blue onesies, carrying miniature cars in my purse, baseball and camping came to a screeching halt. It was replaced with a true fear of not ever being able to do enough to keep him safe. I have my concealed carry license and I fully intend to keep "packing heat" when I'm toting Cooper around... but  even a mommy with a gun can't stop a bomb. Fear.

And as all of this sunk in on my drive home from work on Monday and the tears began to flow, I remembered when my mom had this realization... I remember because it was me she couldn't protect. I was in early middle school, I remember every bit of it. To make a long story short, we were at a church where I was participating in a National Guild competition for young pianist. It's not like a normal competition because really you aren't competing, you're just being judged. You go to a central location where all these piano players come and play for a judge who gives you a score based on your level. My mom and piano teacher sat outside the doors to the sanctuary as I played - just how it always happened. The only difference was this judge was kind of weird. He was really friendly. He talked to me a long time before he ever had me play and then when I did play (and I absolutely butchered it) he kept complimenting me. Beautiful. Just lovely. Sounds wonderful. I knew this dude was kind of off because I hadn't practiced like I was supposed to and there hadn't been a beautiful thing about it. At the end of the time, he asked if he could take a picture of me. Not normal, but okay maybe it'll help my score if I'm nice! He took quite a few, I stayed seated at the piano for most and then he had me take a few more standing beside it. He asked for my address so he could send me a copy, my middle school mind didn't register the "stranger danger" thought because my mom was right outside the door. I gave him my address and when he said he'd never heard of my small town, like most everyone does, I explained perfectly how you get there. He shook my hand, walked me out and I got in the car and we headed home. I was so busy fearing the wrath of my mother for not practicing that I didn't even think about telling her about how that judge had been different.

The next day my piano teacher called my mom in an absolute panic. The judge had arrived that morning in a complete drunken stupor and they had had to call the police to get him to leave. The police had arrived and arrested him for public intoxication/disturbing the peace and ran a background check to find that he was listed as a pedophile... a child pornographer. My mom questioned me thoroughly and looked absolutely horrified when I told her about the pictures and how he'd acted weird. By the end of the day, the camera he had used had been taken, the film showed pictures of me and one other girl about my age. He was sent back to his home state and removed from the Guild's judges list. It all turned out just fine, I was safe. We never saw or heard from him again.

But my mom later told me that that was the day she realized she couldn't protect me. She was right outside the doors while I sat alone in a sanctuary with a pedophile. I've always known that my parents have prayed over me more than I'll ever be able to grasp, but that day they took it up another notch. It was the only thing they could do.

On Monday, that made all the sense in the world to me. We've been praying for Cooper since the moment we started thinking about having a baby. We pray over him daily, multiple times a day, pretty much every time I feel his little kick.

But on Monday, I took it up another notch. On Monday, I realized that there was no way in the world I could keep all the bad things away from him. On Monday, I realized the only thing Brandon and I could do to truly protect him was pray, pray and pray some more. On Monday, I went from tears of sadness and fear to tears of gratefulness... gratefulness that I have a God that is bigger than the baddest bad guy in the whole wide world.

On Monday, I realized that my faith was bigger than my fear. And the song my mom taught me as a child brought me such great comfort on that drive home... "He's got the whole world in His hands, He's got the whole world in His hands, He's got the whole world in His hands. He's got the whole world in His hands."

Be Blessed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bumpdate: Week 21

How Far Along: Twenty-one weeks!

Total Weight Gain: Thirteen pounds (I feel that this question is going to get cut soon... weighing every week is kind of stressing me out.)

Maternity Clothes: Just trying to set a record for how many weeks in a row I can say, "Haven't broke down and done it yet, but need to." Still haven't took the plunge. I had this dress in my closet, tried it on and to my great surprise fit like a charm! It was a good morning!

Gender: Boy!

Movement: Does most of his kicking tricks in the mornings. Occasionally a feel what I'm assuming is a flip in the middle of the day... Apparently LOVES crab legs like his Momma because he went nuts when I devoured some this week! Or maybe he's allergic to them and he was literally flipping out... there's something to worry about!

Sleep: I swear I've never had such deep sleep in my life. I am out cold as soon as my head hits the pillow!

What I Miss: It's baseball weather and I really want a hot dog. I know that is so bizarre, especially since I'm not a huge hot dog fan to begin with, but pigs in a blanket, ball park dogs and chili cheese coneys are calling my name.

What I'm Looking Forward To: A weekend at home with nothing to do but start cleaning out the storage room/nursery!

Cravings: Nothing too crazy this week. My severe cravings have subsided I guess!

Aversions: Everything sounds good these day...

Other Crazy Symptoms: The side pain continues. I borrowed a mini-balancing ball thing from my friend at work to put in my chair and it has helped quite a bit... Probably going to need to invest in one of those soon as I'm sure she'd like it back!

Daddy Update: BK is doing pretty good! He was pretty bummed this week as we went for our monthly check up and our sweet doctor had to a funeral that morning so all appointments were backed up and I wasn't able to get in until after Brandon had to leave to head to work. He was so sad that he would miss seeing Cooper, but it turns out that because they were trying to catch up I didn't have an ultrasound so he didn't miss anything! I don't think I realized how important it was to him that he got to be at my appointments... Brandon has worked really hard to make sure he's made every one but I really thought he was doing it because he thought that was what dads were supposed to do... It was so sweet to know that he genuinely doesn't want to miss a single thing.

Best Moment of the Week: Since we didn't get to see little Cooper man this month during my appointment, daddy came to the rescue and did an ultrasound at his clinic! The little guy wasn't super cooperative - he was laying a weird direction and refused to move but Brandon was very, very persistant and eventually was able to get a couple of great pictures! Look at those muscles!!

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.

So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:27-28

Friday, April 12, 2013

Love & Marriage: For Better or For Worse...

I had so much fun on the last Love & Marriage Link Up, I'm at it again!! This week we are discussing the not so pretty parts of married life, the hard stuff... You know that part where you say "For better or for worse..." Well, it's time to get real - marriage isn't always rainbows and butterflies, and this week I'm going to tell you about a few of the issues Brandon and I have dealt with in the last year and a half.

This post is a tricky one for me to write, but not in the same way that it is hard for most of the people whose links I've clicked on. To be completely honest our marriage has been full of overwhelming blessings...

We haven't struggled with infertility or family problems or deployment or sick kids or the death of loved ones or financial hardships. Our first year of marriage has been pretty storybook-esque... BUT  even when everything is going right, even when there are no nightmares on the horizon, no major trauma to deal with, and life just feels like it's pretty darn good, it doesn't mean it's always easy.

Nevertheless, please, please, please don't think that I don't realize how very small our troubles are. I do! I realize that our difficulties have been so trivial compared to the things so many others have faced. I get it that my "problems" dim in comparison to the problems of others and I in no way, shape or form, am implying that my hard stuff is even comparable to the tough stuff others are facing because it doesn't. And I am so thankful. Brandon and I know, and refuse to take for granted, the fact that we are blessed. (NOTE: I specifically and intentionally did not say we are "lucky," luck has not a thing in the world to do with this. We have been blessed. Big difference.)

Brandon during his intern year...
This is the closest thing to an action shot I could take that didn't violate HIPAA.
In our one and a half year tenure, we've had a few bumps in the road - there is this pesky thing called residency that steals away my husband's time, energy and focus. Now to be fair it gives a lot back to us as well, like a steady paycheck, an opportunity for growth and learning, some wonderful friends, and a whole heck of a lot of stress. BUT, we made it work - I took everything I could take off of his plate and he took care of the hospital and himself and we got through it! We are now polishing off his second year and are about to head into the last leg of this race. There is light at the end of the tunnel and our lives as resident/resident's spouse got much better! We have been blessed.

Not fun medicine that knocked out my clot!
And then there was this teeny-tiny super scary thing called a blood clot that decided to make it's home in my leg after we went on our first snow skiing trip together. (You can read about that drama here.) BUT, we (and many, many others!) did a whole lot of praying and my husband did some really good doctorin' and I got all better! We have been blessed.

There have been other things, stuff everyone faces as some point or another: I switched jobs and took on a whole lot more responsibility at work which inevitably meant less time to take care of things at home. We adjusted, worked together and it all worked out! We had to learn how to maneuver around having wonderful, adoring families who all wanted us home for the holidays, which of course isn't possible. We adjusted, EVERYONE worked together, and it all worked out too! And occasionally, we still hit some other unexpected, unforeseen bumps in the road that cause us to adjust and work together...

So, I thought it might be helpful to share some things that Brandon and I really, really, really try hard to do when the inevitable hard stuff falls in our lap... Heaven knows we aren't experts, so please don't think that we are claiming to be! These are merely things that have helped us.

#1. Couples who pray together, stay together.
This is not an original thought by any means, actually our pastor Craig Groeschel did an entire marriage series last year called From This Day Forward (you can check it out for free on iTunes podcast!) and this was one of the sermons that really stuck with us. From the minute we got engaged (literally), Brandon has made it a point that we pray together. Sometimes it's just a quick prayer before dinner and other times we sit in bed and just have long conversations with God. I can't tell you how special this time is for our little family. For one, there is nothing quite as precious as hearing your husband ask God to help him be the husband God desires him to be... or even better, when your husband prays for you! Hearing your spouse pour out their heart to God truly helps you understand their thoughts, fears and frustrations. Time and time again, this has proven to be the most valuable thing that we can do for our marriage.

#2. Every day try to out love the other.
My wise daddy gave us this advice when we first got married. He explained that if we both tried to out love each other, there would always be enough love to make whatever problems we faced seem small. My daddy is a wise, wise man. Brandon and I have implemented this into our daily life... if I see that there is an opportunity to show him love by helping him somehow or writing him a note of encouragement or just letting him eat the last Popsicle, I try to do it every time. And it's easy to give him my best and not be selfish because I know that he's looking for ways to love me too. Now there are days when one of us clearly out-loved the other, but that just leaves us feeling challenged to do better. An easy example happened while I was sick, sick, sick during our first trimester. Typically, I'm in charge of laundry. Honestly, I much prefer Brandon steer clear of the laundry because I'm OCD and like things done a certain way. Well this was not the case while I was fighting the morning sickness bug. I didn't want to ask for help (because I'm prideful, admittedly) and Brandon didn't make me... he just did the laundry. He did the laundry, he put up the Christmas trees, he washed the dishes and he cooked for himself because he saw an opportunity to love me. He didn't expect a "thanks" or a "good job" or a Best Husband Ever Award, although he was most deserving of them all! He just did it out of love, knowing that when I had the opportunity, when I had just a hint of energy and wasn't losing my lunch, I would try to out-love him back. If both parties play the game, everybody is a winner.
#3. Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
This is something that seems obvious but is sometimes so hard to do! We make an effort to not go look for a reason to get our feelings hurt. Always try your hardest to assume your spouse has your best interest in mind. If he or she says something that hurts your feelings or makes you angry, tell them... but don't tell them with anger or bitterness! Tell them with humility and love. It's very easy to start this conversation with a slightly raised voice and a "Well you said..." when, I promise, it'll go much smoother if you take a deep breath (in my case this typically takes upwards of around thirty minutes) and say with a calm voice, "It hurt my feelings when you said ... because I felt like you were implying..." Nine times out of ten, hurt feelings are caused by miscommunication. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt and talk about it. [We do our very best argument resolutions while walking. Hold hands even if you don't want to and just walk until you can say what you want to say without being angry... Plus even if you get angry at some point during the conversation, chances are good you won't let yourself raise your voice for fear that the neighbors will think you're crazy! Works out great!]
Again, I don't claim to be an expert on marriage. I realize, and am very thankful, that I have been blessed with an incredibly supportive husband who tries so, so hard to love me the very best he knows how. Together, we make a pretty good team, and the best part is that it's just going to get better and better! I can't wait!
Be Blessed!