Friday, May 24, 2013

Bumpdate: Week 26

How Far Along: Twenty-six weeks!

Total Weight Gain: Doctor's office scales said 19 lbs. Oh happy day!

Maternity Clothes: YES!! I finally did it! I broke down and went on a shopping spree! My summer shorts from last year were clearly never going to work so I started with shorts and ended up grabbing a couple of shirts while I was at it! Look out world, I can breathe so much easier than I could a week ago!

Gender: Boy, all boy!

Movement: Moving more now than ever - one night this week it was the most intense I've felt him yet and I loved every second of it! Typically he holds perfectly still the moment Brandon touches my belly, but this night he was on a roll (quite possibly literally). We laughed for a good five minutes feeling him squirm.

Sleep: Like a baby...

What I Miss: Still holding strong to my "we're having a healthy little boy, nothing is as good as that" theory.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Going home for the weekend and having time to actually catch up with my sweet family! And our trip to Italy is right around the corner! Eek!

Cravings: Ice cream or frozen yogurt, doesn't matter to me... My sweet tooth is going crazy lately!

Aversions: I thought I was going to finally have something to say on this question again after this week, but it turns out that glucose test everyone curses is really not that bad at all!! It just tastes like flat orange pop... I can totally handle that! **It had been recommended to me that I drink it through a straw so I took one and I truly believe it made the experience much more pleasant. Just shot that stuff straight to the back of my throat!

Other Crazy Symptoms: Same ol', same ol'.

Daddy Update: Daddy's doing good... See below.

Best Moment of the Week: I got sweet surprises this week from my precious husband. Despite the fact that it was Mother's Day, I truly didn't have any expectations - I don't consider myself a mother yet... I feel like an actual baby is required to live in your house before you qualify for Mother's Day presents, but apparently I'm the only one! My sweet husband surprised me with a bottle of my favorite Michael Kors perfume. It was so thoughtful of him... And then he came home from working at the hospital with the most beautiful bouquet of wonderful smelling star-gazer lilies! Momma loves some fresh flowers!! To top it off he took me to a yummy dinner of my choice (hibachi despite the fact that he had stir-fry for lunch and we were having sushi the next day!) followed by a big ol' bowl of frozen yogurt! That's one good man right there... Here's to hoping Cooper is half as sweet as his daddy!

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, May 23, 2013

Thank You from OKC/Moore

Tonight is the first night I'm sleeping in our bed since Monday's horrible tornado.  We are fortunate. We are grateful. We are blessed.
As most of you may know, Brandon and I live where Oklahoma City meets Moore... where that terribly scary monster of a storm took out everything it touched. Kids in our neighborhood walk to Briarwood Elementary... Correction: walked.

Photo by Charles Redman - USA Today Sports
The houses in the picture above are in our neighborhood. Brandon and I spend as many sunny Saturdays as possible playing catch on this field or jogging the track. This chaos hit way too close to home for comfort but we are fortunate. We are grateful. We are blessed.
Thankfully, we were both at work when it hit. Thankfully, we left our little Rylee at my parents' house this weekend so she wasn't at home like usual. Thankfully, the south end of our neighborhood was spared. We are fortunate. We are grateful. We are blessed.
The north end of our neighborhood, on the other hand, has suffered severe damage. Many homes have been destroyed, wiped out or damaged beyond repair. We have done what we can to help - we've passed out every trash bag we can find, every pair of gloves - from gardening gloves to the pair I keep under our kitchen sink, all the snacks in our pantry and every bottle of water in our fridge. To be completely honest, my type A personality is going crazy. I need to get busy, I need to help, I need to do something... but what I realized really quickly was that these people are all in shock. Just now, two days later are they really starting to move, to take action. Before they were just standing in their yards staring in disbelief, letting it all sink in.
I asked one man who was literally in the street surveying what was left of his yard if there was anything I could help him with or get for him. He turned around and smiled at me, his eyes almost glazed over. I offered up all the stuff I'd thrown into the front seat of my car - snack? drink? trash bag? something else I don't have but could go get? He thanked me, but told me he was fine. "My grill is still in the backyard and I'm going to roll it around here and see if I can brew myself a cup of coffee on it," he said with a smile. I could see his backyard from his front yard, there was no house in the middle. No kitchen with mugs in the cabinet or coffee on the counter. It was wishful thinking at best. I told him I was sorry, I would have been happy to go make him coffee, but we didn't have any electricity and if I left the neighborhood to go get some it would take me literally hours to get back with all the traffic and chaos. He told me not to worry - the whole time still somehow smiling. I told him I was sorry about his house and that we would be praying for his family. As I started to pull away, he began to turn back around and then quickly spun back and said, "Hey, wait! God bless you." I couldn't hold back the tears any longer... God bless me? I've been blessed. My family was safe, our house was fine and this guys was asking God to bless me?! I continued down the street asking people if there was a need I could meet for them, but I knew that trash bags and gloves would only get them so far so I prayed non-stop. After each person I encountered I sat in my car and prayed. My type A couldn't do too much, but my God sure can.
Tonight as I sit here in my air conditioned house, on my comfortable bed, in my favorite pajamas watching the news, I am overwhelmed with emotion. I can't tell you how many people sent us text messages, tried to call, shot us a facebook message... Friends we haven't seen in years, people multiple states away, our family who we know were worried sick. My mom said she didn't get a thing done all day because her phone was ringing off the hook with people calling to see if we were okay. Even today I was talking to her on the phone when someone stopped her and asked about us.
Thank you.
Thank you for checking on us. Thank you for opening your homes to us. Thank you for offering to bring us dinner. Thank you for the messages that said, "We can be in our cars headed your way in ten minutes, just say the word." Thank you, thank you, thank you. You truly can't comprehend what that means to us.
We are overwhelmed. We are appreciative. We are humbled. We are fortunate. We are grateful. We are so, so very blessed. With that being said, there are so many that are suffering. Please send your money, your supplies, your muscle... but most importantly, please, please, please pray. Pray that the weather holds off so that people can salvage as much as they can. Pray that the first responders, police, firemen and companies working frantically to restore the electricity are safe. Pray that the city officials and our governor are able to make the best decisions for our community. Pray for those families that lost their homes, or worse, the families who lost loved ones that God would give them a peace that passes all understanding.
Again, thank you. I can't say it enough. We are blessed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bumpdate: Week 25

Didn't get a normal pic this week, but I did get a cute picture with little cousin,
Denver, after winning the state semi-final baseball game!

How Far Along: 25 weeks - Fifteen week countdown!!
Total Weight Gain: I probably crossed the 20 pound mark, since last week but I'm not going to look and find out... What's the point?!
Maternity Clothes: Still a negative...
Gender: Boy
Movement: LOTS of movement and it is the most amazing thing to feel! Even after months of experiencing it, I'm still in awe of the little miracle in my belly. God is good!
Sleep: Still sleeping like a champ!
What I Miss: I think this question was only relevant at the start when certain foods sounded awful, but nevertheless you still wanted them. I don't miss anything as much as I enjoy the gift I'm receiving - you'll hear no complaints from me!
What I'm Looking Forward To: Brother's college graduation is this weekend and I'm so excited! I miss my family so much and while I'm usually pretty tough about it, lately I feel like my whole world is changing and I so want them to be here with me for each little step. Really looking forward to being united for a day or two!!
Cravings: Chocolate. I get up and drink a hot chocolate even though it's 80 degrees outside and for the rest of the day I'm trying to think where I can get my next bite!
Aversions: Nothing out of the norm!
Other Crazy Symptoms: So it dawned on me this week that I don't think I've told you about the weird dark line (technically called: linea nigra) running down my belly. It's totally normal. It's been with me for a while now. It's supposed to go away after Cooper's arrival. It better go away after Cooper's arrival. I'm pretty sure mine is crooked, Brandon thinks I'm crazy.
Daddy Update: Brandon is getting more and more excited every day, although he still isn't probably to the "this is for real" place that I am. It's been really interesting to compare our thoughts and feelings through this pregnancy process because we haven't always been emotionally equal. I don't in any way mean that Brandon isn't thrilled beyond belief, excited, happy or in love with Baby Cooper - it's just that his feelings and mine aren't the same. We agree that we are having completely different experiences due in large part to the fact that I am LITERALLY feeling the changing occur and Brandon is just experiencing it vicariously. Yes, he's felt Cooper's kicks and flips daily, but it's not real to him like it is to me. My dad has always told me that my parents were the same way - my mom was crazy about me before I was even born, it hit my dad after he held me for a second and let it all sink in. I can't wait to have sweet Cooper and watch it hit my sweet husband. It's going to be so incredible!
Best Moment of the Week: It was such great fun to get to watch my "little" cousin, Denver, play in the baseball state tournament. Coming from such a close knit family it's really hard to miss whole seasons of your cousins' sports and I was sooooo happy to get to catch TWO of Denver's games. He played awesome - which made me feel very old! He was in second grade when I left my hometown for college and it doesn't seem real that he can be starting for the High School Varsity as a sophomore. The Wolverines finished as state runner-up and the entire town could not be more proud! They represented us so very, very well!!
It was great fun to get to see everyone! So many people from home haven't seen me since Mr. Cooper has made a bit of an appearance and it was comical to hear all the "You ARE having a baby!" or "I couldn't see your face and I couldn't figure out who was sitting with the twins!" Everyone was so sweet to say kind things about my growing belly and it was great fun to see my little hometown crew get excited for our Cooper's arrival!

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My New Perspective: God's Love

I fear that soon (if it's not already too late) this blog will be smothered in baby-talk overload, but I can't stop myself! I see everything with a new perspective... Work has become simply what it always was, "just a job" although I didn't realize it until now. When trying to pick a car, it's now all about the safety features, less about the cool gadgets or sweet rims. Even shopping has changed, I haven't seen the inside of a mall in months, but I can give you all the details on who carries the cutest little tiny man clothes. The list goes on and on...

The most profound change, the concept my emotions couldn't really grasp, the thing I have taken so for granted until now was God's love for us... for me.

I debated writing this post because (a) I don't want to get all preachy on you, (b) realistically my understanding and grasp on this concept is still very childlike, it's something I'll never truly be able to comprehend, and most importantly (c) I can't begin to do God's love justice with my words. So I put it off. I waited a week or two. But it keeps coming back to me. Today while procrastinating from writing tomorrow's post, I was flipping through this month's Southern Living and saw this quote:

"Motherhood often means being blindsided by 
grief and grace, sometimes both at once"
~Allison Glock, The Moments
She got me... That was exactly the clash of emotion I felt in church a few weeks ago. I was that crazy lady with tears rolling down my face during praise and worship, the one you feel so sad for because clearly something is wrong or hard or upsetting. I was that person I've said a quick silent prayer for - "Lord be with that poor woman in whatever she is going through. Let her feel your love." - as I witnessed her tears fall. But here's the ironic part, my tears were not a result of something bad, my tears were because I felt God's love like I've never felt it before. Funny because the stranger ladies I've prayed for in the past may have actually been praying for me at the exact same time - "Lord be with that girl that's just enjoying this pretty song. Let her feel your love."
Bear with me as I'm going to do my best to explain. Hopefully, if you're a parent you'll know exactly what I'm talking about... And if you aren't a parent yet, maybe, just maybe you'll get a quick little glimpse into what amazing love looks like. And maybe not... This feeling or realization that I experienced didn't stem from hearing something new for the first time, it was a direct result of a new type of love that I'm experiencing. There is a good chance you won't be able to "get it" until you're experiencing it yourself, but nevertheless I'll give it my best shot.
So I was singing along to a song we've sang at LifeChurch many, many times and the words started to sink in...

Your love never fails,
it never gives up,
it never runs out on me.

~Jesus Culture, One Thing Remains
I thought about that as I continued to sing - never fails, never gives up, never runs out... and my heart acknowledged that was the type of love I've experienced from my parents and family my whole life... The same type of love that Brandon has shown me time and time again. This was nothing new, but something that I've been blessed to have been the recipient of since my first breath. And then realization #1 struck - this is how I will feel about our Cooper. My love for him will never fail. My love will never give up on him. My love for him will never, ever run out. Regardless of how good or bad he acts. No matter if he becomes a preacher or a drug dealer. No matter if he tells me daily that he loves me or if he refuses to speak to me for years at a time. My love will NEVER stop for him. It is not conditional in any way, shape or form. He can do nothing to cause it to end and he doesn't have to do anything to make it start. It is exactly what it is - a love so big, so true, so genuine that it never fails, never gives up and never runs out. And my heart felt so full that I thought it might explode right out of my chest...
And then came realization #2 - God loves me just like that and SO MUCH MORE. I can do nothing to cause it to end and I didn't have to do anything to make it start. His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. Wow. And my heart felt so overwhelmed by this gift that I thought it might explode right out of my chest...
I was still just standing there in complete awe with this warm fuzzy feeling when the next song started...

So I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned,
and I'm feeling it... I was raised in an old school Baptist church... I'm not an "arms high" type of praiser, but I was seriously considering it at this point.
in awe of the One who gave it all.
Hit the brakes! Stop! Whoa!! Don't go any further... What did that just say? "In awe of the One who gave it all."
Again this is not a new concept for me. I know how this goes frontwards and back. It's the first verse you learn in Bible School when you aren't even in first grade yet. It's the story we hear every Easter. It's the little silver cross necklace we wear or the key chain we've had since seventh grade.
For God so loved the world
that he gave his only son,
that whosoever believes in Him
 will not perish but have eternal life.
~John 3:16
See, you know that one... But let's break it down a little bit:
"For God so loved the world..." Okay, got that part - God loves me, you and everybody else (See realization #1 and #2 above).
"...that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." This is the hurdle most people struggle with. All you have to do is believe in Him and you get eternal life? Yes. Yes, you read that correctly. You don't have to become a missionary. You aren't required to memorize 100 Bible verses. You don't have to attend every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night church service for the rest of time. You just have to admit you're a sinner, believe that God sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay for your sins and confess that He is Lord of your life. It's seriously that easy. Alright, so I got that taken care of yearsssss ago. But wait, did I just miss something?
"...that he gave his only son..." Oh yeah, that's the part that totally got me. In awe of the One who gave it all. There's your understatement of the day.
Remember realization #1 - the part where I love Cooper so much that my heart was about to explode? Well realization #3 hit when I thought about this verse, this song, this Easter story, this cross I've carried since 7th grade, and I thought about how God loved me - a little small town girl from Oklahoma - so much that he SENT (not let his son, not allowed his son, but SENT, DIRECTED, MADE his son), his Cooper, to die on a big, painful, ugly cross so that I - little ol' Raegan King, a sinner who will never be worthy of this gift - could have eternal life.
Wow. wow. wow. wow. wow. Let that sink in... Re-read... Re-read it again.
As a parent/spouse/sister, you would step in front of a train for your child/spouse/little brother or sister without thinking twice. You would take a bullet, you would try to move a mountain... you would never fail, never give up, never run out on them. We're talking about serious, unconditional, fall on the sword type of love for someone. God has that for me and for you and for every single person out there that he sacrificed his most special, most loved, most perfect, treasured possession for us. He gave Jesus, his son, his Cooper for me. And for you.

And the song finished, but the tears continued...
I'll stand, my soul Lord to you surrender,
all I am is yours.
~Hillsong, I'll Stand

I can't shake it. I can't explain it. But I want to try to share it... I've always known God loved me. I have always been a firm believer in this, in my salvation. But today, I have a new perspective. Today, I came a little closer to understanding God's love. I am blindsided by grief over God's sacrifice and the undeserved grace that resulted from it. I could not be more humbled... more thankful... more in awe.

Be Blessed.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Recipes Reviews from Pinterest

I've been a bit behind on my Recipe Monday blogs because I've been doing a lot of dining and dashing lately... Not in the normal sense of that phrase - I haven't been walking out on the check - but I've been cooking quick, scarfing it down and jetting on to the next thing! So, for fear that you are all sitting at home starving to death waiting on the next yummy recipe I have yet to post I thought I'd change it up a bit by writing some reviews from Pinterest recipes we've tried!

BUTTERY BREAKFAST: Cream Cheese Sausage Balls from Plain Chicken! We loved these for two totally different reasons... I adored the fact that they were quick and easy to whip up on a Saturday morning, Brandon thought they tasted delicious! Added bonus, I cooked a few for the two of us and froze the rest so that I could bake a few at a time to supplement other breakfast items! You can find the recipe here.

TASTY TREAT: Cream Cheese Pickles! I know what you're thinking, this hormone crazed woman is craving pickles and this is the weird thing she managed to talk her husband into eating. NOT TRUE! The first time I had these was before I was pregnant and trust me, I was seriousllllly skeptical. My cousin, Lyndsey, brought these to my wedding shower and I tried one (to be completely honest) strictly to be nice and make her happy. Oh. My. Goodness. These are shockingly delicious!! Super quick and easy, you've probably got all the ingredients in your fridge, life changing snack! Trust me on this one, I haven't led you astray thus far! You can find the recipe here. {NOTE: Whatever type of meat you choose, don't get a flavor like "Honey Ham" just go with plain ol' ham... Learned that lesson the hard way!}

SOUPS, SALAD & SAUCES: Cane's Sauce for Chicken Dipping! So if you've ever had the privilege of devouring some delicious Cane's fried chicken you know that it's really all about the sauce. Oh, our beloved Cane's Sauce, I could drink you straight out of that way too small little plastic cup. So obviously the sauce recipe is top secret, but this is a pretty decent stab at it. It's not exactly the same, but it's worthy of trying! You can find the recipe here.

SUPER SIDE DISHES: Roasted Potato Wedges! I'm a fan of a potato in pretty much any way, shape or form and since it's finally feeling like burger grilling weather in Oklahoma, these little gems were a home run of a side dish! You can find the recipe here. {Of course, I added my all time fave - Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning!}

MAIN MEAL: Bonefish Grill Pan Asian-Glazed Shrimp! Two recipes in a row? Yes because she's always posting something delicious! Brandon and I inhaled this for dinner one night! You should definitely double up the recipe because these are finger lickin' good!! Save the extra sauce for dipping! You can find the recipe here.
DELICIOUS DESSERTS: Blueberry Lemon Bundt! This is the perfect light summery dessert! It was sooooo good and as an added bonus made your house smell a-mazing! I, of course, couldn't leave well enough alone and bought a bottle of white chocolate ice cream topping and drizzled it over the top... I wish I could say the calories weren't really worth it, but that would be a bold faced lie. You should try it, like tonight! You can find the recipe here.
Hope you all enjoy giving these recipes a try! They were hits at our house!! I'll continue to do the occasional "Recipe Reviews" post but if you'd like to follow me on Pinterest and take a look for yourself feel free to follow me here or by clicking the link on the right side column of this page! I use Pinterest recipes often at our house and if I love them, I'll do my best to share... If they aren't as good as promised (or they are way more work than they are worth), I delete them from my boards.
What are your favorite Pinterest recipes!? I love a new fun thing to try!
Be Blessed!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bumpdate: Week 24

How Far Along: Twenty-four weeks!

Total Weight Gain: 2o pounds

Maternity Clothes: Negative, just buying sundresses a size bigger...

Gender: Boy!

Movement: The occasional flip, lots of little kicks

Sleep: Sleeping well!!

What I Miss: Nothing much...

What I'm Looking Forward To: A free weekend! We are staying in Oklahoma City this weekend as Brandon is on call one night, so that means more time for house cleaning, cooking, nursery organizing/planning and marking some things off the to-do list... That may all sound like chores but I'm honestly super excited!

Cravings: Fruit, fruit and more fruit! We have been making an effort to buy healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, carrots, crackers/cheese) and get them prepped and ready as soon as we get home from the store so they are easy to grab in the mornings on our way to work. Washing, slicing and bagging up the fruit may take a few minutes when you get home, but having a healthy snack that is ready and convenient makes being good so much easier! Plus, strawberries are finally starting to show up at the grocery store and they are my favorite!! Together we killed two pints in two sittings!

Aversions: Nothing much

Other Crazy Symptoms: Still having the side pain, but I learned some sweet stretches in prenatal yoga that have been really helping! I've also noticed I moan while doing random stuff like leaning over to unload the dishwasher, getting in or out of the car, etc. The first time I realized I had made a noise I laughed out loud... I have no clue how long I've been doing that!

Daddy Update: Brandon is good! Nothing too new to report on his front...

Best Moment of the Week: Brandon's dad very sweetly bought us season tickets to the Broadway shows featured at the OKC Civic Center and we have absolutely LOVED this monthly date night! This month's feature was West Side Story and I'm not sure if Cooper was loving it or hating it but the little man was going crazy in my belly! He's never moved that much EVER and he is typically pretty still in the middle of the day, but that was not the case this time. I kept rubbing my belly throughout the show and Brandon leaned over to whisper and ask if I was okay... I put his hand on my stomach and it felt like fireworks were going off inside of me! Little punches and kicks and flips and wiggles... We were both grinning from ear to ear!!

**I forgot to post a picture of us with our little nephew Brooks on his 1st Birthday!! This is a couple of weeks old, but I couldn't help to show you what a cute big cousin baby Cooper has!

We love you sweet Brooks!!

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