The Greatest Blessings of All...

...are those that you never 3 a.m. feedings, turning over at 7 a.m. to a wide awake 4 week old, sitting on the couch for hours with her on my chest sleeping, her unexpected smiles and giggles that most likely don't mean anything at this age but we can still imagine they do.
These are moments that I thank God for every day. I have to admit that the first couple weeks of being a mother were difficult and I often found myself wondering if I could do this. I found myself thinking, "in just a few months it will get easier..." and then I would catch myself and think..."soak up every minute!! You'll never get these back!!" And so as each day passes I find myself falling more in love with this little blessing from God - another child for His kingdom.

Last night I put Emory in her little bed after a feeding and as I lay back down I couldn't help but thank God for her. Even though I lose much more sleep than I ever did before and even though I don't have the freedom that I once did and yes, even though this control freak has had to give up all control to this little one, I still thank God every day for her. There are some difficult times when I'm tired, or cranky, or Andy is tired or cranky, or I feel like I'm suffocating in this house and just want to go shopping all day like I used to...but the blessings majorly outweigh those difficult times to the point that they just...fade away.

Emory is 4 weeks now and changing so much every day! Last Thursday we went to see the lactation nurse/nurse practitioner at our pediatrician's office. She wanted to weigh Emory and then watch a feeding to make sure everything is going okay and then weigh her again. Emory weighed 9 pounds!! We were so excited to see that she had gained. The feeding went great and Nancy (the nurse) said that she was "a piglet!" She said everything was looking good and then when we weighed her after the feeding, we discovered that she had eaten 3 ounces! Nancy was very impressed and said that is just great for her age!

Emory and I had a pretty uneventful Friday night. Andy left on Friday morning for Fayetteville for his last class of the semester so my mom came Friday night to stay with us. She left pretty early Saturday morning so Em and I just laid around all Saturday until Andy came home around 4. Since it was Andy's 30th birthday (!!) we ordered Copeland's and ate a birthday dinner here, together, since we didn't want to take Emory out in the cold weather. The food was great!

Sunday night my parents had a get together at their house for Andy's birthday. They ordered barbeque and Andy's mom picked up his favorite ice cream cake from TCBY. It was Emory's first time meeting her great-grandpa (my grandpa) "Pop"!! He just loved her, of course!

Emory and her Pop meeting for the first time!

Emory and her Nana and Pop

We had a great time celebrating Andy's birthday!! Tuesday morning (Emory's 4 week birthday!!) we got up to finish our newborn pictures with Ashley. They turned out so beautiful and we are so happy! I will post two since there are so many that I love!!

Both pictures taken by Ashley Sheesley - AS Photography (

Have a great weekend!

I Chronicles 29:13

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."


3 Weeks and Growing...and the Baby Blues

Tomorrow is Emory's 3 week birthday! It's so strange to count the weeks since she's been born when I was previously counting down the weeks until her birth.

Today we took Em in for a weight check at the pediatrician's office. Last week (2 weeks) we took her to Baptist to have a weight check and we were surprised and a little worried that she wasn't up to her birth weight - actually less than her one week checkup at the doctor's office also. I was really worried since she's exclusively breastfed, so today we went to make sure she is gaining. Great news - she was 8 lb 11.6 oz today! I was very relieved and when I got home, the lactation consultant called and we set another appointment for Friday so she could weigh her again and watch a feeding to make sure everything is going okay.

I have tried some compression techniques to get Em to eat more at each feeding. I don't think at the beginning she was eating enough to get to the hind milk - which has the most fat and calories - because she was only eating about 10 minutes at each feeding and then would fall asleep. I wonder now if that was why she was so incredibly fussy for a few days. She as really been a lot less fussy the past few days so I'm thankful for that!!

Yesterday was a particularly tough day for me. I woke up feeling exhausted and had a splitting headache that had carried over from Saturday night. I was overwhelmed and very fatigued, had no energy, and was just...sad. I am very aware of the signs of postpartum depression so I have really been watching for something along those lines, but I know that these feelings I have every once in awhile are normal. Andy was getting ready to go to his friend's house but decided not to go since I was in no shape to take care of Em by myself...I was so exhausted and just couldn't stop crying. Overall I just felt like I was doing a terrible job at being a mother! Andy really made me feel so much better. He sat with me and talked with me for awhile and then let me sleep on the couch for a couple of hours, which is all I really needed to feel better. He even cleaned the house like crazy while I was sleeping!! I woke up and he had cleaned the kitchen, did some loads of laundry, and cleaned out my shower drain and scrubbed the shower clean. I have such a wonderful husband!!

I'm feeling much better today, though I know it's normal to feel overwhelmed at times. With hormones going crazy and a newborn that won't stop crying and feeling restless from being cooped up all day in the house, it's pretty easy to see how it can happen!!

I can't believe it's already almost Christmas. I have yet to do ANY Christmas shopping! I hope to start soon and maybe do a lot online to save from going out. I really thought I'd be more on top of everything while on maternity leave, but that hasn't happened at all! I think I would've had a better shot at that thought if I hadn't gotten sick after bringing Em home, but then again, I'm glad I have been able to rest as well.

One last thing - I have finally finished my MBA! I'm very excited but now not sure where this will lead me. I'm just going to try to put it all in God's hands and pray that it will take me somewhere that will be good for me and my family.

Proverbs 16:9
"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."


Happy 2 Week Birthday!

I can't believe my little girl is 2 weeks old today. It has already been such a crazy whirlwind that it's hard to believe. I only have 4 more weeks off with her, which makes me incredibly sad to think about, so I'm trying to enjoy every moment...even the hard ones!

We have definitely been adjusting to life with a little one. There have definitely been some hard times! Mostly, figuring out why Emory is crying or what we can do to soothe her has been difficult. Finally, with some advice from other moms, I finally started reading the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block." I am only to the 3rd chapter and I feel so much better!! I really had gotten to where I was so upset everytime Emory cried and felt like I was doing something wrong. The book has made me realize that it is only natural for her to cry and that our society puts way too much emphasis on having a "good" baby. Today has been a lot better just because I have tried some of the techniques in the book and already feel like it is helping to soothe her when she is upset.

I have had sort of a tough time recovering, as I indicated in my last post. Starting the nursing process was difficult, as I'm sure any mom knows. I have been in constant contact with the lactation consultant, which has been a huge blessing. Yesterday after talking with her we determined that I had come down with mastitis. I figured that is what it was; I felt terrible and kept having rotating chills/sweating episodes as well as just felt awful overall and was in pain. Hopefully with the antibiotics and rest, fluids, etc., I will get better soon.

My mom also helped calm me on Sunday night. I was talking to her about Emory's poop (favorite topic of conversation I guess for a new mom) and was worried she wasn't pooping enough. Mom finally told me I was worrying way too much! And she was right. Today I feel a lot better just trying to enjoy her being this little and all the new things she is doing. Hopefully I will continue feeling like this and not have too many more breakdowns :)

Saturday night we went to Ashley's to get our newborn shots. Em was so great for most of the shoot until she started getting really tired! She slept through the beginning which was great. Below are some shots that Ashley got. I just love them and we are so grateful to have such a great photographer and friend!! (Her website:

I can't wait to see more! Em has changed so much in just 2 weeks, it's so amazing!

Until next time...

John 15:11
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."



I'll try to do the best I can blogging so I can keep everyone updated on how we are doing! If you haven't heard already, Emory Ryan Arnold was born at 9:45 on Tuesday, November 17th. Here is our birth story:

From my previous post, you can figure I was a little leary about going to the hospital if I didn't know for sure that Emory was coming then. I was a little bummed Monday night because of the whole fiasco that we had gone through on Sunday. I decided to get the Christmas decorations down (or have Andy get them down) from the attic in case I didn't have time to put them up later. I took my time decorating and got a few things put up when I started to have lots of cramping. I thought a bath would make me feel better. I took my time bathing and even shaved my legs, but mid-bath I heard a loud POP noise and automatically thought that my water may have broken since I had heard my sister say the same thing when she was in labor...but it was impossible to tell because I was in the bathtub! I got out and dried off and then realized that no matter how much I dried off, I wasn't getting dry! After a quick call to Medical Exchange to make sure I should come in (and was very happily surprised to get in touch with my own doctor who was on call!), we grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital!

The snap in weather and meteor shower are what people keep saying were the reasons why Emory was baby number 11 born that night. When we got to the hospital we had to wait about 30-45 minutes for a room, and my contractions keep getting stronger and stronger, though it was mostly all in my lower back. We finally got a room and they set me up with an epidural, which wiped out all of the pain! I even got to get some rest while we all waited for me to dilate. Andy was so great the entire time and did whatever I needed to make me feel comfortable, and I was so blessed to have him there!

I started feeling a lot of pressure on my sciatic nerve on the left side as well as increasing pain on the left side around 8 a.m. but the nurses were worried that more medicine would interfere with my ability to push, so I did without another dose of medicine. My epidural bag by that time was empty and starting to wear off, and I could really feel it on the left side. Finally the nurse said it was time to start pushing and informed me that since it was my first baby, we would most likely have to push for 1-2 hours. The first thought in my mind was that I wouldn't survive pushing for 1-2 hours! Around 9:35 we started pushing, and within minutes of extremely hard pushing the nurse had to call Dr. Garner to come over. After only 9 minutes of pushing and 6 contractions total, Emory made her way into the world!

She weighed a whopping 8 pounds and 10 ounces and was 20 1/4 inches long!! We were all so surprised at how big she was and how fast I was able to push her out, but nothing can stop a woman who has her mind made up!

The next few hours were a whirlwind. We got to go home the next day around 1:30 after meeting with my doctor, Emory's Pediatrician, and the lactation nurse twice. We were so happy to be home!

I wasn't feeling all that great on the way home or that night. I had neck and shoulder pain that was so excruciating that I couldn't turn my head from side to side, and along with that I had intense headaches. The headaches were so bad when I first stood up in the morning that it knocked me back down onto the bed. I felt great other than these thigns, but everyone kept saying that the headaches were from getting used to feeding her and that my neck pain was from the extremely hard pushing I had done in the hospital. No matter what we did, nothing helped the neck pain. My feet also had begun to swell considerably - even more than in the hospital.

On Friday Andy and I decided to take a trip to Babies R Us, but when we got there I was feeling really bad and decided to call Medical Exchange to figure out what I should do about the headaches that we now figured were spinal headaches. The nurse told me that I needed to head to the Emergency Room. We were both very scared and apprehensive as we made our way to the E.R. Andy took Emory down the street from the hospital to a friend's house while my sister came and sat with me in the E.R. As we sat there for hours waiting to be called, we realized that Emory hadn't had a bowel movement in over 24 hours and that my feet were so swollen that I was most likely incredibly dehydrated. We tried to call the lactation nurse numerous times but it was after hours so we didn't get a response.

After about 4 hours in the waiting room we finally got pulled back and the dr. immediately knew what was wrong with me; I was very dehydrated and needed some pain meds for my neck and shoulder pain. Andy came up with Emory since I was now in a small partitioned room and we waited another hour or two for the fluids to come. Finally, around 11:30 we were discharged from the E.R. and headed home.

This morning I felt a thousand times better, but Emory still was dehydrated. It had been about 30 or more hours since she had had a bm so we were really getting worried. We finally got in touch with both the lactation nurse and the nurse on call at the Pediatricians office, who gave us some advice on what we could try to stimulate her to go. It worked!! I have never been so happy to see poop in my life!!

Now, we are all feeling better. I still have a lot of headaches but have some pretty good medicines to take in the morning (they are loaded with caffeine so I can't take until the morning) but my neck and shoulder pain are feeling much better and Emory is getting back to normal. It has been a great but exhausting week for us.

Andy and I never imagined all you could feel for such a little person that you have never met before, but she has us both wrapped around her fingers. We are so thankful that she is doing well and can't wait to move forward, but I am trying to cherish every moment because I know it won't last for very long.

Just a quick thank you to everyone for your Facebook comments, texts, calls, food brought, etc. We are so blessed to have such loving friends and family and I can't wait for Emory to meet every one of you!!

I'm going to attempt to keep this updated, as I said earlier, so everyone will be able to keep up while I'm off work. Now it's time to get about an hour of sleep before our next feeding! But, again, I wouldn't have it any other way :)

*Pictures to Come*

Psalms 127:3
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."


Contractions but No Baby...

I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog about this because right now I'm very tired, frustrated, and anxious, and having another light contraction. But, I know it will be good for me to get it out.

Last night around 10:30 I started having very light contractions. I thought they were nothing at first, but then the longer that I had them the more regular they became, so I thought they could be the real thing. I waited for awhile and then decided to just go to bed around 12:30, thinking that the real thing will wake me up. Well, I was woken up around 2 to very strong contractions that I began timing. They were falling right at 3-4 minutes apart and were more and more uncomfortable. Of course, I have never had a baby before, so I didn't know if I should go in or not. Andy and I decided that it would be much better to go in and see then not.

We arrived at Baptist at 2:30 and I was hooked up to the contraction machine and the baby monitor. My contractions were still a steady 3-4 minutes apart on the machine, but when the nurse checked me, I was only 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The on-call Doctor, Dr. Wyatt, made his way in and looked at the machine. He then gave me two options..."Well, I can break your water and you'll have this baby, or we can wait and see." I was pretty shocked. I had no idea he would even mention that breaking my water was an option. I turned to Andy and his immediate response was "We'll wait." (Score one for my husband for thinking clearly).

Dr. Wyatt then said he would go home and get some rest and maybe see me back in a little while. The nurse turned off our lights so we could both get some rest, which I was unable to do because of my increasing pain with the contractions. I had a lot of lower back pain and was just very tired and also very hungry since I hadn't eaten since 8:30 the night before (this was now around 3-4 a.m.). Andy fell asleep in the chair next to the bed. Finally, at 5 a.m., the nurse came in to check me again and I had not changed. She offered to let me walk around but I was just too exhausted to do much of anything. We discussed my options at that point and she said she thought I was probably in early labor and that I should probably wait for Dr. Wyatt to make his rounds in a few hours and then go from there, but she wasn't sure what time that would be since it was the weekend. She mentioned that if I had let him break my water, I would have had a baby in the next 18-24 hours, and my immediate thought was EIGHTEEN to TWENTY FOUR HOURS!? I don't want to be in labor for 18 to 24hours! So I say to the nurse, "I guess I'm just afraid I'll have to be induced." which point she responds, "If your cervix doesn't respond, they will start Pitocin and you'll have to be induced."

This is not in my plans at all. My doctor and I have talked about induction but only if I go over my due date, so Andy and I were again reassured that our decision to wait was best. The nurse left the room and I slept for awhile. When she came back in, I let her know that I was very hungry and feeling nauseated - by this time it had been about 10 hours since I had last eaten, which is not favorable for gestational diabetes. I was worried about my sugar as well as the baby's sugar. She checked my sugar which was getting low and said that they couldn't let me eat as long as I stayed there. She said she would check me again to see if I had made any progress and that would determine if I should stay or not.

This time, I had almost reached a 3. After she checked me, she said I had made progress and asked me what I wanted to do. I had no idea. I was so tired and uncomfortable, but I was starving and the thought of waiting for Dr. Wyatt to come back whenever he felt ready to was not very pleasing. Andy then said, "if we leave we can get you some food and you can rest at home in your bed." (Score two for my husband for being thoughtful and again, thinking clearly when I clearly was NOT). I looked at the nurse who FINALLY gave me a straight answer - "if I were your mom, I'd tell you to go home and get some rest." That was all I needed to hear from both of them to say I was ready to go home.

My last question for the nurse was "If I am already having contractions 3-4 minutes apart, how will I know when to come back?" She told me my contractions should get a lot more painful and to come when they got to that point. So, Andy and I left, went to McDonalds so I could get a sausage biscuit and some water, and then I returned home and slept from around 7 a.m. to about 1 p.m.

It was an exhausting night. As soon as we got in the car leaving the hospital I was overwhelmed with so many emotions and just burst into tears. It was probably from being overly tired, anxious, and hungry as well as a low blood sugar on top of everything, but I was just simply overwhelmed. Andy was so great at calming me down and again when I woke up around 1 p.m. and was upset again. He offered to take me to get some lunch and said we could go wherever I wanted to since I probably needed to walk some. Andy is not a big shopper, but went with me to walk around the entire Target store and then Kirklands, and then we went to Lowe's (his choice of course).

What a fabulous husband I have.

Anyway, to sum it all up, we have an appointment in the morning at 9:40 to see my Doctor, but I am so relieved that Andy helped me think clearly and make the decision not to have them break my water. Since I was only 2 cm at that point, it could have easily lead to an emergency c-section. Even though Andy and I had no idea what we were doing or why we were making that decision, I feel that God was leading us in the situation. We had no idea what breaking my water would mean at the time, but somehow something made Andy say no. Although you never know how a birth can turn out and there may eventually be some reason as to why I need a c-section at last minute, I am reassured that at least it will be for different reasons.

So today is week 39 and the day my mom picked for Emory's arrival. I guess she didn't get the date right, either. But I'm okay with that.

Romans 8:28
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."


Just So You Know

Who knew I would blog this much at the end of my pregnancy? Probably because each day feels like a week!!

Just so you know...

I'm emotional.
I'm extremely moody.
I'm tired.
I'm in pain sometimes...
and then I'm not.
I'm frustrated.
...but then thankful.
I'm overwhelmed.
I'm sick of going to work.
I'm anxious!!

How many times I've heard that the last month of pregnancy was the absolute worst, and how many times did I ignore it and think, it can't be that bad? What was I thinking? I'm so happy to be at this point and to be healthy with a healthy baby inside, but I get so overwhelmed just letting the time tick away and nothing is happening. I am only 38 weeks 2 days now so I still have a week and a half until my due date, but man, is it going by so s l o w.

Today we had our 38 week appointment. Dr. Garner said everything still looks good. He said expect at any time the "thief in the night" (when we left I told Andy I'll be welcoming to the thief!!). He told me when to go to the hospital and we talked about what may happen if she doesn't come by 40 weeks. I asked him how long he lets women go after their due date before inducing and he said usually a week, but that would put us on Thanksgiving weekend which would not work for either of us, so if that point comes he will check my cervix and then re-assess where to go from there.

I'm trying to be positive and am so hopeful that she comes in the next week and a half!

On a happier note, I had a great birthday on Saturday. I spent the day shopping and relaxing and eating with my family. My wonderful hubby got me a North Face jacket (he remembered from last Christmas that I wanted one!!), my mom got me an iPhone (finally, a phone that works!) and my mother-in-law got me a 1 hour pregnancy massage that I have scheduled for tomorrow afternoon!! I'm pretty excited and had a great last birthday before becoming a mommy.

That is all for now. We are in the process of cleaning out the extra bedroom, which has left our house in a disaster, so I'm slightly overwhelmed thinking that she could come and we would have to bring her home to this disaster! Better get to work on that...until next time...

Ps. 46:1
"God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble."


Another Week Down and Happy 26th!

Well, I have made it through another work week! I have been saying for the past few weeks that I'd like to make it through this first week of November so I can get all of my November evaluations done at work, and today I finished up the last of them. I left a stack of envelopes on my desk to mail out and instructions on top in case I don't show up on Monday. Not that I have a feeling or anything that I won't be there, but I just want to be prepared in case I'm not there. My job at work is pretty independent and no one really knows all that I do so I definitely wanted to make sure there were specific instructions laid out for my Director!

This week has been one very crazy week at work. My friend Angela started her NEW job as a Marketing Rep for Rivendell on Monday so it has been lonely without her there, and some other staff changes surprised us all, but we made it through. Tomorrow is also my 26th birthday! I am super excited because it just means another day closer to Emory's arrival. I have been told of a variety of "natural" ways to induce labor, such as walking, eating pineapple, etc., etc., so maybe tomorrow I will start trying a few of them and just see if it aids the process any! My dad and brother-in-law got home from Nebraska today so now I feel a lot better about Emory's arrival since they will both be able to be there!

So far I am feeling pretty good. I have good days and bad days. Last night I had my first 9 month pregnant hormonal breakdown. I think I was just overwhelmed and tired. I was a little upset so I went to lay down in the bed and Andy walked in and being the wonderful husband he is started lifting my feet up to prop up on some pillows. I took one look at my swollen feet and burst into tears! He climbed into bed with me and held me and talked to me while I got it all out. I was pretty exhausted and just kept saying, "I'm so tired of being pregnant!" I don't feel that way all the time, but the last month is definitely hard! I'm so thankful for such a loving husband who makes me feel better all the time and really takes care of me! I know he is also so ready for Emory to be here and that it's on both of our minds all the time. Every morning when I wake up he says, "how do you feel this morning?" and throughout the day I'll get a random text from him just asking if I'm feeling okay. I am definitely blessed to have such a great husband!!

We still have some stuff to do around the house that I'd like to tackle this weekend...yeah, right! I keep saying that but it never happens. We'll see! At least Emory's room is done!

I almost forgot to say that so many people, especially at our Sunday school, have been so nice to me lately! I have had various older men tell me that I am just beautiful and have never looked better. I have also had a host of my co-workers and friends tell me how great I look. This has really lifted me up when I feel bad and I'm so thankful for all of my wonderful friends and co-workers!!

That's about all...this post was pretty uneventful, but we are really just watching the time tick away at this point.

Ephesians 5:25
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the ecclesia and gave himself up for her."


Slacker at 37 Weeks

Yes, I do realize that I'm a slacker. It has been another crazy past few weeks and I haven't posted much at all. I finally took a picture yesterday to document the 37 week milestone mark - officially full term!!

Andy and I have been very busy lately. Between us both working and both being in school as well as try to prepare for Emory, there isn't a lot of time for other things. When I get home from work there is always so much that I want to do but my gigantic swollen feet won't allow it, so many times I have to put those things on hold and sit on the couch for awhile. I guess that would be the perfect time to start blogging but I have also started my last MBA course ever!! In 5 weeks I will be completely finished with my MBA with emphasis in Health Care Management. I'm so excited to be done but also wish that I was in my last week right now so I don't have to wonder how the last 2-4 weeks of class will be with a newborn. I have an amazing family and husband so hopefully I'll pull through just fine and finish up nicely :)

My family has started making bets on Emory's arrival. Andy - 12th, Mom - 15th, Brenna - 16th, Annette - 18th. Andy asked me last night what date I had picked and I just couldn't pick one. I can't do that to myself at this point since I am already so anxious, tired, and hormonal!

The last month of pregnancy is just what I had always heard it was - tough. I have short bursts of nesting energy but they are quickly drained by extreme fatigue. My feet are huge, I can barely walk, there's lots of pressure and random pains. I have started having lots of cramping and lower back pain as well as pressure and occasional contractions. Nothing is consistent, though, and this could definitely go on for a few more weeks until she comes. This week I am trying to finish up all of my work for November. My birthday is Saturday, and after this work week I think I'll be perfectly ready and waiting for her to come since I will be able to take my mind off of work completely!

Andy and I go to the doctor again on Wednesday and I'm excited about this! We are also going tomorrow for our carseat check at ACH.

In other news ... there really isn't any other news. This may be incredibly boring, but being 9 months pregnant completely consumes me and at this point that's pretty much all that I think about!

Here are two pictures taken this weekend. The first is me at 36 weeks 6 days teaching the preschool class at our November gathering. My sister snapped it when I wasn't paying attention, but you can really see my belly :)

This next one is me after meeting on Sunday at 37 weeks. Wow, I look HUGE. That's okay, 'cause I feel huge, too.

Hopefully my next post will be of us in the hospital...but I'll try not to hold my breath :)

Psalms 37:5
"Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass."


To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate?

So the latest scare in the U.S. is undeniably h1n1, or the "swine flu." I have to admit that I have been so stressed about this strand of the flu, and it especially hit me this week when the vaccinations for pregnant women only became available. I talked with some friends and just kept going back and forth - at first, I was VERY against it. I thought if I could just make it 5 more weeks then I wouldn't have to worry about it, and I had read that it takes a few weeks to get into your system anyway. So, I had pretty much made up my mind that I wasn't going to get the vaccine. After all, all the people I had heard of that had the swine flu were better within days, so what is the big deal?

Then I started hearing reports of the pregnant women that were getting the swine flu. Many are in the hospital, very very sick on ventilators. Some have died along with their unborn babies. Apparently, pregnant women have been getting VERY sick. While some others are getting very sick also, I had only heard of a few bad cases and the rest were fine...until I started hearing about the pregnant women. I was pretty scared about it, especially just thinking that the health department was only giving it out to pregnant women...that made me think in itself.

Today I visited my dr. for my 34 week (although I'm 2 days away from 35 weeks) checkup. Everything is looking great!! I am even able to go down to only checking my blood sugars 2 times a day instead of 4 since they are so good. However, he did not hesitate to tell me to go get vaccinated immediately. I didn't ask a lot of questions because I didn't feel the need to. If my VERY conservative (I'm taking - very conservative - won't even approve 4D ultrasounds because they aren't FDA approved!) doctor is telling me to get the vaccine, then I know it's important.

So, needless to say, Andy and I made a lovely trip to the Pulaski County Health Department and I am praying I didn't pick up hepatitis while I was there... :P We were there about an hour and a half and left feeling like we needed to shower and me with an incredibly sore arm.

But, it's done. I just have to trust God that everything will be fine...but I don't have any regrets. I'd rather get the vaccine then get the h1n1 flu and risk both of our lives. It doesn't make it any scarier, but there are many things in life that are scary...we just have to trust that God will help us through it. So, for all of my friends that were asking - yes, after some of my own research, talking to my doctor, family, and husband, and prayer - if you are pregnant, I think you should totally get the vaccine. That is just my opinion, and I'm not posting that on Facebook unless I'm asked because I don't want to deal with the controversy, but I just can't risk losing my baby or becoming very sick myself.

Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."



Time Keeps Ticking Away

It has gotten so hard to blog these days! Sometimes I feel like there isn't enough time in the day...or get everything done that needs to be done. Andy and I have been really busy these past two weeks. He has been working on remodeling my grandparent's kitchen floors, my mom had back surgery to try to work on her stenosis and remove two ruptured disks, we've both had school and work and, of course, we are trying to get a few things done at a time around the house to get ready for our little one!

I am 34 weeks tomorrow and I can hardly believe it! I have had more energy this past week and have actually felt good enough to do some cleaning although there is still so much left to do! I can't believe that Emory could come anytime...although I really would like for her to make it to 38 weeks, she could technically make her appearance whenever she would like!

Last Friday Andy and I went to our good friend Ashley's house and did our maternity pictures. Ashley has been a long-time friend and also a family member (by marriage) for years. She has her own photography business ( and is such a great and creative photographer! We got some awesome shots that I, to choose a few to get printed will definitely be difficult! She is also going to do our birth and newborn pictures, which we will be thankful for as well.

Here are a couple of our maternity pictures that we love!

We are very blessed to have such a wonderful friend/family member who we feel comfortable with to take such great pictures! Thank you Ashley!

Psalms 127:3-5
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.


Fatigue, Heartburn, Hormones, Mood Swings, Back Aches, Swollen Ankles...

...and the list goes on!!! I'm definitely not trying to complain about being 31 1/2 weeks pregnant. I am so happy to be at this point...but I can't wait to be to the finish line!! This week heartburn has taken a prominent role in every evening and it is very uncomfortable. There isn't much you can do about it, either, except take Pepcid and wish it away! I have been a little more tired this week with swollen ankles and occasional back pain as well as moodiness from all of the hormones. I got really down on Sunday about my diabetes but am doing better today.

Today at work I was talking about the diabetes thing with our nurse and she was so caring and sweet! She told me I was doing a great job and better than all of the pregnant women she dealt with that had the diagnosis when she worked at the health department. She said she can tell I am a perfectionist, like she is, and she is very right. She also told me to try to relax and not put so much pressure on myself. It was great to hear and she made me feel a lot better. She is totally right - I'm such a perfectionist and obsessed with making sure I'm eating the right amount of everything and my blood sugars are perfect. This has led to a lot of stress and even some anger, but I'm trying to take a step back and re-evaluate. Only 8 1/2 more weeks! I can do this. If not for me, for Emory!! Another thing that struck me when I was talking to the nurse is that I now understand what other's go through that have diabetes. It is difficult, trying, emotional, and frustrating. It's not fair. I understand that now and have a better understanding of the many out there that sometimes don't eat what they are supposed to.

On a happier note, last Saturday was our first shower at our house! It was such a great experience. The decorations, games, cake, and company were all wonderful! We got some great things also and are so excited. Our next shower is this Saturday and I can't wait!

Here are a couple of pictures of me from the shower.

I also wanted to put a few pictures of the nursery up. We are still doing a few things, like painting the wicker baskets, figuring out stuff to put on the walls (wall art) and getting cushions made for the glider. But, here are a few pictures.

Psalms 100
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."


Living for Another

I titled this blog what I did because I have, in the last few days, become strangely aware of the lengths that you will go for your children . . . even your unborn ones. I left you with the information that I had failed my first glucose test, and on Wednesday I went back for the three hour, which, I might add, is much worse than the 1 hour. This was a fasting test, so at 8 a.m., on an empty stomach, I had to drink the orange drink containing 100 grams of sugar in 10 minutes. This is enough to make anyone vomit, but the lady drawing my blood with the gold front tooth kept reminding me that if I didn't keep it down I would have to take the test again another day. So I tried my hardest and was successful at absorbing myself in my book for long enough for the feeling to pass. I had blood draws at the beginning, after 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours, and then stumbled off to find some food a.s.a.p.

I found out Thursday morning that I failed my second test which means I have Gestational Diabetes. If you know me well, you know that this was devestating news at first. I have been scared of not passing this test since the very beginning, but I kept telling myself that Registered Dietitians don't get Gestational Diabetes! I was utterly wrong. It is helpful knowing that I didn't necessarily bring this on in any shape or form - though I can contribute it to how crappy I have felt at certain times, such as after a bowl of ice cream.

Anyway, I am supposed to go in next week to the Diabetes Center and - most likely - meet with a dietitian (ironically). It will be good for me since it has been awhile since I've had to think about the basics of diabetes, though I have pulled out my information from college and have a pretty good grasp of my diet changes. It's amazing how things come back to you so quickly - especially when it's you that is the patient. It's also amazing, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, what you will do for your child. In the past three days I have looked past blueberry scones (my favorite), Sister S. rolls, Dr. Pepper, and a variety of other deserts. I have counted everything I've eaten and recorded every detail. The willpower I never thought I had is there in full force, but only because it's not just me that is at stake here.

If you know me, you know I am a carb junky, a lover of all things chocolate, and one that never denies myself for the sake of a few calories. I am a dietitian that believes in moderation and portion control, but not deprivation.

Now that I've ranted enough about that: the nursery is almost finished! I don't want to post pictures just yet, but it looks beautiful. There are still finishing touches to be made and we only have just a few days to get the house ready for one of my showers that is being thrown at my house. I can't wait!

I will leave you with my 29 week picture:

John 3:16
"For God so loveth the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everylasting life."


Getting Ready for Emory - 28 Weeks

Sigh..yet again I had an entire blog written and ready to come finish today and I just deleted the entire thing. It just didn't seem to fit everything that is going on in my mind today.

I am so thankful to be 28 weeks now. YES I know I have not updated my picture yet...just haven't gotten around to it. I like to try to get those when I look halfway decent which is usually never during the week! Emory is so active now. I have even felt her hiccup, which is definitely so exciting. I went to the doctor yesterday for my landmark 28 week visit. I was so excited because it is the beginning of so many things. For one, I have now entered into the 3rd trimester! Two, I now have to start going to the doctor every 2 weeks, which is another exciting step and I hope it will make the time go by faster. Third, I now get to get measured at each appointment also. He pulled out the measuring tape yesterday and said "you're big enough now that we can measure you" and I thought, "no kidding?!" But it was a neat experience.

Yesterday I also had my glucose test and a CBC drawn. I had to drink the dreaded orange sugar drink and wait an hour and then they drew my blood. As soon as I started drinking the drink, Dr. Garner came in and wanted me to lay down so he could listen to Emory's heartbeat. She immediately responded to the sugar! She kicked at him as he moved the doppler around!

Today I found out that my CBC came back great (meaning - no anemia) but, sadly, I did not pass my glucose test. I have to return tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. for my fasting 3 hour test. I'm a little nervous but just going to take it a step at a time. If I end up failing it means I have gestational diabetes, and if that is the case, I will do whatever I need to do to control it and keep us healthy. If I pass, great, but I still am going to try to watch what I eat. I really don't feel that I eat terrible, but there are times when I probably shouldn't eat that bowl of ice cream or whatever.

Andy has been super busy around the house and in his MBA program at U of A. He has really been on the ball trying to get the house finished and I'm so thankful to have him!

In other news...I have had a rather disappointing day but it's something I'd rather not discuss publicly at this point. I guess life hands you these types of days so you can appreciate the better ones.

Hopefully I will get a new picture posted soon. Just a few more weeks now...and in the meantime, fall is coming!!!

Philippians 4:6
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."


Project E.L.I.

Below is an exerpt from my friend Jodie's blog.

“Thine eyes did see my substance being yet unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
(Psalm 139:16)

God has a special plan for each one of us before we are born. Some people live long lives to fulfill God’s plan, while others live only moments. Eli McGinley is one of those who lived only a few days but has made a huge impact on the world around him. He was born August 3 in Little Rock, Ark., with his twin brother Walker and passed away 5 days later on August 8.

Eli was born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect. His parents, Jesse and Jodie, allowed his birth to be videotaped for a documentary on raising a child with spina bifida. Although they never expected their son to be taken by his heavenly father so soon, they knew it was a part of God’s plan. The couple wants Eli’s life to touch many other families. They have donated his organs so that other children can live. The couple has also requested that loved ones donate to the unfinished video project that will now be named E.L.I. (Every Life Inspires).

The goal of the video is to be a source of comfort to families expecting a child with spina bifida. As the McGinley’s know, there are a lot of questions and anxiety that come with the pre-natal diagnosis. They hope their story, as well as the stories of other Arkansans touched by spina bifida will provide strength, comfort and hope to expecting parents.

Donations can be made to Community Connections, a 501(c)3 organization. Checks can be made out to Community Connections/Project: ELI and mailed to 2740 College Ave. Conway, AR 72034. The goal of Community Connections is to positively impact the lives and needs of children and families in Arkansas. The organization offers recreational activities for children with disabilities. For more information

To make a donation online, please visit


Lead Me

In the dream, my father and I walk out of the thick forest to a huge clearing. All around the clearing stand tall trees that are so thick it is scary to try to look past them as there is nothing but a black abyss. My father and I start walking across the field, holding hands. He is leading me. I am scared; we are all alone in this clearing with scary forests all around. We get close to the other end of the clearing when we spot three huge deer. The deer aren’t really deer, though. They are deer to us, but they look like over-sized dogs. They walk right up to us, not in a friendly way, but I feel okay about it. I notice then that there are carcasses nearby, the skull of a huge animal along with a dead bird of some sort.

We are approaching the side of the clearing and the forest is in front of us. We spot an opening on the side where someone has made a trail, so my father leads me in that direction. However, we also spot two mountain lions in the thick. My father motions for me to be quiet as we enter the brush, heading in the opposite direction from where we spotted the cats. A snap from a branch. The cats turn toward us – we have been spotted. They expose their sharp, white, gleaming teeth. “They know we’re here,” he says; I can tell that this man that is scared of nothing is frightened. I wake up.

I don’t know why I had this dream last night, but I know it means something. While my dreams don’t always mean something, I feel strange about this one. I don’t know if it is the fact that I’m nearing something that I have no idea about in my life – the birth of my firstborn child – or if there is something I am subconsciously scared about that I just don’t realize. I know my father can stand for a variety of things in this dream. He has always been a safety net for me, a strong warrior, scared of nothing. But he is also my father, my second father, as I have another one that leads me throughout my fears as well in a different fashion. Perhaps there can be a spiritual lesson applied to this dream that I had last night – there is a scary, unknown, time ahead, but I am being led by my Father, whom I feel safe with despite the fear, whom I know will lead me in the right direction, away from harm, to safety.

This dream is probably the result of s t r e s s….stress in the form of finances, of my final MBA course, of my husband beginning his MBA, of feeling more exhausted each day as I get bigger, of family issues, of sadness for a friend and what she has been through lately, of excitement and fear regarding the birth of Emory. Of the unknown that lay ahead. Of the events that have led up to this point. Of what could happen…of the way the cards could fall.

The dream is a reminder that I can’t worry about these things. It reminds me of a hymn I can recite by heart that we sing occasionally on Sundays.

Lead me, Lord…Lead me in thy righteousness
Make thy way plain before my face
For it is thou, Lord…thou, Lord only
That makest me dwell in safety.

25 weeks…

Psalms 18:36
"Thou has enlarged my steps under me, that my feed did not slip."



The past few days have been difficult, though I am not, by any means, the one that has is bearing the weight of the situation. A couple of days ago I posted a congratulations to a good friend of mine who gave birth to twin boys on Monday. I know she was so extatic to see her little boys and although there was some uncertainty regarding baby Eli, as he was found to have Spina Bifida, I don't think anyone was prepared for God's decision regarding this little one. Eli was found to have more problems than they had thought, including a brain that did not fully develop, and my friend and her husband were faced with the decision to take Eli off of life support as he would have no quality of life.

Yesterday they took Eli off of life support and this morning he passed away. It is so unfair and hard to grasp that this little one, who is only 4 days old, has now left this life. It's hard to offer comforting words when you can't even comfort yourself and you know the pain is much worse for those experiencing it. It's hard for me to find the right words to say to my family and friends that have asked how my friend is that was having twins, since I talk about her often in reference to my own pregnancy.

I spent a lot of time thinking Wednesday night about the decision that they had to make and how in one of her latest blogs, my friend expressed her fear of giving birth this first week of August, as 21 years ago her father passed away during this week, and one year ago she lost her second child through a miscarriage this week. My thoughts also raced back to the recent blog that said that my dear friend and her husband were donating Eli's organs in hopes that another struggling baby would survive. This got me thinking about the plans that God has that are clearly nothing that we have for ourselves. It made me think about how God gives us so much and He also takes away. It made me think of the circle of life, of her father dying 21 years ago as well as her second miscarriage, and now she has lost her third child. But, I also thought, in wonder, about the twin that is surviving. I thought about how he will never know his brother that he shared a tiny space with for 9 months and how he will only be a story that is told when he gets older. I thought about how he is truly a miracle.

It is hard to think about for anyone, but I think the fact that I am now approaching 7 months of pregnancy in the next few weeks, it has hit even harder than ever. I can't imagine saying good-bye when you have hardly gotten to say hello. She will go home and be faced with the overwhelming fact that what was once a nursery decorated for two will now only be for one. She will be faced with reminders that he is not there.

I can only pray that she will also be faced with reminders that his short life changed her and her family and that she is blessed with the miracle of another child, a twin that survived, along with the memory of Eli. I can only hope that with time she will know that she made the right decision during this bitter sweet first week of August. I can only imagine how strong the past two years have made her, and how God is working in her life. I hope and pray that this is only a strengthener of her faith and that she will understand that God will continue to be her rock and refuge during this time.

I feel like I have so much to say, but no way to say I will just sign off and ask that everyone keep this family in your thoughts. Keep in mind how blessed we it can so easily be taken away...and take the time to be thankful and tell those that you love how you feel.

Psalm 18:2
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the hornof my salvation, my stronghold."


Pregnancy Hormones or Just Stupid People?

What a week..! and it is only Wednesday!

I am battling a wide variety of emotions this week. I am stressed out, tired, anxious, and happy all at the same time. I have been working on my final projects for my Advanced Healthcare Administration class and my Capstone (FINAL course) class this week and it has proven to be exhausting. I am so ready to be done with these classes! My Capstone course is pretty tough, so I will be so relieved when I finish. Tomorrow starts week 6 of 6 and I am so incredibly relieved...or I will be, when my final projects are turned in.

I am so tired this week. I have started getting up at least one or two times a night now. As soon as I lay down my sweet Emory starts livin' la vida loca in my belly, which I don't mind, but it does make for an early morning. Also, we have now hit our yearly flea infestation.

Yes, that is right. FLEAS!

I hate fleas! We got them last year in the middle of the summer. We finally had the pest people come out and bomb our house and yard in order to get rid of them, which worked wonders, but we were so hoping they wouldn't come back this year. Unfortunately, they have, and with vengeance! I am so paranoid now and I always feel like they are crawling on me, which is an absolute dreadful feeling!! Andy took the dogs to the vet today and got them flea pills to take and he is supposed to call and set up the flea bomb for this week. We don't really have the money to be spending on this situation right now, but I'd rather eat Easy Mac every day then have fleas hopping on me!

Good news: Andy got accepted into the U of A MMBA program. I am excited, but a little nervous! It's a very rigorous program. He is required to go up to Fayetteville once a month for class, which isn't bad, but I know he will be really busy the next two years if he is able to land a full time job, be in school full time, and also have a newborn. But we will make it happen. The program is the best MBA program in the state so we are both very eager to see how this affects our future.

Bad news: I am incredibly touchy this week for some reason. I keep wondering if it is because I am full-fledged pregnant or if it's really the stupidity of other people. For instance, today I had to go to Drug Emporium in Little Rock (Yes - they did have a shooting in this area a few weeks ago) to buy some special food for some of our kiddos on special diets. I was walking out and about to cross into the parking lot. I stopped and looked both ways as the two women next to me did, when a loud scrreeeeeeaaaccchhh sounded. We all jumped back to see a ghetto girl in a ghetto car kicking some guy out of her passenger seat and yelling obscenities that I shudder thinking my unborn child could possibly hear. Terrified, the three of us attempted to cross into the parking lot, having seen that the ghetto girl was stopped and kicking the ghetto boy out of her car, when she scccreeeeacccchhheeed and floored it, zooming past us right as we crossed the street. All the while, she was yelling out the window, gold grill gleaming in the August sun, "Y'all call the po-leece! Call the po-leece on him!"

Needless to say, I ran to my car and shut my door and zoomed away. Honestly, I was shaking a little. Who knows what these crazy people can do? I am also a bit more scared - of everything - now that I am pregnant. I have always been the type of person to take on huge projects by myself, not realizing how small I really am, such as moving heavy objects or climbing on high ladders or whatnot. Now, the thought of getting on a ladder terrifies me only because there's a possibility I could fall.

So, I am learning what my new limits are at this point. It is quite obvious that I have some specific limits by looking at me. Below is my 24 week picture...actually 24 weeks 2 days.

I feel so not pretty in this picture. I have had to upgrade to bigger scrub pants and bigger shirts in order to not reveal my belly when I move around. However, you can clearly see my belly, along with our new wall treatment in the kitchen. It is a linen-type treatment.

I also have some pictures of Emory's room. The paint is *almost* done!

This is my lovely husband, very late at night, obviously excited that he finished the stripes on the walls.

Picture of the walls and bookcases. The bookcases, of course, are going to be cleaned soon as we can figure out where to put all the books. I am not leaving the books in there, please rest assured! Notice the crib FULL of hand-me-down clothes and new clothes our friends and family have already given us!

The top is a very very pale pink - Baby's Basinnet, and the bottom is a pearl translucent paint with pink mixed in alternating with the color of the trim, an off-white. The pink is shimmery, but you can't really tell in the pictures.

So, we are making progress. I'm a little nervous about Andy starting school because he will be busy again - and we still need to finish painting the kitchen, finish the living room, make our headboard, finish the hall and nursery and extra bedroom and paint the crown in the bathroom and he wants to paint the bedroom and....
The list goes on and on. We will see how it all turns out. I'm sure once school is over I'll get restless and start doing all kinds of crazy things.
That is my update for the week. OH! I do want to announce that my friend, Jodie, had her twin boys on Monday. I am so happy for her! She was exactly 36 weeks along, which is significant for twins. Eli and Walker are doing great. Walker had to be put on oxygen when he was born as he was having slight trouble breathing, and Eli, as you may remember from my previous posts, has Spina Bifida. He was taken right away to Arkansas Children's Hospital for surgery. I haven't heard how that is all going, so please keep them in your prayers!
Until next week -
Joshua 1:9
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."


23 Weeks

I wrote a huge post about a week ago but deleted the entire thing. So much can happen in a week, even little things that change your outlook on everything.

This week is 23 weeks - and 22 weeks was hard! I made my monthly work trip to Batesville and Mt. Home this week and realized that the trip is getting harder and harder each month. It took me an entire day to recover. Not to mention that I set home on Wednesday with a 3 hour drive ahead of me and realized my scrub pants were cutting off my circulation. I almost had to pull over, it was so uncomfortable, but I made it home and promptly went and got new scrub pants the next day! I am excited to not have to suffer anymore with pants that are cutting into me!

But that means, yes, that I am growing quite a bit (of course!). My good friend Rachael that lives a few houses down brought some maternity clothes down for me to borrow and I am so excited! She also introduced us to her 4 (now 5) week son, Weston, and gave us the low-down on how life with a newborn has been for her.

Andy spent the past 2 weeks nesting (yes - nesting!). I came home one day to him cleaning out the entire attic and some of the closets! I was so excited that he tackled this because it has been something on my "To-Do" list forever now, except now Andy refuses to let me climb up into the attic or on a ladder to get up in some of the closets. He also began painting Emory's room as well as ... the kitchen! We have had the kitchen paint for probably 6 months at least. I think seeing my growing belly has made him more anxious to get going! I think, also, since he has had some time off of school, he has had the motivation to get some of the projects done that we have been thinking about.

I'm feeling great and can't complain, though the 20 weeks are going a lot slower than I'd like. I think part of this is that for the past two years, I have taken a vacation in July or August, which is when I start to get burned out at work. So, I'm eager to have the baby for obvious reasons but also because I am craving some time to regroup - as well as to enjoy the holiday season, which I can't wait for! is a new list of things that I am discovering about pregnancy.

1) Men nest, too! Who can complain about this!?

2) Pregnancy advice never ends, and most of it is quite obvious. YES, I realize that I will be busy when I have the baby and will want to eventually get out of the house, but NO, that does not mean I still don't want a break from working full time and being in school!

3) I have realized why pregnant women and pedicures go hand in hand...when I painted my toenails about 2 weeks ago, I realized it would probably be the last!

4) The bigger this little one gets, the harder she kicks! And, she has discovered how to kick my bladder...which gives me instant feeling that I have to pee.

5) It is amazing what cute clothes can do for a pregnant woman's confidence!

I'm sure there are more, but my brain is a little frazzled right now. Here are some recent pictures.

22 weeks 5 days. This is not a good picture, taken after a day of cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning!

23 weeks! Still looking tired.

Isaiah 41:10
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."


Halfway to Being a Mommy

Well, a little more than halfway as I will officially be 21 weeks in just two days; however, this week I am 20 weeks and halfway there!! I am so excited to make it this far and am discovering new and exciting things all the time that are making me even more excited for the future. Wednesday Andy and I went for our 20 week ultrasound and check-up. It was exciting but not as exciting as our last two ultrasounds since we already knew that we were having a little girl. We did tell the ultrasound technician that we had already had one from a friend and that we were pretty confident it was a girl. She went right to the area, found the "parts" and confirmed again that it is a little girl. She also did a quite in-depth look at her head, spine, kidneys, bladder, heart, and extremeties and said everything looks good and that from all we can see now there are no abnormalities.

It was so neat to see Emory on the screen this time because I could actually see AND feel her at the same time! I saw her punch my stomach a few times. She loves to keep her arms up around her face and eyes and even in a "boxer" kind of motion. She also kind of yawned at one point and smacked her lips a few times again. It is so neat to really see her in there, but at the same time a little bitter sweet since she is "so close but so far away" for lack of a better cheesy term.

I was especially interested this appointment in my weight gain since I have grown A LOT in the past week. Over the 4th of July weekend Andy and I really noticed my protruding belly and now it just seems to get bigger and bigger. I had gained a total of 13 pounds and Dr. Garner said this was a great weight gain for how far along I am. I then had to (ugh) get another Pap Smear since I am on a 6 month rotation after my previous diagnosis and removal of cervical dysplasia.

Besides that update, all is about the same. This week our cook has been out at work and so we have been trading off between 2-3 people covering the responsibilities. I had one disaster this week that almost set off the fire alarms, but we were able to get the smoke cleared out before they went off (thank heavens). It only smelled like burned food for about 4-5 hours :P I am so happy our cook will be back on Monday! Cooking for 90-100 children is not easy!

Overall, I'm feeling great this week and ready for the next 20! (almost 19). Tomorrow we are going to register and are very excited about this. I am also in week 2 of 6 weeks of my two classes; these are my last two of the program that are mandatory. The two I have signed up for this fall are electives, so I don't think I will feel as pressured as I do now.

Below are my two 20 week pictures, though they were taken today at 20 weeks 5 days.

Growing more and more every day! Sorry this blog is a bit boring...hopefully more interesting things will come in the next few weeks. Until then, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Psalms 1:24
"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD."


Liberated but Uncertain

Here I am again, world.

Today has been an event filled day for me concerning my personal life. As I have told some of you, I have decided to deactivate my Facebook account for personal reasons. I won't go into specifics, but I will say that I feel people have been very hateful to me, my family, and other people that are very close to me through Facebook posts, comments, etc. Most of it is family related, but I just feel that it is uncalled for and the public nature of all of it really makes me upset. I am not a super-private person, but I do like some privacy, and Facebook is NOT the place to argue with family or post one-sided slanderings.

Facebook makes it easy to share your lives and your feelings. However, it also makes it easy to openly slander others and say hurtful things to other people. You never know who may take offense to something, and so it is very important to hold your tongue, even when someone says something hurtful to you first. A big reason I decided to deactivate my account was my way of putting "holding my tongue" into surety. Our human will makes us want to say things to defend ourselves and sometimes that can be disastrous. I am trying to learn from others' recent mistakes and to hold my tongue better, as we are told to do in Psalms.

I may return to the Facebook world. It's kind of sad, in a way. I can remember being in graduate school (the first time) in 2005, sitting in my apartment when my friend Adam set up my Facebook account. He was the first to write on my wall. He said "Hi, I'm sitting at your computer right now" or something. I have always enjoyed Facebook and it is sad that something family related has driven me from it. But I have way more important things to worry about right now. . .not to mention, I was spending way too much of my time checking on people and reading people's updates, etc.

I write under the heading of Liberated because I do feel liberated. Facebook has been weighing on me lately - I know that sounds crazy, but we have had some things happen to where I felt convicted to delete some "friends" and I have felt very uncomfortable about it since then. I write under the heading of Uncertain because...that describes the rest of my life right now.

I am uncertain about the future right now. We are still waiting on Andy to hear back from the many jobs he has applied for and it has been a major stress for us. I just ask that you guys please keep us in your prayers so he can find a stable salary-paying job. This commission stuff is just not cutting it, especially in this economy. I am uncertain because I am almost 20 weeks pregnant and am needing to think about maternity leave, but finances have us in a bind.

I keep telling myself to just take a step back and remember my last post - what matters, what doesn't - as well as to not think about tomorrow, which God commands us to do. It's so hard not to think or worry about tomorrow!! It's impossible! . . . but isn't it said that all things are possible with Christ? To not worry about the future is possible? To not wonder how the bills will get paid and how the credit card company just raised their interest rate??

This is something we will get through, inevitably, and I will look back and say, "remember that time...?" Right now it seems huge and daunting and suffocating, but one day when it comes to this area I will hopefully feel Liberated as well.

I don't want to make this post completely depressing so I will say that on a lighter note, we have decided to name our baby girl Emory Ryan Arnold. It took forever for Andy to finally be okay with announcing this. I have loved the name Emory for months now, even before I was pregnant, and really didn't have any other girl names picked out except for that. Andy liked the name Ryan for a girl, so we just decided to put them together. We are very happy with the name!

On Thursday we had another ultrasound with Carolyn to make sure we were, indeed, having a girl. She got some awesome pictures again! Emory was smacking her lips and sort of smiling, lifting up her arms, and really squirming around this time!

My 18 week picture...this was taken a little over a week ago...growing daily!!

Here are some pictures of our crib that we picked up on Friday. I was so excited to find a beautiful crib on Craigslist for a great price!! I had been looking at this collection for the nursery anyway at Kids Furniture but it was super expensive. When I saw the listing on Craigslist I immediately emailed the lady about it and she was so sweet to hold it for us until we had our ultrasound to confirm that we were having a girl. Thanks to my mom for buying the crib for is so special to me already!

That is all I have for now. Hopefully now that I'm not on Facebook so much I can update this blog more! Soon to follow - 20 week picture and update :)

Psalms 141:3
Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.


Things That Matter, Things That Don't

I was on the road today and am now laying in my hotel bed reflecting on all of my thoughts from today. I was driving to Mt. Home listening to the new Rascal Flatts CD when I heard a song entitled "Things That Matter." I was automatically blown away by the lyrics in the song and it made me think about all of my worries, frustrations, and anger towards certain things that I have yet to move on from. I had been thinking before the song came on about how hurtful some things in life are, and more specifically, how hurtful some people can be to you. I was thinking how crazy it is that you can have a long-term relationship with someone that ends badly and you can only remember the horrible things that person said and did to you, but not the positive. I was thinking about how powerful words and actions are, and how they stick with people. I was thinking how awfully hard it is to forget a negative word...or remember a positive one.

Then the song came on, and all of the thoughts that I was mulling around slipped away. I will share the first verse here:

Sometimes he lets that boss get in his head
He can’t see past that mountain of deadlines on his desk
5 o'clock he’s that last one out of the gate
And he gets cut off, flipped off, ticked off... out on the interstate
And he wonders why this world won’t leave him alone
Till he hears that little voice holler, “daddy’s home”
Things that matter...
Things that don’t.

This made me really think about my life and put it in perspective. I have been really stressed out about things revolving around the baby (childcare, Pediatricians, maternity leave, etc). I have really been struggling with things at work and wondering what God wants of me and what He is going to use me for in this world. I have been stressed about my actions and words, and the way I present myself to others . . . as well as being worried about job situations for my husband.

And then I thought, does it matter? We are told not to think about tomorrow and not to worry about what is to come . . . so why do I find myself contemplating all of these issues that are days, weeks, months away? Why do I not take more time to focus on the NOW . . . on the fact that I have a wonderful, loving husband, a very tough set of classes that I am learning so much from, and the wonderful feeling of feeling by baby kick inside me for the first time?

I am working on myself, which is a never ending process. I am trying to remind myself throughout the day what matters and what doesn't. In ten years, will I remember this day? Will I remember the ugly work e-mail from a co-worker? Will I remember how frustrating and tiring working full time is, or what a supposed "friend" said to me out of spite?

I don't have a lot of energy to say much else, but I urge you to think this thought throughout your day and see if it makes a difference to you.

Things that matter, things that don't.

Matthew 6:25-34
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


It's a....GIRL!

Yesterday we visited our long-time friend Carolyn who is an Ultrasound Tech. Carolyn was so happy to let us do an early Ultrasound to try and find out what we were having, and after some awesome shots she concluded that she is 95% sure that it's a G I R L!

We are so excited about this news. Of course, we still are going to have some follow-up ultrasounds to make sure, but the pictures we got are very clear and there is no "hot dog"! Baby girl Arnold was very active and wiggling around quite a bit. I wish I could feel her moving like she was in there, but that will come soon enough.

Here is a picture:

Unfortunately, I scanned a lot of the pictures as TIFF files which aren't uploading right. But, you get the point.

When we left the hospital, I called my mom to tell her and it was so neat to hear her excitement for her first grandbaby girl. We got in the car and Andy handed me two girly outfits that he had bought that day! He is so sweet and thoughtful, he went and bought girl and boy clothes so he could have something to give me when we found out. I was so excited and felt so lucky to have such a wonderful husband.

Our baby girl name is pretty much picked out, but I want to make sure Andy feels comfortable with it before I tell the world. I think he is very aware of what a big decision it is! :)

Anyway, that is all I have for now. I will keep everyone updated and hopefully post a 16 week picture in the next few days. Until then...

Genesis 1:22
"God blessed them and said, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.'"


14 Ain't So Friendly

This week I am celebrating 14 weeks of pregnancy. I wish I could say I was so extactic about this fact, but I haven't had much energy to think that way. Monday (Memorial Day) I was blessed with waking up at 8 a.m. to a stomach virus, which left me in bed until 7 p.m. with a bucket by my side and my wonderful husband bringing me Gatorade and popsicles. Needless to say, it was not pleasant and I didn't eat for about a day and a half!!

However, I am making up for that now.

Here is a 14 week shot. Between week 13 and 14 I grew so much!! I am so excited because it is so real now.

Lord willing, we will go to meet our friend Carolyn, who works as an Ultrasound Tech, on JUNE 8 to find out if this little one will be in pink or blue!! Of course, this is only providing the baby is positioned right, but we are *so* excited and so thankful to have a friend that is happy to share this with us and give us a sneak peek!! Just F.Y.I. . . that is only one and a half weeks away!

Onto other news, I am surviving school so far, but it ain't easy. I have 3 more weeks left of the first, it goes by so fast. I am somehow managing, although right now I really should be working on my final projects instead of blogging.

My husband has started remodeling the right side of the house, which will include the nursery, the guest bath, and the mother and mother-in-law suite :). Our extra bedroom is a we decided to completely remodel it and the bathroom to make it very inviting for the many guests we will be thankful to have this Thanksgiving and Christmas, including some close friends from Texas hopefully. Our bathroom is almost finished, but here is a teaser :)

I have a lot of energy this afternoon (yay!) so I am off to finish cleaning (which is SUCH a chore when you are pregnant...things just pile up and up and up and finally you get this BOOM of energy!). Thanks to everyone for your support and advice, you are amazing!!

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.