Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Recap: 2014

By far, this year has flown by quicker than any other year. I am sad to see it go, but also super happy to say hello to 2015. At church on Sunday, we looked over verses from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3. It made me really excited for the new year. Here's what the verses say:
As you can see, verses 1-8 talk about there being a time for everything. My prayer for your 2015 is that you'll give God all the time that he needs to perform miracles in your life. Keep praying, and he will hear you. May the new year bring abundant blessings to your life!

Here's a quick summary of what I accomplished in 2014, plus a look at some of my favorite photos from the year!
Praise God for giving me so many blessings in 2014!

Monday, December 29, 2014

I Confess Sesh

I confess... that I may be converting from a PC person to an Apple person. Hubby bought me a new MacBook Air laptop and so far, me likey... a loty. Over the weekend, we took everything out of our current office (now that I'm done with school!) and we're getting it baby ready. Since the desktop no longer has a space in our house, I needed a new laptop for blogging. Winning.
I confess... that I haven't been as lazy as I had hoped during the Christmas break. I, sadly, only have a couple more days left of my break, and I intend to have at least ONE super duper lazy day. I want to do nothing but stay in my PJ's all day.

I confess... that I am obsessed with the baby inside my belly. I swear, I cannot contain myself too much longer. Hurry up, January 3. I want to spill the beans about the gender and the name of our mini.

I confess... that I really want a Selfie Stick. I only first heard about it from my cousin on Christmas Eve, and every since then, those things are popping up everywhere. I want one!
I confess... that I've been cleaning the house like crazy lately. I actually kind of enjoy organizing things and making our house look nice. On Friday, two of my girlfriends are coming into town to stay with me, which I am ultra excited about, but that also means that I gotta do some more cleaning before then!

I confess... that my Christmas was filled with a lot of blessings. I was spoiled rotten with all the gifts and baby-lovin! I just cannot wait until 2015's Christmas because Baby Skinner will be here!

I confess... that I am sad about my DVR being erased. I had at least 4 brand new episodes of Snapped recorded, and I am kinda butt-hurt that they're all erased. I have no idea how it happened, but everything is gone. It's a sad day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pregnancy: Week 16

How far along: 16 weeks and 1 day.

Baby Size: An avocado (about 4.5 to 5 inches)
 
Sleep: OH man. Sleep has always been crappy for me. It surely hasn't improved with pregnancy. I am typically a stomach sleeper, and that's pretty impossible when you're bulging like I am!
 
Gender: We know, but we're not spilling the beans yet :) I am excited to share though!

Movement: I think so! But seeing as how this is my first pregnancy, I'm not sure if what I felt was movement. However, this week is supposed to be the first week that I can feel something. I cannot wait to feel more kicks and movement throughout the pregnancy.

Best moment this week: Since this week is filled with Christmas activities with various families, I love all of the questions that I am getting about my baby. I can already tell that baby is so loved. When we gave momma her Christmas gift, she cried. It was all grandma stuff! Other than me and Ross, I think mom is most excited about baby.
 
Looking forward to: I am just so looking forward to continual growth. Our next doctor appointment is on January 2, and I'm really excited to hear the heartbeat again. That is the most beautiful sound I've ever heard - I swear!

Food cravings: Nothing out of the ordinary. However, I am either 1) starving, or 2) completely stuffed. I can't seem to find a happy medium. Everyone says just to snack throughout the day, but it's hard for me with the way my work schedule is. 
 
What I miss: Although it's not a big deal, I miss being able to eat whatever I want to. For example, certain cheeses, sandwiches, and hot dogs. Sure I could technically eat these all, within certain perimeters, but I have totally given them up for the best health of my baby.
 
Symptoms: I have had the worst restless leg syndrome ever! My muscles and joints will just hurt so bad sometimes. It's mainly in my right knee, my right elbow, and my right wrist. It's the strangest. I read online that perhaps I should take an iron supplement. I am, after all, slightly anemic (only during pregnancy) so maybe that's why.
 
Nursery: I made my first DIY project for baby's room. I cannot wait to share what it looks like. Plus, I will have a tutorial available on my blog here soon!

Wedding rings on or off? Still on. However, I noticed that in the morning time, they are quite snug. 

Mood: Thankful. Grateful. Happy.

Daddy-isms: Finding out the gender together last week was so much fun. It was just hubby & I in the room, and we were so excited when they said, "It's a ______!" The look on his face was priceless :)

What I'm looking forward to: Pretty much everything. But I am most looking forward to feeling my baby kick me over and over again!
 
Prayer: God, thank you so much for this baby. I am continually reminded how much you love me through him or her. I am amazed by how fast and healthy my baby is growing. I know that you have big plans in store for my baby. I pray that you would continue to have your hand over my baby and make sure they are perfectly formed in your eyes. I also pray for lots of kicks and movement from my baby. I pray that my baby jumps inside my womb just by hearing your name. May my child love you fiercely, even as he or she grows inside my belly. In Jesus' name I pray, amen!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

If You Need a Miracle

Truth is... I'm feeling quite accomplished. Not only have I caught up on blogging (you should go back and read all of last week's post if you haven't yet), but I have also been super productive preparing for baby Skinner.

On Thursday, we found out the gender of our sweet baby. We could not be happier even if we tried. Because I was so thrilled, I decided to buy several things for baby on Etsy and start organizing his or her room. Thus far, I have about 15 outfits hung up, and the nursery colors/design is already decided. You can expect a lot of DIY-ing from me. Also, our Gender Reveal party is coming up. We're having dinner with our closest friends and family to share the good news on January 3. After we share with those who are closest to us, then we'll announce it on social media.

I have to say: it all makes sense now. It will probably make even more sense once the baby is actually here in my arms too. What makes sense, you may ask? It makes sense that God was waiting for the perfect time to deliver THIS baby to Ross and I. If we had gotten pregnant at any other moment in life, we wouldn't have had the journey that we did leading straight to THIS miracle child. My heart is full.

Today is week 16 of my pregnancy and I couldn't be more grateful. At this point, he or she can actually start to hear my voice. That makes me so happy. I plan to start reading to him or her a couple of times per week. I already have a small book collection for baby Skinner, but I know that we'll acquire even more books as we progress through the pregnancy.

I hope that I don't annoy my baby with all my singing. I've been doing a lot of that lately. But when you hear certain songs, you just have to turn them up as loud as it'll go and sing your heart out. When I first heart, "I need a miracle" by Third Day, of COURSE I cried. Who wouldn't??? I was crying at the beginning because I remembered how much pain I went through before conceiving my miracle baby, and then by the end of the song, I was crying because of the pure joy I felt knowing that God always delivers. 
I highly encourage you to listen to the words of the song. It's amazing how God can work in your life once you are totally in need of Him. He steps in at the most perfect time to rescue you - you just have to ask for Him.
Like the song says, there will come a time when you can't do something on your own. You will have no choice but to rely on God. My husband and I found ourselves in the very same place and it was scary. I want today's blog post to encourage each and every one of you. More specifically, I am talking to my sisters who have had any bumps in the road when trying to get pregnant. My story is living proof that God will always deliver and will never forsake you. You just have to ask for Him.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Happiest "Five On Friday" You Ever Did See

1. My hubby and I are thrilled to finally know the gender of our miracle baby.
It's amazing how much I love this little babe inside me. I knew I would have been happy whether it was a boy or a girl, but I am over the moon. We can finally call him or her by their name. Speaking of, we have the most perfect name that ever existed. I think that will actually be my favorite part about sharing the gender of our baby; telling everyone the name!
2. I received the best package from UPS yesterday,
That's right. My Bump Nest arrived. In the blogging world, this is THE pillow that you get while pregnant. After I get some good use out of it, I will be doing a review on this bad boy. In the meantime, I am utterly excited.
3. Today at 5 o'clock, I start a 2 week vacation.
Of course I will miss seeing my coworkers every day, but I am gosh darn excited for a two week break to A) prep baby's nursery, B) take a lot of naps, and 3) work on some Pinterest projects. Life is pretty sweet... but it's all due to God's grace. Anyways, I am pretty excited in this very moment.
4. No more school... ever again.
I'm still in a weird mind-frame where I keep thinking that I have schoolwork to do. However, I'm done. I have to keep reminding myself. It is such a beautiful thing. I doubt I will ever go back to school again. Mark my words, would ya?
5. Christmas is almost here!
Although I still have a few more gifts that need to be purchased, I am excited for the Christmas holiday. I think I may indulge in a few ton of Christmas movies. I could probably watch Elf every day during Christmas break and still never get tired of it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stocking Stuffers: For Her

I own entirely too much lip gloss, but there's just something about NYX's butter gloss. Amiright?

When I first saw these mini mason jar candles, I was drooling. Bath and Body Works has done it again. Not only do their candles smell supreme, but also, I love how cute they are packaged!

I saw these earrings on another blogger's page and immediately felt like I needed them in my life. I can't decide whether the gold or the silver would be better, so I think I 'need' both!

I'm pretty sure I could wear this scarf with anything and everything. Plus, I have been loving plaid an extra amount lately! Even better - it's from Forever 21, so you know it's affordable!

Cutest shirt ever, right? I love everything about ShopTinRoofDesigns's Etsy page. Seriously! My blog friend, Bailee and her Mother-In-Law own the cute little shop. Speaking of, I recently got a fleece vest from their shop and I am in LOVE! Seeeeeee:
I had full intentions of taking a picture of myself sporting this beautiful vest, but I am going to have to delay that a little bit. The weather has been stinky all week here in the Austin area, so I had to settle for styling it on my bed!

The truth is... I'm pretty much obsessed with anything monogrammed! I could pair this black vest with virtually anything in my closet; I love how versatile it is. Be sure to check out the cute stuff that they have! I want one of everything please. (Hint Hint to my husband.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Decembers Past

Our first Christmas as a married couple, in 2011, I remember thinking, "I am so fat" in this picture below. Now? I WANT TO KICK MYSELF. I was so skinny. Look how pretty I was then! It's just not fair how love can make you gain weight. But, I will say that my hubby and I had a great 2011 together. Our first year of marriage will always have a very special place in my heart. It was all about him and I - no one else!
----------------------------------------------
December 2012 was also a special time for us; it when we were officially serious about trying to conceive. Little did we know that God had other plans for us. Oh ... to be SO naive! On another note, December 2012 is when I completed my first semester of graduate school.
----------------------------------------------
December 2013 was hard. I remember a lot of tears. I remember thinking, "we're supposed to be holding our children; not our dogs." But we made the best of it and we drew closer to each other and also to God. December 2013 was the beginning of a revolution for us; it was when we decided we would commit/recommit our lives fully to God. I knew I had to surrender.
----------------------------------------------
December 2014 has been the brightest and most joyful month out of each December before us. Not only did I graduate with my Master's degree, but I am bearing my husband's child. As of December 16, our baby was 15 weeks along inside my belly. Bearing a child does come with weight gain (obviously), so I will say that I have struggled with feeling beautiful... however the delivery of our healthy baby will make every single pound worth it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pregnancy: Week 15

Baby Size: Between 4 inches and 4.5 inches; about the size of a navel orange!

Maternity Clothes: Um yes. Definitely. I am one of the unlucky women who have gained weight all over - not just in the belly. It's a real shame, but I am trying to just remain confident in myself and know that my body is just one sacrifice, out of many, that I have made, or am making, for my baby.

Movement? I could've swore that I felt something the other day, but everyone says that movement isn't felt until around week 16. I can't wait! Just one more week until I can (hopefully) feel this sweet soul kicking inside of me!

Food cravings/aversions? I want sour patch kids every day. No wonder I've gained weight.

Nausea, vomiting, or sickness? I feel so perfect that it's not even funny. The Lord has BLESSED me.

What I miss: I miss being skinny(er). I feel bad saying that. But, it's true. I have felt very insecure during my pregnancy. I have never weighed so much, and I feel like it's weight gain ALL over my body; not just my belly. I wrote an entire post about my insecurity but I haven't posted it yet mainly because I don't want anyone to take it as if I'm complaining. I am so blessed by this child. I am starting to realize how many sacrifices that I will make for this child from here on out. I am totally fine with it all though. I praise God for this miracle.

Symptoms? A few. Sometimes my gums will start bleeding out of the blue (which is apparently due to the hormones in my body). So I have been trying to brush more frequently. Also, I have no idea if this is related, but I blow my nose every morning now, and one nostril is always bloody. So weird.

Best moment this week? On Thursday morning, around 9 or 930 am, I might just be bawling my eyes out due to pure joy. That's when we get to see our baby next, and also find out the gender (hopefully!). My hubby hasn't been to a ultrasound with me since the very first one on October 29th, so I am very excited for him to see his child, which just so happens to be inside my belly. OH I HAVE GOOSEBUMPS.

Gender: Since the Gender Scan is on Thursday, I am just gonna guess boy for the sake of guessing. We'll see if I'm right. I would be (completely beyond) thrilled with either gender. Trust it.

Sleep? Sleep has just been okay. But I ordered this baby and it should arrive on Thursday. P.S. I am ticked off. I paid $99 for it, and now it's on sale for $79. If I were y'all, I would order one STAT!!!! Normally I don't pay full price for anything, but I searched up and down for a coupon and never came across one. I just caved and purchased.

Daddy-isms: My favorite thing that Ross does is kiss my belly. It's seriously so cute.

What I'm looking forward to? I am looking forward to my baby growing bigger and healthier by the day. 

Prayer: Holy Father, I love you so much! I am so grateful that you fulfilled the desire of my heart to become a mom. I pray that my baby knows exactly how much I love him or her. I also pray that I never forget how much you love me. I am overcome by you, Lord! I also pray for anyone suffering from infertility. I want to lift their names up to you, God. I know you can heal any fertility issues. I also pray for my friend, Laura, who just recently lost her baby growing inside her belly. Lord, please comfort her and let her always know that you will fulfill the desires of her heart too. Thank you for everything God. I am overwhelmed. You are amazing.

Currently

Watching: The American Country Countdown Awards.
I think my favorite part was watching my other husband, Bretty Eldredge. It's so crazy to think that I've met him, and now he's like majorly big time. I'm not surprised though - I love his entire album!
Reading: Expecting 411
My girlfriend from work gave it to me as a gift, and it's been a really helpful book during pregnancy! It has a lot of Q & A covering topics that most other pregnancy books don't have.
Drinking: Water.
Oh my gosh. I swear, I am always so thirty. I can never get caught up. Occasionally, I will drink Root Beer or Sprite, but my main drink has been water. Why am I so thirsty?

Listening: "You Won't Let Go" by Michael W. Smith.
Such a good song! You can listen to it here.
Looking Forward To: Seeing our baby again on Thursday!
Honestly, I mean this: I really don't have a preference on the sex of our baby. But I am just so excited to know. That way I can call him or her by their name. Plus, it's been a couple of weeks since our last ultrasound, so I am pretty gosh darn excited!

Craving: Sour Patch Kids.
Luckily, my sweet neighbor bought me some on Sunday and I still have plenty leftover. YUM.
Loving: That today is my 15th week of pregnancy! 
I will try to post my bump on tomorrow's post. This baby has just been such a blessing.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What I've Been Up To + I'M BACK To Blogging For Good

Can I just say how proud I am? Looking back, I now realize how much I doubted my capabilities. I have always said, "I want to do it all." And now, I feel like I can do it all. Over the past two years...
  • I successfully managed a full time career as an Academic Advisor
  • I've managed to be the best wife I can be to my husband
  • I drew a million times closer to God
  • We went through the IVF process

And oh yeah...
  • I also earned my Master of Arts degree (as of Saturday, December 13)

Um heck yes, I wanted to quit. In fact, this past summer, I dropped a class (which I ended up re-taking in the fall semester.) I was just over it. But God helped me overcome. Every victory is His! I won't ramble on about this, because I can't imagine it's too exciting for y'all, but it feels good. I have always been an advocate for education (hellur, that's what my Masters degree is in), so if you're ever doubting if you should get your degree - whether Bachelors, Masters or higher - I vote yes!

For me, however, I don't see myself adding the word "Dr." before my name anytime soon. MAYBE after my children grow up. We'll see. Until then, I will honor God with giving me the strength to pull through this M.A. degree!

On another note, baby and I have been enjoying life together. During Chrsitmas break, you know that I will be crafting up things for bebe's room. We find out the gender in 3 DAYS (assuming baby cooperates!) And look at this presh onesie that we just bought for him or her:
Although I have a tendency to majorly dislike Gender Neutral clothes, this is just darling. If it's a boy, he can wear jeans with it. If it's a girl, she can wear a big ole orange bow. We figured it was obligatory to buy this considering both momma and daddy got their Bachelors and Masters from SHSU.

Anyways, let's talk about blogging. Now that I no longer have schoolwork to keep me busy, I am back to blogging for good! This excites me. I may be rusty at first since I unofficially took the fall semester off with blogging, minus a few exceptions. I definitely don't want to bore my readers, but the only thing I know how to do is to be myself and write about life.

I envision writing a lot about baby Skinner, many recaps on the messages at church, and even Pinterest-inspired posts. I also plan to write more blog posts about recipes. Here lately, although you wouldn't know it, I have been trying all kinds of new recipes. A good blogger should always share a good recipe or two. I may even do a little deep talk here and there. For example, I have to say this really quickly while I'm thinking about it:

<begin deep talk>

I don't just say the words "I was meant to be a mom" just because I feel like it's "what I should be doing at this stage in my life." NO. I was genuinely created, by my Savior, to bear my husband's child. This is a fact. Some people are meant to lead missionaries. Some people are called to sing loud praises. Me? I am designed to be a mother who teachers her babies about Christ. (It's true.) Whether it's a friend or a stranger, I want to be known for what God has called me to be.

<end deep talk>

And that's a wrap for today. I could totally write more, but this is getting entirely too long. Who is excited about Christmas? After all, it's the happiest time of the year! Peace and blessings to each and every one of my readers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Wish List + Pregnancy Week 13

All I really want for Christmas is baby stuff, but since we still don't know the sex, I suppose there are a few things that Mama Bear would like.

In other news, baby and I are celebrating the last week of our first trimester. (Big Smiles!) He or she has been a trooper, and we can't wait to start the second trimester. So proud of mini Skinner for growing so big and strong.
Speaking of boo boo (baby bear), we have our gender reveal party invites ordered! We're doing a dinner with our closest friends and family to share the news. Of course, husband and I will know on the 18th (assuming bebe cooperates), but we're keeping our lips sealed until January 3rd. I will post on my blog shortly thereafter so that the whole world knows! And yes, we already have our names picked out. Can't wait to call baby Skinner by his or her name!

Off topic, but um... did anyone watch The Walking Dead on Sunday night? I'll just say that I was severely disappointed and sad. All that work and then bam, gun fire happens and peeps die. I don't wanna say anymore and spoil it. But it's a high-intensity episode!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reasons Why I Love December

December brings happy things. First off, my appointment went perfectly today. Initially, the doctor used a Doppler to scan for the baby's heartbeat on my abdomen. After about 1 minute of trying, she looks at me and says with a smile, "let me just go get the ultrasound." She wasn't able to find it as quickly as she wanted, plus she knew I wanted to see the baby - not just hear him/her. I'm pretty sure every pregnant woman jumps at the chance to see their baby time and time again, so I was ecstatic.

Little baby bear was jumping all over the place. I couldn't believe it! What a stinker. And the heartbeat was great. Although I didn't hear it, the doc said it was perfect.
Look at that miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!! Getting so big!!!!!!

At Thanksgiving, my family was eating it up - they love mini Skinner. I'm not the type of person to talk about me, me, me... but every time someone brought up my little miracle, I blushed. I couldn't help it.

Another exciting thing that December brings is... GRADUATION! Holy cow, I literally never thought I'd get here. Now that my comprehensive exam is behind me (and I successfully passed-yay!!!!), I only have a few more assignments to submit. I just know that once all assignments are completed, I am gonna have another cry sesh. I will have accomplished at lot at 27, and that makes me proud: two degrees, a stable career, a loving husband, and a bebe on the way. Mighty God, you are GOOD. I am indebted and totally undeserving of so many blessings, but I don't take it for granted for even a split second.

Lastly, I am overly ecstatic about finding out the baby's sex soon. We'll know the gender on December 18 as long as the baby cooperates. I honestly will be pleased as punch with either gender - boy or girl - but I am excited to know so that I can start shopping and decorating. Day and night, all I'm thinking about it this little munchkin in my belly. 

In other non-pregnancy related news, Black Friday treated me well. I didn't score some of the items that I had my eye on (sadly), but I did get some other great things. Hubby bought me a new Michael Kors watch for only $80! Whata deal. I also bought a few other odds and ends things, but nothing major. If I was smart, I would've taken a Christmas list with me and purchased everyone's gifts... but apparently I am not smart, because I didn't do that.

That about wraps it up for me today, but I wanted to mention something. I've said this before, but I wanted to reiterate it: I always read every comment that I receive on my blog, but lately, I haven't been responding to emails. It's just really exhausting after working 40+ hours per week, PLUS doing an internship. I mean, do you know how tired I am from the pregnancy hormones? Please know that I see your comment and that I think you rock for leaving me some lovin'.