grace

Nov 22, 2012

It's amazing how much things can change in a matter of two years. For me, the holidays are when these changes are magnified just a bit more than usual and seem just a tiny bit harder to swallow than any normal day. 

Being eight hours away from my family and hometown is hard this time of year, especially with a baby on the way. In so many ways this move has been a blessing - M and I have turned towards each other and experienced things together that we may not have had we stayed in our comfort zone. My love for M has grown in ways that I didn't know it could. Then there have been other times I've wished that home was right down the road and I could drop in for dinner and a much needed conversation or simple hug.

Through it all-getting married, moving away from home, starting new jobs, buying a house, starting a family, and going from a working woman to staying at home-I feel I have transitioned well for the most part. But then this time of year comes and reminds me that some things won't always be the same. 

We won't always be "home" for the holidays, starting with this Thanksgiving. I won't always be a part of every family event. I won't always be a part of what everyone else is getting to experience together. Relationships won't always be the same- they may change, grow, diminish. It's easy to say this is a normal part of growing up, but until you actually get to that point- that holiday, that conversation, that moment- and see and feel the change taking place, it's hard to fully understand how much it will really affect you. It sounds dramatic, but there's almost a slight mourning that takes place, especially when you're as sentimental as I am with a tendency to hold on to the past. Even through phases of depression and struggles, and swaying in my faithfulness to God, His grace is amazing and He has blessed us tremendously- through people, situations, circumstances, conversations.  

It's not easy, but there's an excitement in it all. It's why I thrive on change, because most change can be wonderful if you let it. It reminds me of redemption- there is a "loss" of sorts- of how things used to be, but grace abounds and something even more wonderful is born. In our case, quite literally. 

I'm so thankful this Thanksgiving that although it will not be spent in the beautiful Virginia with family, that we have something to look forward to with the birth of Noah. A new family of three will be born, too. And even though the traditional meal won't be enjoyed in the traditional place, we will get to see our family as soon as this new life decides to show his precious face. On top of that, God so sovereignly brought us close to some great family and brought some good friends into our lives, with whom we will be able to spend some time with this Thanksgiving. 

It's truly humbling to see how the grace of God can be found even in the smallest of situations- when it seems silly to  feel a certain way. It reminds me that no emotion is too tiny that it doesn't matter to Him.

The transitions won't stop here, I know. Not only for M and I as we become new parents and create our own family traditions, but for me personally as I work through ongoing struggles and regrets...as I wrestle with purpose and goals and dreams all while learning how to be a mom...as I learn how to surrender things I can't control...as I fight loneliness and struggle with finding my place in this town and making connections.

My goal is to take this journey one day at a time, to get back to surrendering it to God and relying on HIS wisdom, to invest more in current relationships, to remain open to new things, people, and opportunities, and to show the same grace to others in my life that I have been given.

A positive thing that has come from the transitions I've experienced the past few years has been a deeper, truer thankfulness for the people in my life and relationships I previously took for granted. It's easy to regret those times, and even though I sometimes wish I "knew then what I know now" I realize that it is only by looking at those times and seeing the mistakes that I am now able to change and grow. And that is something I will always be thankful for- that is what grace truly is.

Baby Update: Almost There!

Nov 14, 2012

I can't believe that really any day now M and I will be parents. I've been terrible about posting lately - we were busy with visitors for about four straight weeks after I quit work and in the past few weeks I've been trying to relax and wrap up some last minute house stuff before Noah comes. Our bags are packed and sitting by the door, the car seat is installed and ready to go, and I'm noticing every little feeling and hoping labor starts soon. My home decor projects/progress hasn't gone as fast as I'd hoped, but we're making progress none-the-less. Noah's nursery is two steps away from being done and I've found even more things I want to do in the rest of the house thanks to Pinterest. Speaking of progress, I started Christmas shopping little by little back in August and thanks to online shopping and some awesome coupons, I'm two people away from being completely DONE! Feels great! I'm going to try to post some more as I wait for Noah to make his arrival, but I definitely promise some good baby posts once he gets here! For now, here's what will probably be my last update for this pregnancy. 

How Far Along? 39 Weeks, 5 Days

Size of Baby Noah: Little bebe could be anywhere from 7 to 9 pounds, but the midwives' guess he won't be that big based on my current measuring and belly size. We'll see!

Total Weight Gain: 27lbs.
Maternity Clothes: More specifically- stretch pants! I'll put on the maternity jeans once in awhile, but at this point the stretchier around the belly the better!
Sleep: This has been such a day-to-day change for me- one night I'll stay up pretty late watching tv because I'm not too tired, and the next night I'm exhausted and sleep really well throughout the night aside from the bathroom trips.

Stretch Marks: I feel really thankful in this area. I found one small mark on my hip that I know is mainly from weight gain in that area, not my belly stretching. I do have the linea nigra, but no stretch marks anywhere else. I attribute this to nightly vitamin E oil and good genes! 

Labor Signs: Definitely more Braxton Hicks and tons of cramping recently. At my appointment this week I was 1cm dilated and 40% effaced. My midwife basically told me not to expect him before my due date. She guessed I'd go around 41 weeks. Because of our choice for as natural a birth as possible, we won't discuss induction until closer to 42 weeks. I'm okay with this, but am hoping he comes earlier than later- we're just so excited to meet him! 
Belly Button: Still an "innie", but barely!
Gender: BOY.
Movement: Only slightly less than normal. He's running out of room but still wiggling around, especially when I'm laying down! He likes to kick his little feet out into my side, causing some pretty odd belly shapes!
Food Cravings: My appetite has been pretty normal this entire pregnancy and it hasn't changed much this last month.
How's Mama? I get asked this on a daily basis. My response? Ready & Restless. I've been told to relax and take time to be lazy - advice easier given than followed! My task this week/weekend is to try not to be too anxious about it all, relax, enjoy the last few days of it just being M and I, and trust that God knows when Noah's coming and that's good enough for me.
I'm no good at awkward self-portrait, mirror pictures so ignore the weird expression that was supposed to be a smile, not a smirk!