She's here...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I am so excited to announce the arrival of our much awaited sweet baby girl!!

She was born at 5:18 in the morning on the 22nd of December. It's hard to believe a week has already gone by!

We have been soaking up every minute with her! We can't get enough of her sweet newborn smell and snuggles! We are all in baby heaven!

Thank you so much for all your prayers and kind words during this pregnancy! God has been so gracious to us.

I can't wait to share all the details of her birth with you soon!



And for those of you who are wondering; her name, Ahava, means love in Hebrew.


How I prepare to give birth...naturally (from the archives)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My due date has come and gone, but I am totally fine with that. If you have been keeping up with all that has been going on over here with the addition of our home,  you understand why.

Haven't had too much time to blog so I thought I would share an older post that I wrote right before I had Luke.

If you are pregnant or hoping to be someday and want to have a natural birth, I hope this post will help give you some ideas of what to expect and what you can do to prepare yourself mentally and physically.

I know it helped me to read through this again as it's been 3 years since I gave birth to my son Luke.
No matter what I know God will give me the grace and strength I need but it's always good to be prepared!

Today is due date for  my fifth baby! Of course that means my senses and body have been on high alert for the first signs of labor. I have gone overdue with all of my children. My last one was only 2 days late which was pretty much like coming early. The one before that was 12 days late!!! I could have been induced but would much rather have them come when they are good and ready if there are no complications.

It sure got old though hearing everyone ask, "Haven't you had that baby yet?" It's an estimated due date people! It's not like the baby has to come on your due date. So if you see a weary pregnant women in the end of her pregnancy don't ask her if she is ready to pop or drop yet...believe me she is!

Though I look forward to finally seeing my long awaited baby, I usually dread the labor part. Yes, I don't enjoy pain, but when I have been waiting for almost 42 weeks I'm ready for the pain to begin...bring it on!

So how do I get my mind and body ready?

Determination

First you have to be determined that you are going to do this naturally! If you have second guesses or aren't sure, once those snake tightening contractions start you will want to say, yes give me that epidural!( Confession: along with not wanting an epidural for the most natural birth possible, I can't stand the thought of a needle going into my back!! yikes!)

Positive Support

Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you in your decision! Now I know this isn't always possible but turn a deaf ear to those who don't understand or try to tell you what they think you should do. There is nothing like the encouragement that comes from someone who tells you," Yes, it's hard...but YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Do What Feels Best To You 

I never went to any birthing classes or had a doula but I am sure they would have been helpful so look into your options but remember your body was made to do this... listen to it! Do what feels right! Whether that means moving to a different position, moaning and groaning( yes everyone does it)and breathing.

Exercise!

Of course talk to your Doctor or midwife first, but if you have already been exercising you can usually keep it up in a modified form. Since I had already been working out when I found out I was pregnant I was able to keep up my routine, just not at the same intensity. Though of course I have gained weight, it feels good knowing I haven't lost all my muscle that I have worked so hard for not to mention it's a great outlet.  Join a bootcamp or find a friend to keep you accountable, it's a lot more fun and easier when you are with other women and have someone to tell you what to do.  Along with the benefit of staying in good shape, exercising will help prepare you for the physical demand of labor and give you a head start on getting back into your clothes once you have had your baby!

Be Prepared

I don't know about you but when I reach the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy I get a little crazy. I have to have everything ready, clean and organized at home or I can not rest. I gain new energy and start to nest like a mad women. I think all the projects that I have been putting off all year get done in those 2 weeks. I do not want to come home with my baby to a big mess, I want to relax and enjoy my baby. Of course the baby won't care what your house looks like but at least you will feel better knowing everything is ready for your new arrival, at least I do. So be prepared!

Rest

Try to cut back on any extra activities. Get as much rest as you can! Though I admit that is hard for me to do at times when I have so many things going on and little ones to take care of; I can't function if I am overtired. I don't want to go into labor exhausted and stressed. Life is busy and unexpected things happen that you can't foresee but as much as possible give yourself some slack knowing that you have a big job ahead of you and you need to be rested and relaxed.

Check Out Your Options

If you are opting for the most natural experience try a water birth! It doesn't take away the pain but it sure helps! After having my first flat on my back, I had a water birth with the last three and much preferred it. Its warm, soothing and easy to move around in. Its also a more natural transition for the baby who has been swimming in fluid during his growth in your womb. Talk to your midwife or doctor about your options.

Hold On To Scripture 

Ask God to give you a scripture to hold on to. The word of God is so powerful and comforting! Here are some I like to meditate on:

 "My flesh and heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalms 73:26 

 "I love you , O Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock, my  fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge." Ps. 18:1-2

"Do I bring to the moment of birth and not bring delivery? says the Lord." Isaiah 66:9


One that I feel God has given specifically for this upcoming birth is:

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." Ephesians 3:16-17

Not only do I pray for physical strength but even more; spiritual and emotional strength. I want Him to strengthen me in my inner being to bring this new life into the world.

The Pain Will Not Last Forever 

 Know that it is going to be painful and difficult but that it will not be forever. Believe me I pray that it will always be as painless as possible but I know there is going to be pain. I know there are people who say they have had painless natural births; which if so good for them, but I have not experienced this euphoria.

 The Bible says, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children." Genesis 3:16

We don't unfortunately live in a perfect world, we live in a fallen; sinful world where we experience joy alongside pain and sorrow. Our pain and sorrow in this life is only temporary and is going to be exceeded by a far greater joy when we are reunited with our Risen Lord. I love the example Jesus gives of this:

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world." John 16:21

This experience of going from such pain to such joy is indescribable!  Though I must admit that the painful memories of giving birth have unfortunately not completely left me. But here I am again and I am looking forward to it because the sheer joy of bringing a new life into the world supersedes all the painful memories.

10.) Whatever you ideal birth experience looks like remember that sometimes things don't always go as we plan. Yes, have great expectations but  know that you are not a failure if things didn't go as you hoped, it's not your fault. You don't have to compare your birth story with someone else's. Though all of us pray and hope that things will go as smoothly and quickly as possible we are still stuck in sinful bodies in a sinful world that doesn't always cooperate with what we want. The most important thing is that we are healthy and the baby is. This trumps everything else.

 Every experience is different and special! Embrace this precious gift that God has given us as women! This has been what I have experienced for which I am so grateful but remember that each experience is different and to do what you feel is best for you and your baby!

Have you had a natural birth? 

What would your advice be to giving birth naturally?

Linking up here!



Getting ready to have a baby: My hospital bag

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Is there really anyway you can prepare to welcome a brand new human being into the world?

No matter how much I have prepared mentally, physically and practically it's always such a shock when the baby that has been inside of me for 9 plus months, is placed on my chest. It's just such a miracle.

Although I am definitely feeling all the effects this tiny little person has been making on my body and psyche, it's still much different carrying it around inside of me then on the outside.

I haven't been able to prepare our home as much I'd like since we are in the middle of renovations but I finally packed my hospital bag and got the bassinet out and cleaned!
I really don't even feel prepared mentally either because I have had so many other things (if you can imagine that;) on my mind. I am kind of thankful though, because I haven't had time to worry about labor and giving birth. I think it also helps that my last delivery went so well with Luke.

Although bringing another life into the world in the midst of so much else going on in our lives is crazy, it's also so exciting!

Now that I have my hospital bag packed I thought I'd share what's in it.

Diaper Bag- from Lily Jade

My diaper bag is doubling as my hospital bag this time around. This bag is probably one of  the biggest splurges I have ever made but I have bought so many bags that have fallen apart. With all the bags I have bought, I could have bought this one a long time ago. I love that it is leather and doesn't even look like a diaper bag. One of the things that made me really want it is that it can be worn either on the shoulder with small or long straps and as a back pack. It fits really nice over a stroller also. It also has a bright red washable insert and if you want to take the insert out the inside of the bag is made of the same washable material.

I felt really guilty after I bought it( though I used some blog money I had saved up) but I have finally comes to term with it and am really glad I made the plunge. With each baby I have had I tend to realize that I need less and less stuff in a diaper bag so I like that this diaper bag is not too big. I have been using it already and love it!

Oh and if you do check out Lily Jade's website make sure to check out their outlet bags. My bag is an outlet bag and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it just a much lower price tag. Oh and just so you know this is not a sponsored post I am just really happy with my bag;)

Ok, so now that you know all about my bag. What is in my bag?

Robe- from PinkBlush Maternity (Link to Amazon)

There is something about having nice clothes after labor that makes you feel so good. A friend of mine gave me some money specifically for getting new pajamas and a robe so I went for it.  I found this beautiful robe from PinkBlush Maternity. They have so many different patterns and colors to choose from. You can get them on amazon or their site. I am so excited to wear it! It's so pretty!

Toiletries:
These are pretty obvious but sometimes they are the things you forget to bring but need the most!

*Brush
*Makeup
*Razor
*Soap/face wash
*Lotion
*Slipper socks
*Toothbrush/ toothpaste/floss
*Deodorant
*Shampoo/Conditioner
*Going home clothes(aka comfy clothes)
*Nursing pads
*Nursing Bra
*Sports bra/ dress for water birth

Must Haves

*Phone/
*Pandora playlist(I'm going to set my Pandora to Audrey Assad during labor. I love her soothing voice and beautiful worship music.)
*Phone Charger
*Camera/ Camera charger/ SD card

Baby Stuff

Going Home outfit
I received this outfit from my baby shower and I just love it! Yay for sweet girly clothes. It will be perfect because it's just starting to get a little colder here.

Sleepers
I am bringing a couple of these, because chances are I might need to change the baby a couple of times in the hospital.

 Swaddle Blanket

I love these swaddle blankets. I have swaddled all my babies and although every baby is different it has really been great for mine. I find that they tend to easily awake when they can brake free from their blankets but if they feel like they are held tight they seem to sleep longer.

Receiving blanket

I love having a simple receiving blanket for nursing. These are so sweet and pretty.

Burp rags

Good ol' fashioned burp rags

A Little Something Extra


My sister in law gave me this natural remedy for after pains. I usually take Motrin in the hospital but I am excited to try this too. I hope it helps! ( For those of you who don't know- After you have a baby your uterus starts to contract(go back into place) and it can be very painful, especially when you nurse. It's great that things are trying to go back to normal but it can be like going back into labor again:( )

One of the reasons I have had all my babies in the hospital is that I really love being able to rest and recuperate after birth. Yes, they poke and prod the baby and I, a lot but it's so nice to be taken care of not have to be the one getting up and checking all the babies vitals. The 2 days of rest that I get in the hospital go a long way to helping me go back home to all my other babies;) Once those 2 days are over, believe me I am ready to get home!

I have been so blessed to be able to have natural water births with 4 out of my 5 children at the same hospital. I know not everyone has the same experiences but I have been very fortunate. I love being able to have the natural experience that I want along with the great care of a hospital. And it's nice to know that if anything did happen where I or the baby needed immediate medical assistance; we are already at the hospital.

So now that I have everything ready all there is to do is wait for those labor contractions to come on and make it to the hospital in time!

I usually go very fast so I am praying that this little girl will give me fair warning!

Are you expecting?

If so what do you bring to the hospital/ birthing center or have ready at home?

Have you ever not made it to the hospital or birthing center?







Addition Update #2

Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's about time for another update!

Since the start of this addition I have been praying that by some miracle it would get done in record time, and I have to say that I really believe God is working a miracle. Though there is still so much to do, it is amazing all that has been accomplished already.

Although there has been a few setbacks and not always being able to get work done when we expected, we are on the homestretch!

If you haven't been in the loop about our addition, please check out these posts Here and Here so you can see where we started from!

Since the addition is taking place off the back of our house we have been able to go about life as usual pretty much, except for a few times when work needed to be done in the house and I had to get my gang out of there.

Once the back wall was torn down to make way for our new dining area and kitchen. It all got real crazy, real fast. Before I knew it, we found ourselves not only surrounded by a construction zone, but living in a construction zone.

Boxes were everywhere as we had to move everything out of the kitchen and most of the living room. I never realized we had so much stuff!

Also the window in our bathroom and kids room had to be boarded up and became unusable. And our water heater was taken out to make room for a new one, so no hot water.  It became apparent fast that we could not live in these conditions any longer. No kitchen, no living room, no kids room and workers everywhere!

We had planned to stay with Josh's parents while they were out of town in a few days but thankfully they let us come a little earlier and put up with having 7 extra people in their home; 5 of which get up at 6:30 every morning! Good thing my in laws are the most hospital and generous people on the planet and had 8 children of their own!!

They have left now for a week and I am praying that the house will be somewhat livable by the time they return so we don't impede on their good graces any longer. I am also praying that this baby will stay inside of me for another 2 weeks! I am 39 weeks pregnant this week but will happily carry this baby a couple weeks longer if it means being able to bring her back to our own home. I usually go late so I am really counting on that. Don't change things up baby!

Either way we will somehow survive! I am just really trying to keep my eyes on the Lord and know that He is in control and that he knows everything that's going on in our lives and he cares.


Kitchen and back wall of our house which will soon be down!

                                                                 Our new kitchen pantry!!
                                                   Luke having fun with the leftover wood!

                                                                   Josh working away!
                                                                 Drywall is up!!!

                                                            Hallway to our bedroom!
                                                Our new bedroom and wall to wall closets!!

                                     Drywall is done so Josh is putting in kitchen cabinets!


The state of our living room.

As you can see once all the drywall went up it made a such a huge difference. And when the wall between the kitchen and living room came down I cried tears of joy. I have been dreaming of this day for so long! It's amazing how big it looks now. I can't wait to see it all done with out all our junk everywhere.

I wanted to get some more pictures of the wall coming down and the drywall going up but we could not be anywhere near there. Josh hired some professional drywall guys and they put that stuff up like nobody's business. Now that it's done things will be going fast. Josh already started putting in the cabinets and is at the house painting now!

It took me forever to decide on paint colors. I knew what colors I wanted but there are so many different shades and variations. I am so terrible at making decisions when I have too many choices. It finally came down to the wire and I had to choose. I think I slept better last night because of it. I hope I am happy with my choices and like the end result!

So much is going to happen this week now that we don't have to wait on anyone. Once Josh gets in there he is going to go to town.

If we had purposely picked this time to have a baby it would have been the worst possible time ever but I think it's really worked in our favor to speed things along. God knows what he is doing!

By the end of this week everything should be painted, floors laid, countertop and new appliances installed. It's going to be insane! I can't wait to show you the progress! I am so excited! Now is when all the fun stuff happens! Sorry for all the exclamations but they were necessary!!! ;)

What do you think?

Have you lived through a renovation and lived to tell about it?

Have you had trouble ever picking out paint colors?

Linking up here!













12 Must Read Christmas Books for the Whole Family

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas is right around the corner!

Are you stressed out or enjoying all the fun and festivities?? I hope the latter.

With our house under construction we haven't been able to do all the normal Christmas traditions that we usually enjoy. We don't have a tree, decorations or lights. We haven't made any Christmas treats or a gingerbread house...etc...etc.

But you know what? It's really okay. We are all healthy and together and that's really all that matters.

We have been able to make it to the library though and order some books on amazon and have been enjoying reading them together. It's been a great time to connect with my kids during this crazy season and get focused on what is truly important.

I am sharing all our favorite Christmas books over at My Joy Filled Life. I hope you will hop over there and check them out! They are beautifully illustrated books with beautiful stories to tell about our Savior and this season.

And don't forget to enter the Christmas Blessings Giveaway if you haven't already! One lucky entrant will win $500 paypal cash!!! I know there are many that are hurting this season and that amount of money would help a lot!

What are some of your favorite Christmas books?

Linking up here!

Being a blessing to others on Christmas( Christmas Blessings Giveaway $500 paypal cash)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

One of my very dearest memories of Christmas as a child, was waking up to snow on the ground with a house filled with friends and family. Coming out into the living room there was our tree, with mounds of presents piled high and a train running on it's track around it!

My parents did not have the finances to afford all those presents. I was to find out in later years that our church had gotten together and blessed us with those presents. That picture is still so vivid in my mind. Not only were there those presents around the tree but someone(we never found out who) Had dropped off two German Shepherd puppies in front of our house. My siblings and I were ecstatic!

What a Christmas!

I am sure we all sat around as my Dad read the Christmas story and we shared a delicious meal together, but all I remember was the snow, that amazing tree surrounded by presents and those adorable puppies!



Another one of my fond memories is my parents taking me to the mall to see Santa( though I knew he wasn't real) I sat on his lap and told him I wanted a glow in the dark Barbie doll that I had my heart set on. Now, my mom did not approve of Barbie for some obvious reasons that I can see now, but I wanted that Barbie so badly. Though I knew it was not likely that I would get it, considering my mom's convictions. Imagine my shock, when on Christmas morning I opened up a present that was a glow in the dark Barbie!!!

Another memory that I still cherish till this day.

I love that even though my parents may not have been able to afford a lot of presents or approve of what I wanted they and others wanted to bless me with the desires of my heart as a child.

In later years these memories would mean so much to me as there were many Christmas' that there were no presents and no happy memories.

When I was 14 my Dad died and unfortunately we were left with no money. Not only were we without my Dad but we then moved to a different state where we knew no one. I remember how lonely that Christmas was. As we got involved in a new church we were so blessed to have some amazing families take us under their wing and always include us in their holiday gatherings.

Now having my own family and marrying into a huge extended family, I feel so blessed and thankful any time we gather together, because I remember those days of it just being my mom, brother and sister...and no presents.

I don't take for granted what a gift I have been given and I want to be able to be a blessing to others who are not only without the financial means to buy gifts but who are lonely. Though presents are great, I believe the presence of others on Christmas is ultimately the best!

I have been asking God that he would show me ways to be a blessing to others this Christmas, in not only a financial way, but a practical and loving way. To look outside myself and even my family to those who are hurting and alone.

I love Christmas but it can be so easy to just want to think of ourselves and only want to give to those who give to us and are in our inner circle of family and friends. How often do we get outside of our comfort zones to reach out to those who don't have anybody, and who are often forgotten?

Unfortunately, I know on my part, not enough. I pray that this Christmas and those to come we will look to the interests of others. That we would have a hand in making beautiful memories for those who might not have any and give the gift of not only our money, but our time and affection to those that need it the most.

 It is such a blessing to give to others and I, along with 25 other bloggers, can't wait to bless one of you with $500 Paypal cash with the Christmas Blessings Giveaway! 

Whether you decide to use this money for fulfilling your kids' Christmas lists, paying off a bill, or just saving for a rainy day, we hope to lessen the financial burden and/or brighten the day of one of our readers with $500 Paypal cash to use for whatever their family needs.



You can earn a lot of entries in the Rafflecopter form below.  I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it?  I think it is!  Plus, if all of these generous bloggers didn’t participate, we wouldn’t have been able to have such a big prize!  So I hope you will take the time to go through each entry.  Who knows, maybe you will find some new blogs to follow.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 The giveaway will run from Thursday, December 1st through Saturday, December 10th (ends at 11:59pm EST).  Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn.  You must have a Paypal account to win.   Save

Do you have any Christmas memories that have stuck with you?

What are some ways that God has shown you to bless others this Christmas?

How would you use the giveaway $ if you won?

Linking up here!
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