Anyone else feel like this sometimes? Like, oh yeah, God — He and I were like super close once. Now I barely get time to even talk to Him. For example, this blogpost? This event I’m about to write down. It happened 5 days ago, and I’m just sitting down to write it.
Hold on. Someone pooped their pants.
So, as I was saying.
Oh…. hang on. The baby’s awake.
::Two Days Later::
As I was saying… That God guy.
These days, it’s difficult to have my quiet time. One kid gets up at 5:45 am and one goes to bed at 11 pm and in between there, I’m running a household and working part time. As a result, many times over the past three months I’ve wondered, “God, are you still there?” “Am I still beloved to you?” “Do you get me? Where I am right now? Do you know how much I’d like to hear from you?”
And so, the days go on. Elmo watching, cooking, cleaning (bottoms and counters and couches and toys and such), playing, and reading.
On this particular day, I was sitting with Teddy reading one of his favorite books, “I Love You, Through and Through.” Seriously we’ve read this book 50 times, just today.
In this book, each page has approximately 4 words:
“I love you through and through […] I love your inside and your outside […] Your happy side and your sad side.” And so on.
As I’m reading it for the 4th time, the other day, a page stuck out to me. “I love your happy side and your sad side. Your silly side and your mad side.”
“Your mad side?”
Isn’t it true though? It’s hard, don’t get me wrong; but I still LOVE my kids (yes, even my irrational toddler) when they are mad.
And right then, God said, “Yes. I even love your mad side.”
“Me? You love me when I’m mad? I don’t even get mad over justified things God. How could you love my mad side?”
“I love your mad side. I love you through and through.”
If that doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks, then… well, I don’t know. But it spoke to me.
God loves me through and through. He meets me where I am. In my busyness. In my never-get-to-sit-still-ness. God’s there. He sees. He hears. He knows. And He loves.
I don’t know about you, but I’m called to listen and pray without ceasing. It’s not something I have to think about or plan out. God doesn’t need my 15 minutes of time with Him each day. My God isn’t limited to that. My God and I are in constant communion. He’s right there, next to me while I play with my kids. While I’m scolding my kids. While I’m doing the dishes. While I’m having a dance party. While I’m gorging on dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt.
My God doesn’t live in a box. He lives in books, in the sky, in my heart.
So, take heart mama. God’s there. He knows. He sees. He hears. He loves you through and through.
For the past few years our pastor has asked us to begin praying about a “one little word” for the coming year. Last year my word was “Rooted”. I wanted to be rooted in Christ and rooted where he had planted me. Over the past year, it seemed like everything happening in my life was doing the exact opposite. Testing the strength of my roots; in my faith, my family, my spouse, myself, in God’s plan for my life. At the end of the year, I could definitely say that I had been tested and God held my “tree” up when I couldn’t anymore. He brought people to plant around me and hold me up, He showed me a place to rest, gave me a new home, a community of people to pour into and He restored purpose in my life. Yes, last year’s word was definitely “rooted”.
“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7
This year, as I was praying about what word God had for me I wondered what the word would end up actually bringing about for me. I definitely didn’t think that “rooted” was going to bring about testing. So, this year I wanted to make sure that when God presented a word to me I didn’t immediately cast it aside because it might evoke something different than what I had hoped for. As I prayed, the Lord revealed to me two words, “peace” and “acceptance”. I think, that in a way, they mean the same thing. At least for me. You know that word “content”? I HAVE ALWAYS hated that word. I took it to mean that you had reached your peak, or that you were fine with where you were. How could that be good? How could it be a good thing to be… content. Everyone ALWAYS laughs at me when I tell them that, but I’ve always been the person who says, “Okay, what’s next.” “What can I do to make this better?” “How can this be more… perfect?”
I think God finally wants to teach the true meaning of being “content”. Now, my word for the year is not “content”. Either, I wasn’t really ready to accept that as my word or whatever, but I’m going with the suspicion that “acceptance” is really what God has for me this year. I want to learn to accept God’s plan for me, whatever it is. I want to live out of His purpose for me; His plan. I want to be able to accept whatever life throws at me with grace, peace and contentment. Yes, I do. I really do.
Is there “one little word” that God had spoken into your life for this year? Think about it, pray about it. And in a year review and see all that the Lord has done in your life. It’s pretty cool, if you ask me.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalms 118:24
Starting about right around Teddy turning 4 months old my hair started falling out. Juuuuust a bit. Not that we’re two weeks in, it’s literally flying off my head. Every pass through of a comb, fingers or brush ends in a wad of tangled hair. In the shower, the walls are covered with it (as to try and avoid clogging the drain).
Alex has been very understanding but last week, there were three clumps on the shower walls and as I stepped out he said, “Oh my gosh Nat! It looks like someone murdered a furby in here!”
Hah! Yes, it’s true. It’s that bad. I truly did not think when other Moms talked about their hair falling out it would be this bad! But I’m here to tell you, it is!!
I wonder if I’ll be bald by the time he’s 6 months old?
While Teddy’s due date isn’t until tomorrow (and I have a feeling he’s going to make us wait a few more days) I’m so anxious and excited about the idea of becoming a mother. It is something I have ALWAYS wanted to be. I’ve talked about it since I was young and it was something in the forefront of my mind while I was dating, and finally chose to marry, Alex. I wanted a man who wanted kids, who loved kids.
I did not know how I would become a mother. Whether through fostering, adopting or biological — as I’ve always had the desire for all three. I am so happy to experience a biological child and I hope the Lord continues to bless us with other children however he sees fit!
I’ve had wonderful examples of mothers in my life — my mom, my grandma and for the last 10 years my mother in law. Each of them is so special in their own way and I know they were hand picked by God to be the amazing influences they are for many. I can’t wait to take the things I’ve learned from them and show Teddy the kind of woman I hope he chooses to marry. She’ll be a little bit crazy, creative, loving and caring, patient and kind, always truthful and strong! May I be those things for him so he knows what to look for in a partner.
Thank you Moms for all you’ve sacrificed for us and taught us! Today we celebrate you!!
This little guy has been sensing all the changes going on in the house. At first I think he thought all these cool new toys and crib were for him, but he quickly learned that they are not. In fact, he’s been really great about not chewing/laying on any of Teddy’s stuff. Which has been a huge relief for me.
For the majority of my pregnancy this little guy, Boone, has been my companion. We hang out every day, walk to the dog park (we drive now — I ain’t walking two miles anymore!), go potty, clean the house, cook as watch movies together.
To be honest, even though he’s a sweet dog, I’ve never really thought of him as mine. He has always clearly favored Alex and we just seem to sort of live with each other. But, this last week I’ve been joking about how he’s been my little shadow. He wants to sleep in his bed on my side of our bed, he wakes up every time I get up to go pee in the middle of the night, when I’m up pacing the floor at 4:00 in the morning he’s up with me pacing, and when I finally crash on the couch at around 6:00 as Alex is getting up for work, he’s there with me too.
It’s actually been kind of sweet and I know Alex has appreciated Boone “stepping in” during the middle of the night so he can sleep.
So, I guess this little guy and I kinda like each other now — juuuuuust in time for all the attention to shift onto Teddy. Haha. Don’t worry bud, we’ll still have Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays together!
So, this entire pregnancy I haven’t really “craved” anything. I did have some weird moments like when I wanted to eat peaches and spanish olives and I did have a love affair gone bad with coke and mexican food. But, truly — those are things I would eat NOT pregnant. Truly, I would probably eat peaches and spanish olives all the time and not bat an eye. But, one thing I have been CRAVING for the past month that I do not eat/drink normally is milk. I kind of don’t really love it. I’ve always thought it tasted kind of weird and never really wanted to have it apart from cereal.
That is… until now! Now, I drink practically a gallon a week, by myself. Yes! It’s true. And I want milk in every form: yogurt, cheese, shakes. You name it, I’ll ask you if it has milk in it, then I’ll take it!
There was a time just a few weeks ago, when this whole thing started, that I couldn’t actually believe I was craving it. It was the middle of the night and I had heartburn somethin’ fierce. A brief moment passed where I thought, maybe a glass of milk will help (since I didn’t want to load up on TUMS). It was absurd. Me? Milk? No. But, then I got up and poured myself the tiniest glass possible. I held it to my lips and gulped that sucker down! I couldn’t believe it and I wanted MORE!! So, I poured another, larger glass and drank the whole thing. Then, I slept like a baby for 2 hours.
Since then, milk and I have had nothing but ups. Our relationship is fantastic and fulfilling. Also, Teddy seems to like it too! It has helped curb some late night munchies, except when my craving is specifically for a shake — then milk will have to do, unless it’s a decent time of the day for a shake. Like, between the hours of 8 am and midnight.
This post is long overdue, but I’ve been so preoccupied with other life things that I forgot to post this!
Alex and I decided to do a combined anniversary and babymoon over our anniversary weekend in January. We struggled with deciding where to go; I wanted New York and he wanted somewhere warmer. We ultimately decided on Portland since we know quite of few people who frequent the city and love it. Some of you have been asking about all the places we ate and visited — wanting to have a list of great stops should you ever visit. So, here ya go!
We headed out on a Thursday and landed at the airport in the late morning. First, let me say it was pretty chilly but oh, so crisp. Second, public transportation in Portland was exceptional. We hopped on a shuttle that took us directly downtown to our hotel. Then, we continued to master transportation using the Google Maps app on our phones, which was extremely helpful and updated frequently. If we ever missed a bus, Google would tell us the next available route to where we wanted to go. Also, a day pass for the bus was only $5.00, much cheaper than renting a car. We were able to get to every single district downtown and even to church on Sunday using the buses and shuttles.
SIGHTS: One thing that worked out wonderfully was that Portland doesn’t have any huge landmarks or “must see” places. I was worried that I wouldn’t be up for a ton of walking around and sight seeing, so it was wonderful that we didn’t feel as though we missed out on anything just by walking around, heading into shops, chatting with folks, and eating — lots of eating.
Portland is broken up into districts: Pearl District, Northwest District, Lloyd District, Alberta Street, Hawthorne District and Belmont District. We could get to any district using shuttles and buses, so we broke up our days by district. We choose one district a day and decided what to eat and visit before we headed out. It made the days more enjoyable since we could just walk around the districts and eat whenever we felt like it.
It is a refurbished school house turned hotel! I don’t know if I could actually stay there (the rooms gave me the creeps), but the hotel has a movie theater, three different “bars/pubs”, smoking rooms, a public hot tub (more of a huge soaking tub — think Roman bath), and lots of places to eat.
The decor keeps to the original age of the building and there are pictures of students, historical figures, and other interesting art pieces everywhere.
ACCOMMODATIONS: When we travel for our anniversary we try to stay at a particular branch of hotels call Kimpton. We stayed at a Kimpton hotel in Seattle, WA for our first anniversary and found them not only extremely comfortable but enjoyable.
The Kimpton in Downtown Portland is called Hotel Monaco. It is located in business district of Portland, which is close to the fashion district as well. The decor is quite modern and very eclectic. While I love that decor, it took a while to get used to and it was very bright at first. The rooms are very long and well laid out. The staff was very friendly and they even provided us with complimentary champagne to celebrate our anniversary. Housekeeping came every morning, the fridge was always fully stocked and we even indulged in room service one evening.
The hotel is pet friendly, which I find enchanting — though we didn’t bring Boone with us this time. They also provided free bike rentals and two complimentary beverages: a hot chocolate bar fully stocked with toppings from 7:00 am to 10:00 am every morning and a champagne reception in the evenings complete with a piano player.
We meet some pretty amazing people in the lobby area and enjoyed the huge fireplace. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars — only as compared to the other Kimpton hotels we’ve stayed in past.
FOOD: As I had mentioned, there aren’t many “sights” to see in Portland so much of what we did included food. I won’t list off every place we ate, but here are the ones that stood out to me:
Voodoo Doughnut – If you miss out on visiting this place, you will be pretty bummed about it. When we were traveling back home we saw so many passengers with pink boxes from this place just dying to take some doughnuts home! The vibe is eccentric and loud so we opted to sit outside, but the doughnuts were delicious. I was boring and opted for an old fashioned but Alex ventured out and ordered a maple bacon bar. Both were very delicious. Keep in mind, it’s cash only!
Henry’s 12th Street Tavern – We came here to take advantage of their happy hour. We were able to purchase a pizza and salad, Alex ordered a beer, I ordered a coke and we even ordered an appetizer. If I remember correctly, the bill was under $30 and all the food was extremely tasty. Oh, and another great thing about Portland… NO SALES TAX! So the price you see, is the price you pay. I even felt as though we tipped more because we weren’t worried about rounding up or percentages.
Mother’s Bistro & Bar – This place is my Mother-in-law’s favorite in Portland. The food is fantastic and the music they play was right up our alley (Jamie Cullum, Corrine Bailey Rae, and some Mayor Hawthorne). Don’t let the “somewhat” outdated decor fool you — the food is amazing. Every meal comes with a huge biscuit that weighs the size of a toddler. We ate here once for dinner and came back the next morning for breakfast. You absolutely must get the biscuits and gravy!
Tin Shed – A pet friendly gardenesque atmosphere, but very busy in the afternoon right after church. They have a strict menu schedule on Sundays and serve only breakfast until 2:00 pm, so you cannot order lunch before then. The lunch menu looked delicious, but breakfast was great too! We split an eggs benedict and the eggs were cooked to perfection. You do serve yourself water and coffee (there are stations around the restaurant) so if you’re looking for a full service place this isn’t it.
The Courtyard Restaurant at Kennedy School – As I mentioned before, this is a place you want to have ample time to explore. There is a theater, smoking room, soaking tub, gardens, and plenty of tasty places to eat. We decided on the Courtyard Restaurant after much walking around. It was busy, but they had a full service bar so we ordered our food there. The wait for a table wasn’t very long at all, but this mama was VERY HUNGRY! We ordered cajun tater tots as an appetizer and they were delicious — I’m sorry that we’re not sorry we ate the whole plate full. I then ordered a minestrone soup and Alex ordered a burger. Both were delicious. The ambiance was wonderful and the view overlooked the garden in the center of the school. We didn’t end up making any of the movies but we found out later that you could order food and drinks before in the theater bar and take them into the movies with you! It is an absolute must visit.
Screen Door – Last, but certainly NOT least, was Screen Door. Luke and Hallie (friends of ours from California who relocated to Portland) took us here for dinner before our flight home. There was a line around the building before it even opened and we soon figured out why. The food was amazing — mostly likely the best southern/creole food I’ve ever tasted! Luke ordered the shrimp and grits, I ordered the mac n’ cheese, Alex ordered pulled pork, and Hallie ordered a mixed plate of three different items. They have beers on tap to pair with the food and the service was great. If you can, and it’s not too chilly, sit outside under the tin shed and heat lamps — the ambiance makes you feel like you’re sitting in the south eating some of your mama’s good home cookin’.
OVERVIEW: We truly enjoyed our experience and felt as thought 5 days was just enough time to really take in all that Portland had to offer. We enjoyed Sunday morning service at Mars Hill Portland and found most everyone in the city to be friendly and helpful with suggestions.
At first I was nervous about using public transportation, but we have always found that having to ask people for directions and relying on each other for help has made for a unique experience when we travel. We were able to meet some very interesting people and had to trust each other a lot — considering that neither of us knew where we were going half the time.
Every eatery we patronized was amazing. I would say it would be hard to find a place we didn’t like and I strongly recommend all of the above listed.
Our hotel was in a great location; central to all of our travels to the districts and we often had down time for a bath or nap in the middle of the day before hitting the town at night.
The weather was very cold in January (ranging from 30-45 degrees) but we enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate to keep us warm. I wore the same large jacket every day and bundled up in beanies and scarves. I really enjoy cold weather so I did not find that it inhibited our experience at all. If anything it provided beautiful scenery.
So, I would say Operation: Babymoon 2013 was a success! I hope you found this guide helpful and you enjoyed our video.
I LOVE spicy mexican food and coke. I didn’t always love coke, but for some reason with this little guy it is pretty much an everyday craving. It’s one that I did indulge for about three weeks on an almost daily basis. It’s so crisp and tasty and pure cane sugary.
Now spicy mexican food, or spicy food in general, and I have had a long, torrid (pun intended) love affair. Chips and salsa, jalapenos and cheese, anything spicy-cheesy-heartburny is all I want.
But, guess what guys? I’ve also been suffering from insomnia, heartburn late at night, and carpal tunnel flare-ups. I’ve tried heat, massage, icing, topical treatments, and even spoke with my doctor about taking other supplements that might help. His response, “Honestly, you can try taking these things — but they aren’t going to help you. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
Great doc, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear. NOT! Whelp, so many of you gave me great suggestions and even asked your midwives for homeopathic remedies, but one suggestion stuck out to Alex from Michael (my piano teacher) about the carpal tunnel flare ups being linked to my eating habits. So, we thought to give it a try.
It’s been three days with no spicy foods, no soda, no fried anything, and low sugar — and guess what?! It has been pretty awesome! The last three nights I’ve slept a full 6 hours (I’m still waking up at 4:00/5:00, but that’s better than 1:00/2:00 am. And wrist has only mildly hurt. I hasn’t been NEARLY as painful as it was. As it turns out, my body was telling me through my heartburn what the problem was and I wasn’t paying attention. Here’s to hoping that this trend continues!
So coke and spicy food — we must say goodbye; even if just for the next three(ish) months.
Thank you for all the prayers, suggestions, and concerns,
They have started! It’s not even necessarily CRAVINGS, like ohhhh man I have to get this or I’m going to starve… but I have had a few weird moments where I open the fridge and I think, “Hmmmm, that and that sound good together.”
Then I instantly think, “That’s disgusting, but I’m going to eat it anyway.”
For the last two days I’ve been really wanting chili cheese fries from Del Taco and usually around 8:00 or 9:00 at night. My loving and sweet hubby has gone for me and the baby has been extremely grateful.
But, today was the weirdest… weirdest of all. Today I opened the fridge and thought, “Oh man, jared peaches and spanish olives with pimentos. That sounds AMAZING!”
Some of you may already know, but I got a job. I’m 1099’d so it’s flexible hours and such which has been great, but boy… getting back into the workforce after 6 months off is a trip, I tell ya.
It has been quite an adjustment, but I am really enjoying it. I have had to learn how to re-balance my life all over again, though. Who cooks? Who cleans? When will I be able to work out again? Why am I so tired?!
The answer: Stop. Take. One. Thing. At. A. Time.
This is not a new concept, for some. For me, it’s more like, “what do you mean I can’t do everything at once all the time and be perfect?” But, I truly believe that I was given these past 6 months to re-organize and prioritize my life for moments like this — when things are so turned around and I need stop, breathe, and march on.
I don’t overwhelm myself with every little thing and I allow thing to slip past that don’t really matter. It’s quite liberating actually. I’m getting back into a routine and I actually got back on the treadmill after three weeks! Life and time are not only precious but short. Why spend it worrying?!
“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?” — Matthew 6:25-27