Friday, December 06, 2013


It's been two years this week since our dear friends lost their firstborn son the day they were expecting to deliver him. Brave is still very alive in our hearts and we long for the day on the other side of this life where we will meet him face to face.

"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..."


I hear it every day. So many times every day.

I've been guilty of declaring, "that's not my name today," eager to hide from the little voices behind the needs that will distract me from my conversation, my tasks.

And yet, she longs for it. For the distractions. For the little voice.
It would be a welcomed and coveted beautiful sound in her ear.

To hear her baby's cry, as she feels her body preparing to nourish him and realizes her clothes are soaked and will need to be changed before she runs errands later.

To hear her toddler's sweet, squeaky voice call out for her,
tearing her away from whatever less important task she was accomplishing.

To hear her preschooler ask for help spelling his well-fitting name. 

These are sounds I hear every day.
These are the sounds I take for granted every day.

Lord, I'm sorry.
Friend, I'm sorry.

Two years. Two years without her firstborn.
My heart still wrenches for her when I think of how Brave she's had to be.

My children. Healthy. Here. Needy of my attention and love.
Everything else pales in comparison. Really.

Andrew & Christy have displayed incredible bravery as they have grieved these last two years. For more information on their journey, you can visit them here or here.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The 5 Love Languages of Pregnancy

I remember reading Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages for the first time. It was so eye opening. It was then that I was able to see in words how most people give and receive love. I recognized that one of my main love languages is Quality Time. I love spending real time with people, getting past the surfacy conversations and getting to know and be known by someone. I also saw how I was giving love the way that I most desired to receive it, but had to adjust and find out what love language others were 'speaking' in order to tell them that I love them.

For instance, Brandon's main love languages are Words of Encouragement and Physical Touch. When I speak life into him, tell him that he's doing an awesome job, speak positively of him in front of others...or when I give him lots of hugs, kisses, back scratches, and er....well, this IS a post about pregnancy, so you get where I'm going with this....he feels loved. Me just buying him a gift simply won't cut it.

And that's no good.

Since I've been a Stay At Home Mom, I think that besides needing Quality Time (read: no screaming kids around while we try to have a conversation), my other love language that is high up there is Acts of Service. When Brandon helps with the nighttime routine (which is pretty often) or gets a wild hair to clean the entire kitchen or wash and clean out my car, I get all warm and gooey inside. He's much more likely to have that Physical Touch need met, too, so we both win. Having three small kids and being engrossed in everyday acts of service for others really allows me to appreciate it when others take small things off my plate.

But now that we are in the last few weeks of our fourth full pregnancy, I have come to find out that there are other, unpublished love languages that pertain to my life right now. My sister-in-law, who is always a wealth of wisdom and just so happens to be preggo too, and I were discussing some of these love languages of pregnancy.

Sleep:  For the preggo, sleep may arguably be the most popular love language. That first trimester is simply exhausting. Personally, I remember never being so tired in all my life. When I was pregnant with Ella, I would come home from work, sit on the couch, and wake up hours later. No dinner had been made, no cleaning or planning for the next day...I would simply shuffle from the couch to the bed and sleep until my alarm would rudely awaken me the next morning. And no, brushing my teeth was not a priority during those times. It only got worse with Allie's pregnancy because although I wasn't working anymore, I had 1 year old to run after, and that was a WHOLE lot more tiring than sitting at a desk. With Caroline, we were in the middle of moving to a new city, leaving our friends, family and connections, and...on the side...no big deal, WE PLANTED A CHURCH. (Note: don't do this. Just don't.) Now, with the fourth child...well, I'm still so tired I can't even express myself adequately. You get the point. It gets worse with more chil'ren. And it doesn't just end. The first trimester and the last trimester are both super sleepy times for Mama. So if you have a preggo and want to tell her you love her, give her a break to get some shut eye. Men, put the kids down to bed yourself and tell her to get in bed and not worry about a thing. Friends and family: offer to watch the kids or help out so she can get some much needed sleep. She'll feel super duper loved.

Food: This can go two ways. One, the preggo is going to have some serious CRAVINGS. This happens mostly through the first and second trimester, but in the third she will definitely know what she wants to eat most of the time. There's just something about having a craving satisfied that makes a preggo happy, happy, happy. And two, there are going to be some serious AVERSIONS. If your preggo can't stand the smell of fish during pregnancy, don't go to Harbor Inn at lunch and come home smelling like an aquarium. Don't even mention Red Lobster. Don't request shrimp scampi for dinner. Whatever her aversion is, note it and STAY AWAY. You'll be happier, I promise, when she feels loved in this way. And don't get upset if her aversions include your favorite foods or change suddenly. Just go with it, because like other pregnancy-related downers, this too shall pass.

Sanity: This is super important for a preggo because pregnancy is a time when our minds are racing. If this is a first pregnancy, there are no less than a gazillion things going through Lil' Mama's mind. It's a time when anxiety levels can be high, so if you know a preggo, give her space to collect her thoughts. Perhaps a Starbucks gift card (if she doesn't have an aversion to the smell of coffee, that is) and a journal so she can write down her thoughts, lists, To Do's, etc... Also, don't pile more on her plate than normal. This is not the time to announce to her that you are quitting your job to pursue your hobby as a full-time means of income, or that you want to take an trip out of the country that just so happens to land during her 36th week. This does nothing but make for more craziness going on in her mind. Finally, go with the flow when it comes to her forgetting things. Because she will. Often. Even the most organized, on-top-of-it preggos get pregnancy brain. We can't remember our own middle names sometimes, much less where we put that receipt that you need for reimbursement. Instead of scowling, just say, "it's okay, babe" and figure something else out.

Massage: Massage can often be tied in with Sanity (i.e. a massage definitely helps keep a preggo sane). My husband has always been good about hooking me up with an hour long prenatal massage sometime in my second or third trimester. During my last pregnancy, my dad actually sent me to the spa for a whole day of pampering...massage, facial, manicure and pedicure. Marvelous. Having the opportunity to put your big 'ole belly in a hole and lay face down in a dark, warm, relaxing room while someone massages your sore back is pure bliss. Especially when you are growing another person in your womb and haven't been able to sleep in your favorite position in over 6 months. If you can't afford a prenatal massage for the preggo you love, feel free to pull out the lotion or massage oil and offer to hook a sister up with a massage yourself, focusing on her lower back, neck, fingers, legs, and feet. Please note, massage should be reserved for the second and third trimester only. Also, be aware and stay away from prenatal pressure points that have been known to induce labor before your preggo is full term (at least 37 weeks).


Chop Blocking Anyone Who Tries to Touch The Belly: Many women may adhere to the self-loving aspect of this because they are the ones being violated when strangers or even well-meaning friends without permission try to touch the belly. But, men...friends, whomever is close to the preggo, can really tell her they love her by going Mister Miyagi on people who reach out unsolicited. Preggo feels protected and loved in unimaginable ways, I promise! I talked a little about this here, but I'll say it again. If you want to love on a preggo AND you want to touch her belly...ask first. I have no qualms about embarrassing someone in public or cutting their finger off if they come in unexpectedly. But I'd rather have someone else do my dirty work for me because I'm just too darn big, tired, cranky, etc...

So, there it is.  5 ways to love the preggo in your life. Find out which ones she needs when (she'll probably need all of them at some point over the 40 weeks), and hook a sister up. You'll be happy you did.

Your turn: What other pregnancy love languages can you think of? If you've been pregnant, what are some ways people have loved you well? Share, share, share!

Simply Sassy Designs

I took the plunge and started getting my creative juices flowing this spring. I don't know if it was moving into a new home and wanting to be able to re-create our style on the new pallet, or what, but one thing led to another, and Simply Sassy Designs has been resurrected.

I've had some success with it already...buying furniture at yard sales and off Craigslist and "re-loving" the pieces with fresh paint and hardware. I even have had one new bride who was the recipient of some hand-me-downs and has had me redo a few of those pieces for her and her new husband's home. It's definitely been a fun little adventure that has also been beneficial to our budget in this season of our lives!

Here is the link to my Simply Sassy Designs blog, for those interested in seeing more transformations.