a good evening

The other night we made pizzas at my mom and step-dad's. It was fun. They turned out pretty good too.....
This is Noah's pizza...seriously the child wanted NOTHING on it.......This is Josh's pizza....he worked at the Tavern in high school can ya tell?

This is one of the pizzas Nick put together....he made this one and then the taco pizza....they were super good...nice work, babe.

Not much else to say...just wanted to share a fun experience :)



a topic revisited

Recently I have been asked by a few people what my vendeta against Santa is. First of all, nothing.
Apparently more people read my blog that I realized....and the santa blog apparently has hit alot of nerves....
After re-reading the blog post, I realize I came across a little crass and I feel the need to explain things a little better and little more gently :)
Let me start by saying I do not want to debate. Let us raise our children. I do not intend to try and change your opinion if you think differently. I do not intend to shake my fist at you and say "you are wrong about this". I don't want this to become a huge topic for us. If you want to tease us LOVINGLY about it, that's fine... :) We aren't the only ones who aren't going to teach our kids to believe in Santa....nor will we be the last...I guess I've just been more vocal about it than others and that means I get to take the hits from those who disagree :)
Neither Nick nor I will ever tell another child that is not ours there is no Santa. We will teach our children not to run around exclaiming to other kids how there is no Santa. That is not our place....nor our responsibility.
In the topic of Santa....we intend to be honest. When our kids are old enough to raise the subject, we will answer truthfully....no, he does not exist, but there was a man like Santa a long time ago and he evolved into a story character. If they still want to pretend that there is a Santa Clause who lives in the North Pole with his elves...we aren't going to crush them completely (I mean seriously people, I get it...they're kids!), but neither are we going to pretend along with them and say "yes, Santa is bringing you presents tonight, but only if you are good".
We are going to teach Christ first...above the whole Santa thing. We would not have Christmas without Christ. He is the reason for our life. Without His sacrifice of becoming flesh so He could die for ME....there would be no point. It's not about having religion or simply recognizing that Christmas represent Jesus' birthday.....even Satan does that!(I can't remember what verse in scripture that comes from...someone help me out, please??) It's believing that Christ is our Savior and striving to live every day for Him. That is want we want to remember EVERY DAY, not just during Christmas time.
I also understand that there is a special "magic" feeling about Christmas time...I get the excitement for it too! I don't see anything wrong with that and I don't want it to be a somber time for my kids either......
This is getting harder and harder to explain :) I guess all I can say is we aren't being "scrooges", Nick and I love Christmas....I love everything about it....but this is how we want to teach our kids...and I understand that how we want to do it and how it actually pans out when the time comes may be 2 completely different things :) kids are wonderful that way. :)
Anyway....I don't know what else to say. I hope this makes a little more sense. I'm half to tears by now b/c I really want y'all to understand that I'm not trying to be mean or in your face about this at all...I was just venting in my last blog and came across rather badly and I am so sorry for that.



what a merry CHRISTmas! :)

Merry Christmas! :) This Christmas has been one of the most quiet ones I've had in a long time!
Every year we do Christmas Eve with my mom and brothers and step-dad. This year was no different. We went to church, ate some food, played Spoons, exchanged gifts and then my brothers and Nick played Call of Duty on XBox for a while :) My step-brother Devon and his wife Shannon came and spent the evening with us as well. It was a good night and we had a great time!
Today my brothers, mom, step-dad, and nephew went to Storm Lake to be with my mom's side of the family. I was on call for work, so I had to stick around. Nick and I slept in this morning (which was wonderful!). We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon putting together baby stuff, playing with baby stuff, registering the baby stuff we had (for recalls), watched Ice Age 2, and just enjoyed one another's company. I had a hard time b/c I'm so used to a crazy Christmas with people everywhere...but it was nice just to spend the day with my husband :)
We went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button later this afternoon....and then we had chinese for Christmas dinner ;)
All in all....while we had kind of a "lazy day", but it was good just to be together, talking, thanking the Lord for his birth and sacrifice...
We are so thankful and blessed to have such amazing friends and family in our life. We are looking forward to an interesting year :) and we are both curious and excited to see what the Lord is going to do in our life this year and how becoming parents is going to mold us (please bear with us as we go through such an overwhelming process....) :)
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your families....and even after today ends, I pray that we NEVER forget what today represents...the birth of our Savior--Jesus Christ--who gave an amazing sacrifice so that by his grace and mercy we can know Him. amen! :)



What a weekend...

This weekend was busy and a blast! Nick's brother and his wife, Alan and Steph, came to the midwest from AZ for the week. So Friday night, they and Ardyce (Nick's mom) and Sara and Kyle (Nick's sister and her husband) came down to stay with us for the weekend.
Saturday afternoon Sara and Steph hosted a baby shower for me at Amber's house (thank you, Amber!). It was so much fun. Steph is super talented and creative, so every shower she's thrown is super unique and "professional" :) I was pretty excited about it. Given that the weather wasn't the best and Christmas being this week, I didn't think alot of people would be able to make it, but quite a few of you came and it was fun to see you! :) Thank you so much everyone for the wonderful gifts. I feel so blessed to have some pretty amazing women in my life :) Ashley, thank you for bringing the baby :)
Saturday night we did Christmas and just chilled out for the night.

Sunday afternoon we had lunch with Nick aunt and uncle and Grandma Jane. His cousin and his wife, Todd and Rachael, came into town from Souix Falls for the weekend so we got to spend some time with them as well. We spent the afternoon with them and then spent the rest of the evening back at our place. We had Casey's pizza (my FAVORITE) and watched Iron Man (which I have to recommend...it was pretty good).
Nick's family left for home in MN this morning at 7:30am and then we were able to spend some more time with Alan and Steph before we took them to Steph's aunts house this afternoon. They are spending the rest of the week with her family and they fly back to AZ on Thursday.
It was a busy weekend...but it was so fun to have everyone together and I'm thankful that it worked out!




I would like to EXCITEDLY announce that two of our favorite people, Tommy and Amber Flinn, are expecting a new addition to their family at the beginning of August! Unfortunately I don't have an updated picture of them for you, but their wedding picture is gorgeous :)
Anyway...Tommy and Amber...we are SO excited for you!! Thank you for letting us share in this new journey!! I can't wait to see how it turns out :) :)



a favorite

So today as I was making a list for the week's meals...I once again went to the cupboard where all my cookbooks are. After thinking "which one should I check out this week?" I went for my never-failing Cooking Light Cookbook.
I bought this cookbook this last summer and I use it for almost every meal now. It has super yummy recipes...they are all easy...and it includes healthy substitutes. My favorite recipe to use it their waffle mix....I love waffles made from scratch...it's really easy...and you can do wheat, buttermilk, or "regular"....mmm....
Cooking Light also has a magazine that my mom subscribes to and gives to me when she's done :) This month was full of amazing desserts for Christmas and they weren't artery clogging, comatose inducing or fat filled :)
I hafta say, I am a major fan.
anyway...I love this cookbook...just wanted to share :)



Christmas #1

Today we had Christmas at my dad and step-mom's.
All 3 of my brothers were able to come as well as our nephew, Noah. We had so much fun and yummy food :) The boys played XBox 360 most of the time....Noah decided that Uncle Nick and daddy were "cows" and he was the "farmer" so that game went on for a while...we watched a little bit of a movie and just sat around and talked...it was a great afternoon :)



"In the army now"

So I tried to post this earlier, but the computer wasn't working, so hopefully we're a go now!
On Friday, December 5 we had the priviledge of watching our dear dear dear friend, Dave Lam become Police Officer Dave Lam!
Dave has an art degree from Iowa State, a nursing degree from Mercy College and is now officially a member of the Des Moines police force.
Dave, we are SO proud of you and so excited for you to start this new career!




Last night Nick went to "daddy bootcamp" class at Mercy....it's a free class for new dad's where "veteran" dads bring in their babies and teach basics like soothing a baby, changing a diaper, swaddling, etc...so of course when I got to work last night I had to share this big of info with my coworkers....3 of them have kids and were all like "my husband would have died before doing something like that!". These statements had me thinking over the course of last night while I was working and again this afternoon.
I am so blessed. Nick is such an amazing man. It has been so much fun to see him get excited about learning baby basics and baby stuff....like when we were registering he had to play with and try out everything! He asks questions during our childbirthing classes. The other guys just kinda sit there, but Nick gets involved.....he did where the sympathy belly last week and it was super funny...his response to it was "I want to wear it for a whole day to get the real feel".
He has been so patient with me....through my emotional outbursts over rotten mango to my constant aching back....I couldn't ask for anyone to be more patient. I'm sure he does get frustrated at times, but he hasn't shown it yet. He is so good at reminding me that my limited mobility right now is only temporary.
Now I have to point in that he hasn't gotten more patient or caring since we found out we were pregnant. He has always been patient with me when I'm being difficult. He starts my car for me in the mornings....when we lived in the apartment, he would go out in the freezing cold to de-ice and de-snow my car. He folds laundry b/c he knows how much I dislike that chore. He cleans the house for me if I'm at work and won't have time. He keeps our cars tuned up and oils change. He vaccums. I don't. :) Despite all these "actions" he loves me. He prays with me. He seeks the council and friendship of other men of God. He is constantly seeking the Lord....he is so encouraging to me. He challenges me in my complacency. He is my husband and my best friend.
I am so thankful to have such an amazing man after God's heart!
Now, I'm not saying "my husband is better than yours". Most of the men I know are such neat men of God and Nick and I are so blessed to be surrounded with such amazing people.....most of the men we know would go to Daddy Bootcamp or clean the house or do the laundry....
I've just been thinking lately how thankful I am for my husband and how blessed I am. He's going to be an amazing dad and I can't wait to grow with him in that aspect as a parent.
thanks for reading my brag page :) Now i want to hear how amazing your spouse is! :)



beautiful snowfall

the view from our kitchen window this morning...

I cannot believe it is almost DECEMBER! We have 7 1/2 weeks until we get to meet our baby girl. Christmas is 4 weeks away....and it is snowing outside!
I woke up this morning and remembering it was snowing when we went to bed, I jumped up to see how much more we got. It was beautiful outside. Alot of people had not been out in there cars yet, so the snow was still clean and white. Even now, there are still little flakes falling. I love snow days. They always make me went to snuggle up at home with some hot chocolate and read a book. We got our Christmas decorations out on Friday, so it's a comforting ambiance. I love it.:)
I love this time of year (not that I don't like any other time of year, but winter is my favorite). :) As the wind is blowing and the snow is falling, I'm thankful for the roof over my head and the blankets I have to wrap up in....but no matter what situation we are in--warm or cold--I'm most thankful for my husband....my family....friends old and new....grace...forgiveness....regardless of our home, we are so blessed to know we are secure in Christ.
I guess this a bunch of random musings....my heart is just overflowing this weekend and I am just overwhelmed with how grateful I am to the Lord for the people in my life.



what? no santa?

So a few weeks ago at work, it was change of shift and we were sitting at the nurses station talking. I don't know how, but we got on the subject of Santa Clause. I started telling everyone how last year, we were eating dinner for Christmas Eve at my mom's and my step siblings were all there. Someone made the comment to my step-neice that she needed to go to bed early or Santa wouldn't come.....I completely forgot that some people still "trick" their kids into thinking Santa exists and I said "too bad he's not real"....the look I got from my step siblings was sheer death....it's a good think Lily didn't hear me or I would've really been in trouble.
After relaying the tale, I stated, "Nick and I are not going to let our kids believe there is a Santa...or Easter bunny...or tooth fairy....but more importantly, no Santa". Immediately everyone starts with "what?!" "grinch!" "seriously?!". I grew up not believing in any of those things. We never went trick or treating for Halloween....we had maybe 2 easter egg hunts, but never did easter baskets....my parents never told us there was a santa or tooth fairy....I don't know if they wanted to be realistic or didn't want to deal with 4 kids on a sugar high :) I then go on to explain that why would I want to deceive my kids into believing that there is a Santa only for them to find out later it's not true? Christmas is not about Santa...it's about Christ. Immediately some get defensive saying "well, I have religion in my life". I respond "it's not about religion, it's about faith and Christ". Well right then, call lights start going off and we have to get to work......
Later someone asked, "what if your kids spoil it for other kids whose parents are letting them think there's a Santa?" I answered that it's not my job nor my place to let down kids who believe in Santa. I'll teach my kids that some kids will believe in Santa, but they are not allowed to tease them....it's not the kids' fault, how could they know any better? The rest we'll make up as it comes....but I don't want to take away from what Christmas or Easter really mean.
Since then there hasn't been much else discussion....every once in a while someone will make a comment about it, like "but there's not santa, right?" or "keep your kids away from abby, she'll spoil the fun"....I know they are half joking, half serious....but it doesn't really bother me much. I guess we'll see what other conversations come up. :)



baby chain

So most people make a chain to count down the days of Christmas. This afternoon after church, I don't know why, but I decided we needed to have a baby chain :) So I got pink paper at my mom's, cut it into strips, and Nick lovingly stapled all 60 links :)
I think it's fun......




Chad and Ashley welcomed Abigail Michelle at 8:09 Friday morning! She has gorgeous blue eyes, a lot of brown hair....she's BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations you guys!! Can't wait for our play groups! ;) ha...



immunizations...vaccines.....yadda yadda yadda...

Many of you have heard recent talks about vaccines and autism...or parents deciding not to get their children vaccinated b/c they don't like the thought of viruses being put into their children's body....
I'm not getting on a soap box here, but I think that that too many people are adapting others' opinions instead of doing the research themselves.
First off...this whole autism and vaccine thing....there is no link so far to vaccines causing autisI am not convinced that vaccines can cause autism...I think that they can aggravate symptoms that a child already has. People ask "then why are there more cases of autism being diagnosed??" I think that it's b/c we are paying attention now! Years ago, kids were just written off as disruptive and rebels....now people are paying attention and helping them instead of ignoring it......
However, I agree that there should be a huge push to make our vaccinations mercury-free.
this is a good article, but after researching the case discussed I can find no information on how they were able to prove a vaccination caused the autism.....if anyone else finds info on it, let me know.
One thing I hear alot it "why get the MMR, Dtp, or polio vaccine when you never see those diseases anymore?" I say.....vaccines are a major reason why the diseases aren't seen as much if at all! this is a common type of argument heard by those against immunizations. According to the CDC website, diseases such as like measles saw a sharp decline starting in 1963 when the vaccine was introduced!
Another argument I've heard is regarding putting those viruses in your child's body.....
there are 3 types of vaccines :
-Live attenuated vaccines contain bacteria or viruses that have been altered so they can't cause disease.
-Killed vaccines contain killed bacteria or inactivated viruses.
-Toxoid vaccines contain toxins produced by the germ that have been made harmless.
-Component vaccines contain parts of the whole bacteria or viruses.

Most of the vaccinations children receive are live-attenuated. http://www.drspock.com/ lists the vaccinations and the types they are.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think that some vaccinations aren't necessary for children. Such as the Gardasil vaccine...the new one for girls/women to protect against hpv which can lead to cervical cancer. What they don't tell you is that the only way you can contract hpv is through sex. Now, why would I want to give my daughter a vaccine like that?! I see it as enabling her...giving her another reason to have sex before she's married...I mean why not? right?
This week I had a conversastion with a friend of mine who couldn't see why her newborn baby boy needed the hepatitis B vaccine.....hepatitis B is commonly known as being spread through sex or dirty needles.....what people don't realize is that it can also be spread through the baby being bitten by another toddler while at daycare, or a child at school leaks through their diaper or underwear and your child happens to get some "fluid" on their hands...
Anyway...what I'm getting at is why would you want to subject your child to the risk of getting a serious illness when you have resources available to you to protect them??
Organic food, exercise, obsessively cleaning and washing your hands can only do so much, but ultimately in the end you are still in a world that doesn't live like you do and many people aren't as careful!!
I'm not saying those who don't get their children vaccinated are bad parents or anything like that at all! It's their decision and if you've done the research and are still convinced that you are making the right decision...then that's great! At least you're reading up and developing your own opinion instead of adopting the opinion of your best friend.
I want to encourage everyone to research both sides of the argument yourself.
Like I said...I'm not insinuating that anyone is a bad parent or doing something wrong...this is just a big topic and I've heard too many people echo someone else's opinion and when you ask them questions regarding their decision (because I want to learn more), they can't answer you and it's frustrating.
I, for one, am going to have my child vaccinated. I don't like the thought of putting her through shots, but at the same time I want her protected and I don't want it hanging over my head later, if she should get sick...that I could have done something and I didn't.



wonderful Saturday

This weekend was busy and fun. Saturday morning we had an open house/baby shower for Nate and Natalie Klauser and their baby girl, Elyse. She is 2 months now and absolutely adorable! It was so much fun to see them and how the Lord has blessed them! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera, so I didn't get any pictures, so the above is one of their family pictures.
Saturday afternoon, we threw a bridal shower for the lovely Joni Stauffer at my mom's place. She's getting married in Florida on January 23 to Joe Bowman....whom I still haven't met! I don't get to go to the wedding either, so I'm thankful we had a chance to get some people together to celebrate with her! :)



thoughts on pregnancy...

This weeks marks week 30 for baby Flies. 10 weeks left. The latest question I've had lately (mostly from patients at work) is "how have you liked being pregnant?" The answer is I like being pregnant...I do not like pregnancy.
Now, I think I should elaborate b/c y'all could be thinking I'm crazy by now...although I am quite serious.
First off, I am not complaining. I'm so thankful that my body has been able to carry this baby safely. God's design is amazing. These are just my thoughts on what I've experienced (and on some things I haven't, but know they are still a possibility). I think it's important to be honest...so I am. :)
I LOVE watching my belly grow....I love watching her jabs and kicks and rolls make waves on my stomach. It's fun to know she's moving and shaking in there...this is Nick's and my baby girl...all happy and content in her watery world..blithely unaware of what I'm going to bring her into in a few weeks...
I do not like pregnancy. In the first trimester and now in the 3rd trimester, I was exhausted ALL THE TIME. I could not get enough sleep. Now usually when I'm tired I'm able to push through the day and be fine, but pregnancy tiredness shoots you down. It's hard to function. All you can think about is sleep....even though you have to be at work or get a bunch of stuff done that day....does your body care? nope.
The nausea--aka morning sickness. This is one I didn't have alot of problems with. About week 8 to week 11 I would wake up nauseated.....I had to eat small meals throughout the morning and I would be feeling fine by lunchtime. Sometimes I had a hard time and couldn't eat or more at all...it was better just to sleep it off. Smells make you feel sick...normally I like the smell of coffee, but even now I can't smell it too long or I feel sick.
Hunger....all the time. No matter how much you eat. You can be full for 5 minutes and then starving again like you haven't eaten in weeks. And instead of being able to ignore it or satisfy it with a drink of water...your body starts to shake and you sweat and you have to have food that minute or you'll absolutely die.....regardless of what you're doing that minute.
The irrelevant weight gain. I understand that a woman's body needs to put on the extra pounds to protect the baby, prepare your body, feed your baby.....but seriously.....do you need to have the extra cellulite on your butt and legs? I mean where does that become necessary? I'm already feeling huge...please let's make it worse by putting on unnecessary pounds without trying.
Emotional craziness. One thing you shouldn't say to someone who's pregnant "it's just your hormones"...because at that time, I don't care. Let me cry over rotten mangoes. Let me be upset over not having enough sour cream to make the perfect mashed potatoes. I know I'm pregnant and my hormones levels are sky high.....but I can't seem to control it. Just hug me and let me be upset....I'll get over it in a few minutes.
Heartburn. This has been plaguing me for the last 4 weeks...and it HURTS. I know it's from pregnancy hormones slowing down gastrick motility (which also leads to constipation...sweet) and b/c baby is getting bigger (which is a good thing) and taking up more space which results in my stomach being pushed up which makes whatever I eat or drink push yuckiness into my esophagus causing the burning.....but SERIOUSLY. I'm popping Tums every hour...and they do not taste good. If the heartburn gets bad enough, I have a major coughing fit.....lately this has been happening in a patient's room and it's embarassing b/c they look at you like you have the plague, so then you have to explain it's one of the many ways your body reminds you your pregnant.
Constipation. This is one that goes throughout pregnancy b/c like I said, the hormone surge slows down your gastric motility which means food is in your intestines longer which means more water is pulled from it which means by the time it's done being moved through.....you get it, right? anyway....so i carry a water bottle with me everywhere and yes, i do take a stool softener every day, thank you very much. My husband would be so proud of me for telling you that too.
Hemorrhoids. I have not had the honor of experiencing these buggers, but I hear they are quite painful. They are caused from being constipated too often, baby getting bigger and more pressure in your pelvic area, and then from pushing out baby at birth. I'll say no more b/c I don't even want to think about it.
The shortness of breath. Oh my word...this is not fun. Again, it's from baby getting bigger and taking up your lung space....how long or short your torso is makes a huge difference too. You can't lounge back b/c if you do, you can't breathe. Walking and going upstairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon b/c your are so out of breath. Sitting down, you have to sit completely straight or you can't breathe (but sitting up straight, of course, causes a major back ache, so you're uncomfortable no matter what you do). When I'm at work or talking on the phone and I get going on a conversation I have to stop a few seconds for air b/c I don't have the lung capacity to carry on a conversation like I used to!
The back aches. These are from your center of gravity changing and your expanding belly pulling your spine forward. My consant back ache is across the center through my shoulder blades. Sometimes changing how I'm sitting or standing helps, but there are lots of times (like last night, actually) where not matter what I do it hurts so bad I'm close to tears. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who is willing to rub and knead my back which helps a ton.
Now, a new one I've had lately is constantly having to go to the bathroom. Baby kicks your bladder and oops...you hafta go now. You're in the middle of a deep sleep? Don't worry, it won't last long b/c you'll have to get up and go the bathroom in about 2 seconds....my reaction is to want to drink less so I'm not having to go so much...however, this is super bad b/c then you can get kidney stones real easy.....you get dehydrated which makes your Braxton-Hicks contractions worse...you get even more constipated.....there's no solution but to just go.
Swelling. Now if you read my blog earlier, you know I've had a brush with this. It's from extra fluid in your body not having anywhere else to go, but into the interstitial space of your skin. Everyone gets this at the end of pregnancy, but most people (like me) get it around the 7th month. Mine isn't terrible, but if I'm on my feet too long (like at work) or sitting with my feet dangling down for too long...my feet and ankles swell and it is SO uncomfortable. One of my coworkers had it so bad by her 5th month, you could make hand prints in her legs....she also had preeclampsia and had to be put on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy and that was why her swelling was so bad.
Stretch marks..I've been fortunate to not really experience these. I do have one teeny one right where my belly button was pierced, so it's not noticeable unless you're actually looking for it. I know I still have 10 weeks left, so there still may be time :) But stretch marks a genetic...my mom didn't have them at all...I don't know about my dad's side of the family...but I figure I have a good chance of escaping them (hopefully, anyway) :). I know lotion and stuff doesn't prevent them, but it makes sense in my mind to keep skin moisturized, then it should stretch easier, right? so I still try and take good care of my belly and keep it lotioned up :)
et's see.......oh yeah.....varicose veins. Again, so far I've escaped them, but I still have 10 weeks and baby isn't going to get smaller. I'm sure I'll have a few by the time baby arrives.
Okay, so I think I'm done. :) I'm not trying to scare anyone who hasn't been pregnant and is planning on getting pregnant someday. Some people will tell you they LOVE pregnancy and that's awesome...
It is a beautiful thing to know that your body is growing and nurturing this little child. God's design for a woman's body to carry a baby is incredible and I am thankful for the experience. But I still say, is some of the previous stuff necessary? I mean really. :)
I want to say again I am not complaining; I have been blessed to have had an easier time than some other women I know and for that I am thankful....it's just frustrating when some of these "pregnancy symptoms" are hindering you from doing normal activities like you used to...like bending over to pick up a pen I just dropped on the floor? Instead of just leaning over to get it....I have to stand up, hang on to the counter and bend down with my knees, grab the pen and then use the counter to help pull myself up.....what's it going to be like in another few weeks when my belly is definitely ginormous and in the way??? ;)
anyway....I would love to hear thoughts from you who have been pregnant...did you like pregnancy? Or were you ready to be done sooner rather than later??



a sad day....

Yesterday was a sad day.
I had to take my wedding ring off.
My fingers have started to swell a bit and it's gotten harder and harder to get my ring off. At work on Friday, some of the nurses I work with were like "if you don't take it off now and you swell more, it's going to cut your circulation and they're going to cut your ring off". I'm thinking "no one is going to cut off my wedding ring".
So yesterday afternoon I was at my mom's and I had to soak my hand in ice water for a few minutes, then douse my finger in olive oil and after some super hard tugging and twisting, my ring came off. I started bawling and called Nick. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't want to not be able to wear my wedding ring!!
My mom came in the door a few minutes later and I started crying about it again.
Needless to say....I got a cheapie from Target....it's a ring, but it's not the same! I know not wearing my ring doesn't make me unmarried, but it's sentimental and that ring means so much to me!
Anyway....today has been better...I wore the cheapie...it's a little too big so it moves around and I'm getting annoyed...then I found an opal ring in my jewlery box that my dad gave me for high school graduation....I usually wear it on my middle finger, but I decided that's the ring I'll wear for now...it's a little big too...but it's nicer than the cheapie :)
In the meantime...pray for my husband...I think my mood swings are getting to him...yesterday I cried about my wedding band...tonight I almost started crying because 2 of the mangoes I bought were bad.




I have TWO amazing things to share with y'all....

On October 21, I blogged about Travis and Angela expecting baby #4....yesterday Travis told Nick and Nick told me that God has blessed them with TWINS!! It is so mind boggling and while I know they are still trying to process this blessing :) they are incredibly happy and Nick and I are SO excited for you both!!

THEN....I have two friends, Katie and Ashley, who have known and loved me longer than anyone else (besides family) who knows me. :) Ashley and her husband, Chad, are expecting their first baby here in the next 4 weeks (woohoo!!!)......Katie and her husband, Tony, miscarried their first child, Ella, a few months ago. Today the 3 of us were at Ashley's baby shower and Katie informed us that the Lord has blessed them with another baby!! She is 11 weeks along....and I am ecstatic!! Congratulations, you guys!!!



belly photos...thank you, Steph!

photos by Stephanie Flies
(see more under picasa link to the right)



Arizona...fun with Alan and Steph

Nick and I took a long weekend to Scottsdale, AZ to see his brother and sister-in-law...one last hurrah before we have the baby to lug around :)

I don't even know where to start. We love going out there to see them...it's always a fun and encouraging time and we are always so sad to leave! This trip was the shortest one yet, though, and it flew by so fast!
We hung out by the pool---I got to lay on my stomach for the first time in months on their raft!!(those of you who are tummy dwellers when you sleep or read...you get it)
We ate out at this yummy restaurang, T-Cook's. It's in this super nice hotel that been around forever. It had such a romantic atmosphere...
Saturday we did more pool time :) and then went over to Steph's Aunt Jane and Uncle Tom's. They have an amazing home and are such fun hosts. Tom makes the most amazing drinks...he made me a non-alcoholic pina colada..it was fantastic. Jane made some super yummy food AND I had my first glass of wine in months. It was a Riesling and SO SO good. Tom, Alan and Nick had football on throughout the evening (and the weekend!). :) Steph and I even got into the Texas//Texas Tech football game with them that night. It was a good game and I say if every football game was like that I would watch football more. :)
Sunday late morning we went hiking it was super gorgeous out and there was a wonderful breeze so it wasn't sweltering :) My feet and ankles got all swollen (of course) and I got short of breath really easy (baby likes to hog space and my lungs get the shaft now)....but thank you guys for being patient with me :)
THEN we had the idea of taking belly pictures with Steph since she does some photography (and is amazing by the way) I'll post pictures that she took after this (she also has them on her blog and picasa album)...
We made dinner that night and spent time with their friends Greg and Amy (who are super neat people by the way)....there was a little issue with the pumpkin bars :) but the meal was amazing (nice work, Steph).
Then suddenly it was time to leave and head back and now here we are...
Needless to say we miss them so much already--and I think it gets worse each time we have to say goodbye. Thankfully they'll be back in December around Christmas and we get to see them again. woohoo! :)




So I know...this is my second blog in less than 24 hours...but I've been sitting stewing on something and I just need to share.

After Nick and I were married, the next big question was "when are you having kids?" and then "how many kids do you want?"....my answer always was (and still is) 4-5 kids. The look of shock or pity would inevitably follow along with "good luck" or "really? why?".

I grew up with 3 younger brothers...while I didn't always like them tailing around me...I love bigger families. After my mom remarried 7 years ago...my step-dad's 4 kids joined the brood.... now 3 of them are married which makes 7 kids and then there are 2 granddaughters in the mix. Christmas and Thanksgiving is INSANE....but I LOVE IT.

Anyway...back to my thought. A few months ago, I was on my way home from work and they were interviewing someone (I don't remember) and they were talking about American priorities versus the rest of the world and how Muslims outnumber true Christians by more than 50%...the comment he made has stuck with me. He said "one of the reasons there are less true believers in America is because of our skewed priorities. Americans are so caught up in saving, wanting and keeping that to make up for that, they are having less children...maybe 1 or 2...so they still have more money, things, time for themselves. Muslims in America outnumber Christians by more than half. They value family and belief first...having more children and therefore raising that many more Muslims"....

Okay, so I didn't get the quote exactly right, but the point is still the same. I completely agree with him. When Nick and I got engaged we found there were people who were concerned with where we stood financially...could we afford to get married?

Then when talking about kids, people would say "wait and save your money...get financially stable first...kids are expensive". Nick and I did plan on waiting about 3 years before trying to start a family...obviously God had a different plan in mind. :)

Anyway...I got so tired of the "financial" conversation. No, Nick and I aren't swimming in dough...but we are okay. Even if we were expecting triplets right now instead of one baby, we would be FINE....stressed, but fine :) God always provides...even when we are having a hard time trusting that He will....I know it would mean more skimmed down living....but that doesn't matter! I want a large family because I love the thought of having so many to love...but another reason is, I want a large family to give more soldiers of the Lord back to God. I want to multiply our family so that we have that many more believers to send out into the world. I pray that the kids we are able to have will come to love the Lord...that they will give their hearts, souls and minds to Him....but more importantly, HIS WILL BE DONE.

Now, I'm not saying that people who want or have 1, 2, 0r 3 kids are in the wrong...not by any means. Some people may not have the patience for alot of kids...maybe that's all they want because that's all they want....or they want to use their money and time to go overseas or serve the Lord and are able to better do that with a small family. Whatever the reason....it's their choice!

I'm stating why I want a large family and why I want people to stop being so shocked and acting like it's this insanely crazy thing for me to want that!

Ask Nick where he stands on this and the thought of that many kids makes his face go white, but at the same time...I think our being pregnant now has shown him a love he hasn't experienced yet and maybe the Lord will change his heart and he may want more than 3 or 4.

Anyway...I have more thoughts on this, but I think I've said enough. In the meantime, I'm thankful for the baby growing inside of me. It's been amazing to see Nick be so excited to be a dad and meet his daughter...I know he's willing to do this again :)

....maybe we can compromise on 4. :)



almost 29 weeks...

...and counting...we have 11 1/2 weeks left. I can't believe how time has flown. My body has changed so much in the last weeks....I see how puffy my face is in these pictures :) Oh well...God's design, right? Anyway....we're excited and can't wait to meet our baby girl...parenthood is going to be interesting. I'm not reading parenting books, though. Too many theories and ideas. I figured between the women in our small group, women at church, my mom, Nick's mom, aunts and grandparents...we have more than enough people to ask questions and learn from....There is one book I want to read, though, and it's called To Train a Child. It's on discipline and--more specifically--spanking...anyway...I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Oh, check this out...my mom found a tub with my brothers' and my old baby clothes...she showed me the little pink dress she brought me home in...it's a premie dress...so tiny! I was 6 weeks early and 12 days in the NICU...I was a little over 4 pounds....how crazy?! Anyway....I can't believe how little this dress is......the picture doesn't do it justice....



congratulations Travis & Angela!!

So Sunday night at small group, Travis and Angela announced that God has blessed them with a new addition to their family! They have 2 children Abel and Amariah...and little Ande Lynn is crawling around with Jesus right now....
We are so excited for you two. Your faith and trust in the Lord has been so encouraging and we are so thankful for you.
Congratulations! :)



the tale of the glider...

Today Nick put together the glider that his mom got us as a baby gift (thank you, Ardyce!).

He then enjoyed the fruits of his labors :)

We rearranged the guest room so the glider would fit....the pack-n-play aka: baby's bed is going to be opposite the foot of the bed......finally we're getting somewhere :)



it's only just a matter of trust

Back in high school and the beginnings of college, I was pretty outgoing. I loved meeting people, I loved making new friends....then along the way my personality changed...suddenly I'm scared to death of meeting new people, I prefered staying at home rather than going to be with others...
It's something I still struggle with now. Nick and I have been going to our church for 2 years now and I am just becoming comfortable and starting to make friends....don't get me wrong, there are some amazing people that I've met these last 2 years, but I don't know how to connect anymore and get so frustrated with myself that I feel it's easier just to get out of the way...
Some people talk about these major trials in their lives and how God used them to teach these people to rely on him...I feel like this is mine. It's definitely not a major trial by any means, but it is definitely something that I feel the Lord is using to teach me to trust Him.
It's taking me out of my comfort zone to go to group "events" or "get togethers"...meeting one on one is something I fear (but also love) b/c I'm afraid there won't be anything to talk about!
I know this sounds so ridiculous and jumbled....I'm sort of just thinking "out loud".
I want to develop friendships and continue to deepen them instead of leaning toward my tendence to shy away after a while. Unfortunately, I have "driven" away friendships b/c of my fears...
I get so frustrated with myself because I so badly want to be the outgoing person I used to be. It was so much easier that way! I know God is teaching me something and this will probably be something I struggle with for the rest of my life. I'm so thankful for Nick b/c he is the opposite and is so great at encouraging me to go be with people...
anyway....I was just thinking "out loud" ...
I pray that God will continue to teach me to trust Him....



where we live...

So I love our home. Nick and I are blessed the house we do for being out of school for just under 4 years. However, recent events have made me not like the area our house is in. If I could pick it up and move it somewhere else I would.
Let me elaborate...
Just over a year ago we had a drunk driver run into our neighbor's front doors. It was about 1:30am and I was awake b/c I was working nights that week. I heart squealing of tires of and a loud crash...and our house shook...then I smelled burning rubber. I woke up Nick. Called 911 for the first time in my life and went outside to see what was going on...along with the rest of our neighbors. Our next door neighbor, Stephanie, was unfortunately stuck in her house with a truck in her front door. The driver had run (the police eventually caught up with him at his home). It was a long night needless to say....now whenever I hear tires squealing I tense up... you would think people would quit taking that first turn into our area so fast...I'm just waiting for one of the neighbor's kids to get hit next!
Then this summer we had some college kids move into the house across from us and behind us. They are loud. They get drunk and are obnoxious some nights. A few weeks ago there was a very loud shouting match involving some of them right outside our house....second time I have called 911.
Last night there were 3 police cars parked outside our house for about an hour. I don't know what was going on, but we heard them talking to one of the kids about second offense for underage drinking...I don't know if they were having a party that we luckily didn't hear or what....
anyway...I'm over it. I don't like the thought of being home by myself with my daughter with these freak0-s around here. I'm sure it happens in other neighborhoods too, but seriously. This is my home and I shouldn't have to be afraid....or woken up at 3am by yelling kids...or drunk drivers driving into houses...



happy one year anniversary, Kyle and Sara!



Happy Birthday Grandpa Lee

October 1, Grandpa Lee Jensen would be 74 years young.

He passed away in January of 1998 2 weeks after an accident. He was riding his doonbuggy :) out on the lake (like we had been doing all Christmas weekend) when he hit a soft spot on the ice and went under. Thankfully, the tires kept the buggy floating for him to get out. Two weeks later, he collapsed outside of his restaurant while talking to a friend. They think he had had a MI when he hit the ice and then it weakend his heart muscle and threw off the electrical part of it and he went into a lethal rhythm and died.

He was an AMAZING man who loved the Lord with his heart, mind and life. He was an incredible example of what it means to be a servant to others. He cared for people and everyone in Storm Lake knew Lee Jensen. He was so fun to be around and always created some sort of adventure for us (like taking the doonbuggy on the ice and pulling the sleds).

He loved us all so much and it's bittersweet still. He's with the Lord worshipping our God, but at the same time we selfishly want him here with us.

I miss him as much now as I did when he first passed away and not a week goes by where I don't think about him.

So Happy Birthday, Grandpa. I love you.



6 months down. 4 months to go.


up and down. over and around. this way and that...SERIOUSLY

People joke about pregnancy, hormones and emotions. I completely get it now. I cry at the silliest things. I cry over commercials for pete's sake. I get upset over things that really aren't a big deal, but at the time they are all that matter and I can't think about anything else until it's fixed or resolved. It's totally not me, but I CAN'T HELP IT!
The other evening, I was getting ready to go to work. I had woken up super excited to eat my Honey Nut Cheerios for supper. I got up and went downstairs all super excited to eat....there was no milk. Now, normally I wouldn't have cared.....I would have found something else to eat. However, this was the end of the world. I couldn't help myself. I wanted Cheerios so bad it was all I could think about. Why didn't you eat them dry you ask? They didn't taste as good. I. Wanted. Milk. With. My. Cheerios. Why didn't you just go to the store you ask? Good question. I didn't want to. I hadn't showered yet. I had my time frame figured out before I had to leave for work and going to the store would cut into it. In comes my hero husband. He comes upstairs and immediately knows I'm in the middle of a "hormonal whirlwind". I was so irritated by this point that I was just ready to go upstairs and shower. Forget eating. Even though I was so hungry, I was boycotting for my Cheerios. He eventually talks it out of me and says "Are you going to eat if you don't get your cereal with milk". "No", I reply. Without another word he grabs his keys and walks out the door. Minutes later he is back with milk and saves the day.
Now, the whole time this is going on, I know I'm being ridiculous but I cannot help it. Like this other person is taking over.
I have lots of stories like these. Like tonight. I came home and the only thing I wanted to wear was his blue sweatpants. I can wear my own lounge pants fine, but his are so huge and roomy that I've sort of taken them over.....I come home.....go upstairs to change. I can't find the pants. "Nick, where are your sweatpants?" By this point he knows exactly which ones I am talking about. "I'm wearing them" He says. "what? take them off. switch me", I say. "Are you kidding me?". "No". "Fine, bring me down another pair". I bring down his Adidas pants and he switches me. "I should get husband of the year award", he says. "I know you should", I say.

I'm so thankful for a husband who has been so patient with me through these ridiculous moments. I know it's not easy for him, but he has been so wonderful. He doesn't let me get away with it when I'm being super ridiculous....but he's good at picking his battles too. At the same time, he LOVINGLY reminds me to sit, breathe and relax when I start getting weepy or silly things. I really appreciate him and I'm thankful that God has given him the strength and patience to put up with me when I'm know I'm being difficult. (But I seriously cannot seem to stop it sometimes!)
I know this makes me sound like a constant emotional wreck.....thankfully it's not as often as one would think......but I'm ready for these emotional times to be over with. I'm tired of literally crying over empty milk jugs.




So the last 2 weeks have been the first time that people who don't know I'm pregnant are asking me "when are you due?" or "how far along are you?"...it's only took just under 6 months...but still, I'm excited that people are FINALLY noticing...
I was talking with some coworkers about it last night and the whole conversation turned into talking about moments where people weren't sure if someone was pregnant or not, so they didn't want to say anything...the whole conversation got me thinking of probably my most awful "foot in my mouth" moment. Let me share...
When I was still in nursing school, I was working as a tech on a telemetry floor at Lutheran Hospital. One night, I was filling in as secretary and was just sitting chatting with the nurses after they were done passing report to the next shift. One of the nurses asked another nurse, Carrie, how much longer she had. She said, "too long". Now, Carrie is a very tall, large boned woman. I looked at her and asked "are you pregnant?". She looked at me like I was insane and said "yes". I said "how far along are you". She replies "8 MONTHS".
I about died. I felt so bad. I didn't even know what to say. Thankfully, she turned right back around the the conversation she was previously involved in. The other nurses laughed and were like "nice job, Abby". From then on they never let me forget it.
Since then, I don't ask unless I am 100% sure.....OR I just don't comment at all. :)




So Nick and I decided before we even got pregnant that were not going to do a nursery in our spare room. We like having room for guests...we don't want to spend the money...and seriously, the kid won't know the difference! We are just going to get rid of the "office" side of the room and put a nice pack-n-play and glider in there...then when she's outgrown the crib, she can have the guest bed and we'll put those cool rail thingies on there so she doesn't fall out of the bed...
Apparently Nick's co-workers are not keen on this idea and have told him it's "dumb" and "weird". He even told them it was his idea and not mine (which I did bring it up) so they would think he's the weirdo and not me. :)
But seriously, why do they care? We're saving money--I mean, I just finished decorating the guest room before our little surprise came along--and saving time.
I don't know why this is bothering me so much (hormones and lack of sleep perhaps?)...I just wanted to toss my "why" out there...



Congratulations Nate and Natalie!

We are so excited for Nate and Natalie Klauser! They adopted a BEAUTIFUL baby girl, Elyse Irene. She was born September 8, 2008 in California. They have been through so much and this little girl is such a blessing and answer to prayer! We are so happy for them.....what awesome parents they are going to be! Congratulations, Nate and Natalie. The blog posts of her are so fun...thank you for sharing such amazing moments. :)


a real moment...

This morning at church, I noticed that Nick was irritated with me. I went through events of the morning and for the life of me I could not figure out what was bothering him. I asked him what was wrong. He replied "I'm frustrated with you". I asked why. He said to me "you are a different person at church. It's like you're trying to be religious or something".
I was shocked. I had no idea what he was talking about. The only thing I had done was said hi to people and walked in to find my seat. Needless to say, this hurt so bad I spent the rest of the service crying (and trying to hide it from everyone around us). The entire time I was trying to figure out what I had did that would make him say something like that.
When church was over, we went straight for the door and went home. I was still trying to stop crying (hormones were part of it, I think)...by this point I was so hurt I was angry. The last 2 years had been a struggle for me to come out of my shell and meet people...I feel I had made some great strides the last few months...I have met some amazing women and am finally excited about where we are at in our relationship to our church...his saying those words crushed that and I could feel myself crawling backwards into my shell.
We didn't talk for a few hours after we were home....he was doing some work in the garage and I fell asleep on the couch. I don't think either of us knew where to start. About 2:30pm I was reading a book and he comes into the room and sits down next to me and says "I'm sorry". I really appreciated it, but I wanted to know what I had done for him to say those words to me. He said that he didn't know. He was just frustrated and said the first thing that had come to his mind....there was no basis for what he said and he was sorry.
After a bit more talking we reconciled and I felt a little better. The whole "religious" comment bothered me b/c that is the last thing I want to portray at church. I don't want to walk into church with a smile on my face and say words that will impress people and let them think I'm doing okay when I'm not. I don't think I do that....I think that we do a pretty good job of letting people see how we really are...but I know that there are times too when I've been in a horrible mood and have covered it up when we are around other people...more so so I don't embarass my husband with my crabby mood.... :)
Anyway...I feel like I'm starting to ramble now...but I really want to stress that I want to be real. I think it's good for people to see other believers having a hard day....or in a bad mood... because everyone has their moments and it's nice to feel like you are not the only one.
As for right now...Nick's words were hurtful, but we both came away from it with some thoughts and we were able to learn together. It's through days like today that our marriage has been strengthened and I know by the grace of God it will continue to be that way. I'm thankfujl that we are able to share what we learn (and how we learned it) with other people so that they can see the grace of God in our life...



baby stuff

Yesterday evening we went and registered for baby at Babies R Us. The experience was quite fun. Nick manned the scanner and I kept track of the checklist we had....

Anyway...it was fun looking at pack and plays (since we're not doing an actual crib). Those things have definitely changed over the years! Now they have vibrating mattresses, soothing music, changing tables, removable bassinet layer, and a mobile....all in one! Our most favorite find of the evening was the stroller. We didn't want one of the Graco bulky things. Nick asked another couple who were nearby what stroller they liked...the woman said she had been researching strollers and she recommended a Combi. So we went just to check them out.....they are pretty neat. They are super light, but not flimsy or cheap...and they fold into nothing! Anyway, it's a pretty cool stroller and we're excited to use it.

We got all of the basics covered and decided to look at clothes...unfortunately the girls clothing wasn't very cute...they were all butteryflies, lambs, bugs.....seriously not that great...kind of a bummer, but not a huge deal I guess.

When we left we were talking about how we felt it was a "successful" trip. We decided that registering for baby was way more fun than registering for a wedding. We didn't argue one bit this time and we didn't have much of a problem agreeing on items this time. :)

Now we just have to tackle Target. Hopefully they will have some cute clothes. :)



what a week...

So the last 2 days I have been home sick with cold. All of this free time has been spent thinking about the events of this week. It has just been so surreal.

Let's start from the top.

We are officially 5 months pregnant. 20 weeks. HALFWAY THERE. We had our second ultrasound Tuesday morning to see how baby is growing and developing. So far so good. We also had the ultrasound tech write down baby's gender and seal it in an envelope. Our plan was to go out to dinner that evening and open the envelope then. I--of all persons--was surprisingly calm. The afternoon of waiting flew by for me. I found stuff to do at the house to keep my mind off of the creeping hours. Nick, however, was at work with the envelope. Given my track record he didn't trust me not to peek. He and a co worker tried to peek through the envelope. He said he wanted to open the envelope at work so bad, but the only thing that kept him from doing it was knowing how upset I would be at him! (rightfully so :) )
When he got home, we got ready to leave and were off. We spent the time talking about what we thought it would be, what our reaction would be, and how surreal the whole situation was. We were going to find out the gender of our baby. OUR BABY. Us. A baby. I mean, we knew we wanted to start a family, but we were wanting to wait a while longer....obviously God had another idea and surprised us a year early. SURPRISE! You're pregnant. I was convinced we were having a boy. I loved the idea of a little version of Nicholas running around. Nick wanted a daddy's girl from the beginning.
Fast forward to the unveiling...I opened the envelope first. I look at the card and saw "GIRL". I sat a minute until it registered. I laughed...then started crying (happy tears, by the way). I passed the card to Nick b/c he didn't want me to tell him. He took a minute, then it clicked. He laughed and grinned and said "No way". We spent the rest of the time talking about how surreal the whole thing was. We had to keep looking at the card just to make sure we weren't dreaming.
Even now, I don't think it has really sunk in. Knowing the gender has solidified the fact (in our minds) that we are having a baby girl. Due January 22. Ready or not.
What a miracle our baby girl is. These last 2 days I've seen how our mindsets have changed. This isn't just a baby. It's our baby girl. Our daughter. Nick talks to my belly more...which I love. I talk to her more...she can hear us...which is amazing.
These last 2 weeks she has been moving and shaking like it's going out of style. Even now while I'm typing she is doing some sort of acrobatics in there. It feels so weird...to have this person content in their watery world inside my belly. It's neat to watch my stomach move....our little alien. :)
In the meantime, we are so excited and so scared. We know our life is changing and will be different when our new little one joins us. By God's grace and the support of our family and friends we will be okay.
For now, I'm just thankful that God gives us 40 weeks to prepare.



we have arrived...

For the longest time people have been asking if we had a blog or were going to start one. I always said the day Nick joins in on the idea (which would be never), then we'd start one. After we found out we were pregnant, the question seemed amplified...people wanting a way to get updates on the baby and how we were doing...etc...
Today I am home with a nasty cold and decided to just do it. Why not start a blog. If people check it out, great...if not...I'll never know the difference.
So here is our--more like my--attempt to create this webpage about our life, thoughts and happenings. I have no creative titles or sayings....so bear with me.
I think Nick will agree to giving his 2 cents every once in a while....eventually.

In the meantime. Enjoy.



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