Monday, December 2, 2013

No. 15 - Learn to Play Tennis, No. 30 - Further My Education

#15 - Learn to Play Tennis


I have no idea why I never wrote about tackling number 15 on my 30 Before 30 list, but on my birthday (in January!) my husband taught me how to play tennis! It was a pretty cold day, but we were determined to play for a little while. I wasn't very good, but we did manage to play a decent set. I'd say that my biggest challenge on the court was controlling the ball. I would hit it so hard that it would fly way out of the court area and we spent a considerable amount of time searching for the tennis balls! 

Overall, I really enjoyed playing, but unfortunately haven't played since. I'm hoping that as my kiddos get older I will have more time to work on perfecting my tennis skills. :) 

January 2013, taking a break from my tennis lesson

*****

#30 - Further My Education

On October 26th, I began my first semester of graduate school at The University of Cincinnati! I was accepted to their Criminal Justice distant learning program and am currently wrapping up my second class. While UC seems like a great on-campus school, I am highly disappointed with their online CRJU program. I feel like I'm paying for a degree but I'm not learning anything. The classes are large and I never have contact with the professor, but instead a facilitator. Also, in my current class I've only had two assignments -- a midterm paper and final paper. I know that I shouldn't be complaining, but I want more! So, I will be leaving UC and heading to another online program at Liberty University. 

I was accepted to Liberty's Master of Business Administration program with an emphasis on Criminal Justice and will begin in January. I took a semester at Liberty for my undergraduate studies and I think this is going to be a great fit. Plus, my new major is definitely going to make me more marketable in the workplace. While my ultimate goal is to be an attorney, this educational route works best for my family at the moment. :) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Two Under Two: 4 Months and 20 Months

It's been far too long since I've written a monthly update from my kiddos, so I figured I would do that today! In fact I don't think I've ever written one for Arabella. :( I'll start with her first:

Arabella Therese


Sleeping and eating: From day one Arabella has been quite an easy baby. When it comes to sleeping, she is now sleeps through the night. There are still those nights that she'll wake up once for a feeding, but at this point she sleeps great. In the beginning she was waking up two or three times a night, but during her first week she slept through the night as well! So I don't know! 


My sweet babies always sleep alike!

She is four-months-old now and goes to sleep for the night between 7:30PM and 9PM. Her naps vary throughout the day but she typically takes a good two hour nap with her brother (Thank you God for this!). 

As for eating, she's exclusively breastfed. Around month two I was getting ready to give up on breastfeeding, and she did have a few bottles of formula at that time. It was to the point where she was puking 4 to 5 times per day, and it was extremely frustrating. However, once I figured out that it was the cheese I was eating that was hurting her tummy, things got easier. Also, it was pretty difficult to get a good burp out of her. But that got easier as well. Now that she's four-months-old, I can pretty much eat whatever I want without her tummy getting upset. It's amazing to me that the milk my body produces feeds my daughter. She was 7 lbs. 4 oz. when she was born and now she's almost 14 pounds! 

Likes and dislikes: Arabella is such a smiley baby. She loves to interact with people, and likes to laugh and talk all of the time (I think she gets that from her Daddy ;). Her favorite things are swinging in the baby swing, sitting in her bouncy chair and kicking her feet, and talking to her daddy. She loves to be held, and seems to really like when Gavin talks to her. She also likes when we eat her toes, tickle her belly with our noses, and lay our heads on her belly. Unlike her brother, Arabella does not travel too well. Unless she is sleeping, she does not like to be awake in her car seat. But she does love the Ergo carrier and we've been using that a lot lately. She also just started sitting in the Jumperoo, but I think she's just a tad too small. No teeth yet, but baby girl loves to chew on fingers. :)

Milestones: 

October 5, 2013 -- Rolled over! And I missed it! I'm with her 24/7 and of course the first time she rolls over I was in the shower. But Keith got to see it and I'm so happy that he did. He didn't take a picture after, but I took one of them during a nap that same day. 

September 4, 2013 -- First time sick. My poor poor girl was sick only two months in. Gavin picked up a nasty viral infection and ended up giving it to Bella. I'm just so thankful that I was able to breastfeed her because she wasn't sick for long.

October 2, 2013 -- First official laugh. My girl has the best laugh!


Gavin Josiah 


Sleeping and eating: Our big boy is now twenty-months-old, and is a bit of a crazy toddler. When it comes to sleeping, Gavin takes a two hour nap in the middle of the day, usually between 12 PM and 3 PM. To go to sleep for the night he is usually in bed no later than 8:30PM. Although, we do have crazy days where he is up way past his bedtime and tries to skip his nap altogether.

He is eating mostly everything, and his favorite foods are strawberries, grapes, cheese, almonds, and potatoes. He's not a big meat eater, but he does like a good ham sandwich. Some of his other favorites include Greek yogurt, raisins, popcorn, hummus, fruit snacks, and cucumbers. He is able to eat with a spoon and fork and I am so proud of him. He also drinks lots of water and a little juice each day. Gavin dislikes whole milk (cold, warm, or mixed with formula, with chocolate syrup...he just doesn't like it!), and has been drinking formula to get nutrients. At this point I'm not sure what to do.

Likes and dislikes: Gav is quite the handful! (Hello, toddler life!) He loves to dance, watch Sophia the First, play with chase our cats (Torre and Abigail), and "read" his books. More than anything, he loves vacuum cleaners, brooms, pots and pans, and utensils. He will seriously choose the vacuum cleaner over any other toy to play with. Gav also loves to play outside, and since moving to North Carolina he loves to play on the balcony at our apartment. Music is also something that he enjoys, and some of his favorite songs are "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore, "Blue Ribbon Bunny" from Sofia, anything by Justin Timberlake, and Choo Choo Soul. Being the mischievous boy that he is, he is constantly getting into things and testing his limits and my patience. ;) He is a great big brother and so far, has been super sweet to Arabella, or "bay" as he likes to call her. He also likes to play with my hair, and usually falls asleep doing so. :)


Overall, life is more chaotic than I could have ever imagined, but also way sweeter than I could have ever dreamed. And I am just really thankful for these two. :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Playing Catch Up


It's been two months since I've last written and so much has changed. For starters, I am happy to report that things are much better since my last post, where it seemed like my family and I were under attack. Here's what we've been up to:

* We moved again! For the fourth time in three years, my family and I have relocated. We are now living in North Carolina, in the lovely town of Mooresville (just 30 minutes north of Charlotte). This move was very sudden, but it is a great one for my family. Keith works mostly in NC, and now we will be seeing a lot more of him. :) So far we are loving Mooresville and cannot wait to start this new chapter with our kiddos.

* I started graduate school in August! I am currently taking my second class and enjoying the material. I'm in the online criminal justice graduate program at the University of Cincinnati, and currently contemplating transferring to a different school to enroll in an MBA program with an emphasis on criminal justice. Regardless, I am happy with this decision to further my education. :)

* Arabella is now four-months-old and Gavin is now 20-months-old! These two sweet (and sometimes crazy) kiddos keep me very busy, but I absolutely adore it. Being a mom is my greatest joy and I love that I get to spend my days at home with them. 


* We are selling our house in Charleston, South Carolina! Obviously we've moved to North Carolina, and we have decided to sell! The last time we moved we rented our house, but that experience was awful. So we're going to try and sell our house. This is such a huge decision for us. My husband bought this house back in 2008 when he was only 23-years-old. It was his first major purchase and means a lot to him. The fact that he is willing to sell this house means the world to me. Once it is listed, I'll post information for anyone who is looking to buy in the Charleston area.


*Halloween came and went, and while we don't really celebrate it I couldn't pass up the opportunity to dress up my kiddos. My little Eric and Ariel. :) 


That's all I've got for today. I'm off to unpack our new home and to spend time with my babies! I'm really hoping to write more. I feel like writing helps to not only document this beautiful life, but to also give me a second to reflect on everything, and have some "me time", too. :) 

I hope you guys have a lovely Monday!

(Halloween pictures were taken by the same lovely photographer who took my maternity and Arabella's birth and newborn pics. Tamara at Bump Meet Baby Studio. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Come What May

 
To say that my family and I have had a rough couple of weeks would be an understatement. It seems like everything is going wrong. I'm sure you're thinking I'm being dramatic, but let me fill you in on just a few things that have happened over the last couple of weeks:
 
* My debit card number was stolen and our checking account was drained.

* I fell down the stairs, scraped my arm, and got a bruise the size of Texas on my rear.

* Keith had his worst month of sales since entering his industry in 2011.

* While hammering a nail to hang a picture on the day of my husband's birthday gathering, I punctured the freon line and caused $$$ in damage.

* Gav drove his Tonka truck over my iPad and cracked the screen. 

More things have happened, but I'll stop the list at five. (And yes, the iPad getting cracked isn't too much of a big deal, but add in a broken laptop and a graduate program starting next week and we've got a situation!) I was fixing to write a post about seasons and the ups and downs of life, and then I remembered that I wrote a guest post for my lovely friend Al over at Traffic Jelly a little over a year ago. The same words written then still ring true today, so I thought I'd share it here on My Dolce Vita.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~
 
While blog hopping one night in 2010, I stumbled upon a beautiful girl in the midst of a heartbreaking season. I didn't know anything about her except that she was strong, honest, and raw. I love that about Al. :) So when she reached out for guest postings, I didn't think twice. Today I am inspired by Al to write about something that so often enters my mind, and that is the seasons of life.
 
We all go through them. Some are wonderful, some are messy, and some are just plain rotten. We get hit by life's curve balls and sometimes it's too easy to accept defeat or think that things cannot possibly get better. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. But here's the thing -- the season will change. Things will change. After all, they are called seasons. 

I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and each season we go through teaches us valuable lessons. Whether you are forced to learn the hard way or are blessed with a joyful season, it doesn't matter. Nothing stays the same. As a new Mom, I am learning this daily. My son, Gavin, was born on Leap Day and is already 4 months old. This tiny little soul who used to sleep all day has found his voice and is now quite the random screamer. He is rolling around, scooting across the floor, trying to eat his toes, and at this very moment, making gargling noises. So much has changed in only 4 months that I want to grab time by the shoulders and say "PLEEEEASE. Slow. Down!"

But I can't.

And that's why we need to soak in every season. Time is fleeting. Do I like 4am feedings and poopy diapers? Of course not. But will I miss them on his first day of school or when he learns how to drive? Absolutely. (My stomach just sank at the thought of my baby being a teen...woah.) For me, this season would be considered a good one. But rewind to January and things weren't so peachy. My husband's company filed bankruptcy and laid off everyone when I was 8 months pregnant. And while losing his income hurt, the biggest lost was our health insurance. We had recently relocated to Atlanta, GA for his job and were now stuck with with no job, no insurance, and no family. Oy. Let's just say it was a stressful, scary season.

But you know what? Everything worked out. We ended up applying for health assistance through the government and were approved a week before Gavin was born. I delivered a healthy baby boy without any complications, and in March my husband received a job offer for the best job he's ever had. In a matter of months everything completely turned around. Without a doubt, we give 100% credit to the one who holds us in His hands.

I personally think the most important thing to do when stuck in an unpleasant or unfortunate season and is to not lose faith. Don't give up hope. Persevere. Things may have to get worse before they get better, but I can promise you that eventually, it will get better. When I think about past seasons, I tend to chuckle a bit. In high school I was confident my life was over when I didn't make the cheerleading squad junior year. In middle school, I just knew that was it when I got caught passing notes. And when I was making poor choices in my wild season and feeling more than lost, I just knew things would never get better. But I was wrong.

Just remember that it takes time to transition from one season to the next. Also remember that the tough ones will make you stronger. I hope this post encouraged you to hang on, keep the faith, and know that you are not alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
 Deuteronomy 31:6 

~~~~~~~~~~~

So, we're praising Him in this storm. Because as with all seasons, this storm is on its way out!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It Never Fails

Life with Arabella has been sweetened like I would have never imagined. This precious baby girl is simply amazing. She's an easy baby, just like her brother was. She sleeps and nurses well, and so far our only difficulty has been figuring out what I'm eating that makes her puke. all. over. me. :) When I think about my daughter and how much I love her, I feel like my heart could literally burst. I felt (and still feel) this exact way about Gavin, and I never imagined that my love could multiply. But it did. And there isn't anything that I could possible say that would accurately describe my thankfulness.

 Our sweet girl

After Gavin was born, I experienced an overwhelming increase in my protective instinct, but also in the sensitivity of my heart for the motherless. On my first Mother's Day, I experienced true heartbreak for children in the Philippines. And it's happening all over again. My heart breaks a little each time I hold my babies, as I sit there thinking of the children in this world who aren't held enough. The children who have to go without. Without food. Without shelter. Without outstretched arms. Without love. Without someone to protect them. The pain that I felt with Gavin is one that I am feeling again with Arabella, and I know that God is breaking my heart and preparing me for something bigger than myself.

Keith and I have always had a heart for children, and after having our own we see the need to live out Proverbs 31:8-9. "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." For us, that means becoming a voice for children locally and and internationally. It means giving back. It means being His hands and feet.

God has specifically broken my heart for children in the Philippines and Nicaragua, and I will continue praying for clear direction for ways to help these precious babies. Keith has a heart for evangelism and feels that wherever we go or whoever we encounter, he can perform God's Will. And while having two little ones under the age of 2 is a huge responsibility, we also know that we want to adopt. And sooner than later. 

Parenthood has definitely rocked our world, and through this role God is breaking our hearts, and using this brokenness for ministry. And I for one am eager to see where He leads us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Arabella's Birth Story

On the night of my due date (June 27th), I was getting ready for bed when I started noticing that my Braxton Hicks contractions were actually becoming a bit consistent. Throughout this pregnancy I have had many BH contractions, but none that were consistent. So this definitely caught my attention! They began at around 11:00pm, but I tried to go to sleep anyway. Around 12:30am I was wide awake thanks to the contractions. I got out of bed and decided to go downstairs and really time these bad boys. :) They were coming every 7 minutes, like clockwork, but I didn't want to call my doctor or wake Keith yet. I continued timing them until 3:00am, and they had gone from every 7 minutes to every 5 minutes. 

Now things were getting serious! 

I called my doctor and he instructed me to make my way to the hospital. I woke Keith up and told him that it was go-time! He showered, and I did my best to fix my hair and put some make-up on. As painful as the contractions were, I wanted to look nice. I was going to be meeting my daughter soon! I'd say that's reason enough to look nice. :) My in-laws arrived a little before 4:00am to stay with Gavin, and Keith and I were on our way.

At the hospital...while things were still semi-calm

When we arrived at the hospital I was sent straight to the Labor and Delivery floor. By this time it was a little after 4:00am (we live right by the hospital) and the contractions were getting much more intense. I was informed that I had dilated to 4cm and that was very exciting, as I was only 3cm at my last appointment a few days prior. After monitoring Bella's heart rate and the contractions for an hour, Keith and I took a walk around the L&D floor. This only lasted for about 20 minutes before I decided it was time to get back to our room. 

Walking the halls

At 6:30am, my amazing photographer, Tamara, arrived, and by 8:00am my doctor was there to check my progress. I was hoping for a few more centimeters, and boy did I luck out! I was 7cm!!! My water still had not broken, and I declined the offer from my doc for him to break it. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes in a hot, whirlpool bathtub. This definitely felt amazing, but my contractions were coming quicker and were getting more and more painful. I decided to get out of the tub and get back into bed. I had a feeling that Arabella was going to be born soon, and I didn't want to be in the tub.


At 9:00am I made a comment to Keith and Tamara that Gavin was born at 9:16am and maybe Bella would arrive at the same time. Keith didn't think things would happen that quickly, and said "Well, maybe by 9:30?" 

And do you know what time my daughter arrived? 

9:08am!!!!

Only 8 minutes after that conversation, and an hour and 8 minutes after being 7cm, my daughter was born.


I was checked 5 minutes before her arrival and was told that I was 9.5cm. The nurse left the room to grab a delivery table, so it was just me, Keith, and Tamara. The next thing I knew, my water burst! I let out an atrocious yell, and Tamara ran to get help! It was just me and Keith in our room, and I told him that I needed to push. At this point we really thought he was going to have to deliver our baby! I asked him to look and let me know if he could see her, and sure enough she was there! And boy did she have a lot of dark hair! :D 

The nurses came running in, and a doctor I had never met before said "Hi, I'm doctor so-and-so" and then caught my daughter! Everything happened SO fast! The doctor didn't even have time to put gloves on! A few minutes later my doctor ran in the room and could not believe that he missed it. I told him that unless he was still on the L&D floor there's no way he could have run fast enough. Baby girl was ready to make her big debut, with or without my doc. :)


I got to hold Arabella immediately for a few minutes for skin to skin, Keith cut her umbilical cord, and then the clean-up process began. Due to the fact that Arabella came so quickly, I had a pretty significant second degree tear. But, I have never felt more amazing or more alive than I did after that delivery. (Well, other than after Gav's natural birth.) In fact, as I was getting taken care of, I was eating animal crackers and drinking water. Oh, the joys of a natural birth!

Tamara filmed a short clip of Arabella crying and we put it on Instagram with the hopes that my Me-Maw would see her. And you know what? She did. :') It was one of the last times that my Me-Maw was conscious. Arabella was born at 9:08am on June 28th, and my Me-Maw passed away at 6:21pm on June 29th. But she got to see my baby girl. And while my heart hurts deeply, I am thankful that she saw her 4th great-grandchild.

video

Keith left the hospital and went pick-up Gavin so that he could meet his baby sister. And I have to be honest...this did not go as I had planned. I had this Kodak moment in my mind, and it was just a mess. Gavin had been awake since 4am (when Keith and I left for the hospital) and was extremely fussy. He cried the whole time and wanted nothing to do with me or the baby. Needless to say, Keith didn't stay long and brought Gavin home for a nap.


They returned later that day and things went much better, but that initial meeting was a complete failure. My amazing photographer stayed with me to capture some pretty precious moments, but she also took great care of me. Tamara, you are exquisite and I don't know what we would have done without you! :)

Once she left, it was just me and Arabella in our recovery room. I became so overwhelmed by the events of the morning. I kept thanking God and praising Him. He orchestrated this amazing natural birth and I felt His presence through every contraction, every bit of pain. During each contraction, I would remember the scripture that I memorized the weeks prior. I knew what God's word said, and I kept meditating on those promises. I am 100% certain that without my faith, I would have never been able to achieve a second natural birth. It was ALL Him, because I am completely incapable of accomplishing something like that on my own, especially in a hospital environment.


I would like to say that there is a huge misconception about natural birth, especially a natural birth in a hospital. My natural birth was not filled with screaming or cussing or stress. It was not a hostile environment. In fact, the only time I yelled out was when my water broke. Instead, it was full of love and anticipation and beauty. I was completely blessed by the nurses and hospital staff who took care of me. They were simply amazing. I delivered at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston and cannot speak highly enough about my experience. I was a bit worried about delivering at this hospital because Trident has a somewhat bad reputation in Charleston. Why? I have no idea. I had an incredible experience and am very thankful for Trident. 

The video below was put together by my photographer and shows just how beautiful this experience was. The song used is Keith's ringtone, and once my photographer heard it she knew that was the perfect song to use. The video has been known to cause waterworks, so watch with caution. :)  

The Birth of Arabella from Tamara Hart on Vimeo.

I still cannot believe that I have a daughter. It's still hard for me to understand how I am worthy enough to have these two little, incredible blessings. I am a Mom. A mom to two precious souls, and I am thankful beyond words to have been chosen.

**These beautiful pictures were taken by the talented Bump Meet Baby Studio. I cannot recommend Tamara enough...she is simply divine, and I am in love with these photographs.**

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Girl




Arabella Therese Christmas

Born June 28, 2013 at 9:08am

7lbs 4oz, 20" long 

My heart is so full that it could burst. :D 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Due Date Day!

Well, today is Arabella's due date...and I am still pregnant. :) I have to say, I did not think that she would still be in my womb on this day, but that's fine by me. I keep reminding myself that a due date is only an estimate of her arrival, and if she's not ready yet, then I certainly do not mind housing her. :) 

 Taken yesterday - 39 weeks, 6 days

I will admit that I am not proud of my lack of patience. I've been quite annoying lately with my constant whining. Any woman nearing her due date can probably relate, and I'm sure it's totally normal to be in this impatient state of mind. But it makes me feel completely insane sometimes. I should probably explain a little more of my situation though. 

About a month ago, my grandmother (Me-Maw) had her gull bladder removed due to some pain she was experiencing. After the surgery, we discovered that she actually has cancer of the liver and has been on a steady decline in health since. The doctors have told us that they think she only has a few days left to live, and it is completely breaking my heart. This all happened so quickly!

 Me-Maw and me on my wedding day

She is only 71 years old and has always been in great health. My Me-Maw is such a wonderful woman and I hate that she is going through this. More than anything, I'm praying that Arabella arrives before Me-Maw passes away. It would mean the world to me for her to see my daughter. And it's just backwards. Me-Maw is supposed to be here for this. Right?!? I did speak to her recently on FaceTime and she told me congratulations and that Bella looks just like me...I'm not sure if she's seen her or if she's just confused, but hearing her say that made my heart happy. 

So, while I don't have any control over the timing of arrivals and departures, I am trusting that the Lord knows exactly what He's doing. Because He does.

Another thing that is adding to the anticipation of Arabella's arrival is the fact that I'm going to attempt to have another natural birth. I was successful with delivering Gavin naturally and everything went as well as it possibly could have. And that makes me nervous. How will Bella's labor/delivery go? Will it be harder? Is it possible for it to be easier? Physically, I think the odds are in my favor. I know what I'm getting myself into this time and am in much better shape for this pregnancy. Mentally, I am my biggest obstacle. So, in trying to prepare I've been soaking in the following verses with the hopes that I will remember them during labor.

Cast all of your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you. 
1 Peter 5:7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in times of trouble.
Psalm 46:1

It is only a matter of time before my daughter arrives and my whole world changes again. Life is stressful, but I'm trying my best to just breathe and trust in Him. Until her arrival, I'm going to try and relax and just enjoy these crazy last few days of pregnancy. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Waiting Game

As you can probably imagine, I am one anxious momma. Arabella is approaching her due date (June 27th), and I am still pregnant. Which isn't all that fascinating...but I actually expected her to arrive at least a week early. I absolutely lucked out, and Gavin was born 7 days early, but it seems that Little Miss is going to take her time making her big debut. 

So, until then I am loving on my precious son and spending some great one-on-one time with him. Additionally, I'm finding things to organize around our house and have begun looking at birth announcements to send out for when Bella arrives. Due to the crazy Atlanta to Charleston move a month after Gavin was born, I never sent announcements out for baby boy. :( This time, I am making sure to do so.

 Here are a few of my favorites from the always amazing Tiny Prints




I absolutely love each announcement and am having quite a hard time choosing one for Arabella. Which one do you guys like the best? I am so excited to meet my daughter and cannot wait to introduce her to family and friends with one of these adorable cards!

**All pictures were taken from http://www.tinyprints.com/baby-photo-birth-announcements.htm **

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear Arabella


Hi, precious girl. This is your momma, but you know that, don't you? Today makes exactly two weeks until your due date, and I am one anxious woman. I absolutely cannot wait to see your beautiful face. To see what color hair you have, what color eyes, if you look like your Daddy or like me. You have been one active little girl in my tummy, and I absolutely adore feeling you move inside my womb. This pregnancy has gone by very quickly and I am shocked at how soon you will be in this world. :D


I want you to know how much your Daddy, brother, and I love you. 

Every night, when Daddy is home and not traveling for work, he rubs lotion on my belly. Mostly because Mommy is trying to avoid getting stretch marks, but also because it helps my growing belly not to itch. I secretly think Daddy does it without complaining because of you. :) He also talks to you a lot. When he found out that you were a girl, he was very quiet and overcome with emotion. Daddy is very protective of you and will always make sure that you are safe. He is so excited to welcome you into this world and is very proud of you already.


As for your brother, he is only 15 months old, but is constantly touching my belly. He adores you so and I think the two you of you are going to be best buds. :) Gavin is a very happy, affectionate boy and I just know that you will love him, too. 

And then there's me. I cannot accurately describe my love for you. When your brother was born, I finally understood how much a person could love another. More so, I understood God's love for us because of how much I love your brother. And that's exactly how much I love you. It's an incredible thing, really. There's so much I want to teach you and tell you and show you. I know that the mother-daughter relationship can be a complicated one, but I promise to be as caring, compassionate, and understanding as possible. I promise to be a good listener and to always provide a safe place for your heart.


One day you'll stumble upon this website, or maybe even a book that I'll have printed for you and your brother. I know that I haven't written a lot during my pregnancy with you, but please do not over analyze. It's only because your brother has kept me quite busy. ;)

I adore you, precious girl. You are going to do amazing things in this world and I am proud to be your mommy.

**These beautiful pictures were taken by the talented Bump Meet Baby Studio. I cannot recommend Tamara enough...she is simply divine, and I am in love with these photographs.**

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Lovely Baby Bump

I realize that due to my lack of posting, I have severely neglected documenting this pregnancy for sweet Arabella. Here are few bump shots starting from week 23. 

23 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

This week, Bella will be 33 weeks. During my second trimester, I felt pretty great. However, as I've been in my third trimester I've experienced quite a few aches and pains, to include severe back pain, excruciating inner thigh pain (from the way she is laying), heartburn, a little vomiting, and exhaustion. Blah. I do have some really great days though, and I've actually been walking with Gav a few times a week. 

So far, I've gained 20 pounds and I'm extremely pleased by this number. At this time with Gavin I had gained almost 30! When it comes to movement, baby girl is very active. So active, in fact, that it's becoming quite uncomfortable. A few days this week she was moving non-stop and I could not find a comfy way to sit/sleep. I'm not having too many cravings at this point. More or less, just many aversions and too much indecisiveness. 

Early on in this pregnancy I was worried about juggling two children under two years of age, but at this point I'm just ready to meet my sweet girl and do life with my kids and sweet husband. Right now I'm in the process of getting the nursery together. (Hopefully, I'll post pictures of that!) Life is hectic, but I wouldn't change a thing. :)
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