Planned an April Showers Baby Shower

IMG_1435This is a much belated post!

In January, friends and I conspired to wish one of our favorite new Mom to Be a secret Baby Shower. Through Xtreme Impact, we’d come to admire our leaders, and were excited to watch them embark on this new phase in their lives. So we conspired! And can I say, planning a secret baby shower it much more difficult than one in which the future mom knows about! In our case, this was complicated further by our Mom to Be being the Administrative Assistant to her husband, and having all access to his email, etc.

Through facebook messages and a few in person meetings we were able to plan out a date in April, before all of the college students would be leaving for the summer. Her husband told her that they’d have a “special date” on a Saturday mid afternoon, and in our counseling office, I enlisted the help of the office manager to avoid scheduling her for that Saturday. At the time I hadn’t realized she was familiar with the scheduling software, to change her own schedule.

This made it difficult, I had to tell her “A birdie told me that they had a special date planned for her.” Then later, I felt bad about the confusion it had caused and sent her an apology text, to which largely indicated my plans to her. Even if the surprise aspect wasn’t a success, the future mom to be enjoyed herself :0).

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We decided to create an “April Showers” theme using the colors yellow and green, since we didn’t know the gender of the baby. We’d heard that she was finding out a day or so before the party, and we all secretly hoped that she’d spill the beans to us.

Here are some of the picture highlights of this beautiful mommy to be (and due any day now) and creative aspects of the theme:

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It is entertaining what you can do with some vases/clear glass jars, blue koolaid mix, and tiny yellow rubber duckies! Simple yet fun centerpieces and decorations.

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We kept the food simple with a light lunch featuring: PB and J sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches (cut in halves to look a little nicer), pita chips and hummus, fruits, veggies , and desserts.

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Games included: “Protect the Egg” in which everyone must guard their egg (as if they were a mom), writing encouragement cards for the mom to be, and playing Baby Bingo while she cutely opened presents.  I like the idea of Baby Bingo because opening presents can be a very slow time for the guests, and can help take the pressure off of the gift opening as it can feel awkward.

Of course, my favorite part is always pictures! This Sunday School class room is one of the youth group rooms which a yellow beetle bug in the corner…its actually now gone due to renovations…but we took advantage of its placement for our photo booth activity. Supplies included: balloon bellies, apron, children’s books, and umbrellas.

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The planning trio couldn’t help but take some cute pictures together.

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Supported My Husband Through a Job Change

wpid-IMG_3965.JPGThe past few weeks you’ve heard us mention my husband’s various interviews. Ironically, it all began the afternoon that we first began to have our photography adventures downtown. We were sitting inside Bojangles just chatting. We made the off handed comment “its not like we’re moving any time soon,” and husband received a phone call from a recruiting agency that had tried to contact him about a job before. This began us into a topsy turvy last few weeks of hopes, dreams, and anxiety, as we considered three different options for my husband’s career.

#1 Husband could choose to stay with the company he’d been at for 7 years. He knew the job and environment, had created great friendships among his coworkers, and it meant staying in the area. The problem was that he had encountered a glass ceiling which made it difficult to progress in his career (and move along with our lives).

#2 A great job offer that involved moving away from the community we’ve developed and in which we’ve just recently become church members. It was the kind of offer that meant a house, and progressing towards other expensive dreams.

#3 A contract job with a local industry. So staying in the same area, but with increased pay. With increased pay comes a new intense environment, and new coworkers.

For several weeks we prayed. I kept telling my husband that I trusted his judgment. In the end all I hoped for was that he would choose what was best for him (since he would be the one working there!). I tried to be supportive as I watched him progress through each option, weighing the risks and benefits. He’d decide one thing one day, and the next day reconsider the opportunities. It was scary realizing how much our lives could change based on those decisions. In the end we watched as all of the doors closed except for one. Husband said that he had peace, and I’d helped to create color coordinated pro/con lists.

He started at this new location yesterday, and I was so nervous. I’d tried to remain supportive throughout the weekend as we went to Carrabba’s out of town with friends. This dinner location was special to us since we’d been there over 4 years ago, when he asked me to marry him :0). (Not at the restaurant, btw).

I was entertained by the wildlife that we saw on the way there: a fawn in the yard near our friends’ house (yay for the incredible zoom on my pocket camera), and birds nesting in the restaurant’s letters.

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Then, Sunday was a pool party with our Sunday School class. We ran into wal-mart to grab a snack/side.  Witty husband decided to tease our pregnant co-leader with his version of pregnancy:

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All day yesterday I couldn’t wait to hear how his first day had gone! That evening I finally got to hear it. He’d gone through the standard first day jazz, meeting everyone, learning about policy, waiting for permissions and equipment. I think the thing that most stuck out to me was how excited he was. It was as if a giant weight had been lifted from his shoulders! He told me about how nice everyone was, and what he’d learned about the job. Apparently, he’s like one of the younger guys there…which means that many people stick around. There was a really cool sound of hopes and dreams in his voice…that this is the kind of place that he could work at for awhile and we could really make a future :0) Now, we just have to be careful not to get too caught up with “what could happen” while we are careful over the next 6 months of his contract.

I am just simply so proud of him! I’m so happy for him to feel like he fits so well in this environment. I’m not proud over the fact that I could have made the weekend before less stressful, but I’m happy that we are growing together and becoming better functioning cogs each week as we learn better how to communicate. :0)

Rolled My Ankle in Vibrams (C25K Week 14)

ankleWell…I was well on my way to completing the Couch to 5k plan. I’d completely day 1 and 2 which by the way totally kicked by butt, by the way. Then, the weekend happened and I was unable to run that Saturday or Sunday evening. I was finally able to get around to it Monday.

I put on all of my running gear, and headed outside, surprised how dark it already was at 8:30 pm…more proof that the summer is slipping away that I guess. I was pumped…so much so that when the dubstep filled my ear buds I started head bobbing, only later to realize that there were people sitting out front in the cars who probably saw me.

I did my 5 minute warm up walk. Then, as the buzzer sounded to begin the 3 minute walk…I took that first quick step and rolled my ankle. There was a searing and then numbing pain as I stood there wanting to cry, and in surprise. I stood there for a moment, as my foot didn’t seem to be able to support my wait. A moment later I trudge back to the apartment.

Husband immediately instructed me to elevate my foot, and to watch for swelling. Surprisingly it didn’t swell too badly. Mostly, I think that I was just disappointed that I was stuck delaying my running -again-. I seriously just can’t seem to win. I was also surprised due to the fact that when I was younger I used to roll my ankle all of the time. Frequently, on the play ground, I’d be bouncing around, walking on the wooden edgings, when suddenly I’d roll my ankle and need to sit down. Rolling your ankle and other types of ankle injuries are supposed to be less likely to occur in minimalist and Vibram shoes as your foot is more connected with it’s surroundings. I couldn’t tell you if I stepped on a rock or what, but I think that my shoes have helped to reduce the frequency of this type of move.

Hopefully, I can heal quickly with maybe just another day or so of rest and return to running!

Completed Week 3 (C25k Week 13)

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This past week I actually completed the 3rd week of training, yay! I miss feeling excited, but that happened when I felt like my body was beasting week 1 (after SEVERAL weeks of running it). Now, I may be completeing the weekly program…but let me tell you I’m totally fighting with myself each step of the way!

Day 1 I jogged 1.52 miles with an average pace of 16:39 minutes.

Day 2 I jogged 1.5 miles with an average pace of 16:32 minutes.

Day 3 my gps bugged out, but it seemed to be about the same time/distance as my previous days that week.

I need to learn to better encourage myself. At this point when I finish a week, I just know the next week’s training is going to be even that more excruciating, so I kind of dread it. However, I’ve officially registered for the 5k in October…yikes!

 

 

Completed Week 2 (C25k Week 12)

This week was the first time in 12 weeks of training that I was going to be moving onto the 2nd program week of Couch 2 5k, and I was very nervous!

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Monday, I got myself out there, preparing my mind and body with how much tougher week 2 would be. I did my standard, counting down each lap. Each lap is a fight in my mind, “just one more, you’re 1/4 of the way, you’re 1/2 of the way, just one more lap.” The increase of jogging from 1 minute to 1.5 minute felt excruciating, given how much training I’d been doing at that level. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a beep. I began jogging for my 7th lap…but the beep sounded different. I looked at the screen and it read, “work out complete.” I was beyond excited that week 2 was 6 sets, not 8 sets. Woohoo! I found that because I was jogging more my time and distance naturally increased. I jogged 1.53 miles at an average pace of 17:52.

Wednesday, I felt thirsty going into the run, so I was skeptical about my performance. I did a bad job talking myself into this jog. I’d told myself, “oh, its only 6 sets…so it is easier than what you have been doing.” So I let my guard down…and had to really push myself each jogging set. But, I did complete the workout, even if I was slower. I clocked in at 1.14 miles and an average pace of 23:15.

This week and really most of the summer has been littered with rain clouds. With the high humidity that exists without them, I’ve been hoping that the sky would burst open while I was jogging, crying out for that refreshment. Well, Saturday I received my wish!

I began the jog after playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time at a friend’s birthday hangout.

The sky was growing darker, so I wondered if I’d be able to finish before the sky let loose. Counting down the sets of the program, it began to sprinkle in my fourth set. I just had two more sets to complete, so I was determined to finish. Then, the rain began to fall down harder and harder as streams began to form, sloshing the rain down the road. I worried about my cell phone in my armband, but I wasn’t ready to quit just yet. In the final lap, my neighbors came out, and upon seeing me, sweetly began to cheer me on! It was an incredible feeling! They saw me hobbling out front right after the accident, so its awesome to be able to use this as a testimony of God’s faithfulness! The distance was 1.6 miles with an average pace of 15:34!

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I was dripping from my tank top and running skirt when I got inside, but at least I wouldn’t need a cold shower to cool down! My husband just starred at me, as the drops began to pool on our carpet. I think he was pretty impressed!

Now that I’ve completed week 2, it means moving onto week 3. This means 1.5 jogging, 1.5 walking, 3 minutes jogging, 3 minutes walking, and repeating that twice! I’m nervous, as it keeps getting harder. However, it is awesome, I’m less tired right after a run, and my legs feel sooo much stronger! :0)

Been Fully Recovered (Car Wreck Recovery Week #6)

I’ve just completed the last official recovery week, and along with it the majority of the summer. It is crazy to think that with the diagnosis of the break to my transverse process I believed that my adventures for the summer were over, but God has allowed me to heal so quickly! I’m definitely not perfectly healed yet, so I still ask for your prayers! I think the break has healed, my back feels fine. However, my right Ischial Tuberosity (aka your “sit bone”) has remained sore from the beginning, so I’m guessing I bruised it pretty badly. It only hurts when leaning on it (getting dressed), sitting on the floor, going from sitting to standing, jogging, or after walking a lot.

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The only other slow part of my healing is my driving anxiety. It got worse the past few weeks…I think because I let my overactive imagination dwell on it. If I could have someone drive me around for the rest of my life, I would. Cars are beyond scary to me, and its draining to HAVE to practice positive self talk. Telling myself “you’re okay, you’re okay” and trying to focus on the positives of my driving abilities. Please pray for continued recovery in this area.

This week has been a pretty intense one filled with emotions and new experiences!

The beginning of this week Husband had the interview that he was supposed to have this past week. It has been fulfilling my heart to see other companies try and woo him. I like the idea of him feeling more respected for his skills. However, that meant having some difficult decisions and prayer together. I (my “C” self) decided to chart these opportunities out with colorful markers in a Pro/Con list. It was difficult, but we ended up deciding against one awesome opportunity (at a much nicer salary), realizing that salary isn’t everything if it means giving up our new church and ministries that we are apart of in order to move to said location. It was very scary and involved a lot of faith in God and husband to say “no” to such a great opportunity, the kind of opportunity that I felt really could have jump started our future of a house, kids, etc.

Instead, we realized that money isn’t everything, and with lifestyle choices we didn’t need that larger salary. So please join us in praying about another local opportunity as we gauge and try to discern God’s will.

Also, if you have any great couponing tips PLEASE TELL ME! We did a grocery store run, getting sandwich stuff, to reduce going out to eat. I’m great at couponing and waiting for clothing sales, but have no idea how to shop for grocery items or other household items with coupons. Hopefully, I can honor God by becoming the next couponing queen and managing my household like the Proverbs 31 woman.

Thursday, it suddenly dawned on husband and I that my 17 year old cat, Wildthing, was looking very thin and weak. The previous weekend, we’d noticed that she seemed to be having difficulty using the facilities, and was hiding in the storage closet. However, we discussed it and realized she hadn’t eaten or pooped in about a week. I became very upset realizing that something was wrong with her, and I worried that she was in pain. Husband googled that giving her a warm bath might help her system, so we tried it. I wrapped her in a towel and just held her clothes. At this point my normally “picture taking begrudgingly” husband decides of his own accord to grab the camera and click away. He was insistent that she could be dying and that I should get pictures with her now, while I had the chance. So, there were awesome pictures of me, red faced, crying, has I held the cat I’d have since childhood. Then, I’d think about the fact that this cat, whenever I’d cried growing up, would run to me and start licking my tears, and start bawling all over again.

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The next morning there was tiny present on our floor, and for once in my life I was beyond excited. When I returned from work she’d left another one! She sniffed her food, and actually began eating. I kept petting her, telling her how wonderful she was! I was such a proud fur mommy! She’s been voracious ever since. Each day more and more of her personality and energy has been restored, including her mouthiness when hungry, and sharpening her claws on the side of the couch. I’m so happy that I’ll have a little more time to spend with her, but not happy about knowing her demise must be pretty soon.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was a reunion of the roommates from my freshman year. One of them had just moved back home with her hubby, while the other one has been away at missionary training school, and potentially plans to be on the field in April! It is crazy to sit around watching movies, eating ice cream, shopping, and of course playing with Baby Auri!

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Early afternoon Saturday we went to the beach before the other roomie showed up. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the man made beach was on the side of the lake. Of course there were also a pack of butterflies that went scattering whenever I was around them. Auri is looking as adorable as ever!

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Then, that evening was our “main event.” We’d just finished reading  Anna Karenina, which is a great piece of artwork that only took us 9 weeks to devour! Which we’d meet to video chat after each section. You can read more about the book review on our book review site. The movie was very artistically done, but very surreal and subtle. I’m just exciting to be reading books with friends again! We’ve already begun brainstorming our next books. I’m in geeky heaven! The best friends are the ones you can share books with 🙂

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Sunday we took advantage of the tax free weekend, sales, and coupons at the local Kohls (my favorite place to find new clothes). Lots of adorable outfits were found for Auri, who was very calm through her shopping experience…though I’m sure it helped to have several “Aunties” to distract and hold her. I went in looking for dressy shirts for work, and instead found 2 dresses which could easily be used for work, for only $10.00. :0)

Then, once one grumpy burglar was put to sleep, there was ice cream and an attempt to convert 2 of the other girls into Downton Abbey addicts. I’m not sure if it was successful because I needed to leave in the middle of the first episode. But, I have faith in my comrade in arms.

This past week I was also able to recomplete my progress in the Couch 2 5k running program!!

Recompleted Week 1 (C25k Week 11)

This past week I was surprised to see that my body was able to push through to complete two more days of Week #1 Couch to 5k program!

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Each instance my distance was less and less. The first run was about 1.5 miles, the next at 1.3 and the final one was only a mile. I know before that last run of that week I felt thirsty going into the run, which meant that I was already dehydrated.

But I did it! It is encouraging to know that each step is a testimony to my neighbors who remember how I couldn’t walk that first week.

This progress means that I can begin week 2 in the program, which is something I’ve never attempted before. I was supposed to start the day of the accident. Week 2 is characterized by jogging 1.5 and walking 2 mins. I’m interested to see how I’ll be able to do this.

Also, the end of the summer is nearing, so I’m wondering how my body will take to running in the colder weather. Wondering if I should start investing in capris and long sleeved shirts?

Finally, we can go ahead and sign up for the Run for Their Lives Race on Oct.12th! So excited!

Owned a Truck (Car Wreck Recovery Week #5)

At the beginning of the week husband was supposed to have a pretty important job interview. Due to flooding at said location they canceled on him. He was all dressed up with no place to go. So what does he do? Take his favorite girl on a dressed up dinner date, of course! I always want to get dressed up to go out, it was funny to see the role reversal this one time.

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We decided that we would celebrate my “one month not dead day” as it was just about 1 month since the accident. It was neat to sit there simply having dinner, enjoying each other’s company.

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Later that week a friend offered us a great deal on a truck, so now we have a second vehicle and the Buick is “officially” my car. (Though I keep referring to it as the husband’s car).

Husband has been wanting a truck for ages, and treated his poor Buick like one, partially the reason that it is falling apart.

The first thing that he did was go and buy a gun rack for the teeny white truck. Meanwhile, I’ve been brainstorming on ways to girlify the Buick to really feel like it is mine. I purchased one of those air freshener things that you can put in the vents. If I can’t make it pink, I can at least make it smell pink.

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I’ve been continuing to heal, with very rarely any pain except in my pelvic bone, and was able to return to jogging with some pretty awesome results!

The weekend also include a fun visit with my former Italy teammate, so excited to see her return to the area for school soon!

 

Returned to Jogging (C25k Week 10)

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After week #4 of my recovery I decided to try returning to jogging, as the specialist said this would be okay.

I was very excited, but when I attempted that Monday my pelvic bone would have none of it. My body didn’t feel exhausted, but each step was sending pain up my leg to my pelvis. After 2/8 sets I decided that it would be better to simply walk the rest, as I limped for 20 more minutes.

The rest of the week I was leery to try running again. Instead of at least walking, I kind of avoided it and felt very discouraged.

Saturday, I decided to try again. I got all of the gear on, and began to coach myself again. Seriously, I wonder what my face looks like when I’m doing this self talk coaching. I imagine myself become very sassy, teasing and challenging my mind/body saying things like “You just did # set, c’mon, you can do one more. Oh you just finished that one, you are almost half way there. You can do this!” My leg was sore, but I realized that if I ran more on my forefoot (in my special spiffy Vibrams) that there was less shock/impact sent up my heels. By doing this I was able to complete Day 1 of Week 1. I couldn’t believe it! I literally “woohooed” again out loud in my neighborhood.

It was overwhelming to see the kind of recovery that God has given me. It was astounding to me that I’d not jogged/ really walked at all for 3 weeks, walked intentionally 3 times for one week, and then on the second attempt at jogging was able to re-complete was it’d taken 8 weeks or so of training to do previously! God has definitely designed our bodies to remember, which is incredible! :0) 5k in October, here I come!