I’ve Decided I Want Twins!

So, this whole being “team green” thing is really making me want twins! Actually, I {feel} like I am having twins! It’s a weird feeling because I’m imaging our life with a baby boy {and} with a baby girl and now I really don’t want to let go of either!

I’ve bought just a few gender specific things for baby over the last couple of weeks. I haven’t bought much but just wanted to have a few things on hand for the first week. Out of what we have bought I really don’t want to have to return either the boy or the girl stuff! I want to use BOTH names we’ve picked out. I want our family to have a little brother and a little sister!

Usually we refer to the baby as a “he” because it just doesn’t feel right calling the baby “it”, know what I mean!?! =) But how do you call the baby a “he” and not feel like it really is going to be a boy?

Has anyone else who has been team green experienced this? I’m trying really hard not to think about the baby being a specific gender but it’s hard not to do sometimes! I feel like I’m going to be so excited with whatever gender we do end up having but at the same time so disappointed over not {also} having the other gender!

In reality, we will only be bringing home ONE baby (at least I hope there’s only one in there…. I’m pretty sure there is. =) ). It’s hard to wrap our minds around that and yet still remind ourselves that the baby we bring home could be a boy or a girl and try to prepare ourselves for either.

Well, either way, there’s no turning back now! No more ultrasounds and, with less than 5 (or possibly (if this baby comes at the same time Isaiah did) less than two) weeks left, it’s crunch time! Can’t wait until we get to meet our precious little one and FINALLY find out if he or she is a boy or a girl! I sure hope that “It’s a Boy!” or “It’s a Girl!” moment is worth the wait! =)

Coming home outfits for Baby! I didn’t mean to, but somehow I ended up with an elephant theme. I bought most everything at different times and stores! =)
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Bumpdate: 34 weeks!

Yesterday I had my 34 week doctors appointment. All looks good! Baby is a mover and a shaker and my doctor had a hard time finding the heartbeat because he/she kept wiggling away. =) Not much longer to go!

How far along: 34 (almost 35!) weeks

Size of baby: Baby is about 17 – 18 inches long (about the length of an American Girl doll!) and weighs about 4 to 5 pounds, about the size of a butternut squash.

Total weight gain: 20 pounds

Baby’s heart rate: 165

Stretch marks: None yet!

Morning Sickness: I said “so long” to Zofran a few weeks ago! Feeling good these days!

Gender: We don’t know! Can’t wait until we find out, we’re getting more and more anxious to know!

Movement: Lots and lots of movement still. Baby is getting stronger and the jabs and kicks are starting to hurt!

Sleep: Sleeping pretty well but can’t sleep in past 6:30 or 7. That’s ok, though, because I usually get up at 7 anyways to be up before the kids get up at 7:30.

Cravings: Still craving my apples! Other than that my eating habits are pretty normal and my cravings have leveled off a lot.

What I miss: Being able to bend down easily and put my socks and boots on without a watermelon in my way!

Symptoms: Feeling pretty good this week! Still some lower back pain but keeping it under control with stretching and exercise.

What I’m looking forward to: Drew finishing up the tests he is studying for for Edward Jones so that he can be home more and we can get the last minute things ready for baby!

Isaiah and Eloise: The kids are doing great. We had a great visit with Drew’s dad last weekend when he flew here from Florida for a few days. The kids had a blast with him and he helped out around here in so many ways, really giving me a break and blessing us!

Someone asked Isaiah today when the baby was coming and he replied, “When daddy goes on the airplane.” Originally, Drew was scheduled to fly down to an Edward Jones training in St. Louis just two weeks before my due date and we prayed alot as a family that he would be ale to change his dates so that he wouldn’t potentially miss baby’s birth. He was, thankfully, able to change his dates but apparently we forgot to tell that to Isaiah. =) Isaiah is now certain that the baby is going to be a boy “just like him.” We shall see if he is right!!!!!

Eloise is still totally in love with the baby and is always touching my belly. Here’s a cute picture of her loving on her baby doll:

She loves to play mommy and I’m thinking she is going to love having her own real live “baby doll” at home!! I’m going to have to keep my eye on her around the new baby! We’ve been working on potty training this past month and she’s doing great! No accidents for the past 7 days so looks like she may have said goodbye to day time diapers for good!
34 weeks!
And, 34 weeks with Isaiah (wearing the same shirt!)

Remembering Poppy

Sometimes it seems that God takes people to be with Him way too soon. After a hard fought battle with cancer, Drew’s grandpa on his Dad and Shelli’s side, “Poppy”, went to be with Jesus a few days ago. I’d like to think that maybe God just couldn’t wait any longer for him to be in Heaven with Him!

Poppy was one of the most kind-hearted, gentle, sweet, godly, and loving men I have ever met. We rejoice that we are sure of Poppy’s salvation and we know that he is now pain free and celebrating with Jesus… but we will miss him so much on this Earth. We mourn because we wanted him alive with us a little longer, but we celebrate because of the amazing life he lived and the even better one he is now living in Heaven! Poppy has left behind a great legacy of love and family and we are blessed to be able to carry that on.

We love you Poppy!
“Though [the Lord] brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.”
Lamentations 3: 32
You can read Poppy’s obituary here.

Grandpa’s Visit!

We had a very special visitor this past weekend…. Grandpa! Drew’s dad came up from Florida for a short visit and we had such a great time with him. He played with the kids, made us dinner one night, watched the kids so Drew and I could go on a date night, stocked us up on diapers and also watched the kids so I could have a relaxing afternoon {all to myself} and get a pedicure!

We were so blessed to have Grandpa come and visit and can’t wait until he (and Mimi!) comes again in April to meet the new baby!

Visiting the lighthouse and frozen Lake Michigan! 
Playing in the snow with Grandpa. (Isaiah was glad to have someone here who actually wanted to play in the snow as much as he always does!)
Take out the paci and pop in an icicle. 
Grandpa took a selfie out in the snow. =)
Still working on this smile! =) 
Breakfast with Grandpa.
The kids had so much fun playing with Grandpa!
Rolling the ball down the hallway was one of their favorites.
These kiddos love their Grandpa!
And… a picture from our date night at Mia and Grace, one of our favorite restaurants! We got a duck peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a fried goat cheese salad. Yum Yum!!! Thanks for watching the kids, Dad!!!

Valentine’s Day After Kids

I remember when Drew and I were dating and first married and Valentine’s Day was such a big deal! It was SO important that we did something special and romantic on that very day (heaven forbid we wait till the weekend or a more convenient day!!). Flowers and chocolate were always involved, and we made sure to get each other a special little something to make the day as romantic as possible.

Now that we have kids and have been married a while, Valentine’s Day is a little different around here… not bad… just different. Now it’s a little harder to go out somewhere special because we have to find a babysitter and add in the cost of the sitter to the cost of our date night. It’s a little less important to us that we get each other a special gift.  Drew buys me flowers regularly and I buy him chocolate regularly so we’ve got that covered! =) It’s not as important to us as it once was that we make Valentine’s Day a super romantic day for just the two of us. Valentine’s Day is now about making fun crafts with the kids, decorating Valentine’s Day cookies, and celebrating the holiday “kid” style.

Heart shaped PB&J sandwiches for lunch today! (Eloise is very into wearing her blanket as a cape these days!)
What fun glasses!
As usual, being silly when I ask him to smile for a picture!
Kisses for Daddy. This girl is a definite Daddy’s girl!

Honestly, if Drew and I really want to do something romantic just the two of us, we’re usually content with putting the kids down early and watching a movie and having pizza together. What could be more romantic than that!?!?

Speaking of pizza, this Papa Murphy’s commercial I saw the other day really hits the nail on the head. Although Valentine’s Day looks a little different for us now that we have kids, it’s honestly even {better}!

There’s something very romantic about spending Valentine’s Day with my children and my husband… a man that I’ve weathered several storms with, the man who is the father of my children, the man that I fall more and more in love with each year. Even though we’re not doing anything super special today, I’m celebrating this day {and every day} with my amazing family. And that’s special.

Our Valentine’s Day this year won’t consist of Drew and I enjoying a private dinner at The Signature Room, staring dreamily into each other’s eyes as he places a bracelet from Tiffany’s on my wrist and I hand him a new iPad. There will be some Valentine’s Days like that in our future but this year won’t be one of them. But there will still be lots of love between us today and every day…. {and} we may even get a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s to celebrate the day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


(As a side note, we LOVE Papa Murphy’s Pizza! Their Chicken Bacon Artichoke and Herb Chicken Mediterranean pizza are amazing! And their awesome new commercial makes me love supporting them even more.)

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas!

Looking for a healthy snack that’s cheap, delicious, easy to make, and a good source of protein? You’ve come to the right place! Today I want to share with you one of my favorite “go to” snacks for when I want a little something crunchy and salty and yet still healthy…. roasted chickpeas! (You might want to make a double batch… they don’t last long!)

By the way, I found this recipe on my {favorite} blog, Hip2Save. This blog is FILLED daily with posts about free items you can snag, coupons, discounted deals on products, and lots of other great tips to help you get what you need and want for less. It’s where I find out about all the good deals I snag! By combining coupons and sales every week I get things my family needs for cheap or even free! I’ve been following Hip2Save for 5 years now and it has helped our family save {so} much money over the years! Check it out! 

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
1 and a half tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of your favorite spice blend (I used a Creole mix)


Directions:
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drain, rinse, and pat dry chickpeas thoroughly. (Make sure to dry really well or they won’t crisp up as well). Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients until evenly coated.Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes. I usually set the timer for 20 minutes and when that goes off stir the chickpeas, set the timer for another 10 minutes, stir, and then for another 10 minutes. 
Simple ingredients!
Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
Make sure to let them dry completely so they crisp up nicely in the oven!
Mix the chickpeas, olive oil, and creole together.
Bake for 30-40 minutes and out come perfectly crispy, crunchy, delicious chickpeas! Yum!
ENJOY!

The Blessing of $90.25

It’s easy to overlook little blessings in our lives when things are going great and running smoothly. Ironically, one of the {benefits} of going through trials is that you are often able to more easily see God’s hand at work in even the smallest of circumstances!

No matter what season of life we’re in, I think it’s really important to make sure that we remember to not only see how God has blessed us, but to also share it with others. God is so {AWESOME} and deserves to be praised publicly!

So today I want to share a little story with you of God’s blessing in our lives this past week.

Last Tuesday when I got home from Bible study and was taking off my coat, I could feel some coins somewhere in a pocket on the left side. I spent several minutes trying to figure out how to get to them but I couldn’t figure out which pocket they were in. Drew came over and started helping me and we found a tiny little hidden zipper inside my coat. He opened it up and pulled out the coins… and then a $20 bill… and then a $10… and then a $5… and then a $50!!… and then several more dollars! That day we found a total of $90.25 in my coat!

We have no idea where that money came from. Our best guess is that it has been in my coat since the winter before we left for Uganda… over two years ago! The funny thing is that I have been wearing that coat for three months already this winter and never once noticed the coins until that day.

$90.25 might not seem like a lot to you, but it’s a lot to us right now! Financial struggles are hard and I can honestly say that I am ready to be {done} with this particular trial in our lives right now. But in one sense, there is something so sweet about going through a trial like this and seeing the amazing ways that God provides. If things weren’t so tight right now, finding $90.25 wouldn’t seem like such a big deal! But these last few months my eyes have really been opened to the many ways the Lord is providing for and blessing us…. ways that I have overlooked and not appreciated in the past.

I can list off several times over these last couple of months when we could have desperately used an extra $90…. and all this time I was carrying it around in my coat pocket! And yet, God chose to give us this extra money NOW, right when HE knows we need it, not when WE thought we needed it.

So today I just want to give a shout out to the Lord! He provides at just the right time and in just the ways we need. He is faithful and today I am praising Him for the gift of a little bit of extra money. =)

How has God blessed you in these past few weeks? Has He shown up in a big or even a {seemingly} little way and reminded you that He is {real} and He {cares}? I’d love it if you would share what God has done so that I can praise Him together with you! No thing is too big or too small to give glory to God for! =)


“Don’t stay in the dark and count your woes. Step into the light and count your blessings!”
Sandra Kring

Bumpdate: 32 Weeks!

Yesterday I had my 32 week doctors appointment. Baby is doing well and growing right on track! Here’s a little update for you:

How far along: 32.5 weeks

Size of baby: Baby is about 16 – 17 inches long and weighs about 3 1/2  pounds, about the weight of a large jicama (according to babycenter.com). What in the world is a jicama?!? I know you all were wondering too so I posted a picture below! =)

Total weight gain: 19 pounds

Baby’s heart rate: 152

Stretch marks: None yet! I didn’t get {any} with Isaiah so we’ll see what happens this time! Not sure I’ll be able to pull that off two times! I read a funny story about a lady who went all the way through her pregnancy thinking she didn’t get any stretch marks, only to deliver her baby and realize she had several on the under side of her belly where she couldn’t see! I had Drew check out the part of my belly that I can’t see and so far so good! =)

Morning Sickness: Finally, finally I think it’s safe to say I am OFF of Zofran completely!! Wahoo!! I have been feeling pretty good most days and am thankful to be able to keep food down and not feel nauseated constantly.

Gender: We don’t know! Can’t wait until we find out, we’re getting more and more anxious to know!

Movement: Lots and lots of movement still. I have nicknamed this child karate kid. =) Less kicks and punches now and more rolls as baby starts to run out of room.

Sleep: Sleeping about 5 hours at a time before needing to use the bathroom. I’m not too uncomfortable, just not that sleepy. Can’t sleep in past 6:30 or 7.

Cravings: Still craving sweets but my cravings have definitely settled down some. I’ve been pretty good about substituting healthy alternatives to help satisfy my sweet tooth which has been good. I am eating lots and lots of apples these days. Oh my word, I have one or two every day, they taste so good to me right now! An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?!?

What I miss: Being able to bend down easily and put my socks and boots on without a watermelon in my way!

Symptoms: Still have lots of lower back pain but managing it with stretching and exercise. Heartburn off and on but not too bad. Starting to get tired pretty easily and not have as much energy but over all still feeling good!

What I’m looking forward to: Finding out if baby is a boy or a girl! Packing my hospital bag and getting the final things ready to bring baby home.

Isaiah and Eloise: Zai and Ellie are so excited about the baby although I don’t think either of them really understand that the baby is coming home to live with us! Isaiah likes to feel the baby kick and when I hold him on my lap he will often feel the baby kick his back and will laugh and say, “Mom, the baby is kicking me hard!” Every time I come home from the doctor he asks me, “Mom, did the doctor take your baby out yet?” Hopefully not for a while, Isaiah! He went with me to one of my appointments and heard the baby’s heartbeat and kept talking about how the baby went “Bum bum bum.” Eloise is absolutely in love with the idea of a baby . She constantly lifts up my shirt and wants to kiss the baby and feel my belly. Like seriously, several times a day she has to check in on the baby. She is going to love being a “mother” to the new baby but I think she’s going to be pretty jealous when she sees me holding the baby!

32 weeks!

Dark Chocolate Almond Drop Cookies

I tried out a new recipes over the weekend and can’t wait to share it with you!

The recipe is for dark chocolate almond drop cookies. They are gluten and dairy free and contain no sugar or flour! You can also make them egg free with a little substitution. Not only are these cookies good for you, they were super yummy too. My kids (and husband!) (and me!) gobbled them up!!!

I got the recipes off of the box my order from Vitacost.com came in. As a side note, if you are interested in a good site to buy vitamins, herbs, supplements, beauty items and other health products online, I highly recommend Vitacost. I’ve purchased various products through them for many years and always been happy. And if you use this link: Vitacost.com you can save $10 off your first $30 purchase!

Dark Chocolate Almond Drop Cookies
Gluten and dairy free!

1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup natural sweetener (I used honey)
1 large egg (or 1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 oz dark chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the first 5 ingredients and stir, add chocolate. Drop rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets (I just sprayed the sheets with pam because I didn’t have parchment paper). Make sure you put a lot of space between the cookies because they spread out like crazy! Bake 10-12 minutes. They might not look quite done when you pull them out but they will harder up quite a bit. Let cool, then enjoy!

Just six ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand!
Easy to mix up. I didn’t use a mixer, a spoon worked just fine. 
Give enough space between the cookies. They really spread out!
We like our cookies a little gooey so we like to bake them on the shorter side and eat them fresh and gooey out of the oven! Yum!
The last step to the cookie making process is to let your adorable toddler do a taste test.
She approves!