Thursday, July 26, 2012

Malia's Nursery Projects

It has been so fun to put together Malia's room.  The night we found out she was a girl I instantly started making a list of the items we would need, along with a line by line budget of what we could spend on each piece.  That weekend Aaron (with a little assistance from myself) painted Malia's room.  We chose Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray.  I like how it brightens up the room and also goes well with the others colors we chose (pink and white).  The plan is to have the walls gray, furniture white and accents of pink.  This will hopefully prepare us for baby #2.  If it is a boy, we will just replace the pink with blue and call it good.  Here are some pictures of the painting process. 

 Dark picture of her room before

 Not sure what we were thinking when we originally painted this!

More before pics

 Starting to take shape

Finally done - more pics to follow

Once we had her room painted it was time to start getting some key pieces of furniture (on a budget of course!).  We started by looking for a changing table/dresser combo.  I looked all over for them.  They are SO expensive.  Aaron actually found the deal of the century on craigslist.  This combo was regularly $600 at Good Night Room, being sold for $130, slightly used but in great shape.  She even threw in a new changing pad and cover!

It fits the space perfectly

I should mention it did not come with drawers full of clothes.  We have been so abundantly blessed by our friends Caleen and Dave.  They have a 3 year old little girl and have been kind enough to hand down to Malia the cutest clothes.  We have a dresser full of clothes for her and we have literally not bought a single outfit.  Thank you so much to the Froelich family!!

Next up was a rug, again on a budget.  I found this on Pinterest and figured it would work great for her room.  It is from Ikea and was only $20!! What a deal!

On to her crib.  We found a really pretty crib at Target, you guessed it, on a budget.  It converts into a toddler bed so it should last us awhile.  It was only $120 which turned out to be one of the best prices we found.  We love the way it looks in the room.  Now we just need some PINK!

 It is really simple but pretty

I love the way it looks against the gray wall

Next up we will be finding a rocking chair, bedding, a mobile and some accessories.  It is so fun to watch her room come together.  I can't wait to be holding her close, rocking her back to sleep at 2am in her beautiful, peaceful room.  Honestly... and do remind me of this post when I am exhausted and sleep deprived!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wished for Child

How is it that 20 weeks can feel like an eternity?  We were so anxious to know whether we were having a girl or boy that it felt like forever until the all important ultrasound.  From day one, I was certain that our sweet baby was a girl.  I had no doubts.  Aaron, on the other hand, based on his scientific interpretation of the way the baby moved during the 1st ultrasound and this picture below was beginning to think we were having a baby boy.

Either way we really had no preference of boy or girl.  Honestly, our only prayer was for a healthy baby.  As the time drew near we wanted to think of a fun way to find out the gender.  We also wanted the opportunity to share this in a creative way with our family.  I got the idea to have Aaron's brother's girlfriend Erin (aka the cupcake master) make us cupcakes to reveal to the family (and us) the gender.  She would carefully injected either pink or blue frosting into each cupcake. 

The morning of ultra sound we gave the tech 2 cards, each having either our girl or boy name.  We asked that she only return to us the proper card.  I immediately rushed to give the card to Erin so that I wouldn't be tempted to peek.  I made one pit stop at work before handing off the card to let my friend Caleen take a peek.  Erin and Caleen were the only ones who knew whether we were having a boy or girl.  I don't know what I was thinking, I was so anxious and I had just voluntarily signed myself up for another day and a half of waiting!  It did however make it more special to find out with our family at the same time whether we would have a pink or blue nursery. 

We ate dinner together and moved onto dessert.  Erin did an amazing job with the cupcakes, I still actually have cravings for them (blame it on the pregnancy).   


Family - getting ready to find out

The verdict - a sweet baby girl

Although I was certain from day one that our baby was going to be a girl, I was actually 100% surprised when the cupcake was filled with pink frosting.  Rewind to the day prior when I showed Caleen the card.  She did a great job of playing off what she had seen and didn't say much until the middle of the day when she accidentally referred to our baby as a he (TWICE!).  I tried to act like I didn't hear her, I just didn't want her to feel bad about slipping and telling me.  All day I was trying to wrap my head around how I could have been wrong.  I was certain when I bit into the cupcake it would be blue.   To my complete amazement it wasn't.  There is a simple explanation for this, Caleen is pregnant as well, with a boy.  She was so used to saying he that she did so without thinking.  Once she said it, she felt as though she couldn't correct herself because then I really would know it was a girl.  Her little slip up actually made it more fun to find out we were having a girl, surprises are the best!

We had picked out the name Malia about 3 years ago, at that time we shared the name with my mom.  She said that Malia is the Hawaiian form of the name Mary.  How fun to be able to, in a way, name a daughter after her mother.  As women we usually do not get this honor.  The day before we found out she was a girl I decided to look up other meanings of her name, that is when I found the meaning "Wished For Child".  Aaron and I were so blown away, after all the praying, hoping, wishing we had done for her, the name was perfect.  Her middle name is Joy - after our niece Olivia Joy and because we already know that Malia will bring a light and joy to this world that we have never experienced.  Can't wait to meet her!!   

Malia's most recent glamour shot

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pregnancy Photos So far

The night we told our families that we were expecting - 6 weeks

12 weeks - with our 2 biggest fans

14 weeks - In Hollywood

21 weeks - pups still wondering what is going on

23 weeks - our 5 year anniversary

Prayer Changes Reality

As I previously mentioned I started getting worried about the fact that it was taking so long to get pregnant.  I doubted whether God would provide the opportunity for us to be parents.  After we had been trying for about a year and a half I did end up reaching out to my doctor to help assess why I still had not gotten pregnant. 

At the same I had a friend, and spiritual mentor, ask me if I had been praying for a baby.  I had done all the mechanical things to prepare for a baby but I had overlooked the most important thing - asking God to bless us with a baby.  I honestly felt embarrassed that I had been struggling through this for so long on my own and had never reached out to God.  I thought that this was something he wouldn't be interested in, something I could just work for and receive.  It never dawned on me that He has ultimate control and power - I needed to plug into my power source! 

Starting at the beginning of this year Aaron and I faithfully prayed for a baby everyday.  I prayed with an expectant heart knowing God would make this happen.  So, when I went to the doctor I was certain she would tell me that there was nothing wrong with me.  After all, I knew that God was going to make this happen but my body had to be operating correctly. 

I was absolutely devastated when I received the call from our doctor saying I was not ovulating.  For those less familiar with female anatomy, ovulation is a necessity for pregnancy.  She also said that we would have to wait another month to test again before I could start medication.  I cried, got mad, had doubts and then I prayed.  It is amazing how prayer and connection with Jesus can bring such clarity.  I felt Him instantly say that He was in charge and all I needed to do was pray and believe.  I decided that I was not willing to accept what the world was telling me that it was more important to listen to what God was telling me.  I began to pray for a miracle in my body, for a baby.

Here are a couple excerpts from my journal:
I pray for a miracle in my body today.  I know the doctor said I didn't ovulate but I pray that if it is Your will that You are knitting together a perfect baby right now in my body.  I pray for this miracle knowing it would be for your glory. 
I pray that You bless us with a happy, healthy, Godly child.  That you are preparing the way right now and opening doors that the world has said are shut, that you are allowing my prayers to change reality.

On the morning of February 22nd I woke up certain that God had answered my prayers, that regardless of what the world says, our lives are ultimately in the hands of a loving, caring Father.  I was half awake, groggy, hair all a mess when this one word popped up that changed my reality forever - Pregnant. 

I yelled for Aaron.  Based on my urgency, volume and excitement level I am sure he thought I would running from a spider that I wanted him to kill.  When he saw the pregnancy test, he hugged me tight and I knew that our lives would never be the same. 

I write this story for you - if you are struggling with anything, reach out to God.  There is no prayer too big or too small, He cares and He wants to be in relationship with us. 

I write this story for myself - as a reminder of the miracles he has done in my life and the way He has blessed our family.  Also because this is part of my testimony of who Jesus is and who He has been in my life, how much He loves me and the importance of my utmost dependence on Him alone. 

I write this story for Malia - I want her know that she has a calling on her life, that we loved her before we knew her and the most importantly she has a heavenly Father who will never leave or forsake her and that it doesn't matter what the world says, it only matters what God says, He gets the final word.   

Most of all, this story is a simple reminder that PRAYER CHANGES REALITY. 

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The First Five Years of Marital Bliss - Year 5

When we first got married we determined the "perfect" amount of time to be married before having children was 5 years.  I have no idea where we came up with this arbitrary number but it seemed right at the time.  We decided we would spend this time getting to know each other, having fun, working hard, raising our puppies and just enjoying life.  We did all of that - and I think we did it pretty well.  

About 2 years ago though, I began to get a little restless though about us having children.  I had just turned 30 and thought that maybe 5 years was too long to wait.  I got a little impatient, a trait I may or may not be known for.  So I started planning to have a baby.  After all, they say that it could take 6 months to a year to get pregnant when you first start trying.  When I say started planning what I mean is I did our budget for the next 20 years (yes, I am serious, Dave Ramsey went to my brain), I started my AFLAC policy, etc.  I did all the mechanical things you are supposed to do to get yourself prepared to get pregnant.  

And then began the waiting game.  I figured it would just happen, I would wake up one day pregnant.  I pushed it to the back of my mind and we continued life as usual.  In our 5th year of marriage we did some pretty fun things together that helped to keep my mind off of getting pregnant.  

Aaron became an avid runner.  He decided he was going to run the Portland Marathon.  I, wanting to be the supportive wife, agreed that I would run the Half Marathon as well.  I was CERTAIN I would be pregnant by the time the race rolled around and thus I would have an out.  As fate would have it, that was not in the cards.  So October 2011 Aaron ran the Marathon and I ran (I use the term run lightly) the Half.  It was an amazing experience for both of us.  It was fun to accomplish a huge goal together.  Apparently so huge that I can't find any pictures of the big day!!  I will try to find some and upload them soon.  Here are a couple pictures of other races Aaron ran throughout the year.

Helvatia Half Marathon

Shamrock 15k

Around the time of the Marathon I started to get worried about the fact that I still wasn't pregnant although we had been trying for well over a year.  I decided that in the coming months I would go see a doctor.  In the meantime, we continued to enjoy family time, Blazer games and of course our dogs!

Jesi visiting from LA

Christmas at our house with family

  Blazer Season Opener

Play date with Lucky

Aren't they cute?

All dressed up in their rain jackets

She is a little accident prone

Stung by a bee

Play date with Snorts

What an amazing 5 years it has been!  

The First Five Years of Marital Bliss - Years 2-4

The next couple of years included so many blessings.  We bought a new house together.  I think our number one motivator was getting a yard for Floyd.  Again, yes, we are "those" kind of dog owners.  We also wanted to get him a sister (dog that is) and we knew we would need a bigger home to accommodate 2 boxers.  Within a month of moving into our new house we brought home our new puppy, Sugar.  

Our first home we bought together

Bringing Sugar home

Sugar meeting Floyd for the 1st time

We have had so much fun in our new house with both dogs.  They have essentially become our babies.  Few people understand how much we love our dogs.  

As fate would have it, there just so happened to be a couple directly across the street from our new house who understood.  They were our age (well maybe a little younger but who is counting!), at the same place in life and also madly in love with their dogs, although there dogs are much better behaved.  Little did we know that this couple were actually part of God's bigger plan for us.  They have turned into great friends, neighbors (neighbs for short), spiritual mentors and man can she cook!!  

 Jessica and Derek

We also became a part of Jessica and Derek's care group through their church Meadow Springs.  We have met every week with an amazing group of friends and fellow believers who encourage, challenge, pray for and love on us.  This group has been one of the biggest blessings to our marriage, giving us a chance to enjoy fellowship and glorify God.  

Part of Care group Volunteering at Oregon Food Bank

During this time we also attended the Portland Vineyard Church.  We met some of our very best friends there as well as encountered Jesus in ways that we never had before.  To this day, PVC continues to be a place where we feel loved and welcomed even if we are not attending services there regularly.  

Just a typical night

Some of the greatest people we know - Hollie, John and Johnny

Aaron and I also enjoyed vacationing during this time.  To be honest though, you are more likely to find us lounging on a beach than checking out a museum.  My family is also obsessed (and I don't use that word lightly) with Disneyland.  In our first 5 years of marriage we have already gone to Disneyland 4 times.   Here are a couple travel highlights.

Oregon Coast

Vegas with Aaron's brother and sisters

Cabo - 1st trip with Aaron's parents


Disneyland with my niece Sophia

Montana - Jenny and Joe's wedding

Dodger's Game In LA

Cabo - 2nd Trip

We also had the privilege of both Aaron and I being in my best friend Serina's wedding.  It was an amazing day and such a blessing to witness Serina and Jahmal's lives beginning together.  

Lookin' good girls

Getting down on the dance floor

Our lives have been blessed abundantly.  We are so thankful for the family, friends, co-workers, brothers and sisters in Christ and neighbors that God has strategically placed in our lives.  We thought we couldn't ask for more - come to find out there is so much more in store for us than we ever could have imagined.  

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

I am certain, that the best is yet to come!

The First Five Years of Marital Bliss - Year 1

As I try to sit down and remember all the amazing moments of our first 5 years of marriage it really makes me wish I would have been blogging the whole time. Sure would be nice to look back now and remember all the fun times Aaron and I have shared together.  Luckily though, there is always Facebook to keep my memory fresh, ha ha.  The next several posts will bring you up to speed on what we have been up to over the past 5 years.  

I guess it will be easiest to start at the beginning.  In late 2006, after begging Aaron to go on a date with me for weeks (yes, I am serious) he finally gave in.  I think we both knew right away that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  Within 8 months of meeting each other Aaron proposed and we were married 6 weeks later.  We both knew God had brought us together to show His love through marriage and that remains our number one goal today.

Just Engaged!

Just Married!

During our 6 weeks of wedding planning I thought it would be a good idea to get Aaron a puppy.  There is really no stress around wedding planning and puppies are no big deal, right?  I always have GREAT ideas.  Enter Floyd into our lives.  He has been such a source of joy, responsibility, parenting conflicts (yes, we are "those" kind of dog owners) and love.  

Floyd's first day at home

Most amazing ring bearer ever

The day I married Aaron was life changing.  It answered so many questions about my future that I had always wondered about.  Who would I grow old with?  Who would be the father of my children?  Would I find someone as passionate about life as myself?  Did God love me enough to bring a man to me that would love me forever?  I still thank God daily for the strong, respected, stable, kind, loving and HOT husband that He provided.  

Following our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta we returned home and enjoyed our first year of marriage.  Aaron's entire family and my mom lived within walking distance to our condo.  It was amazing to have such a large and loving family so close.  We spent nights having BBQ's, sharing holidays and birthdays, dancing in our living room, playing games, and laughing until we cried (or someone peed their pants).  

Most of the Family at Peacock Lane for Christmas

We also attended the first of many Dave Ramsey events.  I mention this here because it was so life changing for both of us.  We learned so many things.  First and foremost, we realized that although from the outside it looked as though we were on top of the world, financially we were actually deeply in debt and unless we changed our way of thinking we would never escape.  We have been on a quest for the past 5 years that continues to this day to become completely debt free.  We are on a mission to change our family tree and provide a future for our children we never thought possible.  We have also found great purpose in helping others become debt free.  

Our favorite Dave Ramsey Quote

Our first year of marriage was everything we dreamed it would be.  Full of love, laughter and dreaming about the future that God had in store for us.