Thursday, April 26, 2012

18 + Some

Ok...4 days to be exact.  This time my excuse is that Jordan left on Monday and didn't get back until now.  So yes...we're late.  You might as well just get used to it.  But here we are!
You might also be looking for the big announcement of the gender reveal:
Well...sorry to disappoint but we still don't know.  Long story short - they're very cautious at my hospital, maybe even a little too cautious in my opinion.  But that's fine.  Maybe it was God's way of helping us to save our money for a more opportune time.  Maybe Aqua Baby just wasn't ready to tell all.  We'll just have to wait for another day.  Maybe even a week or so...
But I'm happy, and we're moving on.  It really hasn't bothered me that much.  Maybe it was me that wasn't ready to hear the news.  I just want a healthy baby.  And there's nothing more reassuring than hearing that precious little heartbeat again and again.  It might be one of the best sounds in the world!
Definitely feel bigger this week.  Mostly it was the pants I had on today.  They made me feel very pregnant, but I'm ok with it.  For now...
While Jordan was away, I definitely got all sentimental thinking about our life together, this journey we're on, and starting a family.  I missed him more than ever and so did Aqua Baby.  He/She wanted to surprise him with this little gift and a card when he got home to express our love and gratitude.  He really has been the absolute best husband through this whole thing and I am so blessed to have him by my side!
Our children will be so blessed to have a man like him to call Father!
Is it wrong I didn't want him to have all the love???

Friday, April 20, 2012

Snack Attack

Sometimes I want something, but I just can't figure out what it is.  Today I was in major need of a snack but nothing sounded good.  My sweet husband scoured the whole kitchen naming off everything I could possible eat trying to help my figure it out.  To each suggestion I shook my head no.  It just wasn't it.

At this point I turned to a greater resource of help; Pinterest.  Sometimes this plan backfires on me and I'm left hungrier than I was with no satisfaction in sight.  To which I close my browser in frustration pouting and sit with a growling stomach.

But today I saw it.  I saw the thing that sounded so good.  I quickly grabbed my computer and headed to the kitchen with a new found inspiration and high hopes.  At one point I ran to my room and back with such zeal and excitement, only to end up on the floor because my socks slid on our concrete.  Anyway...

That is how I came up with this.

recipe adapted from here.

What you need and how to make it:
Preheat oven to 250 and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

popped bag of popcorn
1 cup peanuts (optional, and you can very the amount.  I just knew I wanted peanuts in every bite.)

Place popped popcorn in a large bowl and sprinkle with peanuts.  I didn't mix it, because I didn't want all of the peanuts to fall to the bottom.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup sorghum (molasses and maple syrup might be a good substitute if you don't have sorghum.)
1/4 cup butter, cubed (I used my homemade vegan butter)

Place brown sugar, sorghum, and chunks of butter into a 4 cup glass pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds.  Just enough time to heat it so it all mixes nicely together.  You'll want something large enough so it doesn't bowl over, and plastic just won't work.  

Stir it all up and then microwave for another two minutes.  Remove from microwave and stir again.  Now pop it back in one last time and microwave for 1 minute being careful not to burn it.

1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Now mix in the baking soda and vanilla, stirring quickly as it will begin to bubble and thicken up.  Pour over the popcorn and peanuts, and begin stirring to evenly coat everything as you pour.  The caramel will not thickly cover all of the popcorn, but I think it's just the right amount to give you the sweetness that you need.  

Once everything is stirred together, sift popcorn on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes remove and stir around and then stick back in the oven for another 5 minutes.  And that's it.

Allow the mixture to cool for a minute or two, and then pour back into your large bowl.

You're now ready to share your sweet treat with some friends!

Enjoy the sweet taste of victory!

A New Work

Having a baby isn't the only major change happening in our life right now, we've also joined a new ministry.  Remember when I told you that I wouldn't be meeting with my ladies small group anymore on Saturday nights?  That's because we're now part of a new church plant called Urban Light Baptist Church.
We were quite surprised when we arrived on our first night last weekend as they greeted us with cheering and a rolled up banner.  When we pulled the string the sign read Welcome and confetti fell upon us.  They ushered us down the isle to be paraded to the front and more confetti rained upon us.  They then asked us a series of fun and serious questions ending with the biggest surprise of it all: BALUT.  Luckily because I'm pregnant I got to pass, but Jordan put on a brave face and had to partake.
And he finished it all with a smile.
I wish I could better show you the area where we currently meet, but it's quite dark.  This is the best I could do.  The church meets in a parking lot, with a lean-to.  The church is mostly made up of young people who are excited to grow in their new found faith.
And we're quite excited to join Pastor Isaac and Ma'am Eunice to see the church grow to the next level.   It was at this location that Jordan taught a group of Freshman last year and expects an increase in enrollment in this next school year.
On Sunday we joined Pastor Isaac and a group of volunteers for leadership training.  They meet at a condo where they rent a unit to use for a student center through out the week.  Pastor Isaac gave us a tour of the buildings and this is what we saw.
Two buildings tower to 26 floors that are half vacant and run down, housing nearly 2000 families.
What was once made for life to flourish, now sits empty.
These apartments sit on a creek that divide Makati and Pasay, two cities where God has called them, and now us to minister.
But there is hope that God can do something to change this place.  To bring life and hope back to these dark walls.  And there sits a piece of land that Pastor Isaac is praying for to build a church on.  And he believes if God doesn't give it to him, then He will have something better.
 And so we pray and we ask you to pray, as we join this work and seek God to use us to impact the city of Pasay.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bringing Up Baby

And so it begins.  The accumulation of stuff!  I've heard people say things like, you think you have a lot of stuff now, just wait until you have kids!  And you can't live without this!

I've tried to be wise in my purchases and only get things that I really need, but it's tough when there are a million things out there that say they are must haves!  I wonder if these people would have survived 30 years ago?  Sure there are a lot of things that make life convenient, but is it really necessary?

So far I've only gotten what I deem to be necessary, or at least got a crazy good deal on it, and I'm going to try my hardest to stick to that.  At some point in time, and maybe even now already, you may think I made a crazy purchase that will hardly get used, but just try to warn me ahead of time.  Deal?

Here's what I've gotten so far.
This sling from Seven Everyday Slings.  This is a purchase I got a crazy good deal on.  All I had to do was pay for shipping.  One of the other missionaries here is due just two days before me...I KNOW!   Isn't that fun and crazy!?...And she told me about this website where you can get free stuff and coupons!  I know it's more of a modern day invention, but I think it will come in handy.

Which is why I also purchased this:
All I had to do was pay shipping on this one as well.  We don't have to go into details about it.  I like my modesty.  Which is why I purchased it.  And you can get it here.

From another missionary here I purchased some newborn diapers, because she had extra.  But that's not really a fun thing to post pictures of.  So we'll just skip that.  I am looking to try out the whole cloth diapering thing though.  More on that later.

But more than just material things for Aqua Baby, I want to make sure spiritually, mentally and physically I'm ready to take care of this precious little being. 

So yesterday I purchased this book: 
It can be a daunting task to think about raising a child.  But we have a clean slate.  We're just starting out, so I want to make sure I'm as ready as I can be.  God has given us this responsibility of raising this child, and we're up for the challenge.  You can read a description of the book here on Amazon.  And I'll be sure to do a book review once I'm done with it.

Lastly, as I said...I want to be physically ready for Aqua Baby.  And if you know me, you know how important health and nutrition are to me.  But I have to be honest with you.  I've been in a slump lately. I could tell you the million excuses I have, but no one likes a complainer, so I'll just say I'm getting back in the game and starting over again.  With this:
It's a whole workout plan devoted to pregnancy workouts by tri-mester and beyond!  I was so excited when I came across it.  Each workout is tailored to work with you from pregnancy to baby and beyond.  I've had so many questions about working out and what to do and not do, and this just answered it all for me in one place!  From yoga to cardio and toning, it's all here!  So here's to being a healthy mom for a healthy baby!  For more info, check out the website for yourself here.

And that's it.  Not everything I need to take care of Aqua Baby, but it's a good start.

Monday, April 16, 2012

God's Masterpiece - Week 17

I'm running out of ideas on poses and I feel like nothing's changing.  I've reached another lull in the process and I'm just waiting.  I feel like I fluctuate all of the time in my size, and it seems like everyone else seems to think so too:  You're getting so big, you don't look pregnant at all!  And I feel the same way depending on the day.
It's kind of making me a crazy person.  I wonder all of the time what's going on, and compare my weeks to those of others.  I know everyone is different so it's a silly thing to do, but I'm obsessed with everyone else's pregnancy stories and how everything happened for them.
Seriously, today I feel like I'm shrinking!  I things look different to you?  I'm just waiting for the day when I can feel Aqua Baby.  That must be the coolest thing in the world.  And a little strange at the same time.  It's so weird that God made life to happen this way.  And such a miracle!

Today I was reminded again of some of my favorite verses:

Psalm 139:13-16

New International Version (NIV)
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.

It just really hit me today and made me sit in awe and wonder.  When I was in high school and college I struggled so much with being the woman God had created me to be, and now being on this side of things, I wish I could know then what I know now.  That life is so precious and week after week, God has already done so many amazing little things in Aqua Baby's life that is fashioning them to be a perfect work of art!  But we all have to go through things to realize more of who He is and who we are in Him. And I'm so thankful for this opportunity and what He has already done in me...and Aqua Baby.
I just can't wait for Saturday because we have another appointment and I have another opportunity to see and hear this miracle inside of me.  And if everything goes as planned, and Aqua Baby cooperates, we'll finally have a name for him or her!!!

Fingers Crossed!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making Room

A little late on posting, but here I am in week 16!  There's definitely some bumpage going on this week.  
We're both continually growing which becomes more and more evident in my clothes.  These are the last pair of normal jeans that are really all that comfortable, but I'm embracing all of the changes and allowing for positive thinking to take place.  Reorganizing my clothes and closet was the best thing I could have done.
No one wants to open their closet doors only to see the myriad of clothes that don't fit anymore.  I've found a few things on my own here, and have been totally blessed to have a teammate here who is about the same size as me, pass on all of her maternity clothes for me to borrow.  Not to mention one awesome lady who brought me back a few things from the States in her recent visit there.  
There have definitely been some emotional days in the past few weeks, and sometimes I don't even know for what reason.  Well I mean I's Aqua Baby.  But I feel so blessed to know I am not alone in this.  I'm surrounded by people who love me and care about me and want the best for me and Aqua Baby and our family!  I'm so thankful for those people.  Community is something that's always been important to me, and I know I have a good one here!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Daddy Perspective

When Nikki first asked me to share here on her blog, I was at a loss as to what I should write.  I am awash in a sea of emotions as we eagerly await our little “Aquababy,” so I definitely have much to say.  But I am far from the first person to have ever become a father; literally billions throughout history have experienced the absolute joy and anticipation of their firstborn’s impending arrival.  I have now joined that collective rank but I imagine everything I am currently feeling has been articulated before, and probably more articulately as well.   And yet, this experience is also all uniquely my own and I can’t help but strive to capture in words my thoughts as I enter into fatherhood.
I remember vividly the night we found out that we were going to be parents.  Up to this point, over the past two years, if someone brought up the possibility of Nikki being pregnant, I had one go-to knee-jerk response:  I would begin to stammer and act all panicked.  I typically reserved this routine for close friends and family; perhaps you personally witnessed my nervous act and laughed along.  The thing is, I truly had no such fears about having a child; to be quite honest, as the time passed, I was filled with a growing enthusiasm for when that day would come.  But I possess a deeply self-deprecating sense of humor, and was really playing more for laughs than out of any deep-rooted insecurity.  Truth be told, it just amused me to watch people react to my over-reaction.
As Nikki has shared previously, when she took the test and found it to be positive, she began to laugh uncontrollably.  In stark contrast to my public displays of apprehension, I greeted the news with a stunned smile as a warm, peaceful wave of sensation rolled over me.  It was the feeling of a joy so pure that words still fail me as to how to describe it.  I hugged Nikki close and knew that there was only one appropriate response to celebrate such a life-changing, blessed event in our lives:  to turn to God in adoration, thanksgiving, and worship.  Now I just wait patiently for that day to come when I will hold this precious gift in my arms and pray over his or her life to come.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend

I hope that everyone had a good weekend!  We sure did.  It was our first Holiday here that we've felt settled and all of the newness of being in a different country has worn off, so we wanted to find ways to make it extra special.  And I feel like it was fitting that it all centered around this time; EASTER.  After-all, it's why we're here.  Because we serve a risen Saviour and we want the world to know about Him and not just know about Him, but to truly know Him.

Thursday we took some time in the afternoon to decorate the place a bit.  We listened to our favorite worship songs as we painted eggs to hang on our wall.

We've been in transition so much of our marriage, that we've never really come up with any family traditions.  I guess with a little one on the way, I'm getting more and more in the mode of nesting and wanting to have fun things we do together as a family.  Arts and crafts will definitely be present!

On Friday we had some friends over to hang out and make homemade pizza.  It was there first time to make their own pizza and we all had a blast.
   Jordan started us out showing everyone how it's done and then was ready to instruct.
Everyone was nervous about how everything would work out, but we were all encouraged there's no wrong way to make a pizza.
And once they were all topped, into the oven they went.
Avon was so skilled at making the perfect circle.
And Geph became a master at getting the pizza from the peel to the stone.
My mastery came in adding the most veggies to my pizza! YUM!  Along with my homemade vegan mozzarella!
With all the pizzas done.  We were finally ready to eat.
Nothing comes between a man and his pizza.  You better watch yo self!

Saturday I was back in the kitchen getting things ready and made up for our Easter Dinner.  And then attended small group in the evening.  One of my highlights of the weekend.
I absolutely love this group of ladies and have been so blessed to be with them and get to know them over these past 5 months.  But this may have been my last meeting with them for a while.  More on that to come later...

Sunday we had a big day planned.  I got up early to get a few things going before church, and was greeted by this lone egg on the counter.
In it was a letter from my darling husband, that of course made me cry.  He reflected on our life together, and the joy of the thought of this baby inside of me, and ultimately pondering why we celebrate this day.  It also ended with a challenge to find the rest of the eggs he had hidden throughout our living room.
  Can you spot the eggs?
Not only was I surprised but I was blown away to see an egg on our counter!  He seriously deserves mad props for this feat because I have not really seen Easter anything around here!  He will be in charge of the fun surprises for our kids!  And I'll stick to what I know...
BAKING!  Me oh my!  These cinnamon rolls were awesome.  I've been craving some for quite a while, and they were exactly what I was hoping for.
Ooey Gooey Goodness!  They are worth the two hours it takes to make them let me tell you!  We then put on our Easter best and headed to church!
After church we headed to some of our teammates house for a new tradition their instilling: Korean Take-Out for Easter lunch.  I love kimchi!
We had a great time with them, and enjoyed chatting and relaxing with friends.  And who could resist their precious little boys!?  Here's Jordan with Everett
So precious!  I can't wait to see him with Aqua Baby!  Later in the afternoon we headed home and I got back to work in the kitchen to finish our Easter Dinner.
Everything turned out yummy.  Especially the carrot cake.  Only the frosting melted everywhere because it was so hot.  HAHAHA  I'll make one again soon to share with you.  Hope you had a blessed weekend with family and friends celebrating life and Jesus!