Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things are Moving Along!

Week 23!  And there's been some exciting things happening lately!
I actually started feeling those little flutters a couple of weeks ago, but in the past week, I've realized more and more it's little Desmond kicking and swimming around.  I can actually feel my little guy movin!
I love it so much!  And I can't wait for Jordan to be able to feel him too.  It seems every time Desmond is moving around I'll say oh here, feel!  And just as Jordan places his hand on my belly he stops.  This boy really has a mind of his own I tell yeah!
And just today we got a mattress for his crib!  Little by little we're making preparations and getting things all ready for him.
  AND...my parents are coming!
It's official.  Tickets are purchased and October couldn't come soon enough.  Well maybe I'm still not quite ready for everything that would come with October being here...ie: actually having this baby, so I can stand to wait.  But I'm still so totally excited!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

What's in a Name?

There's so much pressure in choosing a name for your child.  It's how they'll be known to the world forever, and I want to make sure we get it right.  Of course people will always have opinions and I'm sure he'll get made fun of at some point, but I think the name William Desmond Lars Nisly is one that is full of potential.  

So let's break it down:

William: (WIL-yem) meaning protector

Of course there have been great men and kings even, given the name William.  William the Conquerer, William Wallace, 13th Century Scottish hero, not to mention great literary works from men like William Shakespeare, poets William Blake and William Wordsworth, and my favorite painting comes from John William Waterhouse.

But both Jordan and I have also known great men who carry the name.  It's a family name for both of us.

First is my Papa.  I know he was named after a William, but he was the first for me to know.  We haven't always lived close, but I'm remember growing up how much I loved to visit my Nanny and Papa.  I think part of my love for cooking came from going to their house for the holidays!  No body makes dressing and sweet potato souffle like they did!  Oh and the fish fries!  One of my favorite times was in college we all met up in Alabama and camped out and went fishing.  At the end of our time there, we had a big feast and we all sat around the camp fire sharing laughter and stories.  Though he's quiet and reserved there has never been any doubt of his love for us.  He's always given so much to us and made us to feel special even through all of the distance.  
Then there's my Dad.  One of the greatest men I have ever known.  I learned what hard work and sacrifice were from him.  He has always kept our family first and done his very best to provide for us.  He is a great man of integrity and knows how to keep his word.  Last year he retired from his career in safety management with the Federal Penitentiary System, but still continues to give everything he has to his new job as a bus driver.  And He loves God and wants nothing more than to live for Him and make his life count.  
Both my Mom and Dad have always believed in me and encouraged me that I could do anything, but it's because of my Dad that I went farther in my running.  He had a funny way of teaching me I was capable of more than I thought, but I'm glad he pushed me, and I'm glad he ran my first half-marathon with me.  And I hope it's not the last.  He has definitely molded me into the strong woman I am.  
And lastly Aaron.  My oldest brother.  My brother's mean everything to me and after finding out Desmond was a boy...I kind of thought to myself what was I thinking wanting a girl first?  Every girl needs a big brother and I've been so blessed to have two!  We've always been close.  Of course there were the occasional spats, but the three of us get along so well.  We're really close in age and my brothers always let me be a part of things and helped me to fit in.  I don't think I could have gotten through high school and college without them.
Aaron is one of the most kind hearted and giving people I know and he would do anything for you.  He always gave the best gifts and knew how to make you feel special.  But one of the most special was my 15th birthday.  My birthday is in the summer and there was never a lot going on.  Especially on that day.  But Aaron made me dinner and fixed a table up outside for us to eat at and made it a memorable night.
And my wedding definitely couldn't have happened without all of his skills and hard work!  He is amazingly gifted at design and decorating!

For Jordan he too has a Grandpa named William.  He recently passed away, but I had the great honor of meeting him and Jordan's grandma on two occasions before we left for the Philippines.  He and his wife Edith were married for almost 75 years!  And when we were around them my heart lit up listening to them talk about their lives together and seeing the way they still cared for each other and looked at each other.  You could definitely sense how important family and community were to them.  Especially listening to them talk about their farming days and the work it took to bring in the harvest and the way one would go and help out their neighbor till the work was through.  Such love and generosity overflowed out of them.    

So being that this is the first grandchild to both of our parents, we found it to be fitting to carry on the name.  Although there will be another born not too long after him, as Jordan's sister is also expecting her first child.  Which is humerous, because his sister and husband were married in August of 2008 and we were married shortly after in October.  Now in 2012 we're both expecting!  It's exciting times in our families!

Desmond: (DEZ-mend) meaning one from S. Muenster

When discussing boy's names Desmond has always been Jordan's top pick.  To him it was a name that sounded unique and old-fashioned.  As well as being a name of someone who sounded like a leader, not just following the crowd.      

Lars: (Larz) meaning from the name Lawrence which means laurel-crowned, which means to wear the crown of victory

I have always loved the name Lars.  It was my addition to the bunch.  And though it may not be familiar to you here, it's popular in a few European countries.  It sounds so old-fashioned (we're in to that kind of thing) and romantic to me, which is why I love it.  

So there you have it.  His name.  What it means.  And why we chose it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Try try again.  When we were planning out our home we utilized all of the space we had quite well.  What we were not prepared for was change.
I was excited to begin making plans for Desmond's room after the crib arrived.  I needed to distract myself that I was going to have to change everything about the room he was going to go into by getting myself excited for all of the new possibilities.  Remember this room?
It was one of my favorite rooms in the house.  

And while some people assured me it would work as a boys room and I could keep a woodland theme...it just wasn't working for us.  So we came up with a new idea.
Yes cue the Imperial March, little Desmond is getting a Star Wars room!
We're still planning out which images we like best, and just how we'll get everything set up, and what color to paint the room...But we have a plan.

Scratch that.  Had a plan.

You see we got the crib all together and after moving the furniture around three times, we quickly realized it was not all going to fit.  We tried taking pieces out and getting creative, but nothing was working.  Time for a new plan.

Jordan suggested we go in a whole new direction and that he would give up his office for Desmond to have a room of his own and not worry about sharing his space with house guests.  I felt sad.  We had worked hard to create that space just for him.  But I guess that's what being a parent is about.  Sacrificing for your children.
So Jordan is now sharing the guest room and our hallway office as his workspace.  And Jordan's office is becoming Desmond's room.
Which really works out, because now we don't have to do any repainting or redecorating!  Blessing in disguise!  And I'm even more excited about some of the changes and ways we're getting creative.  We still had to move stuff around but everything is in it's new proper place.  I'll share more of that with you as we get things better set up.  

It was never a matter of not having enough space...just a matter of making the space we have better suited for our growing family.  We feel so blessed to have this apartment and we love every bit of it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Soaking it All In

I'm not gonna lie...we had hoped for a girl.  We have a very girly purple room for the baby, and everyone on our team has a boy, yes there are 5 boys, so we were hoping to mix things up.
But now that we know, we could not be more excited to have our baby boy in our arms in just about 4 months or so.
So I have some redecorating to do, and I've been scouring the internet for cute boy clothes.  It's not fair really how many girl things there are compared to boy things.  Ugh!  But all of that is such a minor detail to the life that will soon be here.
Yes that is really his name.  Yes it's a long name.  But we're the parents and we get to name him and this is what we chose!  I'll talk more about how we came up with Desmond's name soon.
So here we sit at 22 weeks in with 18 more to go.  It's starting to sink in more and more that we're having a baby.  You would think by now that it would all be real, but finding out that we're having a boy made it just that much more tangible I guess.  He now has a name.  And all the dreaming and hoping is starting to turn to planning.  We have an idea for his room.  We've collected a few clothes.  And just last night our friends brought over a crib and a car seat for us.  Now that makes it real.  There's a car seat sitting in a room that will soon belong to our baby boy.  Desmond will be here before we know it and our lives will never be the same.
I'm so excited to meet him and cannot wait to introduce him to the rest of the world.  Our baby boy.  Desmond.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Wait is Over

Check out our little video we put together if you wanna know Aqua Baby's secret identity!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Daddy Perspective - A Short Essay

Jordan had to write a little essay for our Tagalog tutoring using words that we've learned, and this is what he wrote. It made us both all teary-eyed when he read it out loud to me.  We're so excited for little Aqua Baby.  I love this man!
My name is Jordan Nisly and I am going to be a father.  This makes me very happy and excited.  My wife’s name is Nikki.  She is four months pregnant.  Our baby will be born in September here in the Philippines.  I can’t wait for that day to hold our baby and look in his or her eyes.  I know that will be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life.
I really want a baby girl.  I will be happy with a boy, but a beautiful, sweet girl would be so perfect.  I will love her so much!   What will her name be?  I still don’t know.  We like a lot of names and it is hard to choose the right one.
I want to be very helpful to my wife taking care of our baby.  I will cook and clean and take care of the house.  I praise the Lord for making me a father.   My favorite verse right now is Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Ang pangalan ko ay Jordan Nisly at ako ay magiging tatay.  Masayang Masaya ako at excited.  Ang pangalan ng asawa ko ay Nikki.  Siya ay apat na buwan na pregnant.  Ipapanganak ang baby naming sa Styembre ditto sa Pilipinas.  Hindi ako maghihintay sa araw na ito hawakan ating baby at tingnan ako sa kaniyang mga mata.
Gusto ko talaga ng baby girl.  Magiging masaya ako kung lalaki, pero ang maganda sweet girl ay magiging perfect.  Mamahalin ko siya ng marami!  Anong magiging pangalan niya?  Hind ko pa alam.  Gusto naming marami pangalan at mahirap pumili ng tamang pangalan.
Gusto ko maging matalungin na asawa at magalaga sa baby naming.  Magluluto at maglilinis ako at magalaga ng bahay.  Nagpupuri ako sa Panginoon dahil magiging tatay ako. Paborito bersikulo ko ay Mga Kawikaan 22:6 – Ituro sa bata ang tamang pag-uugali at hindi niya ito malilimutan hanggang sa kanyang paglaki.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Knowing I am Loved

Last week was a tough one emotionally for me, and God's been teaching me a lot on learning to let go and trust Him come what may.  I have a dear friend who helped me put things in perspective and I'm so grateful for her.  For her listening ear and her testimony of finding peace in God and counting all things joy.  
Frankly, this has been one of the biggest years of learning in my life.  There are good days and bad days, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Because I'm so thankful for what God has done and is doing in our family.
Family.  I've been thinking about that so much lately and rightfully so.  There's quite the balance that must take place, and God is already at work in our lives in causing us to figure that out.  This pregnancy has already caused us to examine a lot and weigh things out, and I'm thankful for a husband that loves me and provides for me, and now Aqua Baby.  There's no doubt that we are loved!
And we try to spread reminders of this throughout our home.  Because that's what home should be.  A place where grace and love abound.  And that requires selflessness and a constant focus on others.  It's a tall order, but one we are committed to.  And with God's help and a constant focus on Him, we will live this out to the best of our ability.  Because we are already responsible.  We're already parents.  And it was nice to feel that this weekend.
I got a special card from Jordan and Aqua Baby.  And though Sunday was filled with ministry, it was nice to come home with my husband and sit and relax getting caught up in Lost while eating Korean take-out.  It was really a perfect day.  Because I know we're in this together and that's the best feeling of all.  God has truly blessed us.  So how are we doing in week 21?
Well as you can see what is comfortable and practical doesn't show much of anything going on.  So I'll put on a belt and pull in my shirt, and try to show you a bump.
We go back to the doctor this week for our regular check-up and we're going to see Aqua Baby on the big screen again, and see if we can see anything this time to reveal boy or girl....don't worry, we'll keep ya posted!


I think I'm already learning one of the hardest things about being a parent.  Learning to let go, because you are not in control!  

Warning: more ramblings of a crazy pregnant person ahead:

I've always been a worrier.  I hate when things aren't right, or I feel out of control.  And currently I feel out of control.  Not in the sense that I've gone a-wall and people better look out, but in the way that I realize more and more of my need to trust God and His plans, because ultimately there is a lot that I can do nothing about.

I said at the beginning that I knew this was going to require a lot of patience.  But more than that I think it's been a test of how much I trust God.  I want to do everything in my power to provide for this little life that's growing inside of me.  I try to eat healthy, workout, and take my vitamins, but after that all that's left is to pray and trust.

I wish sometimes that I had a machine that I could see Aqua Baby whenever I wanted, just to check in and make sure that everything's alright.  But that's not reality.

I hear from everyone that I don't look pregnant, and I still haven't felt Aqua Baby moving around, well at least in my waking moments.  At night in my half dream state, I toss and turn wondering if it's the baby I'm feeling because my stomach feels like someone's using it as a jungle gym.  But I'm trying to be ok with all of that.  I know that every body is different.  Every pregnancy is different.  And things may just be slower for me.  There's no news of something to worry about so why do I let things get to me?

Our emotions can be an evil little thing at times, and it's so important to not be ruled by them, and so I'm relinquishing mine and turning them over to God.  He has my life and Aqua Baby's life in His hands and I trust Him.  Whatever comes.  Especially because I don't think that things get any easier once this child enters into the world.  Best to learn this now.

Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee!    

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Time to Celebrate

And jump for joy!
We've reached the half-way point.  It's week 20!
I know!  I can't believe it myself.  How does time seem to go so slow and so fast at the same time?
Well we did it.  We went in for a sonogram today.  Luckily there's a place at the mall so it didn't take too long to be seen by the Doctor.  It was a funny little set up.  And when I asked for a sonogram they suggested I start with a pregnancy test.  I then informed them I was 20 weeks, so much to their surprise they asked me what kind of sonogram I wanted.  I went in a small room that had the normal hospital bed and hookup, but Jordan wasn't allowed to go in with me.  But don't worry, he wasn't far away.  There was a nice little room with a bench and a big window that looked into my room.  It was open so it mostly felt like he was right there with me.  There was also a big screen tv to make it all easy to see.
Unfortunately someone wasn't cooperating with us.  We waited and we did what we could.  Poking.  Prodding.  Coughing.  But all Aqua Baby did was wave and kick at us.  Aqua Baby was just hanging out upside down, legs crossed, not giving us anything.  That little stinker!
But it's ok.  We were just happy to hear we're having a healthy baby, that's doing just fine!  Just a little shy. 
Keep growing little baby.  And next time you better listen to your Mommy and Daddy and show us who you are.  We're so eager to name you and start planning so many things for you!  LOVE YOU!
We're scheduled to meet again next week!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Week 19

I figured since I had just shared photos from week 18 it would only be appropriate to wait a week and be late so there was more room for change and growth.  So here we go.  Week 19 and 4 days.
Generally I'm feeling fantastic.  Definitely back in a good routine.  Though last Saturday I was doing a heavy cleaning throughout our apartment all day, with the help of my dear and beloved husband, and by the time evening came I was just pooped.  I'm discovering that I can't do as much or work as hard as I used to.  It's quite a weird and somewhat frustrating feeling.  But Aqua Baby is all worth it!
I'm getting really excited thinking about having our little family and what our home will be like.  I was blessed and privileged to grow up in a wonderful home where I knew I had a Mom and a Dad who loved me, and two wonderful brothers who did just the same and were always there to stick up for me.   God was at the center and love was everywhere.  I can't wait to give Aqua Baby a home like that.  
To bring them up knowing how much God loves them and cares for them.  To teach them about arts and crafts, and fill the air with fresh baked cookies and breads.  Of course they'll watch Star Wars with their Daddy, and he'll help them with their homework.  And we'll snuggle and hug lots and fill each day with as much love as possible.  And they'll probably get spoiled to no end.  It's already been promised by my Dad.
I saw this cute little owl the other day and just had to get it for Aqua Baby.  See...the spoiling already begins.  I know I said I was only going to buy what was necessary, but just look at it!  It's too cute!  And it needs a name.
Look Aqua Baby, it's your new friend.  Ok...so with all of the embellishments, I know this toy will not be safe for a few years, but I'm already teaching Aqua Baby to share...I'll just hold on to it for a while. =)
So watch this fun little clip, and don't forget to help me name the owl!

Secret Weapon

I love to cook and bake and be in the kitchen.  And I love even more when there are people to cook and bake for.  It brings me great joy to serve others in that way.  I'm not saying it's not enough to just cook for my husband...it's just the more the merrier, right!?
I've said before that living in the tropics in constant heat has brought some new challenges to the kitchen.  And I'm not gonna lie, there have definitely been days when the heat has robbed me of the joy of cooking, whether it's from lack of desire of cranking the stove up to 400 when our apartment is already sitting at 100 or from something falling apart completely because it couldn't stand up to the temperatures.  But I'm determined to get passed it.  It takes me a while to find my groove amidst my surroundings and as for the kitchen...I think I've got it down.  
I've introduced a new ingredient to my baking and I believe it's taken all of my goodies to the next level.  So what is it?  Sorghum Syrup.  I picked it up on our last family vacation in Tennessee and upon running out of maple syrup a few weeks back, I thought I'd give it a try.  And oh my!  I'm glad I did.  If I had to describe it, I'd say it's like a cross between molasses and maple syrup.  It definitely has that earthy flavor.  It's high in antioxidants, as well as potassium, iron, and protein.
It's shown up in many things I've made.  Like these Cinnamon Rolls (recipe coming soon)
And if you remember I used it in my Caramel Corn.  I've also used it on top of pancakes with almond butter, seriously - the possibilities are endless.
But what I'm here to talk about today is:
I've seen this recipe on the pages of one of my favorite bloggers before, Angela of Oh She Glows, but I always passed it by.  You see I've never really been a fan of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, but Aqua Baby had another opinion, and so I decided to make them.  Of course...using my secret ingredient!  So here you go, I give you the best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
1 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted 
2 cups regular oats, divided
3/4 cup kamut flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup 100% pure sorghum syrup
2 TBS. soy milk
3.5 TBS. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 and place parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet.  Place 1 3/4 cup of walnuts on baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes, keeping a close eye on them, stirring often, careful not to burn them.  When walnuts are toasted, cool a few minutes then pulse in a food processor just long enough to finely grind them.  Next in a medium size bowl, stir together your flour, baking soda, 1 cup of oatmeal, cinnamon, and sugar.  Once it's all well combined add it to your food processor with the walnuts.  Pulse for just 20-30 seconds.  In another bowl, stir together your sorghum, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Add it to the food processor and pulse it until all is thoroughly combined.  Next fold in your other cup of oatmeal, along with the raisins.  Now you're ready to bake your cookies.  Take about 2 TBS. of dough and roll into a ball, flattening gently with your fingers to form a nice circle.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  No less, no longer.  Cool on cookie sheet for just a minute out of the oven and then place on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes.  Makes one dozen.

These cookies definitely made a believer out of me!  You can now consider me a fan!  They were so soft and chewy, with just the right amount of everything!  And now I'm thinking of other ways to adapt them...like adding chocolate chips, or white chocolate and cranberries...YUM!