Baby Updates

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Aside from posting some size updates and the like, Brian and I haven’t really done a detailed post about Gianna yet, so I figured I’d catch you all up to speed. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant, and so far things haven’t been too terrible. This will be a long read, be warned!

I wasn’t really sick during the first trimester. I was however, extremely tired all the time. I would come home from work and want to go straight to bed. Poor Brian, because I didn’t want to cook or clean or do anything. But you know him, he stepped up to the plate and made sure I was eating and drinking plenty of water. He has been on me like white on rice this entire time to make sure I’m drinking enough water, haha.

The second trimester has been wonderful. We found out we were having a girl, even though I referred to her as a girl all the time anyway. At exactly 18 weeks, I felt Gianna kick for the first time. There was no doubt in my mind it was her, and I was alone in my classroom and just started crying. I called Brian, and told him, and then I called Brooke and told her. I wanted to feel that feeling over and over again. Brian was jealous every time I shouted “she’s moving!” because he couldn’t feel her yet. Luckily, he felt her at exactly 20 weeks. I wish I could print the mental picture I have of him feeling her for the first time. He’s so stinkin’ cute! At 21 weeks, I was sitting downstairs watching the Today show and happened to look at my belly at the exact moment she kicked. I was so excited I screamed for Brian to come look. He thought I was crazy at first, and then he saw her too.

A few weeks ago, we learned that my current OB would be closing his practice. Safe to say I freaked out a little bit. I mean,  I’ve never delivered with this doctor beforehand, but he had delivered all the babies I knew in the area. Also, when we had our last appointment with him he told us that upon looking at my 19 week ultrasound there was an benign, 11 cm cyst in my right ovary. He recommended I get 2 MRIs, that I would need surgery after Gianna was born, and that I should let my new doctor know all of this. I was very nervous after this, I’ve never had an MRI. I’ve never had surgery. I was just feeling very overwhelmed.

I decided to make my appointment for my new doctor this week. We met with him and he seems very knowledgeable. While we were there, he decided he wanted to look for the cyst himself, so rather than just listen to the heartbeat, he did an ultrasound and looked for it. Nothing. After that he decided to send me to a high risk, MFM doctor in Kingman, for a second look. He said if this doctor didn’t see the cyst I could avoid the MRI and surgery. By some stroke of luck, the doctor he referred us to was able to get me in the next day (yesterday).

This doctor was amazing, also very knowledgeable and great at breaking everything down for me. While we were there, we talked about my BMI and how Gianna could be at risk for certain things because of it, and of course we talked about the MRI and surgery if the cyst was there. So after all of the paperwork and consultation, we did the ultrasound. The first thing he looked for was the cyst. Mind you 11 cm is not small. He looked all over and found nothing! Praise God. The cyst had been reabsorbed into my ovary. Next he did an extremely extensive ultrasound of Gianna. Looking for any markers for Down Syndrome (there are none) and Spina Bifada (there are none), both concerns when the mother is overweight, or “fluffy” as he called it, haha. He actually said Gianna is surprisingly lean and long, which is not typically the case with mom’s with high BMI. So that made me happy to hear.

Moving forward, the high risk OB would like to continue to see us throughout the pregnancy in addition to my regular OB to keep checking for any concerns that may arise, like signs of preterm labor. Starting next month (at 28 weeks) my regular appointments will move to 2 weeks apart instead of 4 which makes me both happy and terrified at the same time knowing how soon she’ll be here. Brian and I are so beyond blessed that God has chosen us to be Gianna’s parents, and have no doubts that He will continue to carry us all safely through the duration of the pregnancy. We are grateful for those of you who have been praying for us through these last few weeks, and we appreciate all prayers for the future as well. A bonus of all of this is that we did get to see new pictures of our baby girl yesterday and she is healthy and active and so big.

Thank you all for reading!

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The love of my life

“I swear I couldn’t love you more than I do right now, and yet I know I will tomorrow.” – Leo Christopher

I just spent an amazing day and night with my husband, and it’s brought on this wave of emotions. How did I get so blessed to have him? So this post is to express my serious appreciation to the best life partner around.

Our love story for those who haven’t heard it yet. Brian and I met around 9 years ago while he was home for Thanksgiving from the Naval Academy. A mutual friend introduced us and we all went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part one in theaters together. Funnily enough I had a boyfriend at the time, but after that night of just chatting and laughing with our friend, I knew Brian was the one, so I broke up with my then boyfriend. For a while I thought, am I crazy?? Brian went back to the Academy, we had friended on Facebook, but didn’t exchange numbers. We weren’t “friends”, just people who hung out once. One particular day, I was in my feelings and posted something super melodramatic as a status about how I never had anyone to talk to. Brian, as he tells the youths, “slid into my DMs” and gave me his number. From there we talked daily, and decided to go on a date when he came back again for Christmas. That date ended up being watching Ed, Edd, and Eddie in his parent’s basement. I told him I loved him that night. The thoughts rushing through my head ranged from being so, so happy to thinking this guy is going to think I’m crazy for this haha. Much to my delight, he tackled me to the ground and told me right then he loved me too. The rest, as cliché as it sounds, is history.

I’m not saying the last nine years were easy in any sense of the word. We were so far from God at certain points that it’s amazing we overcame some of the things we did. Luckily, God chose to lead us across the US together to start our new lives together in the desert where we found an AMAZING church and we got back on track. We are confident that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be now. Brian leads our little family lovingly in faith already, and he grows and helps me grow every day.

I have no doubt in my mind that he will be the best possible father Gianna could have. I know this because I know him. Seeing him as a husband, and in his classroom, and at church, and really anywhere, is proof that he will no doubt lead our daughter to be the best possible her she can be. He has a way of seeing the potential in people and really helping them pull it out. He’s such a role model for some of our students who don’t have strong male figures at home. Even though they think he’s tough on them, like I’m sure Gianna will some day, I can guarantee he reaches them in a way no one else has.

I have no way of giving back to him all that he’s given to us, but I will work for the rest of my life to make sure he knows how appreciated and important he is to our family.

Morning

Well, summer break is winding down. Teachers go back to work on the 24th, and students come back August 1st. Right before we go back Brian and I are going on the Prescott Pines trip with our church’s Fusion Student ministry, and we’re very excited for that. This summer has been nothing short of amazing, but I want to talk about my mornings.Every day since school ended, minus one or 2 where I didn’t sleep well, I have been up at 6 am. 6 am is when I wake up for work, it’s when my alarm clock goes off for roughly 180 days of the year and, sometimes, I hate 6 am. However, 6 am in summer is different. I don’t set an alarm, I just wake up. I don’t fight with 6am in summer. Normally, what that means is I go downstairs and sit on the couch and play on my phone, or watch TV, until Brian gets up. This summer though, since we’ve almost finished Gianna’s nursery, that’s become my 6 am spot. There’s a gliding chair that I like to sit in and Ruger usually follows and lays by the crib. It’s been a nice habit to get into. Brian prefers to sleep a little later and stay up a little longer in the summer, and also he snores, so I don’t want to bother him.So almost every day, around 6 am, I go and rock in the nursery. Some days Gianna kicks me like crazy, others just enough to say good morning. And I get an hour to imagine what life is going to be like after she’s here.

What’s Been Up (the last 6 months)

Happy Saturday, readers! My last post was in January, so boy do I have a lot of catching up to do! I really do hope that I can keep up with this blog regularly someday. Maybe I’ll set an alarm to remind me to post once a week… who knows?Anyway, I guess I should start with our biggest news, which is that we’re expecting. February 19th was the day that changed our lives forever. I had gotten a notification that morning that I was one day late for my period. Weird, because this never happens. So, out of our curiosity I got out a pregnancy test. I feel at some point in every woman’s life tests are just something you have just in case? Maybe I’m weird, because we weren’t trying, and I’d never been late before. Anyway, so I get the test, and I figure now is perfect timing because Brian was in the shower, so there was no need for me to stress him out. Take the test, cover it with a wash cloth, continue getting ready for work. 3 minutes is up, I lift up the wash cloth expecting a negative…. nope, 2 lines. I covered it back up and uncovered it 2 more times like it was a magic trick somehow. Then, I must’ve sounded terrified when I said to Brian in the shower, “Brian I need you to look at me right now” because he was very concerned when he poked his head out. Now, we laugh about how scared we were. We went to work that day, and every day for the next 7 and a half weeks, and had to play it extremely normal. After our first doctor’s appointment we were able to tell our close family and friends, and after our 12 week appointment, we announced to everyone on Easter that we were expecting.The pregnancy so far has been amazing. I didn’t really have morning sickness in my first trimester, but I was extremely tired. All the time. I could barely stay awake to eat after we got home from work. It was so weird. The second trimester has been great. We were able to travel home to Ohio for a baby shower from our families that also doubled as a gender reveal since we were only 21 weeks. We had found out the gender a few days before flying home. For the entire pregnancy I would talk to our little baby as a girl. I just had a feeling. Brian would get so frustrated because his feeling was that baby was a boy. We went to the appointment at 19 weeks and discovered that I was right. A sweet little girl. Shortly after that we picked a name, which is quite a stressful endeavor. All that to say that Gianna Grace will hopefully be joining us on Halloween this year.Since coming back from Ohio, we have taken a few trips to the lake, a trip to Bryce Canyon, and worked on the nursery. Hope to continue to blog, but we’ll see how things go. Here’s some pictures of the rest of our summer for you to peruse.

My first official photo shoot

Happy Friday, readers! Some of you know that I have always been interested in pursuing photography, but I’ve never really had the resources to follow through with it. Well, for our wedding, Brian’s aunts got together and bought us a Nikon DSLR off of our registry and we’ve excitedly embarked on a journey of exploring photography. Brian is interested in macrophotography and nature shots, while I’ve always been interested in portraits. After doing a few shots to get my feet wet, like our Christmas cards and birthday pictures for my best friend’s daughter, Brian saw how much I really enjoyed this type of photography.

After what I’m sure was much research, because that’s the kind of guy Brian is, he bought me some amazing Christmas presents in the form of backdrops and lighting sets for better quality photos. So today, we had our first official shoot for our niece Aviana, who is turning one year old this weekend! We had so much fun with the cake smash and the balloons and only a few meltdowns that were silenced with candy and Baby Shark. I won’t be posting the official photos here, because I want Jennifer to have the honors, but I would like to share some behind the scenes action that Jennifer captured. Enjoy!

Getting the “studio” all set up. Some day we won’t be in a tiny apartment, but we make do with what we’ve got here.

I’m so blessed to have a supportive husband. Thankful that he helps me get the settings just right before the birthday girl stepped up. Time management is important with littles!

Ruger was pretty sure the photoshoot was for him. I can understand why, since, you know, we always take pictures of him.

Ruger was also very disappointed that that delicious looking cake wasn’t for him. I am very proud of him though for being such a good dog throughout the whole ordeal. Mama’s boy!

Here’s the three backdrops we used throughout the hour and a half long shoot. Numerous outfit changes as well, Aviana was such a beautiful model!

We all knew this post was coming…

Hello, readers and welcome to 2019! For whatever reason, this year people seem to be extra negative about resolutions. I, however, will set them like I do every year, and I’ll share them to hold myself accountable, and hopefully I’ll succeed. For 2017 I had 3 goals: grow in my faith, complete a 30 day yoga challenge, and blog regularly. Well, 1/3 for 2017 wasn’t awful. Last year I also had 3: grow in my faith, work on my anxiety and depression, and get physically healthy, and I bumped it up to 2/3 completed. So this year, I added a few more. Nothing crazy, and only a few that I have to do solely on my own. I actually stumbled upon a blog post about Christian New Year’s Resolutions that has a great free printable to help you align your resolutions with your priorities, and that helped me shape mine for this year. So, without further ado, my 2019 new year’s resolutions.

1. Faith. I know, it’s been my number one resolution for the last few years, and it will continue to be because I know I can constantly grow and learn more about my faith. 2018 was a great year for Brian and I spiritually. We were baptized together went through premarital counseling, got married in our church, consistently go to small group, and even began volunteering with children’s ministry. So I have a few specific goals for my spiritual growth in 2019. I want to read through the New Testament this year, and I want to memorize 12 scripture verses. I have a wall calendar from Our Daily Bread that breaks that the Old and New Testament reading plan for each day in order to complete them in a year. As for the memorization I plan on picking a verse each month and writing it anywhere I can; on the bathroom mirror, post it notes, etc. Let me know your favorite verses in the comments!

2. Marriage. Maybe you’re asking what could possibly be resolved in my new marriage. I’m not a follower of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra. Contrary, I am under the belief that everything important to you needs constant care and attention in order to thrive. So my goals for my marriage this year are to pray together every day, to read through our couple’s devotional (thanks Kevin and Melissa), and to do a hobby together. We pray together often, but I’d like us to be more intentional with our prayers. As for the hobby, I think photography is a good place to start, since we’re both starting at the same level 📷

3. Relationships. Next up on the list is my other relationships with friends and family. I’m not going to lie, I’m fairly busy, and sometimes it’s hard to prioritize my time effectively. My goal in this area is to spend time with people at least once a month, and this doesn’t include things like my small group or work functions. I mean, I want to get coffee with friends, or go to the park with my sister-in-law. I also, want to work on being open about my struggles when I have them, and not default to “I’m fine” when someone asks about them.

4. Health. Back again for the 3rd year in a row, my nemesis… physical health. I think the best way to make progress in this area is to be very specific with what I want to achieve. So, my goals are to drink water everyday, because let me be real there are times when I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve had a glass of water. Secondly, I’d like to exercise at least 3x a week, with one of those being weekly walks with Brian in the park on Sundays.

5. Work. I set goals for myself all the time as a teacher and sometimes I succeed and sometimes it’s back to the drawing board. I would like to read at least one professional development book a quarter, and I would like to move my summative eval score from effective to highly effective. I know what I need to do to make the jump, and part of it involves reading some professional development books. Here’s to becoming a better educator this year!

In all seriousness, whether you like setting resolutions just to say you did it, or maybe you think it’s a waste of time, I hope that you achieve your goals this year, and I pray that God moves in your life and that you let Him. I pray that you watch for His works even when it feels like He isn’t. Have a great one, everybody!

My Top 10

Yesterday, during the church service, our pastor spent our time together listing the top ten ways God has been at work in our church and our community. It was a refreshing opportunity to reflect on the past year, and it has inspired my blog post for this evening. I would like to share with you the evidence of God’s presence in our lives this year (in no particular order). Feel free to comment any ways that God has been active with you or yours!

10. I left the school where I was teaching for the last 2 years, and while it was hard to say goodbye to my amazing friends, I know it was for the best.

9. My new school is amazingly supportive and is helping me become a better educator every day.

8. In addition to the professional development from my new school, Brian and I have also made some amazing friends here as well!

7. This year, our first niece was born and she has grown into an amazing almost 1 year old, and Jennifer is a wonderful mother!

6. 2018 was also the year I watched my best friend celebrate her 1 year anniversary of sobriety. And even though I know it hasn’t been easy for her, her testimony of God’s influence is one that inspires me every day. Here’s to many more years, Brooke!

5. Also this year, my dad went through some pretty scary health issues. With prayer, good doctors, and amazing support from friends and family, he hot through it, and was able to walk me down the aisle for my wedding in October. While he isn’t 100% yet, we continue to pray for God’s hand in his life.

4. This was a huge year for our spiritual growth as a couple as well. First of all, we were baptized together in March and it was a great experience to openly confess our love of Jesus.

3. Also, we have continued our activity in church community groups. The Monday night group that I go to with Brooke, and the Thursday night group the I go to with Brian have both given us the spaces to explore and ask questions about our faith and we have made some fantastic friendships because of these groups.

2. Brian and I are very excited that this year we began working with Awana ministries together as well. It warms my heart to spend time with my husband and be an adult in the kids’ lives who can help them explore and grow in their faith.

1. Lastly, we got married this year! We’ve been together for 8 years now, but I can say that these last few months of married life have been the most amazing months of our entitled relationship. We have grown together and learned to lean on God together when times are tough. I am blessed to have Brian as the leader of our home.

This is a very short list of the things God has done for us in 2018, but it’s nice to think back on it all now as we wait for the new year to roll in. Wherever you are tonight, and whatever you’re doing, I hope you take some time to think of the good things that this has brought, even if it seems small. God bless you and your family as we leave a time of reflection and head into a time of renewal ❤️

Christmas Photos

Hello, readers!

Christmas 2018 has been amazing, and we’re almost a full week into break. The first half has been great. We have spent a lot of time with friends and family and are blessed to have so many amazing people in our lives. I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time, and cried like a baby. In addition to all these fun Christmas things, I’ve also had the chance to practice my photography more. Here’s our Christmas pictures for the year. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

What I did today

I have an on again/ off again relationship with this blog, don’t I? In my mind I love the idea of having something to talk about that is worth sharing with you all. I do have a blogging challenge I’ll be starting in December that I’m hoping to keep up on but until then, I’ll share our adventure from today.

Brian and I have been on break all week. It’s a pleasant change from last school year when we had Wednesday to Friday off. Brooke helped me clean the apartment on Monday and I graded all my students essays on Tuesday. In preparing for my first time hosting Thanksgiving, I decided we should take Ruger and head up to the mountains. We invited Jennifer and sweet Avianna, as we’re not in their neck of the woods often, and they joined us after lunch. What a beautiful day it was! Cooler temps, but the sun was shining. Enjoy!

Finale! Week 8 of 8 ❤

This post is week 8 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer blog challenge for educators! The final prompt for this challenge is: how will you keep reflecting?

This challenge has actually been really helpful for me in reflecting on my teaching. Of course I was motivated by the chance to win a gift card, because hello… classroom supplies! Honestly, though this has been fun and I think my goal will be to do weekly blogs during the school year as a reflection.