Giving Grace When Someone Doesn’t Deserve It.

graceIt’s been almost exactly five years since I got pregnant with Aiden. Since then, my life has been a wild ride. I’ve experienced more than most people twice my age. An unplanned teen pregnancy, a failed relationship, a custody battle, questioning whom I could actually trust, single-motherhood at twenty, dating with a child, meeting my Husband, moving more than five minutes from my Mommy for the first time in my life, getting married, almost ruining my marriage, God working through both my Husband and myself to fix our marriage, getting pregnant again… and the list goes on.

Not everything on this list is sunshine and rainbows. Not by a longshot. But, I wouldn’t change a single moment. Not one.

I’m also annoyingly optimistic. Just ask my Husband. It drives him crazy on a weekly basis. But, I wasn’t always that way. Somewhere in the middle of trying to navigate through the maze that was my anger, it hit me. Being angry, or holding a grudge, simply wasn’t going to hurt anyone other than me.

I didn’t know it then, but it was completely a God-thing.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)

Letting it go was the best decision I ever made. 

Don’t get me wrong. I still get angry, I still stew over things that I have very little control over, and I still struggle on a daily basis with the fear caused by not having control over the decisions made by others. Especially if they have a negative effect on me. Or even worse, on my children. I’ll be the first to go mama-bear if your decisions will hurt my kids.

I get asked so often how I just hand out grace so easily.

1) It’s not easy.

2) It’s really kind of selfish. I could choose to hold the grudge and to be angry and bitter all day, every day. But WHO is that hurting? Not the other person.

3) I may forgive, but I don’t forget.

4) It wasn’t easy for Jesus to give grace to us, but He still did. Not that I’m comparing myself to Jesus, but aren’t Christians supposed to be “Christ-like” in their actions?

Basically, what I’m saying is while handing out grace isn’t always the easiest choice, it’s the best choice FOR YOU.

I know this is kind of a vaguepost. I wish that I could get more into detail about the stories behind this, but I’m just not at a place in my life where I can yet. But, rest assured that I will get there.

grace2

How am I Already Eighteen Weeks?

IMG_1585-2 6How far along? Eighteen weeks.

Are you showing? Absolutely.

Gender: BOY!

Total weight gain: Don’t want to talk about it… (+3/4). But my maternity jeans are two sizes smaller than the jeans I wore last year! 🙂

Maternity clothes: Oh yes. Hair tie trick no longer working.

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones. But my lower belly is starting to get itchy. Coconut oil, for the win!

Sleeping: Rough. 

Food Cravings: MILK. And anything with grapes. Especially grape juice. 

Anything making you sick or queasy? Meat. Asher is clearly a vegetarian. 

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: Stronger flutters and wiggles! And a few actual kicks!

Labor signs: Nope! But a ton of pressure sometimes. 

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, soooooo emotional, and the horrible acne of a teenager. Oh, and heartburn.

Belly Button in or out: Still in, but weird and bumpy-ish around the top left side. Not going to hold on very long. 

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: All of the above.

Best moments this week: Learning the gender! Can’t wait to meet my newest sweet boy!

Looking forward to: Registering and moving into our new place so I can begin my nesting!

18

Seventeen Weeks (And an October-Announcement!)

17weeksHow far along? Seventeen weeks, one day!

Are you showing? Absolutely.

Gender: We’ll find out tomorrow!!

Total weight gain: Up a little over a pound from where I started!  

Maternity clothes: Oh yes. Hair tie trick no longer working very well.   

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones. But my lower belly is starting to get itchy. Coconut oil, for the win!

Sleeping: So-so.

Food Cravings: MILK. And anything with grapes. Especially grape juice. 

Anything making you sick or queasy? Very few things and very far between!

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: Stronger flutters and wiggles! 

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, soooooo emotional, and the horrible acne of a teenager. Oh, and heartburn has arrived with a vengeance.  

Belly Button in or out: Still in, but weird and bumpy-ish around the top left side. Not going to hold on very long. 

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: All of the above.

Best moments this week: Feeling flutters more often!

Looking forward to: Gender scan tomorrow!! Can’t wait to see if we’re having a girl or another sweet boy! 

Click here to follow me on instagram and be the first to know!

Remember to go here and take the gender poll before tomorrow!

OCTOBER ANNOUNCEMENT!

Since I’ve gained about 1,800 wordpress followers alone since my last ‘getting to know you’ post, I’m going to spend the month of October answering your questions! Comment below any questions you may have for me. (Parenting styles, discipline, schooling methods, birth plans, ANYTHING!) You can also email your questions to me at natmblog@gmail.com 🙂 Looking forward to hearing from all of you!

Also, early next month I will be hosting a guest series related to pregnancy and childbirth. (I know you’re shocked!) If you’re interested in submitting a post, email me at natmblog@gmail.com!

Popped! (16 Weeks)

16How far along? Sixteen weeks!

Are you showing? Absolutely.IMG_5022

Gender: We’ll find out in nine days!! 🙂

Total weight gain: I have gained 0.4lbs. I’ll take it. 

Maternity clothes: Oh yes.  

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones. But my lower belly is starting to get itchy. Coconut oil, for the win!

Sleeping: So-so.

Food Cravings: MILK. And chocolate! 

Anything making you sick or queasy? Mostly gone! (Knock on wood.)

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: More frequent flutters and a few actual jabs. Which are more like strong pokes at this point. Jellybean started jabbing at the laptop as I typed this!

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, emotional, and the acne of a teenager. Oh, and heartburn has arrived with a vengeance.  

Belly Button in or out: Still in, but weird and bumpy-ish. I don’t think it’ll hold on very long this time around.

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: Happy for the most part! But also emotional. 

Best moments this week: Feeling flutters more often! Seeing a healthy growing bean on the ultrasound!

Looking forward to: More energy. It’s starting to pick up finally!

We had an ultrasound this week while testing a new doctor, and Hubby swears he sees boy-parts. I don’t see any parts, boy or girl. Remember that episode of Friends when Rachel and Ross have their ultrasound? Remember Rachel’s reaction? Yep. 1 2I couldn’t even tell you for sure if that’s a butt shot. That’s how bad I am at deciphering this mess.

Our actual gender scan is NEXT FRIDAY! WHOOP. Be sure to follow me on instagram to know whether Jellybean is a he or a she before anyone else! 🙂

 

Fifteen Weeks and Old Wive’s Tales Results! (Poll)

15How far along? Fifteen weeks and some change!

Are you showing? Absolutely.

Gender: We’ll find out in exactly two weeks! Drew and Aiden want a girl, I would like a girl since we obviously already have a boy, but I’ll be happy with healthy!

Total weight gain: Sitting right at even after a week of vacation-eating! I’ll take it. I was +10 or 15 by this point with Aiden.  

Maternity clothes: Oh yes. I’ve done the hair tie trick a few times though. No shame.   

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones. But my lower belly is starting to get itchy. Coconut oil, for the win!

Sleeping: So-so. But tired alllllll the time.

Food Cravings: MILK. 

Anything making you sick or queasy? Mostly gone! (Knock on wood.)

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: More frequent flutters and wiggles! 

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, slight nausea, soooooo emotional, and the acne of a teenager. Oh, and heartburn has arrived with a vengeance.  

Belly Button in or out: Still in, but weird and bumpy-ish. I don’t think it’ll hold on very long this time around.

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: Happy for the most part! But also emotional. 

Best moments this week: Feeling flutters more often!

Looking forward to: That second trimester burst of energy. It can come any day now. Really… any time would be great….?

Decided to go through a list of old wive’s tales for gender predictions and share my results! Check it out, as well as my bump picture and leave your guess in my poll! 🙂

15bump

Old Wives Tale #1: Heart Rate

If the baby’s heart rate is above 140 bpm, it is said that the baby will be a girl. If it is under 140 bpm, then it will be a boy. (First time we heard the babies heartbeat it was at 170+ bpm) Prediction outcome: GIRL


Old Wives Tale #2: Shape of Belly
If you are carrying high with a big, round belly, you are having a girl. If you are carrying low with a smaller belly that sticks straight out, it’s a boy. (I seem to definitely be all around round this time.) Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #3: Ring Test
Using a string, hang your wedding ring over your pregnant belly. You are having a girl if the ring swings back and forth and it’s a boy if it swings in a circle. (I think this test is cheating..I got a different one each try.) Prediction outcome: INCONCLUSIVE

Old Wives Tale #4: Acne
If you have acne while pregnant, it’s a girl. It’s thought that acne during pregnancy is caused by the extra hormones. (I’m breaking out like a teenager.) Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #5: Cravings
People believe that if you are craving salty foods while pregnant, you can count on having a boy. If you crave sweets, fruit, and orange juice, you are having a little girl. (definitely been eating the sweeter things: lemonade, OJ, raspberries etc but also the salty things: FRENCH FRIES.) Prediction outcome: INCONCLUSIVE

Old Wives Tale #6: Legs
If your legs get really big, you’re having a boy. If your legs stay in shape and lean, it’s a girl. I think it’s too early for me to tell on this one. (Well, as far as I know I’m only gaining in the torso, legs seem to be the same) Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #7: Moodiness and a Little Pecker (this one is odd, but funny)
If you are really moody, you are having a girl since you have another extra girl hormones in you. Your pregnancy will make you smile and be more happy if you are having a boy because there’s a little penis inside you. (Well… I’m just gonna give my prediction as I’m sure most of you know how I’m feeling these days..) Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #8: Chinese Gender Chart
The Chinese Gender Chart claims to have an accuracy rate of over 90%. It is based on how old the mother is at conception and the month that she conceived. Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #9: Mom’s Beauty
Basically you are having a girl if your beauty disappears during pregnancy. It is said that the girl “steals” the mother’s beauty. If you think that pregnancy has never made you look more beautiful, a little boy it is. (well… my Husband keeps saying I look beautiful…but I think he has to. Lol. But he’s not the only one. I guess I look okay. Except the acne.) Prediction outcome: BOY

Old Wives Tale #10: Dream of Sex of Baby
If you have dreams that you are having a boy, you will have a girl. If you dream about having a girl, it will be a boy. Dreams show the opposite of what you are having. (I’ve been having dreams of twin girls…Lord help me.) Prediction outcome: TWIN BOYS

Old Wives Tale #11: Clumsy vs. Graceful
If the pregnant woman is graceful throughout her pregnancy, she’s having a girl. If she becomes clumsy, she’s having a boy. (I’m pretty clumsy usually, but feel a little more balanced lately. Maybe I’m just more careful?) Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #12: Side You Most Rest On
If a pregnant woman prefers to lay on her left side, she’s having a boy. If she prefers resting on her right side, she’s having a girl. Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #13: Dad’s Weight Gain
If the dad-to-be gains weight while you are pregnant, it’s a girl. If he doesn’t gain weight, you’re having a boy. (Unless you count the vacation we both gained a few pounds on… 😉 ) Prediction outcome: BOY

Old Wives Tale #14: Breast Test
If a pregnant woman’s left breast is larger than the right breast, she’s having a girl. If the right breast is larger, it’s a boy. (My right lady has always been bigger.. it’s a problem.) Prediction outcome: BOY

Old Wives Tale #15: What Do You Think?
71% of the time, the mom-to-be knows what she is having. (I really don’t know this time. I have a gut feeling, but I’m conflicted about whether it’s my actual gut feeling or what I want… So, I’m going to wait to share this one! 🙂 ) Prediction outcome: INCONCLUSIVE

Old Wives Tale #16: Morning Sickness
If you had a smooth pregnancy with no morning sickness, it’s a boy. If you were sick or felt really nauseous during your pregnancy, count on a girl. (I think we all know my answer to this one.) Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #17: Areolae
If your areolae (the part around your nips) have darkened, it’s a boy. If they haven’t, its a girl. Prediction outcome: BOY

Old Wives Tale #18: Protein
When a pregnant woman craves meat and cheese, count on a boy. (LOVE cheese, not a huge fan of meat though.) Prediction outcome: INCONCLUSIVE

Old Wives Tale #19: Feet
Are your feet colder now that you are pregnant? If so, you just might be having a boy. If your feet have stayed the same before pregnancy and during, you’re having a little girl. Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #20: Headaches
If you are having headaches, you might be carrying a boy. Prediction outcome: GIRL

Old Wives Tale #21: Baby Names
It is said that when you can only think of specific names for a boy or a girl, you will have that particularly baby. (Drew and I can only solidly agree on our boy’s name, we’re still back and forth about the girl name. Although, I think we’ve finally made a decision on that one too.) Prediction outcome: BOY

Old Wives Tale #22: Urine
What color is your pee? If it is bright yellow, you will have a little boy. If your urine is a dull yellow, plan on a girl. Prediction outcome: GIRL

TOTALS:

GIRL: 12 BOY: 6 INCONCLUSIVE: 4

So, what do you think we’re having? Boy or girl? Take the poll! 🙂

 

Fourteen Weeks Preggo!

14This is going to be quick and basic because I’m exhausted and have to be up at an ungodly hour tomorrow. I do have some more exciting posts coming over the next week. I swear!

How far along? Fourteen weeks!

Are you showing? Absolutely.

Gender: We’ll find out the first week of October! Drew and Aiden want a girl, I would like a girl since we obviously already have a boy, but I’ll be happy with healthy!

Total weight gain: Gained another pound back! Sitting at -2 for the moment. I’ll take it. I was +10 or 15 by this point with Aiden.  

Maternity clothes: Oh yes. I’ve done the hair tie trick a few times though. No shame.   

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones.

Sleeping: So-so. But tired alllllll the time.

Food Cravings: Not really many particular ones. Although I did want french fries really badly today. Guess you could call it a craving. Oh, and lemon sweet tea! Yumm. 

Anything making you sick or queasy? It’s finally easing up! Still have moments of nausea, but haven’t actually puked in a few weeks. (Knock on wood.)

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: More frequent flutters and wiggles! 

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, slight nausea, soooooo emotional, and the acne of a teenager. Oh, and heartburn. 

Belly Button in or out: Still in, but I don’t think it’ll hold on very long this time around.

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: Happy for the most part! But also emotional. 

Best moments this week: Feeling flutters more often!

Looking forward to: That second trimester burst of energy. It can come any day now. Really… any time would be great….?

 

Oh, Hey Second Trimester! (13 Weeks)

IMG_1585-2 3SECOND TRIMESTER! WHOOP. I feel like this pregnancy is flying and crawling at the same time. We find out the gender in four weeks, and after that it can just slooooooow down.

Also, I’m pretty sure my belly got bigger overnight last night. Maybe not, but I’m going to pretend it did to make myself feel better. At least I’m looking more pregnant, and less like I’ve eaten too many bags of cheetos. (Which I would never do, obviously…)

How far along? Thirteen weeks!

Are you showing? Yep. Not really hiding it anymore.

Gender: We’ll find out the first week of October! Drew and Aiden want a girl, I would like a girl since we obviously already have a boy, but I’ll be happy with healthy!

Total weight gain: Gained another pound back! Sitting at -3 for the moment. I’ll take it. I was +10 by this point with Aiden.  

Maternity clothes: Oh yes. I was determined to wear my favorite shorts last night one more time, and I had to use the hair-tie and belly band trick.   

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones.

Sleeping: So-so. But tired alllllll the time.

Food Cravings: Tomatoes, cheese, & cheerwine. Which DOES have caffeine in it. FYI. I learned that this week.   

Anything making you sick or queasy? It’s finally easing up! Still have moments of nausea, but haven’t actually puked in a few weeks. (Knock on wood.)

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: Flutters and wiggles! 

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, slight nausea, soooooo emotional, and the acne of a teenager.

Belly Button in or out: Still in!

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: Happy for the most part! But very easily brought to tears by absolutely nothing. Unless you count dropping Aiden off at pre-k. He was fine, I was a hot mess. Blame the hormones. 

Best moments this week: Feeling flutters more often!

Looking forward to: That second trimester burst of energy. It can come any day now. Really… any time would be great….?

Here’s your bumpdate! Go look at my instagram and compare it to yesterday’s photo and tell me if you think I look rounder today. 

13

Aiden Goes to School

aid5Snack, complete with cheesy note from an emotional Mommy:IMG_3272Obligatory over-the-shoulder-backpack photo:
aid1The “I’m-only-smiling-because-Mommy-bribed-me” photo:aid4Four, going on twenty-four:aid2Close-up:aid3
Walking into his classroom:aid6
Finding his hook:aid7
Checking in:aid8Right after this, I walked away crying. A mixture of being sad that my baby is so grown, and being so proud of how secure and independent he’s becoming. Just about ten months until I have to send him off to kindergarten and just thinking about it makes me a hot, emotional mess. Blaming the pregnancy hormones.

Finally home with Mommy!IMG_6046

Make sure you follow me on instagram to see my daily Aiden and pregnancy updates. Also be sure to “like” NJATM on facebook. 

 

Twelve Weeks (and one day) Pregnant!

test2
So, clearly I’ve basically taken August off from really blogging. BUT, September is already full of link-ups, guest posts, and a special series-feel free to email me with interest! Not to mention weekly pregnancy updates continuing. So I promise I’ll be back to my frequent bloggy-ness soon!

How far along? Twelve weeks

Are you showing? Yes, and it’s getting more difficult to hide it. The chub vs. pregnant debate is fizzling out.

Gender: We’ll find out the first week of October! Drew and Aiden want a girl, I would like a girl since we obviously already have a boy, but I’ll be happy either way!

Total weight gain: Gained a pound back! Sitting at -4 for the last few days-ish. 

Maternity clothes: Yes. And just FYI, maternity leggings are the best invention ever. I practically live in them.  

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones.

Sleeping: Not so well. But tired alllllll the time. 

Food Cravings: Lemonade, Sunny D, and salty foods. 

Anything making you sick or queasy? It’s finally easing up! Still have moments of pure nausea, but few and far between! (Don’t tell Husband that he was right…)

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: Flutters! Although that’s not really the best term for it. More like bubbles popping in my uterus. Forgot how weird, yet amazing that feeling is! 

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, slight nausea, soooooo emotional, and the acne of a teenager.

Belly Button in or out: Still in!

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: Happy for the most part! But very easily brought to tears by absolutely nothing. Earlier today, I cried while reading HP. Cedric dying is just clearly too much for my hormones to handle. -sob-

Best moments this week: Turning twenty-four, feeling flutters that I knew for sure were human baby, and not food-gas baby. 

Looking forward to: That second trimester burst of energy. It can come any day now. Really… any time would be great….?