"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ~ Matthew 5:8

Monday, June 16, 2014

25 Weeks

Picture courtesy of my sister-in-law Julia: Me @ 25 weeks and friend Beka @ 23 weeks.
How big is baby? Around 13-1/2 inches from head to toe, and starting to chunk up at a little more than 1.5 lbs. I'm pretty sure some days I can feel him growing!
How I'm feeling: Much, much better than most of last week. I caught the stomach bug that's been going around and boy did it knock me down! I was pretty sore and it took me a while to recover my energy. However, I feel quite well now!
Weight Gain: About 16 lbs as of my last appointment. Trying to keep it slow and steady!
Symptoms: My feet...ouch. A little scary since I have a ways to go, but my feet get so sore! Apparently it's from my center of gravity shifting, but they feel so bruised and sore. Eric is such a sweetheart and gives the best massages, and I often soak them in cold water. I can also definitely tell on the days I don't drink enough water or get too tired, because Braxton Hicks contractions arrive. However, I'm really feeling great in general and I'm so thankful!
Maternity Clothes: More and more so- I find myself often prying off a piece of clothing that just doesn't fit over or under the bump anymore. I'm packing those pieces away, and look forward to "shopping" in my closet when the time comes that I can wear them again. I still enjoy some non-maternity shirts, skirts, and a few dresses. I especially love some maxi skirts my mom got me, and some maternity shorts from my mother-in-law. Many thanks to them both!
Sleep: Not bad, for which I am very thankful! No need for nightly bathroom trips yet, and I usually sleep quite well. The one downside is the pinched nerve that bugs me in my ribs when I lay on my left side. Could be so much worse!
Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Eggs (cooked just about any way), smoothies, and lemonade are my favorites right now.
Movement: Yes (smile). I just love reminders of my little man's presence and the reassurance that he's doing well. I enjoy learning his sleep/wake patterns, playing "poke and seek" with him, and watching my belly ripple as he wiggles. Eric gets to feel him pretty often, but somehow he's managed to elude everyone else but my mom!
Best moment of the week: Well, I guess I'm on the front end of 25 weeks, but it would have to be giving Eric some surprise maternity pictures for Father's Day. He's going to make such an amazing dad!


Friday, June 13, 2014

5 Things I've Been Enjoying

1. The flowers and beauty all over our lovely neighborhood
2. The lingering of spring. At 24 weeks pregnant, I'll take every mild day I can get!
3. Dinner on the deck with my handsome husband. We love our little apartment!

4. 3D ultrasound pictures of our Little Man. Doesn't he have a cute little nose?
5. A gorgeous bouquet the amazing Eric surprised me with when I came home from visiting my family!
What are you enjoying today?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

8 Months: a learning!

Today Eric and I celebrate 8 months of marriage! Just a blip in time, should God see fit to give us decades, yet every day seems like a reason to celebrate since we know it is His grace that prospers our union. We know it's not of us that we can say the last 8 months have been beautiful, glorious, delightful, exciting, wonderful, etc. Sure there have been hard days, and moments when we miscommunicate, sin against each other, or just plain wonder how to do this "marriage thing." But the general pattern has been one of "happily ever after," and we're so thankful for the ways our Savior has taught us and covered over our sinfulness!
As I was pondering lessons learned over the last months, I confess I thought, "Why share anything? We're so inexperienced, and there are so many who know so much more!" But in the end,  I realized that we who are in Christ are here to encourage each other, so even if the following thought was one you learned decades ago, perhaps we can inspire you once again!
I decided to pick one key learning from amongst many: one I need to live out every single day!
  • Speak encouraging words to your spouse, no matter what you "feel."
Now I'm not saying you should lie to them, or avoid addressing issues or struggles, but it seems key and so Biblical to encourage them in the Word and also to choose to see good in them to build up.
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." ~Ephesians 4:29
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God"
 ~ Colossians 3:17
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
~1 Thessalonians 5:11
A couple of fabulous results I've noticed when Eric and I seek to encourage each other and speak words that build up and don't tear down?
  1. We both become more excited and motivated to run our race as Christians better.
  2. It encourages humility as we focus on each other's good traits rather than our own.
  3. We feel safe with each other as we know we will both seek to use words that give life to the other and don't mock or destroy.
  4. We feel closer together and more eager to spend time together.
  5. The more we look for ways to encourage each other, the more we see to encourage.
I'm so thankful God has given me these months with Eric, and I hope and pray our marriage becomes more and more every day a reflection of Christ and His church!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Boston Marathon

A quick blast from the recent past: the Monday after Easter, I got to experience the Boston Marathon for the first time (Important note: as a spectator, not a runner!). Eric's family graciously included me in their trip to the event. They consistently love me as one of the family, which I so appreciate!

Between blankets, chairs, snacks, and a packed lunch, we were well-equipped to stay for several hours. At first the road was empty, but soon some incredible people came up and over the hill. This first wave may have impressed me the most: those with various disabilities, some with missing limbs-but all determined to reach the finish line. I couldn't help wondering: am I that persevering in my spiritual race?  

Eric's mom, sister, and brother.

As the other waves of runners passed, we had a great time cheering ourselves hoarse to encourage them. The little ones even handed out juicy orange slices to refresh runners on their way. It was incredible to think how far these participants had already come, and fun bringing a smile to their weary faces by simple words of encouragement!
These adorable kiddos passed out orange slices and cheered as loudly as the rest of us.!
It was a fun adventure to get to witness this world-famous race, and special to get to do so with my new family! Perhaps next year I'll be attending with my 6 month old son...wow!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Trip "Home"

Oksana enjoying a DQ treat before Zhenya's cello recital
I've just returned from a delightful, 11 day trip to visit my family-for the first time since our October marriage! It's rather difficult and certainly not wallet-friendly to travel from our home to theirs, but thanks to my parent's generosity, it became possible to do so!
Eric was able to travel with me and spend the weekend as well as Memorial Day in the Midwest. It was such fun to travel with him, and to celebrate the graduation of 2 siblings and the birthday of 1 more while he was there. It felt odd but right visiting my parent's home with my husband!
Sadly, on Tuesday, he had to head back to work, while I got to stay for another week with my family. I'll be honest, it was exceedingly, excruciatingly (am I conveying my point well enough?) hard to separate from Eric for the first time since our marriage 8 months ago, but I was thankful he was willing to let me have the time with my family. I definitely enjoyed the opportunity!
We played games, went for walks, baked brownies, read aloud, talked, laughed, and just lived life together. On top of that were a few special treats: Zhenya's cello recital, breakfast with John, and a surprise baby shower!
I took shamefully few pictures, but thoroughly enjoyed the time with all my siblings: there may be a lot of them, but they each have their own unique personality and special talents, and it was so fun to catch up with them after so many months!
Here's a sneak peek...more to come!
Last but not least was a fun maternity shoot with my mother, who has diligently honed her photography skills over the last few years in a way that puts me to shame and blesses me all at once! We had a blast trying out different locations, laughing over awkward poses, and capturing this sweet season as God knits together the little life inside me.