Monday, November 30, 2015


The little love nugget in my belly made his or herself known last night.
As I lay in bed next to my husband, my hands resting comfortably on my tummy, I was startled from my reverie by a sudden, solitary, and tiny "thump"! It only happened once, and it was a teeny little thing, but I felt it so distinctly that I knew in an instant what it was. I actually jump and went "oh!"
  That scared Stephan.
 "WHAT?" He asked, flipping onto his side and searching me for a source of my sudden start.
I didn't look at him. I was too busy rubbing my hands over where my baby had bumped me and smiling like a fool.
  "I felt a kick!" I gushed. "Well, hey there, little guy!"
Stephan sighed, annoyed to have been worked up over nothing truly concerning, and flopped back onto his back.
   "Don't be calling my little daughter a guy." He groused as he settled back down.

And thus began my second trimester.

  But to reminisce for a moment;
Thanksgiving was this past week. I love Thanksgiving. I don't think it gets nearly enough credit or applause. Sure, it might not have a vast history or deep, spiritual meaning like its over-shadowing, subsequent holiday that is Christmas, but I find it to be just as warm and lovely.
  Like every other family in America, we celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering together with family and eating a lot of food. Unlike every TV or movie family ever, these family gatherings of ours are never tense, awkward, or filled with strife and yelling. In fact, they're happy, love-soaked events that always leave me feeling blessed to have the family I do.
  It's a rather big family. When we're all together, we need plenty of space to house our shindigs.
  Thankfully, Aunt Kristi's new home was plenty spacious for all the clan to eat together. And eat we did! So much food! Such variety! The deliciousness! it was a tasty event. Everyone got to reconnect and get caught up on the latest family news that might have been missed on facebook. One of my cousins practically proposed to his precious girlfriend! (But not really. For a moment, though, everyone got really excited!)
  Besides the wonderful food and joyful company, what I enjoyed the most was what happened right before we prayed and ate: Jack, my aunt's husband and one of the newer members of the family, proposed that everyone form a circle, hold hands, and take turns sharing what we're thankful for. That was a great idea, Jack. We've never done that before, to my limited memory, and most everyone was eager to share. The predominant and most reoccurring theme of thankfulness was salvation. Praise was given to God for the family there and away, the food we were about to eat, and the undeserved love He gives to us.
   My heart was warmed by the love. My tummy was warmed by the food. I laughed a lot. I hugged family members I haven't seen in a while. Then we bid everyone a farewell until Christmas.
    Oh boy! Christmas is coming!! I'll try to be regular with my blog updates through the month of December, but don't be shocked if that doesn't happen, dear readers. This month is gonna be busy! So, until next time, stay warm and enjoy the Christmas lights, friends! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I Am So Upset

Y'all are about to get an eyeful of angry, 'cause I'm about to rant.

Not about cups or climate change or who is leading the polls, but about something truly near and dear to my heart.

I have written on this blog before about my love for lasagna. More specifically, my mother's lasagna. My mother makes dense, delicious, cheesy, meaty, saucy lasagna with love straight from the heart. When I slice into my mother's thick, hearty lasagna, I feel just about overwhelmed with tantalizing smells and happy thoughts. When I take a bite of this home made delight, I think of how loved I felt as a child. This meal needs no supplements; no Parmesan cheese or sprinkle of salt to boost the flavor, it's a culinary delight all on it's own. (Garlic bread is a permissible side. Salad is alright, too).
   It's because of my experience with and love of my mother's lasagna that I hold all other lasagnas to a very high standard. I've tasted some lasagnas that were almost as good. I've tasted some that were good in their own way. Most, however, fall miserably short of  my lasagna standards. The platter of which I shall now describe to you, dear reader, falls into the last category.
   (Reader discretion is advised: I'm not gonna pull any punches.)

My mom was kind and considerate enough to pick up a take-and-bake-type lasagna from a place she happened to drive by yesterday and bring it to me. I have eaten dishes form this place before, and they were rather good, so I accepted her kind gift with a truly appreciative "thank you". Also, it was a lasagna; a meal that I have been jonesing for for quite some time now. From the very get-go, however, I had about me my usual wariness of strange lasagna.
   A visual inspection of the dish appeared adequate. Plenty of sauce, a healthy sprinkling of mozzarella cheese on top, and I saw some meat peeking through in places, which meant that is wasn't one of those shady veggie lasagnas. (A travesty before God and man, whoever invented the meatless lasagna hated life and happiness). Feeling optimistic, I prepped the oven and baked the pasta.
  Then it all went wrong.
 The sauce had turned the noodles into more of a soup than a structured dish, a cardinal sin for any lasagna in my book. There were WAY too many huge, chunky tomato bits; another aggravating no-no for lasagna. But y'all, that wasn't even the worst of it. Not only was the promising ground meat I saw at the start sausage instead of beef, but some ignorant, ne'er-do-well, puppy-hating joker put artichoke and capers in this lasagna!!
  Y'all, I nearly cried.
I glared at my plate. I dug around, hoping to find a redeeming quality in this abomination of my childhood dinnertime fave. I gagged at at the thought of accidentally taking a caper and artichoke-riddled bite of lasagna. I scowled as I declared the whole meal a travesty to my husband, and then I stormed to the kitchen and glared even more at the remaining pasta.
   How DARE you get my hopes up like that, you wretched dish, and then dash them so completely! Sausage? Capers? Artichoke hearts?? I've had my lasagna with venison. I've had some with cottage cheese instead of ricotta. I realize there are ways to alter the traditional lineup of meat, noodles, and cheese that does not destroy the integrity of the meal. But this...this was unacceptable and churlish.

  Okay, I think I feel a little better. If Stephan doesn't want to finish this...this..."meal", then I guess the dogs can have it.

  Mother, if you're reading this, I appreciate you and your lasagna. Thank you for all the lasagnas you've made for your family. Thank you for passing on your recipe to me. I pledge to work at perfecting my lasagna platters until they reach your lasagna's level of deliciousness.

  If you're reading this and you enjoy your lasagna with artichokes and capers in it, we can still be friends. We just won't eat lasagna together, and all will be fine.      

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Of Fatigue and Nausea

Call me Myrtle.

Well, dear readers, it has happened again.
I'm not too terribly surprised, to be honest. The hubs and I were doing a pretty poor job of preventing it from happening. So it's no surprise that, after feeling a little off-pace for a few days, I took a test and saw a big, bold, blue positive glaring back at me. My initial reaction was "opps".
  You see, friends, Stephan and I have been blessed with three children. Because we had reached what seems to be the socially acceptable number of offspring to have in an American household, we had kinda figured that we were done producing kids. In my mind, I was preparing myself for what I thought was the next step in our family's five-year plan: becoming a foster family. Stephan, meanwhile, was preparing to buy a pontoon. Per usual, God looked at our plans and laughed.
    After the initial surprise wore off, it was very quickly replaced with a smile I couldn't shake. I was immediately excited about the new baby that had just made it's presence known. I rubbed my flat(ish) belly and said, "Well, hey there, little one! I'm really excited to meet you! I promise to take good care of you, while you're in my tummy and when you come out!"
  Then I called Stephan.
    "Hey, Stephan, you busy?"
  "No, what's up?"
     "So, you know that boat you wanted to buy?"
      "Weeeeeell, you might want to hold off for now."
(I've never been one for the pintrest-worthy reveals. This has pretty much been the pattern for all four times I've told Stephan he's going to be a daddy.)
 Much to my relief, Stephan was not upset about not getting to buy a boat us having another baby. Even though a few issues did quickly cross our minds. For one, where are we gonna fit the baby? God has blessed us with a beautiful, wonderful house in a great neighborhood, and it fits us perfectly. We have our master bedroom, the boys share a room, and Belle gets her own much better decorated room. We figured at first that, if the baby's another girl, she'll end up sharing a room with big sister Belle.

But then, we remembered that, like Samson of old, Stephan has God-given, super-human abilities. He'll just add a new room to the house and move somebody there. Until that time, just as we have done with the other three, we'll keep our new baby in our bedroom with us. You know, for peace of mind and easier middle-of-the-night feedings.
      Any other issues we could think of were minor and non-consequential. The biggest thing that Stephan was most concerned about was how we were going to tell everyone. As I have previously stated, I am not good with planning and executing adorable, memorable reveals. The last few times we've been pregnant, we've never had the patience or willpower to keep it in and ended up blabbing the good news to anyone nearby. So for this, our last pregnancy for sure this time, Stephan wanted to do something truly unique and special. It just so happened that Stephan had spent an admirable amount of money earlier this year on a ticket to go see his Cowboys play the Patriots in Dallas this October. With that in mind, he swore me to secrecy and laid out his plan. With a bright enough poster board and a little bit of luck and timing, Stephan hoped to let the world know of his forthcoming fourth-coming child on that massive screen above the center field at AT&T Stadium.
  Well, that plan didn't work. Also, I'm due in June, not July. Sadly, Stephan never got any screen time, so he ended up sending me the above picture and giving me the go ahead to tell people. I got to tell my parents in person, as I was there while Stephan was at the game. (They were ecstatic). The rest of my friends and family found out soon after when Stephan posted that picture on Facebook. Good ol' Facebook; the ruin-er of surprises. The good news is that the Cowboys lost, so we don't have to worry about naming our kid "Weeden". (WHEW!)
    Once the word got out, we received kind, congratulatory sentiments across the board. I honestly did worry a bit about people's reaction to our fourth pregnancy; having heard tales of other parents receiving  judgey, critical, even harsh responses to their consecutive pregnancy announcements, but we have gotten no such response, and are happy for it. Instead, we are preparing our hearts, our home, and our family for the addition of another.
    Unlike my pregnancy with the boys, but very similar to my pregnancy with Belle, I have been nauseous. A lot. It could be worse, of this I'm sure, so I'm grateful for the level of nauseated I'm feeling. Besides the upset tummy, I've endured several other classic symptoms of growing another person. Fatigue has been my favorite so far. Thanks to fatigue, I've been in bed and asleep by 9:00 most nights these past three weeks. (I like sleep).
    The kids are excited about having another baby in the house. Even little Belle will poke me in my squishy belly and say "baby!" (It's only precious or adorable when she does it.) Noah and Witten are coming up with names to add to our list of possibilities daily. So far, their favorites are Marco, Chip, or Ivan for a boy, and Joy, Georgia, or Emma for a girl. (I think they're taking the girl names far more seriously). The boys love to see images of what the baby looks like right now via my pregnancy app, and they are eager to share the good news with anyone who cares to hear it. All in all, there is a spirit of excitement and anticipation in our house. Also, every time I see a newborn, my chest constricts a bit and I squeal, either mentally or out loud, because I get to have one of those again!
New Noah

New Witten

New Belle
You're next, little one!