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Ethan Edward – 8 Months


A week and a half ago our baby turned eight months old. At the time we were visiting his Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts (and cousin!) for Thanksgiving and a bridal shower, so it was a busy time… but I have a feeling the rest of this winter will be just as busy. Time flies when you’re having fun… and when there’s a fast growing baby in the house.


My little hunk weighs 20 pounds! My goodness, he is so well built. My arms can attest to that fact. Also, mom workouts can be intense. All you have to do is opt for a basket instead of a cart while grabbing a few items at HyVee, with said mini man in the other arm wiggling and grabbing. We’re talking about some pretty impressive biceps in this mommy’s future at the rate E is growing.


There haven’t been a lot of big visible changes for E this past month, though I know a lot more is going on in that cute round little head of his than we realize. He’s not crawling yet and still isn’t really interested in solids, though he does enjoy an occasional chew on a celery stick or apple slice. We’re not stressing. He’s obviously happy, healthy and quite interactive, so I’m really okay with taking things slow. I have a feeling he’s learning so much mentally that he’s taking some of the physical things slower.


One of the biggest changes we’ve seen, though, is Ethan’s awareness of finer details and smaller objects. His love of books continues to grow as he’s learning how to open and close them and flip the pages. He still chews on them, but in his baby mind, that’s the most obvious way to explore things, so why wouldn’t you? He also pays more attention to little objects, picking at different colors in the carpet, mashing beans with his chubby hand at the dinner table, grabbing drawstrings on jackets.


He also laughs more at various things, and watches you more carefully when he knows you’re playing with him. We played hide and seek with daddy for the first time, and he picked up on the mystery of hiding in the dark bathroom, eyes big, while daddy loudly called out for us, and then laughing and smiling when daddy flipped the light on and found us. He likes watching daddy play guitar, observing mommy cooking in the kitchen, reading, playing peek a boo, jumping, and climbing on things- which is fairly new. He climbs all over our laps and over objects and tries to pull himself up (very close to pulling up to a standing position without help). We have so much fun with our happy little man! I’m looking forward to when he starts talking, and I can get a glimpse of what goes on in that adorable round head of his.


Training? Mommy does get lax in that area. Potty training isn’t happening (the potty is SO far away from the changing table…). I think I’ll be more motivated when he can walk and help initiate, though that’s really more of an excuse. Sundays are hit and miss… we don’t expect a lot from him when we’re traveling and he’s overtired and overstimulated. Some Sundays we do end up walking him in the hallway for a while to get him to sleep, others he’s happy enough to flip through his books and stay fairly quiet. We still have our quiet time together in the mornings and we are working on having him sit still during family devotions in the evenings. It’s a work in progress… Since he’s not crawling we don’t have as much training to do regarding stuff, and what not to touch, though there are a few things we’re teaching him “no” on… grabbing the table cloth, grabbing at mirrors on the wall, “biting”, eating (paper) books. I have this sneaky feeling that we have a stubborn little boy on our hands. Sanctification for mommy, here we come!


Now that we’re eight months out from the biggest physical event of my life, I think I can safely say that I feel pretty much back to my new normal. I do tend to get colds quite often which I’m trying to address through diet and extra supplementation, but I’m so thankful for the energy I normally have (and all the wonderful sleep I get!) that lots of times can be elusive with a little one. Sometimes E will randomly wake early in the morning, or when we’re traveling or sick, but a pacifier almost always puts him back to sleep. He also takes two 1.5-2 hour naps a day which is an immense help. Here’s to hoping all of our kids are great sleepers!


I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as mommy. I know there are difficulties ahead, especially as we’re in the pre-talking and pre-crawling stage (we’re having our cake and eating it too!). And, when I sit down to consider all the responsibilities in our future as we raise our little boy to become a godly man, I feel quite, quite small and a smidgeon overwhelmed. I guess that’s why the Lord said

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:34

He knew we moms would look ahead to the driving lessons, the algebra questions, the character building, the disciplining, the protecting… the example-setting as fallen women, trying to be the best and failing. So many days I still feel like a 16 year old, dreaming of the future, excited about becoming a wife and mom, but feeling like the reality of it all was so far away.


I bet you can’t guess what this face is… in the middle of our photoshoot…

But here I am! My little boy watching me with his big blue, curious intelligent eyes. It’s a blessing and I’m trying to foster the attitude of what I share with Ethan as we struggle with the diaper bag, purse, grocery bags and the poofy bundled baby wiggling under one arm, emerging into the world to get some groceries… “are you ready to go on an adventure with mommy, Ethan?”. Mommyhood is an adventure. It can either be one of doom and gloom as we choose to lower our eyes to the valleys, and point out the dark caves and the ruts and the rain and the mud (been there, done that). Or it can be one of excitement, of hope, of joy that we’re in it together, watching the sunrise in the distance, keeping up each other’s spirits despite our tired feet (because we’re together!), sharing awe over a the fresh dew on a spider web, or getting excited over a detour through new and uncharted territory. Sometimes, adventure is in a pile of laundry, or in front of the Christmas tree right before bed with the lights off, or a walk around the apartment complex watching the leaves blow. Mommyhood is vastly under appreciated for it’s culture, excitement, newness and growth. I hope I can be a mom who displays it to be the messy joy and youthful wonder that it really is.


And how about Daddy? Well he’s pretty awesome. He provides for us, works hard, helps with laundry and dishes and cleanup and diapers and baths, and he leads us spiritually. The older baby gets the more fun it is to see them play and discover together. And to think that the next time we’re able to really play at the park, E will be toddling around. Exciting times ahead!


We continue to learn as a couple and be challenged as we make decisions in raising our little one. They may seem small decisions now, but we know we are laying the ground work and foundation for what we pray will be a lifetime of service for the Lord. So in the end, no decision is small! We are trying to be intentional in how we speak to Ethan, speak about him, in what noises we allow him to make and when, what things we allow him to touch, when and how often to take him out. I am so very grateful to be laying the foundation of Ethan’s upbringing on a loving marriage.


Keepin’ it real…

We recently had an older couple over from Church, as we are trying to get to know other families better and build deeper relationships, and they encouraged us to remember that when Ethan tests us, he is really testing our marriage to see if we are truly committed to what we say we are… and how important it is that we take time for each other, that a healthy family life will fall into place around it. It’s early on, and we can still talk over Ethan, and have several hours just the two of us each evening. But as life gets fuller we don’t want to be blindsided in our marriage. How thankful I am for my husband… and how very little I deserve his patience and support in my life. 

And already 8 months have flown by. We love you, baby E! We can’t wait to watch you enjoy your first Christmas on the outside.

Ethan Edward – 7 Months

This week my little boy turned seven months old. Each milestone is a joy, just like his squishy kissable cheeks and his infectious gummy grin!


Some highlights of this past month… E is sitting up like a pro which is a great help for mommy, who can set him down easier right next to her instead of having to drag along his chair. He still doesn’t show interest in crawling, which is fine with mommy and daddy… more time to enjoy this pre-proofing stage.

We tried solids; mashed broccoli, green beans, avocado, squash. So far the guacamole has been his favorite, but even then he barely takes anything and gags. I think it’s a sign he’s not ready for solids, and I’m not stressing about it. He’s doing just fine without solids, weighing in at 18.2 lbs. I’m so thankful for a chunky, squishy, healthy baby!


Big moments? Welcoming his first cousin into the world! Aunt A and Uncle J had baby Jethro, and Ethan can’t wait to meet his first partner-in-crime. We’re pretty sure it’s going to be epic. Ethan also officially moved to his nursery for nighttime. Mommy was the one getting a little emotional about it, but he was getting claustrophobic in the cradle next to our bed, and he is sleeping better in his crib now. This momma never thought it would take seven months to make the switch, but lo and behold, mommy emotions are much stronger than originally expected!


Another big first was baby’s first plane trip. We flew to Idaho for “Aunt” Gabby’s wedding, and the little man proceeded to charm his way from St. Louis to Las Vegas to Boise and back again. He did very well until the lack of sleep over the weekend affected his jolly nature on the return flights, and we had a few moments where mommy sat blushing and embarrassed to be “that mom” with the child having a fit. But, we lived, and for the most part E is a happy traveler… which is a good thing because we love traveling! On the trip, E also got to meet some of mommy’s dearest friends for the first time, which was also a highlight.


And while our little man isn’t crawling yet, he makes up for it with his wide variety of expressions, and now his mimicking noises. He likes to copy daddy blowing, snorting, sniffing, and making noises with his lips. I think we have a ham on our hands…


And mommy life. It’s great. It’s hard, and the changing of life’s seasons isn’t always easy, especially as expectations and shifting priorities come into play. As much as I want E to grow up learning to be flexible, to go with the flow, to be a part of mommy and daddy’s schedule and not just his own, at the same time we have to be willing to pull back for the sake of our family. And that is hard.



I am by nature a people pleaser, and one area I struggle in as a mom is the courage to tell other people “no” and risk offending. I.e., you can’t touch my baby, I can’t leave my baby at home during this event, we need to leave early and miss out, etc. Even as we want to bless others and be involved in their lives, we do have moments of needing to miss out in order to care for our first responsibilities; our marriage and our family. And goodness, this growing up thing sure isn’t easy, but what better way to grow and depend on the Lord than realizing it’s no longer my parents making the decision, it’s me and my husband.


And the more my heart fills with love for and fierce protection of my child, the more it breaks over the horrific throwing away of motherhood by countless women in our nation… all those little ones killed and ripped away from the one person who should be protecting their lives at all costs. Ethan fills each of my days with joy and I am loving this season of watching his life blossom, grow, and bring delight not just to us as his parents but to those around us.


Life is precious, and we are thankful for the one we have the privilege of loving and raising.


Happy seven months, pumpkin!

6 Months


I’m sitting down to write this post after just reading a young wife’s painful account of her miscarriages, and her honest sharing of the heartache and grief they are going through as they miss those precious little ones. I haven’t experienced a miscarriage, though I remember the fear and anxiety that started to creep in any time I had a little spotting during my pregnancy. So I hug my little boy closer and try to treasure these days for what they are; moments that are great gifts, and gifts I don’t deserve.


Our precious Ethan Edward is 6 months old, as of a week ago. He weighs 17.8 pounds, is sitting up on his own now, loves to eat books, scoots backwards and is still trying to figure out crawling, laughs most when he’s tired and hyper, loves his jumper (giggles often ensue), and recently tried his first teeny tiny taste of food- which was avocado, and not nearly appreciated enough by a tired baby.


We are loving this age! I admittedly did have a “moment” when E basically started sitting up overnight, and I realized how big he is getting. But for the most part, I’m really enjoying the process of moving through the different stages of his (fast!) development. I continue to be amazed at how much more energetic I feel as time goes on and I grow in confidence as a momma. I thought after three months that I was mostly back to normal, but as it turns out, I continue to grow, learn and change along with our little boy. It’s an adventure, and it’s fun.


His cheeks, when he’s concentrating and they get all squished up… *melt*

And we really can’t complain. E has been sleeping through the night for 2 months now and takes pretty good naps. If we don’t get much sleep, it’s usually our fault for staying up too late…


How have we been doing in teaching E new things? I’m still giving myself another month before diving back in to infant potty training. He’s been doing much better during Church lately except for when he’s overtired (mostly due to long weekends traveling). I think being able to sit up on his own and have more ability to entertain himself with interactive toys and books has really helped in that area. Our latest thing has been helping him to learn to “be still” in my arms when he’s tired and needs to rest. We’re flying to Idaho (his first plane ride!) for a wedding, so in preparation for having nowhere to lay him down to sleep for most of the weekend, I’m trying to help him learn to fall asleep in my arms. If he’s overtired he still whines and complains even as his eyes are closing, and sometimes he still squirms, but I can tell he’s adjusting. I then lay him down to nap in his crib just as he’s falling asleep. I think this is something I would like to practice earlier with our next baby, Lord willing… teaching them to “be still” in my arms when it’s sleepy time, something E never wanted to do once he could hold his head up off my shoulder. No cuddling for this active little guy!


Another thing we’re trying to figure out is whining. He definitely whines when he’s tired or wanting a change of scenery during playtime. But he’s also taken to whining sometimes when he’s getting his diaper changed, getting put in his carseat, etc. I understand he can’t use words yet, but once we’ve responded to his need we want to teach him to calm down, so I’m trying to be careful not to encourage whining in the way I respond to it.


Sitting up with help from mommy

Ethan’s daddy and I are also learning and growing in our marriage as we discover parenthood together. It’s wonderful, but definitely not easy. One particular evening I found myself on our living room floor, crying on Ashton’s shoulder and grieving over how sin affects us, affects me… I desire to be a respectful wife and a loving momma, but there are growing pains in learning how to be both sometimes, and I know that won’t be the first time I’ll be asking for an extra measure of grace in this season of life.

We are having fun taking our smiley, extroverted little guy with us on outings. We’ve taken multiple trips to Omaha to see his grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, we try to take him to as many ministry and community events as possible (showers, parties, conferences, pro life rallies, etc.), and until he starts talking, he gets to tag along on some of our date nights, too. We can’t go everywhere we used to, but we can go most places, so we take him walking, for a scenic drive, out to coffee, or on a short shopping spree or lunch date. He also goes to bed at 8pm, so we easily have two hours together each evening to share over a glass of wine. I’m so thankful for my husband, who also happens to be a wonderful daddy.


And we are thankful for our precious little boy, who is such a blessing and joy in our lives. We can’t wait to see what the next six months hold for him, and for us as a family of three.


5 Months


Our little man turned five months old today! It’s crazy and amazing and fun to see how much little ones change and develop in such a short amount of time. At five months, E brings a lot of joy, poop, and sanctification to my day. I don’t know what I’d do without him! Even in that moment when I’m struggling to carry 17 pounds of baby, a picnic lunch and a large bag of laundry down to the car from our second story apartment, and the little man chooses that moment to let out some major spit up all over my shoulder… I am still majorly blessed. My mother-in-law recently asked me how I though I had changed since being married, and my response -especially now that we have a child to raise- was that I believe I’ve mellowed and relaxed so much more. Those things that I made much ado about as a single pale in comparison to the ways I have to let go of expectations and personal standards as a mom, and we’re just getting started!


That’s not to say that we’ve thrown cleanliness and quiet time and personal grooming out the window, but my ability to flex and adjust if those areas aren’t perfectly met (and preferably with zero complaining) is much improved. The bigger my little guy gets and more able to process mommy’s reactions to life’s happenings, the more I am humbled by my need to check my attitude over seemingly small annoyances.


But with those confessions aside… Ethan Edward is a joy at five months and continues to bless us with his smiles, his interaction, his little goofy faces and noises. He weighs 16.8 pounds of pure irresistible chub, is in 6-9 (sometimes 12) month clothing and wears size three diapers. Crawling doesn’t seem too important yet, but he is very strong and mommy already has a hard time holding him still when he has the wiggles. He loves his “indestructible book”, his ball, anything that crinkles, and he discovered his toes, which are always good for a chew here and there. He is basically sleeping through the night now (no tears over that milestone!), naps three times a day, and except for certain bouts of teething woes, is a fairly content and cheerful baby. He has two teeth in already, which we discovered one epic Sunday when he was fussy, vomited all over us and the pew several times, and peed on mommy right before communion. Life with the three B’s is never dull!


And how about all that training I talked about in my last update? Potty training isn’t really “going” (apart from a few good days several weeks ago), if you know what I mean… partly due to my laziness and partly due to traveling. But, I didn’t really have any expectations at this stage, though I do hope to become more dedicated around 7 months.

Our biggest thing right now is the “learn-how-to-keep-mommy-sane-during-Church” project. That whole humility thing really hits hard right about halfway through the service, when my child is the one letting everyone know that he’s going on a nap strike, because, you know… my children weren’t going to be that way. But then reality hits and I realize that my son is human (like me- surprise!) and that this whole training thing won’t happen overnight. My respect and awe for my own parents having raised me and 6 other children continues to grow the longer I parent our Ethan.


We’re doing pretty well at not copying him while fussing or whining, especially now as it’s getting much easier to distinguish between baby babbles and frustrated crying. At five months I feel like he’s grown so much in his ability to communicate different things, just in tone alone. Babies are smart, which is also why I’ve started signing around him. You never know what he’s picking up mentally, and will be able to start signing as soon as he can control his hands enough to do it physically.


I do continue to have bible time with him each morning, and we do it together as a family each night. I also added in having a quiet play time each afternoon, to practice sitting during Church. I listen to a podcast or audiobook while E sits on my lap with books and toys. We’re up to sitting for half an hour right now, and we’re still working on helping Ethan to not screech or arch his back in frustration, but I know consistency is the key.




Our daily schedule is going very well. There were so many times during the first three months when I wondered if it was worth it, especially with what seemed like constant disruptions. But I look back and am so glad I stuck with it. We’re both so much happier to work in a daily routine, and though E is showing some signs of strong willed firstborn behavior, he doesn’t fight the schedule, and let me just say that peaceful, regular naps are pretty heavenly!

We are learning a lot as we care for our little boy. We are blessed and humbled to be his parents!

Four months, an update, and habits in our home

So, baby is four months old. Don’t ask me how that happened! The time has gone both slow and fast. People always say it goes so quickly, to soak up the moments, not to miss this fleeting time. Did I capture all those newborn photos before the moment passed and he got too big, or cuddle enough instead of trying to get up and get things done, or just savor the moment? If I’m not careful I can be rather obsessive over “moments”, over trying to perfectly balance my role as a homemaker and mommy. So instead I lay on the floor and play with little E, reading, talking, tickling, while I try to keep our home in some semblance of order and food on the table, and then look ahead to the future with anticipation, not holding on to regrets or what-ifs about the past.


He has changed so much since he was a little, squishy, quiet, tiny, blinking newborn. His personality continues to break through as he observes new things and grows in expressions and abilities. He is our little extrovert, smiley, talkative, and cheerful. He takes three naps each day and sleeps 12 hours at night and is a good eater- packing on the chub. He weighs about 14.5 pounds now, and goodness; I never knew thighs could be so adorable, or chubby cheeks so kissable. He loves to read, is using a jumper now, his favorite toy to grasp is a play silk, he recently discovered the ceiling fan, he laughs when tickled, and apparently watching mommy and daddy do HIIT workouts is quiet entertaining. He is getting better at independent playtime, but he definitely prefers to be close enough to mommy to have conversations and share smiles. He’ll spend up to 30 minutes happily in his bouncy chair in the kitchen, watching me cook, as long as he can hear me talk and sing, and smile at him.


Daddy and I are learning a lot… though I’m probably learning the most, what with my fear of man (pride) to help refine me as we make decisions for our unique little boy, and for our family. (Wait, we’re adults? We can do that? Talk about responsibility!) As a first time mom I feel pressure from the general populace to conform to what research suggests, or what method works best for most people. It could be that some of this is self-imposed, or it could be that like me, other young moms are silently crying out for a little grace, a little breathing room to try out new things as they love on their little ones. But with expectations aside, I’m truly grateful for advice and input from “the older women who teach the younger”.


So life has settled into a new normal, a happy, drooly, spit-up-all-over new normal, but we continue to learn and grow as parents to our precious baby. Just like I want to catch those fleeting baby moments before it’s too late, I want to catch on to bad or unnecessary habits before baby is too big… big enough to copy them! Or, to start creating habits that we want him to always remember having in our home. I don’t think we give babies enough credit for how smart they are, so I am of the firm opinion that we can indeed start teaching him things now; through instruction, and through example.


Some things we’ve been working on are:

  • Always talking around him as if he can understand everything we are saying… especially if we are talking about him. He may start to pick up on things audibly before we realize it, and we want him to hear things that are positive, not gossip, respectful towards him as an individual, and loving towards each other as his parents. This includes our tone of voice when we get frustrated; making sure we stay in control (good habits regardless that become all the more important with little ears in the home).
  • Never copying him when he whines or fusses. It’s such a natural thing to copy babies when they babble and coo, but I found myself doing it when he started to make those “complaining” noises when he was tired or frustrated, and realized that I was either encouraging or mocking him. So we are much quicker to recognize what types of noises we are making, and try our hardest to make sure they are cheerful and appropriate.


  • Saying his name when talking to him. I want to get into the habit of getting his attention before asking him a question, or telling him to do something, and that needs to start now.
  • We’re trying to be more cautious in music that we play or movies that we watch with him in the room, and we also try not to let him look at or watch an electronic device.


  • We’ve also chosen not to have electronic toys in our home, at least not yet. A little baby doesn’t need much to be happy, and when mom isn’t playing with him, his teddy bear, colorful play quilt, books, play silk, and teething toys (oh, and the ceiling fan) are a wonderful source of entertainment.
  • Having bible time together each morning. It only takes a few minutes with him being so little, but we read a chapter together, pray for our day and sing a song. As much as I’m able, I want him to remember always having bible time in the morning with mom.
  • We don’t use baby talk. And that’s just because… I hate baby talk.


  • We’re just starting infant potty training. I have no expectations, but it never hurts to try! If we can save on a few diapers, avoid some blowouts, and help him learn to use the potty at the appropriate time, then I’d say it’s worth it.
  • We schedule. There, I said it. And, after the first three months of seemingly constant changes due to travel and growth spurts, we have settled into a nice routine that works very well for E and our family.

I feel like I have so many thoughts, lessons, and emotions going through my mind as I consider how life has changed since our little man arrived, eight days early and ready to meet the world. But really, what it all comes down to is, we are blessed, we are thankful, and we are having so much fun as a family of three.


A blanket for baby

Ethan was baptized at four weeks old on Sunday, April 26th, and received this handmade, soft blue blanket from his Grandma Duff for the special occasion. Mommy just now got around to doing a photoshoot with it; at 10 1/2 weeks!





“Thank you Grandma!”

DIY Nursery Project




Back in July of last year, our next door neighbor was moving out and cleaning out his apartment. When people clean out their apartments, they dump all sorts of things in the giant dumpsters available… sofas, old TVs, headboards, you name it. I have a rather embarrassing knack for looking at trash and trying to figure out what can be done with it. (The fancy name for reusing junk is “repurpose”. I rather like that better…)

Our neighbor’s article doomed for the dump was a dinged up dresser, missing half it’s drawers, sporting ugly handles and with a back half torn off and splintered. However, it was solid wood, and I convinced my obliging and patient husband to haul it back up to our second story apartment, where I decided it would do quite nicely as a repurposed dresser/changing table for our nursery, which we had just found that we would need in about 8 months.



It only took us about 7 months to actually complete the final project, and my wonderful hubby ended up doing the bulk of it as my size and condition necessitated help with reconstructing and painting (Ethan’s Grandpa helped too!). But we did get it done! We replaced the back with a new board, glued boards onto the empty drawer spaces to create shelves, painted it with chalk paint, distressed it, waxed it, and finally replaced the knobs with ones I had chosen at Hobby Lobby (50% off!).




All told we probably spent about $200, between the supplies, boards, chalk paint, wax and knobs. But we did it ourselves, and rather like the finished project. P1180127

The handy baskets fit perfectly in the odd sized drawer spaces. I registered for them, and was thrilled to receive them at a baby shower. They are nice and sturdy but also collapsible. P1180129_2

Yay for DIY projects that actually turn out as they’re supposed to!


A bit late, but here it is… announcing with great joy, the arrival of our son,

Ethan Edward Bandy 

 Friday, March 27th at 10:02am 

7lbs 12oz


Protected: Our Birth Story

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Baby Bandy: 38 Week Update

How time flies! Back in my first trimester, baby was so small and tiny, and delivery day seemed so far away. There was still that nagging feeling of “what if something happens to baby while he’s so fragile?”, and even as we talked about plans and child training and home birth, the reality of it actually walking through it all was always “later in the future”.

Now reality is upon us! Today baby is 38 weeks old and, at least physically, pretty much ready to meet the world. In celebration of greeting week 37 last weekend, the warmer weather, and our general enjoyment of capturing special moments together as a couple (WE’RE HAVING A BABY!), we did our maternity shoot around Peoria. I’ve included my favorites from our session below. Technically I should have scheduled the shoot for about 2 months earlier when I wasn’t quite so huge, but who wants to take photos in dirty snow with their noses running?

View More: pregnancy has gone fairly well, and we are so very thankful. I recently read a blog post including photos of a 14 week old baby who was miscarried, and showed the photos to my husband, both of us in awe over the perfection and details of the tiny life that was lost so young… the parents having to say goodbye as soon as they said hello. I found myself in tears as I felt our son move inside of me, realizing how often I have taken for granted God’s protection over our baby these past 9 months.

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I would definitely have to say that the first trimester was the hardest; with feeling sick, having a hard time eating, being more tired and sleeping a lot, and dealing with inflammation that caused some pretty intense lower back/hip pain. Thankfully once I moved past that, the 2nd trimester was great, and the third has only brought the normal little complaints that simply mean I’m carrying a chubby human being inside of me!

View More: has been wonderful throughout the pregnancy, allowing me to rest and sleep in, doing the dishes as my belly makes it difficult to reach across the sink (who knew?), being patient with my changing needs and desires, and talking through everything baby-related with me so that we’re both in the decision process together… even decisions like which brand of changing pad to get for the nursery. 

View More:’re so ready for this next adventure. At least, we think we are!

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The past month in preparation for baby, I finished up teaching the last session of ballet/exercise classes I had been doing with moms and daughters once a week. I’m really glad I was able to teach throughout my pregnancy- it was refreshing to get myself out of the house even when I wasn’t feeling well, and a good motivation to try to workout when I could… plus I just had fun with the ladies in class!

View More: also attended two baby showers and received so many adorable, lovely things for baby! Unpackaging, washing and folding all the blankets and clothes was so much fun as I freaked out over how tiny and adorable everything was… and the fact that my own little baby will be filling out those clothes very soon. 

View More: prenatal visits have gone very well, and we are so excited to be having a home birth. We love our midwife, our doula, and the fact that (Lord willing, barring any need to transfer) I will be able to labor and we’ll be able to bring our son into the world in a peaceful, familiar and natural environment. We are blessed to have supportive family and friends throughout the process of planning the best we can for baby… desiring to be natural but wise, and are confident that the Lord will give us wisdom in each decision as I deliver baby, and as we raise him. God’s providence, I think, is such a huge source of peace and comfort as we look ahead to the huge responsibility of caring for and raising our child. 

View More: love him so much already!

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I’m still in shock that we’re so close to meeting him. It’s also weird to think about going into labor soon, because I haven’t had any braxton hicks at all throughout this pregnancy, and other than a few aches and pains, really have nothing with which to liken oncoming labor to. The idea of going from “normal” to “get-this-baby-out-mode” in a short amount of time is rather odd. Right now, though, I’m just hoping my water doesn’t break in Church… you know, right during the prayer time.

View More:’m so thankful that regardless of how long labor is, when it happens, or how difficult it may be, I know I’ll have my husband beside me to walk me through it. Plus, we’ve been to Bradley class, so he’ll know how to recognize signs of different stages in labor and help me (and him!) stay calm throughout the natural process even when it’s all so new. Husbands really are the best!

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One thing I specifically appreciate- and so desperately need from my husband- is his constant and genuine affirmation of me as my body is changing. Especially with a dancer’s background, it’s been more difficult than I thought it would be to reconcile the fact that my body will never be the same again. I always KNEW this about pregnancy and motherhood, and that it is so, so worth the changes… but of course reality is always different on the other side of the fence.

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Even as I want to take care of my body, this temple for the Lord, as best I can, I know there will be increasing demands on my sleep, energy… goodness, even my wardrobe will be greatly affected (challenged? slimmed down?) as I enter the world of nursing. Believe it or not, this can be a huge emotional hurtle for someone who likes her affordable, flattering, and wide range of clothing options!

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I also have to be careful not to look at photos of myself pre-pregnancy or I’ll feel like a whale with no hope of ever wearing pencil skirts again. But through all of this, my husband blesses me by not just being okay with the changes, but appreciating them! It does this proud heart good to catch him looking fondly at my giant belly, or looking for stretch marks because they’re “badges of honor”, or still finding me sexy… and to humbly realize that my standard of beauty is not God’s, and my husband’s delight over my changing body is a special way He uses to strip me of my pride and self-imposed standards of false perfection.

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It’s a lesson I know I’ll need to keep on learning in the years ahead. My body is not my own! And when I realize and fully embrace His calling to give up of myself for my family (what greater privilege could there be!) I know in the end, I will be blessed in return.

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We are so in awe of this gift the Lord has given us, and we can’t wait to see our son’s face, to hold him, to study his tiny features. The whole picture of raising him, teaching him, guiding him and being good and godly examples seems so impossibly overwhelming… until I bring myself back to the present and realize that God in His mercy only gives us one day at a time. And I know each day as a mommy, whether hard or easy, sweet or monotonous, will be precious.

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Only a few more weeks!