Gender Reveal Party

I feel like people can relate to this one. So, you know how sometimes you have a particular event in mind? And maybe you’ve thought about how perfect it will be, even daydreamed a little? And then, maybe it doesn’t go quite like you planned. Still perfectly fine, but not quite what you hoped. And then your pregnancy hormones get the best of you, causing you to throw an actual hissy fit in front of twenty people while even your toddler looks on in disbelief at your behavior?
Nope, just me? Oh. Okay, then.
Yeah. That happened. This week, I, a grown woman, threw a fit, shed a tear, and yelled. It all happened so fast. We hosted a cookout/gender reveal party for our families, so we could share the beautiful news that the little love growing in my belly is a girl. We had a low-key cookout; just a normal, easy event, where everyone brought food and lots of dessert. I turned my chalkboard wall into a voting station, where everyone joined team boy or girl and got a blue or pink clothespin to wear – plus blue and pink cupcakes!
Other than that, I tried not to stress too much over decorations. We had just planned to have a box of pink balloons that would pop out when we opened it in front of everyone. I wanted that moment to be perfect. It was a beautiful day, with nothing but blue sky behind us. It should’ve been a pretty photo op. Instead of letting the balloons fly free once the box was opened, I even taped their strings down so they’d stay put for pictures and for Annie to play with later. The problem was, it didn’t turn out that way.
The moment arrived. I carefully tore off the paper holding the balloons down, and, with some coaxing, they just … sort of.. floated up one by one. It was quite anticlimactic, and worst of all, not the moment I had in my head. I honestly didn’t even see my family’s reaction, because I completely and totally lost my cool. (If you’re following along and are confused – yes, to clarify, I lost my cool over some balloons.) I turned to Adam and immediately began lamenting the loss of my perfect expectation, by which I mean I yelled and flailed my arms around a lot and just generally looked like a completely crazy person. Apparently, at one point, I said I had wanted them to fly away, so Adam started snipping the strings, thinking that would help. Nope. I shouted, “Stop! Are you CRAZY?!!” He stopped. He didn’t know what to do, because when your clearly insane wife asks if you’re the crazy one, you just try to get out of the way until the storm passes. I eventually remembered there were twenty people watching this nervous breakdown. I was immediately overwhelmed. I felt so sad that I had ruined that moment. Besides myself, no one there cared AT ALL if those blasted balloons popped out with gusto. They were thrilled to see pink, and to find out there was another baby girl for them to love on the way. And then – I felt SO embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I’d let my emotions totally take over. We all know I’m dramatic. That’s not the issue here. The issue was I lost my head to the point where my behavior was earning looks of confusion and terror from everyone, down to my toddler.
It was over as quickly as it started, but the damage had been done. Pretty soon, everyone was trying to console me, when it should’ve been a happy, joyful time. I had worried so much about it being a disaster that I knocked my stress levels up and turned it into a disaster all on my own. The very worst part? No good pictures of our happy family smiling.
This is the photo I posted to social media.

This is actually what I looked like most of the time (grainy and zoomed in for the full effect )– borderline manic, holding back tears. Yikes.

So, there’s a lesson here. Just chill smooth out, Bek. But also, I remember thinking gratefully that Annie didn’t really know what was going on. She’s the current Queen of the Tantrums, but it won’t always be that way. She’s already emotional, and sensitive. It’s so sweet, the way she already fully feels some things. I don’t want that to rule her, though. I want to teach my girls that it’s completely normal to have strong, full emotions, and that sometimes they can be overwhelming. The important thing is to not let them overwhelm you with trivial, little things that push you to the breaking point and can, well, ruin a perfect moment. And when they do, accept it. Accept responsibility; apologize if you need to. And then write about it and move on. 

Dear Baby: Week 35

Tiny pink things for the hospital bag. 
Dear Baby,
Hello, lovebug. We arrived at week 35 yesterday. 35 weeks, my girl! I can’t believe it. I thought this pregnancy would drag on, but it’s really flown by. Daddy and I have been busy, busy, busy – working hard to get things ready for your arrival! Your nursery is finished and ready for you to live in. I hope you love it as much as I do. You have your own shelf in the bathroom. I even cleared out a space in the kitchen just for your bottles. We’ve had baby showers to celebrate your upcoming arrival given by people who love us, and love you by extension. Your dresser is full of the cutest tiny little duds. Thanks to your Aunt Mary, you have more clothes and Daddy and me combined! I think we’ll have to have daily fashion shows so you can wear your cutest outfits at least once before outgrowing them. Our hospital bags are packed and ready to go. I’m hoping you stay in there and grow at least two or three more weeks, but just in case you decide to arrive early, we’re ready.
Daddy and I are so ready to meet you. We cannot wait to see your face; see whose nose and eyes you have, your complexion, and see how much hair is there just waiting for a bow to perch on top of your head. We cannot wait to kiss your chubby cheeks and hear your sweet voice. Most of all, we cannot wait to cuddle you to pieces.
So, we have your “things” ready, and we’re ready to love on you. Aside from that, I hope we’re ready to take good care of you. I’m nervous about lots of little things. What if I can’t tell why you’re crying, or if you’re warm enough? Please bear with us while we learn how to take the very best care of you. We will try our hardest to make sure you are always healthy and happy and loved beyond measure, even if we just have to figure it out as we go. We adore you so fully already, and we cannot wait to meet you. Very soon!

Dear Baby: Week Thirty

Annabelle Jane, 12/16/13
Dear Baby,
Hi, lovebug. We are almost thirty weeks into this journey! How has it gone by so quickly? I’m starting to creep into anxious-mode. It’s definitely something I need to work on, but you’ll learn this about me. Please bear with me when I get a little overly nervous about things. I hope you’re content growing in my belly for a few more weeks, but just in case you decide you want to make your grand entrance a little early, I’ve gone into overdrive when it comes to preparation.
I have multiple lists, for everything you can imagine. I went shopping today for things to put in our hospital bags. Daddy and I are staying up way too late to install your new ceiling fan, because I insisted that it has to be done tonight. I have counted how many onesies you own in each size so far to make sure you have enough.
All this sounds a little bit crazy, but we are having such a fun time making things just so for your arrival. Your Granny keeps telling me that babies just need love and diapers. I know you don’t need some of the things I’m worrying about, but I want to create a special space for you, and we hope you love it.
I can’t wait to meet you, but it’s also really special to have you with me all the time. You’re like my little sidekick. You’re pretty active, especially when I’m busy, and you give me a little nudge here and there to make sure I don’t forget about you. You’ve discovered a spot in my ribcage that’s a little uncomfortable, but for some reason, you must think it’s rather cozy. J
We’re winding down to the last few weeks, and we’re getting more excited and more nervous every day. We can’t wait to love on you and read to you and experience life through your eyes. Stay in there and grow a little longer, and we’ll see you in a few weeks.
P.S. A lot of bloggers do “Dear Baby” letters, but I think my favorite series is written by Elise Blaha Cripe. She continued hers after her baby was born, and I plan to do the same. Go read them; they’re lovely. 

Four Simple Goals: The Results

So for November, I set four simple goals for myself. It was a good challenge, and it helped me to be more conscious of a few things. I wasn’t completely successful, but I did better than I thought, so I guess it evens out! 
1. Pick up my camera and take at least one photo every day. Huge fail. I did use it a few times a week to learn it a little more before our vacation, but I definitely didn’t use it every day! The first weekend of November, the time changed, and it started getting dark before I got home from work. I know. Excuses, excuses. I did use it enough to become more familiar with it, so I guess it wasn’t a huge fail. J
2. Drink more water. Success! I started limiting myself to one caffeinated drink a day (for the most part!) when I found out I was expecting. When I made this goal, I made little daily goals to reach, like finish a bottle of water by 10:00 AM or finish two glasses of water before I leave the office. That helped so much, and I established better habits that are sticking.  
3. Finish Annie’s nursery (sort of). I’d call this one a success as well. I wanted to finish all the projects I had planned that couldn’t just be purchased. I did that, and we bought most of the major things on our list. We’re both home most of this week, so we are going to knock out a few more things (BECAUSE, OH MY WORD, I’M ALMOST THIRTY WEEKS PREGNANT).
4. Read my Bible every day. Success! Again, making little daily goals helped with this. It helped to read either during my lunch break or when I got home, after feeding the dogs and before making dinner. And this sounds really dumb, but on off days with too much free time, I’d remind myself to read before catching up on blogs or getting on Pinterest. It helped to establish more of a habit, instead of just squeezing it in when I thought I had time, because, realistically, I always have the time.

So there ya go! It took me a while to get this update posted. Maybe I should set a goal of blogging more often to hold myself a little more accountable. JWe’ll see. Hope you all are having a happy holiday season! 

Four Simple Goals

From a couple of weeks ago: Adam and the dogs were hunting, and I tagged along for pretty photos.

Elsie of A Beautiful Mess posted about making and meeting four simple goals. She inspired her readers to do the same, so here I am! These goals are for the month of November. If you see me, you can ask how they’re going and help keep me accountable. 😉 I’ll post at the end of the month and share how things went. 

1. Pick up my camera and take at least one photo every day. I bought a Canon Rebel (eek!) and I’m learning it slowly, but surely. However, we’re going to California in a few weeks, and I’d really like to know it well enough to use it by then. And of course, to take a million photos of Annie when she arrives. 
2. Drink more water. This is a ridiculous one, but when I first found out I was pregnant, that’s all I drank. I’ve since eased up and allowed myself Dr. Pepper and sweet tea, too. Unfortunately, that means I’ve been slacking in the water department. I need to be better and keep this little one hydrated! 
3. Finish Annie’s nursery. Sort of. 🙂 I have some pieces half-painted and some projects half-finished. I’d really like to finish the DIY-ish parts of the room this month. December will be full of vacation and holiday festivities, and January will be full of baby showers, and then it’s February and I might be the size of a cow by then. So, I may be overreacting or the nesting instinct may be taking over. Either way, I feel this sudden urge to get things accomplished!
4. Read my Bible every single day. Isn’t it funny how when you log in to Pinterest, you look up and pretty soon an hour’s gone by without even realizing it? But then you have things that need to be done, like laundry, or dishes, or reading your Bible, and you think, “Oh, I’ll have more time tomorrow.” So, though I do read the Word often, I want to be better. This one is the most important, so hopefully if I’m 1 for 4 at the end of the month, this is it. 
So, there we go! These are things that are totally manageable. Wish me luck! 
What are your current goals? I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

Dear Baby: Week 19

Dear Baby,
Well, a couple of weeks ago, we found out that you are a little girl!
We had the ultrasound tech write your gender down and put it in an envelope. Daddy and I went to dinner and opened it up later that evening. Funnily enough, I was pretty certain there was a little boy in my belly. Even though I had no way of knowing, something in me said “boy,” and I was a little shocked to see “It’s a girl!” I immediately started crying happy, nervous tears.
I’m happy, because you and I are going to be best friends one day. We’ll read your favorite books. We’ll go shopping. We’ll probably drive your dad crazy sometimes. And let’s be honest here, I’m happy to pick out bows and little Mary Janes and pink things in general.
I’m nervous, because having a little girl means there are things that only I can teach you. I want to be the very best version of me that I possibly can, so that you can look up to me. I want you to want to be like me one day. That doesn’t mean you have to love Harry Potter or be an English major or paint your nails. No, I hope you are your very own person, with your own hopes and dreams and passions.
However, I do hope that I can teach you how important it is to be kind. To be brave. To be confident in yourself, your family, and your Savior. I want you to know that it’s alright to make mistakes; that teaches you humility. You’re already beautiful in our eyes, but I hope you learn that physical appearance dims in comparison to the beauty that comes from a gentle and quiet spirit.
So, if I want you to be and know all those things, I have some work to do on my own character. I’ll try hard to teach you the right things. But don’t be too hard on me. If I fail you, and I’m sure I will one day, remember that I’m trying my best and just want you to do the same.
Your name, sweet girl, is Annabelle Jane. You’re named after my grandmother and Daddy’s mother: two strong and beautiful women. We’ll call you Annie. I hope you like it.
Can’t wait to meet you, lovie.

Dear Baby: Week Fifteen

Dear baby,
Hi, little one. We are about fifteen weeks into this journey, and Daddy and I are still just over-the-moon excited. According to our pregnancy books, last week you were supposedly about the size of a peach, so we’ve started calling you Peaches until we know your forever name. Very silly, I know. But we’re silly. I hope you’ll love that about us and that it won’t embarrass you too much when you’re a teenager. But if it does, I think that’s normal, too.
I’m feeling so much better than I have been the last few weeks – thank you for letting me eat regular food again! And I have more energy, so I’m so excited to start some real planning for your little space at home. We can’t wait to meet you, but we are also really enjoying this time to plan for you and anticipate your arrival. It’s so special. Our family and friends, soon to be your family and friends, already love you. Gigi and Papa Jeff have been telling everyone they know, and they’re already planning a million ways to spoil you rotten.
A couple of weeks ago, we got to see your little hands, and feet, and nose. You were kicking your tiny feet around, and oh! Those teensy toes! You’re perfect already.
We hope that you stay healthy and that I can do everything possible to provide a good place for you to grow over the next few months. I want you to be good and strong when we meet, because Daddy will probably try to take you hunting right away! Or if you want to stay home with Mama and read a good book, we can do that, too. Can’t wait, little one.


A Family of Three

We are expecting, and we are over the moon about it! Lord willing, Baby Warren will join our family 
in early March. We are beyond thankful, and we are so excited to plan for Baby to join us next spring. 
I’ve always wanted to be a mama, and I couldn’t have chosen a better husband to parent alongside. 
We love you already, sweet baby.
*Photos by my amazing friends Megan and J.D. of Waving Wheat Creative
These are so special, you guys. Thank you.