Thursday, May 7, 2015

BabyBan: First Trimester

"Whoa! Seriously! This whole thing is 1/3 of the way over? Are you kidding me?" ... are the thoughts running through my mind. It seems like seconds ago we found out we were expecting and I'm guessing that in a few months I'll say it felt like seconds ago that we were in the first trimester. Overall, I am feeling great and BabyBan is growing strong and healthy. Here's the play-by-play...

Week 6: By far the hardest week so far. I was EXHAUSTED this week and felt sick. There was a touch of the flu going around so it's possible I caught a bug as well but I took 2-3 hour naps most of this week. I had zero desire to cook and ate leftovers for lunch 4 days in a row.
Craving: Lasagna!

Week 7: During this week we shared the news with our parents and finally had people to talk with! Cravings: Gummy, fruity candy which is funny because normally I like chocolate and savory.

Week 8: BabyBan took it's first vacation this week! As kind of a spur of the moment idea we drove to Washington DC from Friday-Tuesday and stayed with my aunt while touring the city. We biked and walked all over the city, saw museums, monuments, the White House, Arlington and enjoyed picnics in the sun. On Easter we went to a sunrise service at the Lincoln Monument and ate delicious food all week. I did pretty well for how tired I had been but snuck in naps as much as I could. By the final day I basically walked from bench to bench at the museum while Jonathan walked around looking at exhibits and reading signs.
Craving: Ice cream, everyday, all day. I also knew exactly what I wanted, one day we walked an extra mile just for tacos.

Week 9: Wednesday we drove back to Michigan (well, J drove all 12 hours while I slept, watched movies, read and snacked) for my sister's wedding. We shared the news with our siblings and the great-grandparents.
Craving: After the wedding I NEEDED spinach dip. Other that I was very smell averse this week and a lot of things set me off. I was NOT craving chicken. We took leftovers home from my sister's wedding and for some reason it was revolting and I ate almost vegetarian the rest of the week.

...also pretty much known as "before" pictures...

Week 10: On day one of week 10, we told the rest of the world about BabyBan. And then, the questions started! So before you ask, at this point we haven't decided if we're going to find out the gender, I don't know what my work situation will look like after baby and we have not talked about names yet. All in good time :) Traumatically during week 10 we trapped a skunk and it sprayed right next to my house and my husband. Lemme tell you, skunk smell is NOT pleasant for a preggo woman who already struggles with smells! Since my co-workers knew I was expecting I was able to stop hiding snack time and realized that I snack at almost exactly 10:00 and 2:30 everyday. It's a good habit to have.
Craving: Cereal (which I normally don't love) but man that Cinnamon Life is goooooooood. I found myself having cereal with milk for breakfast, as a snack, an after dinner dinner and even on the couch with my hand in the box.

Week 11: BabyBan had their first TV appearance this week! I did a quick interview promoting summer camp for WOTV4 out of Grand Rapids, you can watch the interview HERE. This week my pants started getting a little uncomfortable so I'm trying out a belly band and maternity pants (all thanks to some awesome friends from church) but only on certain days and outfits. BabyBan got their first clothes today, thanks Great Grandma VanDyke!
Craving: I wanted a doughnut for days. I don't know why I denied myself because it would NOT go away. Major thanks to HannahY who brought one in to work for me! Things I have not been able to get but would really love this week also include Chinese food (crab ragoons!) and Little Caesar's crazy bread. Yummmmmm. That may have to be our weekend plans!

Week 12: At the end of the first trimester I definitely have more energy and am eating and cooking again. I'm still wearing my normal pants but mostly unbuttoned and rubber-banded cuz BabyBan is bumping! Maternity pants, here I come! This week BabyBan is the size of a plum and we heard the heartbeat! It sounded like a butterfly beating wings really fast. Headaches have been bothering me this week as well as my sciatic nerve flaring up, hopefully that'll fade quickly.
Craving: As mentioned in week 11, Chinese food and crazy bread both of which I got on Saturday! Coffee still isn't appealing but frozen coffee drinks are awesome. I've also been enjoying jello as a snack quite a bit.

At the end of the first trimester we still haven't decided if we'll find out the gender of the baby, names or how on earth we'll fit a baby and all their stuff into our teeny tiny cottage. A few things I have learned is that I married an incredibly selfless and servant-headed man. I knew that but he's been incredibly patient cooking when the smells drove me crazy, cleaning when I couldn't leave the couch, listening when I get emotional about silly little things and offering to help however I can. I'm getting a glimpse that life is going to change but I have a feeling it's going to be good. God has been so faithful to us and I know that is one thing that won't change.

We're starting the second trimester and also summer camp season. My hope is that I can practice good self-care while serving whole-heartedly, be at peace about the transitions coming, seek and commit our future to the Lord and enjoy a fun summer bucket list with Jonathan doing some of our favorite West Michigan things. I want to savor these days and moments now.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Party of Three: Announcing BabyBan

That's right... we're expecting our first child! BabyBan is set to arrive on November 12, 2015. It's pretty crazy that this is our life but we are so excited. Since we have quite a few friends and family who are long distance I thought I'd use this blog to share the story of BabyBan and what we're going through. 

Finding Out
The day of my sister's bachelorette party I took a pregnancy test, just to see. It was negative and so I figured it'd be at least another month before we were pregnant. 10 days later I was still late so I decided to take another one. I spent the whole weekend with my mom and sister at a wedding shower and it was so hard not to tell them what I suspected. As soon as I got home Sunday night I took a test and almost immediately it showed double lines... positive... a baby! I was shocked, excited, and started frantically running around trying to figure out how to tell J when he got home about an hour later. 

Telling Others 

Husband/ Baby Daddy 
When J got home I told him dinner was in the oven and asked him to check on it. He stirred the fries and closed the door, totally ignoring what else was in there. I told him to check again and he pulled the pretzel bun off the top shelf. I asked, "What is it?" He said, "A roll..." I asked, "Also known as..." and he just stared at me before guessing, "A pretzel roll? A bun? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!" 

At 7 weeks we saw my parents in person for another wedding shower. I really wanted to tell them in person but didn't know when we'd have a moment alone. While we were waiting to get into a restaurant we pulled them outside into the cold. All the cute sentences I'd planned left my mind and I stuttered and stumbled until my mom said, "Are you pregnant?!" 

At 7 weeks we skyped with J's parents in Minnesota. We told them about our weekend and then said that we had pictures taken together and asked if they'd like to see them. When they said yes we held up the first ultrasound picture of BabyBan.  

This will be the first grandbaby for both sets of grandparents and they are so, so excited! We swore them to secrecy for at least 2 weeks while we prepared to tell the rest of the world. 

BabyBan is also so blessed to have 7 great-grandparents so we got to tell them. They are so thrilled and 2 said, "I get to be a great-grandma!" We're so fortunate to have such strong family legacies and can't wait to share BabyBan with them! 

Aunts & Uncles 
Because of my sister's wedding we were able to see my family in person. Since we'd just returned from a trip to Washington, DC we told them we had brought souvenirs. With my brother watching on skype from college we had one of my sisters open a box of AUNT Jemima's pancake mix, my other sister a jar of PREGO sauce, and my about-to-be-brother-in-law opened a box of UNCLE Ben's rice. The sister with the prego sauce got it right away and started jumping around and screaming, the other 2 took quite a while to catch on! 

Skype has been a huge part of this process so after the wedding we skyped with J's brother in California and sister in North Carolina and were able to tell them, they were so excited! 

All The Rest
At 10 weeks we announced the news at work and our church small group and later on Facebook. It's been so fun to hear and see everyone's reactions. This will be the 6th small group baby in 2015, we have a lot to celebrate!

I've been so excited to tell everyone and have the secret be out but it has been fun to have this special secret just between J and I. I'm a little nervous about how life will change and how people will respond. If you've read this far remember, I'm still Abby and I still want to talk about more than this baby. Thanks for sharing our joy! 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

twenty three: living like locals

Fun fact, my bachelor's degree is in Hospitality and Tourism Management and my nickname is Guidebook Gail. I love touring and visiting different towns and cities so much so that when friends came to visit my area I offered them my house, left for the weekend and wrote out a 2 page list of recommendations. (I'd do the same for you.) 

Today's Blogtember challenge: A guide to your city! Share some of the hot-spots and hidden gems of where you live.

My first tip: Come in the summer! My town is a summer tourist destination and pretty much closes down between October and May. In the off season you can bike, run or drive for miles without ever passing another person.

If you come to visit you must...

Climb the Sand Dunes
Whether by foot, on all fours (it is HARD!), by 4 wheeler, jeep or in a dune buggy, the dunes are incredible and so unique. 

Visit the Lighthouse and Beach 
It's right on Lake Michigan and you can even climb to the top, the views are spectacular! In the winter the lake freezes over and you can climb on the glacier structures, it's such a cool feeling. I've witnessed a proposal and wedding on this beach along with countless of breathtaking sunsets.

Eat Some Local Produce
If it's spring you better believe we're eating some deep-fried asparagus because you'd be in the asparagus capital of Michigan! If you're really lucky we could go to the Asparagus parade. We love stopping by all the road side stands to get fresh peaches, cherries, asparagus, blueberries and other goodies in summer and fall.

I could go on about some hidden local foodie spots with apple turnovers, blueberry crisp, juicy burgers and the best ice cream around but what really makes my town so special is the outdoors. By bike, foot, snowshoe, jeep or cross country skis we would have fun exploring. 

Have you ever visited West Michigan? If not, you should. You will love it.  

Brave Love Blog

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Monday, September 22, 2014

twenty two: my blogroll

About 2 years ago I stumbled upon the blogging world and was fascinated to find so many people sharing their ideas, gifts and lives with the world. And now here I am, one of them! 

Today's Blogtember Prompt: Introduce us to 5 blogs you read on the regular, and tell us why!

My Real Life Friends
Echoes of My Heart
Katie has been a mentor and friend since my early high school days. I am privleged to be on her encouragement team as she follows God's call and pursues her writing and speaking. She inspires me to live genuinely, think deeply and put it all on the line. I've also guest posted for her Psalms and Isaiah 40 series. 

Alyssa Wagner Photo
Alyssa has been a friend since our pre-teen days, back when we called each other by Veggie Tales nicknames! We went to college together, I stood in her wedding and she's one of my very dearest friends. She's an incredibly talented photographer and I never miss one of her posts because of the sheer beauty. She inspires me to laugh, go adventure, capture the little moments and enjoy great things. Lyss was my personal attendant at our wedding and she blogged a few of the images she snagged along the way. She's also responsible for my lovely profile pic to your left. 

One of my favorite wedding photos captured by the talented Alyssa Wagner.

Good Eats
If you're looking for healthy, easy and delicious recipes this website is great! I've made over 30 recipes and they have legitimately all been good. 

A Holy Experience- Ann Voskamp is a unique and beautiful writer, I loved her book, One Thousand Gifts and the daily inspiration she brings. 

Naptime Diaries- This was one of the very first blogs I started reading regularly and I admire Jess Connolly's intentional approach to goal setting, health and life. 

She Reads Truth- In 2012 a tweet sent me to the website of She Reads Truth and I started following the daily blog with devotions and Bible readings. It was instrumental in helping me to form a daily pattern of being in God's word. I'm not currently following their studies but if you're looking for something to get you in God's word I highly recommend this resource, they even have an app, now! 

Are you a blog reader? I'd love to know if you enjoy any of my recommendations! 
Brave Love Blog

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

twenty one: fall loves

About 2 weeks ago I said to one of my interns, today I am ready for fall to start. I'll pack away my shorts and smile rather than cringe when I see pumpkins. The next day the temperature literally dropped 30 degrees and it started raining. I'm glad I was mentally prepared!

Like so many others, I love fall. It's my favorite season so answering the blogtember challenge question of, "What do you love most about this season?" is pretty easy. 

Long walks through the color-changing forest.
Flannels and scarves.
Pumpkin all the things. (Except pumpkin pie, don't love that one.) 
Slower days with lingering rays of sunshine. 

And of course... pumpkin spice lattes. 
During the 2 years I was a Starbucks barista, I had a daily PSL. Now that I live 45 minutes from the 'bucks I make them on my home espresso machine and I've nearly perfected the art. The best part is that when all the whipped cream topping disappears I can just add a new layer. 

This fall I'm really excited because we have quite a few trips, traditions and special events planned. I love the anticipation of watching the dates approach on the calendar. 

From top left, clockwise: 
Weekend in Cadillac, Michigan with my sister, her boyfriend and my parents exploring, biking and hot tubing. It was a great way to welcome the fall season!

Annual girl's weekend getaway with my college friends!

Family thanksgiving trip to North Carolina to visit my husband's sister, grandparents and other family. I've never been and heard that the park where they filmed Hunger Games is nearby... Any tips for North Carolina? (image)

3rd anniversary getaway to the Upper Peninsula with my husband to see Pictured Rocks, Tahquahmenon Falls and eat some pasties! We'll be staying right on Lake Superior! (image)

After listing that all out I'm even more excited! In fact, I think it's time for another homemade pumpkin spice latte to cap off this rainy, lazy Sunday afternoon. I hope you're loving autumn!

Brave Love Blog

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

twenty: day in the life

My life as a camp director is quite cyclical. Summer camp is all consuming from 7am to 10pm but filled with lots of activity, laughter and people. Winter is slow with bursts of weekend activity and the fall and spring lie somewhere in between. Here's a somewhat typical fall day to answer the blogtember challenge,

Sept 20th: Share a day in the life. Pictures, timelines, stats, however you like.

My alarm typically goes off between 7-7:30 but my fingers usually find the snooze button 2-3... or more... times. I really like the mornings when it's on my terms but when I have to rush to get ready it's not my favorite. Lately I've been trying to exercise or do my daily Bible reading in the morning, even though it's hard to get out of bed I always feel better if I do something. I shower pretty much every morning, this curly hair kind of requires it if I don't want to look mop-like and I like listening to podcasts while I get ready. After breakfast I head out on my "daily commute" a quick walk or bike ride through the wooded trails from my house to my office, usually with coffee in hand. I'm an expert at simultaneous biking and coffee balancing.

Once I get to my office I flip my daily quote calendar, say good morning to the 4 interns I supervise and turn on my computer and coffee warmer. At this time of year we're preparing for 3 women's retreats weekends so I'm planning activities, schedules, decorations, communicating with speakers and bands, as well as preparing for winter youth retreats, mens retreats and wrapping up summer details. While some days are pretty normal at my desk there are many other "less normal days" where I get to live the camp life doing things like making giant chandeliers, interviewing for a tv spot, driving jeeps on the sand dunes, strutting around in giant underwear, smashing cars, investing in the lives of college students, wearing cow costumes, working the top of the zipline and buying hundreds of dollars worth of chocolate. Those are good days :)

In the busy times of year we eat at the camp dining hall a lot but if there aren't meals we head home around 5-5:30 and make dinner. If it's a Monday we're playing volleyball, Tuesdays I lead Bible study at our house and every other Thursday we have our church small group. We also like to take advantage of the beautiful area we live in and watch the sunset on the sand dunes, bike to Lake Michigan or go canoeing when we get the chance. Right now a lot of our evenings end with an episode of Chuck on Netflix.

Overall, I'd say it's a pretty good life.

Brave Love Blog
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

nine: I am a D

You know those mock elections they have in high school? They're just for fun and students vote on 'Best Eyes', 'Most Likely To Succeed', 'Cutest Couple', things like that.

Well I was voted, 'Most Enthusiastic'. Does that give you a hint as to my personality type?

And just for fun here's a picture of me at junior prom. That dress made me feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast because it was yellow and swirled.

I'm an extroverted, task driven, loud, relational person. I haven't done a lot with Meyers Briggs (but the test that Bailey recommended said ESFJ or ESFP) but I do work a lot with the DISC model. The camp I work at uses it with all of our staff and teaches it to groups as part of our leadership training. Understanding yourself leads you to a better awareness of how to flex to work with and understand others.

So on the DISC model I'm a D/I and those are really close but my C/S tendencies are quite low. That means I'm not very analytic, introverted, methodical or people-pleasing.

Ironically my husband and I chart exactly opposite. In our case the whole "opposites attract" is certainly true! Plus, he can reach things on the top shelf, another way we are opposite.

Every time I teach the DISC model I use the analogy of a geode rock, from the outside it's just a rock but on the inside it's colorful, beautiful and surprising. Our personalities are like a geode in that on the inside we're all unique and have thoughts, ideas and feelings that you can't see. Our behavioral styles (the labels like DISC or ESFP) just help us understand each other better, they don't define us. They also don't excuse our actions. Acting like a jerk and bulldozing a team and then saying well I'm just a "D" or a driver doesn't make it ok, constantly interrupting and joking at inappropriate times and then excusing it because you are an "I" doesn't make that acceptable behavior. We're each responsible for our actions, no matter our styles.

In the last 5 years it's been interesting to see how I've balanced a little more, needing introverted alone time, recognizing the hurt in people, slowing down to take time. Maturity all around is just a good thing.

Do you relate to any of my style tendencies? Are there any style excuses you are hiding behind? Today might be a great day to flex a little! Either way, you're perfect because you were created to be uniquely you by a creator who loves you desperately. If that's confusing to you contact me, I'd love to tell you more.

Brave Love Blog
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