Baby #2, Pregnancy

It’s a girl!

We are so thrilled to announce that this sweet little one is a GIRL! (Although Jameson was a little less thrilled because he wanted to hold the balloon.) 

We had our 20 week anatomy scan on Monday and she is absolutely perfect in every way, and definitely all girl. 😊 We were kind of assuming she was a girl since our ultrasound tech guessed it at our 12 week scan (the same scan it was guessed that Jameson was a boy). But two months of waiting to find out for sure, plus the fact that it was a very early guess, made us question it. Luckily it was the right guess, though, and now we can get excited for our first daughter! 


She’s the first Iwanski girl in three generations. How blessed are we?! When I first met Alex and got to know his family, I started to prepare myself for the idea of maybe never having a daughter. Iwanski’s are always boys. When I found out about Jameson it was totally confirmed in my mind. I’m a boy mom, I’ll probably always be a boy mom. And that made me a little sad but mostly happy because I love my boy so much. 

So this precious girl is such a sweet and unexpected blessing. I feel so humbled to be able to raise both a boy and a girl. To walk through life with my children in completely different ways. To be grown and shaped and challenged in areas I wasn’t expecting. To enjoy experiences I didn’t think I would have. I already know she’ll be the perfect addition to our family. I’m so thankful God chose her for us. 

And I can’t wait to see Jameson as a big brother to his sister. 😊❤️ What a wonderful big brother he’ll be! 

Baby #2, Pregnancy

Pregnancy reveal!

I recently shared about the family photoshoot we had done last month when my grandma came for a visit (which you can see here) but I conveniently left out a few choice pictures. 😉 Alex and I announced our pregnancy to my family right smack in the middle of it!

One thing I regretted a bit about how we announced my pregnancy with Jameson was that we didn’t capture any of the reactions of our family members. So this time I wanted to change that. And the timing couldn’t have been better! We found out we were expecting when I was about four weeks along and three weeks later was our family photo session with our photographer friend, Erin of Graced by Light Photography. So Alex and I decided to wait until then to announce our news (much easier said than done!).

A day or two before the shoot I messaged Erin and asked if she could help me out with the reveal. She was SO excited and so eager to make it perfect for us! We decided to do it midway through the session so that everyone would be comfortable and having fun. As we walked from one location to another I whispered to Erin that I was going to do it as soon as she was ready. She set us up at the new location, took a few test shots, gave me the secret signal we had set up (really just a thumbs up haha), and then right before the next shot I stepped forward and shouted, “Hold on!!! Before we take this next picture there’s something I want to say… We’re having another baby!!!” And Erin immediately started snapping away. Just look at these reactions! Totally worth keeping the secret. 🙂

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I’m so thrilled with how the pictures came out! They’re even better than I imagined. Many, many thanks to Erin for capturing these priceless moments for us to keep forever! ❤

Baby #2, Pregnancy

Our second baby story

IMG_2465IMG_2461WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!! I can finally announce it loud and proud! We’re expecting Babeski #2! Is this for real?! I still feel like I’m in a state of shock, but the best kind of shock there can be. We’re having another baby. We’re having another baby! I am so dang excited!!!!

We told our families when I was about 7 weeks pregnant, but we’ve known since I was around 4 weeks. It was HARD keeping the secret, especially from my sister aka my bff aka the person I tell everything to… but I knew we were getting family pictures taken the next month and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to surprise everyone at the same time AND capture all their reactions! It just seemed too perfect a coincidence to not take advantage of. So we waited. 😊 And it was SO worth it!!! I’ll be making a separate post about the photoshoot reveal very soon, so stay tuned!

Anyway, now that I’m in the second trimester (a little over 13 weeks to be exact) we felt comfortable announcing our beautiful little blessing! And today I’m sharing a bit about our second baby story with all of you. 😊

The journey to pregnancy has been completely different this time around. With Jameson it took us a little while to get pregnant (you can read more about that story here). There was a lot of frustration, a lot of tears, a lot of negative pregnancy tests. I was assuming the next time would be exactly the same, if not even harder. But oh man, did God bless us with this child.

For a while there I was really really really content with our family life as it was. Just Alex, Jameson, and me. (And Charlie.) I wasn’t ready for another baby and I couldn’t really picture a time in the future where I’d be in the same place I was before Jameson…that place of wanting a baby so badly that it just consumed me from the inside out. There were times, sure, when I’d catch a brief stint of baby fever but it would be gone several minutes later. I was just really thankful for the happy little life we had, just the three of us.

But at the same time, I knew I wanted our kids to be close in age. Two and a half years or maybe three at the most was our ideal age difference. But since it took us so long to have Jameson I was worried it would be a much bigger gap. I was expecting ovulation tests and checking my basal body temperature every morning and trying for months on end like we had to do with Jameson.

So you can imagine my surprise when, based on pretty much NO evidence at all (zero symptoms, barely even late, we weren’t even “officially trying” yet), I took a pregnancy test on February 20th and…it was positive. I wouldn’t have even taken the test at all if it wasn’t for the fact that I happened to have some cheap tests in the cabinet just waiting to expire. I pretty much just took it to prove to myself that I wasn’t pregnant. I actually remember leaving the test in the bathroom for the three minutes and walking away saying to myself aloud, “You’re not pregnant. There’s no way you’re pregnant.” I walked back in a few minutes later and the two pink lines were right there. No denying it, I AM pregnant. 😊

So after I practiced some deep breathing and my head stopped spinning and Jameson stopped freaking out because I was being super weird and sitting on the bathroom floor saying, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Okay this is happening. Oh my gosh.” I got Jameson into the wagon and we went on a walk so I could clear my head a bit. I was SO excited and so in love already but also just plain confused because, like I said, we hadn’t spent months trying and we hadn’t been planning everything out like we had with Jameson. I wasn’t expecting this for at least another six months or so, probably even longer.

But even as all the questions and half-formulated plans flooded my brain (are the kids going to share a room? Should I go to the same midwifes as last time? What am I going to do about my best friend’s wedding in August, for which I am a bridesmaid and for which I will now apparently be almost 7 months pregnant?!)…I was also oddly at total peace, which I can only say is the grace of God. He knows my heart and my needs better than I know them myself. He knew I’d never get to the place of being ready to officially start “trying” for a baby again. Is anyone ever entirely ready to give up their special time with their firstborn? I didn’t know if I’d ever be. He also knew how scared I was to start that difficult process all over again, all the disappointment and the planning and the stress. So he just said, “This is your perfect time. You’re doing this now.” And here we are again. I’m reminded once more, but in a totally different way than with Jameson, that I’m really not the one in control. And for that, I am SO thankful.

Half an hour after I took the test, Alex got home from work and I told him the news in a totally non-cute way. Basically I was just like, “Hey, so I have to tell you something. I’m pregnant.” And he immediately grabbed me in a hug and then we just looked at each other, slightly confused but so so excited. He asked how I was doing because he knew I’d probably be freaking out and then he grabbed Jameson and added him to our family hug, our first one with all four of us.

One thing I’ve learned from all of this is that we really don’t know when we’re ready for things. We might think we know, but that’s usually not the case. With Jameson, I thought I was ready for such a long time and I wasn’t. God had better plans. With this baby I really thought I wasn’t ready at all. Again, God had better plans. 😊 We are given what we need when we need it, whether we agree with the timing or not. We can be wise and thoughtful with our actions, sure, but ultimately the Lord is the one who directs our steps. To me that is an incredible blessing and a huge weight off my shoulders. I don’t have to know or plan everything.

Praise God for his goodness! We are so thankful for this second precious life He’s given us. What great love the Father has lavished on us!

See you in six months, little one. ❤

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Life with Jameson, Pregnancy

Jameson Andrew – our birth story

I am SO thrilled to finally introduce my sweet baby boy, Jameson Andrew Iwanski. Born Saturday, September 12th, 2015 at 4:11pm (39 weeks and 6 days). He was 8 pounds, 5 ounces, 20 inches long, and absolutely perfect in every way!

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I woke up Saturday morning around 6am to contractions that were about six minutes apart (at first I thought I just had to use the bathroom but I quickly realized that this was a different kind of pain haha). I had had some false labor contractions earlier that week but it fizzled out within a few hours so I thought maybe this would too. I tried to just rest in bed for awhile and when Alex woke up and I told him what was happening, we decided to just go about our normal routine and see if the contractions progressed or went away before we let our family know. We got up, had some breakfast, did some laundry, and started timing the contractions to keep an eye on things. Sure enough, they started getting closer together and more intense. It was real labor!

I tried not to get too excited and just let my body do its thing (I’m seriously still amazed at the whole labor and birth process and how perfectly designed it all is). I bounced on my yoga ball a bit, walked around and rotated my hips as much as I could (until the contractions were too painful to stand up through), and eventually ended up just laying in bed to try and focus on relaxing and surrendering to Jesus (and to the pain). Alex was a tremendous blessing and help to me through all of this… I don’t think he even knows how greatly he helped me. He kept me calm, supported me when I couldn’t stand by myself, massaged my back, kept worship music on, and made sure I was staying super hydrated. Plus he continuously prayed over me and Jameson and encouraged me so much. I wanted to labor and deliver completely naturally and he was 100% supportive of that and kept me focused on our goal. He kept telling me how proud he was of me and how I was doing such a great job and that we would be meeting our son so soon!

Around 2:30pm we called our midwife, Laura, for the second time that day (the first was in the morning to let her know I was starting to go into active labor). Right as Alex was on the phone with her, I went through one of the worst contractions of the entire day. It lasted over 3 minutes and I could feel the pain coursing through my whole body. Suddenly there was a whole lot of pressure and I knew it was time to go to the hospital. I yelled that we needed to go NOW and Laura, hearing me through the phone, said we should absolutely be heading over. Alex grabbed all our stuff, helped me down the stairs, and we started on the absolute most uncomfortable car ride of my life haha.

The hospital is only 15-20 minutes away but when contractions are hitting you a minute and a half to two minutes apart, it feels way farther than that. Alex was trying to drive as smoothly has he could while keeping me calm as I cried out in pain and begged Jesus to give me strength. I was so scared we wouldn’t get there in time…the contractions felt like they were right on top of each other, there was more pressure everywhere by the second, and then we got stuck behind a TRAIN of all things. We had to switch our route and go down a different road, but then that happened to have a massive accident which shut down the entire southbound section we needed to pass. I was screaming that this had to be a joke but also kind of laughing because I knew God was testing me to see how much I would trust Him to sustain me and get us there in time. I kept praying and crying out to Him and by His grace, we made it.

We checked in through the emergency entrance and they had me sit in a wheelchair almost immediately because they could see I wasn’t able to keep myself upright very well. I knew Alex was stressed out but he kept me calm while we waited to be taken to the triage room to monitor the baby and answer what felt like a million questions. At that point I just wanted to PUSH HIM OUT but they had to make sure he wasn’t in distress or anything and that his heartbeat was still strong. Praise Jesus he was doing fine (it was just me trying to manage the pain and keep still while they drew blood and asked me more questions). Finally Laura came to check on me and to my immense surprise (and relief!) she said I was already 9.5cm dilated. I knew right then and there that I could do this. I was through the worst part and had gotten myself almost to the finish line. Looking back, if we had gotten to the hospital and they said I was only 6 or 7 centimeters along, I would have absolutely asked for the epidural. But through the grace of God, He kept me strong and I was able to do all the hard labor at home.

Finally they took me to the delivery room, and not a moment too soon. I felt like Jameson’s head was about to come shoving out at any second. I asked Laura if I could please get him out now and she advised me to sit on the toilet and try a push to see if that relieved any pain. I sat myself right down, pushed on the next contraction, and my water broke immediately. I screamed that he was coming right now and the nurse rushed over to check. She quickly told everyone else that his head was crowning and they had to get me to the delivery bed. I wanted to stay on the toilet haha. I told them I couldn’t move so the nurse and Alex helped me over to the bed and by that point, everything hurt and there was so much pressure all at once that I knew my son was about to be born. I pushed and screamed through the next four or five contractions with Alex rubbing my back and telling me how close we were. It only took about 10 minutes from the point of my water breaking to the moment my baby was born. I remember them telling me his head was almost out and I asked Alex to see what color his hair was. “Very dark,” he said and I focused on the fact that I wanted to see it myself to help me get through the rest.

The scariest moment was when he was almost out and I heard them all frantically talking low and telling me I needed to keep pushing and get him out as fast as I could, even though the pushing contraction was over. I knew something wasn’t right so I did my very best to push as hard as possible and get my baby to safety. I never saw what happened, but the cord was wrapped around his shoulders and he was a strange blue color. One last enormous push and he was out and being carried across the room where I saw him for the first time. The nurses were surrounding him and he wasn’t making any noise. I started crying and asking if he was okay. Before anyone could tell me, he let out the most beautiful cry and I felt relief wash over me, knowing he would be just fine. He was still a bluish, whitish color but he was crying and breathing and wiggling around. They brought him back over to me, plopped him on my chest and I kissed him for the first time…the moment I had been agonizingly waiting for since January 1st when we found out I was pregnant. My baby was here.

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Alex and I just sort of stared in awe at him while the nurses and midwife checked our vitals and helped get me clean and comfortable. I honestly don’t remember much except for Jameson’s face because that’s all I really cared about. We prayed over him and thanked Jesus for our perfect boy. They moved us to the recovery room and we stared at him some more while we played some worship music. Everything was perfect and there was so much love and joy and thankfulness to God in my heart. Our families arrived a few hours later and I got to see each of them fall in love with my son the second they saw him. It was beautiful.

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We made it through the night at the hospital (lots of trial and error with breastfeeding, lots of figuring out Jameson’s likes and dislikes, and lots of kisses for his sweet face). We didn’t sleep all that much but we all squished onto the hospital bed and snuggled together, just the three of us. Jameson got his first bath that night around 1am (he screamed through most of it until the nurse ran his little head under the warm water…must have reminded him of his home for the past nine months). We had a few close friends come visit and hold him, but we kept it small so we could enjoy those precious first moments with our son.

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The next day was filled with more tests on Jameson (hearing, jaundice, that terrible heel prick) and he cried through most of them haha. I wanted to, too. Poor guy just went through the biggest trauma of his life and was still getting beat up left and right! He passed everything, though, and after a few more visitors that day we got discharged around 5:45pm (it would have been at 5, but right after Alex carried all our stuff down to the car and we got Jameson snug in his car seat, he started crying for food and then had a giant poop explosion that ruined his outfit hahaha. Oh well, I guess that’s how it is with kids. Doesn’t always go according to plan).

 

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Heading home!

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Now we’re home (I’ll be posting more pictures of our first few days later) and enjoying every single second of our sweet baby boy. I love absolutely everything about him, even his cries. He is so perfect in every way and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be his mommy! I can’t believe he’s mine and I get to love on him and enjoy every special moment with him for all the time we’re given. There is absolutely nothing like this feeling in the whole world.

Jameson, you are SO LOVED by so many people, but especially by me and your daddy. We can’t get enough of you, sweet boy. 🙂 I am so thankful that God kept him safe and healthy through the entire pregnancy and through our entire labor and delivery. I am absolutely amazed by His goodness and grace. Thank you Jesus for our Jameson.

The last bump pictures I took. 38 weeks and 4 days on the left & 39 weeks and 5 days (the day before he was born) on the right.

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Bumpdates, Pregnancy

Bumpdate – 39 weeks

39 weeks

How far along: 39 weeks (seven days until our due date!)
How big is baby: About the size of a watermelon (no kidding), or around 21 inches long. Weight could be anywhere from 6-9 pounds, but the average is around 7lbs.
Newest baby developments: His brain is still getting the most development at this point (and, of course, this will continue after he’s born too). His skin is now ready for the world and it’ll gain more of its pigment within the first few weeks of his little life. His tear ducts are also ready to go and he can flex his limbs easily now (which is pretty obvious to me since he seems to have no problem stretching out as far as my belly will let him haha).
Movement: Sometimes my belly is just so sore from him pushing and shoving around (especially the right side, since that’s where his legs and feet are). But I know he’s probably just cramped and is trying to get comfortable, which is why I keep telling him that he’ll have much more room if he just comes out!
Weirdest symptoms: Right now it’s mostly just continued Braxton Hicks (still nothing consistent, grrr) and some added pelvic pressure. The mental and emotional symptoms are really the worst part… having patience is HARD when you’re waiting to meet your child for the first time ever. Even though I’m not overly uncomfortable, I’m just so anxious to see Jameson and kiss him and watch Alex with him and even just get back to my normal self. But he’s not even past due yet, so I really need to just chill out and keep waiting, at least for the next seven days (and then I’ll probably start going crazy).
Best moment this week: I loved getting to go to my high school best friend’s bridal shower yesterday! I can’t believe she’s getting married in just a couple of weeks! So many happy things are happening. 🙂
Worst moment this week: Again, nothing bad. I’m just dying to go into labor already. I’m honestly not even scared because he has to come out one way or another. At this point, I feel like all I’m doing is analyzing every single ache or pain or weird symptom and just praying that we start the labor process like right now. It’s almost like it was back when I was hoping to get pregnant, where every little thing was a “sign” that maybe this could be it. Ah, I just want my baby already!
Cravings: Who even knows lol.
Looking forward to: Having my husband home for this three day weekend, and of course…possibly going into labor soon. I really hope this is the last bumpdate I have to write for awhile but you really never know.

Bumpdates, Pregnancy

Bumpdate – 38 weeks

38 weeksHow far along: 38 weeks
How big is baby: About the size of a pumpkin, or around 21 inches long (that’s the average at this point). Weight is around 7 pounds (but sometimes it feels like much, much more).
Newest baby developments: He’s mostly just working on some last minute things, like shedding that skin-protecting stuff (vernix and lanugo) and producing more surfactant so that his lungs are sure to work well after he’s born. He’s also still adding on baby fat, and his brain and nervous system are continuing to mature.
Movement: He’s a good little mover, even though he’s really almost out of room in there. I’ve been mostly feeling stretches and twists and hiccups…there’s only the occasional real “kick” (but boy does it hurt when it happens).
Weirdest symptoms: I’ve been SO blessed this entire pregnancy with feeling pretty comfortable and mostly “normal.” It’s only right now that I’ve started to really feel all the aches and pains that everyone always complains about. My hips are hurting (especially when I first wake up in the morning), it’s really hard for me to stand up from sitting or laying down, and Braxton Hicks keep getting worse (still not measurable, though). I don’t want to complain, though, because I really did have it easy for almost the entire nine months.
Best moment this week: Overall it was just a good week. 🙂
Worst moment this week: Nothing terrible at all, I just wish there was a way to figure out when exactly your baby will be born. My appointments with our midwife are weekly now and she basically told me at this last one that it’s really not uncommon to go even two weeks past your due date. That would be FOUR more weeks from now, ugh. And since I’ve had a very typical pregnancy so far, my doctor care is pretty minimal and noninvasive…so I really don’t have a clue about whether I’m dilated or how effaced I am (if at all). I know that those factors don’t actually mean you can tell when you’ll go into labor, but I feel like I’m just sitting here super pregnant and in limbo and it’s not fun for a type-A person like myself.
Cravings: Still crunchy things, I guess. And also, oddly, certain smells. I’ve never heard of this before but I guess it’s a real thing. I just really want to smell some fresh wood right now (like at Home Depot), which makes me feel like a weirdo lol.
Looking forward to: Anything that gets me closer to meeting my baby.

Bumpdates, Pregnancy

Bumpdate – 37 weeks

2DSC_0862 How far along: 37 weeks! FULL-TERM!!! Our sweetheart is welcome any time now!
How big is baby: About the size of a winter melon, or 19-22 inches long. Weight is around 6.5 pounds! (I kinda hope he stays on the small side…healthy, but small haha)
Newest baby developments: He’s basically ready to go at this point! Most of his crucial functions are well-developed and now he’s just practicing some skills he’ll need for later (inhaling/exhaling, sucking, gripping, and blinking). The longer he stays in there the healthier he’ll be, so I’m really in no rush (even though I do get more anxious to meet him every day).
Movement: I can feel his hands down in my lower stomach/pelvic area (near his head) and his feet are still facing up and slightly to the right. I don’t think he’s “dropped” yet or anything but I bet that will be coming soon!
Weirdest symptoms: Things are getting interesting around here. I’m definitely feeling more pressure on my pelvis and it feels like all of my joints are loosening up (sometimes painful, sometimes just strange). Braxton Hicks contractions are still an everyday thing, although some days I feel them every few minutes and other days I can go hours without having any. Nothing is timeable yet and while they’re more intense than they were at the beginning, they’re not strong enough to count as real contractions (although hopefully they’re working to start at least some dilation and effacement). Another weird thing this week was the fact that I spent five and a half hours yesterday morning getting rid of every bit of food in my stomach (yes, in both ways. ew.). I read that it’s often a sign of early labor (sort of like your body cleaning itself out to get ready for delivery) but it could also have been that I just ate some shady chicken haha. Either way, I’m feeling better now and trying to stay extra hydrated.
Best moment this week: Probably just the fact that I’m finally full-term so I can sort of breathe a sigh of relief that my baby is healthy enough to arrive soon. And honestly, any uncomfortable or painful symptom I’m feeling just makes me excited because I know it means I get to meet my son soon. 🙂
Worst moment this week: Well being sick all Saturday morning was no fun. But Alex took such good care of me and I’m all better now.
Cravings: Crunchy things! Ice (oddly enough), snap peas, apples, etc. I didn’t know that could really be a “craving” but I guess it is! Apparently that’s a pretty common category of things to crave at this point in the pregnancy.
Looking forward to: Really any change in symptoms that can maybe give me a clue about when Jameson will be here! I might end up waiting a whole month from now, but maybe I won’t and that’s so exciting! God’s timing is perfect no matter what.

One last thing… I realized that I’ve never taken a bare-belly photo before (probably because that just feels weird to me). But I do want to document my bump so that I can compare to any future pregnancies and also so I can remember how everything looked before my sweet boy was born. So here are a few that I took today at 37 weeks:

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Letters to Little, Pregnancy

Letter #7 (from Dad)

August 19, 2015

In January, when I first knew that you were coming, I knew I was going to be writing this at some point. But to be honest, I didn’t know what to say for a long time. The reality just hadn’t fully sunk in for me I suppose. Then when your cousin, Madelyn, was born I started to really get hit with the reality of it all. Your mom and aunt will probably say that I was just feeling uncomfortable or strange because I had never really grown up with babies around, but the truth is, I was scared. Not because I didn’t want to have you, and I wanted to continue in my vanity, like the rest of the world would be scared, but for very different reasons.

I still haven’t fully grasped the best way to explain it, and I never have been the best at expressing emotion, but I’ll do my best. When I saw your cousin, as precious as I felt like, and still feel like, she is, I couldn’t imagine how much more precious my own would be. I couldn’t see how I could do anything but give everything I had to something that innocent and reliant upon you. I certainly couldn’t understand how God could’ve given his own Son for us. But most of all, I couldn’t believe how much, in spite of all of that, I was going to absolutely fail every step of the way. One day you’ll grow up and be out of my hands, and I’ll probably truly understand just how much more I could have and should have done, but I only hope that when that time comes, God will have been gracious enough to stop me from doing more damage than my selfishness desires.

It’s a terrifying thought once you realize how sinful you really are, son. I realized it in its most potent form when I was saved, but as I grow older, I realize more and more just how wretched I really am. Because of that, you have to understand that I am not to be looked up to. Because of that, your mother and I should never the source of anything that defines you, but only Jesus Christ.

With that said though, I can still instruct you and guide you in a meaningful way, like God has instructed fathers to do. Although I am a sinner, God is a merciful savior, and has graciously given us the revelation of his truth for me to point you to. I can only hope you will be more consistent than I have in my life with these few treasures of wisdom and advice that I can give you right now, so here are the few things I could hope for you to learn:

  • You are a sinner too, a big one:

The most important thing I think you could learn, is also the hardest reality to fully confront. Son, you are not perfect. No one is. Physically, morally, spiritually, and everything else, we are all borrowing from God’s reserves of what He gives us in these regards, and left alone we would be absolutely bankrupt of anything to give back, and furthermore, we would drive ourselves even further into that depravity if not for God’s sustaining and withholding of what we actually want to do in our hearts. You are no different. The world is going to try to tell you that you are “perfect” the way you are, which in one sense is true, we are all created for a perfect sovereign purpose of God, but it is the biggest lie that you will ever hear when you are told that you, in and of yourself, are a perfect person.

The sooner you realize that you too are just as in need of a savior, and are as utterly imperfect from your sin as anyone else, the sooner your life will begin. One of my favorite pastors once said:

“You cannot see the beauty of the stars in the midday sky because the light of the sun eclipses them. However, after the sun sets and the sky becomes black as pitch, you see the stars in the full force of their splendor. So it is with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can only see its true beauty against the backdrop of our sin. The darker man appears, the brighter the gospel shines.”

In order to fully understand who God is, and what He has done, you need to fully see who you are. You are a sinner. A big one. This is the hardest thing for me to have to tell you, because I cannot honestly picture you being anything but perfect. I cannot perceive wanting to do anything but forgive and let you be happy. But my greatest responsibility as your father is not to make you happy, it’s to help you see the only true source of life and happiness that is found in Jesus Christ, and because of that, you must always remember that you need Him. You need Him so much more desperately than you need me, your mom, or anyone else in the world. Only He will satisfy you, and only He can pay for the sin that you are enslaved to.

Key verses to remember: (Proverbs 28:26; Proverbs 14:12; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 17:9; John 14:6; Romans 3:9 -18; Romans 5:12,19; Just read the book of Romans; 1John 1:8-10)

  • Kill your sin now:

This is one of those lessons you can’t learn unless you’ve lived through it, which makes it difficult to teach. But the more aware you are of what’s wrong, the more you can do to fix it before it gets worse. Always be looking to move forward, Jameson, and never be content with where you are now. The easiest way to fall into sin, or advance an already existing sin is to do nothing, and I guarantee there will be plenty of sins that you will be aware and unaware of, so I can only tell you that you should never be above the criticism of others, believer or not, and should constantly be on watch for the sin that is constantly at war within you.

Key Verses: (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 8; 2 Timothy 2:22-26; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; 1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-2)

  • Do not be conformed, but informed:

By hanging out with me at all, you will probably already take this on to some degree, but one of the biggest blessings in my life, has been the desire to grow in knowledge. Although a slight play on the equally relevant verse in Romans 12:2, my point here is very simple. Take no knowledge for granted. Do not be afraid to question things that don’t make sense, and do not be okay not knowing the answers when they are in front of you. Although we can’t learn everything in this life, nor perhaps in eternity, we can do everything in our power not to be conformed to the worldly idea of relative truth. The world will try to tell you over and over again how to do things, how to think (or rather, what to think), and will do everything it can to make you undyingly obedient to its idea that you can’t know anything except for what they say. Even in your (hopefully) Christian beliefs, I never want you to take for granted that your mom and dad, or your pastor, or anyone else you look up to is right. As humans we are irreversibly fallible, and it falls upon you to filter out the noise and ask yourself what God has revealed, what the truth is, and to always seek consistency with that truth.

Key Verses: (Proverbs 1:5; 1:7; 2:10-11; 16:22; Ecclesiastes 7:12; John 14:6; James 1:5; Romans 12:2)

  • Be bold:

This is perhaps my worst area of life, either Christian life, or not. I have always been a shy person, and with any luck, you will hopefully not be, but based on how your mother and I are, the odds aren’t in your favor, I’m sad to say. However, that is no excuse to not be a brave steward of your faith. We live in a world where the worst thing you can do is offend someone, even if they are 100% wrong. It’s sad, but it’s true, and more often than not the Word of God in particular will bring out that offense more than anything else. But you don’t have to be a slave to that idea like I have been for so long. I grew up in the world, embracing its thinking for most of my life, but you don’t need to embrace it like I did. Be bold and confident like Jesus called you to be. Be brave and share your faith with everyone, not being afraid to offend for the sake of what is true and glorifying to God.

Key Verses: (Proverbs 28:1; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Ephesians 3:12; Ephesians 6:10-20; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 13:6; Matthew 16:24)

  • Put others before yourself:

If you accomplish this one, you’ll have made me more proud than you could ever possibly imagine. The greatest thing that you can do with your life, is to lay it down for others. This is the foundation (apart from the grace of God and the work of Christ) of how every aspect of the Christian life works. Just as Jesus gave completely of himself to save his people, as Christians, we are called to do the same, but with the purpose of pointing it all back to Him. It is my prayer and hope that you would be completely sacrificial and authentic in your love, first and foremost, for God, and secondly for others, as you walk through life. The source of every lesson I could ever teach you, including the others I have tried to show you in this letter, is rooted in your love for God, and your love for others. There would truly be nothing that would make me happier than to have a son, who understood and followed the path of sacrificial love that Jesus was trying to get us to follow him on. Nothing would bring me greater joy than to see you become a man who is a complete embodiment of the grace of God, through your actions and stewardship over what He has given you in your demonstration of regenerated grace, love, and peace.

Key Verses: (Matthew 20:28; Matthew 23:11; Matthew 25:35-40; Acts 20:35; Romans 12:1; Galatians 5:13-14; Philippians 2:1-18; 1Corinthians 9:19; James 2:14-17; 1Peter 4:10-11; 1John 3:18)

I’m not sure how I’ll react the day you’re born, but I know I’ll never be the same afterward. I know that I won’t be prepared for it, and I know that your mom won’t either, even if she has spent every moment of your life with you so far. There’s a temptation to be scared about what will happen once you’re here, I’ll admit. The world has bought into the lie that children are a sort of inconvenience that takes away from the supposed “joy” that we could be having if you weren’t around, and unfortunately those voices screaming these ideas, do breakthrough in times of doubt. But I know that’s not what you are. Do not ever think that you are an inconvenience to me or your mom. You are the greatest blessing we will receive outside of salvation, and it pains my heart that anyone could possibly think different. You will help to make your mother and I so much greater than we ever thought we could be, and God will use you in amazing ways to break us down from our own sin, and, God-willing help us to bravely lead you to Him as well. As a family, we will grow and learn, and come closer to, and farther from at times, each other and God throughout these years we have.

I don’t think I fully know it now, but I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything. More than my family, more than my things, and idols, and probably even more than I love your mom. I haven’t actually met you yet, but I would already give everything for you, and I don’t even question that. But as I said before, Jameson, I will fail you. I’m a sinner, and I need these lessons to be played back at every moment of my life in order to have even the most remote chance of raising you as I should.

So you can think of this letter as an apology of sorts. The same way that I told your mom in our vows that I cannot make any meaningful promise without her understanding who I am, I need you to understand who I am, and that I will fail you. I am so sorry that it is the case, but it is true. Just know, that I love you. Despite myself, I love you, and as your father, I would never want to hurt you or mislead you. Because of this, I will make you a promise, if you will make me a promise. I promise that I will do everything I can to become better for you. I promise to seek to do the things that I have asked you to do. But only if you promise to forgive me when I can’t, all the while, knowing that God is far more worthy of your adoration and approval than I am, and where I fail, He has succeeded.

I love you,

– Dad

Bumpdates, Pregnancy

Bumpdate – 36 weeks

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How far along: 36 weeks
How big is baby: About the size of a honeydew, or 18-20 inches long (ish). Weight is around 6 pounds! (oh baby.)
Newest baby developments: His skin is getting smooth and soft and his gums are more firm. His liver and kidneys are in working order and his circulation and immune systems are pretty much good to go, too! If he was born today, he probably wouldn’t need any extra care at all since all of his major systems are ready for the real world. 🙂 Yay Jameson!!!
Movement: He’s actually getting some exercise as I type this. 🙂 Most of his movements are low in my stomach (even though I still feel like I’m carrying him super high) but I can feel his feet in my mid-stomach, usually on the right side. Sometimes it almost feels like he’s grinding his way out, which feels really weird in my pelvis. But overall, he’s still doing awesome with going to sleep when I do and not kicking me too hard, aside from the occasional sharp little elbow in my side haha.
Weirdest symptoms: The Braxton Hicks contractions are definitely the most common symptom at this point… usually they don’t hurt (they’re just uncomfortable) but lately a few of them have made me stop what I’m doing and focus on breathing through it. They’re definitely getting more intense (which, in all honesty, is absolutely fine with me. The more practice I get in, hopefully the better my muscles will be at getting the job done during labor.).
Best moment this week: The nursery is totally finished and we got to take our hospital tour this past Thursday! Even though we were just there a few months ago when my sister had her baby, it was nice to walk through again and get a little more familiar with how the whole process will go and what we need to do/bring in preparation.
Worst moment this week: Nothing in particular, I just feel like I’m extra slow and tired these days.
Cravings: NOPE.
Looking forward to: Just finishing up packing my hospital bag (Alex is already good to go, what a stud) and getting a few more things together for Jameson’s diaper bag. Oh and we still need to install the car seat, like for real now. We should actually probably do that tonight haha.

DIY, Helpful Tidbits, Pregnancy

Jameson’s Nursery

We’re FINALLY done with our little boy’s animal-themed nursery (after months of putting it together a little bit at a time) so I wanted to make a post to show some of my favorite parts about it. I absolutely love how it turned out and I’m so thankful to my husband for helping me with all of it, even when he was tired from work or busy with school. He is the best and Jameson and I are so blessed to have him. 🙂

And now, without further ado, please enjoy the crapload of pictures I’m about to post…

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Jameson has about 50 million onesies which I could tell were about to end up in massive heaps inside his dresser, so I ended up buying some IKEA drawer organizers from Amazon to help keep everything organized and easy to manage. I rolled each onesie to save space and separated the sizes into three drawers (newborn, 0-3 months, and 3-6 months, with a few 9 month onesies in there too). This is his newborn drawer:

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The other side of his dresser has three drawers as well, filled with hats, socks, toys, a billion diapers, receiving/swaddling blankets, and a few burp cloths.

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My sister uses these aden + anais swaddling blankets for her daughter and I loved how breathable and soft they were. Now Jameson has a set too! 🙂

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Above his dresser/changing station are these gorgeous, original pieces of art that were given to us at the shower by Alex’s aunt. I added the ribbons to tie into the light blue accents we have around the room and I love how they turned out!

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Quotes I saved from my baby shower decorations.

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I saw this binky jar idea on Pinterest and definitely wanted to include it in Jameson’s nursery. This way, I always know where to find a pacifier for him. We have a few different brands in there (including a wonderful mustache pacifier) so we can figure out which he likes best.

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Charlie loves looking out the sliding glass doors in Jameson’s room.

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One of my friends designed this cute little decoration:

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Can you tell books are kind of my favorite thing? I’m so grateful to my husband for giving up his time to hang everything for me. ❤

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I found these adorable baby safari animal prints on Etsy and fell in love with them, so we ordered a set for above Jameson’s crib (installed very securely, don’t worry people).

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This cutie was customized by one of my best friends for Jameson because she knows I love sock monkeys. 🙂

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Some stuffed animals we wanted in his crib… a crocheted Mickey Mouse that Alex actually got for me while we were still dating, a Guess How Much I Love You bunny blanket that was one of the first things we bought for Jameson (before we even knew his gender), and a teddy bear by Gund because I have a very similar one (named Freddy) that I used to sleep with every night/still sometimes do hahaha.

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Two more stuffed friends…a blue puppy from Alex’s parents and the best bunny ever by Jellycat, which I’ve been obsessing over for months after seeing someone I follow on Instagram post pictures of her son with his Jellycat bunny.

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We went with the RIBBA picture ledges from IKEA for most of the shelving in the nursery. I thought they were cuter than just putting up a massive bookshelf and I also liked how they feature the books outward so that they add to the decorations in the room.

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Inside his closet (surprise! Even more clothes. I hope this kid likes being dressed up)…

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I handmade these closet organizers to help keep everything separated by size (particularly so that Alex can find stuff easily).

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Just one of my favorite outfits, based on Where the Wild Things Are. 🙂

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Since I couldn’t fit all the bottoms that go with many of Jameson’s onesies inside his dresser, I used a cheap organizer I found at Target to separate them all by size.

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Each section has a label so it’s easy to grab what we need.

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The bottom two sections have pull-out drawers and they’re filled with things like towels and blankets and extra sheets.

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We have one other organizer on the other side of the closet for all his little baby shoes and some linen-related things (plus a couple of extra sections for whatever else we might need to organize later).

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The bedding set goes with our neutral, animal-themed ideas perfectly.

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I love the different textures on the blanket!

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Charlie loves hanging out in here. 🙂 Especially because he can juuuust squeeze under the crib for a nap lol.

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