Passing the Time

I’m 39 weeks now and the last two weeks especially have been so long. It’s been really hot outside and since I’m not quite up to walking our three mile loop to the park downtown and back, I knew I had to find something else fun for Landon to do outside. My cousin got him this blow up kiddie pool last year and I dug it out, blew it up, and it’s been the best way to pass the time as we wait on Harper to decide she’s ready to come out and meet us!

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What fun ways do you pass the time with your toddlers in the summer? Landon loves anything where he can “spish and spash” in the “woggum!”

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May: Baby Month!

It’s May 1st! Which means it’s finally BABY MONTH! First of all, I feel like this pregnancy has literally lasted forever, so I can’t believe it’s finally May. This is the month that we will meet our little girl, and we are so, so ready. I’m genuinely surprised that I made it this far (already a few days into week 38) since I delivered Landon at 37 weeks. I have experienced every emotion – from being scared to death to so excited I could hardly stand it, to some very real anxiety and now, I’m just thankful for a healthy pregnancy and the little miracle inside me.

Last weekend my mother and father in law came down and spent the day with us and helped us finish up a long to-do-before-the-baby-comes checklist, which I’m so thankful for. Now that all the big things are done, I feel like such a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can rest, knowing things are ready for our little one, whenever she decides to come.

This last week, I tried lots of “at home solutions” to speed up the seemingly endless wait – none of which worked, but all of which are absolutely hilarious, so I thought I’d share my list of failed attempts with ya’ll.

  1. I ate an entire pineapple in one hour. Pineapple contains something called bromelain in it, which is supposed to help soften the cervix. Evidently, my pineapple didn’t have quite enough in it (after more research, I’ve found you’d have to eat like 10 pineapples, and ain’t nobody got time for that) and all it did was make my mouth hurt. I might never eat pineapple again.
  2. I ate the famous “inducer” pizza from Hawthorne’s Pizza in Charlotte. You can read all about the success stories here. The pizza was okay… not really anything to write home about in my opinion, but the saddest part of all is that it just didn’t work on our stubborn little lady.
  3. I took a clary sage oil bath. This oil is nicknamed “baby rocket fuel” and after soaking in a warm bath with several drops of the oil, letting your body air dry, and applying more oil to your wrists, the bottom of your feet, and your belly, you’re supposed to go to sleep and let the essential oils do their magic. No magic happened over here. Still pregnant.
  4. I listened to rock n roll. This one seems little far fetched to me (as if the rest of the things on this list aren’t far fetched enough) but someone recommended it, so we blasted some Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd real loud… and all I got was a headache.
  5. I went to the airport overlook and watched the planes come in and take off. People say that the turbulence can help induce labor. Nope, it didn’t. But it was a pretty day and it’s one of Landon’s favorite things to do, so we got milkshakes and made the most of our efforts.

Obviously, our sweet baby girl will come when she’s ready and I know that just as the Lord already knows the number of hairs on her head, He knows her birthday and exactly how and when everything will take place. He goes before me, He will sustain me and give me strength, and His plan, purpose, and timing are perfect.

So, until then, I’ll be enjoying every minute with my sweet (almost) two year old, sleeping as much as I can, and (because I learned my lesson last time) my bag is packed and ready to go!

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A Sweet Shower for Baby Harper

Last weekend, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law threw the sweetest little shower for us. It was very small and simple, and I can honestly say that out of all my baby showers (we had six showers with Landon but this was our first one with Harper), it was one of my favorites. We ate on pretty china, I felt like I had an opportunity to really talk to everyone there, and we got so many beautiful things for our little girl! It was such a blessing!

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Our Mamas, Grayson’s aunts (who we don’t get to see very often), and my aunt were there, and we so enjoyed getting to spend some time with them before the baby comes!

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I’m so grateful to my sister-in-law for hosting in her new home (they just moved and worked so hard to have everything ready) and for everyone who came to help us celebrate the sweet baby girl that will soon make us a family of four!

*I wore this dress from Pinkblush, which you can see more about in this post. And just in case you missed it, here’s a post about our Bedenbaugh Family Shower for Landon two years ago.

Letters to Landon: A Brand New Role

My little Landon,

In about five weeks, you’ll take on a brand new role. You don’t know what it means yet, even though in the mornings while I drink my coffee and you sip on your apple juice, you curl up next to me on the couch and wrap your little arms around me and pat my belly saying, “awww baby.”

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You became my entire world the minute I looked into your deep, blue eyes. I see in you the very best parts of life, the promises of our Savior, and the humbleness of my grandfather. It’s hard for me to admit, but from the very moment I found out we are expecting our second baby, my joy (and shock) has been mingled with worry. How can I have another baby, when my baby is still a baby?

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These last two years, I’ve soaked up every single second of your little life. I’ve watched you learn and grow and develop your personality and it’s been the blessing of a lifetime. I never thought I could love anything or anyone the way I love you. Jesus totally redefined the way I understand love through you, sweet boy. My boy.

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I’ve had such mixed emotions about your sister joining our family. Of course, I’m overjoyed and can’t wait to meet her, just like I couldn’t wait to meet you, but I have wondered how you’ll handle it, I’ve thought about how you’ll feel having to share my attention, my time, and my lap… I’ve worried that you will feel pushed to the side, I’ve lost sleep wondering what I can do to help you understand that my love for the two of you will be completely and undoubtably equal.

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My little bear, I want you to know that you aren’t taking a back seat. You aren’t being pushed to the side. You could never ever be forgotten or loved any less. You’re simply taking on a new role. Your new role as a big brother! You’re going to be great at it. You’ll learn to be a leader, you’ll learn to be protective, you’ll learn to share and wait your turn and be an even better little helper than you already are. I know my heart will just explode watching the two of you together. I bet she’ll have our blonde hair and blue eyes and I know she’ll adore you.

 

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I want you to know that by giving you a sister, we’re giving you a gift. Jesus knew you needed her just like He knew we needed her. You’ll have someone to grow up with. Someone to make memories with. Someone to share traditions with. An oh, the adventures the two of you will have…

 

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This new role you’re going to be filling will only make me love you even more. Being your Mama is the honor of a lifetime.

 

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I’ll love you forever, and always more than the day before.

Love,

Mama


 

I knew this dress would be my Easter dress as soon as it came in the mail. It’s so easy to wear and I honestly think I’ll like it even more postpartum. I love that it’s double lined, so you don’t have to worry at all about it being see-through. It also comes in a pretty blush color!

This dress was provided to me by the PinkBlush Style Ambassador program, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Let me invite you into the craziness that is my brain on a Friday morning at 7:03. This particular Friday, we were going out of town for the weekend as soon as Gray got home from work, leaving Landon with my in-laws, and of course, my laundry basket was overflowing. Instead of sleeping (which I probably should have been doing, considering after baby #2 makes her appearance, I’m expecting to never sleep again) I started making a list of things to do in the “notes” on my phone. I don’t like to go out of town with the house out of order, and I can never sleep when I know I have a lot to do.

Do laundry, pack Landon a bag, pack mine and Grayson’s clothes, get food together to take with us, write Women’s Ministry email, take out trash, sweep, unload and reload dishwasher, clean out refrigerator, wrap baby shower gift, take a shower…

And yes, I have to put “take a shower” on my to do list, or it most definitely will not get done (#momlife).

So, I put on my favorite fuzzy robe and walked into the kitchen. I made myself some coffee and decided to sit down and enjoy it with an oatmeal bar while I typed up my Women’s Ministry email before Landon woke up.

And then, I saw some overly-ripe bananas on my kitchen counter. They would be completely rotten by Monday, Landon wouldn’t be here to eat them all weekend, and Gray and I wouldn’t eat them. I didn’t want to throw them away. Hmmm… wonder what I could make with three overly-ripe bananas?

I quickly searched Pinterest for “banana and chocolate chip muffins,” and lo and behold, I ended up with cold coffee and a whole bunch of homemade muffins. I personally am no fan of bananas, but my little bear loves them and he was delighted to wake up to warm “cake” as he calls it. I tried one and despite not liking bananas, I have to say they were delicious. They’re moist and buttery and have the perfect amount of sweetness, the tops are golden brown, and there’s just enough chocolate to compliment the banana. YUM!

If you are lucky enough to know my Mama, you’d agree with the statement that “I am my Mother’s child.” This is totally something she’d do. So naturally, I have to share this spur-of-the-moment recipe with ya’ll. Enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk or your favorite coffee!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 large overly-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat muffin tin well with cooking spray.
  • Then, in a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork and stir in melted butter.
  • Using a hand mixer, blend in sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
  • Mix in salt, baking soda, and flour.
  • Stir in chocolate chips until just combined (do not overmix).
  • Divide into muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.

 

*Recipe adapted from The Baking ChocolaTess

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

These yummy no-bake bars are quick and easy to make, require just a few ingredients, and are so delicious. If you like traditional no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies, you’ll love these. The hardest part is waiting the two hours that they have to be refrigerated before you slice them!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (two sticks)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (and a handful to sprinkle on top)

Instructions:

  • First, line your baking dish with wax paper. You can use a 9×9 or 9×13 (depending on how thick you want your bars to be). Be sure to over-hang the edges and spray with cooking spray to ensure that your bars remove easily from dish.
  • In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Stir frequently until all sugar has dissolved.
  • Stir in vanilla extract and oats. Cook on low for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Be sure to coat all oats well (if not, bars will be crumbly and not hold together well).
  • Pour half of the oats mixture into prepared baking dish (the other half will go on top) and use a spatula to press down evenly like a crust.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips. The easiest way to do this is to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Pour melted peanut butter and chocolate mixture over oats, using a spatula to evenly distribute.
  • Then, top with remaining oats mixture and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. You may want to slightly press them into oats and be sure that the mixture is well distributed across the dish.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, then slice and enjoy with milk or coffee!

 

*Recipe adapted from Sugar Apron.

Cheeseburger Soup

My friend Amanda introduced me to this delicious recipe and I’m so glad I finally made it. If you want the ultimate comfort food, perfect weeknight dinner, or just something to warm you up on a rainy day – this is the perfect thing and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to whip up.

Most of the ingredients you need are things I normally keep on hand (in fact, the only thing I had to make a special trip to the store for was the celery). The one thing I should note is that this recipe doesn’t make a whole lot (and if you’re cooking for more than two adults or want to have leftovers the next day, I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe).

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 3 cans of chicken broth, divided (see instructions)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 8 ounces of Velveeta cheese product, cubed
  • Paprika to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • In a large frying pan, saute garlic, onion, and celery until tender. Transfer vegetables to crockpot.
  • In the same frying pan, brown ground beef. Drain off grease and add meat to crock pot.
  • In a small dish, whisk together flour and 1/2 cup chicken broth until completely lump-free. Pour into frying pan and stir continuously until thickened over medium-low heat.
  • Add remaining 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth to frying pan and allow to simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Then, pour into crock pot.
  • Stir in evaporated milk, cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook on low for two hours (stirring from time to time) and serve topped with shredded cheese, crumbled chips, or whatever your little heart desires.

 

*If you leave soup in the crock pot for too long, the cheese may begin to separate. It’s really only necessary to cook for two hours to allow all the flavors to blend together and slightly thicken.

 

 

#ASKFACEBOOK: Second Baby Preparations

This is the second #ASKFACEBOOK post I’ve done (here’s the first one, if you missed it) and I just think they’re so fun!

I asked, “In what way was preparing for your second baby different than preparing for your first?”

So, today I am sharing the responses I got (anonymously) and if you have anything you’d like to add, please feel free to share in the comments!


“Not as much rest time!”

“You’re more aware of what you actually need. You realize certain things aren’t a huge deal, like if your son sleeps in a pink pack-n-play (or reverse in your case lol). You know that getting rest after delivery is critical and to actually sleep any change you get, for me at least, with [my first] I tried to do too much, when [my second] came I didn’t leave my bedroom for a week.”

“It’s easy. More of the same. Except the stuff you wouldn’t do again.”

“I’m anticipating more takeout, more dry shampoo and more disposable dishes.”

“When I was pregnant with [my second]….I was so sick all the time….all day er-day. So it was hard with a toddler. I felt bad….she watched a lot of TV then. Also, I realized all the stuff I registered for with my first that I really didn’t need some of it. I didn’t over stress and over worry about the house work as much with the second.”

“Ummm the difference right now is that I still don’t have the hospital bags all packed or the crib put together… More relaxed I guess!?”

“Obviously the clothes were different. I spent as much time with the first one as I could because I knew i would soon be splitting my time. I was much more laid back and realized what things were really important to me and what things could be tossed to the wayside. I didn’t have as many gadgets or clothes, I just got what I really needed. I worked on making sure the first one would respond to voice commands so I wouldn’t have to get up from nursing, diapers, or rocking every time I asked her to do something. I tried to focus a little on myself because naps etc were going to be short lived soon. Other than that, not very different. One to two was a transition but then 2 to 3 was a piece of cake. My babies are all a year apart and I loved it. Kinda hard at newborn, 1 and 2 and then 1,2,3 but after that became best friends and are still very close. Thankful we chose to do that.”

“Night and day. Realized you really didn’t need a whole lot that’s out there and could really do a whole lot with very little with the first. Just preparing lots by sleeping as much as I could!”

“Well, there’s the elephant-sized fact that there were two coming. But aside from that, I focused more on organization…what can I do now to make it easier on us then. Like freezing meals, buying extra essentials and toiletries to avoid quick trips to the store, etc. but I also thought a lot about how to spend time with my 1st child so they didn’t feel neglected. Like making sure I carved out time each day for him (away from the new baby). Sticking to a schedule if at all possible. We gave him a twin set of dolls so he could start getting used to there being someone new in the house that needed taken care of. Also maybe get him some new toys to whip out when you really need to entertain him so you don’t depend on the TV. And if you didn’t stay on top of something for your 1st, you likely won’t your second. Like baby books. I got behind on [my first’s] and by the time the twins came, I just gave up altogether.”

“Less stuff!”

“I tried to prepare some things for [my first]. He had a back pack with stuff to do at the hospital (some people don’t want their older kids there but I had been on bed rest for 8 weeks and wanted him with me). We put together a little basket of books and games we could play together while I was nursing [my second] and had some activities easy to grab if I needed him occupied while I did something with the baby. The only other thing not mentioned is I tried to be better prepared food wise. I had snacks stocked up and easy breakfasts. Try and prepare a few freezer meals or easy convenience meals.”

“I’m six weeks out and have nothing done!”

“I had everything ready for whenever [my first] got here (hello, extra time!) and I finished up [my second’s] room after he was born. You will definitely recognize that you have far less time but you’ll already be used to it so it won’t matter much. You don’t need as much because you’ll end up using most of the things you used with the first. With the first delivery you don’t know what to expect but I was more anxious with the second because I had been there before and knew what was coming, not dread, just aware!”

… and then my personal favorite:

“Imagine you’re in a pool, drowning, with a baby in your arms….and someone throws you another baby! THAT’S the difference in one baby and two! Cheers!”

 

 

 

 

Just Give it to God

Have you ever taught a two year old to share?

That’s a big focus in my household, right now. My little bear is as sweet as pie, but he isn’t around other kids his age very much (except at church), so his sharing skills really need some work. Lord, bless him. Gray and I have been making intentional efforts to try and teach him what it means to share and we’ve been careful to avoid saying things like, “that’s mine!” We try our best to model the behavior we want him to mimic, emphasizing our “pleases” and “thank yous” and making sure he sees little gestures that we hope communicate generosity, politeness, and just overall good character.

But, here’s the thing – he’s a toddler. Toddlers don’t like to share. It doesn’t come natural.

Last night, I sat in the nursery at church and watched him interact with another precious little boy who is just a few months older than him. For the most part, the two of them play together really well and there’s so many fun toys in the room, they don’t have too hard of a time finding things to keep them occupied. But, there were a few times that they would both want the same toy and had to be redirected, and when Landon was eating a little box of raisins, the most profound thought occurred to me.

I would say, “Landon, why don’t you share your raisins with Philip?” and he would hold out a raisin with a sheepish grin on his face. When Philip, clearly delighted that Landon was sharing a snack with him, reached out to take the raisin, Landon would snatch it back at the last minute and turn away!

Oh dear.

I’m hoping and praying that he learns, and I’m trusting that he will, with time. But can I just tell you, friends, that in that moment, I saw myself and my unwillingness to give things to God. How often do we start to give something to God – whether it be our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our worries, our brokenness, or our plans – and then, for whatever reason, snatch it back with that white-knuckled control that always hurts us more than it helps us? What is it in our hearts that makes us think we can do it on our own? Is it a lack of faith? a lack of confidence that He is who he says He is? just plain stubbornness?

It never ceases to amaze me how Jesus can speak to us through our children. Just watching them can teach us so much about ourselves, about who we are called to be, and about the way Jesus has called us to love. I pray that my heart never becomes hardened to these little snippets, and that I’ll be able to instill a love of Jesus so deep in my little one’s hearts that they crave Him more and more every day.

Whatever it is that we’re holding onto today, friends, let’s just give it to God. Let’s lay it all at the foot of the cross!

The Lord Looks on the Heart

I feel a twinge of “yeah… but…” every time I hear someone criticize people that post pretty pictures of their Bible study or are into Bible journaling. Bible journaling is a fairly new concept, and while I’ve dabbled in it a little, and even made a pinterest board full of inspiration and ideas, I haven’t really had time to put my journaling Bible that Grayson got me for Mother’s Day to good use. But, I love the concept because I feel like it helps you “park” on a certain passage of scripture, really soak it in, and is an outlet of creative expression.

As far as sharing “pretty pictures” of Bible study goes, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been waiting on Landon to wake up, mindlessly scrolling through instagram, when I’ve seen a picture that’s inspired or prompted me to get up and pick up my own Bible. I follow one account on instagram in particular, Well Watered Women, a ministry started by Gretchen Saffles, that is constantly encouraging me to get into the Word, and you know what? Those pretty pictures of Bible study are doing their job.

I realize that when people are critical of this kind of thing, they usually mean it with a good, genuine heart that is expressing their own desire to be near to God without feeling a need or desire to share in this way. Of course, Bible journaling or sharing photos of your quiet time doesn’t make you any “better of a Christian” or mean that you love Jesus any more than the next girl. From the outside looking in, I can see how some people would think why do you need to color in your Bible? or why do you feel the need to post a picture of your open Bible with your coffee and highlighters all spread out in front of you?

But, here’s the thing:

What it really all comes down to is the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” And, that goes both ways. If someone is not genuinely trying to have a closer walk with the Lord, and just shares photos to make it seem like they are truly studying His Word, that is deceitful. You might fool others, but God knows. If you care more about letting others know that you’re reading your Bible than actually growing in your walk with Christ and soaking in Scripture, that’s ineffective and sad, because you’re more focused on what the world thinks than having intimacy with the One who created it. If you’re literally just coloring in your Bible without worship and thoughtfulness about the passage at hand, you just need to buy yourself a coloring book.

But, what if it is genuine? What if you crave time with the Lord each day? What if the stillness of the morning and the hot coffee and crinkling of the pages fuels your spirit each day? What if you are so in love with Jesus and your time with Him that you can’t help but share? What if, with every stroke of colored pencil over those sacred words, you’re praising Jesus for His promises and you soak them into your heart so deeply that you dwell on what He’s teaching you all week long? Should you have to feel hesitant when you’re prompted to share for fear that other’s might misunderstand your motives?

When you criticize others for how they worship, you’re judging them in the worst way. It’s a terrible thing, to believe your worship is the “best way.” We all express ourselves in different ways, and for even the most seasoned believer, there’s always room for growth. You might not “color in your Bible.” You might not feel compelled to share “pretty pictures” of your time with Jesus. You might not raise your hands in worship or fall at the altar each Sunday morning with tears that can’t be explained. But that’s between you and God, not you and your neighbor. Now, of course I realize that we all judge others for countless things each day, and sometimes don’t even realize we’re doing it, but in this particular post, I’m speaking of judging other’s worship and creative expression, nothing else.

Let’s not let our hearts become hardened, friends. Let’s encourage others in their walks with the Lord, not criticize them for how. Let’s look for the best, not assume the worst. Let’s have open hearts towards our sisters as we see them making an effort to learn more about our Father and pursue His heart.

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Image does not belong to me, Image belongs to Well Watered Women