Interruptions

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Last week, I started a new Bible Study with the women of my church called “We Saved You a Seat” by Lisa-Jo Baker. The study is all about finding and keeping lasting friendship and each week, we cover a different topic that pertains to what intentional, wholesome friendship looks like (for instance, “Friendship takes showing up,” “Friendship takes vulnerability,” “Friendship takes forgiveness” just to name a few).

At our weekly meetings, we watch a video and then have a time of discussion, and then there are three days of independent study to do during the week. I’ve done lots of Bible studies and with so many of them, I’ve found myself unable to stay focused, frustrated that the material is either “too shallow or generic” or way over my head, or just not really applicable to my day to day life. Granted, many times, that is a heart issue with me and I need to pray about it and try again – but for some reason, this study is just hitting the nail on the head with me. It’s real, it’s tangible, and it’s meeting me right where I am on a level that I can really relate to. So, if you’re looking for a new study to do with a group of girlfriends, I’d highly recommend this one!

Today’s independent study was about interruptions and how Jesus lived a life that not only expected interruptions, but welcomed them. In an exercise where the book prompted us to look up several different passages of scripture, we filled out a chart showing times that Jesus was interrupted by people needing a healing touch, a word of encouragement, or just His time. “Giving people our time is an act of radical generosity” is one line from the book that I want to keep at the forefront of my mind. It’s so easy to be so focused on what I’m doing – to just have a one-track mind, that I miss opportunities to show people I care or spend time with them that means so much.

I don’t know about you, but I’m oftentimes so guilty of that panicked feeling when someone stops by my house – instantly thinking it’s not clean enough, I haven’t mopped, or there’s toys all over the floor. This passage spoke right to my heart:

“But the thing is, being willing to be interrupted isn’t about the state of our houses. It’s about the state of our hearts. Women aren’t hungry for perfection; they’re hungry for connection.”

Lisa-Jo Baker, We Saved You a Seat, pg. 23

I’m excited for the next few weeks of this study, but I just wanted to share the goodness that’s already gripped my heart and left me wanting more. There’s something so special about digging into the Word in the fellowship of women of all different ages and backgrounds who share a couple very important things in common: a love for Jesus and a desire to know Him more.

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Hello, Third Trimester!

Wow! I can’t believe I’ve already entered into my third trimester. Time has just flown by this pregnancy. I know I can’t be the only one who feels like their second pregnancy went by so much faster than their first! It seems like just yesterday, this journey was beginning and by the time I got over the initial shock and fear of the risks associated with having the IUD removed, I was over halfway to my due date. And now, here I am at week 28.

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This pregnancy has been quite different from my first – better in some ways and a little harder in other ways. When I was expecting Landon, I was working a desk job with a commute that had me spending almost two hours a day in the car. I left our house early and by the time I got home, I was too tired to cook and so we ate fast food a lot. My feet dangled from my chair and I had no way to prop them up at my high desk, and in my third trimester, swelling became a big, big problem. In addition to spending far too much time in a car each day, sitting in a way that contributed to my swelling, and eating very unhealthy meals, I also did not exercise… at all. I was huge and miserable and overall, gained about 73 pounds. By the time I delivered at 37 weeks (due to high blood pressure), I was almost unrecognizable and so very uncomfortable. Yes, part of the weight gain was fluid, but I would be lying if I said that I did everything in my power to keep it under control.

This time around, I am at home with a bubbly toddler who is literally built-in exercise. He is so much fun and has so much energy. Chasing him around and being up and down in the floor playing with him all day every day is kind of like a free gym membership! Also, being at home during the day has allowed me to cook the majority of the time, which I love. Landon and I also walk a few miles several times a week when the weather permits. So far, I have not experienced much if any swelling and I feel pretty good throughout the day most days.

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I remember not sleeping well towards the end of my first pregnancy, but this time, I have not slept well from day one. My hips and back ache when I lay down and I wake up 5-6 times a night every night. I have also experienced round ligament pain, which I had never dealt with before. But, I have been so blessed and I know that so many women experience much worse things throughout their pregnancies than I have, so I’m really very thankful!

I am savoring every day that I have left with my sweet boy, just the two of us. The idea of splitting my attention and my heart between two babies still scares me, but I am starting to have a peace about it and trusting Jesus to give me the grace and wisdom and strength that I need. I know He will make my heart grow and fill me with the kind of love that only a Mama knows all over again the second I hold this precious little girl. Her life is a miracle, and I am so honored that He has given me this incredible gift. My friend Lee has two of the sweetest boys and when I asked her how she makes it look so easy and teaches them to be so well-natured and kind, she said that she prays constantly that Jesus will “stand in the gap” and help her when she falls short. So, that’s become my prayer too, that Jesus will intervene and that I’ll trust Him and rely on Him to make it through each and every day.

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Thanks so much for following along during this pregnancy! We can’t wait to meet our Harper girl and are so thankful for all of your love and support!

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This dress is from my all-time favorite – Pinkblush! I’ve featured their adorable clothing  (both maternity and non-maternity) here on Coffee Date With Kate several times and as always, their selection and awesome deals never disappoint (if you subscribe, they send out emails practically every morning with awesome coupon codes and they always have free shipping).

It’s hard to find good quality, trendy maternity clothing at a great price point that just makes you feel good, and I’ve found that it’s so important (especially when your body is changing so much) to make the effort to feel comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes all it takes is a pretty dress! I think this dress would be perfect for a baby shower, maternity photos, or even just to wear to church on Sunday. It comes in a wide variety of patterns and color combinations, and it’s just one of hundreds of beautiful options that Pinkblush has to offer. I’m looking forward to wearing it postpartum too, because it’s so versatile and perfect for nursing!

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

He equips the called

As Harper’s due date inches closer and closer, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what life will be like with two little ones. For a short time, I’ll have two under two (Landon turns two in late May) and I’m not going to lie… the thought of having a bouncy, curious toddler alongside a fragile infant kinda-sorta terrifies me. I think back to the early days with Landon – the non-stop nursing, the exhaustion, and just the overwhelming feelings of am I doing this right? am I meeting his needs? how do I know what to do?

Now, don’t get me wrong – first of all, I am ecstatic about Landon becoming a big brother. I always wanted brothers and sisters, and I can’t wait to see them grow up together. Most importantly, I know that this little girl’s life is a miracle and it’s the honor of a lifetime to be able to carry her and raise her up to love the Lord with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength. I also realize that people do this every day – I mean, it’s not like I’m the first person to ever have more than one baby (obviously) and I’m sure I’m not the first one to worry about what the transition will be like, either.

The biggest worry in my mind when I think about bringing another baby into our family is the fear that Landon will feel rejected or replaced or pushed to the side. Just thinking that he could feel even a twinge of that just kills me. He has such a sweet, sensitive spirit. He notices emotion and reacts to it with such compassion and I never want that to change. He and I do everything together and I love our little routines. I share a lot about life with him, but my favorite memories are things no photo could ever capture and usually, no one was there to see. The sweet little hands on my face in the middle of the night, the way his sweet voice calls out “ma-muh?” when he needs a little extra affirmation, the way he comes around the corner dragging his blanket and reaches up for me with those sleepy blue eyes. I can’t explain the bond between a Mama and her boy, but if you know what I’m talking about, you know.

Fleeting feelings of can I really love another baby like I love Landon? have also wrestled in my mind and heart. It feels weird to even “voice” that, but I would be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind. I know my heart will stretch and Jesus will continue to put that Mama-love deep in the most sacred part of my heart, just like He did with Landon and like He already has done from the very first moment I knew she was growing inside of me.

I have been letting myself worry about the tiniest details, though. For instance, how will breastfeeding go this time around? How am I going to sit and nurse a brand new baby with a toddler to chase? He is so hands-on and just into everything and I’m halfway terrified that he’ll tear my house down while I’m nursing (maybe this is a little irrational, but ya know what, I’m 28 weeks pregnant and it seems perfectly likely right about now). How am I going to ever get back into a routine of cooking dinner for my husband with a brand new baby? How am I going to keep Landon from waking up in the night when Harper cries? What if she has colic? What if she’s not a “good baby” like Landon was? What will I do if Landon starts acting out and it seems like he resents the new baby? Will I ever sleep again? Will I ever lose the weight (because I still had a lot of weight to lose from my first pregnancy when I got pregnant again)? Will we ever be able to go out to eat again (that seems pretty terrifying with two babies)? Not to mention just the fear of delivery… because now that I know what it’s really like, the thought of going through it again seems unbearable (way worth it, but terrible).

I mean, I could just go on forever. Worry after worry after worry. What-if after what-if after what-if. And you know what? There’s no reason for it.

Mamas figure it out every day. They have for centuries. And every single time I start feeling overwhelmed or let fear grip my heart, I have to remind myself of that and of the fact that I have to trust in the Lord  with all my strength and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). I know that Jesus equips the called and I’ve never for a half a second questioned whether or not this is my calling. I was made to be a Mama. It’s my greatest joy, my biggest honor, and the privilege of a lifetime.

So, if you’re walking through this same season or any season where a scary, albeit welcome transition is just on the horizon, I want to encourage you to remember that Jesus will equip you. He will go with you, He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). He will guide you through the unknown, comfort you in the newness, and strengthen you in your weakness.

 

Happy Valentines Day

Valentines Day is here again and I can’t believe how much my little love has grown since last year! Somehow, we’ve managed (two years in a row now) to do a little at-home photoshoot as a little surprise for Landon’s Grandma and Mimi and although I’m not sure if we’ll be able to keep up the tradition as we add more little ones to the mix, it sure is fun to look back and see how he’s grown and changed in just 365 days.

He was 8 months old here, Valentines 2017:

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Photo by Meredith Fields

… and here’s our big boy at 20 months, Valentines 2018:

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The transition from baby to toddler is crazy… I’m tellin’ ya, babies don’t keep! I hope you all have a great Valentines Day and take some time to celebrate your loved ones!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

#ASKFACEBOOK: Marriage Advice

Sometimes, I think it can be so fun to just put a question out there on facebook and see what kind of answers you get. With so much negativity floating around on social media, I love reading through the responses to posts like this – it can be so uplifting and encouraging! With this being the week of Valentines Day and thinking about marriage, I asked “what is the best marriage advice you’ve ever received?”

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!


“Kids are yours for a season, but your spouse is yours for a lifetime. Make time for each other!”

“Believe the best about each other.”

“If there is an issue or something to be handled with extended family- if it’s your people, you’re the one who handles it.”

“Unrealistic expectations are the biggest downfall of a marriage. Discuss your expectations for each other and your relationship and decide what is a realistic expectation and what should not be expected.”

“The best thing a mother can do for her children is to love and respect their father completely.”

“Never say anything negative about your spouse in public.”

“He’s your husband- not the Messiah – don’t expect him to save you or be responsible for your happiness. Find your joy in Christ.”

“Don’t watch separate TV’s.”

“Remember, there is romance and reality. Most of marriage is reality (dealing with life in general) but don’t forget to incorporate romance and dealing with that reality creates an amazing companionship that makes life’s realities not so tough!”

“Never stop dating your spouse.”

“Find someone who loves Jesus more than they love you.”

“You will disappoint each other often….get over it.”

“Yes dear.”

“Honor each other above yourselves.”

“Pray together every single day no matter what’s going on. Bad times, good times, and especially the really, really bad angry days.”

“It takes 3 to make a marriage – husband, wife, and the Lord.”

“Always try to out-serve each other!”

“Kiss good morning, kiss good night. Ask ‘how was your day’ every evening. Touch each other every day. Whether it be cuddling, holding hands or something. I’ve also found that using your love language is important too. Finding out which of the 5 you each are and utilizing it.”

“When you feel you are at your limit. Make a list of all the reasons you married this man. Pray, reflect, rewind, revisit and thank God for all your blessings and ask him to help you love him more, care for him and to show him You Jesus.”

“Never go to bed mad.”

Don’t talk negative about your spouse to your parents.”

“Marriage is not always 50/50. Sometimes it is 100/0 depending on the circumstances. When one is weak the other needs to be strong.”

 

 

Harper’s Baby Book // Polka Dot Print Shop

Ya’ll I never win anything, so when I won a giveaway hosted by Polka Dot Print Shop on Instagram, I was so excited! I had actually just been talking to friend about baby books the night before and I’ve been starting to accumulate lots of little things for Harper as her arrival is getting closer and closer, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

I got Landon’s baby book at Barnes and Noble and while it’s very nice and traditional and beautiful… it’s also humongous and has turned out to be very overwhelming for me. It’s strange, because I have always been an avid journaler and love scrapbooking, so you’d think filling in his baby book would be a piece of cake for me… but that has not been the case. It’s caused me so much anxiety, in fact, that I’ve avoided it and now I don’t even remember some of the things it asks (already! ugh!).

I guess baby books, like many other things, are just one of those things that you learn from the first time around. Because of my experience with Landon’s book, I knew when choosing Harper’s baby book, I wanted to find something much simpler, more compact, and one that had questions about things I really care about.

When I won this giveaway, I learned that Polka Dot Print Shop offers baby books, toddler books, adoption books, birthday books, and books to document your pregnancy (called “Bump Books“). On their website, you can see a sample of the pages and content of each book and choose from the wide variety of fun patterns and vibrant colors. If you’re like me and are interested in how this business got started, the “about” page on their website says,

Polka Dot Print Shop was established during an afternoon nap in late 2011 when Leslie Berhanu opened up an Etsy shop on a whim. She decided to share the baby book that she created for her own child with other mamas looking for something modern and unique. The response was overwhelming and that drove Leslie to perfect the process of producing each book in a timely and professional manner, yet still allowing for customization and personalization.

As a mama to 4 kiddos (5 years and under!), Leslie knows that free time is hard to come by. Filling out a baby book tends to take a back seat to the daily tasks of parenting. Keeping that in mind, she designed a book that hits all of the important milestones, yet doesn’t require hours upon hours to fill out. Polka Dot Print Shop’s Baby Books reflect a simplistic and timeless design that appeals to modern moms and dads.

Today, Leslie manages Polka Dot Print Shop from her home office just outside of Houston, Texas. All books are printed in the USA and hand assembled during nap time and late into the evening hours. She takes pride in designing, assembling and packaging each and every order that comes across her desk.”

I love supporting small businesses, which is why I chose to write this blog post. It’s just too great not to share. I was totally and completely blown away by the quality of the book. The pages are really thick and the book is so well made and it gives you the perfect amount of space to write and for photos. The only thing I would change is I wish there was a way to order them with customized hard covers (I would love for the front of the book to say “Harper” or have her monogram instead of “BABY”) but that, along with many other FAQ’s you may have is answered here. If you have more than one baby, you can personalize them by ordering different colors and patterns, so the books are still unique and specialized for each child. I just can’t say enough good things about it!

Leslie was so sweet, a pleasure to work with, and she has been so generous to offer a coupon code for my readers! Use code “KATE” for 15% OFF (this code expires 2/19/18 so you have one week to take advantage)!

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Side note(s): that ultrasound picture is from my last ultrasound at 18 weeks, so I can only imagine how much our little lady has grown in the last 10 weeks! She’s moving constantly these days and I can’t believe I’m almost to my third trimester!

Also, that cute wooden paci clip was only $1 from Wish. Have you ever ordered anything from there? I buy little things here and there and although shipping takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r, I’m usually pretty happy with the items and I’ve found that they have surprisingly great customer service and a fantastic refund policy.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Do you ever scroll across something on Pinterest that looks delicious and realize you have all the ingredients it calls for, and just hop up and make it right then and there? This doesn’t happen to me often, but ya’ll when it does… YUM!

This pie was one of those occasions and I’m not even kidding – it may be the best pie I’ve ever tasted. I followed the recipe exactly and baked mine for 55 minutes. It took every ounce of my self control to wait two hours before cutting into it, but I’m glad I did because the consistency was perfect and she warns that slicing prematurely will result in a goopy mess.

This would be the perfect pie to take to your next get-together! Give it a shot!

See the recipe here (all credit for this gooey goodness goes to Cucina De Yung).

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Freshly Mopped Floors & Whispers from Jesus

Yesterday, I was mopping and my toddler ran across the room. I was already tired from picking up toys, doing several loads of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, scrubbing a few baseboards, and vacuuming, and I was just trying to hurry and finish so I could get Landon down for his afternoon nap and finally sit down and rest for a few minutes. Of course my first thought as he bee-bopped across the wet floor was oh Lord, please don’t slip and fall, but you know what my second thought was? I was frustrated. Look at those footprints all over my freshly mopped floor!

I didn’t say anything, but maybe Landon could sense my aggravation… or maybe Jesus just wanted to remind me of the fact that this little life He’s entrusted me to shepherd is more important than anything else. My Mama always says, “listen for the Lord’s whispers.” Because, right about that time, that sweet little blonde haired boy wrapped his little arms around my leg, looked up at me with a big grin on his face and said, “hey Mama!” You better believe my heart was a puddle… right there on that freshly mopped floor.

He probably thinks I’m a lunatic, because I just bursted out crying (in all of my 25-weeks-pregnant-scrubbing-baseboards glory). I realized – I had done it again. I had let my blessing become a burden, and without even realizing it, I had cared more about “getting the job done” or “finishing what I started” than the little boy who just needs his Mama. Talk about a humbling that can only come from Jesus. I can barely even type this through the tears that just keep coming – but let me tell you, friends… when we become more consumed with the task at hand than the little spirits we are responsible for shaping… we’ve fallen into a very dangerous trap.

It’s so easy to share the good. The best parts of our lives, the smiling faces, the happiest moments… but, I think the moments like this need to be shared too. The Mama, still in her nightgown at 2:37pm without a trace of makeup, her hair on top of her head, and a mop in her hand. The dusty baseboards and the food caked onto highchairs. The cries in the middle of the night that have us fumbling into the nursery, swaying back and forth until the tears stop and the babies are sound asleep again. The four outfit changes before leaving the house because nothing seems to fit right and we feel so frustrated with our bodies, then guilty because we know that the life growing inside of us is the greatest gift and we should be proud of our growing bellies. The tears that come when reminders from Jesus are spoken through little mouths and tiny hands, and the tug of our hearts to share the stories that shape us.

This is honest motherhood. And I pray that you’ll be encouraged to listen for His whispers and reminded to never let your blessings become burdens.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

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