baby #7: 18 weeks and we're having a...

Today I thought I would share my first update for baby #7! I feel like I don't have much to report; everything is going super smoothly, and I couldn't be more thankful for that. :)

We had a midwife appointment last week and everything is looking good. :D It was a routine checkup, other than the OB panel I had to do. Oh my goodness, I do NOT like getting stuck with needles (another reason I birth at home!), so I hope someday these kiddos realize just how much their mama loved them. ;) But cute bandaids make it all better, right? (No. The answer is no. :P But they don't hurt!)

Here's that fun questionnaire I like to fill out to think of pregnancy-related topics. :)

How far along: 18+ weeks
Total weight gain: I have no idea! I feel like I'm right on track/normal, but thankfully I never have to weigh as long as I'm growing appropriately. :) 
Maternity clothes: Not yet.
Sleep:  Great, though the stomach sleeping is a thing of the past again.
Best moment of this week: Feeling strong little kicks along the sides of my belly. Oh, I love it!
Miss anything: My favorite jeans. :) I waved a fond farewell to them a week or two ago.

Movement: I can't feel much because of the placement of the placenta, but mostly feeling wiggles and kicks along the sides and first thing in the morning in bed. I love to stay there a little longer each morning because of all the activity!
Food cravings: In the last few weeks I had a huge vanilla ice-cream from Chick-fil-a for the first time in over a year. Sugar isn't my friend, but oh, it was delicious! I have had a slight aversion to meat and hamburgers and french fries, which is weird for me!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Thankfully, no!

Have you started to show yet: Yes! :) About half the time I don't remember I'm pregnant and am surprised when I look down!
Belly button in or out: Out again already!
Happy or moody most of the time: Mostly happy, but if I wait too long to eat I get cranky! ;) And every now and then I have a bad day where I just feel off or my head hurts. But mostly this pregnancy has been lovely.
Looking forward to: Ordering material for a baby quilt. I am terrible at sewing but I'm always so glad I did it when I see the kids with their blankets. (Zane still uses his exclusively, which amazes me!).
Gender: We had our sonogram a few weeks ago (basically the moment I was allowed in the door, ha!), and saw this precious babe: 

And... we confirmed our suspicion. :) We took the kids with us, but didn't tell them what we found out. :D Instead, we picked up a "beau or bow" gender reveal cake with a special rattle inside:


baby #7 is a...



More pink and ruffles are coming our way this summer! :) Which means Ivy gets to have a little sister, and for the first time in the history of our family, the girls will officially outnumber the boys!! :D

Even seven times over, having babies is SO MUCH FUN!! Seriously, it's one of the most precious experiences of a lifetime. Little ones are such a blessing to all of us, and we couldn't be more excited to meet this baby girl in a few months. :)

tough but glorious + goals & menus this week

Thank you for all your sweet words and encouragement on this post last week!! :) We are so excited. :D We must be having baby #7 because I haven't taken a single pregnancy pic yet and I'm 4 months along! But it's definitely on my to-do list, sometime right after I wash my hair this week. :D (I like to schedule important things on hair washing day, or even worse- if I know I have to do something in one more day I will put it off :P) Either way, very soon I'll share a pregnancy update and gender reveal, Lord-willing! :)

We had a weekend full of errand-running, starting with lunch out and then a stop at my favorite place (ha!), the hardware store:

In the midst of the major lightbulb shopping we had to do, I did find something interesting there: a different kind of bulb!! I ended up getting a few bags to try my hand at. Will peonies grow in Texas? We'll find out.

Oh, and sweet Ivy-loo has reached a super awesome stage called "cry about everything, even if I wanted it and you gave it right to me"... :D The best thing about having a few kids is that you learn that this stage won't last forever! We're 13 years in now, and it's occasionally even funny in the middle of it. :D

While Ivy was tantrum-ing through Home Depot and then Sam's, everybody in town was checking out at the same time we were. :D Never have I been more thankful for an app:

With this one, you can check yourself out with your phone and even pay!! They scan you out at the door and boom, no waiting in line!! :) Best invention ever, Sam's Club. This mama thanks you a hundred times over.

Sunday after lunch and church, we stopped to refill our water bottles. I let the littles out of their car seat cages to play, much to their delight. :)

When she does smile it's just too much cuteness to handle: :)

And this was our scene this morning for school:

Those babies LOVE their big brothers like crazy, and the boys include them in everything. Seeing how the bigs love the littles- ah, it's enough to make a mama cry. :)

It's been a tough but glorious week of baby-raising. :D

Here are my goals for this week (and some overlapping):

::  do  ::
exercise 6x 
wash one sofa cover
continue family closet clean out/move summer clothes to spare closet
re-organize baby room
make bread x 2
go to library (we didn't get to last week)
drink 40- 80 ounces of water/day
pray alone daily

::  read  ::
the Bible alone daily: 1 Peter, Psalms 3 chapters, Proverbs 
George Mueller biography

::  learn  ::
1 Peter study by Jen Wilkin x 4 days
2 teaching John Piper videos/ 2 Paul Washer sermons

::  be  ::
a servant. One of my goals this year is to be more of a servant. I'm so not good at this, and I pray the Lord will help me.

:: dinners  :: 
spaghetti + salad
beans + rice
baked potatoes + veggies (we bought 50 lbs. of potatoes for $16 so we HAVE to eat them! maybe more than once!)
oatmeal + eggs
dinner out

What do you have on your plate this week? :P

two more feet

In June we'll need 18 shoes to get out of the door. :D

I'm so thrilled to tell you that if the Lord wills, baby #7 will be coming this summer!! :D Our Father is exceedingly kind to grant us this sweet blessing again. :D We are so very thankful and excited!! :) 

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 27:3

(Gender reveal coming soon!!)

we survived + my favorite kind of weekend

Our weekend was superb. :D It's SO weird to have nearly 80 degree weather in mid-January, but it's also downright wonderful to be able to be outside and not freezing. :D The kids can play outside again and they have so much fun playing basketball until dark:

I'm proud to say we survived the winter. It was tough, but we took it in stride:


Our warm weekend started out with a date to Texas Roadhouse:

And ended with this loveliness (finally, our date wasn't on Sunday!):

On Saturday, we were glad for the unseasonably good weather so we could scrub the house:

And then the kids and I headed to an outdoor birthday party:

Sunday was filled with church, lunch with friends, and then some downtime to read, watch a documentary, and play games. (I talked myself out of doing any cleaning and took a real Sabbath break. :)) The kids made up a Bible trivia game show for the two of us, complete with buzzers and prizes (and tough questions!):

And somehow we made it to Monday again... :)

Here are my goals for this week:
::  do  ::
exercise 6x 
get ready to go back to CC (lunches, clothes, showers. prep crockpot meal)
clean up mudroom + laundry (purge extra clothes and shoes)
find another rack/create new system for shoes
move summer clothes to spare closet
drink 40- 80 ounces of water/day

::  read  ::
the Bible alone daily: 1 Peter, Psalms 3 chapters, Proverbs 
George Mueller biography
visit library and get a new book to start
::  learn  ::
1 Peter study by Jen Wilkin 4x
Dave Ramsey podcast on easy runs
2 teaching Piper videos/ 2 Washer videos (listening to while working on laundry/cleaning/cooking/kids outside)

::  be  ::
grateful in the tiring. Two weeks back in the routine and I think we may be losing the just-got-back-from-break energy. We’re settling into regular work and schedules again. :)

:: dinners  ::
spaghetti + salad
bean burritos + Spanish rice
beans + rice
baked potatoes + broccoli
oatmeal + eggs
dinner out

One would think with this many zipper pouches I'd be organized, but... hmmm. ;)

GW: saving ridiculous amounts of $$ once again

Not long ago I was pleasantly surprised to find that our local Goodwill (GW) had recently lowered their prices! For a while there, everything was getting so high that I stopped going altogether. We ran in a few weeks ago to look for something specific, and I was so happy to find the cheap old GW I used to love! I only purchased a few little things that we could use, but it still turned out to be a pretty great thrifting day.

I can't remember ever seeing Tupperware at Goodwill before, so when I spotted this veggie tray in perfect condition with a lid for $2, I picked it right up:

My mom actually sold Tupperware when I was a little bitty girl and I have fond memories of most of our storage being really sturdy, useful Tupperware (which she STILL has most of like 25+ years later!).

We washed and used it right away for Christmas, and something about the presentation and the ease of getting dip made the kids eat even more veggies!

Then the husband was possibly even more delighted than I was about Tupperware when I carried these Bible study guides to him for .50 each:

He had recently bought me two of these very kind of books for $8+ each!!

So... according to Tupperware's and Amazon's current prices, we would have paid $45 + $64 = $109. (!!!)

Instead, we found them at the thrift store for $2 + $4 = $6.

We saved $103 on a small stack of books and a veggie tray!


Even after all these years, I seriously still cannot understand how this is possible.

But you know what? I'll take it. :)

(For more crazy thrifting stories, here is a 31-day series I did on my favorite finds and thrifting tips!)

our weekend: a slow start, favorite Costco finds + a great idea


Without a three-day holiday our weekend seemed shorter, but I think we made it a bit longer by staying home out of the freezing temps! I got a treadmill run in on Saturday morning, and thankfully a PureFlix documentary helped the time pass more quickly. (It was extra fun to watch after reading A Chance to Die over Christmas!).

Sunday morning after church, we ate a quick snack and headed almost two hours away for a trip to Costco. We were all so hungry when we got there, but there weren't any seats (!) so we shopped for a while before eating. Costco cafe food is good, but I can now testify that it is at least 32x better when you're starving.

The kids had this fantastic idea to bring their walkie-talkies along for the trip. I think we should officially make it mandatory for large family trips in overcrowded stores. :D We had to separate a couple of times but found each other lightning fast! And they picked up a few random people talking while they were out on the road which made them just about keel over with excitement. :D

My main reason for the trip was to stock up on figs, but we definitely picked up a few more things while we were there (lots of cold food not pictured):

We made it back home around dinner time. With all the events of the day I was too tired to cook, so I made a salad for me, and a smorgasbord of Costco choices for everyone else:

Today, it's back to the regular grind: school, changing diapers, laundry and chores, working out, and planning the week:

Dinner tonight is super easy, thanks to my two kind friends who make black beans and rice while I do other stuff: :D

Luckily, in the middle of all this crazy/regular Monday, I get to eat lunch at the island with my best friend:

What a blessing it is... and a happy week already. :D

can I tell you something?

Can I tell you something I feel no one personally told me about following Jesus? (Maybe it's just me...?)

What is surprising me the most about this life is the in-between stages of becoming a different person with a new heart.

It's actually not very fun.

For a goal-driven, prideful, beauty-loving, success-seeking, love-to-make-myself-happy-most-of-all-American, the Lord knew from the beginning that I need a lot of emptying out of my sinful self.

But the emptying out, honestly, it feels really hard to not be able to do the things you used to love so much.

It feels...well...empty. And kind of sad. Like you lost a part of you. 

But only for a while. 

That painful, empty feeling is just the mid-point when you feel some desire for the old things of the flesh, but God is gently pulling your spirit to Himself and giving you a new heart. And you still want both the old and what He offers, but praise be to the Lord, you are somehow still walking away, leaving the old behind. 

It doesn't feel natural. It feels like a fight. It feels like saying goodbye to what you loved with every fiber of your being.

And it is. But the thing is- we have no idea how truly awful these worldly things are that we love so much. Or how very hideous they are to God. How they bring satisfaction to the flesh and seem so right to us but totally and completely deny the very Lord who bought us with a price. They are things that serve us, not God.

And then, when the Lord shows you that truth, your desire for those things starts to turn into horror that you could ever do them in the first place. And that's when it gets easier to leave them behind. When your mind is renewed by the Word of God, the Spirit helps your heart follow and obey it.

And the battle does get so much easier. But not until you see yourself, and your wretched sin (!), in light of the one true, holy, and perfect God.

If you're in the fight right now like me, let's pray for each other- that we would see things rightly. That we would see things truly. The way our Holy, Holy, Holy God sees them.

And that He would show us this in His Word- that it would give us eyes to see and ears to hear the truth, and a heart to do His will. And that He would give us the strength and ability to keep walking forward through His Spirit.

The best prize lies ahead of us, and is worth more than anything and everything we leave behind.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Phillipians 3:12-21

our Christmas season 2016

How has Christmas come and gone already? I really treasured this delightful December. What joy, that we have Jesus and He came for us, and is going to make all things new one day!! I was reminded of this so often over the past few weeks.

I was also convicted of my own sinfulness, in realizing that sweet traditions themselves are not what should make Christmas special. Seasons change and will change, and nothing will be the same before we know it. Life cannot and does not stay the same. Tradition is not the right place to find my joy, but I've been guilty of misplacing my eyes and affection.

Each day, each month, each year we are alive is a blessing to be able to see and we can rejoice in it because any tiny glimpse of joy and goodness is what God has given us, but one day we will know true joy in all its fullness because Jesus lowered Himself and became a humble servant and sacrifice to save us, to truly SAVE us from living for this life and ourselves. And on that day we will no longer even remember these former things! (Isaiah 65:17)

This life is all pointing us to Jesus, and what is to come! And it's so short. It's so wonderful to have true hope all year, even in the midst of sorrow, heartache, and pain, or even when things do feel happy. (Sometimes I feel all of it at once- do you?)

But oh, this month felt like such a blessing still. You know, life with 6 kids is always lively and full of joy! We had a sweet time together. :)

The children did all the decorating:

Our annual sleep-under-the-tree night (the baby didn't stay long!):

Playing games that made us laugh (and want to cry!) over and over again:

There were babies wearing fleece pajamas:

We had our first foray into sewing crafts, and the older ones did SO good:

We were thankful for friends who bake and then bring you all kinds of goodies!

 We rolled and baked sugar cookies, meaning to return the favor, and then never decorated them: :P

Another friend gifted us gingerbread kits and the kids LOVED doing them!

On Christmas Day, we baked a cinnamon roll star (canned!):

We so enjoyed going to church with my dad on Christmas morning. I was definitely pulling a bit of a Martha fit in my heart the week before, trying to figure out how to actually enjoy getting everyone to church and making lots of food for breakfast and lunch after being gone all day Saturday, but God showered such mercy on this mama and made it so easy for us and it all just worked. It was the BEST thing to get to see our church family on Christmas morning. He was truly the better portion, and certainly to none of my credit!! 

We opened gifts late that afternoon, and I'm pretty sure we all found Ivy-loo's enthusiasm both hilarious and endearing: 

The kids drew names and made each other those sewing craft, and it was so sweet to see them excited about their final reveals.

(oh my goodness, this sweet baby! She LOVED her clothes!!)

We gave each of the children a game, a book, an outfit, and one personal gift. They had so much fun playing Operation with Papa:

And with all the time off, they've been spending hours playing with their old toys too. Legos are THE BEST.

After two weeks completely off, I'm afraid we aren't going to remember how to get back in the routine at all.

Mama included. :)

Happy New Year!! :)