The Life Not My Own

Friday, April 27, 2012

26 Weeks


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Preparing for Baby: Our Hearts

We’ve been busy preparing our home for Baby B and getting all the “goods”.  However, things aren’t everything.  More than anything, we’ve been trying to prepare our hearts.

Going from just a young married couple to parents with a baby is a huge step.  And sometimes it can be scary.  After all, there’s a little life growing inside of me that we will have to feed and care for and be responsible for raising! 

We know what to expect.  We know that babies take a lot of work, and that sleep will be almost obsolete.  We know that there will be times that he’ll be screaming and crying and we’ll be pulling our hair out.  We know that we’ll have to suddenly think about bed times and feedings, and deal with tantrums and sleepy screaming, before going out anywhere.  We know all these things, but are we really ready?

Andy and I were talking recently, and we realized that the biggest thing we need to be praying about is that God would prepare our hearts for this little one.  We know plenty of parents that view their children as burdens or hindrances.  We’ve been told time-and-time again that we need to get ready because it’s going to be really hard, and that our lives will be pretty much over.  But we don’t want to see our baby and parenting that way.

When we got engaged, we got sick of hearing the “ball-and-chain” jokes, and the advice about how tied down we’d be, and how we’d never be able to do our own thing again.  Yes, marriage takes work, but honestly it hasn’t been that hard.  We’ve had financial struggles and disagreements, and everything hasn’t always been a bed of roses.  Yet, for the most part, it’s been a wonderful blessing. 

We’ve come to realize that it’s all in how you view it.  We don’t make all these things huge issues, or view them as terribly difficult. To us, the tough things and the times that take worth are insignificant in comparison to the incredible blessing that marriage is.

That’s how we want to view this baby.  The Bible says that children are a blessing, and we want to see him as just that.  We expect the hard times and sleepless nights, but we don’t want to make a big deal about them.  Instead, we want to focus on the incredible blessing that this little baby is and will be.  We want to savor each smile, each little coo, each moment. 

Really, it’s all about your heart.  Without a heart that is soft and tender towards Baby B, we will never be able to love him in the way he should be loved.  We will never be able to care for him the way he needs.  Most importantly, we will never be able to fully embrace him as the blessing that he is. 

To be honest, a heart like that is not possible for us alone.  But God.  Only He can give us such a heart. 
And so we pray for this little one, that we would be able to take care of him.  But, most of all, we pray that God would give us a heart for our baby boy…and the love that He has for us.             


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stay-At-Home Mom: Myths

Check out the last post in the series, Pros and Cons.  If you're new to the series, start here.

One of the things I really want to address about SAHMs are all of the myths out there.  With the recent criticism of Ann Romney for being a stay-at-home mom, I feel this is especially relevant.  There are many, MANY more, but here are a few that are in my thoughts right now:

Living on one income is only possible nowadays when your husband has a high-paying job.”

I hope to address this in more detail in a later post, but for now I’d like to say this simply isn’t true!  My husband doesn’t make a ton, but we live a very comfortable and happy life…and we rarely do without!  If my husband made less, we’d still be able to make-do by cutting out some things (smart phones, satellite TV, etc.).  More on that later!

Stay-at-home moms are lazy.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth!  Spend a day with a SAHM and, I promise you, you’ll change your mind.  Granted, there are always those few who give the rest of us a bad name, but for the most part SAHMs are running constantly all day!  They have the hardest job of all…and they don’t even get paid for it.  I can never understand how someone could criticize a woman for not working outside of the home (ala, Ann Romney “hasn’t worked a day in her life”).  Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that being in the daycare industry is one of the hardest and draining jobs there is.  Stay-at-home moms are their own daycare workers, plus house cleaners, cooks, and a billion other things.  Can you seriously say that isn’t work??!!

Furthermore, SAHM moms are incredibly self-sacrificing.  They don’t get breaks, quiet lunch dates with friends, or quiet time in the car on the way to pick up their kids.  They are constantly putting their family’s needs ahead of their own.  Hard work?  You better believe it!

Stay-at-home moms are missing out on a fulfilling career.”

True fulfillment doesn’t come from success in the eyes of the world or getting a promotion.  Fulfillment comes from pouring everything you have into the task and the work God has given you for today.  It comes from knowing you are doing God’s work and changing the world.  You don’t need an outside job to find this.  Each time you clean up a smelly diaper or wipe a snotty nose, you are loving and nurturing the precious gift God has entrusted to you.  You are training, molding, and shaping the next world changer. 

This goes beyond your children, though.  As wives, our ultimate goal should be to be the best helpmeets we can be to our men.  By taking care of the home and caring for the children, you are freeing your husband up to be all that God has created him to be!  What could be a better help (or purpose) than this?

“I would go crazy staying at home all day!”

I think I’m going to address this more later on, too.  I believe that this is one of the biggest lies that women are told nowadays!  And who can blame modern young women for thinking this?  They’ve been steeped in the idea (from birth), that being a homemaker is boring and unfulfilling.  They’ve been taught to pursue their dreams, and those “dreams” go beyond a husband and children.  Chances are, their own mothers worked outside of the home and they haven’t had any good role models of happy and fulfilled stay-at-home moms! 

As women, we will find the most happiness and fulfillment when we are “keepers-at-home” before anything else.  We need to learn to embrace our homes and truly make them our castles.  More on that later.

If I was a stay-at-home mom, I wouldn’t be able to have any social life.”

Less income means less money for babysitters.  Add to that the constraint of having your children with you all day, and you rarely have time to meet a friend for lunch or have any “down” time.  But you know what?  There are other options!  Look for a MOPs group or a playgroup to join.  If you can’t find one, start one.  Offer to trade off babysitting with another couple you know.  Don’t be afraid to leave the kids at grandma’s for the weekend, or ask your husband to watch them on occasion while you have dinner with some friends.  Not being able to have a social life is an excuse…and one that doesn’t have to be!

Additionally, maybe its time to start seeing your children as the blessings they are, instead of burdens.  Learn to love spending time with them and being with them!  Yes, you need couple time or adult time on occasion, but every time you meet a friend doesn’t have to be without a kid in tow.  Instead of meeting a friend for lunch at a nice cafe, bring the kids along, pack lunches, and meet her at the park.  Really, it’s all about attitude.

What are some common myths that you have heard about stay-at-home moms?


Monday, April 23, 2012

One Thousand Gifts:

Sometimes I have to do things I don’t really want to do.  Sometimes I have things coming up that I dread.  And yet, I can’t avoid them.  I must press on.  The challenge is in finding the good in these things…embracing them.

Every situation is for a reason.  Through hard or difficult things, or things we just don’t want to do, we learn things.  We grow stronger.  That is a gift in itself.

291. Situations and tasks that make me stronger.
292. The opportunity to find joy in everything.
293. A short break to soak up some Vitamin D, after being stuck in a building all day.
294. A baby boy who’s kicking me night-and-day, and making me smile almost every minute.
295. The most comfy maternity jeans ever.
296. Minimal discomforts from pregnancy…just an achy back!
297. Warm baths to sooth that aching back. :)
298. Mango iced tea at Chilis. Yum!
299. Getting to wear the cutest shoes I found at a consignment store…and being pleasantly surprised that they are very comfortable!
300. Having people quickly notice that I’m pregnant.  It’s so fun!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Dear Baby Boy (About Your Daddy),

In about sixteen more weeks we’ll have you in our arms…and we can’t wait.  Especially your daddy.  He’s been planning and working like crazy to get everything ready for your arrival. 

At first, he thought he wanted a little girl.  Once you came on the screen, however, and we were told you were a little boy, all that changed.  Now, it’s all cowboys and pirates, “manly” diaper bags and Carhartt jackets.  He’s so excited to have a son, and to get to teach you how to be a man. 

One of his favorite things to do is feel you move.  When you kick his hand, he gets the biggest smile on his face!  Almost every day he’ll point to my belly and ask what it is.  I tell him it’s his baby.  Then he points to me and asks the same question.  I tell him it’s his other baby.  He feels so blessed and lucky to have two babies…and for one of them to be his son!

The other day he kissed my belly and said that he loved his little boy with all his heart.  And I know he really means it. 

I can’t wait for you to get to meet him, little one!  He is the a far better husband than I could ever have dreamed of…and I know he’s going to be a far better dad than anyone could dream.  He knows that, above preparing our home and finances for you, he needs to prepare his heart.  He’s fully prepared for the work and lack of sleep you’ll bring, and he’s not afraid of it.  He knows that you are a precious gift, and he already treasures you beyond any riches.  His ultimate goal is to raise you up in the fear and knowledge of God, and to see you become a strong arrow for Christ. 
So, until August, little one, we wait patiently.  We delight in watching my belly grow and change shape, in hearing your strong heartbeat, and in feeling your kicks get harder and harder.  Know that your daddy can’t wait to meet you, and that he is so, so thankful for your life!


Your Mommy


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Weird Pregnancy Observations

Now that I’m nearing the end of my second trimester (24 weeks…woohoo!), I thought I’d share with you some new pregnancy observations!

1.) Everyone and their neighbor will have a different comment or view on the names you are considering for your baby.  I’ve gotten everything from the weird looks (like they smell something) to the comment “that sounds like a rich kid”.  Good thing we don’t really care what everyone and their neighbor thinks!

2.) People will have different views on how “big” you are compared to other pregnant women.  Some people say I look tiny, others say I look farther along than they expected.  I’m right on track with my weight gain (and almost all of it is in my belly), so I kind of shrug off what everyone else says.

3.) A lot of people will think you are suddenly “fragile”, or that you’re more likely to lose your balance.  I promise, people…I won’t fall just walking through the yard!  Oh, and I can still garden and push wheelbarrows (light ones).  It actually makes me feel better!

4.) There’s a point you pass in which you suddenly look pregnant to everyoneI mean, one week I was having people say I didn’t even look pregnant, and then the next people weren’t hesitating to ask whether I was having a boy or a girl.  It’s incredible!

5.) There’s nothing more incredible than feeling your baby move within your womb.  Every time I feel a little punch or kick, I can’t help but smile.  Even when it’s 3 a.m. and I’m exhausted.  It’s incredible how much I already love this little boy…and I haven’t even got to meet him yet!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stay-at-Home Mom: The Pros and Cons

Last week I talked about My Story.  This week I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of being (or becoming) a stay-at-home mom.  If you don’t have time for the whole thing, be sure to skip to the bottom…I saved the best for last. :)

-More time with your child to train them, teach them, and love on them.
-Not having to worry about what someone else is teaching your child.
-Avoidance of the social problems daycares and preschools can create.
-Fewer sicknesses in your home (because your child is no longer in daycare)
-Never having to feel torn between work and kids.
-Never having to miss out on anything, such as your child’s first steps or first word.
-No tyrannical boss (in fact, no boss at all!) to deal with.
-No more daycare bills, soggy sandwiches packed for lunch, dealing with coworkers, or gas spent on commutes.
-Being able to do chores and errands during the day, so that when your hubby gets home at night your house is less stressful and chaotic. 
-In the same vein, you can devote more attention to your husband (who should always be your first priority) because you’ve already met your child’s needs (or as best you can) and you have less to worry about.
-Also in the same vein, more relaxing evenings.
-Possibly having more free time to pursue things you love, such as learning a new language, gardening, or writing.
-Your kids (and you and your spouse too) learn that doing without certain things doesn’t mean less happiness.  The simpler life can actually mean more happiness!
-Possibly having a smaller house to clean (because you can’t afford a bigger one :) )

-Having to depend solely on one income and salary
-Not having the money for certain (or any) extracurriculars for your child or good family vacations.
-The stress that comes with struggling to make ends meet
-Not getting to “climb the ladder”, prove your worth, or use the degree you worked hard (and paid hard) for
-Possibly leaving a job you love and that you feel like you’re impacting the world at.
-Having to be stuck at home more
-Not getting recognition for your daily work
-Not getting to socialize as much with adults (aka, coworkers)
-Caring for your child all day takes a lot of work and energy!

And the real comparison:
-Nice lunches with coworkers could never compare to PB&J sandwiches at the park with a happy, smiling child.
-Impacting the world a little through an outside job could never compare to impacting the world by impacting one little life.
-Training a new employee well could never compare to training up your child in the way’s of the Lord, using each second as a teachable moment.
-The extra money for highlights and manicures could never compare to the priceless gift of watching your child take his/her first steps.
-The reduced stress of not struggling to make ends meet could never compare to the reduced stress of not having to juggle home life and work life.
-Less fights about money (because they’re always plenty) could never compare to having more time to spend with your spouse.
-The bigger house, nice vacations, and living the “American Dream” could never compare to a hopscotch drawn on the driveway, sleeping in a tent in the back yard for a “staycation”, and making chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen.
-The accolades, promotions, pay raises, and bonuses could never compare to being able to lay your head down at night knowing that you’ll never receive the recognition you should for the incredibly hard work you did that day…and being perfectly okay with that.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Update on the Baby Goods!

Baby B won’t be here for another couple of months, but we’re slowly trying to accumulate everything we’ll need.  His room is getting piled high with things…making it seem so much more real! 


Anyway, here’s our original list and an update…


-Crib and mattress-We got both of these last weekend at Target.  Can’t wait to put up the crib!  Here’s the back of it…


-Bedding and blankets-Nothing right now, but I’m sure that will come.  All I really need is a fitted sheet.

-Rocker or glider-Still working on this…it’s hard to find one that’s comfortable, looks good, and fits us tall people.

-Stroller-We have one picked out at Target that we’d like.  It’s actually a jogger, but Andy thought it was sturdier and that it would be more practical since we live in the country.

-Car seat-We have a matching one to the stroller picked out at Target as well.  We feel pretty strongly about getting a new one, since our baby’s safety is involved…plus we plan on having more kids!

-Clothes and supplies-We have a few clothes that we’ve bought, and some really cute clothes my parent’s and sisters bought us.  I’m sure we’ll get more than we need of these at the baby shower!  We also bought a Halo sleep sack last weekend, so I guess that goes in here too.  This is what my family got us:

IMG_1000  IMG_1001

And little pants to match them…


And even cute little bibs…

IMG_1004  IMG_1005

-Some kind of carrier or Moby Wrap-I have a friend who’s made Moby Wrap’s, so I plan on asking her to help me make one.  We’d also like an Ergo for when Baby B gets bigger, as well as a sling.

-A baby gate-Still none. 

-A few bottles and a pump (for the days when I need to be away from our baby briefly)-On our registry.  We’re going with glass bottles to avoid chemicals (I know new bottles are BPA free, but you never know what else is in them).


-Play pen-We bought a nice, like-new one at the Rhea Lana consignment sale for $30!

-Swing-My parents bought us a very nice one last weekend.  It’s the kind that goes side-to-side, as well as front-to-back.  We would never have bought this ourselves, but we know it will be a HUGE blessing!  It’s still in pieces, but this is the one we got…


-Baby bath (this really is almost a need…I’m not comfortable washing our newborn in the kitchen sink!)-I put one on our registry.

Some things we might want but don’t really “have-to-have”:

-Monitor-We’ll probably get an inexpensive set, although we plan on having the baby sleep in our room.

-Bouncer or walker-We’ll probably put one on the registry, but we can wait until baby is bigger.

-Extra toys (I’m sure we’ll get plenty from friends/family, and we’re not into electronic gadgets)-I’m not worrying about these.

What I’ve Added To Our List:

-Boppy Pillow-I’ve heard these are great!

-Diaper Bag-Somehow I forgot this the first time around! hehe!

-Bumpo Seat and/or high chair-We’ll need something eventually.

-Diaper Pail-Um, yeah.

-Changing Table/Dresser Combo-We’d really like to have one of these for the baby’s room.  We’ll see!

-Nursing pads, cover, supplies, etc.

-Curtains (or fabric to make them) for the baby’s room-I’m looking for something green or chocolate colored and whimsical.  Any ideas?

Also, I’ve been doing some research into all the new safety recommendations, especially as related to SIDS.  As I mentioned, I bought a sleep sack, and I’d like more.  We’re not planning on using any bumpers (and I’m not even registering for a bedding set because of this).  I figure that we’ll get lots of blankets anyway, and I’m planning on making a blanket or two myself.  What are your experiences/recommendations with this?  We don’t want to be paranoid, but we want to be safe where we can. 

What do you think of the new list?  I think we’re doing fairly well.  I’m itching to get the crib and swing set up…even though Baby B won’t be here for another 3 1/2 months!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stay-at-Home Mom: My Story

Click here to read the introduction to this new series, “Stay-at-Home Mom”. 

“Hi Dr. Laura, I’m Sarah and I’m my kids’ mom.”

I remember hearing that phrase frequently growing up.  On any given afternoon when we were in the car, Dr. Laura would be on, giving advice to men and women from all over.  She encouraged women to stay at home with their children, and coined the phrase “my kid’s mom” for any woman who did.  Women just like my mother.

Looking back, I can see that Andy and I were blessed.  We both came from families where the mom stayed at home with the kids.  We both knew that, even in today’s society, a one-income family could work and would work, and we both knew that someday we wanted a family just like that. 

It wasn’t always like that, though. 

My parents had both been raised in homes with a stay-at-home mom.  It was the norm back then, but times were changing.  As they grew up and went off to college, the feminist movement was in full swing.  For a while, they bought into it. 

My mom was a thoroughly modern woman in the late eighties.  She had her Ph.D. in Psychology and a good job.  She was smart and she was “going places”.  My parents had what society saw as the “perfect life” when they got married, and eleven months later I came along…all part of the plan.  I don’t think her quitting her job even crossed their minds then.

For the first few years, I was with a babysitter part of the day.  My mom got off early (3 o’clock), and spent every free moment with me.  She was a wonderful mother.  But still, she felt like she was missing out.  Then my younger sister came along and things changed.  My parents made the decision to become a single income family, and my mom quit her job to stay home with us girls. 

I don’t remember our family struggling because of it.  My dad was just starting out as a pilot, but he still made enough to support us and our home comfortably.  In fact, I don’t recall ever wanting for anything.

When Hilary and I headed off to school, my mom still stayed at home.  She was always there to pick us up from school and help us with our homework.  Because she hadn’t been at work all day, our afternoons were not chaotic and rushed with her trying to catch up on housework and workout.  When we were sick, she didn’t have to worry about missing work, and on our summer vacation we were with her constantly.  She didn’t have to feel torn between her family and her work, because her work was her family. 

Fast forward a few years and life found us starting to homeschool and my two other sisters came along.  And she was still there for us, happy and content as homemaker.  In fact, although my youngest sister is graduating high school this year, she’s still at home. 

Growing up in that environment, it’s easy to see that we were raised to want to be a stay-at-home mom.  We expected it.  For the most part, our friends’ moms stayed at home too.  There were a few who worked, or who decided to go back to work when their kids were in high school.  However, my mom wasn’t the “odd woman out” by any means.   

I’m sure my mother felt the pressure from other women though, who couldn’t believe she gave up her “big career” to take us to piano lessons and do “nothing”.  But she never seemed to mind.  I always remember watching her and thinking she had the best job at all, because she was always happy, content, and well-cared for.  I knew that someday I’d marry a man just like my daddy, who worked hard to provide for us and care for us so that I could be a stay-at-home wife and mom.

Thankfully, I met Andy, who is just that.  It’s always been a big deal to us that I stay at home with our little ones.  Every decision we’ve made, from buying a house to relying solely on Andy’s income to support us, has been with that in mind.  We’ve tried our very best to scrimp and save so that, once we have a baby running around, my working outside the home doesn’t ever have to be a necessity. 

Now that time is approaching…sometimes faster than I’m ready for.  But oddly, sometimes, I do feel like the “odd woman out”.  Where we live, and in our church, the vast majority of moms have full-time jobs outside of the home.  It’s the norm, it’s often expected, and most women see no way around it.  It makes me proud of the few women who’ve stood against the crowd.  Not all of them are well off, but they make it work. I can’t wait to join their ranks.  

Will the women who work’s kids all turn out terrible?  Of course not!  I’m not even saying that mine won’t turn out terrible, or that my kids will be better because I stay at home with them.  What I am saying is that I’ll be there for them, to nourish and care for them, to teach them and watch them grow.  I won’t miss out on anything.  Because I’ll be my kid’s mom. 

Next week, join us for a discussion on the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom.  And you might, just might, get to hear from my husband about his experiences growing up, and why my staying-at-home is important to him too!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stay-at-Home Mom: An Introduction

Come August (or late-July, if my little man decides to come early), I’ll be taking a big step and making the transition into being a stay-at-home mom.  This is not a decision we or without much thought, but it is something we always knew we’d do.  From the very beginning we planned and saved and worked under the assumption that, whenever the Lord blessed us with a child, I’d stay at home with him or her.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our decision, especially with our little boy’s arrival getting ever closer.  I know it’s not a common, or even popular, decision in today’s society.  Even in our conservative Baptist church where babies abound, the number of working moms drastically outnumbers the number of stay-at-home moms.  I meet far too many women who think that staying-at-home with their kids wouldn’t be possible for their family, or that they’d be bored.  And then there are the girls who haven’t made the decision yet.  Maybe they’re expecting their first baby, or just planning to start a family, and the decision still remains unmade in their hearts and minds. 

With that in mind, I’m starting a blog series all about stay-at-home moms.  Obviously, I’m not a SAHM yet, so I’m on this journey with you.  Each week, I hope to share with you a little more about moms who stay at home and how they make it work.  There will be advice on how to make it work financially, dealing with criticism, and time management.  Also, I hope to share with you some interviews with real stay-at-home moms.  My sweet husband has even agreed to give you a guy’s perspective on everything!

Will you take this journey with me?        

Since I’m not a SAHM quite yet, I also need your help.  Are you a stay-at-home mom or planning to be one someday?  Do you have any comments or advice?  Would you be willing to answer a few questions for one of our Q&As?  Do you have any questions about being a SAHM?  Email me at , or just comment here if you’d rather.   

Finally, as a note, my goal in this series is not to belittle or criticize working moms.  I understand that being a SAHM is not always feasible, or that many women were simply not raised to want to be one.  In fact, many of my friends are working moms themselves.  If you’re a working mom yourself, my purpose is not to make you feel bad or judge you in anyway.  I only want to show you that there is a another wayAll I ask is that you keep an open mind, and let God speak to your heart about what His plan is for you and your family specifically.   

Thank you for going on this journey with me…I’m excited to see where God will take us!

Check back tomorrow for Part I of the series, “My Story”.


Monday, April 2, 2012

One Thousand Gifts: My Garden

The grey winter days made us ambitious.  Maybe a little too much that way.  We dreamed of a huge garden, with all sorts of vegetables.  We dreamed of canning, drying, and making our own “spice mixes”.  We ordered any seed we thought we might use, and dreamed and designed huge garden plans.

And then reality set in.  We’d need more dirt, more space, and more time.  20’x40’ our first year out?  We were crazy.  But we didn’t give up the dream.

We settled on a nice raised bed, 16’ x 16’.  We were amazed as God provided the perfect amount of top soil, and for a great price.  We prepared and got everything ready, we drew up new plans and scaled back on numbers.  And now, we’ve started to plant. 

There’s still much work to be done.  More planting to do.  Watering and weeding and bug picking to plan out.  And then the comes the gathering and preserving.  Yet, it’s work I love to do.  Yes, I love to feel my fingers in the soil, to watch anxiously as my little plants grow.  To care for them and nourish them…to protect them

What stuns me most is that God cares for us that way…and then some.  He’s a more dedicated, faithful, and loving Gardener than I could ever hope to be.  Yet, somehow, when I see my little seedlings sprout, I understand just a little bit more about the Mystery that He is. 

281. A spot and land to start the garden of my dreams.
282. A husband who works tirelessly to help me achieve those dreams.
283. A small glimpse of God each time I walk in my garden.
284. His provision.
285. Friends who are always encouraging and faithful, and who I can count on with this baby coming.
286. Watching my belly grow more-and-more each day.
287. Feeling my little son kick me night and day.
288. Knowing that in just a few more months, he’ll be in my arms.
289. Consignment sales and new maternity clothes.
290. Ice cream sundaes on warm, Sunday afternoons.