A Year in the Land of Omaha

One year ago today, my best friend and I packed up our car and made the 900 mile drive across the country to our first new home here in Bellevue, Nebraska. 
I didn’t know anyone, we had to Google Maps our way through town for several months (still do some days), and we had to sleep on the floor for the first month until our stuff finally arrived (probably one of the best months of our marriage, hands down).

Moving is scary. Change is not always fun. Happy as I was to finally be reunited with my husband after 7 months of Air Force training, the idea of moving somewhere so unknown was difficult to swallow. Moving here was our last choice. Who wants to live in Nebraska? What even is there to do in the middle of cornland? It’s a good day’s drive from anyone I know in any direction. Truly isolated. Altogether unnerving. And for that 14 hour drive away from home, friends & comfort, Nebraska was scary.

But this is home now, and it isn’t scary. This isn’t where we fell in love but love led us here. This isn’t where family is, but we’re making a new one.

I’ve learned that big changes don’t seem so intimidating when you have someone to share them with. I’ve learned a whole new way to love and be loved by my husband. I’ve learned how to take that step of faith when God leads us to, trusting that He has always had our best interests at heart, even when it doesn’t seem to fit “our plan.”

Thinking back on my thoughts driving with Drew in the car that day, listening to Harry Potter on audiobook, watching the southeast horizon fade away behind us in the rear view mirror… How proud I am of the home we have made here, the year we have lived here, and the beautiful life that will be with us here soon.

Here’s to a great 2nd year living “The Good Life” in cornland.
“Cause we’d be so free, Happy alone, Sharing a smile, So far from home.”

24w1d

I had hubs take 24 week bump photos today. I got a couple dresses in from Asos Maternity for my upcoming maternity photos and baby shower, so I tried one of them on for the photos today. It’s very casual and comfortable, just my style. Pink sleeves 🙂

I usually struggle a lot every time we “have to” take bump pictures. I have the tummy stickers so I’ve been taking photos along with those, at 8, 12, 16, 20 and now 24 weeks. I gained a lot of weight before I got pregnant coming off of my birth control and it’s made me very self conscious. Add that with my ongoing cystic acne problem and well, cameras are just not very forgiving to this insecure pregnant lady. I generally spend time after taking photos meticulously editing away my blemishes, and trying hard to keep myself from going photoshop crazy on my body. I’ve had to accept that these are special photos that should be accurate portraits of this special time, curves and all.

So needless to say, I don’t usually enjoy taking these photos.

Today I posed, I smiled as much as I could, I adjusted my stance to not seem so round all over (just in the baby bump part). I peeked at some of the photos hubs took and sighed, accepting it’s just as good as it was gonna get. 

Thankfully my acne has started to clear up, and the only spot-editing I had to do was on some of the scarring I now have on my cheeks. Partial self-image boost.

I posted a couple of pictures of me with the 24 week sticker in similar poses as previous weeks. Then I saw one photo in my new casual dress that I … liked. I posted it online too. Over the last few hours I’ve had people liking it and saying I look beautiful in it. I’m not boasting, I’m just kind of … amazed. 

Because I actually feel beautiful in this picture. I feel like the “glow” is there, and I never thought I would get that. And what’s interesting is, my first thought when someone commented on my being beautiful in it was that if I am beautiful then it is because my growing daughter is making me beautiful.

She makes me feel strong. She makes me feel like I have glorious purpose. She makes me feel beautiful. 

This is the first photo of my pregnancy that makes me proud of myself for what is happening to my body. It’s the first time I feel good about how I look in a very long time. I feel beautiful because she is with me.

I think it’s almost like I could see her in the picture, and that’s why it’s beautiful to me. 

I’m not as little as I would want, I still have skin troubles, perhaps my hair isn’t even ideal. But I don’t care, this photo makes me feel beautiful. Because of her. I’m falling in love with her.
  

23w4d

Last night my husband and I were praying before sleep, and I decided we needed to break the cycle of just asking for things. Asking for favor at his job, asking for help fixing my broken car, asking for healing for his sprained knee, asking for his leave paperwork to go through so we can take our last trip home before the baby comes. Always asking. 

It’s not bad to ask for things. The bible says “ask and you shall receive.” So oftentimes we don’t receive because we don’t ask. Hubs has been great at getting my head around this fact, and not feeling guilty for asking things of God, who can orchestrate and provide anything I could possibly ask for. It’s just taken me some years of experiencing that grace to come to terms with it.

But last night after we were done praying for God to work in our lives, I just said, “Can we just list off a bunch of things we’re thankful for for a minute? Like anything at all.” From the health of our puppies to the rose bush in our front yard (blooming for the 3rd time this year!) we thanked the Father for everything He has provided for us, material and immaterial. 

Of course it brought us into the many immeasurable things to do with our growing daughter and my pregnancy to be thankful for. Hubs got silly at this point, “God, thank you that my wife is carrying this baby… So I don’t have to,” but I got teary thanking Him for the perfection of His design for not only her body, but mine to carry and develop her. And thanking Him for allowing us to take part in creation… It’s just so incredible. It’s humbling and overwhelming. 

By the end of us going through everything we could think of, I felt so amazing and at peace. And I realized that this is where I want to be right now. As long as I’m standing in a posture of gratitude towards God, I have peace and I stop wanting more. I realize what I have, all that I have, was freely given and is more than I could ever ask for or need. It’s interesting too, that the first things we mentioned were in general all material things, and then as the thankfulness continued it began to be more for immaterial things like our marriage and His presence in our home.

So today I’m choosing a posture of gratitude. I’m choosing to see the Him in everything. I’m choosing to stop asking and to just be thankful. But to know that when the time comes when I need to ask, to be thankful for the certainty that He will answer me.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

22w6d

Havent posted in a while cause things have started to settle and nothing much to report. But, journaling is healthy. 

Baby kicks. So hard. Wakes me up sometimes. This week she’s practicing her flips and tumbles. One second I’ll feel her kicks on one side of my stomach, and the next second she’s totally upside down kicking me on another side of my tummy. Crazy crazy kid in there. Future gymnast for sure.

Really hoping my belly gets more round and big for our maternity photos and baby shower later this month back in Knoxville. I ordered a couple cheap maternity dresses online and I want them to look like they fit correctly. My tummy is kind of lumpy/weird right now. I had a belly fat roll before pregnancy that I think is making the stretching process a little weird. Oddly thankful for it though, because it’s keeping me from developing an outie belly button, which I think are totally gross.

So yes, we have another trip to Knoxville planned. Originally just to do photography for a friend’s wedding, Drew was going to be deployed at this time but it got moved to March YAY, but now we’re making it a joint babymoon/wedding/friend’s graduation/baby shower/last visit for a very very long time. Going to spend a couple nights in Asheville, NC at our honeymoon hotel for a short babymoon getaway. Cannot wait. 

So weird to think that this time last year I was busy packing and preparing for our move out here. I had no idea what to expect, my life was going to get a complete makeover. It’s been a really full year. Stressing over training my dog to a new yard, learning to navigate a new city, being 900 miles from home, how was I to know that just one year later I would be 5 months pregnant with our first daughter?

I really miss home. But I know by now it would be driving me crazy if we’d never left. If it weren’t for my husband’s sacrifices we wouldn’t have a house, two wonderful dogs, job security, a decent income, and a future to feel safe about. I guess I sacrificed some comforts for this too. But it doesn’t seem like a sacrifice when you’re doing it for someone you love.

Like my changing body. I don’t really grumble about these stretch marks, or aches and pains. The fact that my body will never look or feel the same after this pregnancy isn’t really a problem for me. Because I’m doing it for her. Labor? Yeah that will suck. But I’m not mad. I don’t resent her, or our decision to be parents just because it’s going to physically hurt. Because it’s for her. And it’s all to bring glory to her Creator, who is insanely awesome.

I wanna take baby T to the Smokey Mountains when we’re in Knoxville. She’s not born, I know. But there’s a spiritual connection I have there that she’s gotta feel. The waters will be warm and the air won’t be too stifling or humid. I have this spot I want to take her that’s a small secluded waterfall off a pretty common trail that isn’t too well known. And just sit there and breathe and pray. And see if God has anything new to tell me about her. 

We haven’t named her yet, and we probably won’t anytime soon. We have a few names on the table, but no certain feelings about any of them. I’m comfortable with that. Her name just isn’t important right now.

It’s weird once you get past the excitement of learning the gender, how things just start to settle and stagnate. Her little movements are so common to me now, I’m not squealing and grabbing my husband’s hand to feel every little nudge. I’ve gotten about as far on the nursery as we can right now – we have a crib and a changing table dresser, repainted with new knobs, and most of her clothes and things we’ve picked up are organized. I have a couple projects to work on, but for the most part I have to keep reminding myself that there’s no rush. I’m barely over halfway there. We have so much time to paint and decorate and plan. And that’s a little overwhelming. I feel her, I know it’s a her, and I can’t fathom having to wait another four months to meet her now that it’s taken this long. My future pregnancies probably won’t feel this slow, but this is like glacier-slow. I need more hobbies.

Wow tangents on tangents on tangents. What a weird post, Molls. Way to just stick to your insane pregnancy brain stream of consciousness. You know actually, this post is a pretty accurate depiction of where my brain is at these days. Kind of all over the place, but in a settled kind of way.

So now to close, I’m going to sit here and think of all the things I would want to eat right now. Enjoy.

Oreo mint milkshake. Five Guys cheese burger. Lomein noodles. McDonald’s fries dipped in a Wendy’s frosty. Banana bread. Corn on the cob. Cookie dough cheesecake. Eggrolls. Super crunch sushi roll from Surin in Knoxville. Watermelon slushie. Caesar salad from Newk’s. Biscuits and honey. 

Ok… I’m starving now.