Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Newest Addition

In a little over 6 months are our lives will be forever changed.  We are expecting the arrival of our first baby and couldn't be more thrilled!  The little one is due January 5th. At least the coldest and darkest time of the Alaskan year will be filled with joy!  Though it does throw a kink in our holiday travels this year.  Small sacrifices that are well worth it to us.

I'm officially past 12 weeks.  And certainly ready for this 2nd trimester ease.  The first 12 weeks have been filled with exhaustion, nausea and high emotions.  Goodness.  At least I find peace in knowing that it is all for an amazing, worthwhile purpose.  I am so excited about motherhood and feel blessed that God has allowed Matt and I to expand our family. 

My pants already don't fit - requiring a rubber band...but I recently upgraded to a belly band.  I can't believe I have this little thing growing in me!  Certainly surreal.
at 9 weeks
I've had some major food aversions.  So my diet has consisted a lot of cheese and crackers and the occasional cinnamon toast.  Blueberries taste like candy to me right now...good thing they are in season - and healthy.

The nausea has subsided a bit (wahoo!), but the exhaustion keeps on coming.  Needing to sleep 10-12 hours at night gets a little old after awhile.  At least I'm starting to look a little preggo!
Not sure if having this big of a belly already is normal or a good sign of what's to come...
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Proverbs 139:13

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wedded Bliss

Two years ago today I celebrated one of the best, most significant days of my life.  I got to marry this man, my best friend. 

I am so blessed to be his wife.  It has been full of love, encouragement, refinement, security and joy.  What a journey we have had together already.  I'm excited for what is still in store for us!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another Alaskan Anniversary

Nope, I'm not talking about our 2 year anniversary that happens on Monday (goodness, 2 years?!).  I'm talking about the fact that we have been in Alaska for one entire year now.  Well, 1 year and 3 days if you are being technical.  Or we have survived one winter if you are really wondering how I measure it.

Some days I feel like we just got here.  Other days I'm about ready for our stint to be long over.

We have had so many new experiences and adventures together.  These are memories that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.  I try to document them well with this blog so that I can look back and remember all that God let Matt and I do together.  And we really have fun while doing them!  They are our special memories. That happened in Alaska of all places!  I don't want to look back at the time we spend here and think how much I disliked the experience.  I will never say I regret moving here.  I believe God brings you places and has you do things to refine you into more of His character.  He has you walk through times of challenges to embrace the fact that God is bigger than any of them. It's rare when I realize what I'm learning at the moment or that I'm becoming a better person, but I know if I am seeking God and His glory, I am always transforming into His likeness.  I like to journal and write because I like to be able to look back and see where God has brought me.  And He has brought me far already!

I've heard the sayings "the grass is always greener where you water it" and "bloom where you are planted".  Maybe cheesy, I've been praying this would be true of my life.  To be honest, I have troubles with wishing the day away wanting to be somewhere else.  But that's mostly the uncontentness of my fallen self.  I'll look back into my past and remember how great it was...when ironically I was struggling with them same thing then!

But I've been pretty homesick lately.  Maybe because this doesn't feel like home yet.  I hear the first year is the hardest.  Thankfully I've gotten that over with.  But I miss Texas.  I lived there basically my whole life and it never seemed that special to me.  Until I don't have it anymore, of course.  I miss being a drive away from family.  I miss being able to catch coffee with an old friend.  I miss not having to wear a jacket everytime I go outside.  I miss sweating because it's hot outside (can't believe I'm admitting that!).  I miss good country music.  I miss Chick-fil-a and Sonic happy hour.  I miss living in the Bible belt.  I miss good shopping.  I feel like I could go on forever.  But I'll be done. 

God has great things in store.  I have to TRUST that.  He is my hope when I feel hopeless. He is my rest when I lack peace. He is my constant when nothing is familiar.  He is my comfort when I lack joy.  He is my security when I feel like I don't belong.  Ultimately, this is not our home. Alaska or Texas or wherever we might end up down the road.  This life is just a breath, and praise the Lord that I get to spend eternity with Him!

"But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Philippians 3:20

Friday, June 17, 2011

Camping Portage Valley

We recently tested our new toy out at Portage Valley, about an hour drive from Anchorage.  We stayed at the campgrounds Black Bear...for some reason I don't feel like I would encourage the bears by naming the campground after them.  But I strangely felt much safer sleeping all snuggled up on the queen sized mattress and layers of blankets inside the bed of the truck.  I might be able to handle more camping this summer. 

Our friend, Jared, joined us while his other half was out of town.  Notice, he has the real deal backpackers tent set up outside out gigantic sleeping quarters.  Eh, details.  And if your curious, our 80lb dog slept in the tent with us, just as she always does.
Our campsite had a view of the river running through the area and it backed up to this nifty trail system.  And thankfully the rainy forecast actually involved sunny skies.  We brought our bikes along and took a stroll down to view some glaciers.  They were beautiful.
I would like to point out that it is mid-June when this picture is taken and that is snow on the ground.  Sometimes I wonder how I'm surviving.  But notice the huge glacier behind us.  This picture does not do it justice.  We contemplated getting closer...but decided dinner sounded better at the time. 
We headed back to the campground and cooked us up some quesadillas on our new propane stove top and built us a fire with some smores and hot cocoa.  That's probably the best part of camping to me.
The next morning Jared had to leave early, so Matt, Mocha and myself checked out the sweet trails, bridges and views around us. 
Hopefully we will be able to get out camping a bit more during this short window of relatively warm weather (and by that I mean not freezing).   We have more than enough places to explore.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Truck Tent

We got a new toy.  It's totally an Alaskan inspired toy, but we hope to use it for years to come wherever we end up next.   We actually got it because I'm scared to sleep on the ground.  Specifically because it makes me easy bait for bears.  Not kidding.  Maybe irrational, but hopefully this will ease my panic and help me sleep better/at all while camping...of which we will probably be doing a lot of now.

Matt was giddy excited the day it came in that we had to set it up in our driveway that night to make sure it really worked.  I guess it would be quite inconvenient to get all the way out somewhere to realize our tent can't sleep us.  
Another fabulous part is that inside there will be an perfectly fit air mattress for our warm, aging bodies to enjoy.  Roughing it? Probably not.  But I feel no shame if I'm waking up refreshed. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Trip Back South

This post is a long time coming.  Almost a month ago (oops) we headed down to Oklahoma to celebrate the marriage of Bart and Caralyn Fisher.  It was great to see friends and family and enjoy the heat (but not the tornado weather!).  The Moore's were so kind as to host us while we were there.
Matt and me at the wedding
After the wedding celebrations, we collected a group of friends (otherwise known as the "Ponca Mafia" because the core group began as grade school friends back in Ponca City, OK - Matt's hometown - and has since expanded).  A few dared to get into the water, which was still rather cold, but most (including myself) just chilled on the dock most of the time.
Matt showing his skillz
Paige, Kyle and Amanda

Jenna, me, Paige, Amanda, Katie
All the ladies enjoying the sun!
We also had the annual fantasy football party.  This usually happens during the Superbowl, but Matt and I couldn't make that trek back this year.  Alas, a few months late, I had to pass over the beloved trophy I won last year (I know, still can't believe it) to the new winner, Mr. Aaron Jones.
Then the whole gang watched some basketball, enjoyed some burgers, volleyball and new T-shirts to commemorate the experience. 
Before the flight back Matt and I were able to drive to meet my mom, Amy, her Matt (as we refer to him, since it gets kinda confusing with 2 Matt's in the family) and my nephew Wesley.  We braved the storms and thankfully the Lord parted the clouds for us to grab a quick bite to eat between DFW and OKC.  Of which I have no pictures, but will hopefully add soon:).

It's always a looonnng flight back, but it makes it worth seeing those we love.