Friday, August 19, 2011

Big News!

We are so excited to be having a baby girl!  Most importantly though everything looks good with me and baby being healthy and growing appropriately.  Music to my ears.

Now you may recall that we live far away from family.  FAR.  And we are trying to make this new season in our life as special as it can be while keeping the family and friends back home involved as much as we can.  And again some news just isn't as much fun to tell on the phone.  So...I came up with a plan.

Matt and I went out and bought boy and girl items as pictured here:
 The plan was to bring both of them with us to the appointment and dash to the post office to get them overnighted to our folks (which by the way, I learned is not an easy - nor cheap - task to get something overnight from Alaska to Texas/Oklahoma.  Who knew?).   It would have been fun to throw a big "reveal" party or something, but you do what you gotta do.  On the outside of the package it read "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL ON THE PHONE WITH US!" in big, bold letters, just in case they wanted to cheat (which by the way they assumed the appointment was a day later than it actually was).  When they opened it they'd have "it's a girl" confetti along with a onesie fall in their lap.  It's like a party in a box.

We of course went with the girl items :)
Later that evening we planned a Skype session with the Moore's - parents and sister included.  Technology certainly makes living 4,000 miles away a little easier. Sadly, the in-laws didn't get their package in time.  It was a day  So we shared the news with a sign.

And here is their reaction...all smiles and joy.
Then we had a call with my mom.  I gotta love her enthusiasm for life...especially little girls.  Her first granddaughter.  Goodness, is she going to be spoiled! 

She had a bit different reaction...

...wait for it...


...and then sheer excitement. 

Yes, she may have screamed and then cried.  And I caught it all on camera.
Her package made it, thankfully.  Here she is posing with her onesie.   And elephants, well apparently when I was a baby I was in love with elephants, so naturally that means that my daughter will be too.
Somehow both our families knew it was a girl.  I'm not sure how, maybe they wished it upon us.  But I'm completely ok with that.  And as for the name Madelyn Grace, we just love it.  We'll be calling her Maddie.

And because I'm a proud parent, here are some photos from 20 weeks for your enjoyment. :) Maybe the last pictures until we meet her.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

a few weeks of growth

So I feel weird posting pictures of myself on the internet.  I feel like 10 years ago that would have been considered narcissistic. But maybe it's not strange anymore? However, I have been told that family (and maybe friends) back home want to know how much my belly has grown (when in reality, they just want to know how much weight I've gained) here it is.  The last three weeks. 

19 weeks
(I forgot to hold the sign that is sitting on the dresser in the picture)
How big I look is based so much on the clothes I'm wearing.  But I got my first official "belly rub" from a stranger last night.  Exciting times. 

I'm officially in week 20, which means I'm half way there!! I have been feeling great (other than this nasty head cold that I picked up last weekend).  I pretty much eat half my days calories in the morning involving lots of cereal.  Thankfully I've been able to continue to work out, though it mostly consists of walking or low impact cardio and a little weight lifting.  Running is certainly not happening these days. 

Yesterday we had our big appointment!  Most importantly the baby looks healthy and happy...but more to come on that one!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lions, Tigers...and Bears

We have a bear in our neighborhood.  Sure there are bears everywhere in Alaska, but this one happens to frequent our home. I'm pretty sure it's the same one we had last summer that initially got me all paranoid.  I haven't exactly seen the bear (yet), but I have seen rather large droppings of the fellow - several outside our backdoor in our shared green space we use daily with the dog.  Two major problems to this scenario.  One: our neighbor has berry bushes that are blooming next to our small 4 ft high, slated fence (berries = bear feast).  Two:  our dog recently has to take a trip outside a couple times a night and gets walked early in the morning before work (prime bear time). I am aware that she is quite high maintenance, but it's preparing us for parenthood, I guess. 

Anyways, it didn't bother me at first.  I was actually on the look out for the bear from the safety of the viewing from our home windows. I thought it'd be cool to see, like the time in Valdez.

During the day there are enough people out and about that it doesn't bother me and I'll come and go as I please. 

Until last night.  12:30am and Mocha needs to go outside.  As I'm walking out, Matt instructs me to just make Mocha do her thing in our little fenced area and not leave the protection of our "yard".  Understandable, but the thought puts me on edge.  Five seconds after opening the back door Mocha has a stare down with something in the pitch black and starts going crazy barking.  I couldn't see a thing.  All I could imagine was this giant, hungry bear jumping our little fence and attacking my beloved pooch at 12:30 in the morning.  I stood at the door, freaking out and tried to get her inside...not wanting to actually step out there myself (clearly for the protection of the baby, not myself).   After what felt like eternity and elevated blood pressure, she finally came in.  Alive.  Not overreacting at all.  I may have had nightmares about it. 

So I made Matt carry bear spray with him on his morning walk with Mocha today.  He will be doing that everyday if I have anything to say about it.

The things I have to put up with while living in Alaska.

Good news, we have our 20 week ultrasound tomorrow!! I have been a little more than anxious to discover whether it's a little boy or girl in there.  Goodness, I hope I can sleep tonight!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Biblical Finances

On Sunday, Matt and I had the opportunity to speak to our Sunday school class (though they don't really call them that up here) with only being back just a couple weeks.  After much debate and consideration of our options, we decided we needed to return to the original church we were involved in.  They offer community.  Which right now we need the most.  I feel that God has confirmed that decision - and I am very grateful.

During the summer months, the class offers couples to take a stand and share during one Sunday morning.  Matt and I were enticed and quickly decided to talk on something that Matt knows well...and I have  I was a little worried on how it would be perceived.  Budgeting isn't something that you get together with your friends and discuss over a cup of coffee (well, unless you are married to a finance guy, like myself) and can honestly be a touchy subject for some.  Sadly we've seen firsthand the consequences of not communicating and making a plan for your money in many people's lives.  Matt and I have our struggles, but I am blessed that they rarely involve money.  I think mostly because we are on the same page and discuss is regularly (extensively when we sit down and do our budget together each month). 

I thought I'd highlight a few of our notes from our talk.  We had a great time praying, organizing our thoughts and practicing together.  We came up with a "mock budget" that was based on our own to pass out to the class and shared Scripture and thoughts for each area.  Though I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest during the first 10 minutes while we shared our stories, but I hardly noticed any nerves during the remainder of it.

I. Money is not a popular topic when it comes to spiritual growth in the church, which can lead us to assume that they way we use our money doesn't matter.
    a.  There are over 700 references to money and 2/3 of Jesus' parables deal with money
    b.  Jesus ties our ability to handle spiritual things with our ability to handle money - Luke 16:10-13
    c.  We are merely a steward of God's possessions - Psalm 24:1, Haggai 2:8
    d.  "If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will straighten out almost every other area of this life" - Billy Graham

II.  Income - the Lord will provide for all your needs - Matthew 6:31-33
    a.  Why is it so difficult to budget?  Because it requires a great deal of self-control.  You have two choices, to control your flesh or let your flesh control your financial future
    b.  A budget is a communication tool:
         1. To you to see where your money goes
         2. Between you and your spouse on how you believe your money should be spent
         3. Allows you to plan for future expenses

III. Tithe - Give the first fruits of your labor to the Lord- Proverbs 3:9
    a.   "Christians give an average of only 2.4 percent of their income" pg. 66 Your Money Map
    b. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
    c.  Give each month - start small if needed and pray that God will reveal to you what and where He desires you to give.
    d.  Make sure your attitude is right, give freely with joy - Proverbs 11:24-25, Acts 20:35
IV. Savings - Be diligent about saving/planning - Proverbs 21:5

    a.  Have a long term approach, emergency fund allows you to survive the bumps life throws at us.
    b.  Be on the same page with your spouse about goals - 5/10/15 years and retirement
    c.  Personal Example:  I plan on staying home with our kids, so we have always done our best to live off one salary and save the other from the beginning.  Matt and I also have to plan accordingly for retirement.  His retirement will need to support two.  We also have saved/are saving for expected expenses: baby, medical, future car (to pay cash for), etc.

V. Housing/ Car Expenses
    a.  Hebrews 13:5 - Avoid chasing the American dream. Keep an eternal perspective.
    b.  "People buy things they don't need with money they don't have to impress people they don't even like" - George Fooshee
    c.  There are lots of examples of this in our society. Recent foreclosure market which is not the banks complete fault, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to know what they really can and cannot afford.
    d.  Based on our research complete housing expenses (insurance, tax, utilities, bills, etc) should not exceed 30-40% of your total income (and less if possible!).

VI. Variable expenses - Expenses that can fluctuate month to month

    a.  We believe that God allows us to enjoy the "fruit of our labor", not live in deprivation - Psalm 128:2
    b.  Determine what a need verses a want is
    c.  If you need to save, be willing to cut something (ex: live without cable for a year)
    d. When we first got married we decided it was important to each have set amount of money a month to do with what we wanted, no questions asked. That amount has fluctuated based on circumstances, but it allows freedom in a marriage within those means spend money on what you desire without arguments.

VII. Debt - there is good (mortgage and school loans) and bad debt (consumer credit)

    a.  There is a burden in owing money - Proverbs 22:7
    b.  We should strive to only owe love to others, not money - Romans 13:8
    c. "The average American card holder carries more than six credit cards, and the average household that has credit card debt owes more than $9,300 on their cards" Pg. 130 Your Money Map
    d.  There is hope if you are in debt and joy and freedom in getting out
    e.  Resources:,,/

So there is a brief overview.  I am thankful for Matt's wisdom in money.  I am thankful to have that security and freedom in our finances.  We live frugal lives, but do not deprive ourselves of little joys (or save for big joys!).  We can spend our time and concerns on other things rather than the bank account.  I know we are blessed and I do not take it for granted.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I love that God makes His faithfulness to us evident.  It's often hard to see until you need it most.  For me it's been shown with refreshment and rest.  Laughter.  A new friend when I needed it most.  Joy in today.  Peace in God bringing us back to a community of believers.  Confidence in declaring Truth to that group.  Excitement for what's to come.  And remembrance that today is a gift (even if there is already snow on top of the mountains).