Monday, January 12, 2015

18 days

The final count down has begun. 18 days is what my little baby bump app is telling me. 18 days until our girl could arrive. Although, it could be sooner. Any day really, or another month yet. Not knowing is the hardest part.

We moved into our house 3 weeks ago last Friday, I'm 37.5 weeks pregnant, my back has currently decided to go out, making it excruciatingly painful to walk, sit or lay down, and these are the some of the questions/comments I get on a daily basis.

Any day now, huh? You hiding a basketball in there? How's the house? Do you feel settled? Do you need help unpacking? Is the nursery set up? Do you have all your baby stuff? How do you feel? How is baby? To which I reply. . .Um. . .ok, no, I think???

We're getting there is more like it. Slowly but surely. It definitely feels more like slowly to me. Most days I question if we'll ever feel settled or like this new house is our home. I wonder if I'll ever stop sweeping up dust, or if the construction workers will ever be finished, or if the appliances are ever going to arrive so we can stop eating our meals solely from a microwave and toaster oven. Because honestly, canned soup and sandwiches get kind of old after 3, going on 4 weeks. I keep telling myself that soon we will have blinds and curtains hung up in the house, that there will be towel hooks and toilet paper holders installed, that rugs will be purchased and pictures hung, to make the echoey rooms feel more homey. But all in good time. When my baby app pops up asking me if I've packed my hospital bag yet, I just want to throw my phone and go hide and cry in my room. No, I haven't packed my hospital bag yet. I haven't even set up the nursery yet. The crib is built, stroller and carseat set up, but that's about it. The washed baby clothes and accessories are still in boxes waiting to be put away. And we're still awaiting the arrival of the the rest of the nursery furniture so we can finish. The dresser/changing table finally arrived last week, and I was looking forward to setting it up all week, only to find out they sent 2 box 2's instead of box 1 and 2. I tried not to have too big of a meltdown. Try being the key word. Not sure if I succeeded or not, you'll have to ask my husband;)

Life just feels like a whole lot of waiting and a whole lot expensive. Buying and renovating a house and having a baby within the same few months is expensive with a capital E. And I mean it. Life is this big long list of things waiting to be purchased, waiting to be finished, or waiting to arrive. And most days I feel like I'm failing at waiting, at being patient, at not getting upset or mad or crying about one or all of these things.

And then there's the people who tell you it doesn't really matter if the nursery is set up or if all the pictures are hung before baby comes. She won't even know anyways. And those are the people I especially want to punch in the face. Yes, yes, it may be true and spoken with the best of intentions, but that's the last thing an expecting mama wants to hear when she's been waiting 9.5 months to nest and get settled. Just take it from me;)

But. . .

There's good news too. Great news actually! At our 30 week apt, my midwife said baby who was head down had flipped head up, much to our disappointment. So, I spent the last 4 weeks trying not to worry, while doing every type of head stand and exercise I could find, chiropractic adjustments and praying. Lots of a lots of praying. At our 36 week last week the doc said baby was indeed head down, had dropped, and was in the perfect position. We are beyond relieved and so so thankful.

There are also sweet friends who bring take out and their new, adorably chubby baby over on Friday night to eat dinner with you and see the new house, and your online-turned real life friend who texts and says she wants to bring over a home cooked meal for you as well. And other friends from across the country who text or email that they've been thinking of you and are praying for you. And friends who offer you the use of their washer and dryer AGAIN because yours still hasn't come yet. And all those things make me want to sit down and sob (ok, maybe I've done just that), because I'm so blessed to have such a beautiful life, crazy and stressful and disorganized as it feels. Most days are a struggle to keep the right perspective. The teeter-tottering feelings that our life is a dirty mess and we're swimming in a size too big; to we know such wonderfully loving people who care about us AND we have a God who sees us right where we are and knows exactly what we need. An encouraging text, a meal, a hug, or a prayer. And it may not be all those things I think it I need. . . like a Pinterest perfect nursery, blinds hung up, or toilet paper holders installed.

Every day, these are the things that remind me I'm being stretched. Stretched to be flexible. Stretched to go with the flow. Deep down knowing we'd really be ok if baby arrived tomorrow, wether or not all the million things on our to-do list were checked off or not. And daily I'm reminded that life doesn't have to be perfect to be ok, or even good. It can be dusty, half finished, feel a little too big and slightly uncomfortable. . . and sometimes a moment comes when you realize what really matters is having people that care, love you, email, call, bring you food or coffee, plan a last pre-baby girl's night out/baby shower for you this weekend, and offer to come help mop and sweep your floors because you can't. Those are the things that really matter in the end.

I'm due in 2.5 weeks and praying feverishly she won't come a single day early, although I think I may feel differently in 2 more week. Time will tell. I'm also praying we get a few more things checked off our never ending to-do list, hoping the rocking chair and dresser arrive in time so we can set up the nursery a little bit more, and maybe a few more lights and appliances arrive to make life feel a little more comfortable. I also pray my back calms down and allows me a few more good nights of sleep before baby gets here. But alas, if not. . . this too shall pass.

In the middle of breastfeeding classes, chiropractor and doctors appointments, building closet systems and cribs, trying to successfully install a carseat, tracking all the missing appliances and fixtures to make sure everything's still going to arrive eventually, we're squeezing in all the last minute dates we can. Coffee, lunch, dinner. . . trying to breath, and smile, and understand where each other are coming from day to day. It's easier said than done. But we have 2ish weeks left with just us two, and by golly we're gonna make the most of it, crazy or calm.

Hopefully the next time you're here you'll be reading about our cute baby girl.

-J


35 weeks



36 weeks

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peace

I'm sitting here sipping the most delicious espresso with homemade molasses/ginger syrup at the neighborhood coffee shop I've become a regular at in just 3 short days, listening to Nat King Cole sing Christmas songs, and I can't help but whisper thanks for the life I've been given. Christmas is just 2 days away, we've finally moved into our long awaited, prayed for, dreamed about house (unfinished as it is), and I'm a healthy 34.5 weeks pregnant with our darling firstborn girl who we get to meet in just 37 some days. Life is indeed full and I'm reminded constantly of His goodness when I stop long enough to pay attention. It's everywhere.

To say the past year has been hard would be the understatement of the century, but to say it's been good would be an understatement too. We are so incredibly blessed. This year has brought about more change than any I've known in my life.

  • We packed up and moved our life and business to Charleston, South Carolina for Lee's job 6 months ago, right around the same time we found out we were expecting our first baby girl! Talk about a major life change! 95% our belongings went into a storage facility in Charleston, and with only our summer clothes, dog and business, we moved into a furnished apartment where we spent the summer exploring our new city, eating at dozens of the most amazing restaurants, and frequenting the beach whenever we so desired. 
  • We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in August with a 10 day vacation driving up California's Hwy 1. We spent 3 days driving the breathtaking coast in a convertible, something I highly recommend you add to your bucket list if it's not already on there. Then we spent 3 days touring Napa and Sonoma's beautiful wine country, and ended the trip with a gorgeous 3 day weekend in San Francisco. 
  • After looking at 30+ houses the last year and a half, we were beyond thrilled to purchase our first home just 2 months ago! Not only did we find a home with everything on our wish list, but we got it well under budget which allowed us the means to do a complete renovation, leaving us with far more than we could have ever afforded other wise. 
  • Lee's had a busy year of travel. He's been on a dozen or so work trips, including 2 two week Asia trips and his first visit to Honduras. 
  • We've moved 3 times in 6 months. Yes, I said 3 times. All during one pregnancy. Talk about exhausting. This is something I hope to never relive again. 
  • We lived in temporary apartments in Charleston for 4 months while we were still house hunting and moved back to NC after we bought our house due to the complete renovation happening. My in-laws were so gracious to open their hearts and home to us, our dog, our stuff AND my business studio the last month and a half. We moved back to Charleston into our not-quite-completely-renovated home just 5 days ago. We are itching for the construction workers to finish up so we can clean, unpack, and this extremely pregnant girl can NEST and set up baby's nursery already;) I've only been waiting 8.5 months.
  • Our business, Tuck & Bonté, received it's largest wholesale order to date with our biggest wholesale customer, Anthropologie. With barely a 3 week lead time from order to ship date, we received the order just 10 days before we were scheduled to move back to NC and Lee was preparing for his Asia trip. By God's grace, and the help of 3 friends (our first employees!), we were able to get it done and shipped in the midst of a move, with hardly a glitch. Talk about miraculous! This was our first order placed for stores and web, which is HUGE and a dream come true for me. I'm still pinching myself that God's been so gracious to our little, growing business. 
  • I've been blessed with an overall healthy pregnancy and a very active baby girl. Her physical growing and stretching me has been a constant reminder to me of all that God's been growing and stretching in my heart this year. We can't wait to meet and love this little person that's become such a part of our family already the last 8 months. And to think this is just the beginning of our life changing forever. . .
  • We've found the most incredible community of friends here in our new city in such a short time. For that I am eternally grateful. I've had my fair share of moves and it's always taken a couple years to feel like I have "people/friends". So to have found this in just a few short months is a treasure I don't take for granted.

I chuckle looking back over the last 12 months. God has a sense of humor. He really does. We typically start the year off with a fast, spending a few concentrated weeks praying and seeking the Lord for the coming year. I like to ask the Lord for a word for that year. What does He have in store for me, for Lee, and our life? After 3 weeks or so, I got my word.

Expansion:
the act of becoming larger or more extensive
a thing formed by the enlargement, broadening, or development of something
to stretch out
growth
increase
swelling, elongating, thickening, multiplication.

2014 was to be the year of expansion, and boy was He right. In every single way. We've been stretched literally, physically, financially, spiritually, geographically, and relationally; and grown in our trust, faith, patience, and any other way you can think of, I'm sure of it. Growth and expansion sound so exciting, and they are. . . but I never realized how uncomfortable it is to be stretched. Growing pains, taking on a new shape, being enlarged; it hurts. I've been brought to the end of myself over and over again, and experienced a total dependency on God I've never had before. It's been messy and wonderful. I've cried more tears and been more desperate and needy than ever before. That is uncomfortable for me. I'm the type that likes to have it 'all together', always have a plan, always be in control. And that has been shattered to pieces this year, for which I'm glad. If there's one thing I've learned this year it's BE FLEXIBLE, and it will make all the change, growth, and 'life not going like you planned' a whole lot easier. I think this year was a crash course lesson for parenting;)

If there is another thing I've learned it's this. He is my peace. Not my circumstances or everything going just right. He himself is PEACE, and I can have Peace in the midst of life's biggest storms. I love this:

"There is a part of the sea known as the cushion of the sea. It lies beneath the surface that is agitated by storms and churned by the waves and wind. It is so deep that it is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When the ocean floor in these deep places is dredged of the remaining plant or animal life, it reveals evidence of having remained completely undisturbed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The peace of God is an eternal calm like the cushion of the sea. It lies so deeply within the human heart that no external difficulty, or disturbance can reach it. And anyone who enters in the the presence of God becomes a partaker of that undisturbed and undisturb-able calm. " -Arthur Tappan Pierson

No matter what this year has brought you, I hope this Christmas you can experience this eternal calm, Peace Himself. 








Monday, October 27, 2014

Good things come to those who wait.

Yes, yes they do! Really. But the saying should really go, "Good things come to those who trust the Lord and wait."

After 17 months of searching, 2 weeks ago tomorrow, we finally bought a house. Closed, signed, official as official can be. {Insert all the happiest dances, cheers and tears here!} Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, I will always remember you fondly.

Rewind 2 months:

We had just returned from our lovely, relaxing 10 day California vacation. Right before our trip, we had seen a listing for a house that really interested us. Unfortunately, our realtor was on vacation the entire week before we left and unable to show it. My husband was also traveling the 3 days before our trip. We called the realtor's office to see if any other realtor could show it before Lee left out of town. No, no one was available because it was the weekend. We tried every way we could think of to see this house before we left for nearly 2 weeks, but to no avail. Frustrated, we gave it to the Lord. If this wasn't the house, so be it. If it was, he could save it for us 2 weeks, right? Well you have to understand something here. Spring and summer are not good times to buy in Charleston, or so we learned. We would literally send our realtor 5-10 listings at a time, and by the time we scheduled to see them, half or more would be sold. Literally. Houses were selling like hot cakes, and if you didn't jump the second one came on the market (like within a day), you were slap out of luck. That's a hard situation to find yourself in when you don't yet live in the city. So, the thought of this house being available 2 weeks later seemed slim to none.

We decided to go on vacation and leave all our house hunting worries behind. We didn't think about, talk about, or look at ANY house listings the whole vacation. Nearly miraculous, as it had been our sole focus all the months prior. We arrive back home Sunday night, and received an email from our realtor Monday morning. Good news! The house we were interested was not only still available, but the sellers had dropped the price $20k! What the what?!? We couldn't believe our eyes. We set up an appointment to go see it that day, and knew immediately upon walking in that this was the one. After looking a dozens and dozens and dozens of houses over the past year, we were beginning to wonder if we'd ever feel, say or know that. But we finally knew that we had found our house. It was everything on our checklist. A 1950's ranch style house that hadn't been renovated since it was built. And it was exactly that, down to the last detail: the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a studio space, a fireplace, open living room + dining room floor plan, hard wood floors throughout, and an untouched kitchen and bathrooms we could renovate to our liking. It was a miracle! We seriously kept saying, we need to find a 50's grandma house that hasn't been updated yet so we can put our own touches on it. And guess what. . . the previous owners are the sweetest 91 and 93 year old couple that have no children and finally moved into assisted living. Our house was there all that time, it just wasn't ready for us yet. Sometimes God's promises just take a little time. 

We put an offer in the next day, and after a little negotiating, had an accepted offer a few days later. We got the house quite a bit under our budget which allowed us to get a home renovation loan to finance all the work that needed to be done. Now we were just praying we could get enough money to do all the things that needed done: new roof, new HVAC, total electrical rewire, update plumbing, gut and renovate kitchen and both bathrooms, paint entire house, and refinish hardwood floors. Closing was scheduled the last day of September. At this point it felt like we breathed a huge sigh of relief, all the while taking another deep breath for a whole lot more waiting. But. . . we would most definitely be bringing this baby home to a house. Our house. Our very first house. That was about the best news we could imagine.

Then life got a bit more crazy. The following 8 weeks were a hilarious combination of house guests every weekend, meetings with contractors, gathering an ungodly amount of paperwork (buying a house is SO. MUCH. WORK.), interviewing doulas, choosing appliances, cabinets, countertops, tile, sinks, faucets, shower doors, wood floor finishes, paint colors and roof shingle colors all within our budget, birthing classes, regular work, life and travel, AND trying to figure out a place to live while all the renovations are under way. Whew, I'm tired just typing that. 

That brings us to two Tuesdays ago. The blessed day we finally closed on our first home. Yes, our closing was delayed twice. Yes, the Lord miraculously provided through an early inheritance gift from my grandparents most the money we needed for our downpayment. Yes, it was a lot of waiting, praying, crying and trusting. Yes, the closing costs ended up being $1500 more than we thought. Yes, the whole process has been bigger than us, more expensive that we could afford, and stretched us to the breaking point. But the good news is we serve a big God. He has big plans for me, for you. He likes to be involved in our lives, and I've realized that sadly, the only way that usually happens is when things are too big or too hard for us to do on our own. It allows Him the chance to step in and be who He is. The big, all powerful, all knowing, all providing God!

Our tentative move in date is mid-December. At least we're crossing our fingers for that. We'd love to spend Christmas in our new house, and have a couple weeks to get unpacked and set up for baby girl's arrival the end of January. But, we shall see. If this whole process has taught me anything (and it has, a whole lot actually), it's this: Our ways are not God's ways. Our timing is not His timing. This life of being a follower of Jesus requires radical faith and radical trust. And a lot of times, it's waiting and trusting without knowing the outcome. That's scary, exciting, and nerve wracking all rolled into one, depending on the day.

The next 2 months don't look a whole lot slower than the last few. In 10 days, we're packing up (again) and moving back to NC to live with our gracious in-laws until the house is finished. My husband leaves for his second 2 week Asia work trip the day after. I have 2 baby showers to look forward to while he's gone. Yay! We leave 5 days after he gets back to spend a week in WA with my family for Thanksgiving. Another big yay! And then hopefully, a couple weeks later, we'll be heading back to Charleston to get moved into our brand new home just in time for Christmas. 

In other news, I'm 26w4d pregnant and baby girl is healthy, growing and quite the kicking machine. I'm feeling great and sleeping great too, thankfully. We're just soaking up every last drop of life as we know it, craziness and all. But we're getting more and more excited to meet and hold our girl. 95 days and counting;)

25 weeks
26 weeks