31 January 2014

Week 26


“Bear with each other, & forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. Even more than all this, clothe yourself in love. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14

{ Ok I'm technically 27 weeks today, but I'm a week behind with no picture because I was busy spending 11 hours traveling and then hugging my family on the day of 26 weeks! I already had a draft written for 26 weeks so I'm just posting a week late. Sorry I forgot to get a picture! }


How far along?
26 weeks

Baby size?

Joey is about the length of scallion. (These food comparisons come from a generated email I get weekly about baby's development. Let's be real- if the average babe is as tall as a scallion stalk, ours is probably not quite that.)

Weight gain?

About 9 lbs.

Sleep?

Sleeping is wonderful. But it is more difficult to get comfortable. I really, really miss sleeping on my back or belly. And the constant need to pee has returned, so I wake up often.

Cravings?

Nothing. Everything. 

Aversions?

None

Symptoms?

Can no longer bend at the waist and I'm starting to waddle. I have to peep over joey to see my feet or the scale. I eat often. Frequent bathroom breaks. Having some backaches.

Mood?

Mood is great! Tired, but happy. Been pretty chill these past weeks.

Looking forward to?

- Nashville tomorrow! AAHHHHHHH!

What's new?

- Crib is polished and the dresser we're using as a changing table is purchased. They will soon be assembled and placed in the nursery with the rocking chair I bought the week I found out I was pregnant. All nursery furniture is now complete and cost a whopping $189. Now to make it cute!

Prayer Requests?
- Please pray for my travel, for a relaxing trip, and for quality time with family and friends. Pray for opportunities for naps and rest, while taking advantage of spending this time with people I love so much!
- Please pray for Hubs & Jessie. They must obtain their own meals without wondering if the ravenous roommate has indistinguishably deemed it "hers", lounge on the big couch instead of the love seat, watch annoying sports or news shows without intervention, do things without someone telling them it's the wrong way to do it, and other sad consequences of ten days away from me & joey. 

26 January 2014

Recent Happenings & News

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope." Psalm 130:5


First, I wanted to let you know about our two friends who are currently deployed. I remember when Hubs received care packages from anyone other than the assumed senders (namely: me & his mom) during his first deployment. There was something special about knowing others thought about him and cared to brighten his day and support his service. My dear friend Alicen's husband from Ft Bragg is away. Alicen is still in Fayetteville, working and going to school to get her degree, and is not close to family. My sweet friend Krista's husband is also away. They are currently stationed at Ft Polk, and we know them from EOD school in Florida. Krista, and their two daughters, Camylle (3) and Molly (8 months), are living at their new house Louisiana, away from family and close friends. If you would like to send a care package to these two men, or maybe an letter of encouragement and appreciation to their wives, please email me at lhwoodard@gmail.com for their contact information. (USPS offers discounted shipping rates on flat-rate boxes to overseas military addresses.)

So excited about new things!

We found a Church gathering in Eagle River, AK that we love and are in processing of joining a life group! Even found a great restaurant for after service on Sundays. We are going through a series on Acts in the context of momentum in the Church and heard an amazing testimony this morning from a guest speaker. LOVE that we share communion every Sunday, and I've sobbed through the song service each week since we started. Some of you might think it's the pregnancy, but there are few times I haven't cried in a place where I experience authentic worship since I have come to love our Lord.

PWOC is a group that does bible studies for women on most posts. It is affiliated with the chaplain services somehow. This PWOC is great- super friendly and very aware of the needs in the area. They meet in the Soldier's Chapel a block from our house. The first hour is a time of song worship, devotional, and food. The second hour, we break into bible study groups. They offered 4 studies this semester, and I'm in the group going through "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst. I knew immediately that this was the study for me to join. And I was halfway expecting the book dedication to say, "For Lauren. Because, well, you know why."

A new friend here introduced me to a Facebook group called EOD Secret Sisters. EOD wives join the group and fill out a questionnaire. Then each month we have an opportunity to participate in a secret sister gift exchange. The goal is to meet and get to know other EOD wives all over the world. Such a cool idea, and I'm excited to send my first gift package out in February!

Also, a new friend here and I talked about Jesus. It was just through messages on Facebook. But our husbands work together, and we found out through our EOD Secret Sisters questionnaires that we both love Him! There have been times I've wanted to walk in a room a say, "Uh, excuse me, does anyone here love Jesus?" These conversations and fellowship- these people that share the same hope- just breath new life into me and provide assurance. It's rare and wonderful and blows my mind every time I meet a new woman that I can look in the eyes and share the same heart with a simple, "ME TOO!"

Hubs has had a new venture at work the past week or so. They held a mini-competition and competency tests for a team leader and team members that will participate in an team competition with other Army EOD units. It was a little bit longer hours, but it seemed like he had fun having new tasks. They find out who made the team next week.

He also received a check and a plaque in the mail for coming in first place in his Fantasy Football League! This is a league that he joins every year with a group of the guys Hubs served with in the 82nd at Ft Bragg. The plaque is currently out to have his name plated on for the league's third season. (I'd like to send a special shout out to Peyton Manning for his MVP contributions to Team Woody.)

We have acquired a new mail organizer and file cabinet. I'm a nerd and haven't been this excited since we got our cool new printer last spring. My MIL said that I "love the art of organizing". That's the most accurate description I've heard yet. I'm not the best at organizing by any means, but I sure do love when it's pretty. Also, I assembled the file cabinet all by myself one night and felt quite handy.
 

I'm always excited to see our tiny son at ultrasound appointments. Had the latest one this past Thursday.
24 weeks, 2 days, 1 lb 6 oz.
24 weeks, 2 days

We went to a little girl's two-year-old birthday party last Friday night. We don't know them very well, but Hubs works with her dad. We were told before we moved that overseas units (ours is considered one in certain terms) become like family because we go "home" less often and share holidays and events together. This was one of those times. We ate Mexican food, watched an expert balloon-animal maker, had conversations with new people, and ate ice cream cake that turned all our mouths blue. Hubs said it looked like I had a cold weather injury. Also, I have a cupcake date with other wives in the unit this week, and a few couples are getting together for a Super Bowl party on Sunday.

Also, we made a rack of ribs in the crockpot. To you master grillers, I know it must sound sad. But Hubs and I are still talking about those bad boys, and they put up a fight for some of the best we've had. They can't compete with the pressure-cooked, secret-brown-sugar-basted, grill-smoked ribs my Papa used to make. We're talking top 5. Made for a quick, easy, delicious home-cooked dinner.

With these new happenings, a few fun things we are looking forward to soon, and a growing amount of sunshine each day, the mood in our house is so much more positive and productive. The weather almost feels like spring, and while we know this isn't going to last, we are loving every minute of it.

It has been a slow start, but we see the potential in living here. We know God guided us here, and we aren't sure why. But I am recognizing the growth in us through this already-long winter. We've had to work harder to be a team and grow our friendship in this desert of sorts. If anything, I know God may allow a wilderness time for us to grow stronger in our relationship with Him and each other. We've been convicted and having conversations about our intentional decisions to cooperate, rather than just seeking to cope or crave comfort. In any case, we are looking forward to what's ahead, even if that's just tomorrow, and I'm praying for God to keep us in a place of learning to love well.

I leave for Nashville in about a week & can't wait to see some of your sweet, familiar faces so soon!



21 January 2014

Week 24


“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens." James 1:17


How far along?
24 weeks / 6 months

Baby size?

Joey is about the size of an ear of corn. Ha! These are getting ridiculous.

Weight gain?

A total of about 6-7 pounds

Sleep?

Sleeping great

Cravings?

Nothing specific really- just hungry all the time these day.

Aversions?

None

Symptoms?

Feeling round! Have to get a good roll to get up off the bed or couch.

Mood?

Mood is much more stable this two weeks. Sunshine and working out is helping!

Looking forward to?

- Nashville! Countdown: 14 days.
- Ultrasound this week. Due to growing fibroids, I get to see baby boy every month now!

What's new?

- Hubs finally felt joey kick! 
- I'm feeling more than just slow, roly-poly movements. Every night this week, when I think it's time to go to bed, Joey thinks it's time for dance party.
- My sweet sisters are throwing joey a baby shower while I'm in TN and this past week we completed the Target registry.

Prayer Requests?
- Please pray for our little family as we are learning new ways to grow together & be a good team.
- Please pray for joey's development and that the Lord is opening our hearts to whatever this little man is meant to bring to our lives.

07 January 2014

Week 22


“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5



How far along?
22 weeks / 5.5 months

Baby size?
Joey is about the size of a spaghetti squash!

Weight gain?
This section is new, but have seen it on other baby bump blogs, so I decided to add it. I started weighing almost every day a few weeks ago because I wasn't gaining. At 4+ months, I weighed the same or less than when I left Florida. I think having no appetite and many aversions for the first few months has something to do with all that. I've started gaining this month or so though: a total of about 4-6 pounds.

Sleep?
Sleeping is great. A little too great. Do it a lot.

Cravings?
- Orange juice
- I found a cupcakery. Whoops.
- Chicken salad
- Super cold water

Aversions?
Old food, raw beef

Symptoms?
Feeling winded much faster.
My nails are growing as faster. And they aren't alone. I'm getting pretty top heavy and in full maternity gear, with a handful of exceptions. You can judge me, but I had discreetly kept a box of shirts and dresses that were made flowy or to fit loosely so that they fit the bill of, "Hey, I could probably wear this when I'm pregnant" since before we were married. These items, hand-me-downs, and gifts from joey's grandmas have saved us from buying me a new wardrobe. 

Mood?
Sad, happy, grumpy, jolly, rinse, repeat. Playing a few fast ones on Hubs and his general humor makes me belly laugh. But then he also found me crying in the fetal position in the closet. He waved to me when I dropped him off at work, and I thought it was the most adorable thing I'd seen in a while. Then I'm irrationally irritated with him when he says he's going to bed early. So, yeah, we're experiencing the full range over here.

Looking forward to?
- Doctor's appointment today!
- Booked flight to Nashville! Countdown: 28 days.
- Starting fresh: new church, new workout schedule, new bible study, new school semester.

What's new?
- Joey is movin and shakin, kicking and jabbing! Feeling him move around is starting to be a regular thing. Almost daily. Hubs can't feel it yet, but I'm thinking he should be able to soon!
- I meant to tell you guys last post, but one of my friends here had me over one day to go through boxes and boxes of maternity and baby boy clothes! I came home with enough newborn and 0-3 month clothes to let our man make several fashionable wardrobe changes each day for the first season of life.
- Packed Christmas away and started nesting a little: organizing, rearranging, hanging pictures & curtains, etc.

Prayer Requests?
- Please pray for Hubs & I as we ride out the rest of this winter.  It is nothing worse than we expected (weather & sunlight situation are better than we thought actually), but we are right in the middle of it and discouragement comes easy these days.
- Pray for Stephanie, Dustin, & baby Gentry. Dustin works with Hubs, & Steph & I hit it off. Baby Gentry was born last night!

02 January 2014

2013: A Year in Review {Part 2}

Welcome to part two of our snapshot of 2013! See part one here.

My very first post on this blog was documenting Hubs' graduation from NAVSCOLEOD in July of this past year. I have done my best to document the second half of 2013 for our connection to family and friends, as well as for our sweet memories later on. These posts are to record memories and reference earlier posts in recapping the past 12 months.

July
Krista, Victoria, and I were reunited. The Hull's spent a couple of vacation days in Destin and the group ate together at the Back Porch. See Victoria's blog post!
The whole family came for graduation! In case you haven't already figured out my weak-spot, my heart's desire is for relationship- especially intimacy in family- more than most anything else. I'm also a sucker for sentimental moments, and this ceremony was one of my proudest moments! See this post about our fun-filled weekend here!
I had to quit my favorite job ever and had to say goodbye to these little brown eyes. I definitely cried on the way home.

August
The last part of July and first part of August was like the honeymoon we should've had. Hubs had a supervisor that had him call instead of come onto base daily. We spent days on the beach, went paddle boarding, had dates at our favorite seafood places, went to the movies, and more.
Jessie & Rosie Sleepover
Our Last Date Night in Destin
Then we set out on our big move, starting with a quick trip to New Orleans, and an epic road trip to Alaska after turning in the keys to our sweet home in Niceville. You can follow everyday of our trip in the archives on the right hand side of this blog!

September
We arrived in Anchorage and found out we were having a baby two days later!! We moved into our house,  Hubs started work, and I started getting sick.

October
What I remember about October is being sick and doing school work. Gross. But we had our first snowfall, Hubs had his first mission as an EOD tech to Kodiak, and we got to tell our family that they are expecting a new addition!

November
Hubs participated in Movember. He just did it because he can grow a legit mustache and, months later, is still getting comments. I say he looked like a Mario brother to get an easy laugh, but he actually has to makings of being one of the great mustache growers of our time. That full, dark broom reminded me so much of my Papa's fashion stache in the 80's. The mustache was a little too good, and Hubs had a smooth upper lip the moment November was gone. I didn't mind it one bit, but if I had my preference, I choose the beard.
We spent our first Thanksgiving in Alaska with new friends and coworkers. We took food and hung out at an FRG dinner with Hubs' company the night before. The next day we spent a few hours at the Sullo's. Chad is on Hubs' team, and they invited a bunch of us to potluck for Thanksgiving. We loved having a big traditional meal and spending time getting to know everyone! 

December
We had another FRG dinner and then spent Christmas Eve day at the Maldonado's. We did lots of Christmas shopping and shipping and made the most of this Christmas with our family of (almost) four. Our favorite gift was finding out we are having a baby boy soon!
Momma wanted a picture of us for their Christmas card, so Hubs and I drove to the park down the street. We parked the car by the tree line, put the camera on the car, and set the self-timer. The first one was a little out of focus. This is the second one. We liked it, so we got back in the car, drove home, and I ordered our own Christmas cards!

This past year holds many memories and presented huge changes. We are learning as we go and are so glad you are apart of our journey. We are grateful for our family and friends as we enter into a new year full of unknowns but full of hope. We love you and hope your holiday season was blessed!


01 January 2014

2013: A Year in Review {Part 1}

Please forgive the post overload. I know three days in a row can seem to fill up an email inbox quickly! But I'm ripping off the irresistible idea of recapping 2013 from my friend Victoria's blog, who apparently is a big copy cat too. A major purpose of this blog is to document & journal this transitional life of ours, & I loved the idea of looking back over the past 12 months!

Going back two years ago, 2012 started off beautifully with Hubs home from deployment. It was one of those times when every moment is meaningful and all the small stuff is sweet. We were so blessed to say that we were both closer to each other and our Lord when he came back. But 2012 went on to prove one of our most difficult as well. We experienced heartache and a new kind of distance from each other shortly before we wound up in Niceville, FL late that fall. With new dedication to our marriage, Hubs' career direction, and God's guidance, 2013 was a fresh beginning, as most new years seem to promise. The first half ended up being one of the most precious seasons Hubs and I have had yet. We began in Florida, soaking up friendships in our favorite place that feels like home, and ended with new challenges, expectations, and adventures in Alaska.

January
By January, we were all settled in to our new Florida digs. I even bought turquoise fish lamps.
We joined our church, and I joined a bible study. The first day, I met two sweet friends, Krista and Victoria. We went to chikfila, to Johnny Rockets and Les Miserables at the theater, shopping trips, running errands, and more. Answered prayer.

February
These new friends, the Hull's and the Bobo's, came to dinner for my birthday. Hubs and I spent the day doing random acts of kindness before meeting our new stranger-friends at Bonefish Grill.
Photo stolen from Victoria's blog
We also went to the Sandestin Gumbo Fest with the Hull's. I shamelessly stole these photos from Krista's blog.
I stole all of the Gumbo Fest photos except this selfie.
March
March was busy! Krista had a sweet baby shower and the same day, we all went camping. I use the term "camping" loosely, but I loved that mini trip. Again, photos stolen from Krista's blog.
I did take this of "Ms. Toria" & her full lap.
I got to see my cousin Amanda! She drove over from spending spring break in Panama City. We went to Pompano Joe's, to Nana & Papa's old house, to Resurrection Catholic Church, and a couple of shops together. Much needed time with her!
Kelcee, Ethan, & Fischer made a quick visit.
My mom and Maw Maw made their second annual trip to visit us during my momma's spring break, which also happens to fall on Hubs' birthday.
Beginnings of his first stache of 2013 in AIR div.
I flew to CA for my friend Karla's wedding reception. There is something about my connection with Karla that can't compare and I can't really explain. She is a soul mate of sorts. I also got to reconnect with Karla's family, my former-boss and current-friend DiXee (who is now only a week behind me in her pregnancy!), and my birthday buddy Raychel.

April 
April brought beach time. We got into a great routine for the rest of the summer. During the week, Andrew would work, pt, come home, eat dinner, sleep and get up to do it all again the next day. It was stressful, but he seemed content with the challenge. Our weekends were wonderful. Every Saturday, we headed out to our spot on the beach, ate lunch at Pompano Joe's, took walks or went swimming, then went home to grill out, watch a movie, and sleep. Sundays were church, lunch at One20, maybe a movie or to dos, a quick dinner, and sleep. It was glorious. I miss all this so much right now.
A typical day on Miramar Beach, Destin, FL
The Hull's moved to Louisiana, and Victoria and I started a bible study in the Bobo's adorable home. I was there the day I got the phone call from Hubs that we had projected orders to Ft Richardson, AK. This group pic was stolen from Victoria's blog and taken at our last meeting in July.
Late April, I started a part-time nannying job for the Carey family. I have a special place in my heart for sweet Ryleigh and her mom Michelle. I felt such a friendship with Michelle and miss getting to see her several times a week!

May
Lea Anne & Cody came for a weekend visit on her break from school. Also, we got to hop over to St. Augustine for the annual Thompson family vacation on Memorial Day weekend. It's weird that Hubs and I knew each other for over 12 years, dated twice, and had been married for two and a half years, but this was his first time getting to go on this family trip!

June 
I got to cruise with my dear friend Alicen, another friendship that has lasted through many miles and moves. This was our second together and I hope not our last! Alicen is my first military-wife friend and I will never forget how we met and how our paths totally merged to make us life long friends.
On the drive back from Tampa, I got to make a pit stop in Ocala to see one of my oldest friends Mary Coul. She has two girls now and it is so fun texting and catching up with her. Our moms had our baby showers together at church and now we are having babies! It is crazy and comfortable having someone in your life that has known you for the entire thing. That we are still friends is a major testament to MC's capacity for patience and forgiveness!

Also in June, my good friend Melanie came down to vaca with friends, and I got to spend a much needed girl's day away in Sandestin. Such a hilarious and generous group and I loved getting to crash the party! Mel is a ray of sunshine, and I'm always blessed and leave better by being with her!

Hubs' dad, Mike, came for a weekend visit. We absolutely loved living in a place that family and friends could take a weekend to come relax and having the space in our house for them to stay!
Beach days and date nights continued.

Agh, I'm drowning in nostalgia today! Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow...