tell me i look amazing, feed me a block of cheese, and show me to the bathroom: confessions of a pregnant lady

The florist smiled at me as I waited for her to finish trimming the bouquet I’d selected.

“Are you having a boy?” she asked.

I beamed. “I am! We’re so excited.” I cocked my head. “How did you know it’s a boy?”

The florist raised her eyebrows. “Well, moms pregnant with boys tend to look…tired and drained. Moms pregnant with girls look bright and energized.” Her facial expression was that of someone who just told me she ate the last of my ice cream and wasn’t that sorry about it.

I wish I could have seen my own expression at that moment.

 

There are lots of emojis I could pick to accurately describe my reaction, but Word won’t let me use emoijis. Alas.

I did laugh, however. Because what do you say to that? “Oh wow, you look tired and drained, too!”

No clue.

I’m chuckling as I write, because people are funny. And I’m assuming she didn’t mean it to come out that way.

Right?

Right.

Totally 😉

But for real, I am thankful and awestruck to be pregnant. Our journey wasn’t the easiest to get here, and I truly experience each day of pregnancy as an incredible gift.

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photo by Joseph Wood

And yet, no matter my overall attitude, pregnancy has also been a tidal wave full of awkward moments and emotions.

 

There are a few things I’d like to laugh about:

 

1. The lady behind the counter at Staples told me an epidural will ruin my life. However, I am not deterred. Give it to me.

 

2. Sometimes…I get stuck in the cushions of our couch. Like a wobble-weeble, if you will. I am okay with this! Because when else can I experience a day in the life of a Tellytubby? Hashtag blessed.

 

3. Our bed is tall. These days Michael hoists me into it, like we’re cheerleaders and he’s the base and I’m the fly. Unless of course I choose to instead grab the mattress and roll myself onto it with an adorable grunt like…yes, a Tellytubby. A Tellytubby who grunts.

 

4. The last time Michael went to the grocery by himself to do our weekly grocery shopping, the cashier asked him if he was stocking up for the whole month. “No,” he said. “Just for the week.” Apparently this confused her. “Wow. How many kids do you have?” she asked. “Uh…my wife is pregnant…” was his response. (P.S. – that haul lasted me five days.) Hashtag YOLO.

 

5. Everyone knows your belly gets bigger when you’re pregnant. But why doesn’t anyone warn you about your butt? Asking for a friend.

 

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Michael holding his own “bump,” naturally

6. I was awake for two hours last night because for some reason it hit me at 4 a.m. that I will be going through labor in a few short months. HOW DO YOU DO LABOR? Also asking for a friend. I’ve heard you can’t eat during it. I should probably sign up for a birthing class. I will add that to the list of things I keep forgetting to do…

 

7. I have lost the capacity to remember anything.

 

8. I have also lost the capacity to eat without burping. Hashtag sorry not sorry.

 

9. All I really want is for you to tell me I look amazing, feed me a block of cheese, and direct me to the nearest bathroom.

 

10. And, last but not least, these have been some of the sweetest months of my life. I love the way God has slowly been introducing me and Michael to our baby boy through sweet times of prayer and little baby kicks. I love nesting. I love talking to my baby. I love that he kicks when I’m falling asleep. I love that God hand-picked him for us, and us for him. I love that his nursery is blue. I love his heartbeat. I love my big belly. I love the way strangers go out of their way to hold the door for me. I love that baby is totally in God’s hands and not my own. I love that Michael is the daddy. I love that we have no clue how to be parents. I love that we’re learning it together. I love this gift of life in my womb.

 

So, ladies. Let’s laugh with the “florists” we come across, because we know the very breath we are breathing is the most wonderful gift.

And maybe…just maybe…when your “florist” gets home from work…someone will have eaten all her ice cream.

KIDDING.

Mostly 😉

 

Blessings to you,

 

Robyn

just as friends

“Hey, so I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner with me.” Michael’s voice on the phone sounded excited and rushed and I was fairly confident he was pacing whatever room he was in.

I, on the other hand, was paralyzed in shock and bewilderment on my bed in the sorority house.

It was our sophomore year in college.

“Who is it?” one of my roommates whispered, probably after seeing my face revert to an awkward shade of tomato.

I answered Michael. “Um, sure! Dinner is good,” I blurted haphazardly into the phone, trying to sound normal.

But I didn’t feel normal. I felt like I just agreed to go on a date with a boy – and boys, to be sure, were currently on my “no” list. I’d written off dating entirely after my senior year of high school, and I’d held pretty steadily to that standard up to this point.

But at least, I figured, this boy seemed like a nice one.

Last year, he’d agreed to carry my large, mysterious trash bag full of something out to my car at the start of Spring Break. The trash bag exploded in the parking lot, resulting in an avalanche of stuffed animals. (They travel with me. Don’t pretend you don’t also have a teddy bear or something. I just happen to have a million.)

Michael had laughed then, and asked me if they had names. (Of course they did.) Unhesitatingly, he’d picked them all up and brushed them off, cars whizzing past.

In that parking lot moment, I had decided Michael was nice. And comfortable to be around. Even if he was a boy.

“Great!” Now, on the phone, I could hear the smile in his voice after I agreed to dinner.

I panicked. My mouth got dry. Then I turned to my roommates. “It’s Michael,” I finally whispered.

One raised her eyebrows and smiled. The other silently squealed.

But I didn’t. I was trying not to faint or hide under my covers.

“So, what’s your favorite place to eat dinner around here?”

“…Moes.”

I was sophisticated.

“Erm,” he chuckled. “I like Moes, too, but how about somewhere nicer?”

I blanched. My mouth had lost the ability to speak without croaking, but somehow we settled on a place called Transmetropolitan in downtown Athens. A pizza place.

It ended up being a great date, I was surprised to admit.

We ate pizza and pasta, then went back to his apartment to watch Chronicles of Narnia while wolfing down Junior Mints.

I made sure to sit on the edge of the couch the whole time, on the entirely opposite side from Michael. I was practically perched on the arm rest like an awkward parrot. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he didn’t seem to notice. He was actually ENJOYING himself.

Why is he so calm? I wondered. We’re on a date. A DATE. (!!!!!!)

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college babies

After he dropped me off with that big, goofy grin I’d later come to fall in love with, I answered my roommates’ questions about the evening.

“It was a great date,” I admitted. “He even bought me junior mints because he didn’t have any chocolate at his apartment.” This was a big plus for me. Because chocolate.

 

“But…” I continued explaining, my brow furrowed in bewilderment. “I just don’t think it’s the right time. I don’t know why. I don’t want to be any more than friends right now.”

I prayed about it a lot in the days that followed, and I felt certain about my decision not to date him. I couldn’t explain why. It just wasn’t the right time.

And when I told all this to Michael, he shrugged his shoulders with a small smile. “Welp. If you prayed about it, then I can’t argue with The Lord!”

He said this good-naturedly as a joke, but there was tangible disappointment in his voice. I wanted to jump into a nearby bush and stay there a while. But I was also relieved, because boys, in my 20 year-old opinion, made things too complicated.

I wasn’t ready for it.

A few weeks later, I got another call. “Hey!” Michael’s voice.

My stomach dropped.

“Hey,” I croaked. Hadn’t I totally disappointed him? Why was he still talking to me?

“So, I was wondering. Would you come to my fraternity date nights with me? You know, just as friends.”

“Um. Just as friends?”

“Yep. I had such a great time with you, I’d really like to hang out with you as friends.”

Okay. But just as friends!”

If someone were to tally the number of times I repeated the phrase “just as friends” in the year that followed, well, we’d have a lot of tallies.

And so I went on his Christian fraternity’s date nights. Over and over and over.

And every time, I double-checked: “Just as friends.”

He’d agree every time. And every time, we had fun.

But I was stubborn. Like a donkey, or something.

Fast forward to that summer. We both signed up to work at a Christian sports camp in Colorado, literally by coincidence. Neither of us knew the other had signed up or had been hired.

But I quickly figured it out when we showed up at training together.

I was set to shovel snow away from the buildings (we were living at 9,000 feet above sea level), and Michael ambled up next to me and started helping.

“You don’t need to help. I’ve got this,” I said forcefully.

He wasn’t deterred. “Well, I want to help you!”

Gosh, I thought. This guy! Do I need to say “just as friends” again?

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still college babies

But somewhere deep in the pit of my stomach, I was glad he was there next to me. I was a little homesick.

And so we shoveled.

He worked the first half of summer, and I spent the first half of summer at home in Georgia.

When the last half of summer rolled around, I flew out to Colorado in a pit of nerves. Being away from home wasn’t natural for me. I was scared. But I was also excited. I could tell I was right there in the exciting, albeit painful stage of truly growing up.

I arrived at camp.

Then I saw Michael. And I stared. And stared. And stared.

He was really…handsome. And, dare I think it? REALLY ATTRACTIVE.

He politely greeted me with a friendly hug. “You’ll love it here,” he assured me. “Best summer of my life.”

How is he so confident? I feel like I’m going to pee in my pants. And who are all those girls looking at him and smiling at him? Don’t they know he likes me?

 

Does he like me, still?

He went home, and I worked at camp. It was hard and awesome. I grew more than I think I’ve ever grown in the span of six weeks.

But still, by the end of the term, I couldn’t stop thinking about that goofy-grinning boy. Goofy-grinning man, more like it.

I couldn’t fall asleep without thinking about him, and I couldn’t talk without talking about him. (Sorry, Jaime.)

But by the time I got home, I was utterly confused.

God, I prayed. I like this boy. I do. And I’ve been telling him ‘no’ for over a year now. I’m sorry I’m so all over the place, but, if this is something You want for us, could You do something about it?

I wasn’t about to call Michael myself and profess my love because, honestly, couldn’t he get mad about that? Say something like, “Well it TOOK you long enough. Sorry. Too late.”

So I didn’t call.

Instead, he did.

The day after I prayed for our maybe-relationship, Michael texted me. “Want to go on a walk?”

Yes.

And we went.

Three months later I decided I wanted to marry the man.

And I don’t think we’ve ever said the phrase “just as friends” ever again.

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UGA graduation

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when I said YES!

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happy campers 🙂

guest blog: heather nelsen [[embracing the days with your littles]]

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I literally couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to Heather Nelsen. I met Heather years ago through one of my favorite high school teachers, whose son was dating Heather (and is now married to her 🙂 ). My teacher would rave about Heather and her sweetness – and show our class slideshows of her engagement pictures (which were completely every high school girl’s DREAM) – and so of course I thought Heather was the COOLEST.

And, turns out, she is! She totally is.

All my mama friends, Heather is right there with you! She has some sweet words of encouragement for you, and an awesome blog to check out.

Hop on over to her blog and read about my Top 5 Favorite Books, too!

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Hey there! I’m Heather Nelsen and I write over at Notes from the Nelsens. A big thanks to Robyn for letting me share her space today!



In the picture above you’ll see my husband, Matt, who I swooped up in high school, our two kids, Ryan (2) and Natalie (8 months), who have made our lives so much richer, and our dog, Tally, who we refer to as the first born because we made the mistake of treating him like a child before we had real children. 😉



Travel, food, family, and faith are just a few of the things you’ll find me writing about over at my blog, so feel free to stop by, and say hello when you do!

 

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I don’t know how many of you read the post that went viral on Facebook a few months ago called How a Stranger’s Comment Changed the Way I Parent (you can read the entire post here), but just in case you missed it, I’ll give you a brief synopsis:

 

A younger couple with two small kids was spending the day at the beach when a storm started to roll in, so they quickly started gathering their things to head home for the day. 

 

If you are a parent with small kids and have ever attempted a trip to the beach, you know there are a LOT of things. And because there are a lot of things, gathering those things plus the kids makes for an interesting/challenging game of how much can you juggle before everyone/everything falls over. 😉 

 

So as they started the walk from their spot in the sand to head home for the day, the mom overhead an older man turn to his wife and fondly say, “Those were the days, weren’t they?”

 

Gah, it made me choke up the first time I read it and still makes me choke up as I type it out today.

 

We are living “the days.” Right here and now. We are smack dab in the middle of them.

 

Matt and I like to say that these days are a good kind of crazy. Because they are definitely crazy! But they are OH SO GOOD too.

 

In fact, we moved into a new house just a few weeks ago, so our crazy got REAL crazy for a stretch and is just now starting to settle back into our new normal

 

For various reasons, since moving into the new house, nap times have been a little off and haven’t been coordinating well (as in they haven’t been asleep at the same time for long), so I haven’t felt like I’ve had much time to get things done around the house during they day, let alone have any down time.

 

So early last week, Matt surprised me with text about mid-afternoon saying that he was going to come home early and wanted to give me some time while he took the kids to the park. GLORY!!

 

Let me be clear… I love, love, love getting to be home with my kiddos and would not trade it for anything in the world, but I also recognize that during this stage of life, time alone during waking hours is a rare and beautiful and sometimes needed thing, so I excitedly accepted his offer and started thinking about what I would do with this whole hour of time. 

 

After much thought, I decided that a bath with a glass of wine and a food magazine was exactly what this mama was in the mood for that day. And for the next few hours, that was what I envisioned come 5 o’clock.

 

Matt is honestly great about being home when he says, but on this particular day, he got a phone call from a client that had to handled immediately and texted to say he was so sorry but that he would be home later than he originally planned.

 

So at 5:45 when he got home, he swooped up Ryan, Natalie, and Tally and set off for a little neighborhood walk/bike ride for Ryan.

 

As soon as everyone was out of the house, I raced up the stairs (totally skipping the wine- no time to waste!), filled up the bath, and got my magazine and favorite candle ready for my relaxation time. Ahhhhh.

 

Literally, as I was stepping into the tub, I heard crying from downstairs. Matt, Ryan, Natalie, and Tally soon appeared in the bathroom with a tearful little Ryan asking for mama and saying he took a little fall on his bike (before they even made it off the driveway, poor guy!). I asked him what would make it better, and he excitedly said getting in the bath with mommy would make it better.

 

Matt looked at me with a sweet look like, “I’m sorry!” And I looked back with a look that said, “You tried!”

 

As much as I was looking forward to that little stretch of time, I knew that the window of my little buddy wanting his mama when he’s hurt and being able to crawl in the tub with me is such a short one.

 

There will be many days in my future (okay, maybe far away future, but still) 😉 where I’ll be able to sit in the tub and peacefully read an entire magazine… and in those moments, I may even think back to the years when our kids were little and would ask to crawl in with me. And I’ll probably miss them a lot.

 

So I will keep perspective during these crazy, good days, and remember what that sweet man said to his wife when he was watching the young couple with their small kids on the beach,

 

“Those were the days, weren’t they?”

 

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Thanks again, Robyn, for having me today!

 

~Heather

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Behind the Christmas Card (the one with the crazy cat…)

Greetings! Here is mine and Michael’s Christmas card for this year:

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And here is a more accurate representation of our family: (Tucker trying to escape, and us trying to smile while also making sure he doesn’t run and hide under the bushes just to be difficult while we wait with treats as people drive by and give us questioning looks because we’re outside in church clothes crawling around in the pine straw attempting to grab our furball like what happened last week).

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Sometimes the holidays can be like that, can’t they?

We want the first picture. The perfect one. The Christmas carols are playing and the candles are lit and the tree is bright and so shouldn’t everything be perfect, just this month, if no other time?

And if things aren’t perfect for me at Christmas, am I alone in that?

Is everyone else having a way more normal and sugary and wonderful experience as meanwhile Michael and I work through newlywed lessons only learned and planted beautifully in the heart while forged in the heat of challenge?

If your holidays, dear friends, at times resembled crawling in the pine straw (probably not, but you get what I’m saying) instead of decorating Christmas cookies, you are not alone.

And I don’t mean things were negative or bad all the time this Christmas.

Lots of times this Christmas season, things were wonderful.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, dear friends! I am so thankful for all those good times!

I instagramed about our tree and cookies and presents, and we drank hot chocolate and sang carols and snuggled and laughed and watched the Polar Express and stayed in our pajamas all day.

But also lots of times this particular Christmas season, things were hard.

Michael and I were (and are) in the process of setting boundaries in respect to how we spend our holidays, based on what is best for our marriage – our marriage, the sacred beginning of our own little family.

Someone didn’t like – didn’t respect — the boundaries we needed as a young family, and it hurt.

Really hurt.

The kind of hurt where you choose to genuinely thank God for His Son while you string the Christmas lights because you must choose joy when the emotion isn’t easy to find in the moment.

The kind of hurt where your husband sits on the couch and prays and wants peace with someone he loves but it’s just not in his control anymore because people have free will.

This was our Christmas, dear friends. Our second Christmas as a married couple. Our second Christmas as our own family. As one flesh. And I am so thankful for it.

It was a beautiful time. It was sacred. It was also messy.

But isn’t beautiful and sacred and messy the story of our lives?

And isn’t beautiful and sacred and messy why we needed Christmas in the first place?

Because who could rescue us from sin so messy, but the God who made us beautiful and sees us as beautiful despite the mess? Who could rescue us but the God who chose to come in the most sacred, pure, loving way: as a newborn baby?

If your Christmas was hard, I know it’s disappointing. It’s frustrating.

Especially if you wrestle against perfectionism (you’re in good company here, folks) and your Christmas wasn’t like the picture, it’s confusing, even.

Please know Jesus didn’t come for the perfect.

Christmas didn’t happen for the perfect.

It’s so much better than that.

Like a fresh breath of air, Jesus came for you and me. He came because we’re not perfect. And our situations here on earth will never be perfect, and so we can celebrate Christmas because He came!

Hallelujah, He came!

And so now, because He came for you, He promises when there is pain, there is purpose (Rom 8:28).

When you hurt, He is near (Psalm 34:18).

When you trust in Him, you will live with Him forever in a place more perfect than we can imagine (John 3:16).

Maybe this Christmas was wonderfully peaceful and bright and joyful for you. I pray it was! Michael and I have had those simply sweet Christmases, too, and I know we will again.

Praise God for those Christmases! They are gifts.

With a humble heart and by the grace of God, I echo this: Praise God for these hard Christmases, too. They also are gifts. They are. And you are not alone in them.

This is the promise: everything that happens will be used for the good of those who love God. The hard Christmases will be used for good, and the peaceful, easy Christmases will be used for good.

What an incredible God we serve.

Dear friends, I don’t yet see the purpose in our pain from this Christmas. I don’t.

But I do see little glimmers of hope, like little surprises in the tree: the smile Michael gives me when we pray together, holding hands more lately because we’re a team and we need each other, praising God with hearts freshly bowed at the Christmas Eve service because we can see more clearly now in the pain how He truly is our Comfort, Shield, Savior. The moments where we share hearts because we have to lean on each other instead of watch TV. The moments when we look at each other in difficult situations with eyes that understand and we just know. We’re in it together.

These things are all the little gifts God softened my heart to receive this Christmas.

I pray whether your Christmas was easy or hard, peaceful or chaotic, that God gives you eyes to look back and see the gifts He gave. I pray we’ll all have eyes to see the gifts He gives today.

And I pray we all have fresh eyes to see, and hearts to know the greatest Gift we’ll ever receive in Christ Jesus.

Peace and blessings to you and your family,

Robyn