free at last!

(My sweet caretakers this week.)

Well folks, today was our doctor's appointment.
THE appointment I've been waiting for.

Before I go into the details, I just have to thank a few people.
Let it be known, I have the best friends and church family a girl could ask for.
I had sweet visitors, dinners, and snacks delivered all week!
And to my amazing Husband...
Oh man, you went above and beyond taking care of me while I was on bed rest.
Emmerson and I are lucky, lucky girls.

Alright, the moment you've all been waiting for...
(Well, probably not all of you. Maybe 40% of you guys care to know all the details.)
So this is for you 40%!

We found out that I'm measuring a few days ahead.
Every Wednesday is when I "go up" another week.
So, right now, I'm 37 weeks and 2 days. 
(Instead of 36.5 like we thought.)
Taking after her mother and father's baby days,
Emmerson is going to be a big, healthy baby.
Looking about 8 pounds right now.
I'm thinking she's got her Mama's puffy cheeks.
(And I cannot wait to kiss them!)
Slight problem  inconvenience, apparently I have a small pelvis.
Big baby+small pelvis= (possible) labor problems
Which brought up the "c" word.
Not that it's a scary word, people do it all the time!
But, of course, I was hoping for quick, simple labor/delivery (ha!)
Despite the pros and cons that are running through my mind, 
I'm just ready to see my little girl and I don't care how that happens!

Best news of the day?
Blood pressure is normal and this Mama is off bed rest!
Woo Hoo!

Who's taking me out this weekend?!

All this happy news and just in time for Christmas.
My family comes next week and I'm looking forward to the distraction.
I told Husband today, I want to stop waiting for the day Emmerson comes 
and be present in whatever I'm doing.
This could be our last Christmas "just us" and I don't want to wish it away.

Taking things one step at a time.
(Which will take a Christmas miracle because 
I'm a "plan the next 100 steps before I move" kind of girl.)


mini messages

Dear Tiny One,
You're bigger than ever (yet still so small) and moving around like crazy. Makes me smile so big and I know it's what I'll miss most about being pregnant.

Dear Baby Crews,
What do you look like? Will you have dark hair? What color will your eyes be? Dimples? Oh it's the weirdest feeling to be in love with someone you've never "met!"

Dear Daddy's Girl,
I know as soon as he lays eyes on you, I'll have to share a piece of my Husband's heart. I can't wait. Makes my heart swell just thinking about it.

Dear Little Girl,
You have two furry best friends waiting for your arrival. They'll help you crawl and play and snuggle (and maybe even lick, but we'll work on that.)

Dear Emmerson Marie,
You gave us a little scare last week. I know you'll make your appearance when you're good and ready. Maybe let's get to 37 weeks, "full term," (also, my birthday!) Regardless, oh goodness, the world is SO ready for you!


another emmerson update

It seems that we are getting busier and busier the closer we get to baby girl go-time.
'Tis the season!
I'll go ahead and use that as my excuse as to why my updates have been so slim.
Well, get ready folks.
Because this preggo has been put on bed rest.
Which means all the time in the world to write.
(Which also means...probably not going to happen.)

Yes, bed rest.
I was subbing yesterday and began to feel faint.
Heart pounding, head ache forming, "I'm going to pass out right now" feelings.
And super hot.
(But that's a new normal for me.)
So, Husband to the rescue and off to the doctor's we went.
My blood pressure was way high and they sent us to Labor and Delivery to run some tests.
Long story short (I mean, 5 hours later...)
All test were negative to preeclampsia and once I was hooked up to all the machines, 
my blood pressure went back to normal, even super low.
But, since they can't understand why it jumped so high, 
(And I'm almost 36 weeks)
it's bed rest for me.
At least until our next appointment (next Friday.)

Bed rest.
So far, not my favorite.
Usually, I'm a home body.
But that means walking around, doing chores, making crafts, etc.
Not being forced to sit/lie down.
Especially when it's Christmastime!
Don't they know this is THE week of Christmas festivities?!
And our super awesome Axios Christmas party is scheduled for this Thursday.
(Since it's at MY house, I'm probably going to keep that one on the schedule.)
Don't tell.

The great news is that Emmerson is completely fine.
(We heard her hiccups on the monitor yesterday, the cutest.)
And frankly, that's all that matters.
I'll sit in a room by myself and miss Christmas altogether 
if that means my little girl will be okay and in my arms soon!
Thankfully I have two sweet puppy girls and the best caretaker Husband in the world.
And hey!
This just means more time staring at my Christmas tree and watching ABC Family's 25 Day of Christmas.
It's a Christmas miracle!


an emmerson update

I might possibly be the worst at keeping you guys updated on the happenings inside my belly.
Awkward? Sorry.
I always planned on doing weekly baby bump pictures/updates...
well, here I am, 28 weeks later...whoops.

So, here's my third trimester update!
(Better late than never to start, right?)

We have 12 more weeks until little girl graces the world with her presence. 
I had a moment of shock when I realized that. 
12 weeks?! 
That's like..tomorrow.

According to my nifty baby app, Emmerson is 2.2 pounds/15 inches long (a cucumber.)
According to my weight and the amount of movement, she's the whole Veggie Tales cast.
(This is where some bloggers make mention about their weight gain...ain't happening.
Let's just say I'm looking forward to stepping into that gym post-baby!)

I've tried to get "maternity" clothes that I can wear after baby. 
Mostly sweaters, which I like big and comfy, no matter what size I am! 
But, maternity jeans/leggings...my best friends. 
Why would I even want to go back to normal buttons and zippers?

Sleep has gotten more and more...interesting. 
I'm usually a stomach and back sleeper. 
Both of which I've had to train my body to stop. 
Also, I'm a turner.
 Every few hours, I have to switch sides. 
Poor Husband, we've had to resort to two different comforters because of my constant tossing and turning.

Best moments so far?
Seeing the potato's heartbeat (week 5 does not look like a baby)
Hearing the heartbeat for the first time.
Seeing the ultrasound that actually looked like a baby.
It's a GIRL!
Any and every conversation that Husband and I have about our little girl.
Feeling those first "flutters."
Seeing my stomach twitch and roll.
Baby showers.

I started out with awful morning/all day sickness. 
Thankfully, that went away around week 14.
But, the constant symptom has been acid reflux. 
TUMS have become my daily "dessert" after most meals.
I'm hot. 
All the time.
I'm usually freezing, so this has been the biggest change.
I'm so, so thankful for TN's Fall and Winter weather!
Is back/hip pain a symptom? 
Cause, there's that.
All of which I just put under the "growing pains" category.
Worth it.

Snickers and Sandwiches.
All day.

My belly button is morphing.
Kind of being stretched flat.

Her nursery theme is maps and hot air balloons.
Pastel yellows, blues, greens.

I wish I had adorable pictures to show my growing belly, but my self conscience-ness of being in front of a camera has doubled since being pregnant.
I love my belly.
It's the puffy face and arms I could do without.

Again I say,

Worth it.

Well, there you go, (Mom, random friends/family members)
an Emmerson Marie update.


mini messages

Dear hash browns,
You are officially my first pregnancy driven craving. Congrats! Now Husband, keep 'em coming.

Dear Dancing with the Stars,
I have never watched you, but I started last night because of my love for Duck Dynasty's sweet Sadie Robertson (and Carlton.) But, is it a written rule that dancers/celebrities are supposed to be SO mushy gushy touchy feely? Do those people get extra points? Creeeeepy.

Dear Bailee girl,
You have no idea how much my heart hurt driving away from the vet without you! I hope you are staying warm and they're giving you extra loves. You are quite aware of how cute you are, so I'm sure you're milking it.

Dear Emmerson Marie,
Grow baby girl, grow! I feel you moving ever so slightly, can't wait for those strong kicks!

Dear Water,
Taste better so I'll want to drink more of you.



(baking with my little girl last week)

Today's high is 72, but I don't think it's gotten above 64.
That, my friends, is the sign of a great day.
Husband spent the early part of the day doing manly things with wood and tools.
While the girls stayed home and watched the amazing movies abcfamily has going on right now.
I also re-read my blog posts.
I'm so glad I started this "diary" four years ago.
The journey and memories are so precious to me.
The best part about today is what's to come.
The husband and I are finally baby registering!
It's like shopping without spending a dime.
(Which is convenient when you don't even have a dime to spend!)
Woo Hoo, date night!
Oh! I'm gonna break out the first scarf of the Fall!
Things are getting fancy over here!

Happy Weekend!


monday words

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."
Too soon?
Although, we have been having multiple rainy days and nights the past few weeks.
And since "I love all things that make people miserable"
(as my friend so lovingly put it)
I have enjoyed every minute of the rain.
Rain brings cold.
Cold brings sweaters, moccasins, boots, candles, pumpkins (the list never ends.)
Not to mention the holidays that are soon to arrive!
Halloween, Thanksgiving, CHRISTMAS.
And ohmylanta...
Emmerson is due anywhere from Christmas Eve to the beginning of January.
(2 guesses which date I'm hoping she chooses to arrive!)
The excitement is almost too much to bear.

Pregnancy has been everything I wanted and more than I imagined.
I haven't really experienced crazy cravings, I naturally love and crave food, so no noticeable difference from any other day in the life of Lauren.
But the hormones?
Oh man...those are real.
Poor Brandon. He truly has been the best during my crazy spells.
Like one day I woke up completely convinced he didn't love me anymore.
And he won't let me watch Criminal Minds because pregnant Lauren takes their stories as REAL LIFE and WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN?
All crazy spells come with the company of pretty impressive cries.
And I know I'm being irrational, but my feelings and heartbreak is so real!
So real.

Thanks to amazing family members and my knack for painting and reusing furniture, 
Emmerson's nursery is basically complete.
It's my favorite room in the whole world.
If I'm ever feeling sad, I just grab a blanket and snuggle on the floor of her room.
The puppies follow me and think I'm crazy.
Which, I am...but also pregnant, so it's allowed.

And let's just be real for a second,
I am t-terrified of labor and all that follows.
Pain and me...we ain't homies.
Paper cuts bring a tear to my eye.
So, I cannot even imagine.
And I try my hardest to NOT imagine...
and Husband forbade me from reading all the "horror" stories of labor.
T-totally worth it, Lauren.

All in all, life is pretty near perfect here in our slice of the world.
Just waiting on a job.
The big j.o.b.
Teaching has proven to be more difficult and "unreachable" as of now.
Plus add in the fact that I'm over 5 months pregnant...
I walk into a place (belly first) and they see someone who will work for a few months, take a maternity leave, and never return.
Talk about discrimination.
If they only knew I'd kill to work for them and bring some more financial stability to our house.

When those moments overwhelm me and I begin to feel worthless, 
I look down at my growing belly,
over to my handsome husband, 
and up to my amazing Heavenly Father,
and remember that this...
all this,
is in His hands.


dreaming of baby girl...

She has a gender.
She has a name.
She has a face that husband already claims has my nose.
She has us wrapped and we haven't even "met" her yet.

I can't stop remembering seeing her at the ultrasound yesterday.
30 minutes of uninterrupted Emmerson movie-time.
I prayed for clear boy/girl parts and baby girl was in the perfect position 
(little behind sticking straight up.)
Cute for now, but we'll work on lady like positions when she's here.
She was moooooooving.
Active little girl.
(Can't actually feel her yet, but she was swinging all arms and legs, 
opening and closing her cute little mouth.)
Dancer, maybe?

Pinterest is no longer a safe place for me.
Give me all things baby girl!
Headbands! Oh the headbands.
(Not the oversized bows/flowers though. 
Simple, precious is the key.)
Everything I'd wear, but mini sized.
Yes, I will be that mom.
The one that occasionally matches with her baby.
No shame.

I hope she has Husband's black hair and freckles.
And Mamaw's smile.

I've already cried thinking about her daddy giving her away at her wedding.
And telling her all about the lady her middle name came from (my Mamaw.)

Oh, Emmerson Marie, you have stolen our hearts and turned our world upside down.


zoo day (a video)

Friday, Husband surprised me with an afternoon trip to the zoo.
One of my favorite places
with my favorite person(s!)


God is in control.

"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."
2 Corinthians 4:8-10

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"
Psalm 27:14

Thank you so much to all the encouraging words and prayers (here and on Facebook.) 
They brought such peace and comfort.
God is in control.



My last post was a "happy little one" about waiting.
Little did you know, I was expecting something big to happen (cue "perfect job.")
Little did I know, not an hour later, "perfect job" would be taken off the table completely.

So now I'm swallowing some of those things I wrote.
"Be grateful for what you have."

I'm at a complete loss for words and I can feel my faith draining.

Earlier this summer, everything was "perfect."
After years of battling infertility, Brandon and I found out we were pregnant.
Then, I got an amazing teaching position at a (seemingly) wonderful school.
2 of our biggest prayer requests answered.

Once the school found out I was pregnant and would need maternity leave, they withdrew their offer.


Fast forward a few months, another "perfect" (this time, non-teaching) position seemed to fall into my lap.
It would use my organization, party planing skills, creativity, plus give me more hours to have a comfortable security for our growing family.
This afternoon, it walked away.


I wish I could say right now I feel confident that it will all be okay.
I wish I could say that being a pastor's wife means I never have unwavering faith.
But I can't bring myself to lie to you, to myself.

I'm not writing this to receive pity.
Normally, I keep things light and airy on here, or I wait until the storm has passed to tell you what God brought us through.
But right now, I need prayers, encouragement, and maybe some hugs (and Kleenex's.)

things to do while you're waiting...

I'm in a time of my life where I'm waiting for what seems like everything.
It's the awkward position of already doing all I could do, and now...I wait.
The two biggest being:

The right job (teaching or ??)
Baby Crews (almost halfway through!)

So, I've decided to compile a list of things to do while waiting.

-be grateful for the things you already have
-encourage others
-paint your nails
-do the dishes
-play board games
-snuggle longer
-take naps
-prepare for the day when you're no longer waiting
-go on adventures
-save money
-make something you've pinned on Pinterest
-chat it up with an old friend
-listen to Christmas music
-organize your life
-say "yes" to more
-paint something with chalkboard paint

You can never go wrong with chalkboard paint.


I'm THAT dog mom...

(Bailee and Olive with our tiny 5 week baby...9 weeks ago!)

Being almost 4 months preggo has my mind thinking things I've never thought about before.
For 5 years, I've been a "puppy mom" to my girls, Bailee and Olive.
B and I will be talking, and I just have to burst out laughing at how we compare our dogs to kids.

I know, I know. 
2 WAY different things.
I know you can't leave a baby in the kennel...
for more than an hour.
That's a joke.

But, because I/we love our pups more than most humans, I can't help but hope our babe picks up a few of their characteristics.

I hope baby learns to be independent, but snuggly like Olive.
I hope baby learns to find things to wag their tail for every single day like Bailee (symbolically speaking, of course.)
I hope baby gets Olive's amazing eyelashes (that's weird, sorry! But seriously, I'm jealous of them.)
I hope baby withholds kisses like Olive, and keeps them for special people only.
I hope baby guards their heart, but loves big like Bailee.
I hope baby learns to focus on their goals and never give up like Bailee.
I hope baby speaks their mind like Olive (maybe just a tad quieter.)

I can't wait to see our little family grow.
I know two little puppies that have no idea their world is about to be turned upside down.
(And two parents that have no idea either!)


joy filled friday

1 lazy days full of sunshine, reading, puppy snuggles, and music 2 Criminal Minds (tv show, not real life minds of criminals) 3 everything baby (sorry to my Pinterest followers, all baby-all day) 4 red toenails 
5 learning songs on my ukulele (not ready to play for anyone more than the pups, but soon!) 
6 the fact that one of my closest friends is also pregnant (we're due within days of each other!) 7 mismatched funky fabrics 8 clean/tidy rooms 9 hair cuts 10 free things

Happy Weekend, y'all!


baby crews (our story)

We never want to take for granted the things God has given us. 
Until we have seemingly everything, but that one thing...

Brandon and I have been fairly quiet about our struggle. Out of respect for others and mostly because of being at a loss for words. We know we aren’t alone and this journey has made our marriage and testimonies even stronger.

We spent years watching women becoming mothers and men becoming fathers.
I spent years crying every month when another test failed.
We spent thousands of dollars on doctors with no answers.
I spent countless prayers asking "why?"
We spent hours searching for comfort, articles to explain our situation.
I spent hours in waiting rooms, nervously swaying in my seat.

In our lives, this news is more than a positive pregnancy test and ultrasound.
It carries the pain and years of infertility, negative results, and baffled doctors.
My heart can truly rejoice, because I've felt the emptiness of infertility.

But I will never be able to forget the pain of infertility. I won't forget the women that I've met that still struggle with infertility.

I've read stories similar to the one I'm writing now, with tears in my eyes and jealousy in my heart. I've rolled my eyes and exclaimed "Great for you. It's easy for you to trust in God and give Him everything, but nothing is working for me and I'm still hurting."
I've been there. That's been my home for almost three years. I still fight the temptation to be back in that mindset.

More than share our good news, I want to offer comfort to those hurting. I want our testimony to be heard.

I never want to be insensitive to those who are still hurting. 
There isn't a fix-all. 
I know you’ve heard it before; God brings families together in many different ways. 
Adoption. IVF. Foster. Naturally. 
But sometimes, He doesn’t bring what we believe should be ours.

To everyone that knew about our struggle over the past few years, the prayers, encouragement, and shoulders to cry on have meant more than you will ever know.

Everyone has a different story and this is ours. 
I want the shame that comes with infertility to be banished. 
I want there to be nothing but a positive outlook for women and men that struggle with this. 
It's not fair. 
But, it's not your fault. 
God had to break me and allow me to have nothing, so I could see everything He's done. 

I had to be content with nothing. To truly realize that He was in control and nothing I did would change the outcome. 

Be content with nothing but Him.

But what about the solid, godly women and men who can't have children?

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
Daniel 3:17-18

If it’s His will, He is able.
Even if not, He is still God.
Even if we weren't pregnant, He is still God.
Even if I stayed infertile for the rest of my life, He is still God.

With this child, I will serve my God.
In raising this child, I will glorify my King.
In our testimony, I want God’s faithfulness to be evident, even if we weren’t given healing.

I wish we were all promised healing. If I had a magic potion, I'd share it with all the hurting women. But, I have a God, and I have His love. Ultimately, that's all I've ever needed.

For those that are hurting from miscarriage to infertility, you are not alone. I understand the shame and guilt that you’re feeling. I’ve dealt with the disappointment and false hopes. I’ve lived the silent war of infertility.
I never want to be insensitive to ones still in pain. We aren't all promised healing. It's not your fault. You are still a vital part of God's plan. I don’t have the perfect Bible verse to speak straight into your heart, or a deep theological explanation for your suffering. All I have is, I’ve been there, and I’m so sorry for your pain. 

I will never take for granted the blessing God has given Brandon and me. I am even more joyous because of the path that we had to go on to get here.

Joining us, January of 2015, baby Crews.


mini messages

Dear Kiddie Pool,
I can already say you're the best summer purchase. Sure, you're only 6 feet wide and 1.5 feet deep, but that's all I really need. Perfect.

Dear Elementary/Middle School Position,
Come out, come out...wherever you are!

Dear VBS,
I can't wait to be the crazy lady on stage with y'all this week. Get ready to dance!

Dear Energy,
Wake up! I need you big time. (See above.)

You are slam-packed full. Bring. It. On.


joy filled friday

1 pennants (especially ones made using my mamaw's fabric) 2 making Husband sit through musicals with me 3 pickle flavored chips 4 fritos and bean dip 5 girl meets world premiere date finally being revealed 
6 gel nails 7 dinners at our table (as opposed to on the couch, with the tv on) 8 freshly bathed puppies 
9 pinstripe shorts 10 flowers in mason jars

Happy Weekend!


summer bucket list

 Being a lover of lists, it only makes sense to welcome summer with a bucket list.
(Yes, it's still Spring, but I'm boycotting this season for making me so sick.)

Can't wait to get this summer started and start checking things off!

What's on your summer to-do list?


mini messages

Dear Spring in Tennessee,
When I said I loved you, I lied. That was pre-allergy attack. Now, as I've been sneezing enough to break my back, I kind of hate you. The flowers and warmer weather are nice, but you're dead to me.

Dear Father,
I'm so, so, so excited for your visit next week! We are long overdue for a daddy-daughter date!

Dear Mother, 
Please don't get too jealous while Dad gets to spend a week with your favorite child. We will miss you so big, I know it! I promise, all we'll talk about is how much we love you and how beautiful you are and how miserable the visit is without you.

Dear Vicks Sinex Nasal Decongestant,
Um, you're awesome.

Dear Husband,
Thanks for willingly moving to the couch during this sickness. And for buying me the special kleenex that doesn't hurt my nose.

Dear Storm,
I love rain, thunder, and lightening. But, I hate damages. Let's make a deal. You bring all the storm like qualities, without the storm consequences. Deal? Deal.



reading// the book of James. Preparing for our newest "Axios" study. Man, this book is in your face. I love it.

eating// a strict, lean meat-veggies-and fruit diet. (With a few reasonably proportioned cheat meals.)

watching// the endless DVR'd shows. New Girl, Mindy Project, Once, Giuliana and Bill, etc.

listening to// Us, Jillian Edwards, The Inlaws, Johnnyswim, and The Honey Trees.

cooking// barbecue pulled pork for a dinner party tonight (see, cheat meal.)

thinking// Husband needs to wake up so we can go ride bikes (and by bikes, I mean our tandem.)

wearing// my staple uniform of leggings, an oversized sweater and hair in a top knot.

waiting// for the next step (metaphorically speaking.)

hoping// to be back in the classroom next year.

wishing// my nose would stop. running. Also, that this itchy throat and watery eye thing is just my body playing a joke on me, because I refuse to be sick again.


joy filled friday

1 Easter Sundays with family 2 whoever invented the DVR 3 the "h a p p i e s" board on my pinterest 
4 cursive handwriting 5 boyfriend fit jeans 6 floor to ceiling built-ins 7 handmade dolls 8 slouchy sweaters 9 ukeleles 10 the fact that overalls are coming back in style

Happy weekend, y'all!


DIY: hand painted mug

Step 1: Grab a ceramic mug. This particular one was left at my house after a visit from some friends (thanks, guys!) But, you can get some from any dollar store/Wal-Mart/Grandma's cabinet.

Step 2: A lot of websites claim Sharpies will do the trick. I've used both and ceramic paint pens have lasted through many dish washings. Sharpies can scratch easily and eventually wash off completely. I bought this pen at Wal-Mart for $3 and some change. (They have different color choices, but during the heating process, the colors fade slightly.)

Step 3: Draw/write your little heart out! I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest. It perfectly blends the nerd/gangster in me. If you're nervous about your artistic skills, don't worry! Mess ups can be washed off with a sponge (before baking.) I personally, love the imperfect handwriting/pictures. Learn to love your art!

Step 4: Place the mug in the center of your oven before heating it up. Because it's ceramic, you have to be careful switching from cold to hot too quickly. Unless you want cracked ceramic, (that's a whole other DIY.)

Step 5: Set the oven to 425 degrees (with the mug already inside.) Once it heats up, set the timer for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Leave in oven to cool completely (I usually crack the oven door open.) Run through the dish washer once and you're all set!

Tips: Practice writing on paper before you write on the mug.
For best results, use a ceramic paint pen.
Be careful with the paint pens, they can squirt out too much paint if you press down too hard.
Mug will be hot, hot, hot. Use an oven mit. (Duh, Lauren.)