I am 37 weeks today- I never made it to 38 weeks with Jase, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.  I'm so tired I can barely type, so I'll just post a few pictures from the Christmas festivities. My cousin took a picture of my entire immediate family, but I haven't gotten it yet.  It was awesome to be together for Christmas for the first time in several years!

Cousins on Christmas Eve: Chail (6) holding Jase, Rocky (4) holding baby sister Ginger (almost 1). All three belong to my oldest brother and his wife.

Jase opening his Pillow Pet from his Great Aunt Sharon on Christmas Eve. I love how excited Chuck is!

Family of (almost) 4 on Christmas Day- with the Elf on the Shelf hanging close by. Got Jase's Christmas PJ's at a thrift store for $3- so fun!

Birthday cake for Jesus- keeping up the tradition from Chuck's side of the fam. 

A night at Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate my Dad's Bday with my parents and younger brother. Good friends blessed us by baby-sitting. It was bliss.

Some Answers

I'm really thankful Jase's Pediatrician's office is open on Sunday mornings!  After chatting with a nurse on the phone Saturday afternoon, it was decided we needed to take Jase in after 5 days of struggling.  Long story short, our little guy has a double ear infection.  Yikes.  =(  No wonder he has been miserable.  Sigh.  I'm very thankful for answers!  I'm always so relieved when the doctor actually finds something instead of just saying, "He has a virus".  We were able to start him on his meds yesterday, which is great because we're supposed to be around family with other kids over Christmas.  I'm hoping by the time we get together with everybody he'll be feeling much better.  For now we continue to snuggle, watch cartoons, spoon-feed, and watch the Christmas lights.  Thank you God for answers!

God has kept me pretty healthy, thankfully!  Chuck, not so much.  Poor guy is pretty miserable.  He took a sick day yesterday, and slept most of the afternoon.  I was glad because he usually only takes a nap for about 10 minutes.  As far as Baby Girl goes, she seems to be doing well.  I have an appointment today to get tested for strep, so hopefully I won't have to be on antibiotics during labor.  Chuck and I went to bed talking about how overwhelmed we are already to take on the care of a second baby.  Chuck did say he feels concerned for me being home with two babies while he's at work- for some reason having him say that made me feel even more supported.

This is officially an incredibly boring post.  Maybe this post has been able to help some of you doze off for a nice, lovely nap.

Here are some pictures from the past several weeks, pre-infestation.

Our first big snow of the season! Jase loves to go with Chuck when he lets Jovie out.

One of the teens made Jase an adorable snowman cake pop- he devoured it!  So sweet of her!

Again and Again and Again

Jase finally got better from a bout with fever and HFM virus for 10 days, only to return to the nursery for one Sunday to be plagued with yet ANOTHER illness.  The fever is back, and he is so miserable. He has some sort of cold, but the term "cold" just doesn't seem to do this illness justice.  I know he feels awful because he wants me to hold him all the time.  That's not my boy- he is an on-the-go kid, with little time for Mama snuggles.  Yesterday I was desperately trying to get him to eat something, so I held him in my lap and spoon-fed him some oatmeal while he laid his head on my chest.  Normally he wants nothing to do with anyone spoon-feeding him.  He is a man who likes to use his own fork or spoon or shove his own food into his mouth.  It's all just so sad.  And frustrating.  And stressful.  The kid is sick more than he is healthy.  That blasted church nursery.  I'm seriously considering skipping church until Jase is in college.  And I'm not even going to THINK about putting my tiny little newborn in there.  Maybe I should ask for a plastic bubble to cover our house for the rest of winter for Christmas.

I had intentions of writing this exciting post about a Scripture memory opportunity I read about through Beth Moore's blog.  I'm still excited about it, and am still going to share, but snot and coughing and congestion and phlegm and fevers and Motrin and watery eyes and misery are so strong on my mind it's hard to focus.  Instead of me giving my two cents about memorizing verses, check out Beth's most recent post that has gotten both me and Chuck pretty excited.  We're going to be working at memorizing two verses a month in 2015.  Lord knows I need it.  And I love the accountability, help, and structure Beth's team offers.  Let me know if you decide to participate, as well.  It would be fun to do this with others.


Now I'm off to try to get a couple more hours of sleep in before my little sickie bug wakes up.  Chuck's alarm just went off- it's 6am on a Saturday, people.  That's my man.  Sad to say, but I get my best hours of sleep after he gets up in the morning.  I am SUCH a morning and alone sleeper.  Thank you God that it's Saturday.  Oh, it's exactly one month until Baby Girl is due.  Hearing the stories about Mary being "heavy with child" has taken on a whole new meaning this Christmas.  If anyone tried to put me anywhere near a donkey right now...


Just a few ways God has provided for us lately:

A family member got Jase a MUCH NEEDED car seat for his weight and size for Christmas!  At Thanksgiving I had said, "It would be a blessing if Jase could ride up to my parent's in a car seat that fit him."  God totally agreed.

We weren't going to be able to send out Christmas pictures or cards this year, but we got a deal that included 100 picture cards and envelopes for $8!  God knows it means SO much to me to be able to send them out.

We made it to pay day with one dinner to spare!

After about 10 days, Jase is FINALLY fever-free!

The other day was "just one of those days".  I decided not to complain to Chuck, so he had no idea how hard the day had been.  He ended up arriving home an hour early that day.  I could have collapsed with relief!  That same day I received the sweetest package from a family member all for baby girl.  It meant so much to me.  I'm always in awe how God provides me with gifts because He knows that's how I feel loved.

Chuck and I found the perfect Christmas gift for Jase.  We haven't gotten it yet, but I feel better knowing we have a great idea.  (If you're dying of curiosity, we're going to get him a plastic shopping cart. They make them in boy colors, too.  ;)  He absolutely loves pushing things around.  He rolls his high chair all over the kitchen, as well as my desk chair.  He also loves putting things "in and out".  $8 shopping cart = perfect!)

There are no guarantee's when it comes to Jase's nap time lately.  I'm always hoping for the morning nap because I NEED the morning nap!!! Yesterday I was so tired I was falling asleep on the couch while he was running around.  I took a gamble and stuck him in his crib, hoping he would play for a little bit so I could sleep and he could be safe at the same time.  I crashed instantly, and when I woke up he was asleep, too.  I even had time to shower before he woke up.  A true Christmas miracle!

I'm feeling dangerously close to falling asleep on the couch again- the real reason I am posting right now!  Anything to keep me awake.

So thankful for God's unending provisions, blessings, and gifts!

Photo Magic

A very sweet and generous friend gave us the gift of a maternity photo shoot.  I think I've mentioned my "Wish List for God", and having a maternity photo shoot was on that list.  It was a deep desire of mine to be able to frame an intimate picture of Baby Girl and I while I was pregnant with her (to hang in her nursery).  If not for this fabulous gift, we would not have had these special moments captured.  In one of Jase's little Christmas books I read to him this morning, it lists a definition of blessing: "a good gift from God".  Perfect way to define this photo shoot!  On a side note:  I love having books to read to Jase that teach about the goodness of God already.

Leigh Grames was an absolute gem to work with!  You can check out her beautiful website here:  http://leighgphotography.com (SPECIAL OFFER FOR A PHOTO SHOOT WITH LEIGH AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!) She made me feel so comfortable, which I find very important.  There is something about a pregnant tummy that feels very personal, and she captured that essence exactly how I would have wanted.  She also paid very close attention to details like the look on my face, my bangs constantly flying around, the odd way the bow on my sweater sometimes fell, and the wrinkles in my sweater that made me look puffy.  

The only downside of the shoot was that Jase wasn't too thrilled about it.  He is SUCH a smiley boy, but there is something about the official photo shoot that turns him into a different little guy.  I think it's because he loves to run free at all times, and being in a still photo is not his style.  The sad thing is, when we got home he felt hot to me, and I realized he had a fever!  I felt terrible for trying to make him be happy in a photo shoot when he was miserable with fever.  Regardless, he still looks so handsome to me.  My heart beats for these two men of mine!  And it also beats in a special way for this little girl of mine.  Blessed.   

Chuck really likes the picture on the right because of the unique barn door at the top.  We think it was used for hay bailing at one point.  We love a rustic barn.

Our growing little family!  Plus, the tenderness I feel towards our growing baby girl is so obvious in the one on the right.

The sweetest baby boy I have ever known.  Can you spot the mini-marshmallow bribes in his mouth? ;)

***Leigh Grames has graciously offered a special deal for any of you local blog readers.  If you book a photography session with her before March of 2015, and use the promo code: Full of Joy, she will give you a $35 credit.  She does far more than maternity shoots, so check her out here !  You can also contact her via email: leighgphoto@gmail.com.  We highly recommend her!  

Thank you so much for the wonderful afternoon, Leigh!  You are a great, great blessing to us.    

Celebration of the Arts

(I wrote this on Saturday, but didn't post it.  Chuck found it on the laptop and said he enjoyed it... so... thought I'd share.)

Last Thursday night I attended an event called, "Celebration of the Arts".  I received the invitation through my writer's group.  We were instructed to bring a piece of our art- anything we had written- that we were proud of.  I was a little nervous since I don't feel like I have done anything substantial with my writing in a long time.  But I ended up choosing to bring the magazines containing the last two articles I had written.  When I arrived people were placing their art pieces on a display table, so I laid out the two magazines.  It was a pretty cool feeling.  There were paintings, drawings, pottery, photographs, and then my art- writing.

I have thought to myself and said many times out loud over the years that I wish I had a talent.  I've always wished I had some skill I was good at.  I watch my husband create, and use his creative mind for all kinds of projects.  I have wished so often I could be like him!  I have wished I was able to create something beautiful to give as a gift.  Many of my friends can refurbish furniture, or are amazing at DIY projects, or can make cards, jewelry, clothing- the skies the limit for those kinds of artists.  Recently I even went to Michael's to look around and see if there was anything I could make to give away as gifts this Christmas.  It all felt extremely daunting to me.  I don't have the kind of mind that can picture something and create it, even though I really, really wish I could.

Back in October I joined a ministry called, "Infused Arts".  My particular group in this community is called, "The Write Space".  As the weeks have gone on I've learned that "Infused Arts" is simply artists coming together who are infused by the Holy Spirit, and create for Him.  These artists are inspired by Him and for Him.  As I participate in this creative community I am experiencing the presence of God more and more through my writing.  I have always known God has put this art of writing inside me.  Even as a young child writing was apart of me, but it has never seemed like a talent or a skill.  It's just been a part of me.

On Thursday night I was able to celebrate the gift God has given me as a writer with other artists who affirmed my gift.  I got to stand up, share about my articles, and celebrate how God had led me to write them.  Then I was privileged to see the pieces of art others created and got to hear their stories.  God was infused all over each piece of art whether written or visual.  It was beautiful!  So beautiful!  And surreal.  I have never been apart of anything like it.  Experiencing God through people's art was stunning.  Inspiring.  I was in awe, and still am.

It has been so exciting to embrace anew the gift of writing God has given me, and to be learning that He has a unique purpose for it.  For me.  He has created me with this gift, and wants to use it for His glory and His kingdom.  Really, me?  As Jase would say, "Woooow!"

Today I am at a Writer's Retreat, surrounded by others writers, and I find such strength and inspiration from their stories.  Their journeys as writers.  I'm finding a community of artists I can relate to, and connect with over our passion to write.  It's amazing.  It's like something inside me has begun to crack open, and I'm just beginning to realize what God could do through me using the written word.  It feels so good to be understood in this passion.  It feels so good to dust off my fingers, start to declutter the cobwebs of lies that have tangled themselves around my mind, and begin to see myself as a woman who has a voice that can only tell a story from my perspective.  A perspective only God could give me.

Blessings upon Blessings

November is such a great month for me to be reminded to have a thankful mindset.  There is always an abundance of things to be thankful for.  I've been wanting to come up with a visual way for Chuck and I to list the ways God is blessing us.  One year we had a thankfulness jar during November, and then we read all the things we had written down on Thanksgiving Day.  Since we haven't created anything yet, I decided to visually reflect through this post.  Some of these things may seem strange, but that is a wonderful benefit of having an intimate relationship with Christ.  He knows my heart, and the things that speak the loudest to me.  So here they are- blessings from God and the reasons I am thankful today:

I am FREE from the burden and chains of sin because Christ paid the price for me!
I truly have a fulfilling LIFE in abundance because Jesus lives in me!
I know God created me uniquely special, unlike any other woman in this world.
I can not fathom the depth of God's love for me.  It's even more than the depth of love I have for my own babies.  
Chuck is so much fun for me to be around.
He is a loving, sacrificial, selfless, hard-working, creative husband. 
Chuck continues to be so attractive to me.
Chuck is experiencing God in new ways- in ways I have prayed for.
A friend brought us groceries last week AND several meals.  I haven't cooked in a week, and won't have to cook for several more days.  Glory be.  
Another friend is baby-sitting Jase tomorrow during my OB appointment.  
Starbucks is having their BOGO on Holiday drinks this week!
It's Thanksgiving and Christmas season!
Jase is constantly smiling and laughing- he is such a happy kid.  
Jase started saying, "Wow!" this week in the most adorable voice.  
Jase absolutely adores his Papa.  And Chuck absolutely adores his son.  
Baby Girl is 30 weeks old, and we will get to hold her in the next 10 weeks.  
I believe God put her name on our hearts a couple years ago, even though we keep debating.  
My parents are giving us a dresser for the baby's room.  
Bottle feeding is such a joy for me.
We were given the gift of a maternity and family photo shoot.  (See Chuck's FB page for a preview.)
Being off of FB has been a really good thing for me.
Two girl friends have lent me maternity clothes.
My husband gave me a budget to buy some maternity items I needed to get through winter. God provided great consignment shop buys.  (Jeans for $9, for instance!)
Co-leading a girl's teen small group brings a lot of joy.
I am part of a writing community.
We have an HSA account.
My Mom will be taking and watching Jase for a week soon.  
I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time.
God provided a FREE turkey!  
We have seen some houses recently we could see ourselves buying this summer.  
Chuck loves his job.
I respect the people Chuck works with.  
Jase is taking a second nap today- a special blessing because I hurt my back and it's hard to walk.  
I was able to get into a chiropractor TODAY.  
Decaf, soy, no whip, peppermint mocha's are out in the red cups.  Need I say more?!

Jesus, thank you for lavishly blessing.  

If anyone else wants to share their list of thanks and blessings, I would LOVE to read them!

Happy Halloween!

Weak Week

Last week was so super rough.  As I was starting to feel better from the stomach virus, I got two vaccines at my OB appointment.  I have reacted (chills, aches, pains) to both vaccines in the past, so I figured it was going to be a tough weekend.  And it was.  Thankfully Chuck is Super Papa, and I was able to stay in bed for a lot of Saturday and Sunday.  I'm still really weak.  I just tried putting Jase down for an afternoon nap, but I probably tried too early- wishful thinking on my part.  So now I face the dilemma, do I let him cry it out awhile and hope he eventually wears himself out?  Or do I get him up, and start the process all over again in an hour?  My energy for the day is sapped already.

I learned at my last appointment that I am in the throws of my third trimester.  Not sure how I missed that.  The contractions continue daily, and are even getting uncomfortable.  I'm waddling already, with three months to go. My doctor also informed us to be prepared for Baby Girl to come early, just in case.  She told us to be prepared even four weeks early, which would be NEXT MONTH.  I have nothing ready.  Nothing.  It's all very overwhelming.

So, in an attempt to "be anxious for nothing", I made a wish list today and put Philippians 4:19 at the top, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus".  The list will be between me and God, and I will take joy in watching Him provide for us.  He always does.  When Jase was born, our entire house was in boxes, and we weren't even living in our own home.  I write this as a pep talk to myself because I wake up every day between 4-6am wide awake wondering how so many things are going to work out.  Sometimes life just feels impossible.

Update:  The babe is finally asleep- I let him cry it out.  ;)  Now I need to get myself showered.  People, showering is exhausting.  Why is that?!  Then I need to move on to dinner preparations.  I just have to make it until Wednesday.  A dear, dear friend is driving a two hour round trip to bring us groceries, and several meals!  I told her I did not want her doing that for us, but she said, "Let us bless you."  Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.  I desperately need the help at times, but when someone offers, I'm quick to say, "I'll be fine!".  I never feel like I deserve the help.  I feel like I'm being lazy if others do things for me.  I feel like I should be able to do the very natural thing of caring for one child while carrying another one.  Millions of women do it every day.  And this makes me wonder, why is it so hard for me?

Can anyone else out there relate at all???


I came out unscathed by the colds the boys (are still) suffering with, BUT ended up with my own virus.  Seems it was created just for me and Baby Girl.  I was attacked on Saturday morning with an awful, AWFUL stomach virus.  I thought for sure I was going to end up in the hospital.  To describe the symptoms in this post would not be very courteous to you readers, so I will spare you.  Thankfully the worst seems to be behind me, I've just been weak.  Tonight I am going to try to attend my writer's group as it's our last meeting for October. (We meet for a whole month every other month.)  If I make it, it will be my first time out of the house since last Friday when I went grocery shopping.  It's really cool how God has taken care of me, and our little family during this whole ordeal.

~2 friends brought us meals on 2 different nights
~my in-laws had given us groceries the last time they visited so we were set with food
~Chuck was able to take Monday off  & care for Jase so I could stay in bed
~Baby Girl has continued to kick, squirm, and make her presence known
~I already had on OB appointment scheduled for this week
~Jase has napped like a PRO this week: a morning AND afternoon nap each day
~I have have been able to nap once a day, which helps a lot
~Friends watched Jase for awhile on Saturday while I was super sick so Chuck could work
~One of the friends took really sweet pictures of Jase while watching him & emailed them to me
~I have a great co-leader for our teen small group so she led when I couldn't attend
~My husband is an amazing care-taker, and an amazing Papa!!!! I could not have survived without his constant help and love.  I'm so thankful!!

Sick Day

Hello friends!  We are bummin' today.  Chuck and Jase are both sick.  Chuck always carries on like normal when he's sick, which makes me feel bad for him.  So far I seem to be fine.  I feel lethargic, but what else is new?  I did have a strange bloody nose experience this morning, which I contribute to the pregnancy.  I don't want to gross anyone out with the details, but it was the first time that's happened to me with that amount of blood.  Moving on. The positive angle of Jase being sick is that he slept until almost 8:15 this morning, took a morning nap, and is now taking an afternoon nap.  He is also a little more clingy than normal, which I cherish because he's usually an independent little thing.  And if Chuck is home, forget about Mama.  The boy is ALL ABOUT his Papa.  He says, "Papa, Papa, Papa" a million times a day.  Hopefully those two will keep their germs to themselves.  I am already exhausted, achey, lethargic, and dragging on a daily basis.  ;)

I was supposed to go grocery shopping today, but didn't want to drag the babe out, especially since it's been pouring rain.  Tonight's dinner is going to be quite interesting.  I do find that when I am in a pinch, I can usually scrape up some sort of meal.  The best way I save on our grocery budget is to "shop" in my own pantry and freezer.  I can almost always come up with something, even if it's not the most exciting meal.  Tonight's menu:  soup that was in the freezer, frozen broccoli, two pumpkin muffins, and maybe homemade apple sauce if I find the energy to look up a recipe and actually make it.

Chuck is coming home early because I haven a dentist appointment.  I really just want to stay home.  I can't stand going to the dentist.  Yuck.  Guess it's good to get it over with for six more months.

Happy Rainy Day everyone!

Extended Celebrations!

Believe it or not, these are the best cousin pictures I could get the last time the boys were all together a few weeks ago.  We had a lovely little visit to the Dubbe family farm house in VA.  The boys are so sweet with Jase.  They definitely keep him entertained, which is awesome for us.  They also wanted to celebrate Jase's birthday again- with a darling gift as well as a crazy, multi-colored cake!

Book Stuff

I keep a book journal.  This means I write down the title of every book I read, some information about it,  the date I finished it, and my opinion of said book.  Some years I am amazed at how many books I've read, but others years I am dismayed at how few books I've read.  Of course since January of this year I haven't got a whole long list going.  But, I am happy that I've had the chance to read some good ones.

The one I flew through the fastest was Francine Rivers' newest book, "Bridge to Haven".  I could only keep it checked out of the library for two weeks, and it was a huge book.  I told the lady at the desk I probably wouldn't be able to finish the book in two weeks, but it was easy actually.  I could hardly put it down.  I stayed up late reading, went to bed "early" so I could read in bed, read it during TV commercials, etc.  I never do that with a slow book.

I do have to say I finally read, "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green that I've heard some people rave about.  Besides the fact that it was sad, I found it to be slow and boring at times.  I was so glad when I finished it because it just wasn't for me.  I may watch the movie at some point, but am certainly not dying to see it.

Last night I started, "If I Stay" because I saw the movie is out.  I like to read a book before I watch a movie.  So far, I like it a whole lot better than TFIOS.  I'm only a few pages into it, but I think I'll be spending a lot of time reading today.   Partially due to the fact that Jase woke up at 6:30, and absolutely will NOT go down for a morning nap.  My eyes feel like sandpaper, and I am longing for my bed.

I think we are starting a new routine- again.  Just when I think Jase and I are into a certain rhythm, all of the sudden he has moved on to something new.  Right now if someone was going to watch him for a week, I don't even know how I could instruct them.  He just seems so off.  We had family here for the weekend and that made him a crazy little guy.  Maybe we're still re-adjusting from that.  He was super easy as an infant, but I find the one-year-old phase to be hard.

Anyway, back to books.  If anyone has a recommendation for a great book- I'd love to hear it.  I prefer Christian authors because I find they typically offer a lot more hope.

Did I mention...

I got to go back to the beach in September?  And that I went all by myself?  Well, I did!  The girls on my Mom's side of the family got together at the Jersey Shore to celebrate my aunt's 50th birthday (a little late), and as a reunion of sorts.  We stayed in such a great place!  It was a condo, I think, but big enough that we all slept comfortably.  My cousin and I shared a room, just like old times.  It was a lot of fun!  Us cousins are in the middle with Grandma and Aunt Keren on the ends.

While I was at the beach, Chuck took Jase to VA where my in-laws baby-sat for the week.  Chuck was able to take his sabbatical while there, which was really perfect.  It was so wonderful to sit and chat with no interruptions.  It was also amazing to stay up late, and sleep in till whenever I woke up!  We went out to eat a few times, and here is our group picture after brunch one morning.  As you can see, it was a gorgeous day, wow!  

Thought I'd throw this picture in so those of you from afar can see the size Baby Girl is getting!  I think I was about 20-sum weeks here.  Also, Happy "50th" Birthday to my Grant Keren!  (We call her "Grant" for "Great-Aunt" since she is Jase's great Aunt. ;) This was taken at a really fun ice cream place my Aunt Keren had friend connections to.  It was styled like a 50's diner, and was absolutely packed, even though it was the off season.  The ice cream was homemade, and amazing.

Lastly, I could not have gone on this trip without my own Mama.  She made it financially possible, and it was SUCH a blessing!  I wish I looked happier in this picture, because I really was!  I blame the cold wind in my face, though it's rare these days that I am ever cold.  It doesn't get any  better then a week next to the sea.


I spent the last 30 minutes thinking I was uploading pictures from our camera.  I wanted to do this task all by myself, but of course it didn't work.  Now I will have to wait until tonight so Chuck can show me what I did wrong.  I can't stand this computer.

On the bright side, I did find a new album from my Mom's camera- even though the pictures were taken in July.  When I look through these pictures I am reminded of how much of a baby Jase was just three months ago.  He is so different now!

The best cousin beach picture we got!

My Mom took this picture.  She was laughing at how distracted and busy us  Mothers were when we were supposed to be enjoying a nice dinner out.  =)

This kind of feels like our family ferris wheel.  

Jase just loved this tiny Golden book.  He looks so chubby here to me.  Sweet boy.

Write Space

Last Thursday night I attended my first night of a new writer's group.  I was pretty nervous about going.  The naturally shy part of me really wanted a friend to go with.  But I had to put on my brave hat, and venture out by myself.  Before I left, I shared with Chuck that I didn't even know if I had a writer in me anymore.  I wasn't sure if there were any creative synapses left firing up there.  I haven't been apart of an official writing class or group for a few years.  After my grad class, I felt extremely burned out.

When I arrived at the group last Thursday, the leader greeted me immediately and I felt instantly at ease.  She even walked me to the right meeting room.  Describing it makes me feel like I was starting kindergarten, but really aren't we all just little kids inside?  We all still have the innate need for another human to welcome us, be friendly to us, and make us feel connected.

The writer's group was only an hour and a half, and the time absolutely flew by!  I could have stayed for another hour, at least.  We had a chance to work on one writing exercise, then split into partners to share what we had written.  My partner was fabulous!  She really spoke great truth into my writer's heart, and affirmed that I was in the right place.

I am SO excited to go back!  This particular program meets once a week, every other month, so this has made my October a lot of fun so far.

This past week, Chuck started attending a volleyball league.  Writing group for me is like volleyball for him.  Too bad I can't burn calories from writing!  He had a great time, and it makes me happy he has something he loves to do, as well.  I miss doing fun things together, but I'm thankful we have  little outlets that allow us to be who we are outside of our regular routines.

Heavy Heart

This morning my heart is heavy for several friends in my life who are suffering.  A heavy heart leads me to pray, and I know prayer is the main way I can minister to these hurting women.

I also have a heavy heart because Chuck and I experienced a really intense, emotional battle with some people recently.  I still feel upset and gross inside over some of the interactions.  Though forgiveness from all sides has taken place, I still have a million thoughts rolling around in my heart.  It's nice when one battle is over, but the war continues to rage, ya know?  And even when forgiveness has happened over hurts, the scabs are still fresh and the scars will always be there.  I asked Chuck the other night in bed, "Why is life so hard?"  I didn't want an answer then, and I don't need an answer now.

The great apostle Paul has said it best, I believe.  Three things remain:  faith, hope, and love.  Faith:  one step at a time.  Hope:  life on earth is temporary.  Love:  Jesus, oh but we have Jesus.

Happy Birthday Weeda Bon!

Tomorrow my baby turns 1!  We have a busy, crazy, and fun several days ahead so I don't think I'll have time to write.  This picture was taken right after the nurses brought him to our regular room the day he was born.  He looks so little, so tiny, so helpless.  And he was.  He still is, but after only one year, he can do so much on his own.  I love looking at his precious face here.  And his little hand.  It just melts my heart all over again to gaze at his newborn sweetness.

Both of these pictures are of the first time we got to hold our son.  What a joyous day!  And tomorrow I can not wait to celebrate his one year of life!  

Our first family photo.  I'm not sure when exactly "Weeda Bon" became Jase's #1 nickname from me, but it stems from "Little honey bun" (I think!).  Now my little bun is courageous, determined, hard-working, sweet, loving, tough, smart, and happy!  Here he is most recently- all grown up. ;) 

Happy Birthday my sweet baby!  Papa and I love you more than you'll ever know!  

Almost One!

 This is one of the very first pictures we got of Jase smiling.  It brings tears to my eyes to think of how much he's grown.  I wrote in my journal today that "Chuck and I are so proud of Jase just because he's who God made him to be."  I'm so privileged to get to watch this guy grow right before my eyes every single day.

Here's that sweet smile as he's "all grown up".  ;) I have been feeling super emotional the last couple of weeks as Jase heads into his very first birthday.  Thank God for this little miracle!  Since this is Labor Day weekend, my mind is often filled with thoughts of last year at this time.  I went into labor on Labor Day.  I'm still doubting the Bible when it says women forget the pains of child birth! Seriously?!  I have not forgotten.  But I do celebrate, and I can't wait to show this baby how birthdays are done in the Dubbe home!

Someone recently said to Chuck, "It's really special to have a first born son."  It sure is.  Thank you, Jesus.

Rest of the Fam

This is my whole immediate family, except my younger brother who was looking at records when we  found someone to take this. (Sorry Cakes!)

My Mama and me.

Here's my Dad!

My SIL, who has been in my life since I was 10! 

There's my younger brother with the nephews! 

And my older brother with sweet lil G. 

Nephews, Niece, Cousins

My sweet, favorite little niece! 

Does it get any better than cotton candy?

"Come on!  Take a picture with Auntie!"

Attempting to get three boys to take a picture...

The best we could get- I love these boys!

Precious guy.  Miss them all!

Family Vacay

I just went grocery shopping:  I LOVE having fresh, new food items filling the fridge and pantry.  It's such a good feeling.  Mmmm.  Especially the fresh fruit.  I am a fruit maniac right now.  I just can't get enough of it.  Moving on, this post has nothing else to do with groceries.  

My side of the family goes to the beach every other year.  It's a wonderful tradition, and some years it's the only time I see my older brother and his family.  This year was very different for us.  My Mom and I ended up referring to the trip as "family time", not so much vacation.  Taking babies to the beach is a lot of work! Next time we go Jase will be two, and Baby Dubbe will be one.  (That is NUTS!) Haha!  Here are some pictures of our special (albeit crazy) time together back in early July.

That's all I have time for today.  More to come!

Photo Uploading Session

Since Chuck has today off, we've used a good chunk of the morning to sort through our million photos, got them organized on his laptop, and basically just got on the same page.  These two pictures are my trial run on the blog.  I'm sure when I try to do this while he's at work, something will go wrong.  That's just how computers and I work.  I'm a total pro on the PC, but working on the Mac is really frustrating.  

Here are two pictures from a girl's weekend I went on back in June.  Sickness and nausea were at their peak for those couple of days so I didn't really take many pictures.  But, the first picture is the view out of our hotel window.  We stayed in Atlantic City one night, and went to the beach the next day.  The second picture was taken right when we got into our room.  

These friends and I all met in college, and lived together for most of the four years.  Since graduation in 2004, we've gotten together almost every year.  Amanda, all the way on the far left, was my roommate for all four years!  She married a British fellow so we try to get together whenever she's back in the States.  We all live in different States all the way from upstate NY, to NC!  It's a really special time when we meet up.  It always feels like no time has passed at all.