Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

27 Weeks

I can't believe we're already in the 3rd trimester! It is exciting to think that we're so close to having our little girl. We definitely have a lot to do before she arrives and I'm ready to hit the to-do list hard. We got the nursery cleaned out this week and it's ready to be painted after the holidays. I also started a few sewing projects this week. I made a super soft blanket that matches her car seat and started working on her quilt.

Little Miss gave us a bit of a scare this week. Tuesday evening I realized I wasn't feeling her move like I normally do in the evening. I couldn't remember if I had felt her move at all that day or much the day before. I got a little concerned, but tried not to panic just yet. I knew I had been really busy, running errands and on my feet most of the two days, so it might have been that I just wasn't as aware of her moving. The OB had given me a little cheat sheet of common concerns and solutions to use as a first resource before calling the office. I followed the directions on there and drank some sweet tea, ice water, and ate something. The sheet said to do that and lay down in the position you feel the baby the most. If I didn't feel movement within 2 hours, I was to call the doctor. I did all that and prayed fervently. At about 5 minutes after the 2 hour mark, I was about to call the number when I felt her start to move. It wasn't a lot of movement, but enough to relieve my fears. I went on to bed and woke several times in the night to her moving. The  next morning she was moving and dancing all over the place, which made me so happy. Since that night (Tuesday), she's been more active in the mornings and not as much in the evening. That little scare certainly made me even more thankful for each of her little kicks and wiggles.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Tale of the Furby

If you've watched any TV or been out to the stores at all this holiday season, you have probably seen this lovely creature. Every time I walk by one in the store, I start to shake and whine. These things scare me.

Once upon a time when the Furby was the hot new item the first time around, we had one. I think it was actually my sister's, but I still suffer nightmares. Oh it was fun at first. It was soft, cute (in a strange kind of way), and did cool things. He would talk, move across the floor, and even laugh. I'm sure he had a name, but I can't remember. The fun didn't last very long though. We soon grew tired of Mr. Furby, probably all too quickly for the amount of money our parents spent on him. Mr. Furby had to go. But, knowing our parents generously forked out the dough, we couldn't just throw him away. Mr. Furby needed to die. We tried to bury Mr. Furby in the bottom of a box of toys. But at night, as we were just about to go to sleep, we would hear the demented voice coming from the dark box. I can't remember exactly what he said, but I think it was usually asking to be fed. We tried dropping him down the steps, but he survived. We tried locking him in the dark basement for several days, but he survived. We smothered him with blankets, yet he survived. All the while, his voice box becoming more worn out and demented sounding. I don't recall what we eventually did to Mr. Furby. He probably got stuffed in a box in the garage. I think my mom said she just recently found him and threw him away.

The Toys R Us website has this little tidbit of information about the new Furby:  

"Furby is the ever-popular, interactive toy that has a mind of its own. Who your Furby becomes is entirely up to you. Talk to it, tickle it, play music for it, even feed it! But keep in mind - your Furby will develop its own personality based on how you treat it."

So apparently we made the Furby mean, needy, and demented by our cruel treatment?!?! I doubt being nice to the thing would have made much of a difference. 

If you have young children or you are buying a gift for a child, do yourself a favor and stay far away from the Furby. Sure the updated version is a little cuter with the fun colors. They look attractive and all the "cool" kids are asking for one. But don't do it. Save yourself the years of annoyance and money not well spent. I threatened to buy one for my niece and nephew for Christmas, but I'm a nicer Aunt than that. I do hope my sister likes her gift though....

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is a very special day! Happy Birthday to my Mom! I'm thankful for her dedication, example, and love!

Monday, November 26, 2012

23 Weeks

Chris, Baby Girl, and I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving week in Illinois with my family. The weather was perfect and the food was delicious! It was good to spend time with some good friends and our family. It's exciting to think that our little girl will be here the next time we see most of my family!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reveal Party

When we found out we were expecting, I didn't want to find out the gender of the baby but Chris did. So I agreed that we could find out if we could have a fun reveal party and keep the name a secret until the baby is born. I had been seeing ideas for gender reveal parties floating around Pinterest and I practically had the whole party planned before we were even pregnant.

We had our anatomy scan last Tuesday and had the ultrasound tech seal the gender pictures in an envelope. I delivered the envelope to the lady making our cake on Wednesday and picked it up on Saturday. I wasn't the least bit tempted to peek during the ultrasound, take a peek before delivering the envelope, look at the CD we had made of the ultrasound pictures, or even look in the envelope when I picked the cake up on Saturday. But when I brought the cake home and set it on the counter, the thought hit me that the answer to our big question was right behind the layer of icing. I had a slight moment of wanting to cut into it, but knew it would ruin the whole party.

We had about 70 people over to our house for the party Sunday evening. We had just finished up a wonderfully blessed meeting at Little Union which started on Thursday night. Everyone was exhausted, but it was a fun ending to the weekend. 

The cake turned out so great! I also wrapped Hershey's bars in pink or blue paper showing "she" or "he."
A big thank you to Sis. Bobbie Jo and Sis. Abbey for putting the backdrop wall together. This was the first time I made the tissue paper pom poms. They were really easy to make and turned out really cute!
Pink and blue punch. We also had chili and a baked potato bar.

Team Blue - - the losing team!

Team Pink

Trying to get Skype set up for my family and Chris' family to be a part of the party.

Deciding how we're going to cut the cake

The big moment! I was completely shocked it was pink! I was sure it was going to be blue.

Still completely shocked!

Making sure our family can see it's PINK!

Chris cut the other end of the cake to be sure it was pink the whole way through! :)

Checking the ultrasound to be sure
Cute blanket from the Hulls

It's a GIRL!!!

The cake was yummy!
The party was a lot of fun and so special. It is definitely one of my favorite memories of the pregnancy so far. It turned out even better than I could have ever planned. We love our church family and loved being able to spend this special moment with them. I was also glad to be able to have our families be a part of it. It took a while for it to sink in that we're having a little girl. I had been so sure from the beginning of the pregnancy that we were having a boy. Every time I thought about the baby or would start planning things, I would just think about a boy. When I woke up Monday morning, it really hit me and I'm so excited! I'm already planning my trips to Joann's and Hobby Lobby. I have a list started of things I want to make.

I can't wait to start on the nursery. We have the yellow and grey fabric bought already. We had decided that if it was a boy we were going to do navy accents and aqua accents if it was a girl. So yellow, grey, and aqua it is!

The name is still going to be kept a secret until she's born. That's not going to be a problem at this point because we're not close to having it picked out. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

21 Weeks

Love, love, love this week! So excited to know that we're having a sweet baby girl! My mind has started spinning with all the the ideas of things to sew, make, and buy!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A List of Ten

A list of ten things I love about fall:

1. Pulling out the fall clothes and feeling like I have a new wardrobe (Although my growing body means a lot of clothes don't fit. So I'm dreaming of a new wardrobe - - leggings, sweater dresses, boots, skinny jeans, cardigans...)
2. Soups, chili, and baked treats
3. Waking up to a chill in the house and snuggling with a blanket on the couch
4. Starting the coffee pot right away and enjoying a steamy mug with pumpkin spice creamer
5. Being able to go on a walk at any time of day and not feel like I'm going to die
6. Having the doors and windows open
7. Colorful fall sunsets
8. Knowing Thanksgiving is right around the corner
9. Enjoying the abundance of pumpkin flavored yummies
10. Knowing our electric bill is getting a little break from having the a/c off!

Fall has always been my favorite season. Growing up in Illinois, my list of fall favorites was a little different. It would include bonfires, seeing the leaves change, and pulling out the jackets. Since we've moved to Florida, I have had to adjust to a new fall season. Even though it took a long time to get here, I'm enjoying the cooler temperatures and no humidity!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meal Plan

It's been a long time since I've posted what we're eating around the Crouse House, but Brittany inspired me!

Monday: Chicken, broccoli, and cheese tortellini with alfredo sauce
Tuesday: Red beans and rice, cornbread
Wednesday: Pizza or chili
Thursday: Chili/Frito pie
Friday: Out of town
Saturday: Out of town
Sunday: Out of town

Monday, October 29, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sleepless Nights

I've always had occasional trouble sleeping. I have trouble shutting my mind off and letting my body relax enough to sleep. There have been nights when I don't fall asleep until 4 or 5 in the morning. It gets rather annoying.

Thankfully, since I've been pregnant I haven't had hardly any trouble sleeping! I can fall asleep anywhere in about 5 minutes. It's been great. I've been able to experience that feeling of being so tired I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow. Lovely, sweet sleep.

Until last night...

I tossed and turned, physically and mentally. My body was exhausted, but my mind wasn't ready to sleep. Around 1 AM, I got up and decided I was hungry. So I had my first "crazy-pregnant-lady-food-moment." I ate an entire can of fruit cocktail followed up by an oatmeal cream pie. I was really wanting some of the jalapeno cheddar Pringles I bought at the grocery store, but I was tired by the time I got done eating the entire can of fruit cocktail. I washed it down with glass of ice water, made a couple trips to the bathroom, and slipped off into peaceful sleep. p

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Five Things

A list of the top 5 things I'm looking forward to in the next month:

5. The election being over (and hopefully a new President)
4. Halloween being over
3. Thanksgiving
2. Our sonogram on Nov. 6th
1. Our Reveal Party on Nov. 11th

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baby Crouse

We were able to see Baby Crouse for the first time yesterday! It was such an amazing experience. I'm still in awe when I look at the pictures. It is truly a miracle to see God forming this little one. From the ultrasound, the baby is measuring right on track for 17 weeks. He/she weighs about 6 oz. S/he's an active little thing! It was so much fun to watch all the movement!

Monday, October 15, 2012

17 Week Midwife Appointment

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had my first appointment with the midwife today. I won't actually see the same midwife each time. It's a group of 5 midwives who practice together. Because they rotate every 24 hours at the hospital and you can't guarantee which one you'll have at delivery, they have you see a different one each time. I really liked the one I saw today. She answered a lot of my questions about how flexible and supportive the hospital/nursing staff is with natural labor and delivery.

The baby's heart rate is in the 150s. It sounded good and strong! I am measuring a little big, so we go for an ultrasound tomorrow to confirm the due date! I'm super excited since we haven't had an ultrasound done at all yet! The full anatomy scan will be in 3 weeks.

17 Weeks

I'm not sure why this picture is kind of blurry! My self portrait skills are lacking. I've been feeling great and definitely growing! I'm enjoying actually looking pregnant instead of looking like I've eaten a few extra cookies! I have my first appointment with the midwife today and so excited to finally hear our little one's heartbeat again! I'll probably do a post about how the appointment goes later.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

I mentioned in my pregnancy update post the other day that I just finished reading "A Love that Multiplies" by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. I've always been a fan of the Duggar family and love watching their show on TLC. I'm not trying to idolize them or put them up on a pedestal, but rather just share my thoughts about the book and their family in general. I realize they are just people and sinners just like you and me. But I'm thankful they live a life in service to God and in proclamation that they are sinners saved by grace. Psalm 107:2 comes to mind, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so." 

I have always been in awe of how loving, tender, and gracious they seem to be on the show. As with any "reality" show, you wonder what really goes on behind the camera. I've heard many people doubt that the family is really like that, but rather they are just really good putting on a show. I've never bought into that thought and I am even more convinced after reading the book. As I was reading the book, I felt like I was getting a closer look into their family and having a good conversation with Jim Bob and Michelle. I truly believe they strive to show the love of Christ in their home and in their daily life. There's no doubt they fall short and human nature gets the best of them. In fact, Michelle very candidly opens up about some of those experiences in the book. But she didn't just share those moments and move on. She shared deep, life-changing lessons she has learned from those moments. It is truly encouraging to watch a family show such love to one another versus much of the "normal" families depicted on television. I would rather watch a family showing the love to one another and have possible doubts than to watch a family constantly fighting and know that it's probably reality.

One of the most convicting parts of reading the book was Michelle's section on parenting. Again, it has always amazed me on the show how quietly and calmly she speaks to her children. Even when she is correcting them or teaching an important lesson, she speaks in such a calm manner. In the book, she writes about her decision to parent in this way. Proverbs 15:1 is her reasoning: "A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger." What a convicting thought! Is yelling the correct response to handling your child's misbehavior? If you think about it, yelling is usually the result of letting emotions take over reasoning. If you're yelling, you're more than likely not using good reasoning. It definitely isn't showing the love of Christ to your child. And your child probably can't even understand or fully comprehend what you're telling them because you're yelling. (Just a side note: I realize I have absolutely NO experience in parenting, so I have little credibility. I'm not trying to say what I think is the right way to do things. I'm just sharing my thought process and my reactions to what someone I consider an expert has to say.)

Mrs. Duggar shared several experiences when her children misbehaved and she reacted by yelling or getting upset. In the end, she realized her reaction was just as wrong as what the children did and she wasn't able to effectively get the point across. She realized the point to disciplining children isn't to prove that you are in control as the parent. The point to disciplining is to teach your children that they need to obey their parents even when they don't understand or agree. They need to learn to trust their parents because they have wisdom about situations that come with being a parent. That wisdom might regard safety or morality. Mrs. Duggar shared that her goal in disciplining her children with a soft and calm response is for them to realize they are being disobedient, give correction and reasoning for what they should have done, and affirm that they are being disciplined out of love.

Another aspect of the Duggar family that I have always admired is their approach to homeschooling. They have a hands-on approach to teaching their children. They value the learning that comes from real life experiences and teaching in the moment. Of course, they do have more "formal" aspects to their education that involves textbooks, computer tutorials, and organized curriculum. But the kids are encouraged to take learning into their own hands and find lessons in daily life. One of my favorite stories from their book was about their oldest son, Josh. When he was about 12 years old he earned a reward for doing something good (I can't remember if it was chores or what, but it doesn't make much difference). As a reward, he was given the option of receiving $20 or an old, rundown truck his dad had. He picked the truck. Over the years, he learned how to make repairs on the truck, worked to buy new parts, and made the truck usable again. By the time he turned 16, he had a truck to drive. I just love that! That experience then developed into him working on cars and now he owns his own used car lot. Talk about preparing a child for the future when they're young! Jim Bob and Michelle aim to prepare their children for adulthood. They encourage and focus on helping the boys work toward a career that will allow them to provide for a family. The girls are encouraged to learn skills to be wives, mothers, and helpmeets. This doesn't mean that they're stuck in the house learning to cook, do laundry, and wash dishes. They do learn those skills at a young age, but there are so many other ways they can learn helpful skills. A couple of the girls are involved in the volunteer fire and rescue service. They are studying to be midwives. They are in school for music education. Their heart is toward serving God and being wives and mothers. They aren't focused on having lucrative careers. That is something I admire greatly.

I could go on an on, but I would rather you just read the book for yourself. Again, please understand that I am not trying to idolize or put this family on a pedestal. I am sure there are many other families who live such a great example. And I even know some. I guess my point is to share that I am encouraged by this family's willingness to live a public life in service to the Lord. I feel like their testimony is inspiring to many. Sure there are doubters and critics, but isn't that what we're guaranteed as Christians? Do I think every Christian family should publicize their life? No. Honestly, I don't know that most family could do it in such an humble and honest way. I think the Duggars are able.

The bottom line is: live your life as a child of God so that others don't have reason to doubt, show the love of Christ, and go read about the Duggars.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everett James

My nephew, Everett James, was born while I was visiting my family in Illinois. It was special to be at the hospital when he was born and be able to see him at just a couple hours old. He is adorable!

Everett James
7 lbs. 1 oz. 
22 inches
September 11, 2012

Everett James 

Mum and Pop admire their first grandson

Future golfer, just like Daddy

Meeting Aunt Tasha

Bright, beautiful eyes

Cute little yawn!

Monday, September 24, 2012

14 Weeks

Woohoo! We've made it to the second trimester! I have to admit, I was hoping that once I hit 14 weeks, the nausea would magically disappear and my energy would reappear. So far it hasn't, but that's alright. I am thankful both have improved. I am just enjoying being pregnant and so thankful to be in this position, that I will gladly take the nausea and naps!

This week I've spent a lot of time thinking about the reality of the impact this will have on our lives. A lot of time has been spent debating over which doctor to use, decor for the nursery, names, what to register for, and other less important issues. I just finished reading "A Love that Multiplies" by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (more to come on that in another post) and it brought to mind many areas of parenting and child-rearing. I have enjoyed spending time in thought, prayer, reading, and meditating over some of these areas. My approach with this pregnancy has been to educate myself as much as I can about a variety of topics. I use this same philosophy when considering parenting. I realize that I won't have a full understanding until I am knee-deep in parenting and experiencing it first hand. I realize that some of my thoughts, opinions, and goals will change. And I'm alright with that. However, I want to be intentional in how we raise our children. I find it worthy of much thought, prayer, studying, and discussion. So, that's what's been on my mind this week.

Oh, and picking out fabric for the nursery. :)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

12 Weeks

Woohoo! We have hit 12 weeks! I am so excited for the second trimester to be right around the corner. I'm already feeling like I have a little more energy, but I do still enjoy my naps! :) I'm looking forward to  heading home to Illinois to meet my niece and (hopefully) nephew this week. We're anxiously awaiting my nephew's arrival into the world.

Monday, September 03, 2012

6 & 11 Week Baby Bump

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to document my growing belly. I love seeing pictures of women as they grow and change throughout the pregnancy. I took a picture a few days after I found out at 6 weeks to show the starting point. I got it all ready to post, but knew it would have to wait until after we made the official announcement. Since there haven't been  many changes between 6 weeks and now, I waited to take another picture until I reached 11 weeks. It's my hope to take a picture each week and share a few things I want to remember.

Last time wearing that dress for a while!

I think the dress makes the picture a little deceiving!