Monday, October 27, 2008

27 Weeks & Good News from the Doc!

Rhys and I passed our glucose test last week! I actually really liked the a highly-concentrated Sunkist without the fizz. :) Praise the Lord, we are gestational diabetes free!!

I also got to hear Rhys' heartbeat, which was good and strong! I asked our doctor if we'd have another opportunity for an ultrasound so that we could see Rhys at least one more time in the womb. At his "Yes" response, I just about leapt from the patient's chair! Yay!! We are scheduled for our next ultrasound for next Monday, November 3rd.

Gosh, Rhys has been so active, recently, which has been so sweet and fun. I was sitting in Bible study last Wednesday night, and I pinched a girlfriend and told her, "Rhys is moving!!" She got to feel him poking around in there! :)

We're 27 weeks, just over 6 and a half months! Rhys should weigh about 2 pounds, measuring about 14 1/2 inches long. Wow! I'm excited to see him next week on the big screen!! :) Before we know it, Rhys will be here! Especially with the rush of the holiday season coming!! We're thrilled!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another New Baby!! Welcoming Andrew Joel Murphy!!

I got to visit Katie Murphy and her new little man, Andrew Joel, this week! I just sat there, holding this sweet, warm bundle of joy, while Mommy Katie & I caught up. Both are healthy and learning a lot that I'm about to be embarking upon...oh, goodness. :)
Katie & Mike just brought Andrew Joel into the world a little over a week ago, and they're MOVING to a new house this weekend! Gutsy, guys! ;) No, really...I know that this is the Lord's timing, and that He will continue to more than sustain you guys through the difficulty.
I enjoyed our visit, Katie! I look forward to seeing you guys as a family soon! :) Love y'all!

Stacey's Stitches

I've waited to post this until I was able to give out the below gifts...I didn't want the recipients to find their gifts on my blog before they got them! :)

The creative talents of sewing, monogramming, embroidering, etc. impress me so much! I guess because I feel so inadequate to create something so beautiful and creative! I have no clue when it comes to a needle and thread. I'll just leave it to my girlfriends and support their businesses!

I just have to brag on Stacey Picardy...a recently new mommy, who has just found her niche and interest in this line of creativity! Check out her online business - Stacey's Stitches - for more of her gift ideas and incredibly affordable prices!

I asked Stacey a couple of weeks ago...on a Wednesday...if she'd be able to make me the below burp cloth for a baby shower that I needed to go to that Saturday. I just gave her some ideas, and she brought it to me in TWO days! It was just over $10, girls! You can't beat the convenience and great price of such a custom-made, sweet gift! AND, most importantly, the burp cloth was very appreciated by Kathryn!! :)
Look below at how Stacey packages it! So cute!
Stacey made me this decorative, linen towel for a friend's birthday...again, very elegant and very affordable...UNDER $10, y'all! Unbelievable...for such a beautiful gift!

"Thank you, Stacey! Looking forward to calling on you with my next gift need!!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kathryn's Baby Shower

We girls had a great time last night in celebration over Kathryn's second coming baby!

Larry & Kathryn Hipp already have sweet Georgia Kate, and the Lord is now blessing them with a baby boy in the mix! One of each! How fun! We enjoyed showering Kathryn & Baby Lincoln with fun gifts and ooh's and ah's with all kinds of fun conversation...mostly about babies!

Several of the girls at the shower are pregnant or have babies! So, the center of talk was certainly all the other babies, right along with coming Baby Lincoln! :)

Left to Right:
Myself (due in Jan), Laura Broom, Lindsay Murray (due with #2 in March), Jenn deVilleneuve (just had #2!!) holding her newborn, Christian (1 month old!), Kathryn Hipp (due in Dec with #2), Sandy Phelps (due in Feb), Michelle Long (due in Jan).

"Congrats, Larry, Kathryn & Georgia Kate...okay, okay, and Bernie (the Bassett Hound :))!! We're excited for you guys and look forward to meeting Lincoln SOON!!" ;)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Date Night - Part Deux

A little over a week ago, Russell and I decided to reincorporate date nights into our schedule, in order to be more intentional in our quality time together. I got to create the first date night plans! I chose for us to go out to dinner and go through a fun list of questions to keep us communicating, which fulfills me! :) We both had a great time! Next date night would be Russell's choice, and I was truly curious what he would request that we do with our time together.

Well, Russell is a outdoorsy man, and no activity fulfills him more than losing himself in his outdoor hobbies! One of his answers to my questions was that he really wants me to experience true camping with him. I'm so darn cold-natured that I shy away from cold-weather camping. Russell's ideal camping weather is freezing temps, guys! So, you can sympathize with my hesitation. However, with a son on the way and Russell dreaming more and more about family camping trips, I knew that I needed to go ahead and 'get my feet wet!' I knew that we didn't have any plans for this Friday night or Saturday, so I suggested we go camping! We did!

Alabama has so many camping options! We ended up going to Desoto Caverns in Childersburg, AL, which is only 40 minutes from our house! We loaded up the Jeep yesterday afternoon with all of our camping gear, stopped on the way for firewood, and we had a truly wonderful night and morning together around the campfire! Gosh, we had the best, deepest conversations about our childhoods, expectations, thankfulness for where God has us at this time in our lives, what God is teaching us in our individual walks with Him and fun dreaming together about our future family, etc!
After we set up the tent, Russell immediately started up our fire! YAY! :) It kept us warm into the late hours of last night. Then, he started up another beautiful fire this morning about 6:00! Temperatures started about 60 degrees last night, constantly dropping down to about 43 this morning! Chilly!

I took the above shot in "color swap" mode...thought it was pretty neat!Above, our home for the night! Our sleeping bags kept us SO warm! "Thank you, Ryan, for letting me borrow yours! I want one just like it!! It worked great!!" I was VERY impressed because I'm VERY cold natured! Russell also coached me on how to layer appropriately in order to stay warm in the sleeping bag...quality thermals, socks and a beanie cap accessible if my head got cold during the night's sleep! I did end up using the beanie. I was so cozy and warm that it was actually refreshing to get out into the cold for my THREE potty breaks (beside our nearby tree) during the night! :) Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go! I was only spooked once during our night...when I heard what I thought might have been a fox just outside our tent, but Russell hissed at it, and it left us alone!

Hidden in a little hide-away at the caverns just before we headed home.

"Way to go, Honey! I enjoyed camping, and I'm ready to go again!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

25 Weeks - Hearts of Amazement & Prayer

So, according to Baby Center, it seems I have a rutabaga in my tummy! :) Okay, maybe not a the actual vegetable, but it's neat to have an idea that Rhys is about the average weight of a rutabaga -- about 1 1/2 pounds and is measuring 13 1/2 inches in length, from head to heel.

Russell and I continue to watch my stomach grow in absolute amazement and awe of God's miracle of creation! A child is growing inside of me! That miracle is so much BIGGER, more meaningful in my mind, now,...still unfathomable. We're so excited that Rhys is doing exactly what he's supposed to do!! Grow and develop well!! "Father, we praise you for creating this child, and we continue to pray over his heart...that You would continue to draw him to Yourself through us as his parents, through Your Word, through prayer, through people and circumstances. Use whatever You will to open his eyes and heart to Yourself in such a way that he wants to follow hard after only You! I pray this for myself and Russell, as well, as we seek to raise Rhys and hopefully a growing family to know and love You with all of our hearts, souls, minds and bodies. We are Yours, Abba. Use us as You will. In Jesus' powerful name I pray. Amen."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Weekend Done Wright!

Russell's parents, Rusty & Claudia, came into town for a good weekend visit! I love when they come to's pretty much a guarantee that we'll get to rest and relax, while catching up, eating great foods and, of course, now that we have a Joker board, Joker was a highlight of our weekend activities!

We got to eat at Panera, Jim N Nick's and Brio's throughout the weekend! We probably played 10 games of Joker! Woohoo!! :) Claudia and I enjoyed a good, long Saturday morning walk and talk, while Rusty and Russell got some quality father-son time off-roading a bit in "the Jeep" and visiting outdoors stores, etc. We even got to go to a live Dave Ramsey conference here in Birmingham, which was great and encouraging, as we all seek to be diligent with the money with which God is entrusting us.

Oh, and I must share that we have a nursery room full of fun toys, swings, a stroller, a car seat, etc. for Rhys to use and play with, and he's not even here yet! :) Thank you, Kristie, for sending so many wonderful things through your parents!! :)

"Thank you, Rusty & Claudia, for coming, and we look forward to seeing you in less than a month! Yay!! Love you guys!!!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Date Night

Russell and I realized a couple of nights ago that our 'alone' time has become routine and monotonous...without our even realizing it! We talked through our expectations of "our time," once again reminded that we see life so differently! For fulfillment, Shireen needs to TALK! Russell need to VEG! :) Marriage is TRULY HARD WORK! However, it is so fulfilling...when we are genuinely intentional.

So, as we sat on our sofa discussing our different perspectives, Russell suggested that we pray. (Always a great idea! :)) Then, Russell remembered the wisdom shared by our pre-engagement intentional in your conversations and time together, perhaps allowing for a date night just for her, and then the next date night strictly for him. Genius! I praise the LORD for allowing Russell to remember this!! (See! God immediately directed us once we turned to Him in prayer!)

So, last night was date night for SHIREEN! :) Knowing this throughout the day, I prayed in advance, asking the Lord to help me come up with a creative, intentional 'plan' for our evening so that we would both enjoy our time and be fulfilled. By 1:00 in the afternoon, I still had no sense of plan, but I continued to pray. I casually went to my blog reader to check for any updates on my favorite blogs, and Bryan Johnson had blogged something that spurred my heart! "Thank you, Bryan, even though you don't even realize how God used your creativity!" :)

Bryan is an amazing photographer, and he has recently started including some fun "Questions & Answers" to entertain his readers while we peer through his subjects' (mostly brides & grooms) lives! SO, how did God use this for me yesterday? I copied and pasted all of his "Questions" and added some of my own onto a sheet of paper to take on our date night. This truly allowed for a fun and interactive evening for me and my hubby!!! I think Russell was even somewhat surprised/impressed!
Well, Russell suggested we go out to dinner, so he took me to Iguana Grill, a very cute, well-decorated (in a bright, funky fun sort of way! just look at the pictures! :)) Mexican restaurant, where we dined on chips & salsa (2 kinds of salsa!), guacamole dip, two yummy tex-mex meals of chicken, beef, enchilada, taco, steamed veggies, etc. As soon as our drinks were served, we started through all of the fun questions. We sat at the dinner table for almost TWO HOURS! That's a RECORD for ONLY the two of us!! AND because we had a sheet of paper (looking all professional, I guess! :)) that we appeared to be "discussing," the waiter left us alone in between serving us! He did not rush our time at all! It was such an unexpectedly FUN and fulfilling evening!! I praise the Lord, and I encourage you to try this, whether you stay home over a candle-lit dinner or go out for dinner or dessert/coffee! :)
Girls, here are some great example questions for your next date night!!!

-Were you to serenade your bride, what song would she hear?
-The greatest midnight meal.
-All costs covered by Travelocity, you two have 36 hours to be anywhere. Where shall we be going?
-Oscar, Grammy, or Pulitzer Prize. Who gets which?
-If your other were a fruit, which would your spouse be?
-It rains all Saturday. The Netflix guy lives next door. What three flicks do you borrow?
-An hour to roam the mall. Where will you be?
-Sir, you surprise her by cooking supper. What's on the menu?
-Your ultimate roll-up-the-rug, dancin' shoes mix CD starts with what tune?
-Groom, you go back in time and get to meet your bride for the first time again. Give us a your best one-liner.
-You came to a compromise. What color did you paint the room?
-Who would you say is your groom's/ bride's celebrity look alike?
-You and your groom/ bride are ice-skating. Who takes the nastiest fall?
-Which character in Saved By the Bell were you most like in high school and why?
-If you could go back in time and play the leading role in any movie ever made, what role would it be and why?
-Which spring sporting event will you celebrate- Final Four, Kentucky Derby, or the Masters?
-You can book any band for one night with 100 friends. Who's on the bill?
-What books stack on the bedside table?
-First Christmas tree. Colored bulbs or white lights?
-Tell one thing about him or her that makes you laugh.
-You must spend $1,000 on your husband. What’s his loot?
-His preference? Coat and tie, or corduroys and a polo?
-Winter, spring, summer, or fall?
-The sun is bright, it's 80 degrees, and it's Saturday. Where are you?
-What hidden talent does your spouse have that would surprise even those who think they know her/ him well?
-You're asked to paint a picture to be hung in the White House. What do you paint?
-What is your favorite hour of the day? Why?
-What is your spouse's favorite activity/hobby?
-You have the day completely to yourself! What do you do? Morning, day, night?
-You have $100 that you have to 'burn' cannot save it, you cannot put it toward your budgeted items...this is mad money for you to spend ANY way you like!
-You get to plan your next date night...what do you plan? 1-Money is NO option; 2-Money IS an option.
-What dessert do you choose for your honeybun? :)
-You really want to speak to your spouse's love language! What do you do?
-Favorite personality trait of your spouse?
-Your spouse's favorite book of the Bible?

Hmmmmm....I wonder what date night will look like next week!?!?! It'll be Russell's choice! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rhys' First Monogrammed Gift!!

Thank you, Cindy!!!

This showed up in our mail yesterday! What a cute, little onesie, custom made for Rhys, per his daddy's interests! :) Cindy, you are such a sweetheart! What a sweet surprise!!

Thank you!!!