Friday, December 13, 2013

One Year

I'm about a week late, but on the 8 December, Edwin and I celebrated our one year Anniversary! I can't believe how time has flown this past year. So many things to be thankful for, so much growth- not without the growing pains- adjustments, and so many blessings. Life is full, and is seeming to get busier... and baby is not even here yet!

I was meaning to write about being thankful around Thanksgiving. Shows how behind I feel! Now we are in the beautiful season of Advent, as we ready for Christmas. December is a very busy month around here, as we have Edwin's parents' Anniversary, our Anniversary, his dad's birthday, his brother's birthday, and Edwin's birthday- all before Christmas! But we have so much to be thankful for- and that goes for everyone. It can be all too easy for us to get caught up in busy-ness of the world. For me, I am easily brought down by the state of the world and current issues. Instead, it is important to be aware of the little things we should be thankful for, and those things that even as a society, may be hard to go through, but could result in great fruitfulness.

Take some time during Advent to just sit and reflect on your life and all that you have to be thankful for. It is a time to empty ourselves of that extra baggage or attachments we may have, so we can be filled with the gifts that Jesus brings at Christmas. God bless you during this time!

Driving for our Anniversary dinner- we had some Italian!

At dinner

Baby and I at 27 weeks (though we are currently at 28 weeks). Yes, I am still able to fit into the same outfit as the last picture!

Our Anniversary flower... it bloomed last year too, for our wedding day- ok, more likely for the Immaculate Conception!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

25 Weeks

Little One Lawrence is 25 womb weeks today! About the size of a rutabaga, from what I read. Baby is a pretty regular mover, except when he/she is sleeping. Other symptoms I've had: a bit thicker hair (I need it!), fast growing toenails (I'm sure you wanted to know), always waking up tired, and usually an appetite for sizzling tofu. I have an aversion to onions and too much spicy food. This poses a problem when my husband pretty much always wants curry of some sort for dinner... and I make my new found recipe of split pea soup! But, he has been bearing with me well, and has never complained about my food. 

What amazes me is that with all the care taken when you are pregnant- extra vitamins... those for spinal and brain development, etc- there are still those people that contend that baby is not a baby until he is born. I just wonder, what brain and whose spinal cord do they think our body is working to develop? I just find it fascinating that all this growth and development goes on without me actually knowing what is happening. I eat food, I take vitamins and rest, I am careful, and baby forms! Ok, I know it's not nearly that easy. God is amazing like that. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Baby News

I am finally announcing that we are expecting baby!

Most of you probably already know at this point, but it's always fun to make exciting announcements :) We are going to try as best as possible, and despite many predictions, to wait until birth to find out if baby is a boy or girl. 

Edwin and I are very excited! Of course for me the excitement comes with the (I'm assuming) usual pre-baby ups and downs- all the questions, thoughts and some worries. But, I do remind myself that baby is in God's hands and that is a beautiful thing and the safest place for him (or her) to be. 

Reality has begun to sink in a bit more, as baby grows and my belly has started to grow a little more. What an amazing, beautiful, and down-right scary thing it is to have a living being growing inside of you! I'm sure all new mothers have these mixed feelings. Sometimes I wonder how God can be so trusting of us, as to allow us to care for one of His creations. But, then again, God does not leave us alone and our children are not just our possessions to care for. This is quite relieving to me. Of course I want to be a good mom and I want the best for my children. But, I also must grapple with the fact that I will not be the perfect mother and mistakes will be made. All in all, it is more evident to me that our children are gifts. Gifts presented to us to care for and bring up; but we must also allow them to live life. Always have an open home, an open heart, an open ear (and of course the necessary parental advice!), but allow them to find their path. Afterall, my parents did this for me, and I am forever grateful for that. 

What a balancing act that is! I imagine parents for all centuries have struggled with those desires- wanting the best for their children, wanting to do things for them, but also wanting them to grow into their full person, figure things out for themselves and have that independence. We all have memories or can think of examples of things in our childhood that have scarred us for life, or had effect on how we are today. These fears can be paralyzing if we let them, and can hold us back! Despite the many fears and questions, I see that this is exactly how our Father grows us! It is exactly the questions and fears that can also motivate us to go out there and face them, and give our best shot! 

This does not mean being completely unprepared, but in my book mostly means picking up your armor of love! After seeing so many of my beautiful friends become spouses and parents, and many families growing up throughout life, I have come to the conclusion that the happiest are those with love. By love, I not only refer to the snuggly feelings that you get cuddling with your favorite animal or husband! But, the love that is worked out in the trials and hardships of life; the love that shows your family that you stick together no matter what; and the love that is determined to make things work. This is the spirit of 'be not afraid' that I would like to have the courage to take up for our family. 

I just read an article and watched a little video where Pope Francis spoke to the youth telling them to have the courage to get married and have children! (of course that is, if you do not have a vocation elsewhere!) Yes, that is what it takes- take heart and have courage! 

In response to one mother who expressed concern that her son was 30, had a girlfriend but did not want to get married, the Pope said 'stop ironing his shirts for him'! I love it! But it is true. I thought about how we can 'love' our children so much, that it can smother them and keep them from growing. However, we can also be people afraid to give up our known freedoms and familiar worlds. God asks us to take time to prayerfully consider and ponder these large steps in life, but there is usually also a time He calls us to jump in, and to do so joyfully and purposefully!  (if you are interested, the video and article link is below)

I'm sure I will have more thoughts to share as we near the beginning of March. But I pray for all those around my age who are faced with their vocation choices- marriage, career, priesthood/religious life. Whatever it may be, it can be a challenging time. But, these passageways are necessary for our growth as human beings, on our often rough journey in this world. Don't forget, our journey is to lead us to holiness, to teach us humbly about ourselves and about our Lord... and to lead us to Heaven to eternal happiness. And He is with us each step of the way!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Erin's wedding

As I promised, I wanted to share a few photos of Erin and Garrett Johnson's beautiful wedding! Here we go:

Setting up for the reception! This pig was just wandering around :)

Rehearsal dinner, Mr. Johnson making his speech to the Bride and Groom.

Finishing touches on the hair!

How shall we pose for pictures?

The beautiful Bride and Groom!

Ma and Pa Hart!

Pa and Kerry!

Final Blessing at the marriage ceremony.

Toasting the Bride and Groom.

First Dance!

Father daughter dance!

I got a father daughter dance too!

Mom and Pop also got on the dance floor :)

Garrett and his mom!

Cheesecake time!

The OSU Catering group- all of us that have worked there... It is a Johnson tradition, and that is how Erin and Garrett met.

God bless the new couple!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Leave of Absence

Well, it's been quite a while since I've had a chance to post anything! I call that my leave of absence. Quite a lot has gone on in the last month and half... trip to Oregon to visit family and my lovely sister's wedding (see next post)! Here are some pictures of the highlights!

Beautiful Lost Lake, just 12 miles up the road from my parent's house.

My parent's dog, Dakota (although I always call him Buddy and he responds to both).

Treasured Huckleberries! These little guys capture quite the price in the market... there were so many at the lake this year! I brought home a small jar of jam for my hubby to try (no I did not make it!).

My gorgeous sister, at her Bridal Shower!

Bachelorette Party dinner for Erin.

Ah... Uncle Mike and Dad, lounging with their favorite- Budweiser!

This cute little girl is growing so fast! My other beautiful goddaughter. So good to see her and her beautiful parents :) 

They threw me (and Edwin) a surprise shower! So sweet and I really was surprised. The instigators had a wonderful lunch and friends and family were there. So blessed! Thank you all so much!

Edwin was there too!

Family photo! Couldn't ask for a better, more supportive and wonderful family (Edwin is there too)! I love you all soooo much!

Stay tuned... more to come!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cameron Highlands

I have been curious about the Cameron Highlands for a long time now, and we were waiting for an opportunity to go. Opportunity came in June to have a family celebration there, in honor of our little niece's 1st birthday. We had a great time and it was actually cold enough that I had to wear a sweatshirt (everyone was making fun of me)!

Here's the little nugget, so cute and shy! One year old!

Nicole with her parents- Edwin's sister, Carol, and her husband, Rajesh. 

Cameron Highlands is a place where a lot of produce is grown and distributed throughout the country. There are tons of greenhouses and fields of different fruits and vegetables. 

We couldn't stop, but next time we will surely visit the Lavender Gardens. 

They grow quite a lot of strawberries. We went and had strawberries and ice cream... so good! The difference is that the berries are grown in green houses and not in fields.

Lots of lush greenery around, it was such wonderful fresh air.

Cameron Highlands is a pretty big tourist area, so there are also many resorts and hotels. If you notice, the buildings have a British-feel to their architecture.

We went to the Catholic Church there- Our Lady of Mount Carmel (if I remember correctly). It is a newly built church, as they have an old Monestary which had been used. There is still an order of nuns that live at the Monestary.

Above is 'Father's House'. I guess you can go and stay, or maybe they do retreats? It looked like such a peaceful place, right next to the church, on top of a hill. 

This is the old Monestary. They have not done very well at maintaining, unfortunately. 

Edwin would probably tackle me if he knew I put this one up, but I thought it was cute! He was being ridiculous (and proper with his napkin) at dinner. The whiskey may have helped ;)

More scenes from the town and the surroundings; you really see the British influence in the houses and buildings. Edwin always gives me a complete history lesson!

Cute house we passed in the car.

Back at home.... 

Random photo, but we had a traumatized bird that I caught and placed in this container. He didn't need to recover for long and flew off before bedtime. Luckily Meera didn't squash him!