vacation!!!

alainabridgeThis past week, we were in full fledge vacation mode….. limited internet access helped a ton with winding down the summer and enjoying time with family/friends!!

It was so nice to have one last summer vacation experience as a duo, before we become an instantaneous party of four.

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This is my eleven week belly….. the belly that grows as much week by week as it does as the day goes on (lol)…. the belly that is housing two of my greatest creations, my greatest blessings, my greatest gifts, and the cause of the greatest thanks. The babies that have rocked my whole world, caused me to vomit in public places, and has brought us so much joy and love already.

Being pregnant has opened my eyes to a lot of thoughts I’ve had that truly weren’t fair and were quite judgmental. Thoughts that were so foolish and inconsiderate.
For instance, the size of early bellies.
They’re small. And, at times I’d see mamas to be posing with these super small bellies and think, “Cute, but there’s barely anything there.”
Well, I will say that I do appreciate opportunities that open my eyes.
I recognize that my belly is  small comparatively speaking and for some it may not seem like a big deal.
But, it is. It’s huge for a couple of reasons.
First, I’m bigger than I’ve ever been before and this body is changing fast. And, two, there’s life inside of this smallish growing belly.
So, to us… while there’s “barely anything there”, its the most amazing “barely anything” we’ve ever experienced.
Perspective and a willingness to understand makes a world of a difference.

bellySeven days in the Caribbean was phenomenal and so relaxing. I followed Dr.’s orders and limited my time in the sun, enjoyed the surf, water, and beach in spurts, lounged in the shade drinking lots of water and icees building relationships and enjoying friends.

People watching is one of my favorite favorite things to do….
I found myself watching young families at the beach and airports wondering and laughing with Thomas about what we’ll look like a year from now, traveling with two little babes. lol. Both of us talking about what we don’t get about kids and the nuances of traveling with kids… lol.
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Sidebar: Thomas is a major fan of me bearing the belly! He even proudly pointed out the fact that my linea nigra (the dark line down the abdomen) is making an appearance. lol.
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And, this guy.
sleepHis birthday is today.
Every year I look back on who is has become and am grateful for the growth, the craziness I put him through and how he so graciously and patiently deals with my spontaneous decisions and chasing my heart all over the place, and how him he is. And, how being exactly who he is has made me better, has benefited our relationship, our business, and our life together.

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Even though I always get on him for how lucky he is for having a summer birthday that isn’t smushed between anything, he really deserves an amazing day all his own, not impacted or eclipsed by anything else.

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Happy birthday, man!

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… little grasshopper

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You know what I find hilarious (besides the fact that I’m accepting that I cannot scroll up or down on Thomas’ Mac mousepad? … I’ve tried consistently, I can’t do it. :()

…. all of the things you think you will or won’t do when you have kids.

Example:
I do NOT like matching the girls. I feel that they should wear their own outfits, be their own persons, and communicate their own style. Complimenting in terms of pictures – yes. Matching – no. We’re shooting our Give1Save1 video tomorrow and I fought the temptation to style them in matching colors/concepts. SMH. Now, I’m considering what I should wear and if Thomas and I should compliment them.

I think that’s too much and that we should just be “us” without forcing anything but man is the temptation to look “perfect” a struggle.

As you can see, Aliya and I wore matching jeans today.
Her request.
And, I balanced a line today. My auto response was “Absolutely!” Then, I thought, “… But, we’ll be matching…” (Again, I hate matchy, matchy.)

But, there we are, pictured above, in all of our matchy jeans glory. And, I enjoyed it. Very much like how I enjoy her trying to style her hair like mine.
(Makes my heart go pity pat!)

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When I have the girls my focus is very much what they look like. I would hate, hate, hate for them to look disheveled or unkept while they’re with me. So, naturally, I semi-panicked (on the inside) about the fact that they had one SPOT of polish on their hands and that Ari’s curls didn’t fall exactly how I wanted them to and I may have felt some sort of way when she looked in the mirror and said her bow made her look like a clown.

Me: A clown? mmmmmmmmmm-kay. Not really but do you like your hair?
ARIANA: “YES”.
Me: ??? Oh.. okay! *** CONFUSED!!!!****

But really…….
Who cares if we match, or don’t match. Who cares if they have perfectly polished nails and toes. Who cares if they’ve lost a bow or aren’t wearing their nicest outfits to church every Sunday.

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As much as I am a believer and an advocate of presenting yourself well, I also want to teach that what you look like isn’t nearly as important as who you are.
And, that they aren’t synonymous. And, that the value placed on both of these entities are communicated in the most suttle ways.

I hope I remember that later on.

That walking out of the house and into the world looking picture perfect with my perfectly matched and accessorized baby isn’t nearly as important as how I treat others around me.

I hope I remember that a peaceful, patient mama is more valuable than a well put together, irritable mama ….

I hope I remember how easily these things are forgotten in the exhaustion and hubbub of the day. I’m sure I’ll put pressure on myself to “get it”…..  to do everything right….. to feel and be capable and efficient….. to look the part of a “successful” mama in whatever ways successful means to me, that I could lose sight of what ought to be my goal and end up being a cantankerous, drippy faucet type wife and mama. And, I will end up sending my husband to the corner of the roof. (Proverbs 25:24; 27:15 )

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I try to remember that my responses aren’t ever about me…. that I am an example of my Father to the world – unbelievers of all ages and believers in various stages of their journey.

That we effect each other. We can encourage and inspire or we can derail and offend.

 We aren’t perfect in any sense of the word, we all can have behavior outbursts (remember my most recent “expression” here?) but the most important thing is:

what do we do when we’re done?

photo 5What I have learned is that our moments aren’t ours alone but that we are just extensions of each other. We affect each other in ways that we may never see or can imagine.

We are here to help, encourage, support, guide, lean on, depend, entertain, uplift, and care for each other. With our words and actions. No matter how we’re feeling.

That is what I’m finding is most important and the most challenging.
Treating others with kindness no matter how I feel.

… here’s to beginning our days with prayer and devotion. to set our minds on the only One whose power and grace we depend on to become more and more like Him. 🙂

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… the return

 

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The Hunters have arrived.

My sister, my brother in law, and their three kids.

……. And, we are so excited! I love it.

Our house is always so quiet. It’s just us and we tend to be pretty quiet compared to having kids in the house.

As much as we listen to music, laugh, play, & talk there is NOTHING like children filling your house with their laughter and sounds of play.

It’s amazing.

My youngest niece is 4, then there’s a 6 yr old, and an 8 year old. All girls.

They play so well together and they’re so cute. Their vocabularies & speech are perfect and so beyond their ages. It’s so fun listening to them!

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At the end of the week, my sister, her husband, and my 6 year old niece will go back to Georgia and we’ll have the 4 & 8 year old until the beginning of August.

Our annual summer with the girls – we look forward to this every summer. It’s amazing to see how much they grow and change….. I’m so excited to have them here!

They’ve grown so much and have gotten so big. I love having them over!

If for nothing else but to give me a huge reason to pull out my camera and get to capturing every single one of their moments.

It’s perfect.

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I’ve started but haven’t gotten to editing pictures yet but hopefully after the 4th has come & gone, I’ll be able to get a few on the blog.

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I hope you guys are enjoying your break and keeping cool in this triple digit weather!

It’s hot!

…. here’s to summers with our girls & soaking in all of their sweetness!!!!

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