Last Week of Pregnancy (I hope)

As I enter my 39th week of carrying a baby, I’m definitely ready to be done.  Having my little daughter grow and develop inside of me is truly awesome, but it’s not necessarily enjoyable.  I started thinking today how much the end of pregnancy resembles Christ returning.  I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I know it’s going to be soon.  I have spent a lot of time preparing for the birth of our second daughter.  My husband and I chose a name for her, I cleaned and organized her clothes/diapers (yes, I’m a cloth diaper junkie), we readied her crib, I have been staying on top of cleaning the apartment since I know I won’t have time/energy for such things for at least a month after baby arrives, and I have been furiously stashing freezer meals for after she’s here – which is really interesting when you consider we have one of the smallest freezers possible….  ohhhh apartment life.

Similarly, Christ wants us to prepare for His coming – in a bigger, higher priority kind of way.  The more we truly believe He’s returning, the more likely we are to ready ourselves and share the news with others.  Repentance is one of the biggest ways we can prepare ourselves for His coming.  Humbly and prayerfully we should acknowledge the sin in our lives and with the Holy Spirit’s help continually put self to death.

We are so very excited to meet our little one and have been anticipating her birth for months now.  We talk with Abby about her little sister on a daily basis to help her understand what’s happening.  Whenever it’s time for us to head to the hospital, we don’t want Abby to be caught off guard and unaware of what’s going on.  Isn’t it so much more important that we, our family, friends & people around us aren’t caught unaware when Christ makes His return?  This isn’t going to be like an eviction notice.  You won’t receive a month’s notice for the end of this earth.  Instead, we should be pouring our efforts into reaching and preparing the lost right now before it’s too late for them.  Are you ready?  Let’s pray for an increased sense of urgency in this area!

Matthew 24:40-44

“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

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Shape Sorting Sheets

Shape SortingThis shape activity focuses on sorting/matching.  It was also one of Abby’s first experiences with placing things in rows.  I created three pages with different shapes on each one.  This is the page we are currently working on.  I printed the sheet and shapes on white cardstock for durability.  Although I used contact paper to laminate the removable shapes, I simply stuck the worksheet into a page protector.  As you can see, I did my usual and used velcro for easier placement and to avoid slipping. When you’re not using this activity, the removable shapes can be slipped inside the page protector as well.  I store the page in Abby’s preschool math binder.

Our usual routine is to work on it every few days or so for a couple of weeks.  After that I print off the same worksheet and shapes on plain copy paper.  I use a glue stick to spread a thin layer of glue over each row and have her stick the shapes where they belong.  This is sort of an assessment (although, I already have a pretty good idea of how competent she is by this point since I’ve been working one on one with her haha) as well as a way to more permanently document how she’s doing.  Not to mention, Abby absolutely loves looking through her school books at things she has completed.  Shape Sorting 2

Shape Match-up

Shape Match-up 3A great deal of my creative inspiration develops via pinterest.  Even though there are a lot of ideas that aren’t exactly what I want, they are close enough that I can use them to get started.  I had seen a few people pinning shape match-up quiet books a while ago.  They looked super adorable and everything, but I can’t sew whatsoever.  I’m not even kidding you.  I can thread a needle and then I don’t know what to do.  If a button falls off a shirt, I have to turn elsewhere for help.  Just thinking about sewing makes me feel stressed.  I wish I was talented in this area but, needless to say, I had to edit this craft a tad.

Shape Match-up 4I thought this activity would work really well as a file folder game, so that’s the direction I went with it.  I printed off a couple sheets of paper with shapes arranged on them, glued them in the folder and laminated each page.  I also printed the shapes’ names on them since it’s never too early for little ones to start recognizing words. 🙂  For the matching shapes, I got rid of the names, then printed off the same pages (this time on white cardstock for sturdiness).  I colored & cut them out, laminated them and stuck some velcro on the back.  I am a huge fan of using velcro for matching activities as it eliminates frustration with sliding!

Shape Match-up 1One of my favorite parts of this activity is that I used a variety of “harder” shapes.  I think it’s silly to have low expectations for kids!  There is no reason I need to limit Abby to circles, rectangles, squares and triangles.  She already knows and recognizes the names of almost every shape in this game.  The only two she has trouble with are the hexagon and octagon which is pretty understandable.  She can’t count to 6 or 8 yet which makes it a little tricky to see the difference.  I would like to eventually add a third page to the back of the folder (same technique) with a few of the shapes I had to leave out.  I made sure to use plain, white shapes in the folder as I didn’t want Abby matching them based on their color.  Similarly, I left the shape names off the colored ones so she had to match based on shape only.Shape Match-up 2

Zesty Hamburger Soup

I think this is how I feel every year, but…. can we just appreciate the fact that it is now soup season?!?!  I LOVE adding soup into our weekly menus.  It’s like adding an entire food group or something.  Suddenly, a whole new world of meal options are available.  Yes, I recently pinned about 20 new soup recipes and this was the lucky first try.

For the most part, I can’t handle eating the same thing too frequently (ice cream and cheesecake are definitely exceptions), so I am constantly looking up and creating new recipes.  We don’t usually repeat a meal for at least 2-3 months and I normally try one new recipe a week.  That’s how crazy I am.  Even after digging through numerous food blogs and sites, Taste of Home has continually placed first among my favorites. 🙂  They are just plain awesome.

This soup originally came from Taste of Home, although the recipe below will include my edits.  How can anyone follow a recipe exactly?  It’s just too much fun to make it your own!  This is a hearty and healthy soup, so make sure you’re good and hungry!Zesty Hamburger Soup

Zesty Hamburger Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 medium potatoes cubed (I leave the skin on since we like it & it has all the nutrients!)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 cups dried spiral pasta
  • 2 bell peppers chopped (color of choice)
  • 3 cans tomato sauce + 1 1/2 cans water (1/2 can of water in each to get the sauce!)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/6 lb Velveeta cubed

In large soup pot (This made a LOT, so think big…. I’m trying to prepare some freezer meals for after the little one arrives!) cook beef, celery and onion until meat is cooked through.  Add in garlic, beef & chicken broth, potatoes, corn, pasta and peppers.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover & simmer until pasta & potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Stir occasionally and heat until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle your bowl with a little grated parmesan and serve with some whole wheat biscuits!

…. and please give me peas!

I love my little toddler SO very much!  She never fails to bring me daily joy and laughter.  We were ending our usual bedtime routine tonight and praying with her as she lay snuggled up in her bed.  During my prayer, I said something along the lines of, “Dear Lord, please be with our little girl tonight.  Give her peace and help her to feel your presence surrounding and protecting her.”  When I had finished, she sat up excitedly and gasped, “PEAS?!  Abby??  EAT!??!”  It took me a minute to comprehend what she was talking about and then I realized…. she expected God to hand over some peas.  Apparently “peace” wasn’t the greatest word choice.  I tried to explain it to her, but I’m pretty sure she just wound up feeling a tad disappointed.  I guess when you’re 22 months old, food sounds a whole lot better than peace of mind.

Craft Stick Design Matching

Craft Stick DesignsThis matching activity is a little more complex than others.  Instead of simply matching color to color or shape to shape, etc., it requires the child to remember and look for multiple concepts at once.  I took some plain craft sticks and used markers to create a variety of designs – making sure there was a matching stick for each!  Then I let Abby sort them into pairs.  This was a little tough for her the first few times, but she is much quicker with it now.  You can make the designs noticeably different from one another or have a few tricky ones that are almost similar, depending on how challenging you want this to be for your child.

Pregnancy Feet

So, every mom everywhere has probably already figured this one out, but…. pregnancy takes foooooooooooooooooooooooooorEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER.  Seriously.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am probably one of the most impatient people that ever walked the earth.  As a result, I have been dying to meet our second little daughter pretty much since she was conceived.  At 36 weeks and 1 day pregnant (yes, every day counts here, folks!) it’s amazing how far away our due date still feels.

It’s probably obnoxious for me to complain since my pregnancies have both treated me pretty decently.  I definitely experienced some nausea during the first trimesters, but some women throw up on a daily basis and I only did that a few times.  My 2nd trimesters were pretty great both times around.  Third trimesters included no sleeping, constantly going pee, leg cramps throughout the night (they were way worse last time though), and just general discomfort.  None of these symptoms are way out of the ordinary though and again, I’ve heard much worse stories.

One thing that does get especially draining is my feet.  I don’t experience swelling, but they just start to ACHE by the end of the day (okay, they ache all day long).  This extra weight and keeping a very energetic toddler busy all day just does a number on them.  Sometimes I actually look down to see if they are still there because they feel like they’re falling off.  The bottoms of my feet just feel painful.  I still force myself to fight through it and walk a few miles each day with Abby (I regret it if I don’t do that.  She goes NUTS in our little apartment! haha)  The level of intensity will sort of come and go, so it’s not always super painful, but still not incredibly pleasant.

Here’s where I want to praise my wonderful husband.  EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. of my third trimester, he has given me a foot massage before bed.  Every night!  He is just so awesome!  I am pretty sure that every day I dream about my foot massage at least 15-20 times and it is always amazing.  It not only finally eases the numbness and pain, but it helps me relax so I can actually fall asleep for a little while before another trip to the bathroom! ha!  I really do believe he’s the most incredible guy I have ever met.  He has a true servant’s heart and inspires me to ask the Lord to increase my heart for others.