Laura’s Boho Themed Baby Shower

So, I may be a couple months late (excuse the pregnancy brain) on sharing this but better late than never! On June 3rd, Jen and I threw a baby shower for our sweet friend, Laura and her baby girl, Kennedy (who made her debut on July 30th. Yay!). I take great pride in planning special baby showers for all my pregnant friends and so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share that day with all of you…even if it’s a couple months late!

I’ve known Laura for about a year and a half or so and since getting to know her style, seeing her home decor and getting an idea of the style baby shower she wanted, we decided to do a Boho-themed baby shower! Although she was aware of the theme (and was nice enough to allow me to borrow some of her home decor), we were able to pull it off while still giving her an element of surprise on her shower day! Since both Jen and I tried to be budget-friendly with this shower, I thought I’d share with you some of the details I was most proud of at the shower and how we tried to stay on budget!

Some budget-friendly details I was proud of:
Flower Crown// This is one thing that Laura specifically asked for and I knew that I wasn’t crafty enough to make one myself, so Etsy to the rescue! I believe this one was only $18! I thought this accessory made Laura’s outfit match the theme of the shower perfectly!
Ribbon Banner// In Boho-style fashion, I saw a lot of great ideas for ribbon and tassle banners. After looking online for various prices on the banners that were $35+, I decided to head to Wal-Mart and pick up four different kinds of ribbon that fit our style. Jen had the twine and we were able to make the adorable ribbon banner for Laura’s chair in ten minutes or so and for less than $10!
Photobooth Backdrop// After falling in love with some ideas on Pinterest of a macrame backdrop, I couldn’t convince myself to spend $100+ on one from Urban Outfitters. Props to Jen for finding these awesome curtains for $1 at a garage sale! They fit our budget-friendly goals and style perfectly!
Greenery// I found the greenery at Marshall’s and decided that I couldn’t pass it up for the baby shower! Both Jen and I had some fun ideas of using greenery as part of the photobooth backdrop. Once I found that, I knew it would be perfect! At $25, I decided to buckle down and purchase it. Laura ended up taking it home with her and making an adorable wreath in Kennedy’s nursery afterwards so it was well worth the price!

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The Pregnancy Chronicles: 20 Weeks

Part II

I can’t believe I am halfway through my pregnancy already! Part of me feels like it has gone by quickly and the other part of me feels like it’s taken a lifetime to get here! Either way, I’m so thankful we are that much closer to getting to meet our little babe in December! This is a relatively huge milestone for us, not just because we are halfway but also because we had our 20 week morphology scan today which was both exciting and terrifying for two reasons.

1. Do we have a healthy baby?!// My faith in God has definitely grown (and needs to grow much more) since being pregnant because I’ve realized that I  literally have no control on any outcome of my pregnancy. I can’t tell you the amount of anxiety and worry I’ve had leading up to this ultrasound because I feared that the ultrasound technician would find something concerning or abnormal with our little babe. I’ve known several people who have had bad things happen to their baby later in gestation so that makes it feel a little “closer to home” and that it could happen to us. However, I’ve been reminding myself over and over of God’s goodness, faithfulness and his unconditional love for our family. Why should I let the devil steal my joy and time with my baby right now? Why allow these fears to master me when they might not even be legitimate concerns? We had a sermon on Psalm 139 on Sunday and let me tell you what…Jesus has been rocking my world through these verses since then! Verse 16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” I clung to this verse while I was in the waiting room at the OB office. Jesus knew every little detail about our sweet little babe even before it was even a perfectly shaped embryo! What an encouragement it was to take that verse with me as I walked into the ultrasound. By God’s grace, the ultrasound technician said that our baby was measuring one day ahead of where we currently are in gestation and that she did not see anything of concern! What an absolute relief! It felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders after that appointment!

I’m still working on believing and trusting in Him fully throughout the rest of this pregnancy because, in the long run, those anxieties will only magnify once baby makes their grand debut. But, what an encouragement it is to know how deeply the Father loves us and all the plans He has for our little baby all ready! He’s knitting this little squirt in my womb as we speak and our babe is fearfully and wonderfully made. What an awesome reminder to take with me throughout the second half of this journey!

2. Baby Fleer is…//Finding out the gender was definitely the most exciting part of our morphology scan, for sure! Zach and I opted not to do the genetic testing at our 11 week appointment, so, because of that, we had to wait until our 20 week ultrasound to find out the gender! I was so excited to find out because, let’s be real…I’m ready to shop and decorate the nursery! Ever since the beginning of this pregnancy, Zach had a feeling that were were having a girl! He’s guessed genders right for many of our friends prior to their gender reveals and his feelings have always been right! We even performed some old wives tales tests to figure out if it was a girl or boy. We performed the pencil test (dangling a #2 pencil from a string over my wrist [our neighbors swear by this one]) and the ring test (dangling my wedding ring with a string over my stomach) and both of them solidified our feelings that we are having a girl! Even the wives tale about fetal heartbeats revealed that we were having a girl. That wives tale was correct for my friend, Laura’s baby, too! Along with Zach’s feelings that it was a girl, we became more confident about it when both of my parents had a feeling that it was a girl too (even a dream revealing that it was a girl). We even have our girl name picked out! So, really, our morphology scan was just solidifying what we already knew…baby Fleer was indeed a girl! Right…?! As the technician scanned over our little babe and revealed the gender, I was shocked when she pasted the words, “It’s a BOY!” on the screen! Tears of joy welled up in my eyes as soon as I saw that ultrasound picture. I looked over at Zach and he had the biggest grin on his face while he said, “I guess I was wrong!” He always envisioned himself having a boy when he was younger but with our difficulty to get pregnant prior to this, we were both just so happy to have A healthy baby! The gender didn’t matter to us. But, now, that we officially know the gender, we now have a future little hunter we are looking forward to meeting in December! I can’t wait to kiss that little boy’s cheeks and see if he acquires his daddy’s red hair and smart aleck personality! 🙂 Praising God for our little son.

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The Pregnancy Chronicles: First Trimester

Part I

So, since I’m a soon-to-be mom and this pregnancy journey is all new to me (and super exciting), I figured I’d start a pregnancy series highlighting some of the exciting, challenging and surprising things I’ve experienced throughout my pregnancy…and maybe a few bump pictures, also! Because, if you haven’t guessed, I’m enjoying being on this journey! It’s something I’ve prayed for for so long and I’m so thankful I’m getting to experience it now!

Today, I begin the first in the series detailing my first trimester! As I look back, my first trimester flew by, however, while I was in it, it felt like an eternity of waiting. I prayed that the Lord would provide me peace about this pregnancy and honestly, I believe he granted that to me. I had a sense that this baby is healthy and that I will get to meet them come December. That peace definitely got me through the first trimester jitters, for sure! Below, I wanted to share some things I experienced in my first trimester.

Symptoms:
Food Aversions// For the foodie that I am, food aversions were no joke! I’ve never had an issue with eating food…until I was pregnant! I’d have days where a juicy hamburger sounded good, until I got three bites in and then suddenly, I was full and no longer craving a burger. Often times, I just wasn’t super hungry. Towards the end of the first trimester, Zach kept telling me, “Maren, you need to start eating something.” Luckily, sometime into the second trimester, I’ve finally regained that foodie mentality!
Aches & Pains// This was probably my worst symptom of the first trimester! I can’t tell you how many weird aches and pains I experienced on a daily basis. Lower back pains, aches in my hips, tightness in my abs, as if I had worked out (but hadn’t at all) and cramps. There were nights I’d just take a hot shower and then grab my best friend, the heating pad, and go to bed. It became a way of life for me.
Nausea// A friend told me early on that if I started to feel nauseous, I should eat something! Bagels, Cheerios and Saltines became my best friends throughout the day. Once I experienced that queasy feeling, I ate a snack and I was back to normal!
Exhaustion// Holy time for sleep, Batman!! I’ve always needed 8 hours of sleep, but man, oh man, once 4:30pm hit, I was EXHAUSTED! I could have slept 8+ hours every day! Often times, I wouldn’t make it past 7:30 before I was passed out. There were nights I had to have Zach drive us home if it was after 7:30pm because if not, I was at risk of falling asleep!

Despite these symptoms, it made it all worth it when we saw our little babe at 7 weeks! Because of our previous miscarriage, we had the blessing of being able to have an ultrasound early on and get seen by my doctor frequently. I cried like a baby when I saw that little heartbeat on the ultrasound. What a miracle! Jesus performs miracles everyday, especially when it comes to the blessing of life and this definitely has been a miracle!

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This is the moment I fell even more in love with our little squirt! Note: This is NOT twins. The baby is on the left and the yolk sac is on the right.
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My first sign of a baby bump at 10 weeks
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Taking a bump picture together has always been Laura’s desire…well, here’s our first one! 10 weeks and 26 weeks!

 

God’s Plans are ALWAYS Better!

Hi friends! I’m so sorry I’ve gone incognito. 2018 has been such a whirlwind and since the last time I posted, so much has happened that I haven’t been able to focus on anything else. So, today, I return to update you with what has been going on in my life since I last posted. As I began this post, I decided to title it, “God’s Plans are ALWAYS Better” because His plans are immensely better than anything I could have thought up or planned out myself. I’ve learned that first hand over the last couple of months how God can take terrible situations and use them in ways that have drawn me nearer to Him than ever before! You can read these posts about my miscarriage Here and Here.
Since then, God has been showing me how he can not only take a terrible situation and use it for His glory but also that His plans are way better than my own.

I especially learned this lesson at the end of March and beginning of April! It was a Wednesday night; just a few nights before my 28th birthday! Zach and I were laying in bed reading our Bibles and all of a sudden I feel him place his hand on my abdomen. I looked over at him, slightly astonished at what he was doing because this isn’t something he does on a normal basis. I asked him, “What are you doing?” No response. Then, I asked him again, “Zach, what are you doing? Are you praying for my womb?” No response. As silence went on for a few seconds, I began to think about how I had felt pinching and weird sensations in my uterine area for a couple of days prior but I brushed it off and disregarded it because I just assumed I was wishfully thinking. However, after a few moments of silence, I said, “Come to think of it, my uterus has been feeling weird the last couple of days…” and Zach said, “That’s because you’re pregnant.” Surprised, and reluctantly excited, I said, “How do you know that?” and Zach answered, “I just have a feeling.” Now, Zach is very sensitive to the Holy Spirit and so when things are revealed to him, his feelings are usually always right. He knew my friend, Laura, was pregnant before she even knew, he knew my friend, Christie, was pregnant before she shared the news with me, he had a feeling I was pregnant the week before I took my positive pregnancy test in January and he had a feeling that my friend, Kira, was pregnant before she even found out! So, since I knew about this gift of his and his track record, I just knew that I was pregnant, also! However, my period wasn’t expected for another few days, so I forcefully made myself wait until the following Monday before I would test. I woke up on and off that whole night and would make myself go back to sleep until I finally reached 3:30am on Monday morning! I peed on that stick and sure enough, that ClearBlue digital pregnancy test said, “Pregnant.” Immediately, a sigh of relief and joy came over me! God had blessed us again with a little miracle, this time, our rainbow baby, and only my second cycle after my miscarriage! After trying for our first pregnancy for over a year, I was hopeful that we might get pregnant quicker the next time, however, I told myself that it would probably take six months or so, and I would have been thankful for that! But just two months later?! This was unbelievable! God’s plans really ARE BETTER!

Mark 10:27 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man, it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'”
1 Samuel 1:27 “For this child, I have prayed.”
Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I’ve always been that person to say, “God’s plans are better.” But deep down, I’m not sure that I truly believed it. I don’t think I began to believe it until after our miscarriage. I listened to a Chuck Swindoll sermon about letting go of my plans and letting God take over. I told myself that in His timing, God’s plans would make sense, regardless if he blessed us with a child or not, and that if I’m truly desiring God’s plans over my own, then it wouldn’t matter if we had a baby or not but that following His will would be immensely better than any worldly desires I may have (including a baby).

Now, here I am, about to transition into the second trimester, feeling so thankful for God’s blessings! Some days, I still can’t believe that God chose to bless us with a little miracle and counted us worthy to experience this long trial that was infertility and loss. I’ve felt closer to God within these last five months than I ever have before and I definitely think it’s because I’m learning to trust His plans over my own, especially with this little life! And ever since I’ve started to have that mindset and truly believe that God’s plans are better, I can’t even begin to tell you the freedom and happiness I’ve experienced! Even now, God has blessed us with a little baby and I can stand firmly and say that HIS PLANS ARE BETTER! Put your trust in Him, my friends, even when it’s hard to let go of your worldly desires. I was there, too. I didn’t want to let go of the desire to be a mother and I wasn’t sure that I could be okay without having a child of my own, but now I’m learning that no matter what, God loves us more than we could ever imagine and He has our best interest in mind. Even if that includes infertility, miscarriage, or a different trial. Just trust in Him and trust that HIS PLANS ARE ALWAYS BETTER!

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So This Is 28

Happy Friday, friends! Today I have two things to celebrate, both of which are bittersweet: (1) Good Friday (2) My Birthday

(1) Good Friday: Today is the day we remember Jesus’ crucifixion and death. While on one hand it’s sad to think that Jesus gave up His innocent life for our own wretched, sinful lives, but on the other hand, it’s also a reason to celebrate because without Him and His resurrection (Easter Sunday), I would be without hope and dead in my sins, doomed for Hell. How could I not be looking at this day as a ‘Good Friday’ and a reason to celebrate?!

(2) Today is my birthday! My 28th birthday, in fact. Ever since my 26th birthday, I’ve found it harder and harder to believe just how close I really am to the Big 3-0! So, in that regard, it is a little bittersweet! I used to think that 30 was so old, but as I ever so steadily creep closer to that milestone, I’m starting to think that 30 really isn’t that old (or is that thinking just relative to my current age?).

But, as I celebrate the fact that God has given me 28 years on this planet, I can’t help but reflect and wonder if I’ve lived these 28 years the way God intended for me to. I started thinking about this on Sunday when one of our church elders, Todd Van Voorst preached on how, we, as Christians, should be taking up our crosses and dying to ourselves DAILY so that we can live for Christ. He used the example that it is better for us to attend a funeral versus a festival. This means that it would be better for our lives to attend our own funeral and be reminded that when we die to ourselves in this life (I.e. our funeral) we are alive in Christ for an eternity (festival).

So, that got me to thinking. What does my funeral look like? Would it be a God glorifying funeral? Did I live my life everyday for Christ? Did I make a positive impact on His kingdom? This thought has started to convict me and show me areas in my life I need to change so that I can be dying to myself daily and living for Christ with all my being. I want to smell like God. I want to stick out in this world. I want to be different. I’m no ordinary person. I’m a child of God! Is my life radiating Jesus to those that don’t know Him? Am I loving people the way Christ intended? Am I using my spare time to pray and spend time with God? Am I sharing what Jesus has done in my life with others so that they too can know Him?

As I celebrate my birthday, I’m thanking God for the blessing of my health, husband, job, friends, family and most importantly, another day on this earth that I can use to glorify Him! So, as I celebrate this birthday of mine with a day off of work (Yesss!), time with one of my closest girlfriends (shopping time!) and time with family, I will push forward in an attempt to live my life for the sake of Christ like I never have before!

How are you dying to yourself and living for Christ? Are you passionately loving others as God intended? What has he convicted you of lately? Let’s press onward together and share His glory with others! Below, enjoy some birthday fun!

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This was our first Halo Top ice cream experience! Thanks, Laura! xoxo
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My work crew give the best birthday sweets! Cookie cake (and lots of other things), yummm!

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Hubby took me for DQ Ice Cream Cake!
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Shopping with one of my closest friends, Jen.
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It was always a dream of mine to get a little puppy with a red bow around his neck for my birthday. My husband got this little prince, Jethro, for my birthday this year! What an adorable present he was!

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