Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rollin' with it...

Two months ago Ryan and I would have proudly proclaimed our awesome immunities and ability to not get sick since we started dating. Yea, scratch that one right off and tack it up to all the "eat our words" phrases we've said being young and naive. I'm sure in the VERY near future many things will be tagged onto that list as we venture into parenthood!

Well, life happened once again and we spent the night in the ER with Ryan sick. I have seriously never seen anyone so sick in all my life. Poor thing. He began getting sick with the virus (I should give it a name, however it might cause me to sin) around 9:30PM and by 1:30AM he had not stopped and couldn't keep anything down. Once everything started going numb and cramping up, off to the ER we went. He was as pale as a ghost. Thankfully, they were able to get an IV started pretty quickly and knocked him out for the night. By 6:00AM we were home again and he is now resting and I am in compassionate nurse role. The doctor does want to check him out again in 24 hours to make sure he is better. He had elevated white blood cells, which is most likely bc this hit so fast, but being from out of town the doctor just wants to clear the 5% chance of something else.

I am better today, Praise the Lord. It's been 72 hours so I'm pretty sure I'm in the clear. It's been a bummer that we are in Charleston for our long awaited vacation and sick, but what can you do. It's life and sometimes things don't go as planned. I'm learning to just roll with it and find joy in the simple things along the unplanned ride.... easier said than done though right. We've been so blessed by coming home and even sick it's been nice to be here and look outside and see the sun hanging on the couch with my mom.

Please keep my family in your prayers. We would love to have great time together before we fly back Sunday.... VIRUS FREE!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beware of the Bug!

Greetings again from Charleston. I am laying on the couch sipping Gatorade feeling a little disappointed that we couldn’t go to church today. I came down with a virus yesterday on our way home from my Nanny’s. At first I thought maybe it was just acid reflux…my thoughts quickly changed. It’s been a bad one, and I have become one with the toilet. I’ll spare you the rest of the details. This is my second virus in 5 weeks… what on earth?! I wanted to go to church so bad today I could almost taste it being that this is our only week to go AND we’ve been snowed in the past 2 Sundays, Ryan’s drill the week before and oh SICK the week before that. Awesome…. Not. I took a shower and after blow drying my hair I knew I was too weak. Such is life I guess. I’m thinking it’s just 24 hrs and will quickly be over. Between this and my swollen feet experience I am feeling every bit of almost 30 weeks pregnant. Honestly, when I’m sick there’s no other place I’d rather be than in the house I grew up in with my mom. The bath tub knows me all too well!! My dad, sister and I have been hit with the bug. We are not completely sure where it came from, but our suspicions is that an adorable little red head played some part in it! She was totally worth it though!

In other news Charleston is absolutely beautiful…..75+ degrees makes for a perfect day. I’m so thankful we have the entire week ahead to enjoy being here. Visiting my nanny was really nice. She is a sweet ole soul. Well it’s almost been about 22 hours of having a virus so I think I’m on the home stretch!!! What a reminder of the blessing of good health! I think I’ll continue to hold off on that chicken biscuit I’m waiting for….

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all.. and to all a good night!

Greetings from another fabulous Christmas at the Moore house. Yes, you did hear that right...Moore house. We are visiting in SC and loving every minute. We made it in last night just in time for our annual family visit to TBones. It's probably the only time all year my family goes there, but just like taxes, we never fail to go! It was a sure TREAT!! This morning I woke up and realized I'm HOME.. ahh the smells, amazing shower with endless hot water, and 80 degree weather gave my heart a warm up for what was to come!!

MY FAMILY!!!! By 10:00ish AM we were all together and I was loving on those nieces and nephews! My, how they grow! My oldest sweet niece kept giving me hugs and telling me how much she had missed me... she melts my heart! They are all so fun and unique. I love watching their little personalities evolve. Ryan and I are so blessed with so many to love! I was thrilled to hold and snuggle my youngest baby nephew. He is ADORABLE!! I can't stop thinking about the next time I get to hug on him!! What a blessed Christmas it was to all be together. Amidst the flying paper and kids running I kept thinking to myself how nice it was just to be here. Such a gift!

I love Christmas..

Praise to God for his selfless gift of his son so that we ALL have a way to be together on Christmas morning throughout eternity. I love the simplicity of the Nativity. A humble God giving to selfish man the best gift of all... Jesus.

Being pregnant this Christmas has brought new thoughts to my mind. It has taken me back and made me think about the journey to Bethlehem and Nativity in a whole new way. So with a swollen ankle propped up on ice (we think from traveling.. or maybe a little twist) I'll continue to soak in this Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

crazy 8

8 TV Shows I Watch:
1) Grey's Anatomy (quality television.. let me tell ya..)
2) The Today Show (when I'm at home at that time)
3) Jon & Kate + 8... planning on getting some good episodes in while at home with cable parents.
4) Oprah.. sometimes.. she gets on my nerves though...
5) Extreme Home Makeover (however the music and Ty's special projects quickly become a little too much!
6) Wheel of Fortune
7) The Bachelor...yay for a new season coming
8) Rachel Ray

8 Favorite Restaurants:
1) The Mustard Seed
2) Senor Tequila's
3) Tsunamis... i really wish I would be enjoying their sushi over Christmas break, however I'll wait until this baby comes...
4) Chick-fil-A (and the heaven's sing)
5) Poogan's Porch
6) California Dreamin'
7) Kaminski's... my all time fav for dessert
8) Red Robin (I thought I should include an Oregon restaurant.. this is a good one! There is good food here..yet I'm not sure it yet compares to the southern cuisine...life has been so crazy we haven't explored much or dined out.. perhaps in the coming year we will with a compliant baby???)

8 Things that Happened to Me Today:

I'm going to do yesterday, because it's still so early..
1) Went to work
2) Spilled my coffee ALL OVER MYSELF and on the keyboard at work (thank the LORD it still works.. ) I looked awesome with a huge coffee stain the rest of the day.
3) Talked to my mom multiple times
4) Prayed all day for my sister
5) Went to Ryan's work party at a German restaurant
6) Went to Trader Joes (Sarah Epp this is for you)
7) Paid bills and did the finances....
8) Soaked in a bath

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1) Going home in a few days
2) March
3) Getting my body back hopefully quickly... when the American Eagle pair of jeans feel comfortable... I'll say it's back..
4) Seeing my son for the first time
5) Beth Moore coming to Portland (hint hint husband if you read this...cough...birthday)
6) staying at home (hopefully)
7) Meeting my nephew, Andrew, and seeing my other nieces and nephews
8) Ryan starting seminary... I think....???

8 Things I Wish For
1) a healthy/happy baby and easy labor/delivery
2) stability
3) an awesome Christmas
4) my family lived closer
5) a better economy..peace on earth..
6) people I love would come to Christ
7) a big shopping spree NYC (I can wish right?)
8) my son (and future kids) would love Jesus more than anything

8 People I Tag:
hmm.. I hate tagging people....so if you want to and want an excuse to sit blogging and not clean your house like me ... go for it..

Merry Christmas!
- Jessica

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A little update

I’m about to wet my pants with excitement.. or maybe it’s just this baby’s head on my bladder, but we are leaving in a week for SC!! Woo hoo!!! It surely feels like Christmas here…snow…ice.. the whole shebang. I do recall praying for a rain-free Portland and granted, it has been pretty dry, however maybe I should have specified a little more on precipitation in general!!! It looks pretty and it’s fun to nestle inside, but not fun for a painters work status. Such is life!

I went to the doctor’s yesterday and she said things look good. I am measuring 2 weeks ahead, but she said it could be that my placenta is in the front and therefore that is getting measured with everything else (or something to that degree). Thankfully, she said I am not gaining too much weight, however I definitely have never seen these numbers on the scale before… awesome. She also said it seems like our baby may be long. I wonder if it is that he is long, or I am just short. She was able to figure out that the head was down and the sweet little feet were up near my right ribs. I have become well acquainted with kicking in my ribs, and let me tell ya… not my favorite! I had my glucose screening so I’m praying everything comes out well on that. I have the pain tolerance of a small kitten; therefore I am a total chicken and was nervous about getting my blood drawn. I was relieved that she was able to get my vein the first time (not usually the case for me). Boy will labor be a rude awakening for me!

Hoorah for starting my last trimester… I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy so far and become more ready each day to meet our baby as my belly grows rounder and less comfortable! Deeeeeeep breath! 12 more weeks…and if he comes 2 weeks early that’s 10 more… wow.

I hope you enjoy Ryan and I’s little dance below. We worked ALL night on it, and I think we finally got it down. ;) Thanks to our little elf backup dancer…he was a little shy, but I think he did a fabulous job! Haha! Merry 1 week until Christmas Eve!

--Please pray that our flights out cooperate....they are predicting off and on snow/ice until next week....heaven knows how much I want to get home!

From our home to yours..

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Let's hear it for the boys...

So I started to drift off to sleep last night my little bun in the oven gave me a welcomed surprise. I’m not sure whether he was doing some soccer kicks or trying to tell me that he can dance like his Daddy?! Have I ever mentioned to you that Ryan can dance like nobody’s business?! He can and is a TOTAL treat to dance with .. especially in public..he makes us look good! So yes, back to our baby… I’m laying in bed and started to feel a kick, kick, kick then a little break and back to the 3 kicks. After a while I caught on and began to hold my belly where he kept kicking (or punching). I could totally feel a hand or foot…not sure. I think it felt more like a foot, but heaven only knows. Of course I’ve felt him kick plenty of times, but this was the first time I really felt a real foot. I guess we’ll never know if I am right, but I mean what else could it be.. a kidney?! I felt like I was touching him, and it made me excited to touch and see those little feet in about 13 weeks! I'm starting to get anxious and ready to meet him!!

In other baby news, I began this morning famished. I ate a huge bowl of cereal and by 10:30 AM I thought my stomach was eating itself. So of course I ran to the food place in our building and got the biggest breakfast sandwich I could find with egg and cheese. Growing days here we come. I haven’t had a ton of cravings during my pregnancy except for sweets (always have, always will), RED meat, and oranges. Y’all… I can’t stop thinking about a huge cheeseburger, steak, or something from a cow. GIVE ME THE BEEF!! In my non-prego state I could normally careless about meat in general… chicken is good… but I could take it or leave it. Oh but now…protein is my friend… esp during these growing phases. Maybe my baby boy was giving me a heads-up last night with the kicks on his growing plans!!

I keep begging Ryan to just finalize a name with me, but he refuses. He keeps going on about his firstborn son and how special the name is to him. Kinda endearing huh?! It’s so awesome to see how much Ryan loves this baby already. He asked me to change my doctor’s appointment this week so he could be there. He has come to every single one so far! At first I was a little embarrassed bc very few men are in the office except when they are holding ultrasound pictures (meaning-finding out the sex of their baby). We totally scream first time parents!! I love it and I am thankful for his support. So yes, the name is a big deal to him, however, the other day he called him by the name I am rooting for! Still nothing is final… so much for painting name letters before he arrives! 13 weeks and I can share bc we will know (and Ryan won’t kill me for telling)!! Just prepare yourself if we go with choice numero 1… I don’t know anyone with this name and never have….

Hmm.. I’ve mentioned Ryan quite a few times in this post. You could say I miss him! This chica loves her boys!

Monday, December 8, 2008

happy season!

I am sad to inform all 3 of you that our advent plans are taking a little detour this week. Well, not completely, but somewhat!! As with many things in life, plans simply change!! With my little, strategic advent calendar in hand I attempted to roll with it and “flex” the schedule… maybe a little too much!!

Ry and I read all the scripture for the upcoming week, lit all the advent candles on the wreath, and he wound up getting one of his Christmas gifts early. By the looks of it, I’m thinking I was a little too flexible with the schedule change! Or maybe impatient is a better description! Never-the-less, we had a great time together!!

In other Epp news, I was totally an Army wife this weekend. No, not the show.. the real deal. The unit Ryan is now drilling with had a family day and I was able to go Saturday. I’ve never really thought of myself as the “Army wife” type, but maybe I wasn’t too obvious!! Ryan’s new unit will be deploying in early 2009. Ryan will not be going. He will be apart of the rear detachment here. I’m sure you know how I feel about this at almost 27 weeks pregnant. However, there are a ton of families that will spend a year without their husbands, wives, moms, and dads. It breaks my heart to think how much they will miss. It has been a reminder for me to keep supporting our military families at home and abroad. Please keep them in your prayers.

After our family day Saturday, we headed home to get ready for The Junior Nutcracker. The little kiddos were adorable, and the older ballerinas were quite impressive! I think it’s safe to say our son will never be enrolled in ballet classes, however we thoroughly enjoyed our night out on the town.. .if getting home and going to bed by 10:30 pm means “night out on the town.” Honestly, it’s just nice to spend quality time together…we enjoy that the most! I hope you continue to soak up the season!! I will as I continue to favor St. Nick more and more everyday! Lovely!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Happy Birthday Dad!




Happy Birthday to my favorite 57 yr. old!!!

Various people know him as a friend, spiritual leader, brother, uncle, papa, husband, but there is only 3 girls on this planet that know him as dear old Dad. The older I get the more I realize and appreciate my parents. Maybe it’s the task before me that says, “holy cow how did you do it?” To say that my dad has been outnumbered by women is probably an understatement, but somehow I think he’s regaining strength with 3 son-in-laws and 5 grandsons (mine on the way).

Today after singing a lovely solo (riiight) of “Happy Birthday” to him I thought about the qualities that set my dad apart. To be honest, I’m just proud of the man he is….honest, steadfast, kind, generous and more. I love that he’s not naturally a touchy feely kind of guy, yet still lets me help myself into his lap at my adult-status age. I love that he loves my mom and continues to date her after 30-something years of marriage. I love his shepherding heart and the passion he still has for ministry. I love that he has over-come crazy odds from a broken home. I love the way that he takes care of his girls---well really our whole family! I love that he’s compassionate and a fun Clemson football fan!

Some of my favorite childhood memories with my dad include him taking me to the fair each year. My mom was in college, so sometimes she would meet us a little later, but Pops and I would go and ride rides together (or at least the ones I could drag him on). I will never forget his expression on the tilt-a-world….priceless. After an evening of fun he would con me into leaving by suggesting we get an elephant ear to split for the way home!! I also remember him taking me to the circus when it was in town. I think I begged for every light-up piece of trash they were selling…I’m sure I probably was a brat to take!! What fun times I had “playing sick” and dad picking me up from school only to take me out to lunch and to work with him (maybe not motivation to go to school, but I did graduate from college so I guess it didn’t hurt me too much)!!

The memory that is stained on my heart for the rest of time is those minutes before I walked down the aisle…just me and my dad. We loaded up in a little convertible to drive a around the back way of the plantation…right up to the aisle. I was starting to get emotional and nervous, yet he had a crazy calming effect on me. He walked me through it all…just as if I was taking my first steps as a toddler, just then as the perfect gentleman. Poor thing had the flu, but I remember him telling me he would be there and marry us with Ry’s dad if we had to prop him up! I remember the lady who did my cake told me to take everything in on our wedding day, but to especially look at my dad’s expression as we walked down the aisle. I was sure to do it, and I remember looking and thinking to myself how thankful I was for him, and then also for the man he was giving me to.

So here’s to you Dad (even though blogs aren’t your thing), Have a VERY happy birthday!!! I love you so much!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy 100 Days!

Do you remember celebrating the 100th day of school?? Ok, so you probably did not celebrate this since you were 7 years old, but having a creative, kindergarten teacher for a mom I was usually aware of this day. If I remember correctly it usually hits sometime before Christmas. I always remember thinking, “it’s already been a hundred days.. It seems like school just started?!” THEN, when Ryan and I got engaged our engagement period was just over one-hundred days and it FLEW by (side note- I totally recommend short engagements..it’s a whirlwind of fun). I remember making a scrapbookerish type calendar to countdown the days until matrimony. It was cute and exciting! During that time I would practice writing my soon-to-be married name a million times during church (I multi-task really well). Oh the difference a year makes!!

So here we are…100 days until this baby comes (maybe sooner if I go early like my mom and sisters do)! That sounds a little…oh my goodness scary, but then I know I will be SO ready. Isn’t it neat how God has designed this whole thing? I hear women say you get to the point where everything is uncomfortable and nothing is convenient just as it’s time for your baby to come. Personally, I think pregnancy is not convenient any of the time, but that’s just me. Thank God for that transition period from not convenient to miserable!

My prediction delivery date is February 28th to March 2nd. I think it would fit right in with our first year of marriage. How could it not be more perfect than to finish off a year of growing, adjustments, moving, changing etc., than nothing more than the labor and delivery wing of a hospital?!?! We would have a good laugh! At that point I might deem our life lesson of the year… “It’s not about you, and it never was.” Maybe I’ll even throw the book into my hospital bag to read during labor in-between the “hee hee, hoo hoos” and the “Ryan, I’m never doing this agains.”

Happy 100 Days until you come, Baby Boy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Yummy Holiday Recipe



I found this recipe the other day on a random blog.. tried it.. and thought you might like it! It's easy, easy, yummy, and looks pretty!! Did I mention that this was easy?! Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle


1 pkg brownie mix (plus needed ingred)
1 3/4 cup cold milk
2 pkgs white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
1/4 cup hot water
4 t. instant coffee granules
2 c. thawed frozen whipped topping
1 bag crushed Heath bar toffee bars (in baking section already crushed)

Bake brownies and let cool completely. In large bowl, whisk pudding mix into milk until mixture begins to thicken. Dissolve coffee granules in hot water; add to pudding mixture, mixing well. Fold in whipped topping using spatula. Cut brownies into 1-inch cubes. Layer 1/3 of brownie cubes in bottom of trifle bowl. Top with 1/3 of pudding mixture, pressing lightly and 1/3 of chopped toffee. Repeat layers two more times. Chill 30 minutes before serving.

Advent


So Ryan and I totally thought yesterday was December 1st! We were wishing one another a happy 9 months all day long. We did a little positive marriage evaluation and even went on a dinner date…all the while on the wrong day! During dinner Ryan started feeling more sick so we hurried through and he was asleep by 7:30- 8 PM. We have BOTH been sick this weekend….me with a virus (gross) and Ryan with a sore throat, cold, chills thing. Today, I think I’ve landed myself whatever he has…sweet! Anyways.. Yesterday in our little 20 question marriage talk we talked more about Christmas traditions. In an attempt to focus more on Christ this Christmas I’ve put together a little countdown advent/random Christmas fun calendar. Thanks to some random website.. http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=32879&columnid=3881 , I was able to have some guidance on the whole advent thing. As for the actual advent wreath, we are using a candle centerpiece bowl with 4 candles (I’ll post a pic)! Tonight we’ll start…sick and in pj’s! This week here is my little run down…

Day 1- If I can motivate myself I’m making a Happy 9 months cake/start of advent
This is what we’ll read as a little run down of advent. By the way…all our candles are read.. or white… (I’m sorry but it just looks prettier and matches my décor better!)

The Meaning of Advent

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

“Advent” simply means coming as in Christ is coming, and for us now He has arrived. This is referring to His birth in history and in humanity. It meant the welcoming or the arrival of a special king and for us; it is our King of kings. This is what the Old Testament prophecies foretold concerning Jesus’ Incarnation, the Word made flesh for our hope and Atonement that brought us our deliverance. Advent represents our expectation, anticipation, and preparation for who Christ is and what He has done for us. He arrived into the world as a human being, being fully God and fully man. He came to identify as one of us, as the Son of Man, as a baby born in a manger. He came for us, He came for you and He comes into our lives and into our hearts. He is coming again in great power and glory to bring His Kingdom into fruition.

The Advent Wreath

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:12-13).

Traditionally, during the Christmas season we have an “Advent Wreath” in our Churches, and this is remarkably celebrated in all Denominations, including Orthodox, Catholic, liturgical, Mainline and Evangelical. The Advent Wreath is a venerable tradition that cuts across denominational and theological boundaries. It dates to the beginning of the 19th century in Europe. This Advent Wreath is arranged with 4 or 5 Advent candles, 3 or 4 of which are in a circle, along with one in the center, all on a base of evergreens each has a powerful message for us about our Lord. This has prevailing imagery we should not take for granted or consider just another holiday decoration.

· The Wreath: The wreath itself means “victory” as Christ’s victory over sin so He can save us. The Advent Wreath has 4 or 5 candles that are arranged in a circle symbolizing Christ’s eternity, as a circle has no beginning and has no end, it is a symbol for God, Who is eternal and thus without beginning or end. The evergreens mean He is “ever with us,” they are usually pine branches or holly that are used as a base that represents anticipation, newness, renewal and everlasting. The red berries of the holly represent the shedding of Christ’s blood.

· The Candles: The Advent candles mean the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His Son. This refers to the significance that Christ is the Light of the world. When they are lit, the illumination is to symbolize the Christ of eternity and His coming as the “Light of the World” and our worship and honor of His most precious gift of His Grace and mercy. These candles also have a color theme too, purple, blue, pink or rose and while. The first two or three are purple meaning royalty and this is also the color of suffering and the darkness of sin, connecting Jesus’ birth and crucifixion and His triumph over sin. Blue means sky and life, pink means joy, and white means purity.

Each candle has a special meaning:

o The first candle (purple) “CANDLE OF HOPE" means His promise and hope. We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises He made to us. Our hope comes from God. (Romans 15:12-13)

o The second candle (purple) "CANDLE OF PREPARATION" means His light and preparation. Preparation means to 'get ready'. "Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O GOD!" (Luke 3:4-6) (Some traditions combine the first two)

o The third candle (pink or rose) "CANDLE OF JOY" means the angels sang a message of JOY! (Luke 2:7-15)

o The fourth candle (purple or blue) "CANDLE OF LOVE" symbolizes Christ love. God sent His only Son to earth to save us, because He loves us! (John 3:16-17) (some traditions omit this one)

o The fifth candle (white) "CHRIST CANDLE" symbolizes the incarnation, the heart and reason of the season, God giving light to the world. Its location is in the center as Christ’s light is central and radiant. This reminds us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! (in wreaths that have 4 candles, it is in the circle among the rest of the candles)

· Each candle is lit during the worship services each week in progression until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when the last candle is lit. (some denominations and traditions have different color schemes and some only four candles) Each week the new unlit candle for that week is lit, and then the previous candles are re-lit. A family is sent up to do the lighting as a passage is read, a carol sang and or a prayer said. The four weeks are a period of waiting also signifying the four centuries of waiting between the last prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus. All five candles should continue to be lit in worship services through Epiphany on January 6 (epiphany means "to show," is the climax of the Christmas Season and the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” It is observed to denote the coming of the wise men bringing gifts and their worship to Christ).

Day 2- We’re going (if we are better) to a small group dinner.. fun fun!! Have I mentioned how blessed we are to have found an awesome young married small group?! We have and we really enjoy it!! So yes that's our little event… and we’ll be reading…
Is. 11:1-10 and/or Is. 7:10-14; 9:6-7; Is 11:1-5 and/or Jeremiah 33:14-16

Day 3- Ryan is getting a mini gift in his stocking.. and we’re reading the Annuciation to Zachariah: Luke 1:5-25

Day 4- Homemade hot chocolate and we’ll be reading.. Is. 7:14, Micah 5:2, Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 1:26-33

Day 5- Christmas self-timer family pics (this may take a while as I am slightly picky these days on my angles) and our reading.. Luke 2:1-7

Day 6- We’re going to a Christmas party with Ryan’s unit and The Nutcracker (junior ballet). We’ll also read.. Luke 2:8-12

Day 7- Dinner at home together lighting our advent candle for the week and reading Luke 2:13-14 and going back to the 1st candle’s meaning we’ll talk about Christ’s hope in our lives and read Romans 15:12-13

I have all the verses mapped out but I’m still looking for unique ideas for my days… :) feel free to share any ideas that come to mind!! May we all use this season as a time of refreshing as we celebrate Christ’s humble beginning!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A look into our Thanksgiving...

let me just preface this by saying.. my brain is fried..so this will probaly seem scattered.. read at your own risk or confusable state..

Yo Yo..I hope y'all all (i know... grammar police) had a good/relaxing Thanksgiving. All is well in our part of the country. We were blessed with an enjoyable day yesterday. Ryan and I took the morning a little slower, which was nice. I cooked all of my favorite things from home purely for leftovers sake. It's funny how something so silly brought comfort to me. My mom coached me over the phone on how to make her stuffing and sweet potatoe casserole. I also made green bean casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, and a turkey! The company I work for gave all the employees a free turkey, so yes.. we baked away. Ryan took care of prepping the turkey as I gagged next to him (seriously). We also watched bits and pieces of my favorite parade and relaxed! Close to 1 we headed to his family's house for the rest of the day/evening. It was a good time and great food. I talked to my mom a few times throughout the day, but I decided I couldn't handle calling once everyone was around the table... a little too much for this homesick prego! Getting married and moving away lands you in this weird in-between emotional state... thankful for new family and support here, yet simply missing your own. It's a blessing to have so many people to love both here and there. We are blessed.

Ryan and I had a few purchases in mind for the traditional "Black Friday" shopping. Ryan was kind enough to get in line at Wal-mart at 3:45 AM while I slept a little longer and got ready. I met him by 4:45 AM and we began our shopping day. We purchased a "throw in your purse camera" (bc my nice one has to stay in a safe bag) and a flip camcorder... we saved some serious $$$ on these 2 items! I have never seen so many people waiting in line at Wal-Mart... maybe it's just because the population is bigger here.. I don't know. People are serious about the deals, which they did prove to be beneficial for us. After that we hit Old Navy and Target. YAY for lines!! Target's line began near the door and wrapped around... ehh! Ryan started in line while I finished shopping. I spotted a smaller line at the jewlery counter and then we managed to get in a really quick return line. We probaly weren't suppose to, but the girl said that she could take us... maybe my belly was poking out more today bc of all the food!! We ended our day by hitting a couple of stores at the mall and we were done by 11. Wooo.. my feet HURT!!! We chowed on some leftovers and went straight to bed for 3 hours. Not a great idea for this whole acid reflux thing that has become a part of my life.. sweet!

My husband deserves an award for shopping with me today.... no begging involved... I think he just knows how much I wanted to be with ...oh..my mom, nanny, 2 sisters, and niece...all shopping together on our little Moore family tradition. Moore girls are hardcore the day after Thanksgiving!! Usually all the kiddos are sleeping at home with their dads, but this year my ALL girl niece, Addie, set her alarm clock for 4:30 AM to go shopping with the gang. My sis didn't know she had this plan in mind, but became fully aware once she was ready to go by 5!! It's in our blood... Ads is 7 by the way!!! Our day was profitable because I think I am 90% done with my Christmas shopping for the year!! woo hoo!!!

I'm not sure what's going on in my prego body tonight.. a little tired, achy and my stomach hurts... ugh. I'm sitting on the couch with the trash can next to me.. just in case.. I'm not sure what's going on!!! I hope it's just reflux...

Don't you love this season!!! Christmas is coming in less than 4 weeks.. holy cow!!! I love when it's finally ok/normal to listen to the music and have ALL your decor up!!

Peace!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I’ve Never Thanked God for on Thanksgiving….


It’s not because I’m original.. It’s just that I was listing some things I’m thankful for this year and realized…hmmm… I’ve never said these things at Thanksgiving before. Sure I’ve prayed for them, but it’s never come out of my mouth during the “go around the table and say what your thankful for thing.” Some are just obvious.. sorry—like I said it’s not that I’m original.

1. It didn’t rain on my wedding day. We all laugh now, but last year at this time we had just gotten engaged and my DREAM wedding was in the planning phase. We took a chance and prayed a ton for a BEAUTIFUL outside wedding. Sure, we would have still been married rain or shine, but I was so envisioning a beautiful spring day and PTL it WAS PERFECT. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. It was my finest day...and through the midst of my husband getting a call saying he was deploying asap, I saw God protect me and ultimately him in many ways.. I could go on and on about how God was so at work before and on that weekend. Thankfully he didn't end up getting deployed and we were able to spend our first year of marriage together.

2. I am married to my best friend. I read a quote the other day that was really good, “You don’t find great marriages, you work for them.” I am so blessed to have a man who loves Jesus, me, and our baby on the way. He’s a hard worker and a passionate man. I’m thankful that he is willing to work together to build a strong marriage..in the good and hard times!


3. I have amazing in-laws. I’ve never had in-laws until this year and let me just say, I’m blessed. Last year at this time I had not even met a single one of them!!! I was a brave girl to agree to marry their son without having met any of them. What a pleasantly AWESOME surprise… this is not something I take for granted! They even have a ton of kiddos for me to love on…what a fun gift!


4. I have a healthy baby boy growing inside me. I think I might birth my heart on the day he is born, as I can’t imagine what it will be like to know he will be living in this broken, fallen world. I dream about him and imagine what he will look like… I wonder if he will have our pointy noses or his daddy’s lips.. so yes.. I’m thankful for this precious surprise! I'm also thankful that my husband is going to let me pick his name... right ryan...????

5. God has provided for our every need. It’s not that I’ve never said this one at Thanksgiving…it’s just that I’ve never been on my own and been the one paying the bills until this year. Ya know when you hear how random checks show up or money from old aunt sally comes just when you really need it. That’s happened this year, and I’ve grown because of it. It’s been nervously neat to see how God has taken care of us… oh me of little faith.


6. I have no idea what 3 months from now looks like. I'm not sure I'm actually thankful for that unpredictable fact, but truth is it forces me to grow and completely depend on Christ. In reality, no one really knows what the future holds day to day...we hope and plan... and now I'm learning we trust God and just let go... Maybe change is my friend...it sure has lent itself to blessings in disguise.


Bonus—ok so the title isn’t completely right, but I couldn’t leave this out…
-I have an amazing family of origin. My Mom and Dad are the most giving people I have ever ever ever known. They give and give and give, without asking for anything in return. My Dad is a humble and kind man. He would give me the shirt off his back and not think twice. I can remember when I was moving home from college after a really hard season in my life… my dad was checking airline tickets like there was no tomorrow just so he could drive home with me. He didn’t want me to make the trip by myself. I had to convince him I would be ok before he would let go of that idea. I was even following friends and he still wanted to ride with me. What a sweet man he is! I could think of a million examples like this. My Mom is a prayer warrior and ridiculously SELFLESS. She takes the time every day to talk to me even amidst her busy life. She listens, she understands, and she’s my best girlfriend. This woman has a heart of gold and heaven only knows all the stars she'll have in her heavenly crown. My sisters, bro-in-laws and nieces and nephews are all equally amazing gifts that I cherish each day. My sisters are simply what you hope for in a sister. I love to call home and here those nieces and nephews talk over the phone (or try to talk in a cute little red head’s case). They are precious and I love them all dearly!


So yes, I am so blessed…Praise God for this season of thanksgiving--as cliche as it may sound. :)

-ok so I feel bad for not saying I’m thankful for God and then making an exception for my family… so yes, know I’m so thankful for my personal relationship with Christ, my salvation, and the way he daily renews me.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I was hoping today that my baby would be old enough to say “gobble gobble” next year.. but I think that might be a little over-achieverish (as he will only be like 8 or 9 months). Well… maybe not… he obviously will come from good stock! ;)


--Now for the Macy's Day Parade while sipping coffee and cooking, Awesome food and family, and SHOPPING On BLACK FRIDAY (this is easily in my top 5 favorite days of the year)!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and week 24!!!


Dear Sweet Baby of Mine,

Mine.. did I really just say mine? Some days it’s hard for me to believe that you are entering our family as a permanent resident with mahwah as your primary caregiver. I must say that sounds totally intimidating! I haven’t fully grasped how the whole gain a person, lose an income thing works, but I think God has it all under control! When I insert Mom into the equation my nerves relax a little bit and I remember my desire from childhood to enter this role. I can’t wait to rub your little arms and legs with baby lotion and snuggle with you. Your Mimi sent you a cute little outfit that I can wait to put on you. It will be in our bag for the hospital! I know that no matter what the labor process contorts your little head to look like, I will think you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on! I see that you particularly like the right side of my body because it seems like you’ve taken up occupancy there. That side feels harder and has become the primary location of your kicks. Thanks for kicking by the way….I like to know you’re still there and growing. This unknown paranoia called being a mom sometimes lends itself to asking the “what ifs.” Thanks for the reassurance every hour or so! I’ll try to take my thoughts captive over the next 18 years… ughh… yea let’s just make that the rest of my life!

Yesterday, we were late to church.. I know you’re shocked! We’re trying.. I’m trying.. I got the talk and everything! So anyways.. we were late and therefore in the balcony. Since my attention span is 2 seconds long, it was a double whammy for me… late and not able to pay attention. When I sit in the balcony, it’s a little over-stimulating with all the interesting people to stare.. i mean.. look at! I think Satan was working overtime! So in my attention lapse, I caught sight of a 2 yr old little boy in his daddy’s arms. His Dad was lifting his hands in worship and so was the little boy. His little toddler hands were firmly fixed in a high-five position straight through a few songs. Your dad and I caught the giggles…so cute and random! It was adorable to see that little tod wanting to be just like his dad! What a good reminder it was to think how your little eyes will follow us throughout our days. I sure hope our lives lived out before you will nurture and encourage your little heart to love Jesus!! Alright little tiger, in less than 16 weeks you’ll make your debut and forever change our lives…not to say you haven’t already! For the meantime, keep baking and I’ll keep growing rounder (just know that’s love right there). By the way…you’re over a pound and ft (about the length of an ear of corn). We love you and talk about you all the time!! Happy Thanksgiving… I’m so thankful for my boys!

Love, MOM

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today...

This morning I started thinking….

Do you ever feel like you live for the weekends? I could think of numerous reasons why it’s much more fun to sleep in and spend time with friends and family, so maybe that’s my justification. During college I couldn't wait until my last class on Thursday (if I planned my semester right) for the weekend to begin… almost seems like a dream world after the first month of a full time job!! It seems like most people in the working world get excited when Wednesday rolls around and by Friday we all have great attitudes, only for the Monday blues to meet us just a few days later. What a pitiful way to live!! In this crazy economy it’s a blessing just to have a job, whether it’s fulfilling or pull your hair out boring. With that reality, why complain?!

I began to wonder how things may look once I’m a stay-at-home mom. It’s true, I’ve never thought of myself as career woman, nor have I had much desire to be the bread winner. Becoming a wife and mother is certainly one of the greatest desires of my heart. I wonder if I will continue to look forward to Friday or for time to fly right on by. Yes, how great it will be when this baby finally smiles, and then sleeps well. Oh, and how fun to see him walk, and say I love you for the first time. Eventually, we’ll be able to leave him for a night out. Here I go again… anticipating the passing of time...just like I do with Friday. With eternity in my heart, the passing of time isn’t freighting and I believe to some extent the longing for more is God-given. However, I do desire to savor each moment. Even the times that are hard where I am stripped away from the person I wish to leave behind.

The stark reality of today begs me to live fully here. Sometimes in my clouded brain there are moments of clarity. Today was one. I realized for the first time that I will most likely long for this day 20 years from now. I will long for my baby boy to come home from college and go back to the days when he was safely resting inside my womb. I wondered what I would one day give to go back to the mornings when Ryan talks to my belly and feels our child’s movement for the first times. It’s true I’m not into cheesiness and often get uncomfortable when things turn sentimental! So forgive me as the cheese ball factor is great on this blog scale!! But how could anything so pure be anything but sentimental!

I continued to think how this is the last 3 ½ to 4 months with just Ryan and Jessica. Sure we share the same last name and are one, but soon we’ll be a family! In the women’s bible study I attended, many women would state what a joy each season was, but how they longed to go back to when their kids were all at home. Its true there is great joy and blessing in each day, but I don’t want to miss out on anything in my attempt to look forward to the next big thing on my agenda. It’s also true that in a perfect world where I received 10 hours of sleep at night (I need a lot) I might continue to feel so warm and full of good tidings, but maybe that’s when it becomes more of a choice….just like today at work. So as I sit here and think how this mini-elastic panel in the front of my pants is annoying, or how I’d love to not have heartburn, I’m choosing to savor today…the quiet.. the drear outside, and the sweet kicks from my baby boy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Turkey Turkey!

Hello all! Can you hardly believe that Thanksgiving is only 10 days away…which makes Christmas 37 days away. (I think… I might be a day..or so off). Never-the-less.. it’s coming quickly! I am planning on waking up slowly on Thanksgiving morning and sipping coffee to the tune of the Macy’s Day Parade! Oh how I love that cheese ball festivity. I would love nothing more than to be right there in the heart of NYC amongst the madness and crazies!

Despite popular belief (mostly just myself), I won’t be the stuffed Turkey this Thanksgiving. I may feel like “I’m done, stick a fork in me,” but I guess I’ll hang in oh.. another 16 weeks! The person that told me pregnancy is 9 months totally lied! Why are we giving the mama’s out there only 9 months worth of credit?? It’s 40 weeks people!!!

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving Epp style this year. I am excited to see what an Epp Thanksgiving is like, despite a few “east coast” inevitable tears. I’m so thankful for my family here… they're awesome...it’s just sometimes the reality hits of missing out on things in Charleston. Oh if I could only be in 2 places at once.. maybe that should be my New Year’s Resolution… it’s not like they come true anyways!

I’m sure our Thanksgiving will entail lots of laughing, fun, and great food! I will get to be with 8 of my nieces and nephews, which will be a fun treat. I think I’ll have to mix up a batch of my mom’s homemade stuffing and mac and cheese. I think I dream of that stuffing all year long.. or maybe I just do in my pregnancy brain. I don’t know if I can hold out another 10 days for it though!! I could live off of it! Even better is the leftovers.. no turkey needed… just stuffing, homemade macaroni and cheese and cold cranberry sauce. Ahh.. I’m hungry and excited just thinking about it!! Well, look at the time… lunch! Mom, you’re on my radar for our daily lunch time chat!


Peace out peeps!

-Jessica

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Applesauce!


For the past 6 weeks I have been participating in a ministry called Apples of Gold. My mother-in-law is one of the mentors for this program and she was so kind to mention it to me. It’s a ministry where the older ladies teach the younger based from a scripture in Titus. As tired as I am after work each day, I have thoroughly enjoyed this ministry for the past 6 weeks. A typical meeting consists of arriving at the home it is held in, eating appetizers while a cooking demonstration takes place, a bible study on anything from submission (ya-hoo) to loving your husband, and concluding by sharing the meal you learned how to make. Ryan has thoroughly enjoyed the new recipes I have tested on him!

These ladies went all out on giving the royal treatment. We had pretty name tags, GORGEOUS place settings with fine china, they served us the entire 3 course meal all while in our company, gave us a handout each week consisting of the lesson and recipes, and most importantly loved and shared their lives with all of us. These women were SUCH a hoot when sharing “little marital secrets!” I nearly passed out when this dear older lady passed out the strip poker cards.. she def does not sport the moo-moo around the house!

While driving home each evening I would think to myself how blessed I was to have these sweet older ladies love on me each week. They made me want to be a better wife and follower of Christ! Most of the older women have been married for 25+ years, so they offered a ton of wisdom and insight on marriage. If that wasn’t enough…holy cow.. these women can cook! I had no idea people actually take the time to make homemade whipped cream! It was quite tasty, but I’ll probably stick with the fat-free Cool Whip (sorry Ryan). I can feel the Lord continuing to develop in me a love for women’s ministry…I’m excited to see how he will use me to serve women.. young and old! So last night we had our “Celebration Dinner.” All the women brought their husband to join in on the finale. We had awesome food (again) and fellowship! So now….drum roll please.. I’m no longer an apple.. I’m Applesauce..or Apple Sassy (as Ryan referred to me as)! Haha!
(if this picture means something bad... I'm clueless... I just thought it looked funny..like a women beating an apple.. yea ok.. you get it)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Merry Early Christmas!!


Ok, so we all like Christmas right? Some, a little more than others. I would be in that category. My parents have always had a way of making Christmas big for us. Not meaning gift wise, or spending tons of money ( that’s not to say we didn’t get much for Christmas.. just not to where Christmas lost meaning elsewhere.. yea you get what I’m saying), but Christmas has always been a huge thing in my family. I can remember growing up when we would load up the car with all of our “luggage”… cough…Santa Clause presents) and drive late on Christmas Eve, after our church service, to my Nanny and Pa’s house (a 4 hr trip). Christmas began with me begging my parents to get up at 3 AM and them convincing me to go back to sleep for just a while longer. After all, Santa had not arrived yet. My parents never pushed the whole Santa thing, yet I was allowed to play and pretend.

This year Ryan and I have decided to get into the cheer of the season a little early. I just started listening to Christmas music a couple of weeks ago, which is late for me. However, yesterday my dear husband (in his really awesome desire to speak my love language) suggested that we decorate our house for Christmas. Y’all this was a huge suprise to hear him suggesting it and not me begging! He made yummy hot chocolate with peppermint coffeemate and we went to town.. on the décorating of course! I had a blast! Last year we soaked up the after Christmas sales at Target on their Christmas décor. I have been looking forward to decorating literally all year long. The only thing that is missing is our tree, and that's because they're not out yet! We like to justify all of this in our mind by saying we want to enjoy it early because we will be going to SC, but truth be told we’re not leaving until almost Christmas! I don’t feel completely crazy because we have seminary friends who have jumped into the festivities as well!

So with all of the deck the halls accomplished we began talking about our own individual family traditions. From that we started brainstorming on some traditions we could begin doing with ________ next year (I’m 85% sure we have a name.. but I’m still sworn to secrecy!) Well actually, we’ll probably start doing little things this year together. It’s nothing earthshaking, but just little things like…

-going to see the lights, getting a Christmas tree and decorating it together as a family
- having a Christmas party
- giving one ornament each year to one another and to our kids (and opening it on Christmas Eve)
- reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve after a Christmas service
- a big breakfast on Christmas morning
- a family project each year to bless someone or a family
- making Christmas a big deal because of Jesus… birthday cake…balloons etc. Obviously we know it’s probably not the actual date.. but I love the celebration of the gift of the Christ child… so yea… making that a big deal!

Any more neat suggestions?!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Life today!

Greetings from a rainy Portland! Yes, I do believe that the rain has started for the winter… oh Lord be with me! Seriously, I’ve been dreading it knowing that, simply put, I love the sun. I may find myself singing the song, “Oh Mr. Sun..Sun.. Mr. Golden Sun.. please shine down on me….” I’m reminded that as the seasons change, God doesn’t. He hasn’t left his throne and he still hears his people. Sometimes I quickly become disheartened with change; I’m a creature of habit and thrive on routine, yet inevitably change happens!

Along with the rainy winter we as a family are experiencing some great uncertainty with Ryan’s job. The economy plus rain can equal great job ???’s in the painting and restoration field. Ryan has been encouraged by his company’s affirmation regarding his work quality, however during the first week of the rainy season he will have 1 ½ days without work. Booo. With a baby on the way, our hands begin to get a little sweaty. What to do?? Wait..pray..seek… that’s kind of where we’re at. We don’t have any answers yet on what to do.

Ryan and I are both called to ministry. We want that and even amidst the craziness of our ever-changing family. Of course we can serve now whether he is on-staff at a church or not, however his calling is to do that as a full time job. I long to minister at the side of my husband, and I see his desire as well. We know ministry is hard, and Satan’s attacks on ministry families can be brutal, yet somehow we want that?? That’s God putting his desires in our hearts. We are not sure God’s time frame on that, therefore Ryan’s job now would not be forever. So here we are asking God to be with us, meet our needs, and guide our steps. Man, faith surely feels good when you’re sitting on the other side of the fence, and honestly I’d like to be there today! But for know, I’ll choose (it’s so a choice) to know God has us here in this place, and his faithfulness in the past months gives me no reason to doubt him now.

So yes, whether it’s change in our lives geographically (or in 10 other different ways), in the economy, in friendships, politics or whatever; I’m fixing my eyes on a constant.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Saturday, November 1, 2008

We made it 8 months!


1 yr. since getting engaged... 8 months married.. 5 months pregnant= fast track life.


Some days the past year seems like a foggy blur. I remember the initial days of our relationship, but after that things begin to seem a little foggy. My first impression of Ryan Epp was walking into a small group and thinking, "that boy should really un-pop his collar....2001 called and they want that trend back...but he's cute, nice, and maybe he'll be my friend!" And my friend he did become. One day he was strictly platonic.. the next...a major prospect.. the next...my boyfriend! I can remember that Sunday like it was yesterday. I wore a cute red cotton dress to church. Nothing special, but I liked it. Randomly on the way home I got a text. For many of you that know, Ryan is the TEXT KING. Our new cell phone plan is greatly decreasing this sport, however he was a bachelor then with unlimited. So yea, a text was a common thing in planning hang outs etc. Except this time he said, "You looked really pretty today and I just thought you should know." Rules say... if he isn't calling he isn't interested.. so I said "Thanks buddy," and disregarded it completely. The next day we talked for 2 1/2 hours (hmm that was a call.. but not date.. and after all I really have never thought about Ryan like this). The next day.. a "coffee date"... and so it goes. By the weekend he had asked my dad for his permission to pursue me, and 4 months later he secretly managed to ask my parents for my hand in marriage. To keep our life simple (yea right) we do things in 4 month increments....


4 months of dating...4 months of engagement and then married... 4 months later we found out we're pregnant.. 4 months later we move 3000 miles.. and around 4 months later we are having a baby. Can I tell you how much I'm praying that the next 4 months will just bring joy, good tidings and normal life?! I'm praying for little change and lots of happy times TOGETHER! Feel free to join me!


Oh Ryan, for a girl that dislikes adventures and surprises... you have been every bit of both, but somehow I love you! You can make me the happiest girl alive and the maddest! With all my amazing hormones both can be done within 15 min! Thanks for loving and growing with me... it's a journey and I am starting to believe this marriage thing is really about making us more like Christ... It's hard to say the same. I treasure time with you, and enjoy being your friend. I'm privileged to be your wife and the mother of your son! Thanks for passionately loving me.. heaven knows we have enough passion in our personalities to make the world go 'round! (Instead of strongwilled... we like to refer to it as "passion.") I love you!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Rules.... 1950's edition

I was thinking the other day about the place in life I was at right before Ryan and I started dating. I wasn’t a fem-Nazi in any way, but I was making plans for myself, confident, and secure in the person God had created me to be. I had decided that I was going to go to seminary and pursue a master’s in counseling, and I was ok with graduating without a Mrs. Degree! I was at a place where I realized it was time for me to enjoy friendships with the opposite sex, as this would only be a season of life where this would be possible and who knew the timeline but God! So that’s what I did. After many talks with my older, wiser sisters I was advised some “Rules” to behave by. I have to admit, one of my sisters, who's identity I will not disclose, had the whole dating thing down to a science. This was some of her approach… not all… but some of the rules she lived by in the dating world. Otherwise, the guy was “just a friend” and would be treated in the way all other friendships went. I used some rules, broke many, but had a good laugh through it all! If I was still in the single world… I’d def keep taking the good with the bad!! Side note- Ryan was in the “friend” category (until the week of the 4th of July). I remember saying to him… “We should all take a road trip to visit some of these seminaries since there are a couple of us interested in going!” Boy, did we ever take a road trip…

The Rules… 1950’s edition (Again… I’m not suggesting all of these)

01: Be a “Creature” Unlike Any Other (I like this one)
02: Don't Talk to a Man First (and Don't Ask Him to Dance)
03: Don't Stare at Men or Talk Too Much (yup)
04: Don't Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date (yup.. or don’t go back out with him if he does.. is that too harsh.. oh well.. I wanted a man. If he doesn't then maybe he should be in the friend category)
05: Don't Call Him & Rarely Return His Calls (you gotta communicate though)
06: Always End Phone Calls and dates First (yea that’s good)
07: Don't Accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday (make him work for it!)
08: Fill Up Your Time before the Date (yes… don’t make it seem like it’s your first date.. even if it is!)
09: How to Act on Dates 1,2, & 3 End the date first especially if you like him.
10: How to Act on Dates 4 through Commitment Time
11: Always end the date first
12: Stop Dating Him if He Doesn't Buy You a Romantic Gift for Your Birthday or Valentine's Day
13: Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week
(I didn’t follow that)
14: No More than Casual Kissing on the First Date (that’s good)
15: Don't Rush into Sex & Other Rules for Intimacy (I vote for just waiting period..duh)
16: Don't Tell Him What to Do (yes!)
17: Let Him Take the Lead (YES YES YES)
18: Don't Expect a Man to Change or Try to Change Him (so true..but be a person he wants to be more like)
19: Don’t Open Up Too Fast (whops)
20: Be Honest but Mysterious (I LOVE THIS ONE.. be a challenge…)
21: Accentuate the Positive & Other Rules for Personal Ads
22: Don’t Live with a Man (or Leave Your Things in His Apartment) ..duh refer to #15
23: Don't Date a Married Man (double duh)
24: Slowly Involve Him in Your Family & Other Rules for Women with Children (can be a good thing..we did this..just guard your heart)
25: Practice, Practice, Practice! (or, Getting Good at The Rules)
26: Even if You're Engaged or Married, You Still Need The Rules
27: Do The Rules, Even when Your Friends & Parents Think It's Nuts
28: Be Smart and Other Rules for Dating in High School
29: Take Care of Yourself and Other Rules for Dating in College
30: NEXT! & Other Rules for Dealing with Rejection
31: Don't Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist.
32: Rules May Be Pulled Out of Thin Air If the Situation Requires
3: Do The Rules and You’ll Live Happily Ever After!
34: Love Only Those Who Love You
35: Be Easy to Live With


I found some updated rules… this is just interesting..food for thought or laughs!

Be a creature unlike any other. (still my fav..let your depth, passions, and love for people show)
Show up to parties, dances, and social events even if you do not feel like it.. do something to increase your chances of meeting men... yea try to be outgoing..good point
It’s a fantasy relationship unless a man asks you out. (SO true..if they are interested.. they act.. if not.. they don’t.. bottom line)
In an office romance, don’t e-mail him back every time he e-mails you unless it is business related.
When considering placing personal ads, you place the ad and let the men respond to you (eeek)
If he does not call, he is not interested…period.
Close the deal-Rule- women do not date men for more than 2 years. (ouch.. I’m not endorsing all of these.. just food for thought and laughs)
Buyer beware- Observe his behavior so you do not end up with Mr. Wrong.
If you are in a long distance relationship, he must visit you at least 3 times before you visit him.
Keep doing the rules even if things are slow.

-one more I would add.. be clueless until he is defining the relationship.. let him bring it up and don't assume anything unless he says it to you...and don't appear desperate...if you are..tell your mom and girlfriends..but I'd say I really had to work on that in my heart. If only if it was this easy. Ok why on earth am I doing this... ya'll I am bored at work! But if you need a coach.. I will root for ya! I think I had intentions to let this lead to another blog... I can't remember...Oh this pregnant brain!

So now that we are all sick and tired of these stinkin rules.. I hope that you have a great day!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Project Runway!

Since moving into our new house I’ve noticed more than ever similarities in Ryan and I’s personality. I think sometimes in marriage you can wake up and think who are earth is this person sleeping next to me and why is he so weird! Hmm.. never happens to ya? Ok never mind! Well this weekend we have come together on some budget friendly teamwork!

It’s been funny to watch our scattered minds and organized personalities dive into getting everything this side of heaven situated in a matter of a week! It was as if the need for nesting threw up in our house and made it a home! We painted, hung pictures, decorated, cooked for a month, and yes, even made the bed each day. Ryan has been such a help to lift, hang, and paint. Things that normally my “I can do it by myself” personality has greatly appreciated in my current state. This past weekend we had some free time to relax and enjoy one another’s company. More than anything, I discovered my husband’s ability to fulfill little visions I have, but cannot recreate myself! Usually Ryan is more visionary and I am more detailed, however we did a little swap yesterday!

My first dilemma arose when I bought a blank canvas 50% off to paint and put in the baby’s room. 3 hours later it looked more like a new age mess than a cute baby room painting room. I vividly remember Ryan saying, Jess that’s not gonna work.. you should do….. Needless to say I ignored his suggestion until I saw the disaster. In distress he once again offered his help and created a perfect picture! My idea was to get scrapbooking paper and recreate one of the little animals from the bedding. Haha… I had been practicing but my rhinoceros kept looking more like a cat! In less than 5 minutes Ryan had a perfect drawing cut out and ready to place! A few hours later he had a masterpiece. I kept telling him, “if I was you I would be really proud of myself about right now.” I could tell he was surprised he created a cute picture when he wanted to go ahead and hang it! How cute! Yup, that’s my masculine husband secure in arts and crafts and loving that baby growing inside of me!

A little later in the evening I brought out the highlighting kit from Target. As Ryan laughed hysterically at my head and hair stuffed into the highlighting cap; he graciously helped me by pulling out each little cluster of hair… one at a time! Even better, he applied the cream and helped me wash out my lightened look! I could end here with us both realizing this Army guy is a stinkin good husband… but it gets better…

WE CUT MY HAIR! It was the first time I have gotten my hair cut in almost 8 months, and we both pitched in. I did my bangs and some random layers and he did the rest! My plan is that every other time we will do a little project on my hair! I must say.. it all turned out pretty well, and I’m hoping the back of my hair is even with the front!! Way to go babe and thanks for ministering to my heart! I think it takes a man to humble himself to craft projects, highlighting and hair cuts! So yes, a fun and interesting weekend indeed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A week of blessings!

Greetings from a RAIN FREE week in Portland. I have enjoyed my oh-so-straight hair thoroughly this week!! I know the rain is coming, but that’s not to say I have not soaked in my best bud, Mr. Sun, even from the confines of my office desk and kitchen window.

That’s right, you did hear correctly when I said my; although both have temporary parameters attached to them (job and house). I was placed by a temp agency with a company for 6 weeks, and we are renting our house for 2 years! Woo hoo! I am praying that after this job assignment, I can continue to be placed with as little overlap time as possible to other jobs until this mister comes. The house.. holy cow.. every morning I wake up and Thank Jesus for this blessing! We were able to meet with the owners and state-side landlord for dinner this past week and I was so blessed to hear how this house has been used to help seminary families get through school. It’s awesome to hear how the families that have lived in this house have gone on to reap an eternal harvest all around the world.
This was such a huge prayer request in my life, and it has been such a joy to see how God has worked things out better than my worrisome mind could have. We praise you God for your faithfulness in our lives, knowing we deserve none of it!

This past week has been full of boxes and more boxes. I am nearing the end of my unpacking and it feels oh so good. We were so blessed by family and our small group’s help to move us in Wednesday night! Yea, such a blessing as I’m little help with moving heavy boxes!

Ryan started painting Wednesday evening and will finish touch ups tonight. He has rocked our house with a brush in hand and hammer in his pocket. Not only does he look like Ty Pennington from Extreme Home makeover, but he has decorating style and can use a paint brush like I’ve never seen! It’s been fun to work together in our decorating endeavors. I love that he is so handy! We are so pleased the 3 rooms we painted… they are bold colors but we LOVE it… it fits well with our personalities! Can I just say if I never lived at 409 ( what we refer to as our first house…it’s the number address, not the cleaner… although that might help if a 409 bomb went off inside of it) I would never recognize the need to appreciate so many extras in this house.. like painting the walls! I can hardly wait to show all the 3 of you the pictures!! Just be prepared if you have a panic attack when you see apple green kitchens, or gold dens, and chocolate brown rooms! The baby room is my favorite! Ok enough about us!

This past week was a joyful week with the arrival of my 10th nephew, Andrew Campbell Ethredge. This makes 17 nieces and nephews total!! They are such a blast and I can’t get enough of them! Andrew is just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen with his dark hair, squinty eyes and chubby cheeks! So as I count down the weeks until I can hold him for myself, I am enjoying pictures and updates from the home front! We are so thankful that my sister, Joy, and the baby are doing well after a short 4 hr labor. With number 4, she deserves it!! We are now praying this baby wins the award on sleeping well and transitioning into their adorable family!

I am earnestly praying for a 12 hour labor….well really just long enough for my mom to get here! She has such a calming effect on me, I would love to have her and Ry’s support right next to me in the delivery room!

So a good week…exciting and filled with many thanks. I will post pics soon.. we just have to get internet access at home so I can upload pics on my computer! Peace out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Interesting facts about Portland... from a newbie

**update**I forgot to mention one of my favorite things.. You aren't allowed to pump your own gas and you aren't suppose to tip the people (I doubt they'd refuse, but it's not expected). Pure laziness on my part, but I love this special treat at all Oregon gas pumps. I hear it's to increase jobs, but I think it's because the government knew I would have a better attitude if I didn't have to get out in the rain and do it myself!

1. They don't have La Haciendas or Senor Tequila type of Mexican restaurants.. or if they do.. I have not found one. You might ask.. what makes it a La Ha or Senors (yes I had nicknames for these places)? Well, 1 would be unlimited chips and the other REALLY important thing is QUESO QUESO QUESO....... need I say anymore?

2. There is no sales tax. I haven't gotten used to this but if you buy something for $2.99... you pay $2.99! Sweet, but people say they make up for it on property taxes. Either way, I LOVE IT.. it's like tax free weekend EVERYDAY... like I need another reason to shop?!

3. The speed limit on many of the highways in town is 55mph. I'm not sure about this one, but Ryan said it may be to increase state revenue.. who knows?!

4. The coffee shop frequency could be compared to baptist churches one every corner in SC. Seriously, I've never seen so many Starbucks in all my days. Last night I was at the mall and I literally counted 4 Starbucks in less than a mile radius. The Targets even have Starbucks in them and then a free standing one in the same shopping center.

5. Minimum wage is $8.00/hr compared to SC's new raise to $6.55. Ya ho!

6. Anything goes here.. Really.. I think people have this game they play in the morning where they put on a blindfold and put whatever they touch on and must where it proudly throughout the day. Ryan worked at a job this past week and said a decent looking man would walk by every morning proudly sporting his clean cut hair, mini skirt, and stilettos.

7. Let's just say I see a million more Obama signs than McCain here. Ya know, I was tempted to be the one McCain/Palin bumper sticker, but I wasn't sure our full coverage auto insurance would cover our tires being slashed.

8. Churches have original names like The Well, Mosaic, Imago Dei etc, and I've yet to see any First Baptists... or really any baptist anything. However, I do kinda have to take that back because Western has affiliation with something called conservative baptist. I think its similar to southern baptist.

9. Portland doesn't carry mustard based BBQ sauce (I know, what a tragedy) .... I think I will fill a whole carry on with travel sized shampoo bottles when coming back from Christmas so that I can get my fill until the Summer.

10. The last one weighs heavy on my heart, however I will just type it out quickly so that I can keep my composure.... THERE IS NO CHICK-FIL-A. Prego girl misses those deep fried chicken biscuits once a week (ok maybe more)....Jethro misses them too!!

(did you pick up on that? No, we aren't naming our baby Jethro.. just was making sure your didn't skip the greatest tragedy of my week (No Chick-fil-A)
-If anyone finds the closest one here, I'd love to know! Maybe Ryan will take me there for our 1 year anniversary... so not even kidding!! hmm wait... I don't know if I'll be allowed to travel at that point in pregnancy! Oh my life...

We.. well mostly I am continuing to go through the adjusting stage in getting used to Portland. I am trying to embrace the differences and enjoy the similarities. It's been a blessing to have awesome family here, yet I continue to miss mine as well. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.. we need it! We are moving into our house this week; so it will be a busy time, yet hopefully good! Have a great evening!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

Good heavens, if life hasn't sent me enough surprises in the past year, today was another one!!! WE ARE HAVING A BABY BOY!!!! We are thrilled and I am in shock!! My cheeks are hurting from smiling so much! The boy world is going to be a new adventure for me as I know so well how to have tea parties or play with dolls! I'm not so sure I'm good at playing in the mud yet, but I'll learn..wait that's what a dad is for! So I'll save my bows and start thinking blue and boy names!! I've always thought sons have special relationships with their moms and I love the idea of Ryan having the son he's always dreamed of. I think it will be awesome to start strong with a son and big brother.


So many thoughts keep running through my head as I remind myself there is a BOY growing inside of me! I keep thinking.. I hope he likes me!! Good grief, you'd think I'm going on a date or something! Good thing we get to start with a baby and not a teenager right?!

I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated with the responsibility! It's hard to believe we will be raising a son who will one day lead and support a family. Oh Father, we have so much to learn! Oh how I pray that our SON will have a tender heart for Christ. As much as it is intimidating, I'm so excited for the joy and challenge. What a humble blessing! My little bookshelf (or not so little) will find an addition to it soon, Bringing Up Boys. As much as I love to find my nose in a book, I'm sure nothing will prepare me for the journey and reality of parenthood. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and if there was a perfect parent their fault would be being too perfect! I pray that Jesus will take Ryan and I and use it to minister and grow this little guy in the best way we can!

Little Boys (unknown)

In and out of weeds and dirt.
squealing, laughing, getting hurt.
Arms held out for loves and hugs.
Tiny fingers finding bugs.
Rough and tumble, sweet and shy.
Snuggling for a lullaby.
Who could name the countless joys
That come from raising little boys



Here is a little preview of the bedding I found 75% off for our Nursery (thanks to Target)! We are thinking chocolate brown walls and a white crib with camel colored accents.. fun fun!



Thursday, October 9, 2008

12 hours..boy or girl?!

Tomorrow by 10:00AM our lives will most likely (if all goes as planned) never be the same. We will know what our first born child will be.. son or daughter. Tonight, when I stop to think my stomach jumps with excitement. First off, I pray that this child will be healthy. I will always remember and remind myself of so many who have toiled with the news of an unhealthy child.

I have so many hopes and dreams for this child... will I have a son who loves the outdoors like his dad and shares a call for ministry, or will I have a daughter with whom I will share a close friendship long after the years of parenting take on new meaning? Who knows!? As much as I have dreams and hopes for this sweet baby that, I pray that God's dreams for "it" will unfold in the home of his or hers mailable heart.

Sweet Baby, know we pray for you in so many ways.. most importantly that you will know and love Jesus. We love you, we can't wait to meet you, and we'll always be in the cheering stands for you! In the coming months we'll name you, decorate your nursery and prepare for your welcoming. Once you meet me, you'll know how much I like to plan and be prepared (which means I really am not a big fan of surprises), but I've never in my life been given such an amazing surprise in finding our we are having you. The day I meet you will be one of the most precious days of my life! I wouldn't trade you for a castle on a hill!!

I love you! MOM - (I'm stealing the way I write mom from Mimi.. she always writes it in all caps with a smiley face in the middle..so imagine the smiley face!)
Oh by the way.. we'll teach you modesty and purity as you grow... but can you just make yourself known REALLY well tomorrow?! Thanks!

my final prediction is a girl (although I'm wavering) and your dad's is a boy. We'll see!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

East to West Coast..in pictures

Farewell beautiful South Carolina!!
beautiful sky.. could this be the end of the world?! We started thinking that with the gas crisis!!

one of the best meals EVER... Cheesecake Factory DID NOT disappoint us!


we unhooked the Jeep to go out to eat.. and on our way back to our hotel we eventually started running on the fumes (after passing 10+ gas stations) so we had to get a wrecker to take us to one of the only gas stations open.. thanks USAA roadside assistance!!!

gas crisis in Nashville... for real!

we were having so much fun with the Simons.. we forgot to take pictures in St. Louis

somewhere between MO and NE

Kansas to Nebraska..cows and corn fields could sum it up!

fearless driver!
hey mom..

Goodbye tire #1.. I neglected to take a picture of our trailor brakes exploding in Idaho

Nebraska


Hello Wyoming!! it started snowing.. for real!



The heavens declare...

beautiful Wyoming

Wyoming.. Idaho.. I don't know.. I think this pic screams The Lion King..Circle of Life

Idaho

Sweet Kendra! We are kicking ourselves for not getting pictures of the rest of the gang...

Ben and Uncle Ryan

Fun times in Boise, Idaho with family!
Oregon

Columbia Gorge

trying to have a good attitude.. you did a good job Ry!

SERIOUSLY?! We're so close though....

Ryan is trying to give some hand ratio perspective... this is a fish hatchery just outside Portland

looking at fish.. while our tire people come..

Can you sense my excitement?! The P- in Portland is suppose to represent a tree...that's my drawing skills.. ha!

I thought you might get a good laugh at our trip in pictures... It was an adventure to say the least..