Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pregnancy and Depression

  • At least 80% of women experience some type of major emotional changes during pregnancy (more than just mood swings). 
  • 1 in 5 women will suffer from full on depression at some point in their pregnancy. 
  • As many as 25% of women will suffer from some level of depression after delivery (called postpartum)-and this is only counting the women that are self reported. Who knows what the number would be if it included the women who don't know they are suffering from postpartum depression or are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit it. There are 3 levels of postpartum depression and the most important way to alleviate the depression is to recognize and address the symptoms:
Level 1: Baby Blues. Many women have the baby blues in the days after childbirth. If you have the baby blues, you may:
  • Have mood swings
  • Feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
  • Have crying spells
  • Lose your  appetite
  • Have trouble sleeping
The baby blues most often go away within a few days or a week. The symptoms are not severe and do not need treatment.
Level 2: Postpartum Depression. The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after childbirth. If you have postpartum depression, you may have any of the symptoms of depression listed above. Symptoms may also include:
  • Thoughts of hurting the baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Not having any interest in the baby
Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a doctor.
Level 3-Postpartum psychosis. This level of depression is rare. It occurs in about 1 to 4 out of every 1,000 births. It usually begins in the first 2 weeks after childbirth. Women who have bipolar disorder or another mental health problem called schizoaffective  disorder have a higher risk for postpartum psychosis. Symptoms may include:
  • Seeing things that aren't there
  • Feeling confused
  • Having rapid mood swings
  • Trying to hurt yourself or your baby
I see these symptoms in women at work all the time and it is nothing to be ashamed about! Pregnancy and caring for an infant are incredibly difficult things to deal with and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to step forward and ask for help. The sooner women can recognize the symptoms the sooner they can get relief for the negative feelings they're having and turn motherhood back into the happy, beautiful experience it was meant to be.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Halfway There! Update


Wish I had started doing this sooner! I will definitely update this every few weeks from now on.

Pregnancy Update
How far along? 21 Weeks
Total weight gain: 10 lbs gained (20ish to go!)
Maternity clothes? only maternity pants, everything else I'm wearing is still regular (okay, really it's all Forever 21)
Stretch marks? no (fingers crossed, my mom didn't get them...)
Sleep: over thought it at first and have found I actually sleep better with only my head pillow and one knee pillow!
Best moment this week: having people finally notice my belly! I love not looking just kind of chubby anymore

Miss Anything? having a will to exercise, going an hour without peeing (WORST), an occasional margarita, being able to shave my legs/put on boots without it feeling like a workout
Movement: lots of movement! Titus is very active and here's the thing, I'm not afraid to admit that it feels really weird like an alien is trying to escape from my body. Of course I love feeling him move, but it's also kind of freaky!!
Food cravings: CONDIMENTS! I have been craving mustard, marinara, Heinz 57... I will choose my meals based around which condiment I can use with it lol. I also drink like 3 glasses of milk a day and have recently picked up a craving for Nutty Bars!
Anything making you queasy or sick: too much perfume/hairspray smell, chugging too much water or eating too fast in the morning
Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: HA, no thankfully!
Symptoms: A little heartburn, occasional tiredness, lots and lots and lots and lots of peeing
Belly Button in or out? still in!
Wedding rings on or off? on, they seem looser than ever, maybe just because it is cold?
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! I am feeling really great right now
Looking forward to: the Holidays! it will be so fun to have pictures of me with Titus in my belly to compare to next year when he will be almost EIGHT months old!



Thursday, December 8, 2011

GENDER REVEAL

Okay everyone! Here it is. Once and for all, you are about to find out what we're having!
On Tuesday Garland and I went to the doctor for my 20 week checkup (yes, I said 20 weeks, am I seriously halfway there?! ashrfskddlsfjkalsfjslrijeoisdlkfjraslvnlvmdlfvkawefo) and we got to have an ultrasound to see our little strawberry! As most of you know, we had an early ultrasound done at my job at 16 weeks and had an inkling of what our baby would be. But since it was still early, we wanted to wait to announce it until we were really REALLY sure. As expected, the 20 week ultrasound confirmed our earlier thoughts!


Here's what's really cool (hold on, I promise I'm getting to the good part): They gave us a video of the live ultrasound so you can see Baby Autry moving in real time! It is so amazing to be able to show our friends, family, and cell kids what our baby is really doing (pictures just don't do it justice and can be really confusing). Unfortunately, I am not tech savvy enough to get it straight off the disc and onto YouTube (this takes some file converting that I am no bueno at) so you will have to deal with the iPhone version (that's what these smart phones are made for, right?).


So..... The video is about a minute and a half and it shows things like the head, arms, legs, spine, feet, and of course..... A WINKY!!!! Baby Autry is A BOY! So on May 1st we will welcome Titus James Autry to the world.
Watch and enjoy :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unplanned Pregnancies: Are they Unwanted?

The other day I was reading my Glamour magazine and came across an article that highlighted a study about the attitudes of young women toward unplanned pregnancies. It was surprising to me to see that so many young women did not want to get pregnant, yet still chose to forego any contraceptive methods. It was even more surprising that their reasoning was, "well, if I get pregnant that wouldn't be the worst thing." The study showed that because our society is so career oriented a lot of young women don't feel like they can start a family anytime soon, but yet they still have the yearning for a family. By pushing women so hard to be equal to men in every respect, are we pushing their natural instinct to parent out of focus? If this is true, then the ones who are really going to lose are the children coming out of these unplanned pregnancies.

Study published in Glamour Magazine: Are You Playing Baby Roulette?
Study done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
Surveyed 897 women between the ages of 18-39

  • 50% of American pregnancies are unplanned, and ¾ of those pregnancies are in women 29 and younger.
  • Women with a college degree are more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy than those who haven’t attended college.
  • The number of unmarried women who had sex in the previous three months with no contraception rose by 36% between 1995-2008.
  • While 86% of unmarried young women feel that pregnancy should be planned, only about half are using birth control consistently (however, 88% said it is important that they not get pregnant right now).
  • The study found that young women have a strong longing for motherhood: More than half of them said they would like to be a mom right now “if things in their life were different.”
  • And even among those who said it was important to avoid pregnancy, 20% of women (and 43% of men) admitted that they’d be at least a little happy if they found out they were going to have a baby.
  • Women who conceive through a one night stand are most likely to abort (19% of never married women who have an abortion say they had “no relationship at all” with the father).
  • 65% of women said that one reason they didn’t use contraception when they had sex was that their partner would “be there” for them if they ended up getting pregnant.
    • “There’s this expectation that you’re with the guy you’re going to have children with anyway, so if you start a little earlier, it’s not a problem—maybe it will even accelerate the wedding bells.”
  • 60% of cohabiting couples who have a baby break up within five years; if the pregnancy was unplanned, the odds that you’ll part ways roughly doubles.
  • 44% of women ages 18-29 have the misguided belief that “it doesn’t matter whether you use birth control or not; when it is your time to get pregnant it will happen.” A majority also believed the following misconceptions:
    • Long-term use of hormonal methods like the Pill will likely lead to cancer
    • The IUD is bound to cause infection
    • Contraception in general, even the pill, is highly ineffective
  • 59% of women think they could be infertile and therefore cannot get pregnant
    • National Center for Health Statistics reports only 8% of 18-29 year olds actually are infertile
  • Mothers to be who have an unplanned pregnancy are less likely to get proper prenatal care

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Kicks!

Okay, so feeling the baby kick is unbelievable. I first felt the baby at 15 weeks when I was laying in bed and  it did a 180 flip in my tummy. It was the weirdest feeling! Definitely felt like someone turned my stomach inside out. Around 16 weeks I started feeling light flutters that I knew were tiny kicks but were hard to even notice because I didn't pay that much attention.
The first time I REALLY noticed was when I was seeing Twilight: New Moon! I have a few theories on this: 
1) I felt the baby kicking stronger because I was sitting still and had a little caffeine
2) The baby loves vampire movies and was really excited
3) The baby hates vampire movies and was desperate to get out of there


At 17 weeks the kicks were really noticeable for me and I was feeling them all the time! It was so amazing to be able to track my baby's movements based on where I was feeling kicks, and I can tell you, that kid is MOVING.
Which brings us to week 18. At 18 weeks 1 day I was out to dinner with my family when I felt some pretty strong kicks under my ribs. It was so strong I put my hand on my stomach and was surprised to notice that I felt it from the OUTSIDE! I thought I was going crazy because the doctor told me you don't usually feel kicks from the outside until 20-24 weeks. I immediately grabbed my sister-in-law-to-be's hand and put it on my stomach and she immediately felt it too. Whew! Not crazy. I grabbed Garland's hand at the same time and that sweet daddy's face lit up like the Fourth! He was so surprised/shocked/giddy that he just sat there and smiled, it was top 5 cutest things I've ever seen :)


Since then I have noticed 2 things: 1) I feel the kicks the strongest when they are up by my ribs, and 2) my abs are SORE! I feel like I did P90X and I need to stretch my belly all the time. So weird! I have also reached the conclusion that while it has been so cool to feel the baby kick so strong so early that this could come back to bite me in my late pregnancy. I have a feeling I'll have some sore ribs from some major kicks!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Unforgotten Blessing

I have a super cool job, I'm just going to say it from the get go. One of my favorite parts is that we offer limited ultrasounds to clients who qualify to check for gestation (how far along) and a heart beat. During these ultrasounds, I get to sit in the room and shadow, and even though my presence is a legal requirement to protect the patient's rights, I get excited anyway because I get to watch the excitement and see the surprise over such a little life! Most of the time these ultrasounds are a moment of realization that there really is a baby growing and it can already do so much.
However, every once in a while the ultrasound does not go as planned. The couple I shadowed today was so excited to see the baby and even though she thought she was 10 weeks, the baby was only measuring at 7 weeks. Everyone thought she may have just miscalculated when she got pregnant, but as the ultrasound went on we realized we couldn't find a heartbeat. It was SOOOOO overwhelming to watch this heartbroken couple mourn the loss of their child. I found myself pulling my cardigan over my belly to make my own pregnancy bump seem less noticeable. Somehow it felt like bragging just to have such prominent proof of the life growing inside me that would no longer grow inside of her. 
Even though I know that statistically 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, it was still surreal to see a couple's first, raw emotional response to the news. I found myself praying and praising God that my baby has lived. Today gave me a renewed thankfulness and appreciation for the miracle God has given me. We prayed so long for this baby and after we passed the initial high risk miscarriage stage it has been easy to see that it was only by his hand that we are going to be blessed with a baby in May.


So today, I lift up his glorious name and humble myself in thankfulness at the foot of his throne for even considering me worthy of such joy.

"My prayer was for this child; and the Lord has given him to me in answer to my request."          
1 Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boy or Girl....

We did another ultrasound! I know, I'm beginning to sound like an ultrasound junkie, but not knowing the gender was killing me! This time, we did it at 16 weeks, and although both times we've tried to find out it has been developed enough to see, our little guy/gal has been shy!


The exciting news is that we got a better peek today! We actually got a hint about our baby's gender :)
Drum roll please.........
We're having a                          !!! Sorry to get your hopes up but we're not revealing it yet! I know, I know, this was so mean! But I haven't blogged in a while and since this is the most exciting thing happening in our neck of the woods, I knew I needed to document it. But until we have it confirmed and we're not just "pretty sure," we're keeping it to ourselves :)


In other news, I felt the baby move for the first time at 15 weeks and 4 days! It was weird and incredible all at the same time. I was laying in bed flat on my stomach, trying to fall asleep. All the sudden out of nowhere, it felt like one side of my stomach turned completely inside out. Kind of a combination of the feeling you get when you go over the hill of a roller coaster and like someone was moving a rolling pin under my skin. It was totally crazy! I know the baby had to of been doing a total 180 or something because it definitely wasn't "butterfly kicks" like everyone describes having around this time. Guess it's going to be a sleep tosser just like it's momma!


That's all for now, the "official" gender announcement will happen in mid-December :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

No! Please No!!!!

Okay, bear with me here. I know there are lots of scary things about being pregnant/delivering a baby/parenting an infant, such as:

  • Registering (I have no idea what half of this stuff is)
  • Stretch marks
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Heartburn, constipation, headaches, nausea...
  • Contractions
  • Pushing a baby out of my body
  • Not being able to push a baby out of my body and having it surgically removed
  • Recovering
  • Not sleeping
  • Paying for a baby
But can I tell you something? I am not boycotting a c-section, or the lack of sleep, or even the not so enjoyable symptoms I've had so far. You know what I would be willing to pay money to avoid more than anything else?

Chubby face.

I know, I know. This is totally shallow and if in return I get a healthy baby it's worth it (blah blah blah). But seriously, can't a lady not want to have her face look like a giant balloon animal? Is it too much to ask that if everything else on my body is changed forever that at least I don't have to look like I just got my wisdom teeth removed for the last few months of pregnancy?

I know this is unavoidable, and if it happens, it happens; I'll make due. But still, I'm allowed to not like it, right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baby Names...

In less than a week Garland and I will (hopefully) find out if we are having a boy or a girl! Since it will be an early ultrasound (14 wks), it will depend on if Baby A is being cooperative or not... But if any of you read my blog on secret baby names you know that baby names have been a big deal to me for a long time! One thing people don't usually realize when they talk to me about baby names is that because we tried for so long to have a baby we have also had our baby names picked out for a long time. So as soon as we got pregnant people would ask, "So, have you thought of any baby names?" And to their surprise we would tell them, yep, they're already chosen!
Which brings me to my next point, what are the names?! First of all, let me make this observation that people don't like to talk about a lot. It's okay if you don't love my baby names, if you loved them you would have used them. This is a simple idea that seems taboo to many people. Obviously, every person has a different style and taste in names and that's totally okay! However, I should mention that even if someone's baby name needs to grow on you, don't say it out loud, people! Polite discretion is ALWAYS required when it comes to a) baby names, b) wedding dresses, and c) that pesky 10 pounds you put on over Christmas.


So here they are in no certain order:
If it is a boy, we will name him Titus James
Titus: Of the Giants, defender
Titus was also a close companion to Paul, someone that Paul thought of like a beloved son.
James: To take the place of; to replace, to supersede
We chose this name because it is a family name passed down from Garland's dad's side (Garland's first name is James, did you know that?)


If it is a girl, we will name her Hadassah May (Haddie)
Hadassah: Hebrew name for Esther; it means Myrtle Tree and is a symbol for victory
If you have read the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers then you know how lovely the character of Hadassah is. She embodies the biblical ideal of having a gentle and quiet spirit and while I know she is fictional, I still feel as though she would be a great role model for our daughter. 
-Also, it's important to note that while her name would be Hadassah, we plan on calling her Haddie. I love this name!
May: Our due date is May 1st and I wanted a one syllable middle name after such a long first name. Plus Garland said he wanted a "southern belle" so I let him pick. He is so in love with the name Haddie May!


So there you have it! Titus James or Haddie May. What do you think it will be???

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Babymoon

Babymoon: a trip you take before you have a baby (duh).
We were planning to go back to our favorite all-inclusive resort in Cancun next May, but since baby Autry will arrive the month before we scratched that plan. Instead, we decided to take a trip this fall (while I can still travel) to a place we've talked about visiting for a long time... Boston! Turns out the Fosters wanted to visit the New England coast as well, so we combined our trips and went to Boston and then Kennebunkport, Maine, where we relaxed in the beautiful little seaside town for a couple days. Needless to say, my inability to participate in the pub activities and my absolute hatred for seafood was a slight damper for a trip to the Northeast, but I had a fabulous time nonetheless. Here are a few of my favorite memories!


Day 1, we went to this unbelievably beautiful park while on our way to the shopping district (helloooooo, H&M)
 
Day 2: We walked the Freedom Trail which took us to all the historic building and locations in downtown Boston. We started at the Old State House which was really beautiful. Right behind this building is where the Boston Massacre took place.
 
We went to the Old North Church (where the famous "One if by land, two if by sea" signal was sent) and it was beautiful! Each family had their own private pew box. Garland and I took a moment to soak it all in, of course.
 And Simon and Adriane decided to give the hymnal a once over
 Beautiful downtown skyline!
Garland was SO EXCITED to go to Fenway Park where the Boston Red Sox play. It was cold and cloudy and rainy, but what can I say, I like to make my man happy, so I went along :) 
Once we got to Maine, Adriane got straight to business! The seafood portion of the trip was lost on me as I absolutely hate seafood. Everyone else enjoyed it though! (I got chicken fingers...) 
It started to rain so I had to pull out my umbrella, but the pics actually turned out pretty cute with it in them! 
 Harbor in Ogunquit
Our B&B in Kennebunkport, Maine: The Maine Stay. This place was really incredible! The owners booked all our reservations and had an incredible breakfast in the morning. 
This is George Bush Sr.'s house in Kennebunkport! He was actually born and raised there and now has this home for his retirement. He and Barbara spend their summers there and they were in town while we were there! Too bad we didn't have a sighting :(
On the beach in Kennebunkport 
 Onto sunnier skies! By the time we were driving back to Boston the rain had cleared out and we took a beautiful hike up the beach in Ogunquit.
Last but not least, we had to stop and soak up some brain power at the Harvard campus. It really, truly is a beautiful campus and the neighborhood it is in, Cambridge, is a great place to hang out and eat!

The End!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cravings

Pregnancy Craving: A food that an expectant mother has a heightened sense of urgency to eat while pregnant; it can include but is not limited to: pickles wrapped in cheese, salsa spooned straight from the jar, steak fat, black olives on cheese cake, Cheese Whiz sandwiches, eggplant on pizza.


While I'm not craving anything as crazy as that (yes, those are real cravings by real pregnant women), I have definitely had a few items that I couldn't stop thinking about until I ate them. Here are things I have craved since I have been pregnant (but could also just be things I like to eat, no pregnancy craving necessary):

  • Sbarro pepperoni pizza
  • Macaroni and cheese with hot dog pieces (what the?)
  • Chips and Salsa (until I threw it up one night, then no more cravings for that)
  • Chocolate shakes
  • PB&J sandwhich
  • Anything with mustard
  • HUGE glasses of milk
I don't know if this is really Baby Autry or if I am just letting myself indulge in random cravings now that I'm pregnant, but either way it's been a strange few weeks. But not to worry, I am working very hard to balance these weird cravings with 3 servings of fruits and 3 servings of veggies a day! 

Evening Sickness

Well, to be truthful, it started as all day sickness. At about 5 weeks exactly I started feeling just a little nauseous from time to time. Then around 6 weeks it became an all day every day occurrence. I tried everything, eating crackers, constantly snacking, drinking sprite, eating non-greasy foods, but nothing was making me feel better.


UNTIL! My friend Adriane told me about an anti-nausea combination that her sister had used with great success. They call it the Unisom/B6 cocktail and it is incredible! Unisom is a pregnancy safe sleep aid (I double checked this with my doctor just to be sure) but it was originally created as an anti-nausea medicine (it makes you so sleepy they sell it as a sleep aid instead). I only take half of a Unisom at night because otherwise I'm a zombie all day, but even half a pill makes me feel tons better!


Which brings me to my evening sickness... I don't know if I really am only getting nauseous in the evenings or if that's just when my Unisom is wearing off (I presume the latter), but typically I feel fine all day until about 6-7pm. Then no matter what I eat or what I do I will feel sick until I go to bed. 


The good news/bad news is: Around 9 1/2 weeks my morning sickness started to subside a little (moved more into sometimes nausea and coupled with B6/Unisom doesn't bother me most days) BUT was replaced by daily headaches! UGH this was BY FAR the worst symptom so far. At least when I was nauseous I could still kind of participate in things, but when I have one of my headaches I can't talk to anyone, watch tv, have any lights on, go anywhere, etc. Luckily, at almost 13 weeks the headaches have started to subside as well.


But here's the thing, I really don't mind. I know that sounds crazy, but after trying for so long to have a baby I'm just happy to be having symptoms! Being nauseous has started to feel like second nature, like I have a disorder that just affects my eating. So I'm counting down the days until my second trimester and hoping I get my energy and appetite back by then!

Monday, October 10, 2011

WWMD? (What Would Mother Do)

A lot of people ask "how did Mother react when she found out you were pregnant?" (Mother is Garland's mom, that's what both of the boys call her) The reason people ask is because mother has been begging us to have babies for a LONG time. So long in fact, that the first time I met his mother we all went out to dinner and she asked what I had eaten that day, stating, "We gotta have a healthy momma for my grandbabies!"
Yes. That happened.

Anyway, so knowing that this reaction could be pretty stellar, we made sure to video tape it. Here's the setup: I was 5 weeks pregnant and so we wrapped up a poppy seed in a bag and wrapped that in a box (note that the first thing she says in the video is, "no announcement?" she is always hoping we are going to tell her we're pregnant, little did she know it was real this time!). When she opened it she was obviously confused, she had no idea what it was. At this point, you'll hear Garland say, "that's a poppy seed, it's the size of your grandchild." Commence the squealing. Also, don't miss the high five between Mother and Garland's step-dad, classic. (P.S. Garland's brother is filming and turns the camera sideways at around 1 minute, so you may want to turn it off at that point, but don't worry, all the good stuff happens before that)


Okay, so round 2. We drove up to Missouri that weekend to tell my mom (we used the same seed in the bag trick) and while I knew she would be excited, I did not realize she would be THIS excited! Oh my, words cannot express how happy this video makes me! (note: mom hugs everyone in the room with the same level of excitement, including Ashley's random friend Holly and my Uncle, who is somewhat hard of hearing so I'm not even sure if he knew what was going on).


Hope you enjoyed being a part of the family festivities!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Faithful and Sovereign God

14 months of perseverance 
+26 doctors visits
+9 rounds of medicine
+420 days of prayer
+10 (non-consecutive) hours of tears
+49 pregnancy tests
+One faithful and sovereign God
= BABY AUTRY!


We are so blessed, humbled, surprised, overwhelmed, and absolutely excited to announce that God has answered our prayers and our little one is due on May 1st! I am 11 weeks pregnant and counting :)


I am so thankful for all of you who have traveled with us on this journey of faith and I am praying for my sweet friends who are still on their journey. I know that regardless of medicine, doctors, and methods to get pregnant there is only one reason we are able to have a baby, and that is because our sweet Savior is blessing us with one. I opened up about our Struggle to get pregnant on a Monday and I felt such a weight lifted off that I had finally been transparent with the world about my weakness. So it should not have been a surprise that five days later on Saturday, we found out we were pregnant. As soon as I saw the perfect little smiley face that meant positive, I knew the Lord was smiling because his timing was so ironic (but not accidental).

Psalm 30:11-12
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Decorations

Caution: Photo heavy blog entry
Happy fall, y'all! So this year I really wanted to clean out all the clutter in our house and to do that meant getting rid of a lot of my beloved seasonal decorations (sigh). My backup plan, however, was to create a decoration that could be changed seasonally while still being one set of decorations for all the holidays. I'd been saving all of these wine bottles for about a year trying to decide what craft to make with them and finally I landed on the tried and true... spraypaint them and slap them on the mantle! Here is the finished product:

Step 1: Gotta get the labels off. I really hate this part of any project so I let them soak overnight in a bubble bath.
 Step 2: Peel off labels. This was much easier with some bottles than others. I used a combination of steel wool, razor blade, and the classic woman's fingernail maneuver. 
 Step 3: Choose your paint! This was the hardest part for me. My fireplace is white and the mirror that sits on it is gray, but I already have a lot of color in the room via couch/curtains/pillows, so I went to my garage and looked through my leftover cans. The chalkboard spray paint appealed to me because of it's seasonal versatility, so chalkboard it is!
 Step 4: paint those bad boys! Make sure you double check that there are no glass spots left and it's completely covered. Also, I am super impatient so I sprayed fast and ended up with a few drip marks. If you go slower this won't happen!
 Step 5: Get a good friend and write all over the bottles! Our goal is to let students come over and write messages on the bottles when they visit.
(yes, I wrote this, and yes, I have the handwriting of a six year old. it's not my fault, I'm left handed. So what, who cares?!) 
 Step 6: Find your filler! I chose fall colors (hence the seasonal decor theme) and also colors that matched my living room.

 Step 7: Arrange fillers into your jars and place them on the mantle. I hoisted a couple of bottles onto old books to give some height to different areas.




The end!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pet Peeves

When people put the toilet paper on the roller so it rolls under instead of over.

The sound of popping gum. Not just like the one big bubble that pops, but the people that make multiple air pockets in their gum and then pop them all in succession. 

Watching hearing someone clip their toenails/fingernails. Not joking, totally makes me gag for some reason.

When men leave the toilet seat up. This just leaves me with an unnecessary amount of toilet touching.

When I go to a restaurant and my drink is empty during the eating portion. Sure, you can make your way over here when I'm just sipping and talking, but when I'm DYING OF THIRST (slightly dramatic) you can't fill up my drink for 15 minutes? Sheesh.

When I an't change the channel on our TV because Garland is recording 13 football games at once.

Work peeve: People who are late for appointments/don't show up for appointments when you called to confirm two hours earlier.

When Garland piles his dirty laundry on the closet floor (they call it a LAUNDRY basket for a reason, honey, and it's because it holds LAUNDRY).

When people come over and put their giant, dripping Slim's/Sonic/Chic-Fil-A cup on my table (that part's not a peeve) and then leave for the night and I have to dump out/throw away the soggy cup.


I know that some of these are pretty strange, but I can't be the only one with weird pet peeves. Anyone else have something that just really drives them crazy?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Fall Wreath

Okay, I am addicted to making fun wreaths for my front door. It all started with this easy (but time consuming) flower book wreath that you can see here. I have recently been obsessed with yarn wreaths like the ones below: (Down and Out Chic)
So I found some colors of yarn that I liked and here is what I came up with:






I meant to take pictures of the step by step, but I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do at first so I didn't have all my supplies ready at the beginning.
Step 1: Take yarn (in my case cream with sparkles in it) and wrap it around the entire wreath (can be Styrofoam, raffia, etc.) leaving NO SPACE in between. (My wreath is about a foot around in circumference, but you can do a smaller one to save time if needed.)
--If you do leave spaces, you can go back and rewrap just those areas. I did that in about 15 places.
Step 2:  I traced a diamond shape cutout from cardboard onto felt paper (I chose a brown felt with an embossed pattern).
Step 3: Glue diamonds in an argyle pattern on wreath.
Step 4: Take yarn and wrap it around wreath so it makes a criss-cross pattern across the argyle (it was easiest to cross each diamond in one direction and then once they were all crossed go back the other direction to make the criss-cross).
Step 5: I went to Joann's and purchased wooden numbers and an assortment of small fall decor. I tied the decor pieces together with a ribbon and then tied them to the wreath. Then I painted the letters to match the decor pieces and used craft glue to attach them to the wreath.
Step 6: Hang and enjoy!!


The entire project probably took about 2 hours (wrapping the wreath was about 1:15 of that, a smaller wreath would take much less time). Plus it was pretty much idiot proof because any mistakes you made with the yarn you just cover with more yarn!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Quick Rant

It is almost 2012, right? 


1) How can anyone still be smoking when you know how bad it is for you? (I understand that it's addictive, but there are also tons of ways to stop if you actually want to do it).
        1A) Who smokes outside of a pregnancy center? Isn't that pretty much a standard no? Smoking+pregnant women=possible fetal deformity, this is not new information.
        1B) When people smoke outside my door and then come inside to sit in the waiting room it makes me grumpy. I'm not telling you that you can't smoke, I'm just saying that I don't want to be involved in it, ESPECIALLY the smelling part. I didn't even smoke the cigarette, so WHY WOULD I WANT TO SMELL LIKE I DID? (Luckily I have my favorite Mulled Apple Cider candle on hand to help combat the smell a little)


2) Why would you ever sit in a medical office while waiting to be seen and have a burping contest? Disgusting. Do you really think you're the only person who's here or just the only one that matters?


3) STOP YELLING. You are inside. You are about to see a doctor. You are not having an emergency you are just being annoying.


Sigh. I (lovingly) serve some really oblivious people.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

30 Day Encouragement Challenge

I recently read a post about a 30-Day Challenge for wives to encourage their husbands. It didn't really sound like there was much to it so I hadn't thought much about it. However, once I dug in a little deeper I realized that a) this is something I would like to do more and b) this is definitely something I can improve on. I am a words of affirmation kind of girl, so encouraging people through words is something I like. Since Garland doesn't really excel at words of affirmation (he tries, he really does, it just never crosses his mind that he should say sweet things), I think this could also help him to grow in this love language just by seeing how I do it.


So here's how it works: For 30 days:
-You can't say anything negative about your husband...to your husband... or to anyone else about your husband.
-Say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband...to your husband...and to someone else, about your husband.


I hate to admit this but my first thought was, "Do I have 30 days worth of original compliments to give Garland?" Sad maybe, but true. However, if you go to this link (Revive Our Hearts), you can find a PDF document which gives you scripture and ideas for encouragement for each day. There were things I had thought of (thanking him for being a handy man, leading our marriage, etc.) and things I hadn't thought of (thanking him for being wise fiscally, turning from the temptation of lust, his specific spiritual strengths). 


Garland and I are also a very sarcastic and silly couple. We love to tease each other, it's one of the main ways we flirt with each other (hehe). However, I can totally see how sometimes to the outside world this could be taken as us not building each other up, so for 30 days I'm going to try and not make fun of my sweet husband at all! This may be very (VERY) difficult as he provides some great material (just sayin).


Last but not least, I love that they include in the challenge that you may fail a day or two! It makes my heart happy that grace is prevalent even in something like this. So if I slip up, it's okay! I can start again the next day and hope to do better.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Five Loaves


Luke 9:10-17

New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
 10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
 12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
 13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
   They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
   But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

This story was part of my quiet time this morning and what really stood out to me was that the disciples had little to nothing to offer. For 10,000+ people they only had five loaves and two fish, yet God turned their small offering into something huge.

This really made me pause and think about all the times I haven't felt adequate to teach or share the gospel or even to serve others because I don't have exactly the right thing to offer. But what I realized through this story was that God doesn't ask me to be perfect at everything, he just asks me to give him what little I have and allow him to turn it into something beautiful.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Remember When...

Garland and I have been together for about 4 1/2 years now and earlier today I saw this picture come up on my Facebook and couldn't believe how young we looked! These pictures were taken the summer we started dating (2007) when we were 20 and 22 years old respectively. I look at these two kids and can’t believe how much has happened since then. Not that I view myself as a wise adult now, but looking back I know that I was so na├»ve about almost everything.
P.S. Check out how lovey dovey Garland Autry used to be! Ahhh to go back to the days when he was trying to win my affection… J



(To answer your question, yes, I am embarrassed that we were in this prom pose. I don’t know what happened)




Now here we are, almost five years later, and I feel more at home in his arms every day. We have been through our share of trials and I know there are more to come, but with these also comes the joy of knowing you will always have at least one person by your side.


-Sarah