bursting with life

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and I must remember to praise Him always for both.

We've been given another baby. I'm not even five weeks along, and, according to the internet, baby is the size of a poppy seed, which is so tiny it's ridiculous.

Honestly, I can not believe that something that small can affect my body so much. I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron (twice, it was that good) and had to leave the theatre THREE times to use the bathroom. Three. I was that girl, crawling over the stranger every thirty minutes. I'm normally a bladder of steel, but these days, not so much. Also, as soon as I'm pregnant my legs start itching. It's super strange, and because suddenly I have AMAZING long, strong fingernails, but I forget, I scratch my legs when they itch and then I'm like, "Ow. What's with these beautiful fingernails that are scraping away all my flesh??" Outside of pregnancy my fingernails are brittle and weak, even when I'm taking prenatals, but four weeks of added hormones and BAM fingernails that look so much like my mother's, I could stare at them all the days.

My mother bought me those three tiny rings for mother's day "C.V.N.", which stands for Christian Vir Nowak, the name of our first son.

People like to ask, so I'll go ahead and tell you. I think this baby is a girl. But I thought it was a girl last time and it was a boy, so my baby radar has been off 100% of the time so far. In some ways, I think it would be easier to have a girl. I'd be able to put away all of Christian's things for awhile and fill the nursery with pretty new things, but on the other hand I want badly for Matt to have a son to teach the manly things to, and for me to stare at and call handsome.

Both hopefully eventually, but not, Lord willing, at the same time.

People keep making twin jokes, and I'll let you know when they start being funny.


mother's day

Four days before Christian's due date, three months after he was stillborn, on Sunday morning April 12th, I was taking notes on the morning service, when I felt God whisper so strongly that I noted in my margins, "God's going to give us a baby!"

It filled me with such joy. A promise from the Lord! That afternoon, my period started, but it didn't dash my hopes.

One morning at the end of April, Matt woke up with sleep still on his face and turned to me, saying, "Did you tell me last night that we're going to have a baby? Right before we went to sleep?" I was slightly saddened to inform him that I had not. "Oh," he responded, disappointed, "It must have been a dream."

It was these things mostly, that prompted me to buy two boxes of tests even before my next period was due, and that beautiful extra blue line, that has been missing on many pregnancy tests that I've taken, appeared immediately on every one.

It's still early in our pregnancy. Too early, you might say, to announce it to everyone, but I found it fitting to tell you before Mother's Day so that you don't need to feel sorry for us, because our Father has answered your prayers and mine.

The Second Nowak Baby is due January, 2016.


in the garden

Yesterday we received an unexpected package in the mail. There's something magical about those, isn't there? You show up at home and there's a box on your porch that you didn't order. The box was heavy, and somewhere on the outside it said something about losing a loved one, so we were prepared for it to be something related to our dear son, Christian.

The family I nannied for in Knoxville sent us a beautiful stone to honor our baby, and though his graveside is a mass grave of many babies who were stillborn in Virginia Beach, it's special to have a stone that is specific to him. We decided to keep it at our home, in the front bed, because we're thankful to have had him as a small but powerful part of our lives. I know God has big things for our family, and we're thankful for friends who love us enough to remember him.

The vegetables are starting to pop up. Tiny green beans plants, radishes, and lettuce bits have made their way through the soil, and the tomatoes have flowers! I'm getting excited for the harvest.


your words have power

Sometimes my husband works for so many hours that he doesn't get to come home for dinner before we go to a church activity in the evening. This was true on Wednesday, so with dinner and a change of clothes for him in hand, I met him at church before he left on his bus route to pick up children whose parents don't bring them.

On rare occasions like this one, Matt and I end up at the same place in two different cars. I don't prefer this, because I'd much rather spend the time driving with him to talk about our days/take turns choosing songs to sing instead of driving home from church with him in my rearview mirror. On this particular ride home, with him the car behind me, he took the chance at a red light to hop out of his car, jog to my open window, and make out with me until the light turned green. Moments like that are my favorite. Spontaneous reminders that we're still kids in love.

I'm taking this post to tell you that I love my husband because the other day someone used a public social media account to put their husband down, and I saw it. It made me cringe. She was telling us how stupid her husband was, but all I could hear was her selfish, ungrateful spirit. Instead of making me feel bad for her, having to put up with such a dumb guy, it made me feel sorry for him, having to put up with such a whiny wife.

This isn't to say that I've never said something publicly negative about Matt, but with God's strength I'd like to be his encourager. I want to be his very best friend. I'm trying to encourage you ladies to see your husband's strengths. To praise him publicly for something (no matter how small). Our words make our husbands either stronger or defeated. We have that power to help and encourage. Let's use it wisely.

For those of you who don't appreciate the make out at the light example of my husband's strength, he also washed the dishes for me this morning and made me a sandwich to take to work for lunch, but let's be honest, touch is my love language, so I'd rather be made out with any day.

Proverbs 31:11-12 "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her... She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."


norfolk zoo

Yesterday, the weather was so lovely that Matt played hooky in the afternoon and went to the zoo with me and my friend, Shera. She had her two babies, plus a boy who she watches, and Matt and I brought the baby I watch, and we chased them around the zoo, while occasionally getting them interested enough to stop and look at the animals.

I like all the animals that remind me of cats, but it seemed like it was generally nap time around the zoo and most of the adorable animals like to nap far far away from the noisy humans.

There's a breastfeeding monkey in this post, and I think it's pretty amazing the way animals don't have to be taught how to take care of their babies. Our Creator is amazing.

Also featured in a picture is a babe who sticks treasures (mulch and maple helicopters mostly) down her pants when she doesn't have any pockets. Some battles are worth fighting, and some we let slide.

p.s. I took over 27,000 steps this day, which is my new daily record!

our spring 2015 garden

Strawberries, cucumbers, radishes, green beans, green peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, figs, and apples are all in the ground! Just like I knew he would, Matt prayed for our garden as I covered the seeds in their tiny finger-size holes. He prayed that God would bless our efforts and cause our garden to yield fruit, but as we joked together after, if the garden gives us absolutely nothing this year, we're less than $12 in the hole for it (that doesn't include the fig and apple trees), so nothing lost.

Watching the veggies we've never grown climb to the sun will be exciting, but it's the fresh tomatoes that I most look forward to. I've been making a summer salad a lot lately as a side with lunch or dinner, and it uses two tomatoes every time, so plucking them off the vine before the cutting board will be a money saving treat.

Bean Summer Salad

  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of black olives
  • 2 tomatoes 
  • 3 artichoke hearts
  • Sea salt to taste 
It wasn't a difficult recipe to dream up, but it's the perfect cold, fresh salad on a warm day. Do you have a go to cold meal on hot days? Those are the trickiest meals to come up with, I think.


the great outdoors

Today we'll be pushing little seeds into dark soil, feeding them with water, and then praying to the God who created every radish, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, fig, apple, blueberry, pepper, and green bean that ever there was. We're starting the tomatoes from plants again this year, because that worked in our backyard last summer, and there's no reason to fix what hasn't broken. I had a coupon for a free bell pepper plant, so that's starting from a plant as well, but the cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, and green beans we'll grow from seeds.

Have you ever composted? We've been composting for over a year now: eggs, veggies, fruit, and grass, but boy was I in for a smelly surprise when Matt tilled some of it into our garden. It smells about like you would expect year old egg shells and apple cores should.

Recently we've been on a plant kick. I have five new succulents, two potted flowers, one container of sedum, and the largest planter I've ever owned, most of which were gifted to us. I think flower swapping should be more of a thing.

Four of our peonies are little bushes now, and my next outdoor update will have so much color you'll be blinded. Tell me what you're planting this spring. I love peeking into other people's gardens.