twenty-nine weeks

Look! New hair. Darker on top with a whole lot of added blonde. Also, a gigantic, tiny baby who is (two days from) twenty-nine weeks. Today at my doctor's appointment, the doctor said I'm measuring big, and Charlotte may be farther along than we're thinking. We're to the point of doctor's visits every two weeks now, and next visit they'll decide if they need to do an ultrasound to check if my due date needs to be changed. I would be totally good with them changing it to earlier in December. Or November. Or October. Whatever.

But whether they change her due date or not, I wanted to capture these moments of gigantic baby belly while fall is sneaking its way into Virginia in theory, but the leaves are all still fixedly green.


"I love you two."

This morning I woke up in the arms of my husband. As far as mornings go, this isn't abnormal. He often gets ready for work, reads his Bible, eats his breakfast, and then crawls back into bed with me until it's time for him to leave. This morning, though, he said to me, "Charlotte was kicking me while I held you two."

Of course, Charlotte and I are different people. I don't have to be awake for Charlotte to be awake, and Charlotte often kicks against Matt when he snuggles with us, but it was different this morning. This morning my husband spent some time snuggling with our unborn daughter, without me, and she snuggled him back. There's magic in the beauty of our little family.

The little girl I watch every day looks forward to Matt coming home. She likes (and hates) to be tickled by him, to listen to him read, and to follow him around the house and outside as he performs household tasks. She's always watching, asking questions, and learning. Her family went out of town for a couple of days last week, and I swear she got a little older in those two days. I can't wait to watch Matt interact with Charlotte in the same (and many other) ways.

He's going to be the best dad, ever.


foster parents

We're almost twenty-eight weeks pregnant with little miss, and even though I know she's been very real since the beginning, the actual reality that in a couple of months we're going to have a little human to care for has been sinking in lately. So, naturally, I've been reading all sorts of homeschooling books. Totally normal when you're seven months pregnant. I've started a blog post on my findings and plans, but it's gonna be a long one, and I haven't finished reading my books, so I can't possibly finish the post yet.

Life is busy. Matt and I are both in a wedding this weekend, next weekend some good friends are visiting from Tennessee, and last weekend we finished our Foster Care class. What?! Yep. We're Norfolk Foster Parents. Currently, we're still child specific (two brothers), so we're not an "open home" at this time. The next court date for the boys is on October 8th, and we hope to get some clear news following that. There was a bad storm in Norfolk recently, and they cancelled our second to last Foster Class. We were worried that this may delay our graduation, but instead (because so many of us couldn't attend the make-up date) they condensed the last two classes into one class, and we got to graduate on time! We knew there would be a reason for God delaying it if He had, but in the end He didn't, and it feels just right.

Pray for those boys. They are living with a foster mom currently, but we'd like them to find permanency soon (whether with us or their father or someone else).


twenty-six weeks

I've been making more recipes these last two weeks instead of just winging dinners, and there's a certain joy in a recipe that turns out as it should. I keep thinking our garden is almost finished giving for the year, and then it surprises me with not only tomatoes but more peppers as well. It feels fancy to cut up home-grown ingredients. We're basically a real-life farm (kidding).

This week I'm getting my hair dyed for a wedding I get to walk in a couple of weeks from now. I'm excited to add a little blonde and get back to feeling fresh. The last time I had it dyed in salon was two years ago, when I dyed it bright red right before my Salutatorian Speech. It wasn't the smartest move I ever made, but a little (even crazy) change every now and then is good for me.

I got the results back from my gestational diabetes test, and I am diabetes free! I wasn't really worried about the idea of having it (if I had it, I had it), but it is nice to avoid the finger pricking and such. Charlotte is over twenty-six weeks now, a point her brother never made it to. She's moving all the time, some bigger movement and often able to be seen from the outside. She loves a lot of the same things her brother did: matt's singing, church services, exciting movies, car rides, riveting office work, and snuggles before bed. Ok, so mostly she just likes when I'm sitting still.

Since we lost Christian, many women have reached out to me to reach out to another mother who has recently lost a baby. All I can give them is the Bible verses that God gave us, and the truth that their baby is living a pain-free, perfect life. I wish more women were open about the grief of child loss. It's a life-changing pain that shouldn't be stifled. I'm certainly not thankful that we had to lose Christian, but I am thankful for the ministry it gives us with women who need love.

Thanks for following along on our life-journey: through our loss, the hope of our new pregnancy, and the ever-present joy of being married to my best friend.


Charlotte's nursery

 Years ago, we got a shelf from Matt's mom that she had had as a child. I painted it emerald green, and it held napkins and other textiles in our dining room for a while. When we moved into this house, it sat in the hallway for a while until I decided it was too cramped for a piece of furniture. So, the green shelf moved into the nursery, where it sat holding blankets and bath soap, waiting for Christian to be born.

After we lost Christian, I left the nursery the way that it was. Still, nothing girly hangs on the walls, but we're nearing the third trimester, and we need to start thinking about actually decorating with Charlotte's little life in mind. At thrift the other day, I found a green chair that was so exactly the same color as the shelf, that I (asked the owner to knock $5 off it, so it was only $15 and then) bought it. There's also a crib and a dresser in the room (not pictured), but we need to start adding little details (mostly wall art) to round off the room.

Max wanted to be in every picture I took this morning.

Here are some of the things I've been looking at that may end up on the nursery walls, softening the room and whispering goodnight to the tiny lady.

I'm hoping, in the end, the nursery will say, "A baby girl Nowak sleeps and plays and discovers the world from this spot."


progress in foster care and pregnancy

If you follow me on Instagram or our Facebook page, you've been able to keep up with us a little, even though this blog has been quiet.

On Tuesday, we finished our home study. Most of you know that we are going through the process of becoming Virginia Foster Parents with hopes of being able to foster/adopt two of my step-cousins (age 1 and 2). There's still a lot up in the air concerning these two boys, and we know that they may never come to us, but we're ready and willing to accept them into our family if that's what the Lord uses the courts to decide. The Foster Parent process is two-fold. There's a home study, which consists of physical meetings and interviews in our home (and other locations) where a social worker gets to know our background, character, and home life before making a decision to either recommend us to be parents to these children (case specific) or not. That's the part we've completed. Our social worker has all of our information and has made her decision. The second part, which we're still in the process of, is a Foster Care class, which is a 30 hour class with other foster parents where we are taught the goals, joys, and heartaches associated with fostering. Our class ends near the end of September, and after that the ball can officially begin rolling and the boys could (theoretically) begin their trip toward us. Continue to pray for God's will in their lives and ours.

Yesterday, I had my twenty-five week doctor's visit, which included my glucose test. I won't get those results until the weekend, but even if I have gestational diabetes (and not to make light of it), our baby's heart was beating, and that's all that mattered.

You see, last time I went to my twenty-five week appointment, I left in tears, headed to the hospital, to give birth to our dead son, Christian. God has been gracious to us to allow us to be back here so quickly, only eight months later, this time pregnant with a little girl. It happened. Just like, of course, I hoped it would. I want Charlotte to grow big and strong and breath and blink and wiggle, but this weekend our second child will out live our first, and it makes my throat burn.

Pray for me, if you think of it this weekend. I'll post baby bump pictures soon. My uterus is officially the size of a soccer ball, so if you're wondering how well I'm sleeping at night or fitting at the dining room table, strap a soccer ball to your belly and try to get comfy. Don't worry though, I'd trade much more than discomfort to bring a breathing baby Nowak into our home.


tomato soup for days

There's something about the word fresh. If I say, "I made tomato soup." It's different from me saying, "I made fresh tomato soup." and that's what this stuff is. Fresh tomato soup, made with tomatoes picked right out of our backyard.

Speaking of those tomatoes, we're finally running out. We only have ten or twenty at any given time now, instead of hundreds.

I triple this recipe every time I make it, which gives me quarts and quarts of soup. My in-laws gave us a little freezer, which we're keeping in the garage and stock piling with home made soups for this fall/winter.


  • 4 cups of blended Tomatoes 
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cloves
  • Garlic Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 cup of Milk
  • 2 tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 cups of Chicken Broth

You need two large pots for this recipe, because you put in six cups of ingredients and then after it boils down, you transfer it to another large pot that has some other ingredients in it. I could tell you the size of the pots I use, but like I said, I triple the recipe to use up our garden tomatoes, so my size wouldn't help you.

Blend your tomatoes first, if you like chunkier tomato soup, you can blend them less, but I always put my blender on its highest setting and let it go to town. Pour the (basically liquid) tomatoes into your first pot, which can be on high heat. Now add three shakes of cloves, five shakes of oregano, five shakes of garlic salt, and two cups of chicken broth. Stir together. Bring your soup to a boil and let boil for twenty minutes. Stir again and turn the heat down.

In your second pot, which can be turned on to a medium heat, place two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of flour. Let the butter melt some while you whisk it with the flour. Once this roux is brown, start pouring the tomato soup from the other pot into the pot with the flour and butter. Pour some, then stir. Pour more, then stir. Add your half cup of milk, two teaspoons of sugar, and then salt and pepper to taste. Add basil to top each bowl after you've dished it.

It's easy, delish, and filling. Not gonna lie, it feels like an accomplishment to have so many quarts of it sitting in our freezer. I've also been making and freezing up quarts of a super fresh potato soup. Winter, I'm feeling ready for you!