Friday, December 28, 2012

Baby Butler is 20 Weeks!

Baby Growth:

He’s a little above average…Big boy Butler was 12 oz at our 19 week appointment! But he’s about the length of a banana now.

My Symptoms: WOAH at the appetite! I am hungry every hour or two. I get super full super fast, so I am eating smaller portions than normal, but eating way more often. I know that’s better, but it was annoying at Christmas with all the DELICIOUS food and I could barely eat any!

My back is broken out….yucko. Still rockin’ the exhaustion too, and I have also become slightly anti-social & a total home body this week. People who know me know that is NOT like me! I think it’s just cuz I’m so tired, so I hope all my fabulous friends & family aren’t taking it too personal. I think it’s been a blessing in disguise though because EVERYONE around us has been majorly sick- the flu, stomach bugs, colds, etc. The germies are definitely going around, so I’m trying my best to stay away and keep my immune system strong.

My back  started hurting some this week too. I tried jogging on the treadmill one day (for like 5 minutes…) so I’m not sure if it’s from that impact or if it’s from wrapping presents. I took a few long, hot baths with bath salts and the jets on and that helped big time, and Jon finished all the wrapping for me like a good hubby.

No swelling or anything, and I only had heartburn once or twice when I laid down too soon after eating.

Weight/Belly: Holy cow! My belly is HUGE!! There is definitely NO questioning if I’m pregnant, and everyone comments on it ALL.THE.TIME.  I seriously cannot imagine how big I’m going to be at full term. So far it seems to be mostly in my belly, but I can tell my face is getting fuller too.


I love to rub my belly and am always rubbing it and talking to the baby.  My belly button is all the way out and I cannot stand when I accidentally touch it- it feels so weird! The other day Jonathan said,” Hey babe, do you have a Skittle under your shirt?’ Hahaha!! I don’t have any stretch marks that I can see, but I can barely see the bottom of my belly anymore. My boobs are also MONSTERS, and they feel super hot.  (Like temperature hot…I definitely prefer my “normal” size.) Did anyone else experience that? I haven’t read anything about that yet..but they are seriously like heaters.

Maternity Clothes: Thank the Lord for Christmas break! I still haven’t bought any maternity clothes, so I’ve lived in yoga/workout pants and t-shirts this week. All week. And it has been AWESOME. We are going to hit up the outlets this week though because I have to have some maternity pants. I’m still rocking my normal pants with a Bella band when I have to wear “normal clothes.” And I just wear whatever random t-shirts I can find that are big enough.

Movement: Our little man is moving ALL around and some of the kicks (or punches, whichever) have become pretty strong. I still feel him the most pretty low, but this week was the first week I have felt him above my belly button. I could also SEE my belly moving from the outside! So crazy!! A few times he would be pulsing like he was doing squats or something (like he did at our little ultrasound). I love the movement!

Sleep: It is SO fabulous not having to work!!! I love that I can sleep in, take naps whenever I need to, etc. Making a baby is hard, hard work, and you HAVE to rest lots. I had a super busy week getting ready for Christmas because I put it off for so long….so I had a LOT to do, but it was fine because I could rest whenever I needed.

It is getting tougher to roll over or to get out of bed, and I have trouble breathing for the first couple of minutes after I lay down.

Cravings: Sweets! Yikes. I’ll be glad to have all of these Christmas goodies out of our house! I know I should just throw them away, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Not with the chocolate chip cookies anyway.

No other cravings really.

I’ve still been drinking smoothies & taking my multis to make sure I’m getting the good stuff I need. I make my smoothies with either almond butter or coconut oil, kale, spinach, celery, Amazing Grass, lemon juice, a banana, mixed berries, ground flaxseed, wheat germ oil, water, and ice.

Work Outs: I alternated between walks on the treadmill and the elliptical, and also did some light lifting. Mostly machines and some dumbbells for upper body. No more lunges- they hurt my knees. And I’m doing MUCH lighter weight than normal. This summer I was curling 25 lbs dumbbells with each arm (yes, for real…and I could also do multiple, real, unassisted pullups). Now I’m struggling to do 8’s! Ha! I do miss being strong and in good shape, but am glad I have enough energy to get back in the gym and just get moving. It’s SUPER important to remain active and so important for a healthy pregnancy.

Best Pregnancy Moment This Week: Christmas with our families! Loved being able to show off the Baby Bump & talk pregnancy and babies with everyone. Baby Butler got his first Christmas gift from some sweet friends AND his first Christmas bear from Grammy & Grandaddy. Adorable!


{Not many guys can rock a flannel and a beard like my hot hubby!}


Goals for next week: No more sweets!!! I’m getting nervous about gestational diabetes, so I have GOT to chill out! For real.

Prenatal yoga. Register. Rest up before getting back to the grind of the “real world.” (It’s amazing how much easier pregnancy feels when I don’t have to work.)

Thoughts: This was our last Christmas with just us. Just me & Jonathan. There is something seriously precious about kids and the magic of Christmas….and we cannot WAIT to have our little man here and celebrate with him. We loved seeing everyone’s posts about their kiddos, the excitement, the traditions, and it got us excited about our own.

It also MELTS.MY.HEART to see how excited Jonathan is about having a baby. He talks about it all the time and I know he is going to be THE best dad. Duh, he’s the best at everything he does! It makes me love him in a whole new way I didn’t even know was possible, and the baby isn’t even here yet! Can’t wait to see him “in action.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Very Special Letter From Santa...Why Teachers Must Be Magic!

Dear Teachers,

I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time! It is a letter that I feel is long overdue and with the elves getting all ready for my long ride, I finally found the time! I have been watching teachers for many years and I am amazed at the work they do. I have come to a conclusion that the teaching profession, like my own, must be filled with bits of magic! Please let me provide ten statements of evidence for my belief.

1. I travel the world one night of the year visiting all the boys and girls of the world. The teaching profession works with every boy and girl all year long. This equates to each teacher fulfilling educational needs for 30—200 children each and every school day. Seems like magic to me!

2. I deliver presents to all the boys and girls. From my Toy Repair Shop statistics, I find many of these gifts are broken or no longer garner a child’s interest within months! Yet teachers find inner gifts in every child. Teachers nurture these inner gifts until they develop into true presents that will last a lifetime. These kinds of gifts sure seem like magic to me!

3. I keep my naughty and nice list for every child. Some people believe this job is pretty amazing! Yet when I look at the teaching profession, teachers provide a constant evaluation of all their students. Their list covers all the aspects of developing and learning which they report to children’s parents and to the children themselves. This evaluation is based on a wide variety of observations, data, and student performance. Teachers will then use this list to help improve each and every student! Wow, keeping track of every student’s ability and prescribing ways to be successful must really be magic!

4. I leave presents to students who are on the nice list and who believe in me. Teachers work with all children because they believe in every student. Teachers continue to do so, even when students stop believing in the educational system’s ability to help them achieve. That type of persistence has got to be magic!

5. I have operated my own workshop using the same technology for hundreds of years and it has worked for me. Then again, I work with children when they are asleep, delivering presents in my own way. Teachers work with children when they are awake and they have spent time learning how to engage children using googles, blogs, phlogs, glogs, prezis, and all these other words I really don’t know. Being able to teach, transform, and accommodate for this new digital generation must really be magic!

6. I have made it a practice to leave coal behind for children who do not make my good list! It seems every year the same children always get the coal. Teacher refuse to leave coal. In fact, they are working hard at leaving no child behind. To work towards a goal of leaving no child behind is a true act of magic!

7. I read the news and I am always thankful to read all the nice articles about my work. It really does provide me with motivation to keep up my vocation. I read news articles about the education profession and it seems that most articles are unsupportive. Yet, teachers keep working hard at providing success for their students! These teachers must be operating on a little bit of magic!

8. I have thousands of elves, of course the reindeer, and the community of the entire North Pole to assist me. Teachers work every day, many times by themselves, as they provide new opportunities for their students. Carrying that load alone must be much heavier than my bag of toys. It must really be magic!

9. I receive many a thank you and millions of pictures of happy faces as children open their presents each year. Teacher don’t always get a thank you, or may never see the present get eventually opened. When they do, appreciation may come from decades later! A thank you that appears after many years must be the result of pure magic!

10. I discovered a light in Rudolph brightens up a dark, foggy, or snowy night so that I can deliver joy to all the children across the world. Teachers provide the light that brightens our world in both the darkest night and the brightest day! It is the light of learning and knowledge! The ability to keep that light burning bright must take quite a bit of magic!

You see, I have found that magic does not come easily. It is made possible only by those who work hard and keep believing, and seek what they know is possible! As you can see, there must be a great deal of magic in the education profession! Please continue to keep this magic alive and know that you are all on my good list. After all, I had to learn all that I do from somewhere! So from across the years I know I have many teachers to thank! To all teachers across the world...I really do believe in you!!

Thanks for all the magic,


Monday, December 17, 2012

Baby Butler is 19 Weeks!

Baby Growth:

Haha, bless his heart….I hope he’s not as cramped and twisted as this little one!

At this week’s appointment, the ultrasound tech said our little guy is already weighing 12 oz and has some REALLY big feet (I saw them, I couldn’t believe how big they are!)…which means he will most likely be very tall. The males in my biological family are very tall, and same with the males on Jonathan’s mom’s side. Neither of us really got the height gene. I’m 5’5 1/2” ish and Jon is 5’11”…but lots of the guys in our family range from 6’2- 6’4”. Guess we’ll see!

My Symptoms: Still moody/easily irritated. I think that’s because I’m so tired…Very tired! And let the fun has begun….I’ve started getting some heartburn! I’ve had to take Tums 3 times this week (only happens at night). I also have some nasal congestion….but it’s really only an issue when I first wake up.

Oh, and shortness of breath. I’ve used my inhaler more during this pregnancy than I have in the last 5 years.

Also, there was ONE day this week I forgot my Probiotics in the morning, and it was NOT cool. I will NOT forget this again…

Weight/Belly At my doctor’s appointment, the nurse said I had gained 10 lbs since my first visit when I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks. I’m pretty sure it’s more than that…but whatev, I’ll take it.

My belly also “popped” out during week 19 for sure!!!! I thought I had a pretty serious bump before, but now is legit looking like a preggo belly, ALL the time, and there is no question! I love for people to rub the little bump…


Maternity Clothes: I’ve worn a few maternity shirts Mom got me, but other than that still in normal clothes as of right now. I plan to pull out all the maternity clothes friends have let me borrow TODAY to start going through them though…& it’s definitely time for some pants! I’ve been wearing Jon’s t-shirts because most of mine are smalls, and that just ain’t happenin’!

Movement: I can feel him kicking almost ALL day long! He is breeched right now, so his little feet are a few inches below my belly button. I only feel him super low…but he’s moving around like a wild man in there! I cannot WAIT for Jon to get to feel it! He always misses it….although I do think he got to feel one strong kick the other night.

Sleep: More, please! I stay so tired. ALL.THE.TIME. I went to Costco on Saturday, and it literally was so exhausting to me that I took a 2 hour nap afterwards.

And I’m still having CRAZY dreams!! 2 of them actually ended up happening, so that was a little weird. I toss and turn a lot throughout the night, but haven’t

Cravings: Still craving chocolate chip cookies….and oranges. I bought a HUGE box of navel oranges from my cousin for her FFA fundraiser, and I’ve been eating 1-2 every day.

Work Outs: I did not work out ONCE this week. We were crazy busy all week and had plans every night (a few Christmas parties)…so that’s definitely one of my goals for this upcoming week.


Best Pregnancy Moment This Week: The BIG ultrasound!!! So much fun having my parents there too. I invited both of our parents because this is the “big one” where they look at all of the organs, and I’m all about sharing this special little guy with people who love him. The heartbeat was 152 this time, and the nurse confirmed immediately that he was indeed a BOY! She said he wasn’t shy & was very photogenic! Haha! (Just like his mama….I’m always ready for a picture!) Everything looked great and he was a healthy little guy as far as they could tell from looking at all of the organs and measurements. She did say she thought he was going to be tall though, because he is already weighing 12 oz and has a big ole foot! He loves his hands and was sucking his thumb when she first started the ultrasound….and then he got all in a tizzy from us poking on him (or maybe he was just showing off) so he started jumping up and down and kicking like crazy. (He kicked for the whole rest of the day too…)

She gave us a DVD to bring home too, which was so neat. That was my dad’s first time ever seeing an ultrasound, so he thought it was REALLY cool! Of course his first thought when he heard about our “big boy” was pitcher or quarterback! Haha!! Jonathan is extremely athletic and I’m pretty decent for a girl, so who knows?!? Anyway, that was definitely my favorite pregnancy moment of the week! Mom said Jon was grinning from ear to ear the whole appointment too…love that man & how excited he is. He’s going to make THE best daddy.

Also, I’m pretty positive we have our name!!! Jon said not to tell anyone yet because he doesn’t know for certain, but I LOVEEEEEE it & am pretty set on what we have picked out. We’ve incorporated a family name & an adorable, one-syllable boys name that I have liked for forever! I actually remember mentioning it to Jonathan one time when we were on a walk at the college & looking at baby names (probably only 5 weeks preggo)….he shot it down then, but I think it’s growing on him. Of course that means we’ll have a middle named baby, but hey, I dealt with it my whole life & I came out completely normal! (My first name is Amber…)

Oh, and talking to all my preggo friends! I know 21 ladies (yes, 21!) who are pregnant right now! Talk about a baby boom!! It’s neat to be able to share this journey with all of them (and NO, we didn’t “plan” it….that would be super weird! “Hey, so what are you guys doing tonight?”).

Goals for next week: I’m officially at the halfway point now…20 weeks!!! SO, it’s time to start thinking about registering and planning for the nursery. I HATE registering and planning, so I’m kinda dreading that. (You can ask my poor mom….when it came time for my wedding, she could barely get me to make any decisions. And we had to register for our wedding before we had a house- how the heck do you know what you need?) We haven’t bought the first thing…but it just feels so overwhelming. I mean, what do you REALLY need?? Everyone says something totally different….”You don’t need a bottle warmer.” “You HAVE to have THIS bottle warmer.”

I do like to decorate though, so the nursery should be fun. Jon thinks the nursery is his job because he doesn’t want me lifting a finger or being around paint or having to put anything together….so he wants me to show him a picture and he’ll make it happen! I have to admit, I do kinda like the sound of that!

SO….I have to ask for suggestions. What are the things you CAN’T/COULDN’T live without that I HAVE to have??

Thoughts: The shooting this week was absolutely heart wrenching and such a terrible reminder of the ever-present evil in this world. We are a nation who needs GOD and needs to repent…but unfortunately I don’t see it getting any better. We are trying to push God further and further out of every arena, then blaming Him for things like this- “Where was God?”

{Love this from Mike Huckabee}

It’s scary to be bringing a precious, innocent little baby into a world like this. But I know the Lord does not call us to live in fear. He calls us to trust in HIM and do our best to protect our children and raise them in the way they should go. And that’s what we’re going to do.



My heart aches for that entire community. No one should ever have to bury a child, at any age….prayers for those families for sure. I cannot even imagine….

AND, on another note…one of my sweet blog friends wrote me last week after my whole confession about struggling with having to slow down & feeling like a lazy bum. I absolutely LOVED the perspective she shared with me and it has brought me so much peace. Her grandmother told her when she was pregnant that God was USING her to help Him create a miracle….so it’s going to be exhausting and it’s okay to slow down. Of course I’ve known what a miracle and blessing this little guy is, but I hadn’t thought about it like yet…that He is allowing ME to help HIM. That’s HARD work, and I’m thankful He is allowing me to take part. So I’m going to try to enjoy the “rest” a little more…

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Digestion Issues? Read this.

I LOVE to teach, and I especially LOVE helping people lead healthier lives. I’ve always been into eating clean, working out, and taking care of myself, and I enjoy encouraging others to do the same (even if that sounds lame). It helps me look better, feel better, set an example, and live a better quality of life.  I want to take care of myself now because I know I will reap the rewards both now AND later in life with my health…and I want everyone to experience that! Health issues are extremely taxing- physically, mentally, and financially, for everyone involved….so I’m all about some PREVENTION!

Living a healthy lifestyle is super rewarding for so many reasons, and that is why I’m so passionate about helping others develop healthy habits. I know that change can be scary and intimidating, but it is always so rewarding to see how excited others are when they start benefitting from the results of making healthier choices. Even small things can make a huge difference! And it really is doable!


Since I have been in Advocare, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and help a lot of people take control of their health. Some of the transformations have been truly amazing…it seriously blows me away. It’s about way more than weight loss and energy, although those are definitely two of the areas where people are really getting incredible results. I have friends who are coming off medicine or cutting dosages, are sleeping better, are lowering numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.), and performing better. It is so rewarding to help people achieve those! Honestly, it’s amazing to see how much nutrition plays a role in our overall health. That’s why I’m such a firm believer in clean eating + nutritional supplementation….

One of the biggest struggles I have seen so far has been with DIGESTION. People REALLY have issues with their digestive systems, whether it’s IBS, irregularity, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, or the other end of that spectrum. I know, I know…we don’t really like to talk about #2…but it’s just reality.  Everyone does it. And some really struggle with issues related to digestion.

Thankfully I haven’t ever really had to deal with digestion issues, but I have friends and family members who do or have and I know it is so frustrating and uncomfortable. And honestly, the few times I have had issues, I can say that is was absolutely MISERABLE!!!! I feel for those of you who have issues with your digestive system because it is definitely NO FUN.

Did you know you can carry up to 10 lbs of JUNK in your digestive tract?? That is a LOT! Think about a 10 lb dumbbell… your intestines! That can leave somebody feeling majorly bloated, tired, and yucky. Not cool! And that’s not even the worst part.

According to this post by Dr. Hyman, “Most of us (including most doctors) do not recognize or know that digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body, leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer, and more.”

Restoring your “gut” (intestines/digestive system) to balance can have significant effects on our overall health, so I always like people to start here.

Here are a few tips and products that multiple people have had great success with regarding digestion issues:

1. HYDRATE!!! Water is crucial in keeping everything “moving” and flushing out toxins. If you struggle with issues, try increasing your water intake. Start first thing in the morning to replenish the dehydration that occurred while you were sleeping.

2. Eat your fiber. Think fruits, veggies, leafy greens, & whole grains. Try to eat real, whole, unprocessed foods.  They “go through” our systems better because this is what we’re meant to put in our bodies. (As much as I love Fiber One cereal and bars, they are still processed and have a lot of extra ingredients, so I avoid them as well….The more REAL the food, the better.)

If you don’t “like” healthy foods, I like Amazing Grass & the Fiber Drink. It has 10 g of fiber and I like to use it a couple times a week.

Fiber Drink

3. Avoid anything fried or high in fat/sugar. This type of junk has a way of making you bloated & can slow down digestion. I would also be aware of food allergies and try playing around with your diet. Some of us have issues triggered from seemingly healthy food groups like wheat and dairy, so be aware of how they affect your body. (It may be worth eliminating or moderating one of those two groups in particular.)

4. Eat a HEALTHY breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and eat small meals every few hours throughout the day.  You want to shoot for a combo of protein & complex carbs (this is NOT the time for junk)! I also try to eat around the same times every day so my body knows what to expect. This keeps your metabolism burning, keeps your blood sugar stable, which all can have a positive effect on regulating your “movements.”

5. Cleanse every few months. This is a newer one for me, but I’ve heard LOTS about cleansing lately. I did my first ever “cleanse” in March of this year and could not even BELIEVE how incredible I felt! I was shocked because I already eat so healthy & am so regular- I couldn’t imagine I would have a whole lot of junk built up. But toxins are everywhere! In our food, environments, even beauty products. This is almost like hitting reset on your system and it is the BOMB.

Herbal Cleanse

  • Available in Citrus and Peaches & Cream
  • Helps rid the body of toxins and waste*
  • Supports improved digestion and thorough internal cleansing*
  • Provides 10 grams of fiber per day
  • Helps remove impurities from the body*
  • Supports healthy weight loss*

6. Take Probiotics. Our bodies need the good bacteria. Probiotics help balance and restore our gut flora by replacing the healthy bacteria, and also help improve our immune systems. This is one of the products I have taken regularly since I’ve been pregnant and it has helped BIG TIME. I haven’t been eating quite as healthy as normal (that’s another story for another day), so that means I’m not as regular as normal. (I was on schedule like clockwork.) There was one day I forgot to take my Probiotics, and it was NOT a good situation…lesson learned! I know they work!

ProBiotic RESTORE™ <em>ULTRA</em>

  • Helps maintain normal beneficial intestinal microflora*
  • Supports healthy intestinal function*
  • Enhances weight management*
  • Improves nutrient absorption*
  • Aids in good digestion*
  • Provides immune system support*
  • Helps relieve symptoms of occasional constipation*

7. Take Omegas. We need the good healthy fats to replace the bad fats. Omegas are just good for EVERY system in your body, and the digestive tract is no exclusion. If I can recommend ONE supplement for EVERYONE to take, this is it. Here’s WHY.


  • Supplies 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving
  • Contains both EPA and DHA fatty acids
  • Plays an important role in the transportation of nutrients*
  • Helps support normal blood flow and healthy blood pressure*
  • Promotes cardiovascular health in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise*
  • Helps promote healthy metabolism*
  • Helps maintain a healthy immune system*
  • Promotes maintenance of healthy skin, hair and nails*

8. Try Digest-Ease. This helps with relief from occasional heartburn, acid indigestion, gas, or
upset stomach. It also helps to improve intestinal function and digestion AND nutrient absorption. I love this one because it helps with so many aspects of healthy digestion.


  • Supports healthy digestion and intestinal function*
  • Helps relieve occasional heartburn*
  • Enhances absorption of nutrients*
  • Helps relieve occasional stomachache, acid indigestion and gas*
  • Helps maintain benefits of other AdvoCare® products
  • Use with ProBiotic Restore™ to help re-establish healthy intestinal microorganism balance*

8. Avoid medication (when possible). I know they are meant for good and can be helpful, but I’m a firm believer that our food & nutrition are the best form of medicine, and I don’t like putting anything “foreign” into my body if at all possible.

10. Stress less. Easier said than done, right? I know, but the deal is, stress can wreak havoc on your digestion. Big Jon takes Clear Mood & Oasis to help with stress & anxiety and LOVES it.

Clear Mood™

  • Helps brighten mood*
  • Provides support for relaxation*
  • Helps ease the effects of stress and worry*

AdvoCare Oasis™

  • Helps your body adapt to physical and other sources of stress*
  • Contains a combination of super fruits known for their antioxidants, polyphenols and anti-inflammatory properties*
  • Provides immune and cognitive support*
  • Contains B vitamins for energy and immune support*
  • In a convenient stick pack


If you want to learn more about any of those products or give them a try, you can do that HERE.

If nothing else, try implementing a few things off the list and see how it helps. Digestive issues are SO not cool….and sometimes it just takes a small change to improve it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby Butler is 18 Weeks!

Baby Growth:

Our little guy is the size of a sweet potato or a bell pepper!


My Symptoms: Just exhaustion! No more sickness, thank the Lord!  My hair is pretty awesome when I fix it on random occasions, but that doesn’t happen often….can you tell?IMG_2142[1]

P.S. Getting pictures has been tough since Jon hasn’t been getting home till so late. I’ve tried taking my own pics, and I stink at it. By the time he gets home, I am usually in workout clothes (AKA lounging clothes…not to be misconstrued to make you think I’ve been working out), a nappy ponytail, and no-makeup….and thus in NO mood to have my picture taken. Can’t you tell I look worn out?

Weight/Belly I haven’t weighed in a few weeks now, and honestly as long as it’s in the healthy range, I don’t care. I’m going to breastfeed AND I know how to work out hard & eat right….Plus, I have the TOP nutritional products on the planet, so as long as I’m healthy now, getting the baby weight off isn’t even a concern for me. So I’m going to change this category for future posts. I’ll just talk about body changes! I think a lot of people expected the body changes to be tough on me because I’m used to being very fit, but I have to be honest….I like the way I look. I think the bump is super cute. I love that strangers ask me about my baby because it gives me a chance to talk about this sweet blessing! Babies are a truly a gift from the Lord & I love when other people are excited to celebrate this with us, even if they are complete strangers!! I also love seeing how my body is changing because it’s a constant reminder of how BIG are God is and how He works out every little detail in creating the miracle of a little life. Yes, I may be totally forgetful, have skin issues, and almost pass out when I put my socks on because I can’t breathe bending over, but God totally orchestrated all that so our little guy can grow.


Anyway, here’s what I’ve noticed. My belly button has become flat and even pokes out after I eat! My bump is hard as a rock.  No stretch marks & rings still fit, but my veins are getting darker. (I have “thin skin” anyway.) I’ve noticed that my face looks fuller in pictures too. Jonathan is still totally diggin’ my new curves. (I’ve always been curvy, but it’s a whole new level of “fullness” now.) He keeps joking that he’s going to “keep me pregnant” because he loves the way I look right now. It’s been a good reminder that men appreciate curves…because I know I certainly prefer to be lean/cut/tone & seeing muscle definition.

Maternity Clothes: I haven’t bought any. Mostly because I’m cheap frugal, and I can still make my clothes work for now. I’m just wearing lots of long, tight tank tops underneath my tops and leaving my pants unbuttoned and unzipped. The tank tips (that are $6.99 at a cheapo store in the mall and come in all different colors) cover the fact hat my pants aren’t buttoned, and they look cute. I can still zip and button 2 pairs of jeans so I wear those any chance I get.

Movement: We have an active little guy fo sho! I feel him rumbling around in there all the time! Especially in the evenings if I sit or lay still after supper…It’s still very light and fluttery and very low on my belly.

Sleep: I spoke too soon last week. I haven’t been falling asleep as easy this week. Boo!! It makes me sad because I look forward to sleeping all day long, and then I can’t.

Cravings: I randomly wanted hash browns with ketchup on Sunday so we went to Waffle House after church. (I know…disgusting. But Jon loves WH for some reason, so he was all about it.) Other than that, none specifically. I’ve been eating a lot of cereal though.

This picture shows CLEARLY why I was craving some….I mean, so appetizing, right? HA!

Work Outs: I walked with dad one day around the track, and walked two other times for about 30 minutes on the treadmill (I feel like such a weenie with my slow pace & heavy breathing.) I also did one very short upper body and lower body workout. No more lunges for sure….my knees were KILLING me.

Best Pregnancy Moment This Week: Going on a walk with my dad and talking to my mom so often.

Goals for next week: YOGA, YOGA, YOGA!!! I 100% believe prenatal yoga helps with a smoother delivery (even if it will help me mentally feel more prepared) and I have GOT to start incorporating this into my week. I also have to order Christmas cards AND get our Christmas shopping done. I’m normally WAY done by this time, but I haven’t even started this year. Ha! I’m telling you, it takes an act of Congress to get me off the couch.

And read more! Right now I’ve been using my few moments of motivation each day to do the things I HAVE to do, so that doesn’t leave much time for the things I WANT to do. I am so incredibly thankful for the next two weeks off!!!!!!!

Thoughts: Okay, I’m going to be totally transparent here because I’m sure there are other ladies who can (or will someday be able to) relate to these feelings. I know God is doing a work and teaching me things through this pregnancy, so I want to share.

I am so used to being a “go-go-go” person...I’ve been that way my whole life and I don’t know how to be any other way. (Trust me, I am not bragging about that. Sometimes it’s a really terrible quality.) I have NEVER been one to sit on the couch and watch tv. Ever. After work I am always doing something- running errands, working out, cleaning the house, working another job- just doing something. And I view “days off” as a day to knock out a major to-do list of cleaning, organizing, and errands.  I’m used to being extremely productive and accomplishing a LOT in a day’s time, and right now, I just can’t. My body won’t let me, and I’m having a hard time with that emotionally/mentally. Last week I felt like such a slob and so unproductive that I started to get kinda down and out. I know that may sound so silly, and everyone keeps telling me that I need to enjoy it and learn to be this way because I’m going to have to slow down after Baby Butler arrives. But I have to be honest about that too….I am not enjoying this. I do NOT like it, not even a little, and I do not want to be this way after the baby comes. I know I will have to be for a while to allow my body to recover from labor, but after I’ve recovered, I’ll be glad to have some normalcy. Well, a “new normal.”

I’ve been praying about it a lot because the exhaustion & lack of productivity has made me absolutely miserable. (Don’t get me wrong- I couldn’t be ANY MORE thankful for this precious little blessing!!! I do not take this sweet gift or responsibility lightly.) But it’s definitely been an adjustment having NO energy or motivation.

And this is what the Lord revealed to me about the whole thing. God has dealt with me before about being so busy, and while I do agree it has taken this pregnancy for me to “learn to slow down,” I’ve definitely learned a much bigger lesson. I know He is trying to teach my that my worth does not come in the form of accomplishing tasks and to-do lists, or even productivity. It’s very obvious in the Word that idleness is not acceptable, but He does call us to “rest in Him” sometimes, and I think that is what He is trying to show me. I am learning that I place my worth in what I’m able to get done in a day, but that’s not what God does. It makes me feel really good to be productive, but sometimes that productivity leads to missed opportunities to either share with others or hear from the Lord. I feel pretty certain this pregnancy is His way of helping me understand Psalm 46:10 in a whole new light.

**This week is our big appointment! It’s on Wednesday, and I am super excited to see how much our little man has grown since the last time!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Surround Yourself With Who You Want To Be"

I have this poster hanging in my classroom at school, and I discuss this with all of my students when I'm giving one of my weekly "life lessons."  What an important thought for young people...

As I was talking about it last week though, I realized that it is EQUALLY as important of a concept (if not more) for us as adults.

It's so easy to get into a habit of doing what you've always done and being who you've always been. That's comfortable. It's easy. It doesn't take any "stretching" or growing or stepping out of your comfort zone. And if you're okay with your life exactly as it is, then that's fine. Keep doing what you've always done.

But I know I want to be BETTER. I want to be a better version of myself and improve in SO many areas because my hubby, my family, my friends, my students, my co-workers, my children, and my God deserve the BEST I have to offer. And one awesome way to make personal growth a reality (besides reading, which is so important) is to surround yourself with others who are a positive influence; who will push you to be a better version of yourself, even if they are just leading by example. Surround yourself with who you want to be. (Obviously I don't mean that you want someone else's life...or should compare. Jealousy and comparison are bad news. But it is okay to admire and respect others for some of their personal qualities, characters, skills, etc., and to want to possess those in your own life because you know it will benefit you and others.)

I always point out to my students that they probably dress like, act like, and talk like their best friends- even if it's not intentional. Most people become like those with whom they spend the most time, which is why our parents always urged us to choose our friends wisely.  They knew what a major influence our friends were going to have on how we turned out, even if we thought we were "so independent" and "totally our own person." I can remember my mom always telling me to be sure my friends were taking more of my personality and attitude than I was taking from them. (I had a little rebellious phase, but for the most part I was a pretty decent teenager- partly because I had good friends.) The truth is, all of the important people in our lives have helped shape us into the people we are, whether we realize it or not. And that doesn't stop once we hit adulthood.

If I hang out with people who gossip, I gossip. If I hang out with people who overeat, I overeat. If I hang out with people who spend too much, I spend too much.

I wish I could say I was above that...above that influence. But I'm not. And that's why I'm a "work in progress" and striving to improve the person I am.

So here's what I'm learning. Since I'm going to be "taking" some of others and they are having a part in shaping me, I need to really choose wisely.

**If you want to have a stronger walk, hang out with people who are solid in their faith and have a strong walk.

**If you want to be more fit, hang out with people who are conscious about their health and make good decisions regarding nutrition and exercise.

**If you want to be a better wife, mother, or friend, hang out with people you think excel in those areas.

**If you want to be a better steward of your finances, hang out with people who are making financially savvy choices. (I've always heard your salary is typically an average of the 5 people with who you spend the majority of your time.)

**If you have specific goals goals, find people with similar goals or who have already accomplished something similar.

Most people are more than willing to share how they got to where they are, what shaped them, and how they became successful. We just have to have the boldness and courage to ask, the wisdom to listen and learn, and the confidence and discipline to pursue it ourselves.

When I was engaged, I started watching other women who I felt like were awesome wives so I could duplicate that. When I first became a teacher, I learned from the things that my mentor was doing because she is an incredible teacher and the students love her dearly. When I decided I wanted to run a marathon, I started training with one of my friends who is a PHENOMENAL runner. The more you think about it, the more you will recognize the concept of the quote on that poster is absolute TRUTH and common sense.

There is wisdom in learning from others. We just have to choose those "others" wisely.

If someone is not adding value to your life, I'm not saying to cut them out completely....but it may be worth re-evaluating and considering if they're helping you become who you want to be. If not, and you do not like the influence they have on you, it may be time to do some pruning.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Common Sense Approach to Finances

In planning for becoming a parent, this is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. It’s so important to raise your children to be productive, independent, hard workers, and financially savvy. I have seen the devastating effects of financial struggles – particularly on relationships- so I have been thinking about what I need to teach my children to ensure they make wise financial choices.

SO MANY PEOPLE are plagued with debt and are drowning financially. It is so sad to see, and my heart aches for those who have no control over it. (These are the people we want to help! That’s what God calls us to do.) But… I do not feel sympathy for people who are poor stewards and make unwise financial choices. Much like anything else worthwhile, it takes discipline, and many people lack that. Our society tends to think we ‘deserve’ things & shouldn’t have unfulfilled longings.


I cannot STAND to owe anyone anything, and I sure as heck hate the idea of paying interest!! Obviously you can’t plan 100% for the future and you never know what will happen, but as of right now we are on track to be debt free in the next 5-7 years, and that’s with me leaving my full-time teaching job to be a SAHM in May (so thankful for the blessing of an incredible “plan B” income opportunity).  Right now our only debt is our mortgage, but I know that no debt is ‘good debt,’ so we are working fervently to pay that off as quickly as possible. The less time we are paying interest on it, the better!! I cannot imagine what an awesome feeling of freedom that will be, and how it will allow us to be so much more giving. We both have a big heart for helping those who are TRULY in need.

Anyway, I’ve thought a lot about our upbringing because I know it’s OUR responsibility to teach our children how to manage money. Finances are something most of us tend to keep private, but I have learned that there seems to be a rather high percentage of people who have poor money management skills.  And I think that’s because they were never taught HOW to manage money.


Jon and I have talked about it a lot (thankfully we see 100% eye to eye on financial issues- something I think it’s important to discuss before marriage) and decided that we take a very COMMON SENSE approach to our finances, and that works well for us.  (In fact, I’m pretty certain it would work well for anyone that applies the simple principles.) And that is what we plan to teach our children. I’ll talk a little bit more about some of our “financial concepts” at the end of the post and get some ideas from others, but first I wanted to share a little of what has shaped us.

My dad is THE hardest working man ever…(well, him & Jon are tied)….and Mom too, so I grew up seeing that daily in our home. Jon’s parents are also both incredibly hard working people as well, so I’m thankful we both had that example growing up. We were also both very spoiled!!  I can remember people commenting on that my whole life, & I’m sure people thought the same thing about Jonathan.

This is the deal though. Although both of us were spoiled, we both learned to be hard workers at a young age too.  This has been one of THE most important factors that has helped Jon & I with our finances. (I know other people who were not spoiled, but their finances are a wreck. I think it’s way more important to focus on the things you ARE teaching your children than what you do or do not give them.) When we were younger, Jonathan and I both had really good grades, were very involved in school, and worked extremely hard in sports too. We were expected to work hard in each of those areas. I think that taught us both to be DISCIPLINED, which is a huge part of being financially savvy. We both had part-time jobs by age 15 and have worked multiple jobs ever since. I can’t remember the last time in our lives either of us were “just” working one job. When other people are at home watching t.v., we are usually both still working some sort of plan B (or C) income. We don’t do that so we can be rich or have more to spend more (we are both also VERY frugal!!)…we do that because we know if we work hard now, we can be debt free.


We have also chosen (or been blessed with the opportunity of) a “plan B” that allows us to work together- and we have a BLAST doing it! We don’t care WHAT we’re doing, honestly, as long as we’re together…so may as well be doing something productive that will help our family achieve our goal of debt freedom (rather than watching 8 hours worth of Duck Dynasty!). Right? That’s why we’ve worked so hard the last 5 years. We wanted to save enough that I could stay home with our babies and it not be a financial burden on our family. We had to start planning and preparing for this a long time ago…and that’s where most people get into a mess. They can only think in the moment and do not plan for long-term or set financial goals for the future.

Two of the main things I have taken from my parents is the importance of being a hard worker and the importance of giving. 

Those are both HUGE an SO important! But there is another aspect of that which needs to be taught too, and I think this is where lots of parents miss the mark. We have to teach our children about spending, saving, budgeting, prioritizing, and the difference between wants and needs. it is okay to go without. THIS is what really sets people apart regarding finances.

Here are some of the other concepts Jon & I live by that we plan to teach our children…

  • GIVE, GIVE, GIVE. The Lord LOVES a cheerful giver, and you can’t outgive God!! I’ve heard people say they can’t “afford” to give 10% to the church, and that blows my mind. The way I see it, you can’t “afford” not to. Tithing is a non-negotiable for us, and it’s the very first thing we so when either of us get paid. It’s God’s anyway, so you might as well give back to Him what is HIS! (He’s the one who allows you to have that income and can just as easily take it away.) And I have always tithed on my “gross” pay. I think of it this way…do you want a ‘net blessing’ or a ‘gross blessing’??

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.” –Deuteronomy 15:7

“The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.” –Proverbs 37:21

  • If you don’t have it (as in CASH, IN the bank), DON’T SPEND it. God is not going to continue to bless you if you’re not a faithful steward of what He has already blessed you with. Yes, this takes discipline, but discipline is a choice and a habit that becomes easier with practice. We do have one credit card that we use for points, but I only use it like a debit card. I wouldn’t dare put anything on it if I didn’t have the cash to pay for it ASAP. Actually, we put everything we can on that card because not only does it give travel points, but it also has a spending tracker that is very detailed. It breaks down your spending so you have an extremely accurate record accessible at any time (also helpful for taxes and budgeting). I do NOT recommend ANY credit cards unless you are 100% sure you can only use it like a debit card. If there is even a slight chance you will be tempted to charge, don’t even allow yourself to be in the position.

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” –Romans 13:8

  • You MUST work hard to prosper. I have found that lots of people are just plain lazy and unwilling to work hard. They want something for nothing and think they are “owed” something by society, their parents, grandparents, company, the lottery, whoever. We want to work hard now (especially before we have a family- we want to be around for our kids!) so we have more freedom later. There was a period for a stretch of a few years where Jonathan & I were working around 6 jobs between the two of us. I know I’ve said it a million times, but I am so thankful Advocare came into our lives because it has allowed us to eliminate most of those side jobs, and like I said, I won’t be teaching after this year so I can stay home to raise babies (but will still have income). It’s perfect for us because it’s a company that rewards hard work, and you get out what you put in. So now we’re not working any harder- just smarter.

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” –Proverbs 13:4 

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” –2 Thessalonians 3:10-12


  • No debt is “good debt.” Thankfully our only debt is our mortgage because it allows us to be laser focused on paying it off (since our money isn’t going 8 million directions), and it’s also a great “investment” that is going to yield a pretty high return if decide to sell in the future. We refinanced to get the lowest possible interest rate, but we do still OWE money to someone else. And that’s not cool. We calculated exactly how much additional money we would have to put toward the interest to pay the house off in 5, 7, or 10 years, and work hard to do that every month.

“…The borrower is the slave of the lender.” –Proverbs 22:7

  • Do not bank on money coming in that you don’t have yet. This seems absolutely absurd to me, but people do it all the time. They know they have a tax return, a bonus, a raise, etc. coming, so they spend it before they even have it. This makes ZERO sense to me. What if it falls through? I always plan based on what we HAVE, and if we do get the extra, that’s fantastic. I plan for it ahead of time (which typically includes saving the majority of it), but do not SPEND any of it before I have it.
  • Live within your means. It is so important to create a BUDGET and stick to it. Re-evaluate the budget often. Write down spending. I was talking to someone the other day who said they had no idea how much it costs them to live per month, and I thought “Wow, how scary!” So many people are trying to keep up with the Jones’, and that is a yucky cycle. If you have steak taste and a hamburger budget, it’s imperative to be disciplined about spending. I think many people are also spending more than they realize. I remember one point when we realized Jon was spending an extra $25 a week on drinks at the gas station. I can think of LOTS of things we could do with an extra $100 a month. Saving to put it in an IRA would put you 1/5 of the way there! The point is, sometimes we have lots of little expenses that add up and we don’t even realize where our money is going.
  • Be aware of the costs of hobbies. Hobbies can be CRAZY expensive! I am blown away by what some friends spend on their hobbies. And although I do think leisure/hobbies/entertainment are important, I think it needs to be in moderation, because it can be VERY easy to become obsessed and overspend. Our “hobby” is working out, so we pay around $45 a month for a gym membership. We also like to eat out on weekends, so we budget for that too, but that means we don’t eat out during the week, and we have also stopped going to the movies.
  • Start thinking long term NOW. Start saving for retirement. Open an IRA & DON’T touch the money. Put at least $5000 in per year (that is the maximum allowed anyway). My accountant told me that an individual who puts money into an IRA annually starting at age 30 will have DOUBLE the amount of an individual who puts money into an IRA starting at age 40, even if they put double the amount of the 30 year old. Basically, you need time on your side and should start saving, like YESTERDAY. I know I’d rather live like no one else now so I can live like no one else later. (Put money into retirement rather than new clothes, etc.)
  • SAVE! If you don’t make enough to save some money, you have two options: 1) Cut some things out that you don’t need (yes, there are things in your budget you can do without!); or 2) Find a way to earn extra income. Get another job. My vote is direct sales because it is typically something you can do on your own time, working WHEN you choose (so you don’t have to take time away from your family), and you can reap a pretty high return for your efforts if you choose the right one for you. I have read that both Dave Ramsey AND Clark Howard (two figures I have a great deal of respect for concerning financial matters) both suggest direct sales as one of the best ways to make a significant amount of money in today’s economy. (I know I tried the other route- getting additional degrees- and that sure didn’t work!) One of the reasons some people are not successful with direct sales is they do not follow the direction of their leadership and they give up too soon.


  • Plan for the unexpected (and the expected). You never know when you’re going to need a major car repair, have a health issue, lose a job, whatever. That is why it is so important to SAVE….so when things come up, they don’t ruin your finances. As much as it stinks, there are things in life we HAVE to pay for, but that we don’t like to spend money on. Like tires for example…who in the heck wants to spend their hard earned money on a set of TIRES? But it’s a necessity, so it’s important to plan appropriately and have enough money to cover it. There is no sense in paying extra for them- more than they’re worth- because you have to finance them (can you even finance tires?) or have to put them on a credit card. When we were getting ready to buy a house, for example, I saved up enough to furnish and decorate our house (a planned expense) and stuck to the budget I allotted. It was such a relief to be able to pay cash for that!

So here’s what I want to know…

What has shaped your finances the most?

What did you parents teach you or model for you that helped you become financially savvy?

What is your biggest struggle with finances and what (if anything) could have prevented that?

What are you teaching (or do you plan to teach) your children??

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trusting God’s Timing

I wrote a post a while back about Waiting on the Lord's Timing…and I truly think this is one of the bigger challenges in many of our walks.

Why is it so INCREDIBLY difficult for us to fully trust God’s timing and WAIT on Him? We trust God to provide all of our needs, to take care of us, and we trust Him with our eternity….yet when things don’t happen in OUR timing, we begin to question Him.


If we’re real about it, it’s a lack of faith (although we don’t like to admit it). This is one area where the flesh takes over and we don’t even realize it…usually because we think we’re “doing everything right.” (i.e. praying fervently, reading the Word, seeking Godly counsel)

I know so many times I’ve been guilty of “planning out my life” and asking the Lord to bless MY plans. I’ve learned that this is not what God desires for us. Sometimes it makes us feel better to do it this way because we feel like we are in control (although we know we’re not)….and then we call it a ‘trial’ when things don’t go exactly as planned. The Bible tells us our desire should be to seek the Lord and HIS will for our lives, which includes HIS timing…and sometimes this requires us to WAIT. Maybe for a day, a week, a month, a year…maybe longer. And it is HARD when we try to “wait” in our own flesh.  We question if God hears us & if He is doing anything in our lives. I know I have a tough time in the “waiting” phases because I feel like I always need to be doing something. Sometimes God wants us to just REST in Him(and this is VERY different from being idle) and SEEK Him so we can grow in our faith and learn to fully trust Him- with everything!


We know that the Lord knows best and plans to prosper and not harm us. He is FOR us and wants to protect, provide, and see us flourish (spiritually- which is definitely the biggest blessing). He has GREAT plans for us, and this is what is so reassuring to me when I’m having trouble trusting His timing. We can take comfort knowing that God sees the WHOLE big picture. Although we only know what’s going on in our life at this moment, the Lord is omniscient and omnipotent…meaning He may be working things out all around us (that we have no idea about) and this may be something that is going to take T-I-M-E.  It is mind blowing to think about how BIG God really is! I know I can look back on certain things in my life and understand EXACTLY why they happened the way the did and what He was trying to teach me, although at the time I felt so uncertain.


Any time I have tried to push…to rush things to make them fit into “my plan,” it has ended in chaos. I see this time and time again in the lives of others when they rush into decisions that ‘feel right’ without seeking the Lord. I know that is so hard (again, only in our own flesh), especially when we want something SO BAD. “Follow your heart” may honestly be some of the WORST advice I have ever heard, yet it one of the most common pieces of advice given. Our heart & emotions can mislead us…but God never will.

Even when I felt like nothing was happening, God was at work. There is nothing more precious than being in the Lord’s presence, and that’s His desire. He wants us to constantly seek Him and draw close to Him, and that’s how we grow. That’s how He increases our faith & teaches us things.  It is so frustrating when we try to depend on ourselves, but the Lord blesses us when we turn it over to Him and FULLY trust Him.


I LOVE hearing stories of God’s perfect timing!! There are so many testimonies of this that remind us that He is always at work, even when we can’t see Him working. I even try to remember this in little things…like if I’m running late and there is traffic. Maybe that’s His way of protecting me from being in an accident?

When we get in the habit of fully trusting God’s timing with EVERYTHING….even seemingly small things…it becomes easier to trust His timing with the big things too.


It’s so important to never make a move until you hear clearly from the Lord.  We know when He is speaking to us because our circumstances, the Word, our prayers, and Godly counsel will all line up.


“For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised.”- Hebrews 10:36

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” –Romans 8:25

“I waited patiently and expectantly for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” –Psalm 40:1