Thursday, December 23, 2010

Got Christmas Cards?

I hate the idea of hundreds of thousands of Christmas cards just being tossed in the trash. And while most of them can be recycled, I came up with an even better thing to do with those greetings that are just too beautiful to be read and forgotten about. For a while now I've been a greeting card "pirate" if you will. I save them and file them under different categories: Congratulations, Baby, Wedding, Birthday, etc. Many of them can be cut or torn apart and pieced together to make a perfectly new and adorable card. Here are a couple of Christmas cards that I gave new life to this year:

Nothing fancy or too complex, but they work! I found the cards and envelops at Hollo's for CHEAP. When we bought card stock for our wedding invites it was $1 a pound. Granted, that was 5 years ago, but this place is a scrapbooker's/cardmaker's dream. Definitely worth the trip out there to stock up every now and again.

This year I used some old cards to make ornaments. I got the idea from a women's Christmas gathering we had for church last year, only we used scrapbook paper. So I found a bucket of cookie cutters (at none other than the famous, incredible, never-know-what-you're-gonna-find, Aldi). Then I sorted through some old Christmas cards and traced whatever cutter looked best on the front of the card. Using clear glue, I outlined the cutter with the glue and stuck on the cut-out shape. I did leave just a little cut in the top of the shape for room to stick the ribbon or string through. And here's what I got:

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Song

Here's a Christmas Song that pierces my soul each time I hear it. Thought I'd share with you. Check it out on iTunes so you can hear its beauty in full.

Eternal Gifts
-Leigh Nash

Santa knows what I want for Christmas
but Jesus knows what I need
it can't be purchased wrapped up and placed
under an eight foot tree

I need patience, kindness - virtues like these
to bend on my knee at the manger

Santa may bring things that last for a year
but eternal gifts come from the Savior

Some days come where I'm just plain selfish
I can't think of no one but me
then I think of all that I'm blessed with
and that's always best to give than to receive

I need faithfulness, love, generosity
to open my home to a stranger

Santa may bring things that last for a year
but eternal gifts come from the Savior

I need patience, kindness, generosity
to bend on my knee at the manger

Santa may bring things that last for a year
but eternal gifts come from the Savior

Santa knows what I want for Christmas
but Jesus knows what I need

Friday, December 17, 2010

1 Month

Yes, we are back to our monthly stickers. (Thanks Marisa!) There's lots I could say about this wonderful baby girl, but I can only type so much with one hand and her brother in between my legs. TTFN!

Friday, December 10, 2010

3 Weeks

Mills turned 3 weeks new on Wednesday. It's taken me some getting used to the newborn scene again. I forgot how much they need to be held. This requires some creative maneuvering in order to be able to play with Asher or eat. Or do anything. But I do appreciate how babies force you to slow down. Their need to be touched and fed says, Hey, why don't cha take it easy? Enjoy me and my tininess. I won't be utterly dependent on you forever! You might even miss that some day... It's the art of letting go. Hard for a "doer" such as myself, but a lesson I want to learn well and carry with me throughout life. Particularly during the Christmas season I want to let go of the needless distractions and think of the birth of Jesus himself. Emmanuel. God with us. What a concept.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mama Time

Asher had it pretty rough once we got back from the hospital. A combination of a cold and low-grade fever, getting molars and experiencing emotions that he's never had and very few ways to express them can make for one unhappy little guy. Thanksgiving Day and the few days before it were the worst. But once all of the out-of-town family left and we got back to our normal routine, we started to get our sweet little man back. And he's back to giving open mouth kisses to his sissy.

Here's Asher getting some much deserved cuddle time when he was feeling sick. (I enjoyed every minute of that little, drippy-nosed head glued to my chest)

Then after his 15 month check-up, while Grammy stayed with Millie, I took him to BG's one and only "small" for a train ride. Boy did we get our $3 worth, but that's a whole other story... :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brotherly Kisses

Check out this guy love on his sis. Too sweet!

Kisses from Asher from Sara Martin on Vimeo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

And Here She Is!

Making her way into the world on Wed., November 17th, here is Amelia Grace Martin:

In the Lord's ideal timing, contractions stared coming around noon, we were admitted to the hospital around 3:30, worked through some more contractions and then after about 10 minutes of pushing, we greeted our little Millie at 6:09 pm, 7 lbs 4 oz 19 and 3/4 inches long. Minus a cord wrapped around her neck there were no complications and I barely had time to thing about pain meds. We are so thankful for your prayers and amazed at our God, Creator of life.

So far Asher seems to love his sister calling her baby and giving her sweet kisses on her forehead. (We'll see how long that lasts...) He had a great time staying with the Alts and the grandmas while we were in the hospital and didn't seem phased by Mama and Papa being gone.

So there's the update! More to come as the adventure begins!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coming This Friday?

Most of you have already heard, but the wait for this little lady will be over sometime this Friday, Nov. 19th if she decides not to show up before then! While the doc. was ready to delivery her on Monday, I just really felt lead to give some more time to see if she'll make an appearance on her own. Had an ultrasound today, at 41 weeks and 2 days and things are all good. (I think my doc. needed the convincing more than I did) There's plenty of fluid in there sustaining her and they are estimating her to be around 7 lbs 14 oz at the moment. I gotta say, from what I could see from the 3D ultrasound, she is lookin' like her brother, in the eyes and nose at least. I wanna see that face in person though!!!

So, unless something happens before 6 am on Friday morning, looks like we'll be meeting and greeting her sometime soon after that.... Yippee!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crazy Love

First, let's get the obvious out of the way. Yes, it's my due date and yes I'm still pregnant. No signs of nothin' right now so this little lady could be making us wait it out a little while. We shall see...

What I really wanted to write about is a book that I just finished: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Let me preface this by saying that if you're not one to be down with the idea of a faith that revolves around Jesus, this probably isn't the book for you. Basically, this book is a swift kick in the behind for folks who call themselves Christians. It would be really hard to summarize or tidy it up into a neat little package for you, but let me attempt to share some ideas that struck me personally. Here are some tidbits that have had me pondering and praying for change and sometimes even taking offense to as I recognize the truth to them...

The best things in life are gifts from the One who steadfastly loves us. But an important question to ask ourselves is this: Are we in love with God of just His stuff? ... Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you?

Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.... The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.

The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans.

God is the only true Giver, and He needs nothing from us. But still He wants us. He gave us life so that we might seek Him and know Him.

What are you doing right now that requires faith?

Do you grasp the beauty and deep joy of walking in genuine intimacy with God, our Holy Father and Friend? Do you want to see God more than you desire security?

At the end of the book there is an interview with the author and he is asked the question, In one chapter you state, "Dare to imagine what it would mean for you to take the words of Jesus seriously." What does this mean? Why do you think so many Christians would turn down this dare?

Here's part of his response: "We've conditioned ourselves to hear messages without responding. Sermons have become Christian entertainment. We go to church to hear a well-developed sermon and a convicting thought. We've trained ourselves to believe that if we're convicted, our job is done. If you're just hearing the Word and not actually doing something with it, you're deceiving yourself." (emphasis mine) He goes on to say, "I remember preaching on Luke 6, and I brought up the passage that says, "Do good to those who hate you." I told the congregation to think of someone who hated them, and I asked "Are you willing to go do something good for them? Will you do that? Yes or no?" I said, "Tell God right now, "No I will not do that." We're not willing to make that statement because we don't want to say that to God, but we're doing that every day." (emphasis mine)

That last part really resonated with me. There are many things that I would not say to God, but I would do (or not do) them anyway. And that speaks much louder than anything. There's so much more and I am thankful for this book and the women I've been discussing it with as we strive to live out our faith. It's a journey for sure.

Monday, November 1, 2010

1 Week to go... ! :)

Really? Is my due date really a week from today? Hooray! I can hardly stand the anticipation. How will it happen this time? What are the odds that my water will break at midnight on the due date again? Will this labor be even "better, easier, faster" than the last? Will nursing be like no big deal? Will she look like her brother? How will Asher react? I cannot wait to announce her name to the world:
________ ________ Martin. Our sweet little girl.

Here I am at 39 weeks with that beach ball belly. Feeling and sleeping wonderfully, trying to stay active. Praise the Lord for such an enjoyable pregnancy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Around the House

There have been little changes made around here lately. Baby swings popping up, furniture being rearranged... But I also made time for a tiny fall project. I just love fall colors: oranges, yellows, browns, reds and needed a change for the little ledge shelf that sits in our bathroom. (You know this preg-lady is in and out of that room all-day-long noticing these, right!) So with a little bit of fabric I had sitting around and some pins, I bought small pieces or cork board and simply pinned the different fabrics and whatever else to them. Take a look!

Simple enough and cheap enough for sure! We also put the finishing touches on the "nursery". Baby girl get here and fill this space soon! It feels empty without you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

He Provides

What is one word you would use to describe God? It's kind of a loaded question. Maybe you have many words you might use. Maybe you do have one word but it's not a very friendly or flattering adjective. Maybe it changes from day to day, from season to season. For me, in the past several months, I have personally rejoiced in naming him Provider. It's easy for me to say that when every day I have food in the cabinets, gas in my car, a computer in my lap. It's not so easy when I'm out of my comfort zone or when things are not easily in my grasp, my control.

Ben and I are involved with a great organization called Global Connections. GC puts on these wonderful events (among other things) for international students at BGSU to help them become more familiar with our culture, customs and traditions all the while making friendships so these students can have a family of sorts away from home. For each of these events different churches or ministries bring different food items or provide volunteers for various roles. Being the GC representative for Brookside, it is my responsibility to make sure we get the volunteers that we are expected to provide as a church. While there are a handful of people who always seem to arise to the occasion, there's also always an uncertainty that lingers in the back of my mind. Are we really going to be able to provide these 10 salads, or should I just make them all myself to be sure... For one instance we really didn't have enough people bringing food and showed up at the event with less than we were hoping for (quite a bit less, actually). But you know what, there were leftovers. He provides.

The last time our church was responsible for providing drivers for a shopping trip, it was looking like we weren't going to pull it off. Then the day before, I was contacted by just the amount of people that were needed. He provides.

Yesterday I was helping to organize a Friends and Family Fun Night for Brookside. I was in a bit of a tizzy that afternoon making sure I had all the things we needed. At one point I realized that I was going to need another person to help me carry and load some things from the church office, but kept running into dead ends when looking for help. I really didn't know what I was going to do other than induce labor lugging coffee pots up and down those dreaded stairs, but just when I needed it, I got help. It wasn't the planned-out-knew-for-sure-and-in-advance help that I would have liked to have, but He provides.

Then there was the food. How many hot dogs does one buy for an event that requires no RSVPing but has been announced to a church in which there's about 300 people there on any given Sunday? I went with 100 dogs, second guessing myself the whole time. At the end of the night there were 6 hot dogs left. I don't consider myself a good estimator, I consider my God a GREAT PROVIDER.

Praise the LORD.
I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are steadfast for ever and ever,
done in faithfulness and uprightness.
He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
-Psalm 111

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Now and Then

Some of my most loyal blog readers may remember last year when two friends and I took our new babies to the apple orchard. See that post here. Well, almost exactly one year later, we headed back. Mary Beth could not come, but Laura and little Joshua came along with Ali and myself. It's so amazing to see how the boys have grown. And who would have guessed that Ali would have her second and third babies already and my second would be almost here!

Here's Asher and Grant on our way to the orchard last year.

Now check our guys out! (L to R- Asher, Joshua, Grant)

Grant's new sisters: Riley and Madison.

Mama and Asher last year

Mama and Asher (and sissy) this year

Waiting in line for some apple dumplings. YUM.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Girlfriends and the Pumpkin Patch

There are few things that are more special than the bond that women share just by simply being women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends. While our fathers, sons, husbands, brothers and male companions provide rich and irreplaceable relationships as well, there's just something about being with the girls. A few of my closest girlfriends decided to honor and celebrate our little girl-to-be this weekend. How sweet it was to sit around some steaming soup and my favorite treats just talking about motherhood, birth stories, whatever the topic, all unfiltered. I am already praying for our sweet girl to be as richly blessed as I have been with the women in my life. What a precious, precious gift. These women love well.

The second half of our Saturday was spent at a nearby pumpkin patch. Just had to grab the opportunity to snap some sweet fall pics. Hope you enjoy!

Our little pumpkin has been standing on his own and taking more and more steps each day.

Looks like Mama is hiding her own pumpkin under her shirt. Asher's favorite seat!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Moment

I was reading a blog post today about living in the moment. The author was expressing how so often, we as adults, are living in the future or the past, oftentimes focused on worry or regret. Very true in itself, and then she contrasted that to our little ones who experience intense joy or deep pain in all of these little moments, little things. A flower. A big truck. Ice cream. Bubbles. Here's a quote from the post: "...the more we live outside of The Moment, the less we connect with our children. We hurry them. We ignore them. We put them off." I guess my heart was pierced because I so deeply desire to share in these moments with my kiddos. They are already slipping away so fast. Lord, would you help me to enjoy, to savor, to pay attention to these moments with my child and soon to be children...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Making the Most Out of Small Spaces

As I've been getting things ready around the house for baby girl, I've been challenged to find a place for this and that. To me, it's not simply enough to just find a place to shove everything, but also for these places to be functional, easily accessible and even clutter-free if possible. It's really been a fun challenge for me actually and I find myself amazed and thankful for the space that I didn't even know was there!

For instance, at first glance our bedroom looks like it is filled to capacity. But with the removal of one simple table that displayed a picture frame and the scrapbook, plenty of space appears for a bassinet. The next step is to take Ben's tall dresser and place it at the end of our hallway so we can sneak a glider into the room for around-the-clock nursings. Sure his old-school dresser isn't as cute as the Pier 1 drawers that are currently at the end of the hall, but it's functional nonetheless. I also scored a changing table pad from a neighbor who was getting rid of it. I thought it'd be nice to have something set up when we can't get to the changing table in Asher's room. (Lord knows I am NOT messing with his naps or night time sleep.) I keep a sparce (nearly bare, really) dresser-top anyway so there was plenty of room for the changing pad and a small diaper caddy. Check it out:

In one of the drawers just below I cleared out some tee-shirts that I rarely wear and replaced them with newborn clothes and sleepers. Plenty of room for a wardobe of teeny-tiny clothes! Now we just need that little girl to put inside of them :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BGSU Homecoming

Hi dear readers and blog followers! So sorry for my fickleness in blogging these days. I've been hitting the hay around 9pm pretty much on the daily (which used to be prime blogging time) so there you go. The fall and changing seasons (particularly the change in temperature!) has been lovely and we get closer to meeting our little girl every day! I've been feeling and sleeping great, have a good amount of energy for Asher during the day and am enjoying giving him my full attention while I can. My sweet little buddy... He's been taking about 5 or 6 steps back and forth between Ben and I, but other than that, seems content with crawling or cruising to get to a fro.

This past weekend Asher attended his first football game. Too bad it was cold, rainy and windy, but he was a toasty muffin in his "bubble" or rain shield that protected him from the elements. Nonetheless, we had a fun time mingling with Ben's colleagues at the College of Ed. tent before the game and caught the first 1/2 hour of the football game before Asher and I headed home leaving Papa to enjoy the rest on his own, die hard football fan that he is. Here's the fam. in orange and brown.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another New Family Member!

No, we're not having twins... My brother got engaged! Now we can officially call Lucy, Aunt Lucy! I'm so excited to have a sister! Joe has done very well in choosing his bride and we looking forward to their wedding and celebrating their awesome decision to step into marriage. VERY exciting! Love you both Joe and Luc!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Art of Mooching

I think I'm becoming quite good at it. Mooching, borrowing, whatever you want to call it. It's good, useful, anti-consumeristic (is that a word?) as well as frugal. I have definitely taken people up on offers to borrow things in the past, but now I seek it out. I've got no shame in asking. The latest has been clothing for me and my kiddos. I was in need of some fall maternity clothes and after a quick email-BAM- practially new wardrobe. I'm not even kidding. Thanks ladies for your long sleeved items and even pants! I think of you as I put on a little Laura here, some Kelli there, a touch of Ali and Trinity... Then Asher needed some 12 month PJ's. Another email and before we knew it we were leaving the Alt's with a platic bin of fall/winter outfits (PJ's incuded) and even some BGSU wear we were hoping to have for Asher this football season. Baby girl is borrowing clothes already and she's not even out of the womb yet. Love it. So beware to those who live around me, you may just recieve an email sometime, The fan in Asher's room just died... anyone have another we could use temporiarly??? The asking options are quite vast.

So what fabulous item(s) have you mooched lately??? And PS- mooching is a two-way street so feel free to take our stuff too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Life Update

Since Asher's big birthday month we've just been rolling along enjoying the final days of summer. Here are some tidbits for ya:

-Baby girl is 31 weeks and doing just fine. I am measuring about 2 weeks ahead of where I "should" be so it's possible we'll have a bigger gal or she may come a little early??? Who really knows, that's just what they say... I feel great and have had a lot of energy. Getting very excited for another birthing experience and to meet our little lady.

-Our house comes off the market in 10 days. It's been 6 month so we will take the winter to think about pray about what may or may not be ahead. Add on? Put her back up for sale in the spring? We are very much at peace and are thankful for our home and neighbors. We have everything we need here and I'm ready to start making some space for baby girl in the back corner of our bedroom. Just a little space, but hers nonetheless until she gets the sleeping thing down and is ready to move in with big brother :)

-We have found a double stroller on Craigslist and are getting it this Thursday. Very excited about this versatile stroller after reading reviews and evaluating our needs. Next up is a convertible car seat for Asher since we'll put the baby in the infant seat he's in now.

-Asher continues to be a joy and we are just having a blast with him. Got to spend a day last weekend in Columbus with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Debbie at the Cbus Zoo which was just too much fun. He's saying "Hi" to anyone and everyone and loves to rough house with Papa. He's going to be a great big brother. A little, big brother that is :)

Some shots from our day at the Columbus Zoo:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Party

Carrying on with the occasion of the first b-day, I thought I'd include a few of the pics we just got back from Asher's party this past Saturday. We asked another extremely talented friend, Matt, if he'd take some candid shots throughout the afternoon. Well, we got more than we bargained for because they turned out amazing!!! How blessed are we to have such gifted friends??? Thank you, thank you, thank you! To check out all the pics, click here.