June 28, 2012

ch-ch-ch-changes

Today is a very bittersweet day for me.  It was officially my last day at Loving Choices as Site Director.  I have been working for Loving Choices for the past year and a half and it has been wonderful!  I have been challenged in my faith, learned more about who I am and walked some tough roads with clients who are facing unplanned pregnancies.  There have been super tough days and super rewarding days.  It is hard to walk away as a staff member from a ministry that definitely holds my heart and has been my dream job.

The staff and volunteers that I have gotten to know and work with over the past 18 months are truly incredible women.  Their hearts for the Lord and women in crisis is so evident in everything they do.  It has truly been an honor working with each of them. 

As difficult as today was, it was also a pretty fun day.  The sweet staff threw a little baby shower for me and it got me really excited about Olivia's upcoming arrival!

Super yummy cake

Super cute pink baby clothes

Ann and Chris, the Nurse and Client Manager of the center

Caroline, sweet friend and Executive Director of Loving Choices

It has truly been an honor and blessing working at Loving Choices and I look forward to returning to volunteer very soon!  These ladies are all super special to me and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to work with each of them week after week.

I am also super thankful for how hard my husband works so I am able to stay home with our little girls.  I know this wouldn't be possible without the Lord's blessings on his business over the past few months and Jason's commitment to our family through his work. 

I'd be lying if I didn't mention that I am little nervous and anxious about this new season.  As exciting as it is to be expecting a sweet baby girl to join our family in just 3 months, it also makes me super nervous to think about how different our life will be in the coming months.  There are so many emotions that come along with this new phase but we are trusting in the Lord to provide exactly what we need when we need it and trusting Him to calm my anxious heart and nervous spirit.
Now, I'm off to plan some fun things to do with Hannah before she starts preschool and Olivia arrives....

June 26, 2012

weekend in new orleans

This past weekend, Jason and I made a quick little trip to New Orleans.  It was partly a babymoon since it will be our last trip before sweet baby girl comes in September.  We had a blast!  It was nice to getaway (thanks Mom and Dad for keeping Hannah!) and hang out in place neither one of us had ever been!
We stayed at this beautiful hotel just down from the French Quarter, Le Pavillon.  It is over 100 years old and seriously so neat! 

Funny story about our stocked fridge in the room....apparently all the items in the fridge are sensored so if you move anything, you will be charged for that item.  And with nothing being less than $3.50, we didn't even touch this thing!  Jason was nervous just with me taking a picture and opening the door multiple times! Ha!

After getting checked in and about to go check out a little bit of downtown
(26 week belly)

 We spent one morning at the New Orleans School of Cooking. It was SO fun! Our cook/teacher was hilarious and the food was delicious! I can't wait to try all the fun Creole food we learned how to make!


This guy was literally a human Transformer that we saw roaming around the French Quarter.  It was crazy but pretty neat to see!


 After our cooking class, we headed down to Jackson Square. It was beautiful! And the Saint Louis Cathedral was breathtaking!



Those horse drawn carriages were everywhere!  The carriages are used as tours around the French Quarter/New Orleans.

We spent our afternoons poolside back at the hotel. Our hotel had a pool on the rooftop of the building. Unfortunately, the view wasn't that great of the city because our hotel was surrounded by big buildings but it was still nice to relax by the pool and do a little reading. Jason did a lot of this by the pool, in the shade, while I took advantage of soaking in some rays. :)

We, of course, ate breakfast at Cafe Du Monde. The beignets were incredible and powdered sugar was overwhelming! So. good.

Just off the French Quarter is Harrah's Casino. I have never been in a casino so we decided to take a little walk through. I was amazed. While in the casino we decided to use $2 to play a couple of the penny slots. And we actually ended up winning about $30! Ha! It was a fun little experience!

 Cashing in our winnings! ;)

We ate lunch at this hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  It was great and we got to experience a NOLA essential: po-boys!

 On our last night in NOLA, we at at Archie Manning's restaurant. And who should walk in while we were eating?? Archie Manning himself! He is a very nice man and went from table to table greeting and thanking everyone for coming in to eat. We did get our picture taken with him and it was a highlight of the trip for Jason for sure.

Every night, our hotel hosted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich snack time at 10pm.  It was a great late night snack for this girl...especially with the chocolate milk!  I may or may not have had Jason pick up some chocolate milk as soon as we got home. ;)

We were super thankful for FaceTime while we were away too!  We got to talk and see Hannah every day and that helped my momma heart from missing her too badly.

Even with FaceTime, it was WAY more fun getting home and seeing this little princess in person!

It was a great little trip and I am so thankful we had the opportunity to go out of town one last time just the two of us before we become a family of four!

June 25, 2012

who are the kaundarts?

I'm linking up with Jenna's Commenting Challenge this week!  I'm in the process of updating the blog this week so please come back for more up-to-date posts on our family! :)

I do, however, want to start out by introducing myself and my family.  My name is Stacey, married to Jason and we live in Arkansas.  We got married in September 2009, after dating for 11 months.  We have a little girl named Hannah and another baby girl, Olivia, on the way this fall!  Our family is growing and I couldn't be more excited! (Keep reading to see the full story on how our family came to be!)
I am currently in my last week of work and will be full-time, stay at home mommy to our precious girls!  I have been working for a crisis pregnancy center in our area and LOVE this ministry!  It is hard to walk away right now but I know my ministry is first to my family and with it growing, I need more time (and energy!) to pour into my husband and my girls.  I'm excited and nervous about this new stage of life but I know it is where God is calling me at this time. :)
________________________________________________________
I've sat down to write this a hundred times but now, more than ever, the timing seems incredibly perfect. Why now though? Because Jason and I are expecting our first child....yes, "we" have Hannah but I actually had Hannah before Jason and I even started dating. And with only 3 months (yikes!) left of this pregnancy, I don't want to forget where "we" came from.

I was date raped in late January 2008. I didn't tell a soul. I was so scared, sad, ashamed, embarrassed, angry....you name it, I felt it. That was when I got pregnant with Hannah....but wouldn't know that for another 7-8 months. I know, I know. You are probably thinking "how in the heck can you not know you are pregnant??" Lots of ways. When you experience such a trauma, your body honestly plays mind games. (There is a lot of research out there on this topic but I won't bore you with the scientific stuff. :))Everything, except a few extra pounds here and there, seemed normal. I was traveling overseas quite a bit during my pregnancy so I attributed my weight gain to that...until I went to my doctor for just a regular checkup. That "checkup" would change the rest of my life.

What happened over the course of the next 6-8 weeks is a whirlwind and I honestly don't know if I even remember it all. I was looking into adoption because remember how I didn't tell anyone about being raped? Well, I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant right away either. How would people believe this whole story if I hadn't said anything for 8 months?!? Yeah, Satan has a way of sneaking in lots of lies when we aren't on our guard....and my guard was definitely down! Through lots of different decisions during this time and seriously seeing the hand of God through this situation, I decided to be a single mommy to precious Hannah. It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life at the time but has also been the most rewarding. I have NO idea what life would be like without this sassy little girl!


Jason was a huge blessing through it all. He stepped up to the plate and immediately accepted me AND Hannah. God's hand was so evident in our entire relationship because it definitely was not easy. I was processing an entire year of my life that I hadn't shared with anyone and suddenly my life was an open book for everyone...because a lot of questions ensue when a baby appears out of nowhere. I was also learning how to be a mommy and trying to lead somewhat of a "normal" life.

Jason and I dated for 8 months before getting engaged and were only engaged for 3 months. We started out life as a family of 3 and though it has not been the easiest road, I wouldn't trade it for anything! God is faithful and has been with us every step of this journey.


Take a look at these two....would you ever know Hannah wasn't biologically Jason's??? Seriously, they look SO much alike! We've had many strangers comment on how much she looks like her Daddy. Jason and I always just smile and nod. God is neat like that. :)



I know one day we will tell Hannah her story and that brings a little anxiety but we will also be able to share with her God's goodness and faithfulness through the entire situation. What Satan intended for evil, God has used for His glory beyond anything we could have ever expected. Now for Little Sister to arrive and join in on this chaos....

June 20, 2012

happy father's day!

In the midst of all the craziness the past few weeks, I completely forgot to post about our Father's Day weekend!  (Apologies to my sweet husband who truly is the BEST daddy in the world to Hannah! :))

Father's Day celebrations actually started on Thursday when Jason took Hannah to the Daddy/Daughter Date Night at Chickfila.  They had a blast!  I love seeing them spend time together and can't wait for more daddy/daughter date nights for Hannah in the future!


We had ZERO plans for the weekend except to celebrate Jason and that's exactly what we did!  Saturday, we got up and headed to my parents' house to swim.  It is already SO incredibly hot that I seriously have no idea how I am going to survive this summer pregnant!  Thankful for my parents' pool for sure! :)

Saturday night, we went out for dinner just the three of us.  That doesn't happen too often but we sure love when it does!  And I couldn't love these two any more!!

Sunday started out with a special breakfast for Jason.  I made chocolate gravy and biscuits.  He loves chocolate gravy and I only make it for special occasions and Father's Day is defnitely a special day.

We went to church, came home and Jason began smoking some ribs for dinner.  I felt bad that he was cooking on "his" day but smoking or grilling meat is seriously one of his favorite things.  While we were waiting for dinner, we spent most of the afternoon outside playing in Hannah's blowup pool and trying to keep cool...which also translates into Jason "attacking" Hannah with water!


Jason and his yummy ribs!

We finished off the night with a movie and some yummy cast iron skillet apple crisp.  Seriously, so good and so easy!


It was a great, relaxing Father's Day weekend and I couldn't be more thankful for Jason and the daddy he is to Hannah.  I cannot wait to see him be daddy to Olivia soon!  He is the best daddy and husband and we are truly blessed!

June 15, 2012

vbx

VBX is Cross Church's version of Vacation Bible School.  Hannah had a blast at VBX each night and I enjoyed hearing all the things she learned this week!

The little ones played lots of games outside...



had a few interactive Bible story times....

made and ate some yummy snacks....


 made super cute crafts....


and got some love from Miss Jilly Bean!

 It was a super fun week for Hannah and I am SO thankful for our church, the volunteers who gave up their time each night to love on the preschoolers and all of Hannah's little friends that she got to spend extra time with this week!  It is SO fun hearing Hannah talk about what the Lord is teaching her through activities like VBX.  We are truly blessed with an amazing church that we all love so much!

June 14, 2012

princess ballet camp

This past week, Hannah spent three of her mornings at a Princess Ballet Camp.  To say she enjoyed it would be an understatement!  The girl LOVED getting dressed up as a princess each morning then spending time dancing, playing and laughing with other little friends.  It was SO weird dropping her off at "camp" each morning...she just doesn't seem old enough for that yet!  (I may or may not have teared up the first morning after leaving her at the dance studio.) But I knew she was loving every second so that made it worth it.


The first day, Hannah was Rapunzel.  They spent time coloring princess pictures and playing princess games.




The second day, Hannah was a Dora princess.  They spent their morning at camp getting their little fingernails painted and getting princess tatoos.




The third day, Hannah was Snow White.  They started their morning with a tea party and ended the day becoming a real princess...crown and all.





All the little princesses...

Miss Bethany was a wonderful teacher!  She was SO patient working with all these crazy cute 3 year olds! :)

And just because this picture makes me laugh...
I don't think THIS was part of "princess training"! :)