thirty-one weeks.

31 wks - pineapple w txtHe may be the size of a pineapple this week, but thank the Lord he isn’t the texture of one. Ouch! 🙂

I can’t believe my sweet baby is nearing four pounds already. I’m starting to feel it in my back and feet though…just soreness, not swelling so that’s a relief! Hopefully that doesn’t become an issue, because I know people who had to be put on bed rest for that!

He is still as active as ever and those kicks and movements take my breath away at times. He still gets the hiccups at least three times a day. But that is a good thing, because it means he’s getting in those practice breaths before he’s out and doing it for real.

We had to miss our appointment this week due to weather. We’ve been getting lots of snow and ice, which makes it not so conducive to travel. I’ve already had about 5 snow days since Jan. 1. Unbelievable! We are hoping to get it rescheduled for the following week if they’ll ever call me back. I love getting to see my boy on the screen so it’s hard to go this long without it!

I had my first shower this past Sunday and let me just say…it was overwhelming how blessed we are! I could not be more thankful for my sister-in-law who threw the shower and all who came and gave such generous gifts!! It was a lot of fun seeing friends and family and getting to spoil Isaiah a little bit!

The nursery is slowly but surely coming along. I can’t wait until it’s finished and I can post pictures! We are doing a forest theme and I’m having lots of fun doing creative, homemade crafts for the room. 🙂

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twenty-one weeks.

21 wks - papaya w txt

Boy, does this boy like to move it, move it! He is constantly moving around and kicking. It’s mostly when I’m sitting or laying down, but it’s crazy how active he is. Sometimes I think he might be practicing Kung-Fu in there…

We had another ultrasound this week just to check a few things from our last appointment, but I never mind having them, because it just means we get to see his precious little face again. Everything looked healthy and his growth and measurements were right on track with where he’s suppose to be right now, so that is good news. Praise the Lord!

One fun thing we did this week (well I think it’s fun, my husband probably doesn’t find it as exciting) was register for some classes at the hospital where we’ll be delivering. I am taking a breastfeeding class and then he will join me for the “New Baby Care” and “Infant CPR” classes. They may turn out to be pretty common sense classes, but I feel it can’t hurt to take them…especially when they’re free!

Thanks to some friends and family, we have already received so many baby clothes and accessories that I had to go buy some storage containers to put them all in. We are so blessed to have such generous people in our lives. This boy will surely not go unclothed in his lifetime (well except while making his debut, but what do you expect?).

Why We Chose NFP.

I have had a lot of people over the past year and a half ask why my husband and I use Natural Family Planning (NFP for short) in our marriage. This post is not to inform you (in detail) on how NFP works and it’s certainly not to condemn those that use contraceptives; it’s simply to share with you WHY my husband and I choose to use it in our marriage and why it works when used correctly. It is also meant to be an encouragement to any couples considering it for their marriages right now.

When my husband and I were going through pre-marriage counseling, the priest who was going to marry us, mentioned NFP. It was the first time I had ever heard of the topic. He HIGHLY encouraged us to go to a seminar on how it works, why we should use it, and why it works.

I’ll be honest; I was completely against the idea at first. But after five months of studying how to use NFP, lots of prayer, talking it over, lots more prayer, meeting with a mentor, and even more prayer, C and I knew this was what the Lord had called us to use in our marriage. Did I mention we prayed about it?

Anyways, here are the reasons we chose to use NFP:

  • Avoids chemical/pill intake
  • Encourages couple communication & interaction
  • Fosters mutual responsibility by husband and wife
  • Fosters deep respect and acceptance of the total person
  • Values children and openness to life
  • Cooperates with God’s plan for marriage

HEALTH:

The number of young women on “the pill” is disturbing. Why is it disturbing, you may ask? Were you aware “the pill” has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency on Research for Cancer, a research arm of the World Health Organization? The sad reality is that any woman who takes a hormonal contraceptive for four years prior to her first full-term pregnancy increases her risk for breast cancer by 52%. Women deserve to know the truth. They have been failed by physicians in not being warned of the physical damage that they are doing to their bodies.

COMMUNICATION & INTERACTION:

We all know how important communication can be, especially in a marriage. NFP opens communication in a way I could never have imagined. It’s not just talking, but actually communicating with one another. Not only do I understand my body better and therefore respect it that much more, but my husband does as well. We talk about it (my body) on a daily basis and I truly feel our connection is a lot deeper because of it. We are a lot more open with each other about things.

RESPONSIBILITY:

NFP is not for the wife to experience alone. The husband is the “coach” of the relationship. The husband’s role is to continually communicate to the wife on how her charting is going and if she is charting correctly. The husband is to know how NFP works just as much as the wife. He guides her, helps her, and encourages her. It is a joint responsibility and it’s the couple’s job to work together in this. Whether a couple wishes to space their children or limit their family to the number of children they already have, the effectiveness rate of the modern methods of NFP are 96%-99.5% when taught by a certified instructor and used according to instructions. (This is higher than most artificial contraceptives.)

RESPECT:

As I said before, my husband understands and respects my body. He knows what it does and why. He understands that there are going to be days we cannot be intimate and he controls himself and in return, I respect him for that. We know that there are going to be/have been days when we have to completely leave the apartment and find another activity, but that has made our marriage so much more spontaneous and fun. NFP does not lessen the importance of sexual union and sexual pleasure, but it helps couples to find other ways in which to connect. In this way, NFP can reignite the romance of dating for a married couple. It’s wonderful.

OPENNESS TO CHILDREN:

At the seminar we went to there was a couple there that had been married for a few years and were using NFP and one of them made this comment: “NFP opened our hearts to children … Children are a gift, a blessing, not a burden.” My husband and I know that there is always the chance if we use NFP incorrectly, we could become pregnant, but that isn’t stopping us from using this method. The Lord has opened our hearts to children and we know he will provide for us in every situation, as long as we are faithful to him.

GOD’S PLAN:

Many couples say that an NFP lifestyle deepens their faith in God. I find that entirely true for me and my husband. The reality is that NFP is challenging, but it is clear to me that working together through the tough times strengthens and enriches our marriage. And as another couple said when discussing NFP with us: “The value I experience in NFP is in the long run …. It forces you to place your immediate choices in the context of spouse, children, family and Creator.”

NFP was actually created for couples TRYING to conceive children, but it can be used to avoid pregnancy as well. It’s good to know that when we are ready to have children, we know when it can be done. 😉

I encourage you, if you have ever or are now considering NFP to feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at jleachman2@gmail.com. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, try this website: http://www.rcdok.org/ministries/catholic_charities/family_life/Natural_Family_Planning/

And know that NFP is not just a Catholic thing, it truly is for anyone. I know plenty of non-Catholics who use this method. Say a prayer and see where the Lord is leading your marriage.

christmas with the leachmans.

After this past weekend, I am certain that I am blessed far beyond what I deserve. I take for granted how blessed I am to get to spend Christmas with my husband, my family, and my friends. I get to do so in a warm home, full of love and laughter. I get to open presents and eat tons of (very unhealthy) food. I get to be off of work and travel to see my family and in-laws.

I say this, because I know that not everyone has the luxery of these things. There are many homeless, starving, unemployed, broken families out there and I am so thankful that I don’t have to deal with those issues. I pray that those families that do have to go without food, shelter, family, jobs, and love can find peace in the Lord and find comfort in Him. My life isn’t anywhere near perfect (that is for sure!), but I am very fortunate to have what I do.

So, here is a recap of our Christmas vacation:

We spent Fri-Sun at my parent’s house. My sister wasn’t able to come home this year with her husband and sweet kids, but thank God for technology, because we were able to skype with them and see their beautiful faces! On Sunday evening we headed to my husband’s hometown to be with his family until Tuesday. It was great getting to be with both sides of our families and we had a lot of fun.

A few photos from the weekend:

christmas eve eve

christmas eve eve

christmas kitty

pepe loved the bows more than her gift.

christmaseve

before christmas church service

day one – a photo that makes you laugh.

I’ll go ahead and say it now, these blog photo challenge posts may not always be consecutive days, but I can assure you they will at least be my next ten posts. So without further adue…here is my photo that makes me laugh.

DSC_0516I’m not sure why this picture makes me laugh, but it probably has something to do with the fact that my husband is at the bottom of a pile of a bunch of little rascals. I took this picture while we were playing a game called “keep away”, in which you do everything in your power to keep the football while others try to take it from you.

The nieces and nephews were finally able to take down the biggest “kid” playing the game and that was a proud accomplishment to them.

It was a beautiful day for pictures. I love the lighting in this picture and capturing some laughter. You can’t look a photo like this and not smile.

I feel like I’m learning new things about my DSLR camera everyday and I’m loving all of it. I’m looking forward to the rest of the challenges. It really has been fun and educational so far.

5k results.

If there was ever a proudest moment in my life, it was on Saturday morning when I ran a 5K. I know what you might be thinking…”Geeze, she’s humble”. But I’m not talking about being proud of myself. I’m talking about my DAD! My dad ran track in high school, but has not run competitively since then. Saturday was his first road race ever and he ran it in 40 minutes and 13 seconds. He finished 3rd in his age division and received a medal after the race. His goal was to finish the race in under 40 minutes and while he barely missed that, him finishing the race and doing as well as he did, is enough of an accomplishment in itself, in my opinion. He was pleased with the results and, of course, his family was as well.

the front had the race logo on it and the back had his place and age division.

He said after the race that he plans to run the entire 5k in December when my whole family does one in Gatlinburg, TN. He has been working so hard for this and I can’t wait to see his future results.

Right before the race (about 8:15am) it poured down rain. My hometown had not had rain for about 6-8 weeks according to my parents so it was a bittersweet moment, because they needed the rain, BUT at about 8:28 it stopped raining and we started the race. It barely sprinkled once around the 2 mile marker and the rest of the time was pretty pleasant…a bit humid, but not bad. After we crossed the finish line, we posed for a picture and a minute later it was a torrential downpour. We had to move under a canopy. Is God good or what for holding off that rain for the EXACT time of the race?!

my dad, an official 5k-er!

I’m just so unbelievably proud of him for setting these goals and for working so hard to achieve them. He is such an inspiration to our entire family and I’m very encouraged by his determination and perseverance. You have one very proud daughter, Dad. Thanks for being my hero. I love you!

mamma mia.

Happy Mother’s day to all of the wonderful moms out there, especially the one I call mamma.

wedding day.

I don’t think I have a bigger cheerleader, better friend, or more supportive person in my life than my mom. I’m not saying my other family members and friends aren’t those things, but when I think back to all the years of her raising myself and my sister, I know for a fact my mom sacrificed more than I can ever imagine. She truly put herself last when it came to her baby girls. She was at every sporting event, every play, every musical; every big moment in my life, she was always right there by my side. I’m so blessed to be her daughter and I seriously thank God as often as I can for giving me such a loving, caring, sacrificial, hard-working, Godly woman for a mother. What a great example she has been for her children and it will only be echoed (I pray) as I try to raise my future children the way she did. And that same great example is seen through her marriage to my dad for over 30 years. She’s my hero and she always will be. Thank you mom, for putting up with me for 18 years at home and still putting up with me 6 years later. I love you.

Of course, I made my mom a collage flower pot, too. She loved it!

flower pot #2