My 2013 in One Picture

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Grab button for Recently Roached   
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I could choose a picture capturing the thousands of miles I traveled this year to Atlanta, Nashville, FloridaChicago, Colorado, Cozumel, Seattle, and Oklahoma. I could select an image that captures the miles and miles I logged while training for my first half marathon and my fourth full marathon. I could you show you a picture of the 15 books and zillions of standardized testing questions I edited (I almost fell asleep writing that). I could show you all the photos of the 83,745 (yes, I counted) DIY projects Grahm and I completed this year for our first home. 

But honestly, none of that other stuff seems to matter as I look back at the last 365 days of my life.  It all fades so quickly away. Only one thing, one little person who likes to kick and poke around inside my belly, can truly vivify what my 2013 was all about...
I love this picture that I took one crazy day at the end of May, because even now--8 months, 40 pounds, and several stretch marks later--I'm still that girl completely elated and terrified out of her mind. I'm no longer holding sticks I just peed on, but I still have that deer-in-the-headlights look; I'm still full of questions; and I'm still overjoyed out of my little mind at the miracle we've been so very blessed with.

Sawyer Marie, my tiny girl, you have yet to make your grand entrance into the world, but you have already made a huge impact on your mamma and daddy's year and more importantly, our hearts. 
Can you come meet us already?

Who Gives a Quack?

Friday, December 20, 2013

I'm sure you're as tired of the Duck Dynasty controversy as I am. I was over the bearded clan before this homosexuality tirade even began. I mean, does the world really need koozies and pajama bottoms and kitchen towels with their redneck faces on them? (Please say no.) But here's one more opinion for whatever it's worth...

I don't watch the reality show. Mostly because I don't have cable; I don't like beards; and I find the whole idea of duck calls really weird. I have nothing against the family. I hear they're swell. But Phil's comments to GQ? Not so swell.

The second something like this happens, Facebook explodes like my credit card on Black Friday. I find myself rolling my eyes over every "I'm with Phil" or "AMEN, Phil!" post that I see. We Christians love having a mascot. A troop rallier. We band behind anyone in the public eye brave enough to proclaim our "Christian morals" for all the world to hear. Sometimes, that's exceptionally admirable. Other times, and unfortunately much more often, it's completely counter productive. In their attempts to be the next Christian spokesperson, these public figures often forget who those comments affect and blindly fall into a downward spiral while their Christian brothers cry "Martyr! Saint! Media victim!"

I'm not arguing with his beliefs or his right to express them--though it should shock no one that he's anti-gay, or that A&E wants nothing to do with seemingly bad publicity. My beef with Phil is the way he chose to express his views. Boiling down an issue as prevalent and personal as homosexuality to the simple question of, "Uh, where should I stick my penis?" isn't compassionate. It doesn't relay to anyone that you actually give a quack about their lives and struggles. It's actually incredibly demeaning and hurtful. As a redneck man who quacks for a living, I'd expect no less. As a Christian, I expect much more.

Think about it. How were his words hopeful? How were they respectful of his fellow man? Even more importantly, how were they like Jesus? I can pretty much guarantee you that his offensive comments to Magary brought no one to Christ. No one's mind was changed. No homosexual male thought, "Man, I really should like vaginas. That's what real men like Phil prefer." The people who are rallying behind Phil and his Dynasty already agree with his views, and the people who aren't so gung-ho were left hurt and understandably insulted.

We're all really good at speaking the truth.
We're all just really bad at speaking the truth in love, the actual command.

It's easy for Christian heterosexuals to wag our self-righteous fingers. We belittle. We disrespect. We don't understand. It's easy for us to think, "Just get over it! Choose a different life, or you're gonna burn. The Bible says so." We (like Phil) say things like, "Hey it's not my place to judge" only after we have clearly done so. We condemned the ever lovin' mess out of you, made you feel like absolute crap, tore you to bits for the world to hear, and somehow in our tiny brains... that was sharing the gospel.

In our attempts to love and share Jesus with our fellow sinners, this doesn't mean we waterdown. Or avoid. Or shrug our shoulders in apathy. The truth needs to be heard, and we need to share the gospel as Christ commanded. But friends, slapping offensive statements onto an evangelistic agenda is not love. It's not God glorifying. And it certainly is NOT the gospel. Heck, it's not even attractive. I mean, why would anyone want to be a Christian when our new troop rallier can't even intelligently speak about these issues in a respectful, compassionate way? What happened to hate the sin, love the sinner? What happened to treating people with a shred of decency even if you completely disagree with their lifestyle?

If Phil wants a support rally, he's got one. If he wants a band of followers to wave their Christian flags and march into "battle," he's got that too. But if he wants to be a fisher of men, if he wants to share Christ with "homosexuals, drunks, and terrorists" (as he put it), he (like the rest of us) needs to put love back into the gospel equation.

Otherwise our words will be about as fruitful for the kingdom as those annoying duck calls.

Interpret This

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dreams are weird. I really wish I had been writing all these down, because pregnant dreams can be out of control. (I once had a dream that I gave birth to 12 Popsicles, and my family was fighting for the frozen treats, unperturbed.) Last night was another bizarre one.

I woke myself up from talking loudly, which I never do. Talking in my sleep happens all the time (apparently), but never to the point of waking myself up. I guess I had something important to say. Grahm isn't here this week (so many tears), so he wasn't there to rehash what I said. Though, now that I think about it, he's never really good at that anyway. I'm actually kind of terrified that he'll never hear Sawyer cry in the middle of the night. Girl better have a set of lungs on her. Wait. I realized what I just wished. I take it back; I totally take it back.

Back to the dream.
I was wandering through a field that I recognized. I was holding hands with Grahm, guiding him through the tall wheat stalks. My dress was white and long. Very granola. I was barefoot and visibly pregnant. We were smiling. Eventually, we were in a house. Or cabin. It was a very long cabin; the hallway looked like it was never going to end. Rooms shot off in every direction. Toys were piled in the hall, and we had to climb or strategically maneuver around them to progress. It was a struggle; some of the toys were incredibly big. I was still holding Grahm's hand.

After what seemed like ages of hurdling plastic, noisy things, we decided to turn into one of the rooms. I kept asking for water. Maybe we thought this room had some. Instead two women who I didn't recognize were there. They were horrified when they saw us. "What are you doing here! You can't be here! This isn't for you. You cannot be here." They kept repeating those words over and over and over.

Grahm and I stood there, shocked. I started to cry. "We thought this was the way?" Grahm asked the women, who were now walking toward us. "You cannot be here. This isn't for you," they repeated. Before they reached us, Grahm lead me back to the hallway. More climbing. More struggling. It was a haze. I remember feeling tired, but Grahm never letting go of my hand. I still wanted water.

The next thing I know, we are in another room. It was big. This time there was only one man present. He was sitting by a pool, and I desperately wanted to jump in. He didn't say anything to us, but I talked to him anyway. His face seemed comforting somehow. "I'm having a baby. Now. A baby. This is happening now." Grahm sat me down and told me dip my feet in the water. The cold ripped through me. The old man was still there, still watching, still silent. I then started recounting every line of various Friends episodes that I could think of, all to the old man. He only nodded. Up and down, up and down. Grahm still held my hand.

I woke myself up saying, "Bing. Bing. Chandler Bing."

A wee Christmas tour

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How about a little holiday tour to get your bells a jinglin'? 
Here's our festive front door. Burlap wreaths are like the zits of Christmas. Everyone has one, and they're incredibly easy to make. Thankfully, they're much prettier than what my faced looked like prom 2007.
I'm a bit of a sucker for ornaments in bowls and buckets. It's so cheap, and I love the way it looks.
Choosing a phrase for my chalkboard sign was like asking me which flavor of ice cream would I take if I was stranded on a desert island. (Don't think about the logistics of that.) There are just so many wonderful Christmas jingles! I went with this one because it's the song that's been stuck in my head the most this season. I could seriously listen to it all day.
A little festive banner I made.
Who doesn't love some tinsel on the stair rail? 
Snowman wreath. You can make one, too!
I love that we have three stockings. She is going to be here so soon, y'all!
Any guesses on where I got our stockings? I'll give you a million bucks if you're right; that's how confident I am that you won't know. I'm a little obsessed with them. (Hint: I didn't make them and they aren't from Etsy.)
Snowmen and glitter candles make everything better.
The fluffer of our first tree. 
Here's where our Christmas NOOB/BOOB status comes into play. Grahm convinced me to get an unlit tree because he wanted to string the lights on himself. (Mistake.) However, we forgot about the dumb lights and put on all our ornaments first... We were both a little Scrooge-tastic at that point.
I could take more pictures, but I'm lazy and you're probably bored of looking at my house.
After everything was said and done, Grahm made us hot chocolate. (Note the mason jars instead of mugs.) He then started singing, "I live for the applause, applause, applause." 

I love that guy. And Christmas. And Christmas in our house.

$175 Christmas Cash Giveaway

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If you're anything like me, you're finding yourself a little pinched for pennies this holiday season. So some fabulous bloggers and myself are wanting to spread the Christmas cheer by offering cash for one lucky winner. Spend it on others; spend it on yourselves. The point is you'll be $175 richer, and that, my little Jingle Bells, is what I like to call a Christmas miracle.

-----The Fabulous Bloggers----

This giveaway ends Christmas Eve, so be sure to enter today!
Good luck!

Oreo Balls

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Things that make me happy are treats that are delicious. Unfortunately, these are usually foods that are absolutely not nutritious. If we can't put some extra cushion in our jolly bellies this season, then give me another reason... cause I'm still doing it, and I ain't teasin'. (Move over, Poet Laureate.) 

Okay, I'm done rhyming. (You're welcome.) My uncle gave me this recipe when I was in college. Ever since I sent Grahm a little care package filled with Oreo balls, he demands this tasty dessert whenever he gets a hankering for his favorite cookie, which is just about every other day. 
What you'll need:
Cream Cheese (softened)
Oreos (We prefer double stuffed, but who doesn't?)
Chocolate Coating (Make sure it's semi-sweet and not baker's chocolate.)
Place Oreos in a mixing bowl and smash. I used the back of a wooden spoon. This is strangely therapeutic.
One package of Oreos will look like this once it's thoroughly smashed. You'll want to avoid big chunks. 
The powdery the better.
Place your softened cream cheese into the bowl.
With your hands, mix the cream cheese into the Oreo crumbles. Make sure the cream cheese touches all the cookie bits, and try to avoid licking your fingers. It's so yummy!
Once it's thoroughly mixed, make small balls and place on wax paper.
Place your chocolate coating on the stove, set to low. Consistently stir to avoid burning.
Once your chocolate is ready to go, put an Oreo ball on a spoon and gently dip it in the chocolate. This part is a little tricky because you want the ball to be thoroughly covered, but you don't want a ton of excess chocolate (that's probably the only time I will resist EXCESS chocolate). It'll dry weird if you do.
Once your balls are completely covered in chocolatey goodness, place in the fridge. They'll need to sit for two to three hours, if you can hold off that long.
And voila! 
Enjoy your taste buds' best friend and your thigh's worst nightmare.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know what Grahm and I were up to this weekend. Class. Birthing class to be specific. (It's worth noting that my post-college brain has the attention span of a bipolar fly.)

From 9-4 on Saturday and Sunday, we forced our plump buns out of bed to attend a course that will surely help us master our labor and this whole parenting thing. (Ha.) I'm not sure what we expected... but holding fistfuls of ice for minutes at a time while practicing pain coping mechanisms wasn't exactly it.

Within the first five minutes of the class, our instructor was role playing a woman having an intense contraction. It was extremely awkward and, if I'm honest, totally terrifying. The reality of natural labor had never before been so in my face. I found myself grimacing and turning away, wishing this cooky doula would stop her dramatics. That gal could have won an Oscar, I tell ya.
But it only got worse. Later, we watched a ten-minute video featuring real women and real, drug-free births. I cried and not in the "Oh this is so beautiful" kind of way. No, I cried because this is going to HURT, and I am absolutely terrified.

I just kept thinking, "How am I going to do this? How am I gonna push my kid through my tinkle taco without wanting to die a thousand deaths? What if Sawyer has an abnormally large head? What if I'm in labor for over 48 hours? What if I'm the only one woman in the world who can't do this? What if... what if... what if..."

When we came home after the first day, I felt completely defeated. I bombarded Grahm with questions. I pleaded for a new birth plan, one that included a big ol' needle and a lot less pain. After he calmed down his trollish frantic wife, he reminded me of my own words and talked me through our reasons for choosing a natural birth in the first place.

We aren't doing this for medical beliefs. I don't believe epidurals are bad. I've never watched The Business of Being Born, and I'm not an anti-doctor, beat-the-system kind of person. We're doing this because we want to trust God in our birth. We want to give Him the control, as scary as that is, and we want to rely on each other to bring our daughter into this world.

I may have only been holding handfuls of ice during our pain coping practices this weekend (more painful than it sounds, I assure you), but I was already relying on Grahm to distract me, help me, comfort me, and encourage me to get through those "contractions." I can only imagine what it's going to be like when the real deal happens. I'm going to need him so much, and I have no doubt our daughter's arrival will bond us in ways we never thought possible.

One thing we kept coming back to was the fall of man. After Adam and Eve sinned, God promised that men would have to work and women would experience pain in childbirth. (Remind me to punch those two when I get to heaven.) Pain is inevitable, and I'm still terrified of it. But thankfully, that's not where God leaves it. He doesn't abandon women in their time of need, He is there. He is ever watchful and ever helpful in the midst of the pain. And at the end of it all, He gives us inexplicable joy. Holding Sawyer Marie for the first time, I know with absolute certainty, will be worth whatever pain labor brings my way.


Monday, December 9, 2013

When it came to maternity pictures, I was pretty against the idea. I love being pregnant, but I didn't think I wanted to remember (so visually) what I looked like while carrying our sweet baby girl. Grahm convinced me otherwise, and I couldn't be happier that he did. Sure, I look different. I may have more chins and cellulite than I did 8 months ago. Sure, I weigh more than my husband now, and I jiggle in unsightly places. But this is absolutely the most important thing I will ever do with this little life of mine... and if that's not picture worthy, what is? I may not always feel beautiful, but this is a beautiful, beautiful blessing living within me. 

We had a wonderful mini session with the talented Chelsea Lietz on her ranch about twenty minutes outside of San Antonio. It was the last beautiful day of the season, and she did a fantastic job. I'm so thankful I found her on Pinterest, and I can't wait to take little Sawyer to her for a newborn session. If you're preggo and in the San Antonio area, you should check her out.

We are so thankful for the gift of life, and we are so anxious to meet our sweet Sawyer Marie. 

***All pictures are Chelsea Lietz Photography.


Friday, December 6, 2013

I have two years of Christmas decorating angst running through my veins. I won't even begin to apologize for the ungodly amount of trips I have already made to Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and Ross trying to scour out the best Christmas crap to put us in the holiday mood. I even tried to get Grahm to let me buy a blow-up snowman for our front yard because I wanted to be THOSE neighbors for once. (He declined because he's a bit of a Grooge, a Scrooge and Grinch combo.)

You see, this will be the third Christmas Grahm and I have spent together as Mr. and Mrs. Roach but the first we've (I've) gotten to decorate for. The last two Decembers we've been in the middle of moving (from Oklahoma to San Antonio in 2011 and into our first house last year). Cardboard boxes were about the only thing we had to get us in the holiday spirits. Lame, party of two.

Now our house is finally Christmas ready. Glitter is everywhere. Snowmen are aplenty. We even have our first tree! Brace yourselves for a whirlwind of craft projects, my friends, I just couldn't help myself.
Snowman Wreath
You'll Need:
3 wreath forms, different sizes
6-10 Pipe Cleaners
Top Hat
Decorative Accessories (scarf or bells)
First, I assembled my snowman's curvaceous bodwod. Take a pipe cleaner and loop it through the back of the first wreath form. This is holding the snowman's noggin on his body, so make sure it's secure. And obviously, hide those pipe cleaners.
Loop the pipe cleaner through the back of the next wreath form and tightly secure them together. I added a few pipe cleaners just for extra measure. (This will also ensure that the snowman's body parts aren't lopsided.)
Once all the wreath forms are attached, it'll look something like this.
I then took a plastic top hat that I found at a party store and cut that sucker in half. 
I added a sparkly ribbon to the hat before hot glueing it to the snowman's head, because obviously glitter makes everything better. 
And because I wanted my snowman to look dapper, I added a few accessories to jazz him up. The bells are intended to be a doorhanger that I got from Michael's, but I thought they fit perfectly. I then added one of my scarves.
And voila! Frosty is the perfect addition to our closet door. 
As always, thank you for the inspiration, Pinterest!