Hello…

Hello?  It’s me.  (Thank you, Lionel & Adele.) Oh my goodness.  The last 8 months have…well…been full.  Here is a snapshot from today…this might explain some of what I’ve been up to.

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Morning sickness killed July/August…getting into the routine of Kindergarten & school life kicked us in the rear the next couple months…then just trying to keep up with the routine of work/school/life…something had to “fall off the beam”.  Blog? No. I can’t even compute that right now.

But, I’ve been mulling over some things & needed an outlet to express them.  So. Hello.  It’s me.  Typing away in my minuscule corner of the world wide web…

This pregnancy has not been easy.  Yes, I’m in better shape than I was with Zane & Alice.  Yes, once the all.day.morning.sickness started to subside…I felt pretty good.  Tired, but good.  So it hasn’t been so much the physical, as the mental.  The mental…

Two healthy, amazing kids…then two heart-breaking miscarriages.  When I did get pregnant again, I wasn’t expecting it.  I had put that part of my heart up on the shelf.  But, there I was.  Staring at the test.  Not wanting to tell anyone.  Mad.  Yep, mad, because I didn’t want to go through another miscarriage.  I was tired.  I had “given it to God” & was ready to embrace the season we were in.  The season of healing, & of living in the moment.

Here’s the deal – getting pregnant after a miscarriage is scary.  Getting pregnant after multiple miscarriages is scary.  It’s hard on your heart.  I had a hard time connecting with this sweet baby, because I didn’t want it to hurt as bad if the Lord decided to take him/her away.  And then.  Then I felt guilty.  Guilty, because I had sweet friends who were praying, yearning, for a baby.  Yearning to get pregnant.  And I felt ungrateful.  I was scared.

I’m going to be seriously transparent with you & say…I still am.  I’m 38 weeks pregnant & I’m still struggling with anxiety.  I’ve had a hard time preparing for this sweet one because “what if?”…”Lord, what if you take this one away, too? What if something goes wrong?” It’s a daily battle.  BATTLE.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Dueteronomy 31:8 

{TRUTH.}

Let’s be real.  We can all “put on the happy face” & act like “we got this”.  But sometimes.  Sometimes life sucks.  Life is hard.  If you are in the waiting, or going through the valley, or scared, or are just having to deal with the crap of life…You are NOT alone.  I think that is what the Lord has been teaching me the most through this.  We all have “something”.  We can go to our shiny churches, chat with our shiny friends, recite the shiny verses from our shiny Bibles, fill our minute, feeble brains with all the shiny knowledge we can…and try to keep control & keep our lives as shiny as possible…BUT. Life is messy.  Life is dirty.  We need each other.  We need the REAL each other.  Not the shiny versions with all the right answers.  It took me a long time to be ready to talk about the miscarriages…& it is still scary to lay it all out & say I’m still anxious.  (Because that’s not shiny.) And, I don’t think that will ever completely go away.

Please know, you’re not alone.  It’s ok to not be ok.  It’s ok to ask questions.  He created us with emotions.  He created us to feel.  It’s what we do with those emotions & feelings that matter.  Those emotions and feelings need listened to, & then they need Truth spoken over them.  Truth of Who He Is.  Truth of Who He Will Be.  Truth of what He promises.  He’s not just a God you study, & get a shiny degree on.  He’s a God who cares so deeply for you that He sent His only Son to die the most gruesome death for you, to pay the highest price for you, but who didn’t stop there.  He rose again.  He’s a LIVING God.  He’s THE LIVING GOD.  He’s THE LIVING GOD who LOVES you so much that He will stop at nothing to make sure that Life with Him is available to you! We are His Sons & Daughters.

So even when you or I feel alone, feel scared, feel anxious, feel betrayed, feel mad, feel broken.  Truth trumps all.  It’s good to feel.  But, let’s make sure we cover those feelings in Truth.  Because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Someone in authority said something to me after our first miscarriage that made me mad.  He was trying to be comforting but it came out as, “Well, maybe God is making you go through this so you can help others.”  I get what he was trying to say.  But, I don’t believe God orchestrates evil things to happen to us.  We are not tools in His tool shed or chess pieces on His chess board.  Remember, we are His sons & daughters.  Wouldn’t it break your heart to see your son or daughter broken?  Aren’t we created in His image?  Then I know He feels our brokenness.  And I KNOW He will redeem the brokenness if we let Him.  He spoke through Joseph in Genesis, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20).  He sees.  He will redeem. ❤

Project: {Style} V

Project: {Style} – Because, as we grow & change, our style is always evolving.  I love fashion & beauty.  I think it is FUN.  I’m figuring out what I’m comfortable in, & I’m figuring out what makes me happy.  {*NOTE: I know that beauty & fashion, are not THE source of happiness.  Jesus is my sole source of Joy.  But, He made us to appreciate beauty.  To see Him in the beauty. This is just a fun project in finding an outward expression of the joy I feel on the inside.}

Can you believe it is almost JULY?! *gasp*

I’m not okay with how fast this summer is flying by.  Seriously. Slow.the.heck.down.

This weekend we attended a super sweet wedding.  It was so lovely.  One of two weddings on the calendar for us this summer.  Love.  & let’s be honest…my favorite part of a wedding is…well…THE CAKE.  I’m pretty much an expert on eating cake.

This is the outfit I chose for the wedding…& this was something out of my comfort zone.  I do not showing my legs.  If I wear a shorter dress, I ALWAYS wear opaque tights.  But, that wasn’t going to work for this event – too stinking hot out.  So, I decided to be brave & not worry what others thought of my legs (less be real, I’m the only one obsessed with my legs, so I just needed to get.over.it.).

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Dress: Lands End | Kimono: LuLaRoe | Shoes: Aldo | Accessories: Noonday Collection

We had a great time.  Weddings are fun. ❤

We had a day last week that was rainy & cool. {My fave.} So I tried out a light scarf.  This scarf is handmade {with love} in Guatemala.  The Artisans hand dye the thread & then weave the scarves on back strap looms.  So much {beautiful} detail.

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Jeans: Gap | Shirt: Ruche | Shoes: Toms | Scarf & Earrings: Noonday Collection

One of my favorite online shops is ShopRuche.com.  They have such a {fun} selection.  Lot’s of great dresses & tops.  I recently ordered this dress & was so excited to see how well it went with the Lilac Tushabe necklace I have.

The Tushabe is made {with love} out of hand-rolled beads & ethically harvested horn.  It is named after an Artisan who works with the group to support her sick husband & to ensure her children get an education.  Thanks to companies like Noonday Collection, she is able to earn a sustainable income while working a dignified job!

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Jeans: Gap | Dress: Ruche | Cardi: Gap | Shoes: Toms | Accessories: Noonday Collection

 

{If you don’t already – be sure to follow me on Instagram – @stephaniemontes.  Planning a fun giveaway very soon! 🙂 }

Will you join me in Project: {Style}?  Fashion should be {FUN}.  No matter what size or shape you are.

What do you feel comfortable in?

What do you find beautiful?

{YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!}

Until next time…

{Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday & Happiness at Mid Life for TBT Fashion.}

Nat’ Day!

This last Friday we traveled to the great capital of Nebraska, Lincoln, for the Mister’s Naturalization Ceremony.  It was a super fabulous day.  The sun was shining, the bird’s chirping, & (despite 8hrs in the car) a very cheery 8 month old little boy.  ‘Twas a great day indeed!

It was so special to witness a Naturalization Ceremony & welcome the newest citizens of the United States of America. 🙂  There were 40 people who took the oath & over 8 different countries represented.  I feel like natural born citizens of this country have a tendency to take it for granted (myself included).  It is such a privilege to live in a country based on Freedom & Democracy!

Here are some pictures from our day:

Oscar & the Presiding Judge
The Fam

Proud to be an American. 🙂

Diaper talk…

{Be Advised: The title of this post does not lie.  This post is 100% about…diapers.  Consider yourself warned…}

I know this will sound odd to some {or maybe to all}, but I love our diapers.  I do.  I admit it.

I love them because:

1 – They save us money!  $$

2 – They look so cute on Z’s little baby bum.

3 – They save us money! $$

4 – Oh, & they probably help out the planet too.

Now on to the diapers.  I realize these may not be for everyone.  But for us they work great, so I thought I’d pass on the info!

We use the Flip Diapers, & we flippin’ love them! {sorry just had to…}.  A pack comes with 2 covers & 6 cloth inserts.  Which is awesome because unlike All-In-One cloth diapers (where you stuff the insert), these covers can be used again if not dirty – you just have to change the cloth insert! So handy.

The covers come in a variety of colors & have great snaps.

I did A LOT of research before biting the cloth diaper bullet…& I mean A LOT.  I wanted to be sure we were making the right decision because cloth diapers are an investment.  We want them to last a long time, so we wanted to know we were purchasing quality diapers.  One thing I love about these is that you can get One Size, which means the diaper will “grow” with your babe, depending on how it’s snapped/unsnapped, & how the insert is folded.

 

The price of these babies is very reasonable compared to other cloth diaper systems {I’m talking new, not consignment – which is AWESOME if you are able to score some on sale or consigned!}  A pack {2 covers & 6 inserts} runs between $50-60, depending on what kind of insert (stay-dry or organic) you decide to get.

We purchased 3 packs, & I usually wash diapers every other day.  Trust me, it sounds worse than it is.  Especially since I feel like I am doing the little man’s laundry all the time, diapers or not.  {How do little people go through so much laundry?  It’s amazing, really.} Anyway, all that to say, don’t let the washing scare you away.  It’s really easy & becomes just like second nature after a while.  And I love that I never have to worry about having to run to the store for diapers!

Our diaper system looks something like this:

 

I also love that you can purchase disposable inserts for your Flips.  Which has come in very handy on road trips, where you don’t want to have to worry about diaper laundry.

I would also like to add that the other night we had to use one of our “back-up” diapers {because all our Flips were in the wash} & it was the first night since we’ve started using cloth diapers that Z woke up sopping wet because his diaper ‘sprung-a-leak’.  Can I just say that being woken up in the middle of the night because of a leaky diaper is very UNCOOL, absolutely no bueno, & makes for a crabby mama.  So, needless to say, we do not recommend our “back-up” diapers {Rump-A-Rooz} as a good choice when it comes to cloth diapers.

If you have a baby & are interested in biting the cloth-diaper-bullet, I HIGHLY recommend Cotton Babies.  They are a FABULOUS company.  We ordered all our Flips through them.  They sell other quality cloth diapers, as well, & are VERY informative! 🙂

http://www.cottonbabies.com/

 

Happy Diapering!

 

Where to begin?

{Original post date: 8/9/10}

Wow…it has been a LONG while. I want to be better at this blogging business…& maybe I will, someday! 🙂 We have had a very busy year so far…here is a quick summary:

In November, we found out we were having a baby!!! In February, we found out it was a BOY!!!

On April 1st we sold our house. (After 3 days on the market & 1 showing!) It was bitter-sweet, since it was our 1st home, but we are excited to see where the Lord leads us next!!

Some maternity pictures we had taken in June…this is where I came face to face with how HUGE I really was…but it was worth it…

On July 15, we welcomed Zane Liam into our family. He has forever changed us. He is almost 4 weeks, & I’m a bit sad, because I don’t know where the last month has went…

Next on our adventure list, is (another) move in 2 weeks. We are leaving Omaha & moving to western Nebraska. So much to think about & do. So bitters-sweet, once again.

And that is the update for now…I have a little man calling for my attention.

love a good sale…

{original post date: 6/2/09}

oh, the joys of sales…garage sales, yard sales, estate sales…some of the joys of summer!

on saturday we happened upon an estate sale that was just winding down…so we didn’t know how much stuff they would have left…but low-and-behold we spotted a gem in the garage. it had a tag for $25 but the man said he would give it to us for $6! score! it was pretty dirty & had spider webs all over it…& looked like it had been garage storage for a lot of years…but we had been looking for a cabinet for our dining room…& it was definitely in our price range. 🙂

so we loaded it up. brought it home. oscar took off the doors & the hardware & started sanding (he’s such a gem. i hate sanding…& so does he.) then i put the oil base primer on it. we let it dry over night & the next day painted it & put a coat of polyurethane on the outside. oscar made some shelves & painted them, & took out the middle of the upper part of the doors so we could put glass in them. 48 hrs later we were done! yay! we are still trying to figure out where to put it exactly. & we need to get the glass for the doors.

here are some before & after pictures:

a vacation does a body (& spirit) good…

{Original post date: 5/27/09}

we are back! well, we’ve been home for about a week & a half…but you know what i mean. 🙂 we had a fabulous time in the city of nashville, tn. people are really nice there. but, we did notice less that 5% of cars had turn signals that worked. quite sad! oh, & we saw this speed limit sign that made us laugh out loud, & we just had to take a picture!

we had to take a picture for proof. speed limit 24!! hahahaha!!

it was so refreshing to get away. even though we were only gone 3 days, it was enough. 🙂 after all the work on the house, it was a nice break. we didn’t keep a schedule. we just bummed around nashville & went to franklin, enjoyed the scenery, ate delicious food, slept in, & listened to some stellar musicians…it was great. 🙂

when we got home, i worked at finishing the buffet we bought off craigslist. i sanded it down & painted it. i think it turned out really well. you can kind of see it in the picture of the dining room.

we also made a stop at ikea during our get-away. all i can say is – “wow!”…we had never been to an ikea, only browsed online. the store is a little overwhelming, to say the least, but oh-so-fun & affordable! we found some fun stuff to accent our new space. 🙂

here are some pics of our continued progress…

still a work in-progress. but, it is so fun finding treasures to decorate our home with. 🙂

until next time…”keep calm & carry on”

finally getting there…

{Original post date: 5/11/09}

okie dokie…well, sorry it has been a couple weeks since an update…but as you will see…we’ve been busy! 🙂

first, since we decided to lay a new floor, we decided to take out the tile we had by the front door. we really liked the tile, but it was going to be a lot more work trying to work around it & make it look nice with the limited tools we have to work with. (don’t worry mom. we saved the tile for you!) 🙂

it was pretty messy trying to take the durock out…apparently mom & i did a good job putting it in a few years ago… 🙂

*oscar working on chipping away the durock…

*finally! but even though it looks fairly clean here, the basement was a MESS from the pieces of durock that fell through the cracks…

*after we got all of the durock cleaned up we installed floor board…

*the process begins!! knee pads -check!, 34 boxes of floor -check!, new 8 1/4 saw blade (that apparently no one uses anymore! & we had to go to almost all the stores in omaha to find!) -check!

we started 2 weekends ago & finished putting on quarter round this last weekend. out of everything, installing the quarter round was the most trying…but we made it! 🙂 if we ever do this again, we will be renting or buying a table saw…it would have made our lives A LOT easier. 🙂

here are a few pics of what it looks like now…still a work in process…but we are getting there!! 🙂 oscar & i are going to nashville this weekend for oscar’s birthday, & we have a friend staying at our house with the dogs so we wanted to have most of it done by the time we left…(now i just need to work on the 5 loads of laundry that i let pile up!!)

*sorry about the pictures, it was already dark & i had something on my lens (hense the random fuzzy dots.

story about the couch…yesterday, we went to pick it up from nebraska furniture mart. it was so exciting because it was wrapped in plastic & new!! 🙂 BUT!! when we got home & unwrapped it we found they sent us only 3 legs. it was fabulous. so, i called the mart & told them about our 3 legged couch. they said we could bring the couch back (after we just hauled it home & into the house) or we could prop it up with books & wait 2 weeks for a new leg to come in from the manufacturer. we were tired, so we opted to prop it with books & wait. so, we propped it up, made sure it was even & stable, put the cushions on…then i sat down for the first time. the couch kind of creaked, but oscar said it was because it was new. ha! then oscar sat down & it BROKE straight down the center!!!! THE COUCH BROKE IN HALF!!! HA! we just sat there & looked at each other & i said “REALLY?”. i then called the mart…AGAIN. they said we could bring it back & get a new one…i said they could come & get it because it was really quite ridiculous. they said they couldn’t until thursday. i said, we will be gone. they said then next tuesday would be the soonest. i said, we would bring it back. (i’m such a push over.) anyway…oscar & his brother are taking it back today. we are going to try the same style again, but i told them if anything happens to the next one, i want a full refund. ha.

*the broken couch in our living room. 🙂

*the new chair we got from craigslist! a wingback recliner! 🙂 the leather is a bit worn, but it was a good deal. (now i just need to learn how to upholster…ha!)

*i think lokita & ludwig like it… 🙂

well that is the update for now…i need to work on laundry & get packed for our trip! 🙂 we are also making a stop at ikea…which i’m a little stoked about. 🙂

 

some progress…

{Original post date: 4/27/09}

well, after being out of town almost every weekend in April, we finally had a weekend to start the process! it was a good thing we got started this last weekend, because i have been losing motivation fast. so this weekend we (with some amazing help!!) got almost all of the painting done!! 🙂

*our friends lydia & lana came to help!!

*dining room primed!

*time for a break!!

we just have few trim touch ups left to do, but we are waiting on the floor…which was the LOW point of the weekend. sometimes when you pull up the carpet in an old house you get a nice surprise…& sometimes you get crap (excuse the term, but i can’t think of a nice way to put it.). we were hoping for a nice surprise. we knew the floor the would need a little t.l.c. because i had pulled up a couple corners to try to get a glimpse of what we would have to work with. but once we started ripping away the carpet we found a ruined floor. 😦 so now we are trying to find a new wood floor to lay down…& our knees are hurting at the thought (we installed a wood floor for my aunt & were soooo sore!) but we keep envisioning what it will look like once it’s done…

here are some pics of the floor now. isn’t it fabulous?

*all the dust from the carpet pad that basically disintegrated in parts

*the amazing random cut outs. (all the little dark circles are screws…)

so this is where we are at the moment. we are researching flooring right now. it’s going to put an unexpected dent in our budget, but that’s what happens with old houses. i just keep thinking of how nice it will look & how long it will last once we get it done! 🙂